How Much Can I Afford to Spend on a Home?

The easiest way to find out how much you can afford is to talk with a loan officer. They will ask you about your current income, current savings, existing debt, and job history. The phone call takes about 15 minutes and is free. You can find out more about this process here or give us a call today to be introduced to one of our preferred lenders! We're just a phone call away. (303) 482-7945.

What is FHA?

What is the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)?

The Federal Housing Administration, generally known as "FHA", provides mortgage insurance on loans made by FHA-approved lenders throughout the United States and its territories.

Mortgage insurance is what allows home buyers to buy a home while having a smaller down payment. It is a monthly fee added to the standard monthly mortgage payment.

Generally speaking, mortgage insurance is no longer required after the home owner has successfully made a certain number of mortgage payments or until the home buyer has paid off a certain percentage of the appraise home value (this percentage breakdown is called "loan to value," or LTV). In some cases, a homeowner might consider a refinance to eliminate mortgage insurance prior to the terms of the initial loan.

The Underwriting Process

Once you have found a house you like, made an offer and been pre-approved for a mortgage, you might think you are home free. However, you still have an important hurdle to clear: Getting through the loan underwriting process.

Think of the underwriter as a gatekeeper. The underwriter won’t let you in the front door unless you can thoroughly demonstrate your creditworthiness.

The Real Estate Detectives

Underwriters are like real estate detectives. It’s their job to make sure you have represented yourself and your finances truthfully, and that you haven’t made any false or misleading claims on your loan application. Their standards are much higher than loan pre-qualification requirements.

It wasn’t always like this.

During the housing boom in the early-to-mid 2000s, underwriting standards were comparatively loose, allowing many people to take out home loans who lacked the means to repay them. In recent years, loan requirements have gotten tougher. In January 2014 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enacted stricter requirements on some mortgages, which included tougher background checks into your bank account, spending and employment history.

Credit History

Underwriters will check your credit score with the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. If there’s a red flag on your credit report—from such things as bankruptcies and collections—you will have to provide a letter of explanation with valid reasons for your past mistakes and the steps you have taken to correct the credit blemish. You may be able to overcome past credit problems if you have a solid employment history or agree to make a large down payment.

Appraisal

Part of the underwriting process reviews the appraisal of your prospective home to make sure its value matches the size of the loan you are requesting. This is important, since appraisers are sometimes pressured by buyers, sellers and their representatives to set a value that justifies the loan and clears the path for a sale. A good underwriter will take into consideration the location of the home and how it might be affected by natural disasters, such as floods.

Your Perceived Risk

Your income and the amount of money you owe will be factored in during the underwriting process. Generally, your total monthly debt obligation, including mortgage payments,should not exceed 43 percent of your pretax monthly income. More debt or lack of a sufficient income can increase your perceived risk.

The depth of the underwriting investigation depends on how great a risk you are considered to be. An investigator for the underwriter will contact your employer to verify the job and salary you listed on your loan application. If there is a question concerning your job history, credit report or personal finances, the underwriter will ask for additional information.

The best thing you can do to improve the chance of approval is to respond with prompt and complete information.

Getting Pre-Qualified for a Loan

The process of getting pre-qualified for a loan involves you, the prospective buyer, working with a lender (i.e. a bank or other loan agency) to determine the amount of money they'll let you borrow to buy a home. The lender may or may not be part of a bank, but they will always work with a bank to determine the terms of your loan. This process is generally free and will require you, the buyer, to disclose various financial information to a licensed loan officer (representing the lender).

Pre-qualifying for a home is important because it tells you, the buyer, how expensive of home you can afford.

The size of loan you pre-qualify for will depend on three primary factors:

1) Your ability to pay off the loan. Your lender will likely ask about your income, education level, current debt, etc.)

2) Your willingness to make payments. Your lender review your credit history and ask whether or not you'll be living in the home you're planning to purchase)

3) The amount of your down payment. Depending on qualifying factors (credit score, low income, military status, etc.) required down payments can range anywhere between 3.5% and 20% of the home's value.

Lower down payments are generally compensated for through mortgage insurance - a monthly fee added to your mortgage payment. Mortgage insurance is not permanent for the life of the loan and can be eliminated after paying off a certain percentage of the home (e.g. 20%) or through a re-finance. 

As long as all the needed information is disclosed, the process can be complete within a couple of days.

A good loan officer will communicate with you in a timely manner while providing you with the best options for getting a loan that works for you. Different lenders provide different types of loans so it can be helpful to shop around if you're unable to pre-qualify for your desired loan amount.

While you are free to work with any lender you wish, I have several I work with regularly and would recommend to you. Please contact me if you would like a recommendation.

What's A Realtor's Commission Rate?

The common rate for Realtors is a 6% commission. This percentage is split between the buyer agent (2.8%) and the listing agent (3.2%).

