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Are you thinking about buying your first home? It is exciting, but can also be overwhelming, confusing and stressful all at the same time. COListings wants to help make your journey from house hunter to homeowner easier on you with these 4 important tips.

Get pre-approved

The starting point for this process is making sure you are pre-approved for a home loan. A lender will review your financial information and will let you know how much you can afford and how much they will lend you. Being pre-approved will save you time and energy ensuring you are not looking at houses you can’t afford. It might also get you under contract on your dream house over another buyer who isn’t pre-approved. If you don’t know how to find a reputable lender, contact a COListings agent who has established relationships with lenders who can help you.

Prepare for costs

There is a big difference between renting and owning a home and one of those differences is costs. There are many bills that you don’t pay as a renter that you will be responsible for as a homeowner. In addition to the mortgage, you will need to budget for utilities, insurance and Homeowners Association Dues. New homeowners will also need to be prepared for repairs, property tax increases and home maintenance. Knowing and preparing for these costs before you buy will save you from financial stress later. [;

Purchase with purpose

It is so easy to fall in love with a house that might not be in your best interest and that can lead you to make bad financial decisions. Buying a house should also be based on the value of the investment. Can you grow into the house for years to come, is the location ideal for your work and lifestyle, and can you realistically afford the cost. These are all aspects of a home that you need to consider separate from finding a home you just can’t live without.

Pick the right real estate agent

One of the most important first steps when buying a home is choosing a real estate agent that will represent your best interests. That means you don't have to hire your neighbor’s cousin’s friend who just got their license because you feel obligated to give them your business. You need an agent that has the knowledge and relationships in place that will help you with every stage of the home-buying process. They will ask you the right questions to make sure they get you into the home of your dreams. The right agent will be there to negotiate the price, closing costs, home repairs or warranties that work for both sides to make sure you are in the best position possible when you close.

COListings agents are ready to help you make your home ownership dream a reality. Contact them today while there is less competition and low rates!

The start of a new year often leads to promises you make to change something or achieve a goal. Maybe you want to get out of debt, save more or spend with a purpose. Since many people fail to stick to their resolutions, COListings wants to help you. Whether you are a homeowner, intend to become one, or plan on moving this year, consider these 5 resolutions to bring your goals to fruition.

Set yourself debt free

If you are struggling with debt, you are living with constant stress and feeling like you will never get ahead financially. Paying off debt sets you free in so many ways. It opens financial doors and does wonders for your credit score. Think of all the things you could do in the future with the money you save on payments and interest. Use that motivation and find ways to spend less toward things you don’t need and use that money to get debt free.

Make payments with a purpose

If you want to start spending with a purpose, consider making additional payments toward your mortgage. Imagine saving thousands of dollars and years off your mortgage. If you redirect what you spend money on, extra money can go toward the principal balance each month. Take a $400,000 loan for example. If you have a 4.25% interest with 25 of its 30 years left, you could save $21,107 and take two years off by paying only $100 extra each month. That is spending with a purpose and you will thank yourself later for starting it now.

Pay on time

The longer bills are paid on time, especially your mortgage payment, the higher your credit score. These good payment patterns will help you to achieve a better loan with a lower interest rate. This will save you thousands of dollars on any mortgage loan. Even a 1% change on an interest rate could mean hundreds of dollars saved every month.

Lower your rate

Refinancing your mortgage to decrease your monthly payment or locking in a fixed rate might be a smart move in 2017. The same goes if you are looking to buy this year. With interest rates expected to rise in the near future, you will want to start the process now to make sure you get the best rate to save you money. Don't be afraid to shop around to find the best rate.

Save on homeowner insurance costs

The price you pay to insure your home can vary by hundreds of dollars. It all depends on who you buy your policy from and what you buy from them. Start by getting recommendations. You don't want to go with the cheapest company and be stuck with horrible service. Also, consider combining policies. Often when you bundle coverage on your home and vehicles, you get a better rate. If you have made security or building improvements, you might qualify for discounts. If you are looking to buy a home, insurance is often cheaper if the home’s electrical, heating and plumbing systems are less than 10 years old. You also need to be aware it will cost more if you choose a home that requires additional insurance if it is in a flood plain.

The agents at COListings are standing by to be your personal trainer. As local real estate experts, they can help you with the dedicated assistance you need to achieve your homeownership goals. Reach out to a COListings agent today and make 2017 your best year ever.

The holidays are such a special time of the year. Each trip to the mailbox yields beautiful Christmas cards from friends and distant family members. To keep the holiday cheer going, your friends at COListings collected some of the funniest Christmas cards that certainly deserve a prime spot on the mantle.

