Denver Real Estate 

April 18, 2017

Why Work With an Agent for a New Build? Part 3

Working with an agent on a new build: Part 3

Today we're wrapping up the final four items in our series about why it's important to work with a real estate agent when buying a new construction home.

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Today we'll wrap up the third installment of our series on why it's important to have an agent accompany you when you buy a new construction home from a builder.

 

You can watch Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Now, let's pick up where we left off:

 

7. Soil surveys and engineering reports. When you buy a new build, these two things are a crucial part of the process. The builder will have the soil survey on hand for each lot. Here in Colorado, we have a problem with expansive soils, which can lead to foundation problems and heaving of sidewalks, driveways, and basement floors. When they start excavating, they'll test a sample of the soil for expansiveness.

 

The engineering report looks at the overall properties of the lot itself. These reports are available when you pick your lot, but for most consumers, it's like reading Greek thanks to all the confusing engineering lingo. A good agent can interpret these for you and help you make sure you don't buy a lot with expansive soil. Even if you choose a lot with expansive soil, it's not a deal killer. You just want to be sure the builder has the proper type of basement for that particular lot.

 

8. Considering which options are better to buy from a builder from the beginning versus buying later on. This is especially true when taking budget concerns into consideration. Many buyers have to keep their budget under a certain dollar amount and it can be easy to go crazy with the builder in the design center with things like the layout.

 

As agents, some of the things we look at that can't or shouldn't be done after the build include: high or coffered ceilings, a covered porch, choosing a wall oven over a stove, or an extra deep basement excavation. Things that are OK to do down the road include: tile floors and backsplashes, granite countertops over Formica, and stainless steel appliances over basic black appliances. An agent will help you examine each item or feature you’re considering.

 

9. Parts of town. In Denver, we definitely have east and west parts of town that are divided by Interstate 25. The west of town is on the mountain side and the east side is on the plains side. Historically when we see downturns, the east side sees the downturn faster and recovers slower while property closer to the mountains is more stable. A good agent will help you determine which part of town will be a more stable investment in terms of building a home.

 


All builders will tell you their materials
and techniques are the best, but an agent will help you
sort out who’s telling the truth.

 

10. Different builders in general. It's funny—every time you walk into a builder's office, they tell you about how their builders are the latest and greatest and use the best materials and best methods. I hear it from every one of them, but quite frankly, I have to call BS on it because there are big differences between builders. Some of the more high-end builders definitely build to a higher efficiency standard and use better materials. For example, some builders will use concrete window wells as opposed to corrugated steel window wells that will eventually rust out. Some might use a tile roof that will last up to 60 years versus regular shingles that will wear out in 10 to 12 years. Builders will never give you the straight story, but an agent can help you sort it out.

 

If you have any questions about buying a new construction home or you'd like me to expand on any of these 10 points, just give us a call or send us an email soon. We look forward to helping you!

 

Posted in Home Buying
April 3, 2017

Why Work With an Agent for a New Build? Part 2

We're back with three more reasons why you should always work with a real estate agent even when buying a new construction home from a builder.

Buying a home? Click here to perform a full Home Search
Selling a home? Click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation

 

Today marks the second installment of our three-part series about why you should work with an agent when buying a new construction home from a builder.

 

You can see the first installment and the first three reasons here.


Now, for the next three reasons to work with an agent when buying a home from a builder:

 

  1. You will have someone on your side. Going to a home builder's office is a lot like going to a car dealership. The salespeople at the office knows that they have one chance to sell you a home in a particular area, and if they miss that opportunity, they may not get another chance. Unfortunately, they'll use a lot of tactics car dealerships would to try to break your spirit a bit and get you to sign on the dotted line while you're there. An agent will act as a buffer and give you someone to fight back. You should have someone there with you to push back and level the playing field with the sales rep and their manager. An agent knows the material and won't be intimidated by all the lingo thrown at them.

  2. Agents know what to ask for. Builders will have varying guidelines to approach contingencies, like if you need to sell your current house before buying the new home. Some builders allow contingencies and some don't, and some will only allow it for certain stages in construction. These policies will vary from builder to builder. An agent knows which questions to ask and how to counsel you properly so you don't sign anything to obligate yourself in a way where you can't hold up your end of the deal and lose your earnest money deposit. Sadly, a lot of people lose their earnest money to builders.