While some agents or companies might charge a smaller percentage or even a flat rate, this discount is made possible only if they process a high volume of transactions. In our experience, this volume often results in less than satisfactory customer service and frustrated, out of the loop clients.

My goal is to work with happy clients who enjoy the home buying and selling process.

Can We Negotiate a Lower Rate?

Yes, no, and maybe. Think about 6% as six one dollar bills. Of those 6, 3 will go to the other agent. That leaves me with 3 dollars. 1 of those dollars helps pay my business costs (like this website, staying licensed, business insurance, driving to and from all showings, open houses, and appointments, etc.), 1 dollar pays for my own mortgage and food on the table, and 1 dollar pays for the marketing and services particular to buying/selling your home.

Realistically, only 1 of those 6% is negotiable, and it's the percentage that covers my costs of providing you with premier service. In order to run an excellent business that results in the happiest clients in Denver, I generally avoid negotiating on my commission rate.

That being said, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

What is "closing?"

Closing is the appointment when both the buyers and sellers meet at an office of a title company, along with their Realtors, the loan officer, and a representative from the title company to get final signatures and complete the sale. Over the course of an hour, all the legal paperwork gets signed, keys are exchanged, and the home ownership exchange is made official! 

No further action is needed except for you to go and enjoy your new home!

New Home Inspection Process (for Buyers)

1.) Inspections - Once you're under contract, you will want to order a home inspection and a sewer scope. These inspections will identify any major problems with the home (reviewing everything from rooftops to garbage disposals) in order to allow you to make an informed decision about whether or not the home will be right for you. It's best to schedule these inspections within 7 days of being under contract in order to give you time to review the report each inspector will provide and decide if you are going to ask the seller for any price reductions or repairs. Please make every effort to be at the property during the inspection so you can get any and all questions you might have about the home answered. Some recommended inspectors and sewer scope technicians are included below.

2.) Inspection Resolution - Once you and I have reviewed your inspection report (usually this takes a day or two following the inspection), we will prepare a form called an Inspection Objection. This is a list of items that you either want the seller to fix, or reduce the price accordingly. Even if a home is sold "as is," if anything major comes up in the inspections, it is not uncommon to still have an opportunity to negotiate with the seller. When the matters raised in the Inspection Objection have been resolved, we will sign an Inspection Resolution form.

3.) Appraisal - Once you sign the Inspection Resolution, your lender will order your appraisal. This is the process by which the bank funding the loan will determine their opinion of the value of the home - based on the condition of the home and the state of the current market. Only you, the buyer, will be made aware of the appraised value of the home. You do not need to be present during the appraisal - you'll receive a report upon its completion.

4.) Loan Documentation - You will want to be in constant communication with your mortgage broker so that you can get him or her everything he/she needs to issue a full approval. He/she is going to ask you for a lot of documentation, and then his/her underwriters are going to ask for even more. Just be prepared for that, and try to get them the necessary documents as soon as you can. If you can do that, you will avoid much of the stress that a lot of people go through when they buy a house. Most stress in any transaction, in my opinion, results from procrastination. So when they ask for it, assume they need it immediately. Trust me, you’ll save yourself a headache as you get closer to your closing date.

Those are the major steps in the process after going under contract. You will want to go ahead and call the home inspector and sewer scope technician, and get them scheduled. It is helpful to me as your agent to know the dates and times these are scheduled so that I can communicate that to the listing agent. 

While you are free to choose any home inspector or sewer scope technician you like, here are a few that I recommend.

Inspectors: 

Dallas Pruit
Scheduling Line: 800-285-3001

Andrew McClish, PE
Certified Home Inspector & Structural Engineer
303-586-1494

Sewer Scope Technicians:
John Cannon
303-210-9975

Warren Rickford
303-795-3630

If you have any questions for me whatsoever, feel free to let me know!

10 Common Home Inspection Issues

Here are 10 common problems that general home inspections bring to light.

1. Plumbing:

• Leaking around exposed pipes, particularly with washing machines.
• Outdated pipes. It's common to find old Polybutylene pipes, which your inspector will recommend replacing.

2. Electrical:

• Ungrounded outlets. You can recognize these by their two-slot configuration versus the three-slot configuration of a grounded outlet. Most inspectors will recommend that you upgrade to grounded outlets.
• Improperly wired breaker boxes. Common hazards include two circuits on a single-pole breaker, oversized breakers, double-pole breakers that supply two single circuits, and wires that cross over the panel's center.

3. Heating:

• Leaks in piping or heating unit; air ducts that need cleaning.
• Not enough insulation. Insulation requirements vary by location, but an improperly insulated home will always lead to high energy bills.

4. Drainage:

• A wet basement is a problem because it indicates that water isn't properly draining away from the home.
• Mold in the air. When water isn't draining properly, it can result in mold in the air. Mold can also be a byproduct of dry rot.

