Julie Fillingham Broker Associate

RE/MAX Gold Country

1659 North First Street, Suite 17

Hamilton, MT  59840

406-880-8734  Cell

406-363-5750  Office


Advice for Buyers

Deciding to Buy
Purchasing a property is most likely the biggest financial decision you will ever make. Whether this is your first purchase or you are an experienced buyer, this decision must be made carefully.  I am here to assist you with knowing that when it is over you have made the right decision and are comfortable with your purchase.

Why Do You Want To Buy?
Are you tired of paying rent? Have you decided to pay your own mortgage and not your landlord's? Have you outgrown your current home? Are you looking for an investment portfolio? Are you looking for a rental property? Would you like a larger yard? Would you rather live in a different area? Do you want to shorten your commute? Having a clear sense of your reasons for buying will help you choose the right property. 
There are solid financial reasons to support your decision to buy a home, and, among these, equity buildup, value appreciation, and tax benefits stand out.


    • Pre-Qualification:   Meet with a mortgage broker and find out how much you can afford to pay for a home.
    • Pre-Approval:   While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. You will also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you’re interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay them when you close your loan.  This will also save valuable time in closing your loan.  If you are looking at short sales or foreclosure properties you will need your pre-approval prior to submitting an offer.
    • List of Needs & Wants:   Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, irrigation, garage, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.).  The second list is your wishes, things you would like to have (barn, shop, fenced yard, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary.  Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.
    • Earnest Money:  This is a minimal deposit which shows the seller your commitment to buy.  It tells them you are serious.  It is presented with your offer and deposited prior to closing in your agent or title companies trust account.  It is taken off the balance of the purchase price at closing.  It is best to be ready to write this check with your offer and to understand what earnest money is prior to putting your offer in writing.
    • Down Payment:  How much can you afford?  Keep in mind that the more you put down in the beginning the less you will owe in the end.  This not only applies to the balance that you will owe on your loan but the interest you will pay in the end.  The more you put down in the beginning, the less your payments will be over the life of the loan and the less interest you will pay in the long run. 
    • Establish a time frame:   Find out if the seller needs to have the sale closed sooner rather than later. If the seller is feeling pressured to sell, use that to your advantage in negotiating. Even if you, the buyer, are the one with the deadline for purchasing a home, don’t let yourself be rushed into making concessions or a purchase you may regret later.  If you must move right away then you may need to look at properties that can accommodate your time frame.  Short Sales may not be an option due to the time involved.  They take longer than some buyers have.

·         Be Careful With Your Finances. 

 Now is not a good time to make sudden career changes or large purchases. You want to approach your property purchase from a position of financial stability.   Especially if your credit score is borderline.  This can affect your ability to buy or the amount you can afford.