Buyer and Seller FAQ For Real Estate
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.