5. Roof:

• Torn and cracked shingles, or flashing that's not properly installed. Each of these can cause roof leakage.

6. Walls:
7. Dry rot:

• This occurs when fungus grows in your home's wood due to high condensation. The affected wood will have to be replaced.
• Another main concern is figuring out why the condensation is occurring in the first place.

Home Inspection Myth: You don't need a home inspection for a newly constructed home. Not so. Property defects come up on new construction all the time. Just because the house is new doesn't mean it was built properly.

Home Inspection Myth: You don't need a home inspection if you're buying a home warranty. Home warranties rarely cover everything. You'll want to know of any potential problems before your closing so that you the seller can take care of them.

180 Steps in Every Transaction (aka What We Do)

The Critical Role of the REALTOR®     

Listed here are nearly 200 typical actions, research steps, procedures, processes and review stages in a successful residential real estate transaction that are normally provided by full service real estate brokerages in return for their sales commission.  Depending on the transaction, some may take minutes, hours, or even days to complete, while some may not be needed.  More importantly, they reflect the level of skill, knowledge and attention to detail required in today’s real estate transaction, underscoring the importance of having help and guidance from someone who fully understands the process – a REALTOR®.  And never forget that REALTORS® are pledged to uphold the stringent, enforceable tenets of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics in their professional dealings with the public. Not every real estate licensee holds REALTOR® membership.  Make sure yours does! 

