Real Estate Information Archive


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Common First Time Home Buying Misconceptions

by Sandi Pressley

Buying a home for the first time can be an exciting time in your life. However, there are misconceptions floating around that may give you cause for concern. Maybe you’ve heard things from family or friends that could deter you from buying your first home. But what was true about home buying years ago may not be the case today.  What are some of the misconceptions of buying a home?

  1. You need a 20% down payment to get a mortgage.

A few decades ago this was true. In fact, you needed almost perfect credit and had to pay 20% - 50% down for a mortgage.  To make it possible for more people to own a home, the government created the Federal Housing Administration and began offering “FHA Loans”. The FHA will now back a loan from a home buyer who only has a credit score of 500 and a 10% down payment. And for those with a better credit score of than 580, you only need 3.5% for a down payment! This is a big reason why more people can afford to buy a home today.

  1. You Can’t Qualify For a Mortgage With Student Loans

Having student debt doesn’t mean you can’t get a mortgage. Lenders look at your total debt-to-income ratio to see how much you make each month compared to all of your debt, no matter who you owe. So if you’re handling all of your debt responsibly and can still afford the payments, that’s what matters.

  1. You can save money by not using a real estate agent.

More people use a real estate agent today than ever before. You may think that agents are just out for the money. Sure they get paid for their services with a 3% commission.  But you don’t pay that fee as a home buyer.  Instead that fee is part of the selling price. Don’t be lured into thinking that you’ll save money by not using an agent. And don’t forget that they will also take care of all the paperwork, appraisals, inspections, and other matters that are part of the process. Imagine having to do all that by yourself. Let a professional with years of experience handle the process.

  1. It’s cheaper to buy a home that needs a lot of renovating.

Perhaps you’ve been inspired by TV shows that make it look like fixing up a house is the way to go. They make it almost look easy, but don’t be fooled. All of these repairs take time and money and in the end you may end up getting tired of all the renovations. So if you need to renovate the whole house to make it livable, it may not be the best choice.

Search for your dream home in Albuquerque with our easy to use home search. Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.


6708 Baker Avenue NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109  $205,000

2 Bedrooms / 2 Bathrooms (1 full, 1 half) / 1529 Square Feet

Excellent location! 2BDR/2BA/plus office townhome in Los Trechos! Many updates! REFRIGERATED AIR! Updated furnace, water heater and ROOF! Updated stucco (2013) Two large bedrooms plus a beautiful built-in office addition with cabinets & desk. Light & bright atrium for plants! Bath features a therapy tub! Kitchen has bkfst nook and all appliances stay! Private patio can be accessed from the master bedroom and living room. Convenient location close to shopping, restaurants, parks and transportation!!

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

Tips to Save for a Down Payment on Your First Home in Albuquerque

by Sandi Pressley

Buying your first home bring up all sorts of good feelings. But before you get there, you have to get through the daunting task of making sure you have enough for a down payment. You may have to come up with as much as 10% - 20% of the purchase price, which can be a large sum.

So now its time to get creative! Here's 3 creative ways you can put together the money you need faster than you may think.


Crowdsourcing has become a popular way for people to raise money for projects. Popular crowdsourcing sites such as Kickstarter have been used to fund all sorts of projects. So why not crowdsource your first home?

If you're getting married, for example, you can skip the traditional registry and use sites such as Feather the Nest and Hatch My House to raise your down payment. According to Hatch My House, they've helped home buyers raise more than $2 million for down payments.

Ask the Seller to Help (Really!)

Seller concessions are where the seller will work with you to reduce closing costs. If the seller wants to close the deal quickly, they may work with you in this way. The fewer the closing costs, the more money you can put toward your down payment.

You real estate agent may be able to help you negotiate a deal, such as 2% of the overall sales price in concessions to help with the closing costs.

There are, however, limits on concessions depending on the type of mortgage. For FHA mortgages, the cap is 6% of the sale price. For Fannie Mae-guaranteed loans, the caps vary between 3% and 9%, depending on the ratio between how much you put down and the amount you finance. Individual banks have varying caps on concessions.

