Ricky, Cathy & Tara Team’s Complete Homebuying Guide for Santa Fe

Ricky, Cathy & Tara Team’s Complete Homebuying Guide for Santa Fe

  • Ricky Allen, Cathy Griffith & Tara Earley Team
  • 06/6/23

Searching for homes can be tricky, especially in highly desirable areas like Santa Fe, which has several welcoming neighborhoods offering high-quality living right by the arts and culture scene and outdoor recreation. Following this homebuying guide is an excellent step in narrowing down your search, as well as learning what to expect in the process. As market trends continue cooling in this city, buyers are in a better position for a home purchase.

Research the area

To ensure the area fits your goals, lifestyle, and wants, research it before starting a home search. An online search can reveal important services like grocery stores, school districts, and emergency services in the area. Also, look for recreation and amenities the city provides. Santa Fe’s unique architecture is part of the city’s charm, connecting it to the area's strong arts and culture scene.

As a popular tourist destination, those looking for a permanent residence or vacation home in Santa Fe have plenty of entertainment to choose from, like shopping or dining Downtown, attending the opera or symphony, and much more. As an outdoor haven, activities are available year-round, from skiing and snowboarding in the winter to hiking, kayaking, and birding in the surrounding national forest.

Follow market trends

To time your home purchase correctly, monitor the local market trends to see if they’re in your favor. A buyers’ market is marked by more supply and less demand, resulting in higher levels of inventory and less buyer demand. In Santa Fe, cooling market trends put buyers at an advantage, as closed sales have declined by 38% compared to 2021. This indicates there’s less buyer competition. The average days on the market has also increased by 37%, up to 41 days. However, buyers should look out for rising median sales prices, which are up 9% compared to the same time last year.

Know homebuying costs

The costs of buying a home can add up, which is why buyers should consider them before starting. Alongside preparing for the home’s purchase price, buyers should also save for a down payment, which can be anywhere from 3-20%. Depending on your financing and purchase type, some buyers require no down payment at all, while others may need to save even more.

You’ll also need to prepare for closing costs, which usually amount to 3-6% of the home’s value. These include costs like a home inspection, a home appraisal, private mortgage and homeowner’s insurance, and property tax. Santa Fe homes for sale average about $620,000, meaning a buyer can expect closing costs to average anywhere between $18,600 and $37,200. Property taxes in Santa Fe County average about 0.39% across the county, which means buyers can expect an annual fee of $2,418.  

Get preapproved

If you plan on financing your home purchase with a mortgage, it’s important to get preapproved before starting your home search. The preapproval process can take a while, as a mortgage lender must review your financial portfolio, checking if you have a stable income, a high credit score, and a manageable debt-to-income ratio. 

Once you receive a preapproval letter, you’ll have a better idea of what homes to look for. Sellers also take offers with preapproval letters more seriously, as it shows proof of funds. Be sure to receive preapproval and not just pre-qualification, which only estimates how much you might borrow.

Partner with an agent

It can be difficult finding properties that align with your goals without the resources of a local agent, like those on the Ricky, Cathy & Tara Team. They’ll have access to tools like the local MLS, which provides the most comprehensive view of available properties. After taking the time to listen to your wants and needs, they’ll select properties that meet those needs, then schedule in-person showings so you can view homes. Throughout the process, they can explain what steps need to be taken and the differences between neighborhoods and the city’s amenities.

Explore different neighborhoods

In your home search, look at several different properties and neighborhoods to narrow down what you do and don’t want from a home and a community. Neighborhoods like Las Campanas appeal to buyers who love exclusive communities with stellar views of the mountains and luxury amenities that are close to Downtown. Other buyers may prefer areas like Historic Eastside, a residential area showcasing the city’s history in its architecture and the nearby commercial district. Other notable communities include Tesque, South Capitol, and Eldorado.

Make an offer

With the help of an agent, make an offer that includes your preapproval letter, your offer price, terms and contingencies, and a down payment proof of funds. Depending on the seller, they may accept your offer as it is, make a counteroffer, or reject the offer outright. As a buyer, know what you are and aren’t willing to compromise before entering negotiations, and stick to what you’ve decided.

Close on the sale

When you’ve agreed with a seller, close on the sale. First, get a home inspection, and if it reveals any serious problems, either re-enter negotiations or back out of the sale. To finalize a mortgage, complete a home appraisal. Then, schedule a final walkthrough to ensure you don't have any concerns about the property. From there, you can close a sale by reviewing a closing disclosure, which tells a buyer what they owe. Buyers must also attend a closing meeting, where sale information is reviewed and final paperwork is signed.  

Ready to buy in Santa Fe?

Buying in Santa Fe doesn’t have to be complicated when following the guide above. Before looking at Santa Fe homes for sale, research the area to see if it provides what you want and need. Then, work with an agent to get the largest access to listings and to complete buyer steps. When you’re ready to start your home search, contact the experienced realtors in Santa Fe on the Ricky Allen, Cathy Griffith & Tara Earley Team to guide you through it.

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