Buyer and Seller FAQ For Real Estate

Real estate transactions and just real estate in general can be daunting and confusing. We have compiled and answered all the most common FAQ we face in buying and selling homes. Also questions about the market and contracts. Please feel free to email us a question through our contact page or give us a call. We would be happy to answer any real estate questions.

How Do I Write a Winning Offer in a Sellers Market?2021-03-15T20:53:56-06:00

Writing a winning offer in this crazy seller’s market not only takes a little luck but a lot of skill. There are a lot of little things that people do to make an offer stronger. A Colorado contract is 25 pages long and the price is only one line. It sometimes takes more than price to win an offer. You really need to hire a real estate agent that knows what they are doing. There are some agents that are really putting their buyers at risk just to win an offer. That does not need to be done and I would never do that to one of my clients. There is no reason to jeopardize a buyers earnest money or put them in the position that they can lose money after closing because the agent told them to win they need to forego inspections. 

A winning offer that makes the seller happy and doesn’t put the buyer at risk can be written by an experienced broker.

Does the Buyer Always Get Their Earnest Money Back?2021-03-15T20:28:35-06:00

This is a question I would like to answer for buyers, sellers as well as real estate agents that don’t seem to understand the concept of earnest money. The answer is NO! NO! NO! the buyer is not entitled to receive their earnest money back. If the buyer or agent doesn’t abide by dates and deadlines or terminates on something they do not have a contingency for they lose their earnest. That is the point of the earnest money. Do not assume a buyer automatically gets their earnest money back. Granted the buyer has multiple outs to get it back they still can lose it.

Who is the Best Real Estate Agent is Evergreen CO?2021-03-15T20:23:09-06:00

For buyers and sellers looking for the best real estate agent in Evergreen, CO they should contact Orson Hill Realty. They are the most high tech real estate company in the area. When some agents are struggling to turn on their iphone Orson Hill Realty is using all the high tech options to sell your home and help you find new listings in real time. After all you did find this website. Imagine how many other people are on this site from buyers to sellers looking for homes.

Should I List and Sell My Home During the Coronavirus Covid Outbreak?2020-12-20T21:53:14-07:00

The real estate market in Colorado hasn’t really seen a dip in too many indicators. One thing that we saw drop immediately was the number of showings nationwide. They are 1/2 of what they were last year this time. The one good thing we are seeing is listings come on the market. Although they are not hitting the market as fast as they normally would in this time of the year there is still new inventory everyday. Real estate is a lagging indicator of the overall economy. In 2008 we saw the housing market just collapse overnight. That is not the case here. Although the DOW has lost some value and that may get a few people out of the real estate market just do to qualifying. Read more about selling your home during Covid


DORA and CAR along with the Colorado attorney general have concluded that real estate agents and transactions are still essential BUT….. Have concluded that in person home previews and showings are NOT essential. It changes the game for sure but Orson Hill Realty has changed their business model to accommodate these new challenges. 303-503-8793

Can We Preview Homes During The Stay at Home Order?2020-04-29T21:52:35-06:00

UPDATE: 4-29-20
Showings may occur on vacant properties with restrictions depending on the county or city. WE ARE OPEN AND CONDUCTING NORMAL BUSINESS. Give us a call we can explain the buying and selling process through this Covid stay at home orders.

We are getting calls from spring buyers all day long. The all have the same question “Can we preview and look at and buy homes during the Covid-19 stay at home order?”.

The short answer is yes but it is a little complicated, you need to be flexible and you need to be very serious about buying a home. If you are just window shopping for next year just wait until the stay at home order is lifted. Our office is open and our real estate agents are working during the Covid-19 stay at home order.

Please call us at 303-503-8793 and we would be a happy to go over how we show home during the Coronavirus lockdown.

What is a Variable Commission?2020-03-18T10:46:24-06:00

In a Colorado Contract for real estate a variable commission rate is self explanatory. Lets’s say the total commission rate is 6%. That is usually split as 3.2% for the listing agents and 2.8% for the buyer broker. If the listing agent also brings the buyer they must become a transaction broker. At that point the best real estate companies, like Orson Hill Realty will lower the commission rate for selling the home. They right in the contract that make their commission less or variable down to a total commission of something like 5%. The listing agent gets more than just being the listing agent and the seller saves some money. It is a win-win and Orson Hill Realty agents almost always take advantage of the variable commission.

What is There to Do in Evergreen, CO?2020-03-13T21:05:34-06:00

Evergreen, CO is a great little mountain town. If you are looking for things to do you can see events and festivals in Evergreen [here] and Golden. There are also great restaurants and bars to relax and see some great local music. Evergreen is a town you just need to experience to really get it. So come on and visit for a few days! let us know when you’re coming out!

