Good News for Buyers

Here’s some good news for buyers who have been waiting for more selection…

No need to wait any more because the numbers show that more new listings are hitting the market compared to the recent past.

In Metro Denver, the number of homes for sale is up 14.42% compared to last year. 

That equates to 800 more homes to choose from.

Start spreading the news!

Posted on November 2, 2018 at 8:02 pm
Windermere Windsor | Category: Blog, For Buyers, Fun Facts, Market News, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , ,

Love Letters: How to set yourself apart in a seller’s market

Love letters are a lost art form, in romance and home buying. Yes, home buying. If you’re a buyer and you want to set yourself apart from other buyers, you might want to state your intentions clearly by declaring your abiding love for the seller’s home in a letter. Here are a few tips for writing a love letter that works (for love letters of a romantic nature, you’re on your own).

Consider what about the home makes it your dream home. Do you see yourself raising a family there? Do you have a special attraction to the architectural/design style? Does the home evoke a sense of nostalgia? Consider your emotional reaction to the home. Many sellers are emotionally tied to their homes, and they often want others to see value in the things that make the home appealing and unique.

Share your home-buying journey. Whether you’re buying your first home, upgrading to something larger, or seeking a place for retirement, those personal stories can help a seller empathize with you.

Share commonalities. If you have any information about the people selling the house, share what you have in common. This could be anything from children to hobbies.

Show, don’t tell. If you can, paint a picture of what your life will be like when you live there. For example, “I can imagine pancake breakfasts with our two children in the lovely kitchen.” If the seller has had similar experiences, continuing those traditions may be important to them.

Don’t over-compliment the seller. A love letter should be an authentic message about your interest in the home. A seller can tell if you’re genuine, so keep your compliments sparse and real.

Keep is short and simple. Your love letter should be a sonnet, not a novel. Keep to the point and try to remain under 200 words.

Show stability. You might find yourself bidding against all cash buyers or people willing to pay more than you are. Your letter may set you apart from the competition emotionally, but don’t forget to share that you’re a financially viable candidate. Also, if you have unique (and strong) resume attributes, consider including a couple of key points. You never know what might draw the seller to you.

Don’t point out flaws or improvements to be made. Even when you’ve found your dream home, you may still have plans for improvements. This is not what sellers want to hear. Make sure not to point out the household flaws, or renovations you will make once the ink has dried. This could sour the seller to your overture.

Consider a multi-media love letter. Last year, a Windermere agent helped his client purchase the home of her dreams. She was a violinist and the home she desired required a certain acoustic quality. He followed her through the home while she played in different rooms. When she sent this video to the sellers, it helped set her apart from other buyers bidding on the home.

Be professional. While this is a love letter, and somewhat emotional, it is also a part of a business transaction. Do not be overly familiar. Remember to format, address, and copy edit your letter as you would with any other business correspondence.

Here are some samples of love letters.

If you are submitting a love letter with your bid, make sure to consult your agent. They may have inside information about the people selling the home through their connections with the selling agent. Your agent can advise you if your letter is appropriate and what information it should contain.

In a competitive seller’s market a love letter will not always work, but as in love, it is always worth a try.

Have you ever written a love letter with a house offer? What was your experience?

Posted on July 22, 2018 at 6:00 am
Windermere Windsor | Category: For Buyers, For Buyers & Sellers, Housing Trends, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged ,

When Buying a Short Sale Home is the Right Fit

Purchasing a home can feel overwhelming at times, but a short sale home offers a unique opportunity for a prospective buyer. A short sale occurs when a homeowner owes a lender more than their home is worth, and the lender agrees to let the owner sell the home and accept less than what is owed. Lenders may agree to a short sale because they believe it will net them more money than going forward with a lengthy and costly foreclosure process.

Short sales do differ in a number of ways from conventional home sales. Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about buying a short sale property.

    • Short sale homes sell for less, but not significantly less than market value.

Buyers hoping to snap up a home for half the market value will be disappointed. The selling price for short sales averages about 10 percent less than for non-distressed properties. The bank is looking to recover as much of the value of the home as possible, so they will not accept offers that are significantly under market value. That said, with savings that can equal tens of thousands of dollars, a short sale is a great way to get more house for your money.

    • Short sale properties are sold “as is”.

The lender will not be making repairs to the home. Any improvements that need to be made are most likely going to be the responsibility of the buyer. A savvy buyer’s agent/broker will get contractor bids for any necessary repairs and use those to help negotiate a lower sales price with the bank.

    • A short sale will take longer than a conventional home sale.

Once you and the seller have mutual acceptance on an offer, you need to allow 60 to 90 days for the lender approval process. There are often long stretches when the offer is slowly winding its way through the bank’s system, so buyers need to be patient.

