Our Top Ten Tips for Buying a Home in Santa Fe

A view of adobe buildings lit by the setting sun in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Buying a new home can be exciting and stressful at the same time. But buying a new home in Santa Fe? Even more exciting. Stressful? Our Santa Fe real estate experts can guide you through the process from start to finish.


Santa Fe real estate attracts homebuyers looking for the unparalleled recreation, culture, and ambiance that makes Santa Fe one of the best places in the country to live, play, and work.


At Barker Realty, our team of qualified brokers stands ready to help you achieve your Santa Fe real estate goals. Let’s get started with these ten tips for buying a home in The City Different.


1. Get Your Finances in Order

If you’re taking out a home loan, a mortgage lender will check your credit report during the pre-approval stage and again just before closing on a home purchase. Your lender will want to see that your financial situation stays stable. Follow these tips to get your finances in shape and keep them that way through closing.


  • Avoid making large purchases on existing credit accounts for at least six months before buying a home.
  • Don’t open new credit cards or close current accounts.
  • Pay your bills on time and in full.


2. Check Your Credit Score and Credit Report

Your credit score is a key factor when buying real estate. A buyer’s credit score determines whether they will qualify for a mortgage and impacts the interest rate lenders will offer.


Federal law requires each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies to provide you will a free credit report every 12 months if you request it.


You can request your credit report online at www.annualcreditreport.com. This government-approved site is sponsored by Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion as a single online source where you get your credit report from all three reporting companies.


As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau points out, credit report and a credit score, however, are not the same thing. Although federal law allows you to ask for your credit report from each nationwide credit reporting company, the law doesn’t require the companies to provide a free credit score.


Your credit score is calculated based on the information in your credit report. You can purchase your score from credit reporting companies, but it’s important to check your credit report to make sure the information is correct.


3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will put you in the best position for achieving your Santa Fe real estate goals.


Here’s a round-up of some resources on mortgage pre-approval, why it’s important, and how it differs from getting pre-qualified for a mortgage:



4. Shop for a Mortgage Lender

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage helps you avoid spending time and energy looking at homes you can’t afford.


Going through the pre-approval process with several lenders allows you to shop for a mortgage to find the best deal for you.


A study by Freddie Mac showed that when consumers shopped around for a better mortgage rate, they could save hundreds or thousands of dollars.



5. Develop Your Home Buying Criteria

You wouldn’t go clothes shopping without knowing your sizes or even to the grocery store without some idea of what you need in your cart.


House hunting is the same thing. You can save a lot of time and make the search more productive if you create a list of what you need and want in your new home.


Home buying criteria typically include the following information:


  • Price range
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Square foot range
  • Lot size range
  • Location (such as close to highways, workplaces, and schools)
  • Style of home


Many home buyers also include a list of “must haves” in their criteria. “Must haves” might include a first-floor primary bedroom, a home office, and high-speed internet access.


You can use a simple spreadsheet to create your home-buying criteria. Revise it as you search for homes—and share it with your Barker real estate broker.


6. Work with a Barker Broker

Leveraging the expertise of a local broker can be a powerful resource for your home-buying mission.


The readers of the Santa Fe Reporter voted Barker Realty the best real estate company in Santa Fe in 2018, 2020, 2021, and 2022.


Our brokers on average produce higher sales and offer a combined 900 years of experience. Their knowledge, expertise, and personal service are the hallmarks of our high customer satisfaction record.


Our technology tools can help our customers navigate a completely digital transaction process. They include digital signatures, video conferencing, virtual walkthroughs, and virtual open houses.


The Barker Realty mobile app is a great resource for identifying homes on the market that meet your home-buying criteria.


It features messaging capability, allowing you to share properties, along with chat functionality. You can set up showings directly from the app, communicate with your broker, and see properties for sale and recently sold. Download the Barker Realty mobile app on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.


7. Learn About Santa Fe Real Estate

The more you know about the Santa Fe real estate landscape, the better equipped you’ll be to find the home that meets your needs and wants. Start by researching home sales across the city and in the areas where you want to buy.



8. Learn About Santa Fe

Visit Santa Fe in person if possible. Tour the city. Tour the neighborhoods. Visit the chief landmarks. Get a sense of the highways. You’ll soon acquire a lay of the land. Along the way, be sure to sample our cuisine, revel in our spectacular landscapes, and explore our cultural offerings from the Santa Fe Opera to the Santa Fe Artists Market.


Explore Santa Fe online. One tried-and-true resource comes from Tourism Santa Fe, which covers everything from outdoor recreation, arts, and cuisine.


Use our resource guides developed especially for the Santa Fe homebuyer:



9. Get a Home Inspection

Once you’re ready to make an offer on a Santa Fe home, be sure to get a professional home inspection.


Home inspectors in New Mexico are required to be licensed as of January 15, 2021. The state licensing process ensures that home inspectors have the required training, experience, or credentials.


As stated by the International Association of Home Inspectors, a home inspection is “a non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential property” designed to identify defects within a specific set of systems and components.


According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, “Don’t buy a home without having it thoroughly inspected. If there are serious flaws, such as a cracked foundation, you may decide that you don’t want to buy this particular home after all. If your purchase contract is contingent on a satisfactory inspection, you should be able to cancel the sale without penalty.”


10. Explore the Neighborhood

The house you want to buy may pass a home inspection with flying colors. But before you make an offer, carry out your own inspection of the neighborhood and area.


  • Drive by the house at different times of day to gauge traffic and neighborhood activities.
  • Explore the area to map distances and routes to grocery stores and community services.
  • If you drive to work, start your commute from the property to determine commute time.
  • Do research online and in real life to learn about nearby community amenities such as parks, recreational areas, trails, restaurants, and arts and entertainment venues.