Are the Denver Foothills Done Developing?2020-03-13T20:18:27-06:00

The short answer is no. The master plans for most areas like Jefferson and Clear Creek County filed decades ago show for more expansion in both residential as well as commercial. The are is still growing but not nearly as fast paced as years ago. With that being said the population density in most areas in these counties is incredibly low in comparison to other areas.

Should I Use a Local Lender for My Mortgage?2020-03-12T11:08:32-06:00

There are some areas that it is very important to use a local lender. Colorado properties are very unique. It is hard for some lenders to understand how mountain properties function. The banks don’t get wells and septic systems sometimes. It is important to have a lender that isn’t scared of unique properties so we recommend using a lender in the Denver Foothills or Denver when buying a mountain or rural property.

What Are Contingencies in a Real Estate Contract?2020-03-11T21:50:39-06:00

There are almost countless possible contingencies in a real estate contract. For the sake of the answer to this FAQ we will talk about the most common ones. They can be consider “what ifs” for lack of a better explanation. For example one of the most common is a contingency on selling another property. So if the bank requires you to sell your current home to qualify for a loan the sale of your original home is contingent on selling your home. If this does not happen and if you terminate your contract within the contingency date of expiration you will receive your earnest money back. Keep in mind most contingencies within the contract have different dates you must act by.

What is the Best Way to Market a Home for Sale?2020-03-11T21:44:32-06:00

Orson Hill Realty knows the key how to market a home that is for sale. The owner of Orson Hill Realty has an extensive marketing background and makes sure all listings are marketed to fullest extent. The only way to properly market a home in the new high world is obviously through high tech means. You need a touch of old school too but the majority of marketing needs to go into digital and done by a digital marketing expert.

What is a Pre Qualification letter?2020-03-11T19:51:53-06:00

A pre qualification or lender letter for a mortgage is basically a letter from a bank saying how much money you qualify for on your new home. It is a very easy process and very painless. It can be done in a 10 minute phone call or filling out an app on your lender’s website. They basically ask you a few questions about your income and then run your credit. The letter basically states if all the info you gave the bank is true, you will qualify for a specific amount. All sellers require a lender letter to be submitted with all offers.

Is There a Standard Commission Rate for Listing My Home in Colorado?2020-03-11T19:37:25-06:00

Some sellers as well as some real estate agents believe there is a set standard commission rate for selling your home. This is not the case. A real estate commission is a negotiable cost. Here at Orson Hill Realty we will always work with you on the cost of selling your home. Granted there is an amount that if you require us to go below we will simply tell you that we won’t be able to market your home in the proper way and give you the attention you deserve. We treat all our customers the same weather it is a $100,000 listing or a $100,000,000 listing. We spend a lot of time and money getting your listing in front of as many possible buyers we can. We are available way more than other agents. For that our time is very valuable but we also have very low listing rates. Give us a call and we can explain how we will market your listing for less and sell it for the right price, fast!

What is the Average Home Sale Price in Denver, CO?2020-03-09T19:34:40-06:00

What is the average home sale price in Denver, CO?

The average home sale price in Denver, CO has been very steadily rising over the past 5 years. At the moment the last 12 month average is around $550,000. Home values have increased considerably and still rising.

Average home sale price Denver CO
What is the Average Home Price in Evergreen, CO2020-03-09T19:23:55-06:00

What is the average home sale price in Evergreen, CO?

The average home value and home sale price in Evergreen, CO is like all real estate market and it goes up and down. The average price over the last 12 months is around $700,000.

The home sale prices have continued to rise for 6 years now. It doesn’t look like it will be slowing down anytime soon.

Average home sale price Evergreen, CO
Where Should I Live If I Work in Denver?2020-03-09T11:47:55-06:00

This is a very common question asked by a lot of buyers. It depends a little on where in Denver you will be living. Up in the Denver Foothills most of the folks that work in Denver and live in Evergreen, Golden or Morrison have a very easy commute. The reason these areas are so appealing is not only do you have easy access to Denver you also have easy access to the ski resorts. That is why these areas have always been and always will be in very high demand.

What Time of Year Should I List My Home?2019-12-25T12:53:33-07:00

There was a time that summer was the best time to list in any area that has a winter. Colorado for the last 5 years has not had a selling season. As far as selling in the spring you have one challenge, competition. Everyone still feels that the spring is the best time to list. Now a days right after new years is the best time to list your home. Get listed before your neighbors because we have buyers looking all year. Winter homes sell with less showings before contract.