  3. We know what the other builders in the area have to offer. A good agent is familiar with all five or six builders in an area; we've been to their sales offices, we know what incentives they have, and we have an idea of their inventory and time frames. Every builder will tell you that they have the best materials and construction techniques, but a good agent will help you differentiate them. We know their reputations and which ones have the actual best materials and construction techniques. We'll basically act as a BS filter to tell you whether they're being truthful or giving you a sales pitch.

 

Be sure to tune in for part three of our series about working with an agent when buying a home from a builder. In the meantime, give me a call or send me an email if you're thinking about buying or selling a home here in Denver. I'd be glad to help!

 

Today marks the second installment of our three-part series about why you should take an agent when buying a new construction home from a builder.

 

Posted in Home Buying
March 15, 2017

10 Reasons to Use an Agent When Buying New-Construction

Welcome to part one of “10 Reasons to Use an Agent When Buying New Construction.” Today I’ll go over the first three reasons you need to have representation when purchasing a new build.

 

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When buying new construction, there are 10 reasons you need to use an agent. Today, in part one of a three-part series, I’ll go over the first three reasons you should always have representation when purchasing a new build.

 

  1. You pay to have an agent whether you use one or not. The builder always works 3% for commission into the sales price to make sure they are covered in the event a buyer brings an agent. Right now in Colorado, builders are selling homes as fast as they can build them, so it would be highly unlikely that you could negotiate that 3% off the price if you didn’t use an agent. Overall, it’s worth it financially to go ahead and use an agent.

 

  1. Protect your earnest money. The contract is written by the builder’s attorneys, so it doesn't have to adhere to the same rules as a real estate contract. In fact, I have heard of people losing up to $15,000 because someone who wasn’t using an agent missed a deadline in the contract or backed out and the builder kept the money. We make sure we understand all your deadlines and everything you are signing.



We make sure you understand all your
deadlines and everything you are singing.


 

  1. Better odds of getting a premium lot. I have great relationships with many of the builders in the areas that we specialize in. They know me, I bring them clients, and in turn when I bring a buyer to their property, they know it’s a serious buyer who wants a great spot. You’re going to be taken more seriously with an agent, and you might score a lot with special features like a water feature of space for a walk-out basement. Also, if you’re busy when an important call comes in about a property, I can be there to make sure whatever needs to be taken care of is taken care of.

 

Stay tuned for parts two and three of “10 Reasons to Use an Agent When Buying New Construction.” In the meantime, if you have any other questions, please feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I’m happy to help!

 

Posted in Home Buying
Feb. 28, 2017

4 Things to know before buying new constuction

4 things to know before buying new construction or touring model homes.


1) Exercise your right to bring a buyer's agent.

You'll almost always benefit from an experienced professional in your corner.  An experienced buyer's agent knows all the right questions to ask the builder, on topics like contingencies, crucial deadlines, and warranty coverage. Quality agents are also adept at interpreting the provided engineering reports and soil surveys, to help ensure that you pick a lot that is less likely to develop foundation problems, down the road.   An agent will also make sure that you understand your contractual rights with the builder. The Colorado Real Estate Commission requires that all agents use an approved, standardized contract when selling re-sale homes. This approved contract, is written by the State's attorneys to heavily favor the rights of the buyers. However, builders are not required to use this standardized contract. Instead, they have lobbied the legislature for the right to use their own contracts. These proprietary contracts are skewed to heavily favor the rights of the builder, with little regard for the buyers rights. Furthermore, most builder contracts are well over 50 pages long. Most are loaded with "legalese" and seemingly endless pages of complex construction terminology. To most buyers, these contracts might as well be written in Greek. A good agent, will make sure you understand exactly what you're signing.


2) Contrary to popular misconception... you won't get a better deal by engaging the builders directly, without an agent.

Builders add an additional 3% into the price of every home they sell, in the event that there's an agent to pay.  In Erie (and many other parts of Colorado too), the builders simply can't build homes fast enough to keep up with the present demand.  Therefore, they currently have no need to discount their prices for anyone. They realize that if you won't pay full price for it, the next person through their door will. Of course there are some exceptions to every rule. There are certain circumstances were an agent can help you "work" the builder for better pricing, lot placement, landscaping, or incentives. A good agent will recognize these instances, and make sure you're in a position to capitalize on them if they present themselves. Bottom line, the price you pay a builder entitles you to bring representation. You're essentially paying for an agent, whether you choose to bring one or not... so its foolish not to.


