Buying Pagosa...


Colorado Dreamin' - Thinking about Buying Pagosa Real Estate
Getting a Sense of the Real Estate Market in Pagosa Springs
Getting Pre-approved for your Loan
Choosing Your Realtor
Buying Pagosa - The Buying Process in Pagosa Springs
Owning Pagosa - After the Close

Your Reconciled Wish List

Have you made your Wish List? That's everything you would really love to have in your dream home or dream parcel of land. Then, have you reconciled that list with a Reality-Check List? If your dream property is on the market - at $2 Million - and you're still working on your 1st Million, you'll need to make some trade-offs and prioritize your desires and your needs. And finance isn't the only area of potential dream/reality conflict. Even if you've just won the lottery and money is no object, Mother Nature doesn't do certain combinations - at least not in Pagosa Springs. Lakefront on a mountain top, in the woods, with grand vistas is really hard to find, regardless of price.


What do you really need in a house or land parcel? The MUST HAVE list.
What must the property NOT have?
What features are a definite PLUS, but that you could live without?


An honest, reconciled Wish List is your road map to finding the house that can become the HOME of your dreams.


Getting a Sense of the Real Estate Market in Pagosa

You can view current listings for homes and land in the area by using the PROPERTY SEARCH databases on this website.  If you need a 3-bedroom home for under $100,000 and the lowest listing price for a suitable house is $140,000, you'll be able to see right away that you're in the wrong market. Or, if you have a $1.5 Million budget that won't buy a particularly grand dwelling in San Francisco or Vail, you'll notice right away that you can get more real estate for your money here in Pagosa Springs.



Get a sense of which neighborhoods appeal to you, and which don't. Use the neighborhoods information and photo galleries on this site to begin researching your MLS Area options and familiarize yourself with the Subdivisions that best suit your needs. They offer a wide array of terrain and lifestyle choices. Does the Pagosa Lakes area look appealing to you, or is Aspen Springs more your style?


Getting Pre-approved for your Loan

Cash Buyers: You can almost skip this part ... however, sellers will want verification that you really do have the funds to buy their property. For privacy and "cleanliness" I recommend that you set up a separate account for the funds that you will be using to complete the purchase. We will then get a verification of funds from that account and have it in your folder for a quick response to the seller.


For the rest of us:
Knowing your purchasing power is one of the most important factors in buying. Know exactly how much you can spend BEFORE you go shopping for your home or land. Waiting until you have an accepted offer before you meet with a lender is a horrible idea and may keep you from getting the property you want. Before we begin actively looking at individual houses, be pre-approved for your mortgage.

You probably have an idea of the loan payment and mortgage you can afford. But will the bank agree with you? They have the money, so you need to know how much a financial institution will be willing to lend you.  Check out the many financial calculators available on the Finance page.


A pre-approval means you have already submitted a loan application and most of the necessary paperwork to obtain a loan. Your credit has been checked, and you have in hand a lender's written commitment to put together a loan for you, subject to the particular property you want to buy passing the lender's appraisal.

In the pre-approval process, you will find out:
- What properties you can afford to buy
- Amount of cash you'll need for the down payment
- How much the bank feels you can afford for a monthly payment


Getting pre-approved for your loan is a powerful buying strategy.
Do you want to get the best house you can for the least amount of money? Then make sure you are in the strongest negotiating position possible. Price is only one bargaining chip in the negotiations. Other considerations, such as the strength of the buyer or the length of escrow, may be critical to a seller.

Being pre-approved gives you a distinct advantage when making an offer on a property. You can make a more aggressive (lower) offer, and a seller is more likely to accept an offer, when the seller and their agent know that you won't have problems obtaining financing.

It also makes the process much easier on you. Once you find your home or land, you'll want to concentrate on planning your move, not worrying about whether or not your loan will be approved.


Pre-approved vs. pre-qualified
Getting pre-approved for a loan is very different from getting pre-qualified. Pre-approval is a lender's commitment to lend; pre-qualifying is more of an opinion based on unverified information, with no commitment involved.
Sellers are aware that a "pre-qualified" certificate from a lender is WORTHLESS ... none of the information has been verified and there is risk that unknown problems will surface: recorded judgments, child support payments due, glitches on the credit report, down payment funds not in the buyer's bank account long enough, etc.

Contact me for a list of reputable lenders in Pagosa Springs.


With your funds arranged for, we can have a wonderful time shopping for your piece of Pagosa!


Choosing Your Realtor®

Purchasing real estate is a complex process with many details to be handled before the deal is done. If you buy property only a few times in your lifetime, you're possibly not expert at it.


It's only good sense to engage a local partner to help you find and purchase property in the Pagosa Springs area. With so MANY Realtors® in the Pagosa area, how do you go about choosing ONE to work with?


I emphasize one, because stringing along more than one Realtor® at a time is counterproductive. Did you ever try dating more than one guy or girl at a time? Boy, can that get messy. We all have access to the same listings through the MLS, so you don't need to "play the field" of real estate offices to have access to current listings. You have access to a PROPERTY SEARCH database with multiple formats right on this website.