Pre-Listing Activities 

1 Make appointment with seller for listing presentation 

2 Send seller a written or e-mail confirmation of listing appointment and call to confirm 

3 Review pre-appointment questions 

4 Research all comparable currently listed properties 

5 Research sales activity for past 18 months from MLS and public records databases 

6 Research "Average Days on Market" for this property type, price range and location 

7 Download and review property tax roll information 

8 Prepare "Comparable Market Analysis" (CMA) to establish fair market value 

9 Obtain copy of subdivision plat/complex lay-out 

10 Research property's ownership & deed type 

11 Research property's public record information for lot size & dimensions 

12 Research and verify legal description 

13 Research property's land use coding and deed restrictions 

14 Research property's current use and zoning 

15 Verify legal names of owner(s) in county's public property records 

16 Prepare listing presentation package with above materials 

17 Perform exterior "Curb Appeal Assessment" of subject property 

18 Compile and assemble formal file on property 

19 Confirm current public schools and explain impact of schools on market value 

20 Review listing appointment checklist to ensure all steps and actions have been completed 

Listing Appointment Presentation 

21 Give seller an overview of current market conditions and projections 

22 Review agent's and company's credentials and accomplishments in the market 

23 Present company's profile and position or "niche" in the marketplace 

24 Present CMA Results To Seller, including Comparables, Solds, Current Listings & Expireds 

25 Offer pricing strategy based on professional judgment and interpretation of current market conditions 

26 Discuss Goals With Seller To Market Effectively 

27 Explain market power and benefits of Multiple Listing Service 

28 Explain market power of web marketing, IDX and REALTOR.com 

29 Explain the work the brokerage and agent do "behind the scenes" and agent's availability on weekends 

30 Explain agent's role in taking calls to screen for qualified buyers and protect seller from curiosity seekers 

31 Present and discuss strategic master marketing plan 

32 Explain different agency relationships and determine seller's preference 

33 Review and explain all clauses in Listing Contract & Addendum and obtain seller's signature 

Once Property is Under Listing Agreement 

34 Review current title information 

35 Measure overall and heated square footage 

36 Measure interior room sizes 

37 Confirm lot size via owner's copy of certified survey, if available 

38 Note any and all unrecorded property lines, agreements, easements 

39 Obtain house plans, if applicable and available 

40 Review house plans and make copy 

41 Order plat map for retention in property's listing file 

42 Prepare showing instructions for buyers' agents and agree on showing time window with seller 

43 Obtain current mortgage loan(s) information: companies and & loan account numbers 

44 Verify current loan information with lender(s) 

45 Check assumability of loan(s) and any special requirements 

46 Discuss possible buyer financing alternatives and options with seller 

47 Review current appraisal if available 

48 Identify Home Owner Association manager if applicable 

49 Verify Home Owner Association Fees with manager - mandatory or optional and current annual fee 

50 Order copy of Homeowner Association bylaws, if applicable 

51 Research electricity availability and supplier's name and phone number 

52 Calculate average utility usage from last 12 months of bills 

53 Research and verify city sewer/septic tank system 

54 Water System: Calculate average water fees or rates from last 12 months of bills 

55 Well Water: Confirm well status, depth and output from Well Report 

56 Natural Gas: Research/verify availability and supplier's name and phone number 

57 Verify security system, current term of service and whether owned or leased 

58 Verify if seller has transferable Termite Bond 

59 Ascertain need for lead-based paint disclosure 

60 Prepare detailed list of property amenities and assess market impact 

61 Prepare detailed list of property's "Inclusions & Conveyances with Sale" 

62 Compile list of completed repairs and maintenance items 

63 Send "Vacancy Checklist" to seller if property is vacant 

64 Explain benefits of Home Owner Warranty to seller 

65 Assist sellers with completion and submission of Home Owner Warranty Application 

66 When received, place Home Owner Warranty in property file for conveyance at time of sale 

67 Have extra key made for lockbox 

68 Verify if property has rental units involved. And if so: 

69 Make copies of all leases for retention in listing file 

70 Verify all rents & deposits 

71 Inform tenants of listing and discuss how showings will be handled 

72 Arrange for installation of yard sign 

73 Assist seller with completion of Seller's Disclosure form 

74 "New Listing Checklist" Completed 

75 Review results of Curb Appeal Assessment with seller and provide suggestions to improve salability 

76 Review results of Interior Décor Assessment and suggest changes to shorten time on market 

77 Load listing into transaction management software program 

Entering Property in Multiple Listing Service Database 

78 Prepare MLS Profile Sheet -- Agents is responsible for "quality control" and accuracy of listing data 

79 Enter property data from Profile Sheet into MLS Listing Database 

80 Proofread MLS database listing for accuracy - including proper placement in mapping function 

81 Add property to company's Active Listings list 

82 Provide seller with signed copies of Listing Agreement and MLS Profile Sheet Data Form within 48 hours 

83 Take additional photos for upload into MLS and use in flyers. Discuss efficacy of panoramic photography 

Marketing The Listing 

84 Create print and Internet ads with seller's input 

85 Coordinate showings with owners, tenants, and other Realtors ®. Return all calls - weekends included 

86 Install electronic lock box if authorized by owner. Program with agreed-upon showing time windows 

87 Prepare mailing and contact list 

88 Generate mail-merge letters to contact list 

89 Order “Just Listed” labels & reports 

90 Prepare flyers & feedback faxes 

91 Review comparable MLS listings regularly to ensure property remains competitive in price, terms, conditions and availability 