Government Options

You can also look into programs through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, that help with down payments and closing costs. If you meet particular income requirements, you may qualify.

Your profession may also determine what programs are available through HUD. The Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program can help those who are law enforcement officers, firefighters, teachers, or EMTs.

If you're a veteran, the VA will guarantee part of a home loan through commercial lenders. In many cases, you don't need a down payment or private mortgage insurance, and it will help you secure a  competitive interest rate.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.


9300 Thornton Avenue NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109  $375,000

4 Bedrooms / 3 Bathrooms (2 full, 1 partial) / 2717 Square Feet

 Light, bright and open floor plan on this custom-built NE Heights beauty with 4 bedrooms and over-sized 3 car garage. Full pitched tile roof. Separate laundry room with W/D that stay! Close to schools, shopping and lovely park!

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

Making Your Home Appeal to Younger Albuquerque Home Buyers

by Sandi Pressley

According to the National Association of Realtors®, first time home homebuyers are about 31 years in age on average? So it makes sense that when you sell your home, it will no doubt be to someone younger.  It's been getting easier for young families and professionals to buy a first home.  When it comes to staging your home to sell in Beaufort County, you need to keep the younger buyers in mind.  Just like the generations before them, this generation has their won unique needs and wants in a home. How can you make your home appeal to this growing market?  Here's a few tips.

Open Floor Plans

Younger buyers no longer want the formal setting of a dining room for entertaining. They want a more open feel that make entertaining easier. Rooms that flow together are highly sought after.

Working From Home

First time buyers are more likely to be working from home. They need extra space for a home office, even if they work from home part-time.

Low Maintenance

Young buyers already have plenty of bills: cell phone bills, cable bills, car payments, student-loan debt and more. Therefore, many don't ant to spend extar on landscaping and other high maintenance features, or old appliances that will soon need upgrading. Make sure your home is ready to move in and doesn't need a lot of extras.

Use Neutral Colors

Buyers under 40 are not really into the gold or pink walls any more.  Think about painting the walls a more neutral color.  This will allow potential buyers to envision their own accent colors and furniture to make it their own.

Open Up the Shower

Open showers are all the rage. Younger buyers aren't as attracted to the old tub and shower configuration. If you have it in your budget, consider remodeling your bath to include an open shower design.

White Cabinets

White or off-white cabinets not only brighten up the kitchen, but the younger buyers are more attracted to it.  They don't want to be reminded of mom's old dark cabinets.  You might try Benjamin Moore's Advance paint, as it requires little prep work.

Stainless Steel Appliances

Old appliances can be a big turnoff for younger buyers.  Many love stainless steel appliances, and for good reason.  If you have it in your budget, consider updating your appliances if they look dated.

Updated Countertops

Young buyers really love granite and stone countertops.  But keep it simple.  Don;t go with busy designs.  Black countertops or designs that are simple are the best.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.


231 Graceland Drive NE, Albuquerque, NM  $194,000

2 Bedrooms / 2 Bathrooms (1 full, 1 partial) / 1530 Square Feet

 Nob Hill Charmer! Great Opportunity!!! Make this one your own or your investment property; whatever the goal-DO NOT MISS this one! Situated on a large corner lot, this gem features both formal and informal living areas; Recently re-finished hardwood floors; Cozy wood burning fireplace; separate dining room or perhaps office/hobby space; plus classic details throughout. Enjoy warm summer evenings under the ample covered patio. Close to shopping, UNM & UNMH, transporation! 

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

5 Tips For First Time Home Buyers

by Sandi Pressley

Most first time home buyers are in their early 30's when they decide to buy. That's a young age to make such a huge financial decision. Of course, it's also a stressful decision no matter how old you are.

How can you reduce the stress of buying a home for the first time? Here's a few things to consider.

How Much Home Can You Afford?