    • If you have to sell your home first, a short sale is probably not the best fit.

Lenders generally will not take contingent offers on a short sale.

    • A short sale is one real estate transaction that you shouldn’t attempt on your own. 

Short sales are complicated transactions that involve a different process and significantly more paperwork than a standard real estate sale. An agent/broker that is unfamiliar with short sales can write an offer in such a way that they inadvertently cause their buyers to lose the deal. An experienced short sale agent/broker will protect your interest and help the process move forward smoothly.

The bottom line: As long as you can be patient, and are working with an agent/broker who understands the process, buying a short sale is a great way to purchase the house you want at a price you’ll love.

Posted on July 17, 2018 at 6:00 am
Windermere Windsor | Category: For Buyers, Fort Collins Real Estate, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged

Buying your home: A step-by-step approach

There is a lot to consider when you decide to buy a home, especially if it is your first. How much home you can afford? What kind of loan should you choose? Which neighborhoods are both affordable and a good investment? These are just a few of the questions you’ll be asking yourself. But with an experienced agent to help you, you’ll get the guidance you need to come up with the right answers−and a home you love.

First things first

Before you start shopping, you need to find out how much home you can afford to buy. Your agent can refer you to a loan officer who will help you determine how much of a down payment you can manage, as well as the monthly payment, taxes and insurance costs. Your lender can then prequalify you for a dollar amount, which can help you focus your search. You can also get a quick, rough estimate of monthly mortgage costs at Windermere.com; there’s a mortgage rate calculator on every listing detail page.

Create a wish list

Once you know your price range, talk to your agent about the home features you need and the ones you would prefer. The former might include number of bedrooms or suitable space for a home office, while the latter might include hardwood floors or a pantry. By clearly communicating your needs and preferences, you can help you agent narrow down the selection and avoid wasting your time.

Check out a few neighborhoods

Be sure to talk to your agent about what you’re looking for in a neighborhood. Are property values your highest priority? Great schools? A short commute? Small-town atmosphere? Big-city amenities? Your agent will try to narrow down the affordable neighborhoods that fit your criteria. Then you can either explore them with your agent or get a sense of each neighborhood on your own.

Shop for a loan

There are many different loan programs to choose from. You’ll want to find one that offers you the best terms for your current situation and future plans. Your agent can give you the names of several mortgage specialists who can review your options with you and help you determine which loan is the most advantageous. Once you’re approved for a loan, sellers will consider you a more attractive prospective buyer.

Make an offer

You’ve finally found the right house in the right neighborhood. It fits your practical needs, has potential and just feels right. So how do you ensure that you keep the price as affordable as possible without running the risk of losing it? Your agent has the expertise to help you make the right offer. He or she knows what comparable houses are selling for, how long they’ve been on the market, and whether or not the asking price for the home you want is fair. Your agent can also offer excellent advice when it comes to making a counteroffer.

Seal the deal

Once you’ve found the home you want and your offer has been accepted, you give the seller an earnest-money deposit. Your agent draws up a purchase and sale agreement; it’s the contract that outlines the details of the property transfer from the seller to you. This contract is typically contingent on the home passing a structural inspection and you obtaining approval for financing.

The inspection lets you know if the house has any major issues and how well it has been maintained. Remember, no house is perfect. If the inspection uncovers some problems, your agent can help you determine whether to ask the seller to handle or pay for the repairs or to renegotiate the price of the home.

When the inspection is concluded and any loose ends resolved, you “close” on the home. Closing is when you and the seller sign all the papers, you pay your share of the settlement fees, and the documents are recorded. Your agent will be a happy to answer any questions throughout this complex process.

Home at last

When you buy a home, you get more than just a place to live. You get the satisfaction of having a place that is truly yours, one that reflects your style and provides a comfortable setting for you and your family. Buying a home also gives you a substantial annual tax deduction and a way to build wealth over the years.

Posted on July 16, 2018 at 6:00 am
Windermere Windsor | Category: For Buyers, Fort Collins Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged

NEW LISTING – 1125 Redwood Drive, Loveland, CO 80538

Check out this Windermere Certified Listing! Make yourself at home in this well maintained ranch! Hardwood floors in living room and all 3 bedrooms. Large lot allows for plenty of space for outside entertainment. Central A/C, patio, storage shed, workshop with electricity, no HOA, RV/Boat parking on property.

Contact Julie Kendall for more information on the property details, including price.

Posted on July 5, 2018 at 6:00 am
Windermere Windsor | Category: For Buyers, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate

The Risks and Rewards of Purchasing a Bank-Owned Home

The process of purchasing a home directly from a lender can be long and arduous, but could very well be worth it in the end. If you have your sights on a particular home or are looking to find a deal on your first, working directly with the lender may be your only option. Purchasing a bank-owned home is not for the faint of heart, here are some tips for negotiating the REO process:

1. Be prepared: The condition of bank-owned properties are often poor and hard to show. Past owners may have departed on bad terms, leaving the home in poor condition with foul smells, missing appliances, wires taken from breakers, gas fireplaces gone, even bathrooms without toilets and sinks.