3) Builders can be somewhat ruthless, and they won't hesitate to keep your earnest money.

Earnest money on a typical re-sale home in Colorado usually averages around 1% of the purchase price, or about $4,500 on a typical re-sale home in the Erie area. However builders on the other hand, typically require a much larger deposit of around $10,000-$15,000. Additionally, some builders may require additional deposits of 50% of the cost of your upgrades in their design center. So, many buyers end up with $30,000 to $50,000 of their hard earned savings being held by (and exposed to) the builder prior to closing. This is where the builder-slanted language in their proprietary contracts really comes into play. Much of that language in their purchase contract revolves around their recourse, in the event that the buyer fails to close on the home. The majority of this builder slanted language, grants the builder to right to keep all of your deposit money if the deal gets derailed and fails to close for some reason. However, the contract will also contain a few clauses that grant the buyer the ability to back out of the deal with a full return of their earnest money. Of course the builder's salesperson won't always point these out, because they are more likely to lose a sale if the buyer knows their rights. Once again, an agent in your corner will make sure you fully understand all of these rights. An agent will work hard to make sure your earnest money is at as little risk, as possible.


4. Be careful about filling out the builder's "Info card" if you visit the model homes.

Even though the builders pack an extra 3% into the price of every home, they'll still do everything in their power to avoid paying it, whenever they possibly can. This is why they push so hard for everyone visiting their models, to fill out that pesky little white information card. Those info cards allow them to track the first time anyone visits their sales office. If you fill out that card, but don't check the box stating that you have an agent, they will never let you come back with an agent again. This is understandable, because they offer agents commission for bringing them buyers that otherwise might not have considered looking at new-construction. They don't want to pay an agent that didn't actually play a part in bringing them a customer. Several times a year, we speak with buyers that toured a model several months earlier in the year, when they were just in the early, curious phase. They innocently filled out the builders card without declaring an agent, and now that they are serious and ready to buy... the builder won't pay their agent because they didn't check the box declaring an agent. So, the lesson here is that you should simply politely decline to fill out their card, or check the Realtor/Agent box on the card if you do fill one out. Even if you are far from getting serious, checking the "represented by an agent" box on the card can save you a huge headache when you are finally ready to take the plunge on that new home!

Posted in Home Buying
Feb. 21, 2017

The Pros and Cons of 3 Different Loan Types

Bidding wars are incredibly common in this competitive market. How does your government, conventional, or jumbo loan affect your chances of getting your dream home?

 

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In this competitive market, bidding wars for homes are very common. There are many factors to consider when positioning yourself to win a bidding war but today, we’ll focus on the best type of loan for you to choose.

 

Most consumers in this market will take one of three loan types: a government loan, a conventional loan, or a jumbo loan. Each comes with advantages and disadvantages.

 

Government loans include FHA and VA loans. VA loans allow honorably discharged veterans to purchase a property with 0% down. FHA loans offer 3.5% down loans for anyone who qualifies. Although most people who use FHA loans are first-time buyers, you do not have to be a first-time buyer to get an FHA loan.

 

Quite frankly, government loans can present certain obstacles during bidding wars. Part of the problem is that when the appraisal is performed, the government will require the seller to make certain repairs. These repairs are non-negotiable, which sellers aren’t too happy about. Another issue is that some sellers view buyers with government loans as weak buyers because they need a lower down payment than a buyer with a conventional loan; however, that is merely a perception issue.

 

 


Conventional loans make it a bit easier
to win a bidding war.

 

 

It is a bit easier to win a bidding war if you have a conventional loan from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. You need a higher credit score to get a conventional loan and you have to make a higher down payment, so many sellers will think you are more likely to complete the transaction.

 

Jumbo loans don’t give you a lot of trouble during multiple offer situations. If you qualify for a jumbo loan, you are probably looking for a large home well over $500,000. Jumbo loan buyers are typically very strong and have large down payments. Another benefit is that in the jumbo loan segment, there are fewer multiple offer situations because there are fewer buyers looking at that price point.

 

If you would like to know more details about these different types of loans, give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help you!

Posted in Home Buying
Feb. 2, 2017

What Is Happening in Our Local Market?

Frequently asked questions

Today, we’re answering the top five questions about our local real estate market.