92 Prepare property marketing brochure for seller's review 

93 Arrange for printing or copying of supply of marketing brochures or fliers 

94 Place marketing brochures in all company agent mail boxes 

95 Upload listing to company and agent Internet site, if applicable 

96 Mail Out "Just Listed" notice to all neighborhood residents 

97 Advise Network Referral Program of listing 

98 Provide marketing data to buyers coming through international relocation networks 

99 Provide marketing data to buyers coming from referral network 

100 Provide "Special Feature" cards for marketing, if applicable 

101 Submit ads to company's participating Internet real estate sites 

102 Price changes conveyed promptly to all Internet groups 

103 Reprint/supply brochures promptly as needed 

104 Loan information reviewed and updated in MLS as required 

105 Feedback e-mails/faxes sent to buyers' agents after showings 

106 Review weekly Market Study 

107 Discuss feedback from showing agents with seller to determine if changes will accelerate the sale 

108 Place regular weekly update calls to seller to discuss marketing & pricing 

The Offer and Contract 

109 Receive and review all Offer to Purchase contracts submitted by buyers or buyers' agents. 

110 Evaluate offer(s) and prepare a "net sheet" on each for the owner for comparison purposes 

111 Counsel seller on offers. Explain merits and weakness of each component of each offer 

112 Contact buyers' agents to review buyer's qualifications and discuss offer 

113 Fax/deliver Seller's Disclosure to buyer's agent or buyer upon request and prior to offer if possible 

114 Confirm buyer is pre-qualified by calling Loan Officer 

115 Obtain pre-qualification letter on buyer from Loan Officer 

116 Negotiate all offers on seller's behalf, setting time limit for loan approval and closing date 

117 Prepare and convey any counteroffers, acceptance or amendments to buyer's agent 

118 Fax copies of contract and all addendums to closing attorney or title company 

119 When Offer to Purchase Contract is accepted and signed by seller, deliver to buyer's agent 

120 Record and promptly deposit buyer's earnest money in escrow account. 

121 Disseminate "Under-Contract Showing Restrictions" as seller requests 

122 Deliver copies of fully signed Offer to Purchase contract to seller 

123 Fax/deliver copies of Offer to Purchase contract to Selling Agent 

133 Fax copies of Offer to Purchase contract to lender 

124 Provide copies of signed Offer to Purchase contract for office file 

125 Advise seller in handling additional offers to purchase submitted between contract and closing 

126 Change status in MLS to "Sale Pending" 

127 Update transaction management program to show "Sale Pending" 

128 Review buyer's credit report results -- Advise seller of worst and best case scenarios 

129 Provide credit report information to seller if property will be seller-financed 

130 Assist buyer with obtaining financing, if applicable and follow-up as necessary 

131 Coordinate with lender on Discount Points being locked in with dates 

132 Deliver unrecorded property information to buyer 

133 Order septic system inspection, if applicable 

134 Receive and review septic system report and assess any possible impact on sale 

135 Deliver copy of septic system inspection report lender & buyer 

136 Deliver Well Flow Test Report copies to lender & buyer and property listing file 

137 Verify termite inspection ordered 

138 Verify mold inspection ordered, if required 

Tracking the Loan Process

139 Confirm Verifications Of Deposit & Buyer's Employment Have Been Returned 

140 Follow Loan Processing Through To The Underwriter 

141 Add lender and other vendors to transaction management program so agents, buyer and seller can track progress of sale 

142 Contact lender weekly to ensure processing is on track 

143 Relay final approval of buyer's loan application to seller 

Home Inspection

144 Coordinate buyer's professional home inspection with seller 

145 Review home inspector's report 

146 Enter completion into transaction management tracking software program 

147 Explain seller's responsibilities with respect to loan limits and interpret any clauses in the contract 

148 Ensure seller's compliance with Home Inspection Clause requirements 

149 Recommend or assist seller with identifying and negotiating with trustworthy contractors to perform any required repairs 

150 Negotiate payment and oversee completion of all required repairs on seller's behalf, if needed 

The Appraisal

151 Schedule Appraisal 

154 Provide comparable sales used in market pricing to Appraiser 

152 Follow-Up On Appraisal 

151 Enter completion into transaction management program 

153 Assist seller in questioning appraisal report if it seems too low 

 

Closing Preparations and Duties

154 Contract Is Signed By All Parties 

155 Coordinate closing process with buyer's agent and lender 

156 Update closing forms & files 

157 Ensure all parties have all forms and information needed to close the sale 

158 Select location where closing will be held 

159 Confirm closing date and time and notify all parties 

160 Assist in solving any title problems (boundary disputes, easements, etc) or in obtaining Death Certificates 

161 Work with buyer's agent in scheduling and conducting buyer's Final Walk-Thru prior to closing 

172 Research all tax, HOA, utility and other applicable prorations 

162 Request final closing figures from closing agent (attorney or title company) 

163 Receive & carefully review closing figures to ensure accuracy of preparation 

164 Forward verified closing figures to buyer's agent 

165 Request copy of closing documents from closing agent 

166 Confirm buyer and buyer's agent have received title insurance commitment 

167 Provide "Home Owners Warranty" for availability at closing 

168 Review all closing documents carefully for errors 

169 Forward closing documents to absentee seller as requested 

170 Review documents with closing agent (attorney) 

171 Provide earnest money deposit check from escrow account to closing agent 

173 Coordinate this closing with seller's next purchase and resolve any timing problems 

174 Have a "no surprises" closing so that seller receives a net proceeds check at closing 

175 Refer sellers to one of the best agents at their destination, if applicable 

176 Change MLS status to Sold. Enter sale date, price, selling broker and agent's ID numbers, etc. 

177 Close out listing in transaction management program 

Follow Up After Closing

178 Answer questions about filing claims with Home Owner Warranty company if requested 

179 Attempt to clarify and resolve any conflicts about repairs if buyer is not satisfied 

180 Respond to any follow-on calls and provide any additional information required from office files 

Easy Checklist to Selling Your Home

PROPERTY SALABILITY CHECKLIST

    1.    List below retail price. YES_______ NO_______

    2.    Owner financing available. YES_______ NO_______

    3.    Below market down payment. YES_______ NO_______

    4.    Below market interest rate. YES_______ NO_______

    5.    Government terms available. YES_______ NO_______

    6.    Post dated price reduction. YES_______ NO_______

    7.    Odd sale price. YES_______ NO_______

    8.    Full term listing agreement. YES_______ NO_______

    9.    Above market commission. YES_______ NO_______

    10.    Easy access (key, phone for showing, etc.). YES_______ NO_______

    11.    Yard sign. YES_______ NO_______

    12.    Seller to redecorate and stage. YES_______ NO_______

    13.    Immediate possession. YES_______ NO_______

    14.    Trade terms available. YES_______ NO_______

    15.    Extras included (appliances, etc.). YES_______ NO_______

    16.    Pre-order appraisal. YES_______ NO_______

    17.    Home protection plan. YES_______ NO_______

    18.    Worded to sell the reader.YES_______ NO_______

   19.    No contingencies. YES_______ NO_______

    20.    Seller to complete obvious repairs. YES_______ NO_______

    21.    Seller’s acknowledgment of Salability Checklist. YES_______ NO______

 

SELLER: ________________________________________

    Date

SELLER: ________________________________________

    Date

AGENT: ________________________________________

    Date

7 Real Estate Myths

Myth #1    “Discount” brokers can do an adequate job selling real estate.

