Denver Real Estate Frequently Asked Questions Buying a home

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© Copyright Kristal Kraft

1. We are new to the area. What is Denver housing like?

2. It sounds as though the Denver metro area offers many choices, how do we decide where we want to live?

3. I have heard that many REALTORS will not work with anyone until they have signed a "buyer broker agreement". How does that benefit me?

4. If I sign a buyer broker agreement how long does it bind me to the broker?

5. We plan to purchase a new home. We love to visit models and can do so without a broker. Do you still suggest we take a our broker?

6. If I find a "For Sale By Owner" why would I want to have a buyer’s agent involved, I’m trying to save money?

7. I am a first time buyer, there are so many things to learn, can you suggest a good book?

8. How long should it take for me to find the right home?

9. What specific things should I look for in a home?

10. Is it possible to find our dream home?

11. I want a home like my parents, but there is no way I can ever afford it, should I wait?

1. We are new to the Denver area. What kind of housing can we expect?

In the Denver area, housing is varied and unique for different neighborhoods. Bear in mind, Denver was not settled until the turn of the century. In the older areas, you will find many brick bungalows that are charming and quaint. Larger two story homes, called Denver Square’s are just that, square! In the historic areas, the neighborhoods have a feeling of community, tree lined streets, convenient transportation and shopping nearby. Amenities such as large yards, spacious closets and huge master bedrooms are seldom found. For those you must go to the suburbs.

Lower Downtown, more commonly known as Lodo is attracting the urban dwellers who want to live "where the action is". This area is just bursting with lofts and hi rises. The lofts in this area are a combination of new and old. The new are being built to look like old. In a loft, you will see high ceilings with visible pipes, hardwood floors, very few separating walls, views of city, mountains parks and rooftops. Loft living is for every age. Lodo parking is at a premium, it’s best if you can survive without a car, but many offer reserved and/or deeded parking. Purchasing a loft is a definition of your "lifestyle".

Upper Downtown, is experiencing a regrowth and is becoming extremely popular. Many of the older homes have that wonderful Victoria architecture that folks just love. These older homes are selling rapidly, due to the rebirth of city living popularity.

Suburban housing can be found in the surrounding areas of Denver. Newer construction from single family residences to attached condos, townhomes and patio homes can be found in just about any price range you desire. Newer housing allows for more square footage in the living areas, larger kitchens, bathroom suites and closets that accommodate our lifestyles. Some communities have amenities such as recreation centers with pools, tennis, work out areas. Of course there are community interest dues associated with these amenities.

2.It sounds as though the Denver metro area offers many choices, how do we decide where we want to live?

Many people first determine how much money they want to spend on a home, or how much money a lending institution will lend to them. By determining how much you can afford, you will eliminate many areas. You probably know what part of town you will be working, from there decide within reason how much time you are willing to travel to work each day. On a map draw a circle around your workplace. With these two factors you can then determine where you can afford to purchase and how far from work that will be. Many families with children research the area schools, choose one that best suites their children’s needs then search for a home in that area.

3. I have heard that many REALTORS will not work with anyone until they have signed a "buyer broker agreement". How does that benefit me?

That is a very good question. The Buyer Broker agreement is a contract that mutually binds a broker and a buyer to each other. The broker acts as the buyers agent in finding a home of the buyers choice. The broker is responsible to the buyer in representing his best interests by that I mean:

A buyer broker can show you a property in a manner that gives you the positives and negatives of each property. By doing this the broker "educates" you so that you can formulate your own opinion of the property.

A buyer broker can show you a property in a manner that gives you the positives and negatives of each property. By doing this the broker "educates" you so that you can formulate your own opinion of the property.

A buyer broker will provide you with comparable sales, analyze them and give you his/her opinion or interpretation of the findings. Once again this assists you in formulating your opinion on the property.

A buyer broker can find properties that are not currently on the market.

A buyer broker will inform you of everything they know about the property or the seller of the property (that is not prohibited by law).

A buyer broker can prepare an offer to purchase and assist you in determining what price to offer and how to posture the offer to your greatest advantage.

A buyer broker is your advocate and will negotiate for you.

It is not necessary for you to sign a buyer broker agreement. You can have an agent represent you as a "transaction broker". However, as a transaction broker the agent is not an agent, merely a broker writing a contract. They will have no responsibility to you in pricing, negotiating, or searching for other properties for sale.

