Friday, May 31, 2013

Price Isn't Everything

With the multiple offer situations we frequently find ourselves in this spring, a lot of thought should be put into how to present the cleanest offer that puts the client's best foot forward.  A lot of people might assume that the highest offer price will be the winning contract, and while that is often true it is not always the case.

Take my recent experience in Louisville, for example.  A home went on the market 24 hours before showings were allowed.  My client and I were among the first ones in the home the next day right as it was opened.  I was the first to call the listing agent to find out what kind of terms the seller was looking for ideally, and we were the first offer in.  It was a clean contract, with no contingencies or special requests.  Our closing date was flexible, down payment significant.  We offered more earnest money than was required, a lender letter, a personal letter from my client, and all of the signed disclosure the listing agent had uploaded to the MLS.  The opening bid was over the listing price, with an escalation clause up to $15,000 over.

We came in second.  To an even higher offer price.

Frankly, I was quite disappointed, as was my Buyer, but we knew we had done everything we could.  The sellers signed our offer as an official back-up, so the wait began.

The inspection period came and went.  Soon after I received a call from the listing agent, informing me that the appraisal had come in short of the agreed upon purchase price of the selected offer.  The sellers had agreed to meet their first-position buyer somewhere in the middle, requiring that buyer to come up with the difference in cash at closing.  She was unable to do so, but because my Buyer had such a large downpayment she was easily able to step in and meet to the seller's terms.

Had I been the listing agent, I would've warned my sellers about the possibility of this scenario, and counseled them on the pros and cons of each offer.  In the end, it's the sellers call, and it can be hard to turn down what appears to be a windfall in price.  But having to switch gears in the middle of a transaction costs the seller carrying costs, not to mention causing a delay in their plans to move on.  a financially solid Buyer can ultimately save time and money and give sellers peace of mind.

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

Friday, May 17, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention

It's that time of year when the weather warms up and homeowners start thinking about outdoor projects.  One thing that should be on your list every year before deciding where to put your money and energy is a inspection of your home and yard.  Harsh winters can expose maintenance issues that, if taken care of straightaway, can prevent costly repairs down the line.

Examine your siding or brick.  If it's wood, fiber-cement or some other kind of composite material, check for areas that need paint touch-ups.  Especially along the last row of siding on a wall, rain and snow can begin to deteriorate the finish and allow moisture inside which can warp or damage the board or interior structure.  Check the manufacturer's recommendations on repainting and keep the surface and edges sealed.  Take a look at the bricks or mortar between for cracking.  Small cracks can usually be repaired, but bigger cracks may indicate a more serious structural issue.

 Inspect your windows and doors.  Extreme changes in temperature over the seasons can cause caulk to shrink and pull away from openings, especially if the house is also settling a bit.  Remove old caulk, clean the surfaces, recaulk and paint if required.  Also check for moisture or fogging in between the window panes.  This can indicate that the seal of the window is failing and has lost some of its insulating properties.  Often this can be repaired or replaced without having to change out the whole window.

Check your roof, gutters and downspouts.  If you aren't comfortable going up on your roof but it's been a long time since anyone else has, you may want to have it inspected by a licensed roofing professional.  Hail and wind can cause damage that you might not be able to see from the ground, which can allow moisture to seep into the structure below.  Ice, snow and holiday decorations can sometimes cause gutters or flashing to pull away from the structure.  These areas can then allow water to run down the fascia boards that can rot in time.  Be sure that your gutters are clean of debri and the downspouts are correctly routing water sufficiently away from your house so that the foundation is not affected. 

Take care of your deck.  Over time, nails can pop and boards can warp and cause tripping hazards.  Handrails sometimes splinter and can cause injury.  Sand and reseal or replace damaged boards.  Depending on your climate, you may have to power wash, stain and seal every year to keep the decking from absorbing any moisture.  Also, be sure to check your deck supports.  Look for loose screws or bolts, damage from insects or animals, or settling that may make the deck unstable.  Even decks with manufactured decking will have a wooden structure that can be affected weather or critters.

Examine your lawn and landscaping.  Getting your lawn aerated in the spring can improve water drainage and nutrient absorption.  Examine your trees and shrubbery for disease or insect infestations that can spread to other plants or even structures.  Once the last frost has passed, test your sprinkler systems for proper operation and leaking.  Check hoses and hose bibs for leaks.  Walk your driveway and sidewalks to make sure that there is no major cracking or heaving that may cause tripping hazards.  Severe cracking may indicate a settling problem that could further endanger your structures, so having them evaluated by a specialist is a good way to prevent further issues.

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

Friday, May 3, 2013

Handling Your Objections

I have stated before that one of the important milestones during the process of buying a home is the inspection period.  It's the period during which a Buyer can verify that the home doesn't have any significant problems, such as roof leaks or a cracked heat exchanger in the furnace.  It's a chance for the Seller to address issues that they didn't know about when they priced and put the home on the market.

What it is NOT is a time to renegotiate the price after buyer's remorse sets in.  In this fast-paced market, buyers know that attractive homes sell quickly.  In Louisville this spring, homes are going under contract within hours of going on the market, often with multiple offers and closing at a price well above listing.  In the frenzy of negotiation, buyers sometimes don't stop to determine if they should be paying what they are being pushed to offer.

The Inspection Objection is the document that is used to convey any unsatisfactory results of inspections from Buyer to Seller once a purchase contract has been signed.  It includes specific requests to be done in order for the transaction to move forward, such as cleaning and certifying the furnace or having GFCI outlets installed in the kitchen and bathrooms.  Issues regarding safety and health and those that affect the integrity of the structure are perfectly reasonable items on which a Buyer would request repairs.

Other items, such as having popcorn ceilings scraped and repainted, are subjective and may not be something the Seller is willing to take care of.  The Seller would expect that the Buyer saw the ceilings already and took the cost of that work into consideration when submitting the offer.  In addition, in a competitive market like the one we're seeing this year, it's likely that there are back-up offers waiting in the wings.  Should the Buyer make capricious or unreasonable requests, the Seller might just refuse to make any changes and let the Buyer walk in favor of another Buyer who will accept the ceilings as they are.

It's important to discover unknown material facts about the home you are about to purchase; it is equally important to know how to handle this information once it is received.  It's one more reason why the experience of a Realtor is so valuable.

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