Truth  -  “Discount” brokers try to attract your attention by focusing on what they cost you instead of what they deliver.  We charge no more than the average Realtor, yet we sell homes faster, for more money, and more smoothly than the average Realtor (ask to see our statistics to confirm this claim).  We are above average - discount brokers are below average - who do you want negotiating on your behalf?

Myth #2    Because Josh Larsen sells a lot of real estate, he is too busy to pay attention to your listing.

Truth  -  Just as superior restaurants are busy at dinnertime and superior doctors have a heavy patient-load, our success in marketing homes has resulted in Josh being busy.  Like good restaurants and doctors, we have assembled a top-flight staff to assist with routine details which frees Josh up to devote the time and attention you require to sell your home successfully.  Josh has built his business on satisfied clients who spread the word about how well they were served.

Myth #3    Open houses are an essential marketing tool. 

Truth  -  Serious buyers almost always use a Realtor to help them find and purchase a home - in part - because Realtor services are “free” to the homebuyer.  Surveys consistently show that most buyers who make it to the closing table worked with a Realtor to buy their home and were not introduced to their home through an open house.  Since open houses appeal to looky-loo’s, they are a terrific way for Realtors to meet new buyers to work with, but not an essential or even always an ideal way to sell your home. 

Myth #4    It takes longer to sell a home in winter.

Truth  -  It is true that buyer activity is heavier in summer than in winter, but listing activity swings much higher in summer and lower in winter.  As a result, when you list in summer, you have more competition from other home sellers.  In the winter, you have less competition, you are dealing with proportionately more serious homebuyers (after all, who willingly moves in the wintertime?), and your home may enjoy a competitive advantage if it faces south, is relatively close to town, enjoys gas instead of heat, or has a level, easy-to-access driveway.

Myth #5    Empty houses don’t show as nicely as furnished homes.

Truth  -  The important consideration is whether a home is properly staged - that it is clean, in good repair, and available to show.  If you must move to your new home before your old home has sold, simply take measures to insure your former home shows well empty: repair or replace worn carpeting, oil all woodwork, wash windows, and clean walls.  In fact, your home might actually appear larger without your furnishings and the buyers can envision their belongings in each room more easily.

Myth #6    Property condition is not important to buyers.

Truth  -  This is completely wrong.  A property in superior condition will sell faster and for more money than a home in average condition with a lesser asking price.  Many sellers recognize this and re-paint and re-carpet their homes in preparation for sale.  They know that homebuyers purchase value and will perceive a clean, fresh home as more appealing than an average, lived-in, forgive-the-mess home.

Myth #7    Pricing a home for sale is a mysterious process.

Truth  -  Your home will sell for whatever the market will bear.  Buyers look at what is available in their price range and buy the best value.  To determine your value, you need to see what similar homes are selling for.  And because every home is unique, your home will probably sell for a little more or a little less depending on its condition (see Myth #6 above).  We research the MLS database and use our knowledge of the market to collect data to help you decide where to set the price.  It’s not an easy process, but it’s not rocket science either.

 

 

 

21 Tips to Sell Your Home Faster

For a Quicker Sale, Make Sure Your Home is Exciting!

We don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. Most buyers look for homes that are well cared for and bright. In general, clean and spiffy.

CHECKLIST FOR FASTER SALES

    •    Lawn and yard - remove clutter, cut grass, edge walks, trim hedges, weed gardens.

    •    Front of house - paint, fix, or wash:  railings, steps, storms, screens, and/or front door.

    •    Other exterior - side or back door, gutters, wash windows.

    •    Garage - straighten up, paint, fix, or wash doors and windows.

    •    Plumbing - repair dripping faucets, leaky toilets.

    •    Heating/Cooling - clean exterior of unit.

    •    Lights - replace all burnt out bulbs, faulty switches.

    •    Halls and stairs - remove any clutter to give wide appearance.

    •    Hardware - oil hinges, tighten door knobs, faucets.

    •    General Condition - dust, wash, paint, and fix defects as needed.

    •    Consider Feeling of Spaciousness - store unneeded items to “enlarge” the room size.  

  • 50% Rule - put one half of your “STUFF” away!

THESE ITEMS ARE SUPER CRITICAL

    •    Stove, refrigerator, and sink should be spotless, all work areas clear.

    •    Bathrooms - neat, spotless, and fresh.  Repair broken putty around tub.

    •    Closets - untidy or overly cluttered closets suggest inadequate storage space.

HOW TO HELP OUR SALES AGENTS

    •    Children, pets, and adults can keep buyers from feeling at ease while they look through a home.  For showings, please be out of the house when possible.

    •    Tell us which rooms benefit from sunshine or cooling breezes.

    •    Tell us what you like about the house, the yard, and the location.  We’d like the husband’s and the wife’s feelings separately.

