thinking of buying?

Looking to Buy Real Estate?

The real estate market is more complicated and difficult to navigate than it has ever been. Buyers and sellers risk losing wealth, missing opportunity, and exposing themselves to unforeseen hazards every day. We want to see buyers and sellers win and succeed in this market. Our services provide careful guidance for buyers and sellers so that they may safely and successfully accomplish their real estate goals.

In order to be a competitive buyer, we will help guide you to be prepared to make an offer the moment you find what you are looking for. When you have found the right place is not the time to start preparing.

You need to have the following in order:
  • Mortgage Lender – A reputable and attentive Mortgage Broker who will advocate for you and your financial position. Ideally you need more than a pre-approval letter. The further you are through the underwriting process the better. This will give you the ability to compete with cash Buyers who can also close quickly. Typically, buyers who are through the underwriting process can close in 21 days, which is appealing to sellers and often one of the main reasons an offer gets picked.
  • Cash on hand – You will need to have some cash on hand to help with appraisal gaps and to offer above list price in order to compete with other buyers.
  • Us! – You need to have The McWilliams Group agents in your corner. We collaborate with each other and the Listing Agent in order to put you in the best position to have your offer accepted. We work to guide you to know all of the options available to you to be successful. Strategy that comes with experience is critical.
Tools of the Trade – these are not always necessary, but if you are in a sought-after price point or area, these will help your offer rise to the top. Just knowing about these tools is not enough, we know how and when to use them to strategically get you in first position.
  • Appraisal Gaps – Simply put, cash on hand to cover the difference between the appraised value and the offer amount.
  • Minimal Inspection – Inspecting for health and safety. You don’t plan to have the seller fix the leaky faucet or the wiggly doorknob.
  • Quick Close – Enough time for the Title Company to do their work and you do your Due Diligence but closing quickly is appealing the seller to have their money in hand quickly and be able to move on to their next chapter. If you have cash, closing is typically about 2 weeks, if you are through underwriting with your lender, closing can happen in about 21 days. 30 to 45 days is more typical in more balanced markets.
  • Post Occupancy Agreement – You will allow the seller to live in the house for an extra period of time after closing, which allows them time to find their next home, or just have the money to pack and move. This can be from a week, up to 60 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is buying a rural or mountain property, land or an equestrian property any different than buying a home? Absolutely! This is an area of expertise that is hard to find and you cannot take for granted. We are live on rural horse property ourselves and understand all that you need to know to make the best decision. As horse people, we know what types of amenities, land, wells and more that are important to you.
  • Zoning, HOA’s, Covenants/Restrictions – depending on what you want to do with your land (horses, cattle, chickens, board horses, ATV, hunt, etc.), you must understand these guidelines up front.
  • Types of Wells in Colorado – There are a lot of different types of wells in Colorado. Do you want to have a small garden that you water? A pond? Would you like to have horses? Cattle? Board horses? Make sure you know what you can do up front to avoid trying to add the ability down the road for a significant cost, if it is even possible.
  • Onsite Waste Water (aka Septic) Systems – Septic Systems may be new to come buyers moving to more rural areas, but they are commonplace with local support and vendors to help you when needed. Most counties in Colorado require the seller of properties to have the septic system inspected and provide buyers with a Septic Use Permit before closing.
  • Quality of Land – Are there flat areas for animals to stand? How much grass will be available for grazing? Is the land more for goats that horses?! Where will the water drain in the wet season?
  • Direction Facing – In Colorado, many unsuspecting buyers found their home in the summer, only to realize that their driveway turns into an ice shoot in the winter because of the lack of southern exposure. If you needed to get a horse trailer out in the winter, would it be possible? This varies property to adjacent property.
  • Internet Speed – For buyers relocating from the city, this probably has never been a thought. There are often rural buyers who close on their home without expert guidance to find that they will no longer be able to work from home and have an online meeting with the Mbps available at their new home. We are rural experts and will help you navigate the options for each property. Also understand that you can likely get by with a lot fewer Mbps than you have enjoyed in urban areas.

More on Wells

drinking arabian mares in the lake. sunny day

Well allows for… Horses?  As you look at land and properties for your horses, sometimes you will find that the zoning allows for horses and other livestock on the land, but the well only allows for household-use, in other words, indoor use.  You will sometimes find household-use permits that will specify they allow for the watering of Irrigation or Livestock.  For example, the well permit will read:  “Household w/ Irrigation” or “Household w/ Livestock”.

This is not uncommon for our arid climate as we protect and be good stewards of the ground water supply in our area. We will help guide you through the water use at each property of interest.

Domestic & Household-Use Wells:

Here is an excerpt from the Jefferson County, Colorado Planning & Zoning Department guide, “Water Smarts:  A Homeowner’s Guide to Mountain Groundwater”:

There are several well permit types issued by the Division of Water Resources.  Two types of permits are most important to the private homeowner who will be using ground water as a primary water source.  They are generally referred to as the domestic well permit and the household-use only permit.

Both permits are for small capacity wells and each permit has restriction on the amount and usage of water that can be pumped.  Some wells are restricted to water use within the house only, while others allow limited livestock watering and irrigation of lawns and gardens.  You should check with the Division of Water Resources to determine the permit limitations for each type of well and the availability of permits in your area.

While there is considerable variation in residential well permits, the most common type issued today is the household-use only permit.  This permit gives a property owner the right to look for water (i.e., drill a well) and use the water inside their single-family home.  In most cases this type of permit does not allow the use of water outside your house.

In some cases, the zoning of a property may allow the keeping of livestock, but the well permit may not allow the use of water for domestic animals.  In that case, you can keep horses or other livestock on your property, but you cannot provide them with water from your well.  Most likely, your only option would be to “truck in” water for the animals.

Domestic permits are often older residential permits, or those issued for properties larger than 35 acres.  Domestic wells can be used for up to three single-family dwellings and may give you the right to use water outside your house and for your animals.  However, this does not, in turn, give the owner the right to build three houses.

Domestic permits vary from property to property. Some may be very broad and say “household use, irrigation and the watering of domestic animals”, while some may stipulate household use and the watering of non-commercial horses.” We will guide you through these nuances.


The most common solution to provide water for your horses when you have a household-use only permit is, as they mentioned, having water, “trucked in”.  On a regular schedule, a water service truck brings a set amount of water.  Storage tanks are installed into your barn, garage or storage shed and kept warm in the winter with a tank warmer or from room heat (i.e., heated garage, tack room, apartment).  Another option is to carry a tank in a truck bed or on a trailer and get water as you need it from a local water service company.

In addition, some properties have a pond or stream that can be managed to supply the livestock with water year-round.

What does water delivery cost?  There are a few local companies that deliver water. Foothills Water Delivery Service based out of Bailey,, delivers 1000-10,000 gallons of water. The cost of the truck is the most expensive part of the equation therefore, the closer the delivery service to your house and the more water you can store, the less expensive in the long run. The difference in the cost between 1,000 gallons and 4,000 gallons is negligible.

Click here for the entire “Water Smarts” pdf.