Should My Real Estate Agent Be Able to Find Everything Wrong With a Home?2019-09-22T21:09:40-06:00

Sometimes buyers mention to real estate agents that they expect the agent to assist them in determining any defects on a property that isn’t mentioned in the seller’s property disclosure. Some buyers feel it is the real estate agents job to help inspect the home. This is not the case. The first real estate company I worked for actually had an attorney that told the Realtors to not even attend the home inspection. Finding defects in the home is the responsibility of the home inspector or any tradesman a buyer hires to inspect the home. A real estate agent is (usually) well versed in homes but is not trained to find defects in the home. If a buyer is at all concerned they should bring in a qualified professional or home inspector.

What is the Best Way to Determine the Value of a Home?2019-04-18T20:38:10-06:00

There is only one way to truly determine the value of a home. For buyers and sellers the only way to find the true value of a home is buy having a real estate agent or an appraiser come out and really go through your home. You can not trust ZIllow Zestimates or any other online source to give you a true value of your home. There is a reason why banks make a human come out and see your home before lending you money it. There are so many variables that go into the market price of a home. It is simply impossible for a website to tell you. It can give you and idea of market direction but not market value. Sorry for the bad the news but it is true. But don’t worry Orson Hill Realty will do this for you for free!

What are the Signs of a Buyers Market?2019-04-14T23:16:56-06:00

It’s been such a long time since we have seen a buyers market in Colorado this is going strictly off memory. When inventory starts to rise we slip into a buyers market. Then prices begin to drop and less offers are being made. As a result we start to see homes staying on the market much longer.

What Are the Signs of a Sellers Market?2019-04-14T23:13:49-06:00

There are some clear signs of a sellers market. One of the obvious is list prices increasing at a rabid rate. Another sign of seller market is homes being on the market less time. When you see a home listing on Thursday and it is off the market by the end of the weekend it is most likely a seller market. If your real estate agent tells you there are multiple offers on a home that you are making an offer on is another good indication. Some of the less obvious signs is sellers being picky with showing instructions and restricting showing times. The overall inventory can also be an indication of a sellers market.

Can I have More Than One Agent Show Me Properties?2019-04-14T22:32:59-06:00

You can certainly start off with more than one agent to see who you like. Kinda shop around. But once you sign a buyer agency agreement (at least in CO) that is who you work with. At that point you don’t even want to do your agent “a favor” by contacting a listing agent of a property you might like to ask questions. You will always want to go through your agent for any questions or setting up showings. Also be upfront with any agent if you are using other agents before your buyer agent agreement is signed. There are some agents that would prefer to just let you work with another agent instead of wasting their time.

What is the Difference Between Real Estate Agents and Realtors?2019-04-14T22:12:13-06:00

The easiest way to put it is all Realtors and real estate agents but not all real estate agents are Realtors. The advantages of working with a Realtor over just a real estate agent is ethics. Realtors are held to a higher standard of ethics. That is higher ethics with other agents as well as with the public. If you work with a Realtor you know you are working with an ethical person.

When is the Best Time to List my Home?2019-04-14T02:50:02-06:00

Many real estate agents will tell you “the best time to list your home is now!”. In the market we have had for the last 2 years this is absolutely true. The market in Colorado has been on fire every month for 2 years. When it isn’t a sellers market spring and summer is normally a better time to list. Although this isn’t always the case. The best real estate agents will tell you that sometimes you should list in fall or winter. The reason for this is the spring and summer is sometimes saturated with inventory. That means if the inventory is up too high and buyers are a little less, it is actually harder to sell your home.  So technically the best time to list your home is now!

What is Considered a Low Ball Offer?2019-04-14T00:38:34-06:00

Knowing what a low ball offer is would be market specific. When a buyer makes an offer in sellers market it needs to be closer to the list price than a buyers market. In the current market conditions in Colorado homes are selling at an average of 97-98% of current list price. The problem is many sellers are putting their homes on the market above value to see if they will get an offer in the frenzy of buying that is going on. That is why the stipulation that it is 97-98% of current list that isn’t 97-98% of original list price. A distinction that is very important. So a low ball offer is a relative figure.

Do I Really Need a Real Estate Agent When Buying or Selling a Home?2019-04-14T00:28:33-06:00

It is HIGHLY recommended by just about anyone to use a Realtor for your real estate transaction. It is what agents do all day and night. There are so many levels and possible legal repercussions with going at it on your own. For buyer, why not? Seller pays fees. For sellers, why not? Agents market your home and do everything for you.

Does The Buyer or Seller Pay Realtor Commission?2019-04-14T00:28:05-06:00

When a listing agent takes a listing they negotiate a fee. They come up with a total fee, let’s say 6% that is paid by the seller to the listing agent. Then the listing agent agrees to pay the buyer agent, let’s say 2.8%. So this means the seller pays the Realtor fees for both the listing agent and buyer agent.

