Reliable Home Purchasing in Buena Vista

National Association of Realtors® Buyer’s Guide

Most potential home buyers are a smidge daunted by the fact that they’re about to agree to a hefty mortgage that they’ll be paying for the next few decades. The best way to relieve that anxiety is to be confident you’re purchasing the best home at a price you can afford with the most favorable financing. These seven steps will help you make smart decisions about your biggest purchase.


Step 1: Decide how much home you can afford

Generally, you can afford a home priced two to three times your gross income. Remember to consider costs every homeowner must cover: property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and community association fees, if applicable, as well as costs specific to your family, such as daycare if you plan to have children.


Step 2: Develop your home wish list

Be honest about which features you must have and which you’d like to have. Handicap accessibility for an aging parent or special needs child is a must. Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are in the bonus category. Come up with your top five must-haves and top five wants to help you focus your search and make a logical, rather than emotional, choice when home shopping.

step 3: Select where you want to live

Make a list of your top five community priorities, such as commute time, schools, and recreational facilities. Ask your real estate agents to help you identify three to four target neighborhoods based on your priorities.


Step 4: Start saving

Have you saved enough money to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20% of the purchase price set aside for a down payment, but some lenders allow as little as 5% down. A small down payment preserves your savings for emergencies.

However, the lower your down payment, the higher the loan amount you’ll need to qualify for, and if you still qualify, the higher your monthly payment. Your down payment size can also influence your interest rate and the type of loan you can get.

Finally, if your down payment is less than 20%, you’ll be required to purchase private mortgage insurance. Depending on the size of your loan, PMI can add hundreds to your monthly payment. Check with your state and local government for mortgage and down payment assistance programs for first-time buyers.

step 5: Ask about all the costs before you sign

A down payment is just one home buying cost. Your real estate agents can tell you what other costs buyers commonly pay in your area — including home inspections, attorneys’ fees, and transfer fees of 2% to 7% of the home price. Tally up the extras you’ll also want to buy after you move-in, such as window coverings and patio furniture for your new yard.


Step 6: Get your credit in order

A credit report details your borrowing history, including any late payments and bad debts, and typically includes a credit score. Lenders lean heavily on your credit report and credit score in determining whether, how much, and at what interest rate to lend for a home. The minimum credit score you can have to qualify for a loan depends on many factors, including the size of your down payment. Talk to a real estate agents or lender about your particular circumstance.

You’re entitled to free copies of your credit reports annually from the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Order and then pore over them to ensure the information is accurate, and try to correct any errors before you buy. If your credit score isn’t up to snuff, the easiest ways to improve it are to pay every bill on time and pay down high credit card debt.


Step 7: Get prequalified

Meet with a lender to get a prequalification letter that says how much house you’re qualified to buy. Start gathering the paperwork your lender says it needs. Most want to see W-2 forms verifying your employment and income, copies of pay stubs, and two to four months of banking statements.

If you’re self-employed, you’ll need your current profit and loss statement, a current balance sheet, and personal and business income tax returns for the previous two years.

Consider your financing options. The longer the loan, the smaller your monthly payment. Fixed-rate mortgages offer payment certainty; an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) offers a lower monthly payment. However, an adjustable-rate mortgage may adjust dramatically. Be sure to calculate your affordability at both the lowest and highest possible ARM rate.

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has thrice survived the homebuying process. A frequent contributor to many national publications including, real estate agents Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

Rick D.
Mark W.
Blake B.
Peter S.
Richard W.
Ruth Y.
Wilson R.
Peter B.
Dustin S.
Sue & Tom
Cindy A.
Carol Louise K.
Mike M.
Ann & Nick M.
Chuck F.

We didn't even know where to begin, Julie helped us with paperwork, communicating with the seller, suggested lenders, inspectors, etc, and asked the questions we didn't know to ask!

— Rick D.


Julie is a true professional with deep expertise in the local real estate market. She's a hard worker who did her best to help us successfully find a home. I highly recommend working with her!

