Check Your Finances and Credit Rating
Get copies of your credit report and check everything for accuracy. Immediately contest and fix any problems you see that may be bringing your score down. Be sure not to make big moves before your house-hunt that could affect your rating (i.e. getting several new credit cards).
Also, gather together funds to be able to put a down payment on a home. If you can’t afford this, you may still be able to get a loan. Consult with a mortgage lender. In addition, consider getting pre-approved for a loan so that you know exactly how much you can afford to spend.
Once your credit history and finances are in check, the fun begins – looking for that perfect home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Tips for Buying a Home in Santa Fe
Tip #1: Location! Location! Location!
The location you choose to live will help determine the resale value of your home in the future. Homes with good access to local services and street appeal (lighting, landscaping, upkeep of other homes) are likely to increase in value.
Tip #2: Use Intuition, Not Emotion.
When touring a home, try to ignore things based on “emotion” (i.e. paint color, staging, etc.) and focus on what your intuition is telling you about things like the structure of the home, potential repairs, etc. It’s much easier to repaint a room than it is to tear apart walls to fix water damage. Learn to “listen” with your gut versus your heart.
Tip #3: Check Other Home Sales.
When you find a place you want to make an offer on, be sure to research recent sales of other homes in that area first. This can help give you a basis for your offer. Your first offer should generally be lower than the average sales of other homes in the area. Researching other home sales and calculating first offers is something a qualified Santa Fe real estate agent can help you with. Click here to obtain a free market snapshot for the Santa Fe area.
Tip #4: Take a Walk Around the Neighborhood.
When you find a home you like, be sure to take time to tour the neighborhood a couple of times (at different times and days). It’s important to get a sense of what life will be like in the neighborhood. Are there loud barking dogs at night? Is it quiet in the evenings? Is there good lighting? Is it safe? Is it a neighborhood you’d enjoy walking around? Do people seem friendly?
Tip #5: Examine the Exterior.
During home tours, people are mostly focused on the interior of the home. But you should also pay close attention to the outside, including looking at things like the roof, exterior foundation, yard, etc. Also, know the rules that may apply to you. For example, can you build a fence if you have a dog? How tall can it be? Can you paint your house any color you want or do you have to get approval from a homeowners association?
Tip #6: Hire a Qualified Home Inspector.
It’s generally a good idea to have someone you specifically hire, like an area-qualified home inspector, conduct a home inspection for you. If that inspector also has engineering experience, then that’s a bonus. This can help you avoid costly mistakes, negotiate a better price, or confirm the value/condition of the home.
Tip #7: Research the Long Term Financial Impact.
Determine in advance what property taxes, homeowners insurance, and homeowners association dues will cost. In addition, make sure you have the funding to budget for home repairs, maintenance, property tax increases, etc.