Why is My ZIllow Zestimate so Different Than What My Listing Agent Says my Value is?2019-04-14T00:26:13-06:00

Just to be blunt, Zillow Zestimates are regularly inaccurate. Ask any real estate agent and they will tell that Zillow and their Zestimates are almost always wrong. An algorithm can not determine the value of a home. The only way to find the value of your home is to have your listing agent come into your home. See what kind of fixtures your have, how your floorplan is laid out. There are so many variables gone into finding the price of your home that it is simply impossible to tell the value without seeing it. Especially unique homes and yards. Find the best listing agent in your town and ask them to find the value of your home and please don’t say “Zillow say my home is worth…”. Listen to your Realtor. That is what they do all day long.

What is a Material Fact?2019-04-14T00:25:47-06:00

Simply put a material fact is something with the home or property that is defective. It would also be considered anything that might be important to the buyer and might make them change their mind on the purchase. It is Orson Hill Realty’s position for all sellers to disclose everything. If you think it might be a material fact, it probably is.

Why Hasn’t the Seller Responded to Our Offer Yet?2019-04-14T00:25:20-06:00

If you look at your contract there should be a line on your contract that says something like “Acceptance Deadline” or something of that nature (depending on your state). That is what it is called in the Colorado contracts. The acceptance time you would like to hear back from the seller with an acceptance or a counter offer. In some states (Colorado is one) the acceptance deadline is a “soft deadline” the reason for that is it is a date that is presented by the buyer. There is only one person that has signed the contract at that point. The seller has not yet agreed to the terms of the contract and that includes the acceptance deadline time. So sometimes the seller will blow this deadline and it is OK.

Do We Need Our Buyer Agent When We Preview Homes?2019-04-13T23:56:36-06:00

The short answer is absolutely! There are a million reasons why you should never go to a listing without your buyer agent. One reason is if you walk through the home with just the listing broker you might tremendously weaken your negotiating stance. A listing broker can see you are overly excited about the property. Also when the buyer agent writes up the offer they need to know what to put in. If they don’t know there are inclusions that aren’t on the MLS contract, You may miss out on something that needs to be in there. There are times something like a wood pile, an old car or some things that need to be removed from the property. That need to be put in the original offer.

When Is Earnest Money Due?2019-04-13T23:54:49-06:00

Earnest money is usually due 3-7 days after MEC (Mutual Execution of Contract or when all parties sign the contract or counter). The nice thing about earnest money is that it can be in the form of a personal check (99% of the time). It is held by either the real estate brokerage or the title company in their trust account.

What is This Seller Property Form You Gave Me to Fill Out?2019-04-13T23:53:40-06:00

The seller’s property disclosure is a form that needs to be filled out by all sellers to the best of their knowledge of any defects the home may have. It is also one of the only forms or disclosures the listing agent is not supposed to assist with. It is a very straightforward form and your agent is not supposed to coach you on what is wrong with your property. The best rule of of thumb is if you wonder if you should put it on the disclosure, you should. Disclose, disclose, disclose! It is a form that can stop you from being sued later on after close if you don’t disclose something you know about.

Should I Restrict Times Agents Can Show My Home?2019-04-13T23:51:43-06:00

You should do your best to not restrict showing times. You should also approve all showings unless it is absolutely impossible to show. It is very important because buyer agents set homes up to show in sections and need to make the best of their time and the buyer’s time. You should also not reschedule for this reason as well. This area has a lot of out of town buyers also. This means if buyers are only in town for a day or two you might be sending a potential buyer home without previewing your home.

Why Should I talk to a Bank Before I Start Looking at Homes?2019-04-13T23:45:27-06:00

It is extremely important to speak to a bank before you physically look at any homes. One reason is pretty much common sense. You could be wasting your time, the buyer agent, the seller and listing broker’s time. It is also important to know what you can afford. You might be looking at homes out of your price range or might be able to afford a bigger home to more suit your needs. Probably the most important reason is because in this real estate market it is a must to have a lender letter. There aren’t many sellers that will accept an offer without having a lender letter. In this market if you don’t have a lender on standby to write you a lender letter that day, you just might lose the house to another buyer’s offer.

Are There Any Rent to Own Properties Available?2019-04-13T23:31:55-06:00

You might be able to find the unicorn know as the lease to own somewhere in this market but they really are few and far between. That is more for a buyers when there is higher inventory on the market and days on market are longer. If the market shifts and inventory picks up and days on market increase it might make sense for sellers to start doing this again. Right now if a seller puts their home on the market on Thursday it could be under contract by Sunday and the cash in their account by the end of the month.

Should I Stage My Home While It’s Listed?2019-04-13T23:27:40-06:00

Statistics do show homes sell faster when staged. The other school of thought is that the home looks bigger and people can also picture their “stuff” in there when it is a blank canvas. Also in our crazy market staging may be more of a hassle. When things are going under contract in a couple days.

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