2. Understand the costs: Maintenance or repairs may be necessary, since these homes have been vacant for an unknown period of time–sometimes months or years. Keep in mind, when they were occupied the owners could have been under a financial hardship, preventing them from doing regular seasonal care or repairs when needed. Remember as well that the bank is trying to sell the house immediately, so you will receive a financial break in the price rather than a willingness to negotiate on the maintenance and repair issues.

3. Accept the unknown: In traditional real estate transactions, homeowners fill out Form 17 regarding important information about the history of the house. A bank owned home is either exempt or marked with “I don’t know” throughout the document. Not having the accuracy of this 5-page disclosure form could leave you with a lot of unanswered questions on the history of the home.

4. Know what is non-negotiable: The pricing on the house may not get much lower. Some of these properties can be “a dream come true” if you get them at an amazing price, or they could be your worst nightmare. Do your due diligence researching any property, and conduct all necessary inspections to safeguard yourself. Some major repairs may be negotiable, but will likely not reduce the home price.

5. Make a clean offer: The higher the price you can offer, the better. Include your earnest money, keep contingencies to a minimum, and suggest a reasonable closing date. The simpler your offer is, the higher chance you have of the bank accepting your offer or countering in a reasonable time period.

6. Be patient: Consult with a professional who handles bank owned home purchases to help you negotiate the pathway to homeownership. The process of purchasing a bank-owned, foreclosed or short-sale home is typically longer than a typical real estate sale.

Posted on June 30, 2018 at 6:00 am
Windermere Windsor | Category: For Buyers, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged

5 Deal Breakers that can blindside home buyers

Purchasing a home can be a complex endeavor for even the most well-prepared home buyer.  You’ve diligently saved for your down payment, followed the market, researched agents and now you are ready to make an offer on your dream home.  Don’t let these 5 “Deal Breakers” come between you and your new home.

  1. Big Purchases on Credit. It is tempting to buy the furniture for your new home or a new car for the garage before the sale closes. Take care if you are making these purchases on credit. Large purchases on credit can have a major impact on your credit profile which effects your mortgage application. It’s a better plan to wait until after closing or pay cash for these transactions or you may be putting that furniture in a different living room than you originally picked them out for.
  2. Overpaying. Before your bank will approve your mortgage they will appraise the home you are purchasing.  If they feel you are overpaying they are likely to decline your mortgage application. If you find yourself in this situation consult with your agent on renegotiating your offer to be more in line with the bank’s appraised value.
  3. Purchasing too close to Foreclosure. If you are making an offer on a house which is facing foreclosure be sure to have a closing date set before the foreclosure date. Have your agent work with the lender to structure closing before the house goes back to the bank and into foreclosure.
  4. IRS liens. You’ve heard the old saying “Death and Taxes”.  Back taxes and liens can derail your attempts to get financing for a mortgage so be sure to have your books in order before filing your loan application.
  5. Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE). CLUE is a database of insurance claims for both people and property.  Your home insurance rates are determined by the information about you and the property you plan to purchase which is contained in this report. Past claims for water damage, falling trees and even dog bites from present and past owners can multiply your insurance rates. Consult your agent about the CLUE report for your future home as soon as possible once your home purchase offer is accepted.

When purchasing a home there will be challenges which you can plan for and the unexpected hurdles.  By educating yourself as a consumer and choosing a well trained real estate agent you can avoid many of the pitfalls of 21st century home ownership.

Posted on June 15, 2018 at 6:00 am
Windermere Windsor | Category: For Buyers, Windermere Real Estate

710 City Park Ave C321, Fort Collins, CO

Second Floor Condo Near Colorado State University!

Fantastic home buyer or investment opportunity near CSU and old town! Regularly maintained with newer carpet on the 2nd floor above grade. A balcony overlooking a quiet street is perfect for warm weather and a real fireplace in the living room for those Fort Collins fall mornings! Separate vanity in the master bedroom in addition to the separated bathroom vanity/shower makes this home great for an owner with a roommate. Condo has consistently rented for 20 years and continues to be in demand!

Contact Casey Brown or Dakota Brown for more information or click below to view the photos and details, including price.

Posted on June 7, 2018 at 4:43 pm
Windermere Windsor | Category: For Buyers, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Virtual Tour, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , ,

How to Get Started in Real Estate Investing

Investing in real estate is one of the world’s most venerable pathways to building wealth. When properly managed, income from renting or real estate investment trusts can provide you with the financial security to plan out the rest of your life. The conclusion is easy to envision, but knowing where to begin can be overwhelming, particularly for anyone who has never previously owned a home.

