Saturday, February 14, 2004
Buying a home can be a complicated and intimidating process. It is even trickier in Routt County, where home prices are well above the nation's average.
The amount of money needed for a down payment can scare first-time homebuyers, said Realtor Tom Wilson of Prudential Steamboat Realty. But what many do not know is that buying a home is far different that it was years ago. Hundreds of federal, state and local lending and subsidizing programs are available that give homebuyers the option of making small to no down payments.
"It's a mysterious process, particularly for new buyers," Wilson said. "It's even more confusing now with so many programs out there, but those programs can really help."
To help people understand the various programs and recognize the benefits of buying versus renting, plus get advice on other processes involved in buying a home, First National Bank of the Rockies has teamed up with Coyote Run subdivision developer Steve Caragol, Wilson and fellow Prudential Realtor Chris Wittemeyer to offer a homebuyers seminar.
The seminar will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday in the Steamboat Pilot & Today conference room at 1901 Curve Plaza in Steamboat Springs. The seminar will cover topics including down payments, the home-buying process, qualifying for a loan, dealing with poor credit or insufficient income, identifying the right property for you and the advantages of using a local lender.
The idea for the seminar came from Caragol's business dealing with First National Bank, with which he negotiated loans, and Prudential, which he used to help sell lots in his Stagecoach subdivision. Those involved decided a seminar would be a logical way to let potential homeowners know that buying properties, such as lots in Caragol's subdivision, is possible, First National banker Mike Larson said.
"It's amazing what lenders can do now," Wilson said. "People don't live in their home 15 or 20 years anymore. People are buying for investments, and that's the way they move up. We're pointing out that power of buying over renting."
Wilson hopes to teach potential homebuyers not to be afraid of the process. Many are apprehensive about dealing with lenders because they meticulously look at financial records, he said.
"People are intimidated by the judging process," Wilson said. "This is an opportunity for people to learn what lenders are really looking for. It used to be asked for 20 or 30 percent down, but now with all the programs, it is much less."
At the seminar, Larson will discuss a general overview of financing options. Stan Urban of Land Title Guarantee Co. will give a presentation about what title insurance is, the closing process, how property taxes work, how insurance works, and how transaction money is dispersed.
"This is going to be the biggest investment of your lifetime, so you want to do things right," Urban said. "If you do it wrong, it's going to cost you a lot of money. You need to be comfortable before you start signing all the documents, and that's what this seminar is all about. Buying a home is not like going down to the grocery store."
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