Learn

Your home buying and selling encyclopedia.

How to Interview and Hire a Real Estate Agent

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 66% of all buyers hired and interviewed only one agent. There’s nothing wrong with hiring the first agent you meet, but make sure you ask the right questions and more importantly, that you get the right answers. We’ve compiled a list of questions to ask any potential real estate suitor to help get the conversation started.

How to Hire a Real Estate Broker

Why Are You in Real Estate?

It has been proven time and time again that to be good at what you do you have to love what you do. This is a great conversation starter, and it lets you get to know the agent and their background that led them to their real estate career. If the agent deflects and just wants to ask his or her questions about your price range, number of bedrooms, location, etc., then they probably think they have you in the bag. Business is about relationships, you will be spending a lot of time in person and on the phone with this agent over the next several months. Personality conflicts will add a barrier to effective communication and can make it hard to respect the real estate advice that you receive.

Are You Full-Time or Part-Time?

You don’t hire a part time lawyer, surgeon, dentist, or pilot so why would you hire a part time real estate agent? To be great at a trade you need to be 100% invested in that trade and practice it day in and day out. When was the last time you re-programed your all-in-one TV remote from memory? Chances are if you don’t do it multiple times a week you will have to reference someone for help.

(more…)

The Difference Between Condos, Lofts, Apartments, & Co-ops

Sometimes the jargon used in real estate seems confusing, and words appear to be interchangeable.  When looking for a condo, loft, apartment, or cooperative apartment, this may help clarify for you.  What’s the difference?

Condos, Lofts, Apartments, vs. Co-Ops

Condominiums

A condominium is a type of ownership. Often shortened to “condo”, it is a collection of individual residential or commercial units and common areas as well as the land upon which they sit.  A condo can be attached to other units or can be a collection of detached units.

Boundaries

Individual ownership within a condo is construed as ownership of only the air space confining the boundaries of the unit. The boundaries of that space are specified by a legal document known as a Declaration which is filed with the local governing authority. These boundaries will typically include the wall surrounding a condo, allowing the unit owner to make some interior modifications without impacting the common areas. Anything outside this boundary is held in undivided joint ownership interest by a corporation established when the condo was created. The corporation holds this property in trust on behalf of the unit owners as a group and does not have ownership itself.

(more…)

Rules for Buying a New Primary Residence without Selling Your Current Home

By guest author: Christian Durland of Homeowner’s Blueprint

Here in Denver, Colorado, things have been quite exciting in the local world of Real Estate.  While many other parts of the country are still struggling in terms of foreclosures and short-sales, and an over saturated Real Estate market, here in Denver, we’re actually enjoying some home appreciation with certain pockets of the Metro area going up into double digit appreciation rates over the last year, along with home inventories (homes currently being offered for sale) being at a 23 year low.

Buying a Second Home without Selling Your First

With all this positive news, many are now thinking that this maybe the right time to dive into Real Estate and purchase a new home, but many of those who are making this decision must also sell their current home before purchasing a new home, which is still (even though the market has “healed” quite a bit) not as easy as it once was before “mortgage meltdown” and the subsequent housing crisis of 2007-2010.  Then there will be those, who will opt to retain their current home and convert it into a rental property, either by necessity, or because they choose to, however this transition may not be as simple as one might think either. (more…)

As a Buyer, What Can I Expect at the Closing Table?

You’ve negotiated a successful offer, resolved all the inspections items, and done your due diligence.  You are so close to ownership that you can feel the new keys in your hand.  The only thing standing between you and moving into your new home is the closing table.  Whether this is your first real estate closing or you are a seasoned veteran, the following will point out what to expect in a real estate closing in Colorado.

What to Expect at Closing

PRE-CLOSING ITEMS: 12 TO 48 HOURS OUT

Depending on how condensed your contract period is, you may receive the final settlement and HUD-1 statements with enough time to review them with your lender and real estate broker.  It isn’t uncommon, with the volume of new mortgages and refinances, to receive these documents just hours before closing.  Either way, you will have time at the closing table to have all your questions answered about the details and account for every penny of the transaction.

Prior to your closing, you will do a final walk-through of your new home with your broker to inspect its condition.  This is your opportunity to ensure all agreed upon inspection items have been completed, the condition of the home hasn’t changed from when you went under contract, and all contractual items are in the home.  The final walk-through is not an opportunity to re-inspect the home. (more…)

Home Financing Options Explained

Buying a home can be one of the most exciting (and costly) purchases you will make during your lifetime.  One of the most important steps in the process is determining how much you can afford.  Yet, many people wait to secure financing until it is absolutely necessary.  In a competitive housing market, having your financing in place before you start your home search gives you the ability to place an offer immediately after viewing the home of your dreams and making that offer stronger.  It also allows you to focus on the more enjoyable decisions like choosing a neighborhood.

Home Financing Options

PRE-QUALIFICATION VS. PRE-APPROVAL

Pre-qualification and pre-approval are two common words thrown around in the mortgage industry.  Pre-qualification is an unofficial estimate of how much you can borrow and repay for your home purchase.  The amount lending institutions will pre-qualify you for is derived from the information you provide on your finances, credit history and income. Obtaining Pre-approval requires you to submit financial documents, such as tax returns, business licensing, and bank statements.  Lenders will analyze the documents, run credit checks, and verify employment.  The pre-approval process verifies you have the ability to repay the amount for which you are approved and carries more weight when you submit an offer to purchase a home.  Although it takes more steps to obtain pre-approval, it verifies to the seller that you have the financing available to follow through with the purchase. (more…)