    •    Turn on all lights, or let us turn them on, for the entire showing.

    •    Open drapes in the daytime, close them at night.

    •    Strong cooking or smoking odors can ruin a sale.  Make sure your home is fresh for showings. 

Marketing Your Home

GOAL    

To negotiate the highest selling price possible for the Seller in the best amount of time for the Seller

ADVERTISING

    The best way to SELL a home is to PROMOTE IT!!!

    How your home will be advertised:

    •    Full color brochures in the home plus agent packages

    •    MLS Computer (Denver Metrolist)

    •    MLS Listing Service/Book

    •    “FOR SALE” yard sign and appropriate sign rider with full color brochures

    •    360 panoramic tour of your home

    •    MAXIMUM INTERNET EXPOSURE including www.realestatedenver.com, www.realtor.com, www.recolorado.com and www.remax.com

    •    Fleet Sheets’ “HOT SHEET” marketing your home to 4000+ metro area realtors

    •    HIGHLIGHT SHEET marketing your home to potential buyers

    •    NEIGHBORHOOD FULL COLOR MAIL-OUT - “Do you know a buyer for this home?”

    •    SPHERE OF INFLUENCE MAIL-OUT - Former clients and people looking for a home (250)

    •    DENVER POST and ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS newspapers

    •    HOMES ILLUSTRATED and HOMES AND LAND magazines

    •    SPOTLIGHT ON YOUR HOME - Re/Max 100 Sales Meeting

RE/MAX 100, INC.

    •    We are in the YELLOW PAGES

        Full page WEST AREA - 1st position 

        Two full pages METRO AREA - 1st position - QWEST DEX

        (Thousands of closed transactions directly from the Yellow Pages!)

    •    RE/MAX 100, Inc. agents have an average of 16½ years of experience

    •    All calls on your home will be handled by an experienced agent

    •    RE/MAX 100, Inc. stays open longer to better serve our clients and buyers at their convenience

SUGGESTIONS ON PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SHOWING

    •    21-point checklist to sell your home

    •    Josh Larsen’s personal tips on how to get your home ready for the market

SUPPORT STAFF

    •    Lender

    •    Title company and Escrow closer

    •    Home inspection

    •    Handyman

    •    Professional house cleaners

PERSONAL SERVICE

    •    FOLLOW UP CALLS for feedback to all Realtors who show your home

    •    THANK YOU LETTERS to Realtors for showing your home

    •    SELLER PROGRESS REPORTS sent weekly to homeowner

    •    INSTANT ACCESS - private, direct business line, home phone, mobile phone, pager

    •    PRICE ANALYSIS - Track over-priced listings (days on market, final sales price, etc.)

    •    STRATEGIC PRICING - not necessarily the highest price, but the best price

    •    FOLLOW UP from contract through closing - appraisal, inspection, loan approval

    •    HAND YOU YOUR PROCEEDS CHECK AT CLOSING

I am a Full-Time/Full-Service Real Estate Specialist

PERFORMANCE, NOT PROMISES - MY PERSONAL PLEDGE TO YOU!

FAQs

Q. How long have you been in real estate?

A. I begin working in real estate in 2007. Prior to that I worked in the mortgage industry.

Q.What is the average days-on-market for your listings?

A. This changes with the state of the market and the many variables that go with selling a home. 

Q. At what price should I list my home?

A. YOU decide that. We review overall market conditions and comparable sales data with you so you can make a knowledgeable decision.

Q. Should I select a realtor who says he/she can get me the highest price?

A. No. The price your homes sells for will be determined by a buyer who compares your home to all the others in your price range. Your home will sell for whatever the market will bear. Insist on a written, well-researched market analysis and set your price accordingly. It’s not an easy process, but it’s not mysterious, either.  First select your Realtor on his/her credentials. Then decide on price. NEVER SELECT AN AGENT ON PRICE.

Q. What will you do to sell our home?

A. Each home that goes on the market is made available through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to all Realtors in the state. This means that anyone who is actively seeking a home like yours will be notified immediately after the home is listed. In addition to the MLS (which is required within the industry), I provide a fully professionalized process for marketing you home - this can include professional photos, consulting by a professional stager, a professional flyer featuring your home to be emailed to all local Realtors, and, for luxury homes, a custom video. More details can be found here.

Q. What commission do you charge?

A. I charge the common industry rate of 6%. This percentage is divided between the buyers agent and the listing agent. You can read more here.

Q. Can a “discount” broker sell my home as adequately as you?

A. Probably not.  Chances are, he or she lacks a proven track record and wants you to focus on the cost of his/her services, rather than the outcome.  We sell homes faster and negotiate higher prices than the average agent, so we can off-set the discount commission by marketing and negotiating vigorously on your behalf.

Q. What is the length of your listings?

A. 180 days. However, every listing agreement contains a clause allowing you to terminate for any reason at any time. So you have a risk-free commitment to us, while we must prove our worth to you every day.  