For the most part, when you hire a "buyer broker" you hire someone to find you a home. The simple fact that you have "hired" shows your intent and loyalty. Loyalty in it self is incentive for a broker to work for you. As a broker, I appreciate loyalty more than anything. I know I will have a sale if I do my part. It is this sort of "teamwork" that motivates a broker to work hard, give good service and go the extra mile!

4.  If I sign a buyer broker agreementhow long does it tie me to that broker?

The buyer broker agreement is for no set period of time. You can make it for 1 day, 1 property or as long as you mutually decide is necessary. As in most contracts the duration is negotiable.

5. We plan to purchase a new home. We love to visit models and can do so without a broker. Do you still suggest we take a our broker?

YES! You should have your own broker. When you visit a builder’s model and purchase a home from the "on site agent" you are not receiving representation. The "on site agent" works directly for the builder and is obligated to work in the builder’s best interest. This leaves you in a very unfavorable position. I suggest you always take your broker along when shopping for a new home. It is the best way to prevent getting into a situation that you may regret.

6. If I find a "For Sale By Owner" why wou
ld I want to have a buyer’s agent involved, I’m trying to save money?

Many people are under the opinion that they will save money by purchasing directly from the owner. Actually, if you think about it, why do you think the owner is selling by himself? My bet would be he is trying to save money! Another good reason to reconsider when thinking this way, the owner usually picks a price that they like, or need to get in order to get into the next home. This price more often than not has nothing to do with recent sold comparables in the neighborhood. Bottom line, beware when purchasing a "for sale by owner", you just don’t know what you are getting into!

If you truly want to protect your investment, than let your buyer broker assist with the sale. The broker can perform the normal pricing and negotiating tasks for you, and most likely the "for sale by owner" will pay your broker’s fee. That way you can have the best of both worlds.

7. I am a first time buyer, there are so many things to learn, can you suggest a good book?

Yes, I can understand how you feel. There are many books on the market about how to buy a home. I might suggest that you talk to an agent who "specializes" in helping first time homebuyers. Most agents have tools and information to help people like yourself. I have developed a manual to give to my "first-timers". Actually, I give it to all my buyers. I understand the fact that you may only purchase a few homes in your lifetime. As an agent I help people buy and sell homes everyday, therefore I realize the importance of a manual that will walk you through the important steps of buying a home. Every state and region has different local customs, what is done here in Denver may not be the case in some other state. Just understand the differences and be prepared to "adapt" to them. A good professional, full time REALTOR, should be able to recognize the differences and explain them to you.

8. How long should it take for me to find the right home?

It is my job to consider your needs when looking for a home. Once we have discussed your needs, financial considerations, location of work, school needs, I can run the computer and see what is available. If you are not familiar with the neighborhoods, I can provide you with a "tour" of the area. After we have toured, I ask you which you prefer. Your answers will help guide me in our search. Relocation buyers can find a home in 3 days. In my experience, the first day is a learning day, the second is a focus day and the third is a decision day. Most of the time transferees are comfortable with this schedule.

If by chance we are not able to locate a home the first time out, most likely we can designate an area that you wish to live in. If so, then I can go to work, marketing directly to that area. A home will come available soon that will suite your needs! They always do.

9. What specific things should I look for in a home?

Think about the way you live and look for features that you enjoy. Consider the furniture that you own, and what you plan to purchase. When you are in a home, look beyond the decorations currently there and visualize what it will look like with your possessions. You may want to consider driving time to work, school and shopping. If you are an active outdoor person, you may want to consider location/proximity to bike/hike /jogging trails. A home is a lifestyle. Make sure yours is as compatible as possible.

10. Is it possible to find our dream home?

Yes, however no house is perfect in every way. There will always be something that is not exactly right or in accordance with your criteria. If you are able to find a home with 3 out of 5 of the features you need most, this may be the house for you.

11. I want a home like my parents, but there is no way I can afford it, should I wait?

Waiting will only widen the gap of affordability. My suggestion is to carefully review your needs and to settle into a home that you can sell in a couple years. Once you are in a home, it should appreciate, helping you build equity and bringing you closer to your "dream home". Many people who have wonderful homes did not get there with the first try. They purchased and rolled over their equity every few years, until they accumulated enough to go for the "perfect home". All this takes some planning and of course, patience!

Remember when you are a home owner you gain advantage in several ways:
reduction of mortgage amount – gaining equity
your home appreciates with the market – you ride up with the values rather than staying static
home ownership offers a significant tax benefit – you get to write off the interest deduction
the most important reason of all – pride of owning something!

© Copyright Kristal Kraft

 

Kristal Kraft

Denver Relocation Tips From Denver Dwellings Blog

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