First you need to decide how much of a home you can afford before you start looking for a home. You can use an online mortgage calculator to find out the maximum amount you can afford to pay on a mortgage. This will be based on the price of the home after the down payment for a 30 year mortgage.

An even better way to pin down how much you can afford is to work with a loan officer to help you come up with an amount. They have more detailed access to information such as how much the bank can loan you and what the interest rate will be.

What Can't You Live Without In a Home?

Before the home search begins, you need to sit down and figure out what really matters to you in a home. And not just in the home itself, but the location. Also consider what would make you miserable. Then put it all down in a list of items that are non-negotiable.

After you start looking at homes, then you should take another look at your list and adjust it as you know more about the homes that are available.

Use an Experienced Local Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can make all the difference when buying a home. Try to get a referral from friends or relatives who live in the area you want to move to. If that's not an option, you can check agent reviews online for local real estate agents.

A good real estate agent knows the area and listens to your needs. In many cases, a great agent will have repeat clients over the years. Look for an agent who has reviews that reflect this. They will also be able to connect you to loan officer and real estate attorneys, along with other needed professionals.

Compare Prices

You should look at homes in the area that are comparable to get an idea of what they're selling for.

You can easily compare homes in the area you plan to move to using tools such as our Advanced Home Search feature.

Ask Your Real Estate Agent About Closing Costs

Closing costs can vary widely. These costs usually include hiring an attorney to look over the buyer seller agreement, along with a home appraiser to inspect the home before the sale. A good real estate agent will be happy to help you determine closing costs.

Being a first time home buyer may seem daunting, but it's something you can accomplish successfully with the right planning and information.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.


78 Desert Mountain Road, Placitas, NM  $399,000

3 Bedrooms/ 2 Bathrooms (2 full, 0 partial) / 2452 Square Feet

 Quality & Workmanship radiate thruout this beautiful Southwest Custom home on nearly 1 acre lot! Wheelchair friendly oversized doors and hallways. Large walled in Garden & pet areas. Experience the peaceful serenity & gorgeous views of living in Placitas!

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

Avoid These First Time Home Buyer Mistakes

by Sandi Pressley

Avoid these common first time buyer mistakes

Are you thinking about buying your first home in Albuquerque?  If so, there’s a great deal of things to consider. But don’t let that intimidate you. Many first time buyers make the same mistakes, but if you learn from what they did or didn’t do, you can avoid making them. Here’s a few major mistakes that first time home buyers make and what you can do to avoid doing the same thing.

Picking Out a House Before the Mortgage

The very first step in buying a home is making sure you have the financing for it. If you can’t find the right mortgage, there’s no point in picking out a home. Many first time buyers tend to start looking at homes first because it’s more fun than talking about money. The problem is that when they find their “dream home”, then if they can’t get the financing, they’re disappointed because they can’t afford the home.

To avoid this, talk to a lender and at least get pre-qualified for a loan, or even better, pre-approved before you start looking at homes.  This makes everything go much more smoothly, for both you and the seller.  You know how much you can offer on a home and what price range you can afford.

Not Looking at First Time Buyer Programs

Usually first time buyers don’t have as much money saved for their down payment and closing costs. This leads many people to the conclusion that they have to wait to buy a home until they have a huge down payment.

You can avoid this mistake by talking to a lender about programs such as Veterans Administration or U.S. Department of Agriculture loans that don’t require a down payment. You may also qualify for a Federal Housing Administration loan that only need a down payment of 3.5%. Even some conventional loans have down payments as low as 3%. You never know until you ask.

Draining Your Savings

Most first time buyers need to buy older homes, as they obviously cost less.  But that means there may be repairs to be made down the road, or perhaps right away. If you don’t have enough in your savings to cover these costs, it could end up putting you in a financial hole.

Make sure you save enough to not only cover the down payment and closing costs, but enough to take care of repairs that may come up later. This can be easier if you have a lower down payment.

Not Having the Home Inspected

Buying a home without having it inspected can be a huge mistake. You have no idea what hidden damage there can be in a home without an inspection. Some buyers feel that if they waive the inspection that it will give them an edge on other buyers.  But if you end up buying a home that needs major repairs, it ends up being a bad deal anyways. 

