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Tag Archives: home buying tips

5 Things First-Time Home Buyers Should Do Before Searching

Buying your first home is exciting! Finding a place to call your own, investing in your financial future, finding a niche in a community… There are so many perks to homeownership. But it’s a little intimidating, too; a mortgage is no small loan, and there are a lot of big decisions, confusing legal terms, and professional people involved with the process.

But before you start feeling overwhelmed, take a breath and learn more about our tips for starting the home buying experience.

5 Tips to Get Started as a First-Time Home Buyer

first-time home buyers search homes

Before you jump into the search process, there are a few things you might want to learn, know, or consider about buying a home. Here are some tips for first-time home buyers to get you started.

Talk to some mortgage lenders first

talking to lenders about mortgages

You might think the home search process starts with, well, a home search, or at least a real estate agent. But ideally, you should begin the process by talking to lenders. There are a couple of advantages to doing this. First and foremost, you get a professional in the industry to review your financial situation to determine how much loan you might qualify for—or whether you qualify at all.

Secondly, talking to lenders can help you to better understand your mortgage options. Contrary to common belief, there isn’t just one type of loan—there might be a few different options that apply to you, each with its own pros and cons. Your lender might even be able to recommend loans specifically for first-time home buyers.

While you’re talking to these lenders about your finances, they’ll also likely review their own particular charges, rates, and discounts, which you can compare between lenders.

Get prequalified for a loan

first-time home buyers getting prequalified for a loan

As your lender discusses loan options and asks you questions about your goals and financial situation, they may also urge you to get prequalified. Getting prequalified is definitely something you want to do if you’re serious about buying a home—for a few reasons.

Simply put, prequalification will show you exactly how much a particular lender is willing to loan you, and it’s an important step in the buying process. In fact, some agents won’t show homes to or even work with buyers who aren’t prequalified! An official prequalification letter from your lender also helps to show sellers you’re serious, and definitely makes your offer more appealing than an offer from a buyer who’s not prequalified.

Interview several agents

talking to a real estate agent

Picking the right real estate agent is always pretty important, but it’s especially important for first-time home buyers unfamiliar to the real estate experience. Not only do experienced agents know the details and nuances of the transaction inside and out, but a really good agent can also provide useful advice and recommendations. That might mean helping you narrow down your favorite neighborhoods, determine which home features are most important to you, or find local vendors, like inspectors, appraisers, contractors, or even lenders.

Because your agent is so vitally important, you want to do your research carefully. Ask for recommendations. Read Google, Facebook, or Zillow reviews. And of course, talk to the agents themselves to see how well they communicate and what they have to offer.

Know what you want in a home

listing out home preferences

It’s almost time to get searching, but before you let yourself fall in love with granite counters or a luxurious soaking tub, take some time to think about the features you actually need in a home. Understand, there are a lot of homes out there, and odds are, most of them aren’t the right fit. Rather than burn yourself out looking through homes that aren’t right, or worse, to fall in love with a home that doesn’t fit your needs, do yourself a favor and make a list.

List out the features you absolutely need, the features you really want, and features that are more like icing on the cake. Then, when it comes time to search, you can rule out any homes that don’t fit ALL of your needs and at least a few of your stronger wants!

Explore the area a bit

a park in albuquerque

The most important aspect of any home—in determining both its market value and its value to you—is its location. The perfect home in the wrong location will quickly grow irritating or inconvenient, and unlike an old kitchen or bathroom, a home’s location cannot be changed.

When choosing a location for your home, you want to think about what’s most important to you. Do you want to be close to work, or to shopping and attractions? Do you want a larger yard or more space? Is price a big factor? Are schools? Your agent can prove an invaluable resource in helping you find the right location for your home.

Ready to Buy Your First Home in Albuquerque?

If you’re thinking of buying a home in Albuquerque, NM, we’d love to help! Contact the Feils today to learn more about how we help first-time home buyers like you find the perfect home in just the right spot.

3 Key Tips to Finding a Home Online

The coronavirus outbreak is impacting the world, and it definitely affects anyone looking to buy a home. The pandemic is changing the entire real estate industry—and buying a home wasn’t exactly an easy process to begin with! Now, finding a home online might be the only option.

Finding a Home Online Isn’t as Difficult as You’d Think

Thankfully, we live in a time where online home searches have never been easier. You can easily find the perfect real estate agent by looking through ones in your area online, and they’ll help you find everything you need. Here are some tips we’ve created to help you track down your dream home…virtually!

Find a Great Local Agent

Buying a Home

The first thing you should be looking for is a local agent who can help you find your perfect home. Agents have access to homes that haven’t been listed yet and houses that you would never know are for sale. Using an agent broadens your options so that you can find the home that meets your every need.

Look at Local Real Estate Websites

Home for Sale

Make sure that you’re checking local real estate websites to find the newest homes on the market. If you’re in the Albuquerque or Santa Fe area, we’ve got a great way to show you what’s for sale in the area in your price range. 

Our home search tool lets you set your budget and pick how many bedrooms and bathrooms you’d like. We also let you filter homes based on locations, neighborhoods, features, and much, much more.

Keep an Open Mind

Browsing homes online

Make sure you keep a clear head when you’re looking at homes online. Don’t talk yourself into or out of a house based on pictures alone! There are too many variables that affect how a home looks in a photo, so be open-minded if you come across a home that’s almost perfect

If you find a house that you’re interested in, contact your agent! More and more agents these days are offering virtual tours that allow you to see more of the home and ask any questions you’d like… without having to leave the comfort of your couch.