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What is happening in our local real estate market? We’ll answer some of the top questions we’ve been hearing from clients today:

 

1. Is this a buyer’s or seller’s market? Denver is definitely in a seller’s market. However, that varies a bit based on the time of year. In winter, things tend to be a little bit slower and the market is a bit more balanced than it is in the summertime. Things will start picking up around March and May. Market analysts predict another year of double-digit growth in Colorado.

 

 


Right now is a great time to buy a home.

 

2. What does the current housing inventory look like in our area? Inventory is definitely a little low right now, especially compared to spring or summer. There are fewer buyers on the market this time of year as well, so that balances things out a bit. Despite there being fewer options, buyers are still able to find homes in a couple of days. It’s slightly easier to buy a home right now because you won’t get dragged into any bidding wars. Sellers are even willing to give a little on the asking price. We were able to get clients $5,000 off the asking price; in fact, we also got one client a new roof!

 

3. How does the current inventory affect the values of homes in our area? Pricing remains stable. However, as we mentioned, some sellers are more willing to bend on the asking price. Although prices aren’t dropping, sellers are more likely to entertain a low offer now than they are in the spring or summer, when sellers want full asking price or more. Of course, when you get more than the asking price, there can be issues with appraisals, which means buyers will need additional cash.

 

4. What do interest rates look like right now? Interest rates have increased substantially since the election. Before the election they were at 3.875%, and now they are at 4.25%.

 

5. How does the increase in rates affect buyers? Let’s say before the election, you qualified for a $500,000 home at a 3.875% interest rate. With the current 4.25% interest rates, you will only be able to qualify for $478,000. So, there has been a reduction in buying power. For every third of a point increase, buyers lose $20,000 of buying power. The Fed has announced that there may be three more increases to the short-term rate over the next year, which will likely affect the mortgage rates that we use.

 

Ultimately, if you are thinking of buying a home, now is a great time to be on the market. Buying a home now will be much easier than it will be a few months from now.

 

If you have any other questions about our market, give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help you!

Posted in News
Nov. 4, 2015

Broomfield In the Fall

Broomfield in the fall

As someone who's enjoyed the small-town friendly feel of Broomfield for the last 12 years, I feel I should share some of it's great treats for our fall season.  
While the leaves are changing all over town and the streets are splattered with reds, oranges, and brilliant golds...the town  bustles with the anticipation of cooler days and Halloween.
Just up 287 (Wadsworth) just north of Broomfield is our famous pumpkin patch.  The family-owned farm provides thousands upon thousands of pumpkins to pick directly from the fields in which they grow.  There are hay bale mazes, jump castles, farm animals to pet, and delicious treats to purchase after a long trek through the vast pumpkin patch to get that perfect orange gourd to carve.  Bring your camera because this is the perfect spot to take family pics of everyone gathering their treasures. http://www.rockcreekfarm.com
Broomfield is a health-minded community and we are thankful for all the trails that wind their way through our neighborhoods.  We have everything from walk-ways behind our homes, to long winding trails up the backs of the hills behind Miramonte and Lac Amora  that give us breath-taking views of the Front Range.  The fall is the best time to take advantage of these trails--with the weather cooling enough to take the edge of the mid-day sun,  the trails are fun to take everywhere. 
If shopping is something you enjoy then you can take your time at one of the 2 amazing malls near us.  
  Flatirons mall, which is just off of HWY 36 in Broomfield, boasts many great shops, dining, and a movie theater with lounge-style seating and adult beverages!   This mall is indoors and is a great escape when the weather doesn't cooperate.  
The other mall is the Orchard Town mall.  This is an outdoor mall just off of 144th and I-25.  Though this is technically considered Westminster, it is just on the border of Broomfield and we residents take full advantage of it.  There's an outdoor play area, a miniature train for kids to ride around in, many great restaurants, lots of shopping, and an amazing movie theater. There are many spots to sit outside during our amazing Indian Summer weather evenings and have your meal or take advantage of the center of the mall and sit by the fireplace.  Each Halloween the mall stores participate in a trick-or-treat parade where kids can come during the day and show off their costumes for candy!    
We have a library next to a park in the heart of Broomfield and it houses a very special memorial.  I encourage everyone to take the time to visit this spot.  Our 9/11 memorial is truly historical and really gives you a space and the time to reflect, remember, and pay homage to those whose lives were ended on that fateful day.  This memorial is peaceful, tasteful, and I feel very grateful that our town chose to put it up.  On September 11 each year there is a flag put in the ground near the memorial that commemorates each and every life that was lost that day.  The display is breath-taking and very honoring.
We have a unique place to live here nestled up against the mountains.  Amazing sunsets, less traffic than down south, easy access to highways for shopping, dining, and taking an adventure.  Broomfield is the small town you have been looking for and we have some fantastic places here to enjoy.
Please visit our website for homes available in and around Broomfield.                 
Posted in Neighborhoods
Nov. 4, 2015

