As we all know, for the last five years, Denver has been deep into a seller’s market in the single family home category. The problem isn’t selling the home, it’s finding a replacement if you plan on staying in Denver. The Contract to Buy and Sell doesn’t have any built-in contingencies for sellers to back out of the sale, unless your real estate broker has negotiated them into your contract. In fact, the buyers are in complete control most of the way to the closing table.
There are several strategies your broker can contractually negotiate on your behalf to reduce the stress of being homeless after the sale. Every situation is unique, so make sure you communicate your concerns, expectations, and the best-case scenario for your move to your broker prior to listing your home.
Price is only one piece of the puzzle.
Bidding wars end all the time with offers that are not the highest price submitted. The key to coming out on top is asking the right questions to find out what in the transaction is most important to the seller. Working with buyers who also understand this concept is key, as they typically ask questions and shape their offer accordingly.
Contractually, what does this mean?
Here are a few techniques to increase the success of a smooth transition into your new home:
- Seller Replacement Contingency – Written correctly, this allows the seller to terminate the contract within a certain period of time prior to the negotiated date, if they are unable to find an acceptable replacement home. Be prepared to reimburse the buyer any hard costs incurred during this period (think home inspection, appraisal, etc.).
- Post Closing Occupancy Agreement – This is a fancy term for a seller rent back (sometimes free) from the buyers after closing. You can usually ask for up to a 60-day rent back (sometimes more) after closing to allow more time to purchase your replacement property.
- Buying first, selling second – Sounds easy, right? Well, the tough part is getting a seller to accept your contingent offer to buy their home before you sell yours. The “secret sauce” here is to have everything ready to go on your current home, so the only thing left to do is hit the “active” button on the MLS. Being transparent with the listing broker and implementing some of the strategies mentioned above (i.e. asking the right questions) also helps to get your new home under contract.
- Bridge Loans – This is a great strategy if you have sufficient equity in your home and you’re okay increasing the cost of your replacement home financing. This allows you to submit non-contingent offers on your replacement home before you sell your current home. There’s also a scenario where you can use this as a contingency and still pull off selling your home and buying your replacement on the same day!
While this list isn’t meant to be all-inclusive, it is meant to show you that there are ways to accomplish selling and buying in a super-competitive Denver market. The key to success is partnering with a seasoned real estate professional who can advise you of your best options.
Over 4 million Americans have put their loans into forbearance.
Up until recently, there has been a lot of uncertainty about what it means when a borrower’s loan goes into forbearance. Will there be a huge lump sum owed at the end of the forbearance period? Will it have an impact on credit? Will people be able to purchase or refinance in the future if a loan has gone into forbearance? Initially, the CARES Act did not provide clear guidelines or statements regarding any of those questions, resulting in many borrowers unable to take advantage of record low rates and uncertain if the forbearance policies in place would cause more harm than good.
Now for the good news. On Tuesday, May 19th, the Federal Housing Agency (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) provided clarity regarding what forbearance means to borrowers, and gave guidance on how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans will handle repayment, as well as how it will affect a borrower in the future.
Here’s what it means for you.
Let us start by saying, if you’ve not been impacted financially by COVID-19 and can keep paying your payments on time and in full, you should. Forbearance or deferment is not forgiveness, and that money does not go away. So, if you can still pay, that is your best option.
Can you purchase or refinance in the future? Yes! Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac borrowers will be allowed to purchase a new home or refinance their current mortgage even if a loan has gone into forbearance. The borrower must show three consecutive months of payments after the forbearance period has ended. Additionally, if your loan has gone into forbearance accidentally (many Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans were being placed into forbearance, if a borrower even breathed the word), you can purchase or refinance immediately if your payments are up to date, without having to wait the three-month period.
Will you have to owe a lump sum at the end of your forbearance period? Not unless you want to. Here are a few ways borrowers can exit a forbearance plan:
- A borrower can pay the sum of the missed payments in full when their forbearance period ends.
- A borrower can defer the payments to the end of the loan. For example, if you were in forbearance for six months, you could tack those six months onto the end of your loan, adding an additional six months of payments before maturity. You can do this for up to 12 months, per the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
- A borrower can use a repayment plan. They can pay the amount due or missed payments, over the course of 36 months or until they are up to date on their payments.
At Love Your Hood, we’re committed to being a resource for you and all of your housing needs. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our trusted realtors if you have any questions regarding forbearance, or buying and selling in the current climate.
Source: Andrew Dodson of the Denver Business Journal
Beginning this January, real estate agents will no longer be allowed to market listings as “coming soon.” The driving force behind this? Agents will try to market to their network and score both sides of the transaction. This new rule creates an even playing field for all buyers and agents, but some brokers aren’t happy with the change.
Source: Aldo Svaldi of the Denver Post
If you were to search “overpricing a home” on Google, you’d find pages upon pages of articles and blog posts advising that it’s a bad idea. A year ago, one could get away with overpricing a home since putting it on the market alone would garner positive attention. Today, things have changed. Highlighting his reasoning with real time Denver market statistics, this article’s author advises slightly under-pricing a home when listing it these days. Agents and buyers not only know what the home is worth; they also know that a listing price must accurately represent the home’s worth in order to see a quick sale.
Source: Aldo Svaldi of the Denver Post
Companies that buy homes directly from sellers in enormous quantities have surged in popularity by simplifying the process for the seller. One of the most prominent companies with this model is Opendoor, who collects data on what home buyers are looking for — and what they’re not. Carpeted floors are at the top of Opendoor’s “not” list. Read the full article to see how much money carpet could knock off your sale price and what else Opendoor recommends avoiding.
Admittedly, before venturing into real estate as a profession, selling a home without representation crossed my mind a few times. Now, I frequently take calls about For Sale By Owner (FSBO) listings and inquiries on properties where the buyer only wants to talk to the listing agent because they are representing themselves. Having peeked behind the curtain to see the intricacies of the real estate transaction, I’m glad to have hired a Realtor® to guide my way to the closing table.
Selling Your Home without a Realtor®
When selling your home, the “commission carrot” can cloud your judgement and tempt you to go it alone. A good real estate broker will provide value that far exceeds the fee charged at the closing table. Here are the three main steps in the home selling process where utilizing a professional can most benefit you:
The biggest mistake owners make is setting the listing price incorrectly. They usually base their pricing on the internet, typically by Zillow’s Zestimates. Big mistake. Nearly 25% of Zestimates are off by more than 10% from the sale price. Zillow even states in the fine print that these estimates are a starting point for determining value. Overprice your home, and the phone might not ring after your listing goes live. Underprice it, and you may leave money on the table at closing.
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.
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.