Psst! You might need better cammo. We can still see you!

World’s Best Dad…yes, yes you are!

Yikes. Is “Mrs. Claus” Mom or Grandma?

This family gets the most photogenic award for sure!

I think Dad’s top must be in the washer still.

Christmas must be merry and BRIGHT at this house!

What a purrrrfect Christmas card!

Run children! RUN!

Yep, I would have run away if this was my family.

I am speechless!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good fright.

COListings wishes you and yours a memorable Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Why Buy In 2017?

Are you tired of working so hard just to build your landlord’s equity instead of your own? If you are considering moving from renting to buying a home, you are positioned to take advantage of several benefits. Here are 5 reasons why you should buy a home in 2017.

Rental costs

Not only is it difficult to find a rental property in Colorado, the cost to rent is skyrocketing. As a renter, you are often times paying more than what a mortgage would cost you. All the while you are helping someone else build equity. Just think if you have rented for 10 years paying $1000 a month, you could have had $120,000 put toward a mortgage instead of having nothing to show for it. 2017 is a great time to start leveraging your money and investing in your own future.

Interest rates

Right now, interest rates are at historic lows. But, as we close out the year, they are starting to rise. With rates hovering around 4%, you can afford more house for less money. To see the true impact of small fluctuations, take a home that costs $300,000 with a 5% down payment for example. A 4.0% interest rate and a 4.5% interest rate will have a difference of $30,000 over a 30 year loan period. Trying to predict which way rates will go is impossible, but as interest rates climb buyer purchasing power decreases and the home you were able to afford may become out of reach.

Down payments

It is no surprise knowing you need a down payment is a huge deterrent when deciding to buying a home. Most believe you have to have at least 20% down. There are options to put down substantially less. It is important to know that putting down less does require you pay mortgage insurance, but some loans enable you to drop it once you have the 20% equity. In this market, that might happen faster than you would think and it can create a large return on your investment.

Tax benefits

If you buy a home there are several tax breaks you could get. This isn't just for your 2017 return either. Some tax benefits can be applied for the term of your mortgage. Consult with your tax expert to see if you can write off things like closing costs, mortgage insurance and property taxes.

Living on your terms

Even though you pay thousands in rent, you still can’t make it yours. Most landlords will not allow you to paint, update or upgrade much of anything. As a homeowner, you have that freedom to do what you want to a home. It is yours to enjoy!

You probably have even more reasons to buy that are important to you. If one of your personal 2017 goals includes buying a home, reach out to the agents at COListings. They can meet with you to explore your next steps toward homeownership.

A Recipe For Success

Once again the year has zipped by and we’re approaching Christmas and the New Year. Whether you are getting your family cookbook out for an age-old recipe or trying something new, the ingredients and how they are folded together is what makes the end product great. The same applies when selling a home. COListings has the perfect recipe for selling your home and their agents are ready to help you put it all together.

A proven home selling recipe

First and foremost, you need to start with quality ingredients. A real estate agent must have relevant market knowledge of your area. They need to conduct themselves with a code of ethics, commit themselves to you and have outstanding communication skills. They need to be trained in the latest real estate issues and be a strategic thinker and negotiator. These ingredients in a real estate agent will ensure that you are choosing someone with your best interests at the forefront. They will have the skill set to sell your home fast and for what it's really worth.

Once you have the ingredients together, it is all about how they are combined and the timeline for when things need to be done. Steps can’t be skipped or overlooked and can’t be out of order. A quality real estate professional will sit down with you and go over the steps to follow. First, they will cover how to prepare your home to sell. COListings sets themselves apart since they offer a home cleaner and stager to make sure this step is as easy and efficient as it can be. Next, they will move on to filtering through prospective buyers. Quality agents will ensure they are prequalified and serious before viewing your home. Then comes negotiating the buyer’s offer and acceptance, but only if it is the right offer for you and your circumstance. Your agent will then move on to the next steps; inspection and appraisal. A committed agent will be there to represent you during what can be very complex steps in the process. Approaching the final steps in the home selling recipe includes title commitment, ensuring buyer financing, and getting you to closing.

Selling your home is complicated, but by hiring a quality agent you can rest assured and know they are doing what needs to get done and in the right order. If something unforeseeable happens in the process, top notch agents know how to mend the situation so you don’t experience disappointment with the end result.

There are some things in life where you can go with the lesser quality item; however, getting the cheaper real estate agent can result in a less desirable outcome and a home that won't sell.

No matter the season, set yourself up for success with a recipe proven to work and contact the agents at COListings!