The simple solution is to hire a home inspector of your own choosing.  This way they won’t have any bias toward the home seller or your agent, and can give you an honest assessment.

Buying your first home can be a positive experience if you take the time and make wise decisions with the future in mind. Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.


204 Camino De Las Huertas, Placitas, NM  $499,000

3 Bedrooms/ 4 Bathrooms (2 full, 2 partial) / 3645 Square Feet

Strategically sited on elevated lot to take advantage of 360 views! NEW Synthetic Stucco! Extended backyard living that includes covered patio w/outdoor kitchen grille/hood/cabinet/tile counters, Kiva Fireplace, incredible views, perfect to relax or entertain. 

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

What to Look For When Buying a Home

by Sandi Pressley

You’re buying your first home in Albuquerque and the excitement abounds.  But you have to be careful that all the excitement doesn’t cloud your vision.  It’s easy to see the exterior of a home and how much you like (or dislike it).  But you need to see the inside as well.  How was it maintained? What issues will come up when you buy the home? If you know these things in advance, you can save on expensive repairs in the future.

This is even more important as a first time buyer. First time buyers usually don’t have the experience to know what warning signs to look for in a home.  Hiring a home inspector will definitely help in this regard.  Here’s a list of warning signs to look for.


  • Look for cracks in the driveway, walls and sidewalks                                                                  
  • Are the floors, windows and doorways crooked or not level?                                                        
  • Are there large trees with roots near the foundation?
  • Do the inside doors jam or have gaps on the top of them?


  • Are there any exposed wires?
  • Do the lights flicker?
  • Are outlets warm to the touch?
  • Are there any visible signs of electrical tape?
  • Look for flash burns near socket covers.


  • Look for missing or cracked shingles and significant wear and tear.
  • Are there mismatched materials or curled or warped shingles?


  • Do the faucets leak?
  • Are there water stains under the sinks or around toilet or tub
  • Check how the bath and sinks drain.
  • Do you smell foul odors near sinks?
  • Check the water pressure in sinks and bath.


  • Do you see any water stains on walls?
  • Is any mold visible?
  • Is there a musty smell?
  • Check for rotted wood around doors and windows.
  • Is the paint peeling?

Insects or Pests

  • Are there signs of termites and carpenter ants?
  • Are there ways for rodents to enter the house?
  • Is any exposed interior wood damaged?

Poor Workmanship

  • Do repairs look professional?
  • Do renovations look armature?
  • Are any tasks uncompleted?

Checking these items can go a long way to making sure you pay the right price for your first home and know more fully what you’re buying. Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate advice and for local Albuquerque topics. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.


8520 Hawk Eye Road NW, Albuquerque, NM  $260,000

3 Bedrooms/ 3 Bathrooms (2 full, 1 partial) / 3486 Square Feet

Incredible back yard perfect for entertaining family & friends, with Outdoor kitchen, built in grill, tile bar, flagstone open & covered patios, pergola, hot tub, fire pit, garden area, trees, and shrubs! Exceptional home with many custom upgrades including stacked stone accents, light fixtures, wrought iron stairway! 

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

11 Steps to Buying Your First Home in Albuquerque

by Sandi Pressley

Are you ready to buy your first home in Albuquerque? Obviously, buying a home for the first time is a major life decision.  You will be investing a large amount of money and time in this adventure.  Do you know all the steps involved in the home buying process? It's important to know the steps along the journey and what tools are available.  You also need to forge relationships with experts in Albuquerque who can help you along the way.

Here are the 11 steps to living the dream of owning your first home.

  1. Do Your Homework
    Any large purchase requires planning, and that is particularly true with buying a home in Albuquerque. Factors such as price, housing type, neighborhood, school districts, and more need to be considered. Here's a worksheet that can help you pin down what you're really looking for. Fill it out with your partner (if you're not single) and your agent.  That way everyone is one the same page - literally.