At Windermere our goal is always to improve and support our communities, so we’ve put together a few key things to keep in mind as you enter the world of real estate investment.

Know the right type of investment for you

Investing in real estate needn’t commit you to being a landlord. A Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is a low-maintenance way to get involved in real estate with next to none of the day-to-day monitoring required of direct property management. REITs are trusts that typically own multiple properties, and investors may purchase shares within the REIT. Typically, as the value of the property rises, so too do the values of your shares. If you’d like to dip a toe into real estate investing before diving in fully, a REIT is a great place to start.

Start with your own home

Owning the roof over your head is a basic step towards investing success. Even better, when you plan to live in the home you’re buying (rather than renting it out), you will likely benefit from lower mortgage rates and a cheaper down payment. The reasoning is straightforward – lenders see a loan to people purchasing the home they live in as an investment in people highly committed to the property.

Once you’ve owned your own house for a few years, you can look to purchase a new home to move into. By purchasing the new home with the intent to move in, you’ll be eligible to receive more favorable financing once again. After you’ve secured your new home, your first home is primed to be transformed into a rental property, and you can continue to see a return on your investment. If you’re seeking further support with buying a first, second, or third home, our websiteand our agents are full of information.

Cast a wide net

The best investment opportunity isn’t always going to be right underneath your nose. While there are logistical benefits to focusing locally with your investment, you may miss more profitable opportunities in another burgeoning market. Real estate is a long game, and patience tends to be rewarded. There’s no cause to rush a decision of this magnitude, so investigating other states and regions to find the property that best fits your situation is a process worth considering.

Posted on June 4, 2018 at 5:00 am
Windermere Windsor | Category: For Buyers, Fort Collins Real Estate, Home Owners, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , ,

How NOT to Buy a Haunted House

Halloween is a holiday we tend to associate with the undead, so what better way to get in the “spirit” of things than to talk about ghosts. While you hear a lot about ghosts in October, they’re actually a year-round phenomenon (and they’re not all as friendly as Casper). So, if you’re in the market for a home right now, you might want to consider your threshold for the paranormal. Here are some ways to identify – and avoid – ending up with a haunted house.

Something doesn’t feel right. When it comes to finding a home, we talk a lot about how a home feels. People generally feel it in their gut when they have found “the one”.  Same goes for ghosts. If you feel like something is off, but you just can’t put your finger on it, you probably want to investigate a little further. This is the perfect time to break out the Ouija board and grab a bottle of something strong for your nerves (caution: seeing ghosts may or may not be due to alcohol consumption).

Follow the history of the home. Hit the interwebs and do a little online investigation to find out if the home has any skeletons in its closets (literally). Did anyone die in the house? Was it built on an ancient burial gravesite? Both of these could be DEAD giveaways for paranormal activity. Public records can be helpful for basic information, or you can check out this handy website: www.diedinhouse.com. If you don’t mind the house’s sordid past, use it as leverage to knock some zeros off the asking price. What’s a house filled with dead people if you can get it for a steal?

Meet the neighbors. It’s always a good idea to get to know the neighborhood before moving in. Learn about the schools, check out the local shops and amenities, and take a good look at who your neighbors will be.  If you walk next door and the equivalent of the Adams family is staring you in the face, it might be a good time to look at other options. And if you have no other options, it’s never too early to invest in a respectable tombstone. Hey, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Follow the paper work. When selling a home, homeowners are required to fill out a “Self Disclosure Form” to reveal any known issues. In some states, this includes revealing if the home has any paranormal activity. In fact, if a home is known to be haunted, it can be deemed a “stigmatized home” which can impact the sale. But keep in mind, self-disclosure of paranormal activity is hard to qualify and prove, so buyers beware.

Look for more overt signs. Did you feel a tap on your shoulder, but nobody was there? Is there blood oozing through the walls or furniture moving by itself? Or maybe a spirit physically manifested itself in front of you. Well, this might be a ghost trying to get your attention. If you have an experience like this, it’s probably a good idea to find the nearest exit as quickly as possible and move onto the next home.

Let logic be your guide. So you’ve fallen in love with a home, but you suspect that it’s haunted. There could be a totally plausible explanation. Start by trying to explain the phenomena you are feeling. Could the creaks and bangs come from pests or plumbing issues? Perhaps the chills you feel are caused by a draft? Are you watching too many horror movies? Do you need to make an appointment with your shrink? What you think are signs of a haunting could all be in your head.

Do you have any ghost stories to share? We’d love to hear about your own experiences of dealing with the undead.

Posted on June 1, 2018 at 5:00 am
Windermere Windsor | Category: For Buyers | Tagged , , ,