— Mark W.


Julie is a truly amazing relator who treated us like family. She helped us through every step of the home buying process with patience. Julie will go out of her way to ensure you get the best service possible.

— Blake B.


Julie works tirelessly to make sure that she does her very best for her clients. She also is very friendly and nice to work with. I would definitely recommend. She is a true professional and is a couple notches above what you would expect in such a small town real estate market.

— Peter S.


Since moving to Buena Vista, CO in August, 2020, Julie has helped us purchase two additional times, so we've done three transactions with her since meeting her. My wife and I both agree that she has served us with great skill and local knowledge, so I can only give her five stars and highly recommend her.

— Richard W.


Buying a house can certainly be stressful, but not with Julie on your side. She brings local knowledge, vendor connections, everything needed to make the sale you want. She is very professional and will make sure you get the property for the right fair price. She was a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend her.

— Ruth Y.


Julie always responded to us in a timely, professional manner. She moved the transaction forward to the satisfaction of both buyer and seller to the closing date. We listed the house in February and closed 8weeks later. Her friendly and integrous manner put both buyer and seller at ease. We would highly recommend her.

— Wilson R.


I worked with Julie to locate and purchase a lot in downtown Buena Vista. From the first moment we connected to closing on the property Julie was helpful, supportive of my needs and quick to get back to me with my emails and calls. In todays World I often find that is generally not always the case with many people you are working with to get something done.

— Peter B.


We were looking for land by ourselves for a while in CO trying to narrow down where exactly we wanted to end up. I first spoke with Julie once we landed on Buena Vista and she helped make the process easier. She knew of a lot that wasn't listed yet that allowed us to get a better lot for a better deal than what we would've found otherwise. We are happy with the experience overall.

— Dustin S.


Our sale involved real estate and a business. It was a complicated sale involving real estate, equipment, goodwill and stock. Julie was knowledgeable, professional and ultra-timely with responses. Her knowledge and experience are invaluable. We then dealt with Julie for a few purchases with a 1031 exchange. Again, her connections and knowledge were most appreciated. She is a class act and we would highly...

— Sue & Tom


We have used Julie and her office for several real estate transactions, including the recent sale of our house, all have been smooth and professionally executed. Julie and her team were great about taking the time to understand our priorities during the negotiation period. While there are plenty of real estate agent options in the area, few have the combination of business acumen and integrity that Julie...

— Cindy A.


Julie helped me through an extremely stressful personal period in my life, which included selling my home of 20+ years and finding a new place where I could start over. She was knowledgeable, professional, super responsive, and walked me through this first time seller/buyer experience with expertise but and, more importantly, compassion and kindness. She looked out for my best interests on all levels! I ...

— Carol Louise K.


Julie has great knowledge of the local real estate market. She and her staff are always responsive. They return phone calls timely. She is good to work with and makes the process easy. Julie is from the area and that is helpful in providing insight into local real estate conditions. For example, she was very accurate in assessing the market value of our home. The home sold within 2 weeks of the listing d...

— Mike M.


We enlisted Julie Kersting’s help after several phone conversations confident that she was a seasoned, full time real estate agent. As out of state buyers we were more than pleased to find Julie to be a true professional who went beyond the expected. She didn’t blink at showing us close to 30 homes [some more than once] during our 3 day stay in Buena Vista. And she closed our deal after we left with an e...

— Ann & Nick M.


I have been trying to buy the perfect property and home in Twin Lakes for years. I was usually too late or had other issues which caused the deals to fall through. Someone forwarded Julie's contact details to me in 2017. She found a number of properties, did the leg work, vetted the details, and provided prompt feedback. She was always fair and honest when communicating her findings even if it meant she ...

— Chuck F.

Work With Julie

Ready to take the plunge into a mountain property? Maybe a house right in town is up your alley? Contact Julie today, she is passionate about making sure you find just the home of your dreams.