  2. Start Shopping For Homes in Albuquerque
    Now that you know what you're looking for, start looking for listings online.  Here's a great tool for finding the ideal home in Albuquerque and surrounding communities.

  3. Find a Great Agent
    We're ready to help you find the perfect first home and help you through the process.

  4. Choose a Lender
    After you find the right agent, we can help you find the right mortgage lender. This is an important step as your lender will be working closely with you throughout the process.

  5. Pick a Loan
    Your lender will work with you to determine the right mortgage to fit your financial needs.  You'll need to provide proof of income, employment, and other details.

  6. Look at Homes
    Now comes the fun part! Your agent will help you find homes in in Albuquerque and the surrounding areas in New Mexico that fit your budget and the needs you determined in step 1.

  7. Make an Offer
    When you find the ideal home, then you make the offer.  Your agent will help you decide how much you want to pay, along with contingencies that both parties can agree on.

  8. Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate
    Now comes the time where you work out the deal for your new home in in Albuquerque.  It can be an emotional time, especially if you really want the house. Some sellers may just accept your offer, but some may make a counter-offer.  Your agent will work with you to decide what to do.

  9. Inspect the Home
    When an offer is accepted, then you'll sign a contract that will no doubt include a home inspection contingency.  At this point you'll hire a licensed home inspector to look for needed repairs. If major repairs are needed, then the seller will be asked to make those repairs.

  10. Appraisal
    Your lender needs to determine if the home is worth enough to cover the mortgage.

  11. Close the Deal
    The home is close to being yours! You just need to sign the final paperwork to finish the deal.  Then it's time to show off your new home to all your family and friends!

The Sandi Pressley Team has been helping people buy their first home in in Albuquerque for years. They can help you through all of these steps to guide you to owning your first home in in Albuquerque. You can call them at 505-980-2999. Your first home is only a few steps away!

Don't forget to follow us on Facebook!


210 Tornasol Lane NE, Albuquerque, NM  $450,000

3 Bedrooms/ 2 Bathrooms (2 full, 0 partial) / 2573 Square Feet

The charms of North Valley country living only with a NE address! Impeccably maintained, one owner, custom built,TRUE Southwestern adobe home on 1/2 acre with RV parking! Escape to the beautiful backyard with raised bed garden with plum trees, shade trees, roses, solar wall and fire pit.

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

More Millennials Are Qualifying For Low Down Payment Programs

by Sandi Pressley

According to a report recently released by Down Payment Resource, 65% of first-time homebuyers bought their homes with a down payment of 6% or less in January. This trend continued through all buyers who had a mortgage, as 62% made a down payment of less than 20%.

What does this all mean? An article by DS News points to the new wave of millennial homebuyers:

“It seems that the long-awaited influx of millennial home buyers is beginning. Ellie Mae reported that mortgages to millennial borrowers for new home purchases continued their ascent in January, accounting for 84 percent of closed loans.”

For millennials who purchased homes in January, FHA loans remained popular, making up 35% of all loans closed. Ellie Mae’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy Joe Tyrrell gave some insight into why:

“It is not surprising to see Millennial borrowers leverage FHA loans because they typically offer lower down payments and lower average FICO score requirements than conventional loans. Across the board, we're continuing to see strong interest in homeownership from this younger generation.”

If you’re a millennial who’s wondering if you should buy a home this year, please feel free to contact us.  We can help you understand your options and get you on the path to preapproval.


5909 Gorrion Street NW, Albuquerque   $199,000

4 Bedrooms/ 1 Bathrooms/ 1935 Square Feet

Back on the market! This open concept floorplan includes tasteful updates. Plenty of space with 2 living areas and 4 beds spread over 1935 sq ft!

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

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Contact Information

Photo of The Sandi Pressley Team Real Estate
The Sandi Pressley Team
Coldwell Banker Legacy
10400 Academy Rd. NE Suite 100
Albuquerque NM 87111
Fax: 505-212-0729

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