So, it comes down to choosing a Realtor® that you have good rapport with, and one that is trustworthy and skillful to give you excellent assistance and support throughout the searching and purchasing


Visit several Realtors®' web sites. That's an efficient way to screen through several. Is there an abundance of informative and useful content? How long is response time when you send an e-mail question? And what do you think of the answers to your initial questions?

If using a web site and e-mailing is not your style, you can call a few offices and notice the response you get. Or set up a face-to-face interview with one or more Realtors® to see how you hit it off. Choosing the right Realtor® to work with YOU is another critical part of the buying process.


Buying Pagosa - The Buying Process in Pagosa Springs

When you have refined your wish list and integrated it with the reality of Pagosa Springs, have gotten pre-approved for your loan, and have chosen your Realtor®, you are ready to SHOP PAGOSA in earnest.

I provide you with a detailed market analysis that will assure that you, the Buyer, are aware of all properties listed for sale within your areas of interest and that meet your search criteria. I can, on request, notify you by e-mail of new listings that match your needs.

Over time and with considerable interaction between us, you narrow your search criteria and your property choices to the few best candidates to actually visit on the ground.

Come to Pagosa and bring your check book. Your offer needs to be accompanied with earnest money, which will apply to the purchase price.


Showings - I'll set up appointments with the various listing offices for private showings of your finalist candidates.   You compare and contrast ... and make your choice.


The Offer to Purchase

Okay, we've found THE house. Time to put in an offer. You want to buy at the lowest price possible, without insulting the seller. By this time you know what is for sale in the neighborhood, and what has actually sold. If this home is representative of the neighborhood and the neighborhood has been consistently selling at 97% of the asking price, even with the strength of your pre-approved loan you are not likely to buy this property for 10% under the list price. Remember that you are purchasing real estate, not stealing it. Also, a clean contract without many contingencies is more likely to be accepted. Be thoughtful and realistic with your offer. I will provide the data and background information that you need to do so. Then I'll prepare your offer on the proper contract forms and have you sign them.

I will present your offer to the listing agent, along with your earnest money check. Sometimes offers are accepted immediately. Sometimes they are abruptly refused (i.e. you insulted the seller). Other times a seller will counter the offer, ushering in a period of negotiation. Except for the calloused pros, this waiting or negotiating period is a tense time. I will keep you informed and help you negotiate with the seller, and make sure that you understand fully what the counteroffer includes and what is expected of you when the ball is back in your court.

Your offer was accepted! An offer is finally accepted when the seller signs it and communicates that fact to the buyer.

The escrow process

title insurance, funding fees, closing

In Colorado Title Companies often provide escrow services and handle the closing. The accepted purchase offer and earnest money is turned over to an escrow officer who coordinates and packages the sellers, buyers, property and lender data for a successful closing.

The escrow officer's duties entail a title search on the property, they handle all the funds, they act as a disinterested third party between buyer and seller, they handle all prorations with taxes, water & sewer, homeowner associations, they prepare final closing statements, they handle all the signing of documents, and they make sure all the proper documents and deeds are recorded at the appropriate city or county facility.

The seller generally purchases a policy of title insurance so as to insure the new buyer there are no liens or encumbrances being transferred to the Buyer.

The loan application

You, savvy Buyer, already have this one in the bag. You are pre-approved for your financing, right? You just need to notify your lender that you've found the house that you want to buy, so they can arrange for the appraisal. Other folks need to apply for a loan here, and HOPE that they can get financing to buy the property.


The inspection

A home inspector will walk through the property with you, or on his own, pointing out things you might have originally missed, and give you tips on maintaining the property once you own it.  A home inspector should not give you estimates on repairs. Their job is solely to find any defects in the property and make sure you are aware of them. Inspectors are not required to be licensed in Colorado. I will recommend a couple of inspectors that I've worked with successfully over time.

The appraisal

The mortgage lender orders a professional appraisal to obtain an objective evaluation of the property's worth. If the appraised value is equal to or higher than the purchase price, no problem. If the appraised value is lower it may threaten the purchase. The bank may ask that the sellers reduce the price or that the buyers pay more down to make the deal work.


Loan approval

With the appraisal successfully completed, your pre-approved loan can now become APPROVED.


The closing

The closing is the last step in the buying process. You pay for the property and sign all the documents necessary to transfer ownership of the property to you. They are recorded into the county records. Actually, here in Pagosa probably the majority of closings happen by mail rather than in the Title Company office.


When you're ready to buy, I'm ready to guide you with research, analysis, negotiations, and the plethora of paperwork involved in a real estate transaction.


Owning Pagosa - After the Close

Congratulations .... you own Pagosa, or at least a piece of it.
If you are already in town or moving here soon, you can begin fitting yourself into the community. On request, I'll provide additional support with lots of information as you settle in.