Friday, January 25, 2013

What You Don't Know Could Hurt You

One of the important milestones during the process of buying a home is the inspection period.  I always recommend a professional inspection by a certified, trusted Inspector, even though Colorado does not require inspectors to be licensed to operate a business.  Don't rely on a once-over from your Uncle Al who's been a handyman for decades; a good Inspector has special expertise and tools to help him evaluate the structure and systems, and can recommend other inspections that may be needed, like sewer scoping, structural or asbestos.

Another tool for helping evaluate a home is the Seller's Property Disclosure.  This document is filled out by the sellers, and relates everything they know about the property to date, from roof leaks to code violations, from pest problems to appliance functionality.  It is not required to transfer the property, but it is always recommended.  Buyers will expect to receive this document, and sellers refusing to fill it out will raise eyebrows.  In addition, it can help jog a seller's memory about past problems or repairs that they may unintentionally neglect to mention.  While they are not legally required to fill out the SPD, they are required to disclose material facts about the property, and not doing so may result in big legal trouble down the line should something serious go wrong for the new homeowners.

Would you know if your roof was in need of repair?
Depending on your situation as a seller, you may want to consider having your house inspected and pre-certified even before listing your home for sale.  For a few hundred dollars, you can discover any issues that are likely to come up when the buyers do their inspection and address them right away.  You will be able to decide for yourself whether to repair or replace an item, and select the service provider on your own.  In many cases, it will be less expensive to take care of issues up front than to allow a buyer to use them to negotiate a discount on the asking price later.  This does not guarantee that another inspector won't find other issues, but at least you know that the big items such as the roof or furnace are in good shape.

There are companies that will do an inspection and then certify the home with a home warranty.  This can be just the thing to give a buyer some peace of mind for the near future.  Home warranties start around $300 for about a year, and there are several different packages covering a variety of items and systems in the home.  Offering a home warranty in your listing tells buyers that you are good about maintenance and sets a positive tone for negotiations.

One thing to note about getting the home pre-inspected.  Once you are aware of material facts about the property, you are required to disclose them to potential buyers.  If you find that there is some settling happening due to improper drainage, or that the furnace is on its last legs, you have to tell whether or not you plan on rectifying the issue.  However, it's likely going to come up at some point anyway, so I always advocate for being the first to know.

image:  Dana Dean Roofing Company

I would love to help you with your real estate journey. 
Please contact me at 303-917-7143 or

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Homebuying Process: Step 5

Congratulations!  The underwriter for your loan has given you the clear to close.  The loan packet has been sent to the title company, who is preparing closing documents for review and signatures.  Your last few tasks are at hand.

It's a good idea to schedule a final walk-through of the property as close as you can before closing.  This ensures that the property is in the same condition as it was when you signed the purchase agreement.  If something unexpected has happened, like a water heater leak or a large branch falling on the roof, the issue can be dealt with before closing.  If it's not an emergency or something that would affect the financing, sometimes a credit can be given at closing from the seller to the buyer to have it repaired afterwards.

Likely there has already been discussion around a closing time and place.  Your Realtor should have given you directions to closing, and instructed you to bring your driver's license as photo ID is required.  The title company will have sent a settlement statement outlining all of the charges and credits for your transaction, and you should know how much money, if any, you will need to bring to closing.  Depending on the amount, the title company may require a wire transfer instead of a certified check from the bank; ask the title company for wiring instructions.

 Nothing left to do now except show up and sign!  Try not to be overwhelmed by the large stack of paperwork; often there are duplicates and triplicates of documents that need original signatures.  Also, your Closer will walk you through and explain the purpose of every document you are signing.  Don't be afraid to slow down and read through anything you don't understand - this is a big deal, and everyone will wait until you are satisfied with answers to your questions.

It's a great feeling to get those keys handed to you.  Sometimes the process has hiccups, but if you've made good choices with the professionals you've hired, most things are easily remedied.  2013 would be a great year to become a Homeowner!   

I would love to help you with your real estate journey. 
Please contact me at 303-917-7143 or