Buyer's Guide

A Step-by-Step First Time Buyer's Guide

Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide created by your agent will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.

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Step 1: Research

Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.

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Step 2: Decide on Your Budget

Notice I said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. This likely includes doing a full household budget and taking into consideration what changes other than a mortgage payment will occur once you move into your new home. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.

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Step 3: Get Prequalified

Just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may approve you for too large of an amount, they may also approve you for a lesser amount or deny you a mortgage altogether. Lack of time at a job, insufficient credit, past bankruptcies, or other financial issues can cause major problems when trying to secure a mortgage. Before you get your heart set on a home, talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. This will also be an advantage when you make an offer on a home, as some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.

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Step 4: Choose a Real Estate Agent

Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Technically yes, but why would you when it costs you nothing for an agent like me to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will I help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but I also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. Finding the perfect home can be a daunting task, this is where my expertise and wealth of knowledge come into play. Let me show you around some homes that meet your dream home criteria so you can find the one that's right for you.

My goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home.

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Step 5: Find the Right Home

This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). I will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.

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Step 6: Make an Offer

Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. I will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.

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Step 7: Have the Home Inspected

In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. I can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.

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Step 8: Select Your Loan

Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.

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Step 9: Get a Home Appraisal

Your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.

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Step 10: Finish Paperwork

No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.

Congratulations!

After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams. 

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Marnie B

Marnie B

Nancy & Lance make a great team! Their combined experienced in the Aspen-Snowmass area is a definite benefit. They spent the time educating us on the area and ultimately, found us a beautiful home for our family, where we know ...
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Walter Q.

When working with a real estate agent in a unique market such as Aspen, you expect knowledge of the market and a person with integrity amongst their peers. My experience in working with Nancy has greatly exceeded those expectat...
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Cristiano L.

I would like to recommend Nancy Patton as a great real estate broker to work with and doing business with. From the moment I met her I was impressed with her professionalism as well as her knowledge of the local real estate mar...
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Mike H.

Mike H.

We had the pleasure of working with Nancy in the spring of 2017. She was incredibly professional, attentive, and caring. She listened to our needs and was prompt in finding properties that matched them and then some. She also p...
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Ryan L.

We have worked with numerous real estate agents in high-end and distinct markets such as Aspen over the years. Nancy far exceeds all expectations and experiences we have when working with an agent. Nancy is absolutely the best ...
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John S.

Nancy’s infectious personality and tenacious spirit make her a joy to work with. She is extremely knowledgeable about the different neighborhoods and the current market conditions. It was obvious that she had done a copious amo...
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Charles F.

Charles F.

Nancy and Lance gave me great guidance and service for my first home purchase. I didn't know them before. Zillow matched us, and I'm glad they did. Lance explained every step of the process to me. I ended up with an awesome pla...
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Penny C.

Penny C.

Nancy and Lance are a terrific team. We had never met them before and ended up purchasing a fantastic property through them. They went above and beyond every step of the way to make sure we had all the answers we needed in our ...
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Austin W.

Austin W.

Nancy is so kind with her time and goes above and beyond the scope of what is required in her role. Nancy is responsive and does exactly what she says she will do, which is, unfortunately, a rare trait these days. I would recom...
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Mike M.

Nancy and her team were very helpful. I had a bit of a situation and they helped me resolve it very quickly. Their communication and willingness to go above and beyond were very impressive. Can't thank them enough for their help.
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Kelly L.

Kelly L.

Lance was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Nancy and Lance are very a creative team. They genuinely care and what to help you find your home. We appreciate them.
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Kate F

We had the pleasure of working with Lance & Nancy with Aspen Luxury Sales, and it was truly a terrific experience. Lance is down-to-earth, not pushy, and genuinely dedicated to his clients' needs. His honesty, patience, and pro...
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