Don’t Forget to Ask Questions

Real Estate Agent

Make sure to find out as much information as you can about a home before you commit. Some real estate websites won’t tell you everything you need to know immediately; imagine settling on the perfect home…only to find out the HVAC system is 25 years old! That’s definitely something you want to ask your agent about before you consider making an offer. 

Make sure to contact your agent and ask questions. Most agents are still working (from home) and can get all the information you need without you having to go anywhere in person. They’ll serve as a vital resource when you’re buying a home online, so don’t overlook them!

Ready to Find Your Dream Home?

If you’re ready to find the perfect home, then we can help! We know how much current events have changed everything from business to day-to-day living, and we are more than happy to assist you during the home-buying process

old town sign

Explore Historic Old Town Albuquerque

Albuquerque’s heart lies in its historic Old Town. An integral part of Albuquerque since the city’s founding in 1706, Old Town remains an important cultural hub. As Albuquerque’s first official neighborhood, this 300-year-old neighborhood is home to the oldest church in Albuquerque, the San Felipe de Neri.

Today, Old Town is a vibrant hot spot home to museums, locally owned shops and galleries, and delicious restaurants. Let’s take a quick tour.

All the Fun is Waiting in Old Town

When Old Town was first settled in 1706, settlers built historic adobe homes in a Pueblo-Spanish style. Newer architectural styles did not grace the streets of Old Town until the late 1800s, when the railroad brought more modern Victorian styles.


hot air balloonsIf you’re interested in learning more about the fascinating history of Old Town, peruse any of the wonderful museums here. The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History has both vast collections of native art and traveling exhibitions. The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science will capture your imagination with its prominent dome planetarium.

Afterwards, walk through the Botanic Gardens to explore local foliage or go fishing at Tingley Beach. Fans of culture and history may have a hard time deciding exactly what to do in this cultural hot spot!

Here are some of our other favorite museums and attractions in the area:

  • The Turquoise Museum
  • Rattlesnake Museum
  • ABQ Bio Park
  • Tricentennial Tiguex Park
  • Tingley Train

Events and Music

From holiday celebrations to live musical performances and the annual Balloon Fiesta Week, Old Town Albuquerque has a lot going on. Every year, Albuquerque hosts the beloved Balloon Fiesta, which means a whole week of partying in Old Town!

A number of holiday events take place during the “colder” months (except it never really gets too cold in New Mexico), such as the Old Town Holiday Stroll.

New Mexican Cuisine

enchiladasIf you’ve been dying to try traditional New Mexican cuisine, you can’t do much better than Old Town. As soon as you wander into town, you’ll encounter the delicious smells of roasting meat and enchiladas. Treat yourself to a heaping plate of these wonders, or a sopaipilla stuffed with chiles and seasoned chicken.

Go Shopping!

There’s something for every budget waiting in the locally owned shops of Old Town. Whether you’re searching for fine-art, Breaking Bad memorabilia, or one-of-a-kind clothing, there’s a wide range of shops to peruse.

Eager to Call this Wonderful City Home?

There’s a reason so many homebuyers and visitors are flocking to beautiful Albuquerque. With fantastic natural wonders, excellent schools, and beautiful homes for sale, this is an excellent place to call home.

If you have any questions about the real estate opportunities in Albuquerque, or its surrounding communities, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We have easy-to-use home search tools and other buyer resources to help you in your real estate journey.


Why Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage is Crucial

So, you’ve decided to buy a home in the Albuquerque area. Congratulations! Investing in real estate is always a wise financial decision, and you’ve just chosen a wonderful area to invest in. Plus, buying your own home will bring you indescribably joy and security.

While the overall experience of buying a home is positive, searching for your dream home can be intimidating. You have to set a budget, determine what kind of features you need to have, schedule home tours, hire a realtor… and obtain a mortgage.

The majority of homebuyers use mortgages to purchase their home. There are different kinds of mortgages depending on your income and financial situation, but here’s the rundown.

A mortgage, quite simply, is a loan for the amount of money your home is worth. The amount of your loan depends on your credit report, annual income, and a whole host of other factors.

If you’re searching for a home in an area as competitive as Albuquerque, getting pre-approved for your mortgage is essential to buying the home of your dreams. Here’s why.

It Gives You a Competitive Edge

internet researchIf you’re pre-approved for a mortgage when you make an initial offer on a home, it lets the seller know that you’re serious. In competitive markets like Albuquerque, sellers often prefer pre-approved buyers.

Essentially, you’re given priority over other buyers. This means you’re more likely to buy the best home for you in a timely fashion.

It Helps Set Your Budget

Going through the pre-approval process with a lender is the ideal way to set your budget, because you’ll know firsthand how big of a loan you can get. To become pre-approved, you’ll sit down with a lending officer who will review your credit score, amount of debt, income level, and all other factors of your financial life.

Basically, the lender is reviewing your finances to determine if you can afford to buy the home. This includes monthly mortgage payments, which will vary depending on interest rates, as well as the big down payment.

Be Smart With Your Money

mortgage interest rateHowever, there are other things you should look atwhen deciding your budget. Take a hard look at your annual income, as well as your expenses. Try to determine how much money you’re comfortable spending per month on a mortgage payment. Our mortgage calculator can help with that.

You should also think about that down payment. Depending on what kind of mortgage you qualify for, which determine the down payment, you could be paying around 20% of your home’s value upfront.

When you sit down with a lender to become pre-approved, they can help you figure out what kind of mortgage is best for you.

Any Other Questions about Buying a Home?

Please reach out to us! We would love to sit down and talk with you about your mortgage pre-approval options, and your goals in real estate. Feel free to use any of our complimentary home-search tools and real estate resources.

If you ever have any questions about the home buying process, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to help.



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