Stapleton, One of Denver's hottest urban neighborhoods!

Stapleton –

 Looking for that classic neighborhood feel, but still want to live urban? Stapleton is your neighborhood. 7 ½ square miles of urban city living, without the city price. Only 15 minutes away from downtown Denver, Stapleton is one of the most popular destinations for families, and young professionals. In Stapleton you can find classic built homes, modern new builds, and bungalow style replica productions. If Single family homes aren’t your style, don’t worry they have over 2,000 townhomes and apartment homes to choose from.

Stapleton has taken a new approach to home building and living. Integrated green spaces and dog parks accompany the shopping and small business that surround the neighborhood. A sense of community has been established with monthly neighborhood activities and events. The Shops at Northfield provide a vast amount of dinning and shopping choices – you won’t have to leave your neighborhood!

Stapleton currently has 12 great schools, over 1,000 acres of green space, and is still growing. Stapleton offers over 46 miles of trails for walking, and bike riding. Which connect to other trail systems in Denver’s network. On a nice sunny day (which happens more than 300 days each year) you could potentially ride your bike to work, school, or to any of the nearby stores! In 2014 Stapleton was the 6th bestselling Master-Planned community in the United States.

These new neighborhood builds are closing out, and homes being listed aren’t lasting long. If you want to get your foot into this exclusive, sought after neighborhood contact us. Our experienced team of realtors can get you the perfect house, for the best price.

http://www.denver.org/about-denver/denver-neighborhoods/about-denver-stapleton-lowry-northfield/

 

Posted in News
June 22, 2015

Tour Historic Denver Property in Lower Downtown

Take a tour of Denver property.Walking tours are a great way to explore and learn about a city. Whether you call a Denver property home or are just visiting the area, Historic Denver Tours are a one of a kind experience you just don’t want to miss. Tours last a little over 70 minutes and are led by expert docents who focus on the architecture and history of Denver. Begin the LoDo walking tour at the flagpole in front of the historic Denver Union Station. Lower downtown originated as a collection of warehouses, transformed into a prominent railroad hub, and finally turned into the vibrant thriving area it is today. This urban hot spot is the ideal place to be for fun in the daytime and the nighttime. If you’re on the market for Denver property, this is a great area to consider.

Another popular tour through Historic Denver Tours is the Capital Hill Walking Tour. Meet and end at the renowned Molly Brown House Museum’s courtyard. Docents focus on the diverse architectural styles of Denver property, varying from Victorian to Art Deco. Learn about the beautiful and unique mansions you’ll see. As you walk along this tour, you’ll be exploring the details of Denver step by step and learning about the city’s fascinating history as you go. To scheduel a tour please call (800) 979-3370 or go to the tours page on historicdenver.org.

Posted in News
June 19, 2015

Denver Home Owners Visit the Museum of Nature and Science

Learn science near your Denver home.The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is a wonderful destination for all Denver home owners. There is much to be learned in this facility by children and adults alike. Visit the museum for just a day, consider a membership to visit as often as you would like, or take advantage of summer camps and programs for youth. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science also has a planetarium and IMAX theater available for guests. Whether you come for the exhibits or a show, it is sure to be an enjoyable day or evening away from your Denver home.

One of the best things about visiting a museum of this nature is that there are plenty of hands on exhibits for all to enjoy. Whether you enjoy learning about mummies, gems, human health, dinosaurs, space, wildlife, or are interested in getting your children excited about science in the Discovery Zone, The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is the place to be. The Discovery Zone is especially great for Denver home owners and other guests who have children ranging in age from 3-5. Children can come and experience science first hand, climb, explore, perhaps get a little wet, and quench their thirst for knowledge. Find out more at dmns.org.

Posted in News