Q. Do you have any references?

A. Yes. Please check the testimonials page for some references from past clients. We are proud of the exceptional service we provide every client.

Q. You sell a lot of real estate.  Will you pay attention to my listing?

A. Absolutely! Our top-flight staff assists us with daily details and is available to answer your routine questions immediately. This allows us to devote your time and attention to respond to buyers, negotiate contracts, and sell your home. We have built our business on one satisfied client at a time.  And our goal is for you to spread the word about how well you were served.

The Value of an Exceptional Realtor

How do I earn my fee and what differentiates my service from others?  My knowledge of the marketplace and my personalized marketing plan enable me to assure my sellers a higher number of potential buyers.  Once their property is under contract, the true value of my service begins.  Over 7 years of experience and many successful closings have armed me with the tools to deal with - and generally overcome - each and every problem that may arise.  

I would like to share the checklist of potential problems that keeps me busy every day from contract to closing.

LENDER

does not properly pre-qualify the buyer

wants property repaired or cleaned just prior to closing

raises rates, points, or costs

requires a reappraisal at the last minute

asks for information from the buyer in bits and pieces rather than getting the whole picture early in the transaction

won’t return phone calls

CO-OPERATING AGENT

won’t return phone calls

transfers to another office or company

goes on vacation and leaves no one to manage the file

does not understand or lacks experience in real estate

has personality conflict with buyer and gets buyer upset over minor points

THE BUYER

was not totally candid with the lender and with the agent

submits incorrect financial information to lender

suffers “buyer’s remorse

is picky regarding condition of home and makes unreasonable requests in the inspection report

has a change in the source of down payment

has family members who do not like the property

is resistant to executing paperwork in a timely manner

comes up short of money

finds another property that seems to be a better deal

does not like the fine print in the loan documents we receive three days before closing

INSPECTION COMPANY

is too picky

unnecessarily alarms the buyer

irritates and alienates the seller

makes errors in judgment

delays reports

THE APPRAISER

is unfamiliar with the area and misunderstands the market

cannot find comparable sales

delays report and does not meet required appraisal date in contract

places numerous conditions on property which must be met prior to closing

CLOSER / TITLE COMPANY

fails to notify agents of unsigned or unreturned documents so that the agents can cure the problems relating to same

lets principals leave town without getting all necessary signatures

does not find problems or liens until the last minute, thus delaying closing

is not flexible on small problems

fails to obtain information from beneficiaries, lien holders, insurance companies, or lenders far enough in advance of closing

How do I overcome, and usually avoid, these problems?

When I represent the seller, it is my job to carefully analyze any purchase offer and do all in my power to verify qualifications of the buyer before presenting the offer.  It is also my job to point out weak areas in the contract.

My active involvement in our local Realtor association plus my years of experience in sales and the mortgage industry have established my reputation within the Realtor community as a professional with whom it is a pleasure doing business.  

Generally, when I represent the seller, I do not have any opportunity to meet the buyer.  However, by keeping in constant touch with the other agent, I can avoid many of the above problems, or I am able to alert my sellers to a potential problem quickly so that we do not lose valuable marketing time.  At times, I may have to perform some of the duties that should normally be done by the co-operating agent.

Colorado law requires that the buyer shall always have a right to have the property inspected by an expert of his/her choosing.  I help my seller analyze any requests that come from the buyer as a result of the inspection.  It is my job to help the seller make a sound business decision after weighing the pros and cons of agreeing to requests from the buyer.  

When representing the seller, I provide a full package for the appraiser.  The package includes information that will assist the appraiser in determining the value of the property.

When I represent the seller I generally select the title company, unless the seller has a definite preference.  Because most of my clients close with the same title company and the same closer, my clients and I receive above-average service.

The true measure of my service is my success rate in carrying a transaction from contract to closing.

On Pricing Your Home

Do not list with the Realtor who gives you the highest price.  Consumer Reports stated:

“Expect the agent to suggest a price range, but don’t let that frame you in.  Be aware that some devious agents will at first suggest a very handsome price.  Then, after they have the listing and the house hasn’t sold, they’ll come back with a pitch to lower the price.”

If IBM stock is trading between 104 and 108, it does no good to insist on selling at 112.  Likewise, your home must be priced within the appropriate range.  You must actually “sell” your property twice - first to a buyer, and then to an appraiser.  The buyer is more subjective and compares the amenities of your home to those of other homes in the same price range.  The appraiser is more objective and compares age, size, and cost-identifiable features in your home against other properties that have sold.  

We prepare a thorough, well-researched market analysis to fine-tune your price by taking all those variables into consideration.  As a result, we sell our listings at very close to asking price and we rarely experience appraisal problems.  It’s part of the expertise you expect from your Realtor.