Under Contract Process Expenses

What to expect during the under contract process. You are ready to buy a home. You have saved your dollars and you have your down payment. But you want to know what will the costs be over and above the down payment. That is a great question. You need to be ready for all under contract process expenses.

Earnest Money

A picture of cash and keys demonstrating Under Contract Process Expenses

The first money that will be required is the earnest money is oven required within a few days of the contract being accepted. It is not uncommon for the earnest money to be required to be provided within three business days of contract acceptance. The earnest money amount is what is requested by the seller and is apart of the contract. Sometimes when wanting to ensure your contract is accepted you may add to the earnest money amount. Doubling the requested amount or even tripling the amount requested by the seller. The earnest money is provided in the form of a personal check that is cashed and be credited to you at closing or you can provide the title company with a wire for the funds. 

Under Contract Process Expenses: Inspection

The next cost that you will have once you have a property under contract is the cost of the inspection.  Most inspectors charge based on the location of the property and the square footage of the home. The larger the home the more expensive the inspection. The cost can run anywhere between $400 to $750.  Inspectors usually expect payment before they begin or at time of the inspection.


Another cost that you can expect to pay as a part of the process is the cost of the appraisal. How this cost is handled depends on the lender that you are working with. Some lenders want the money at time of the contract acceptance others will make the appraisal apart of closing costs. Make sure know what you the expectation is. If you are required to have the money upfront that can be as much as $500 to $800 that you will need to pay at time of contract acceptance.  

Buying a home has expenses as a part of the process. This post gives you some idea of what to expect in terms of under contract process expenses. Contact us so that we can be your guide through the process of purchasing a new home.

Red Flags When Buying A Home

Buying a home is an exciting, stressful, and can be a fun process.  What are some important things that all buyers should pay attention to and look out for while shopping for your home?  Here is a list of ten red flags to look for when buying a home. 

Too Much Scent

While looking at home you may walk into a home that smells like air freshener.  Every where you walk in the home you see another plug in or sent producing product.  This is a red flag and the owner of the home could be covering offensive odors.

Red Flags When Buying A Home: Poor Tile Work

A photo of a tile backsplash demonstrating red flags when buying a home

Sometimes home owners take on projects that they know nothing about and they struggle to complete these projects.  Tiling can be a project that looks so easy on the home improvement shows.  Bad tiling can cost a lot to un do and re do.  Check grout lines, and tile alignment. Cracked grout can be a sign of major issues. It won’t be long before these tiles start coming loose. It may also be a sign of water damage underneath the tile. Misaligned tiles are indicative of a home owner completed job and should give you pause. Best case scenario the tile will always be crooked. Worst case, a much shorter life span for your tile.

Foundation and Maintenance Issues

These problems can show up through uneven floors, cracks in walls, sticking windows and doors and gaps that can be found around doors and windows. Poor maintenance in the home can indicate that the seller has ignored other issues.  Poor maintenance can also shorten the life of furnace and a/c units. 

Red Flags When Buying A Home: Beware of Water Nearby

A photo of a tile backsplash demonstrating red flags when buying a home

Water front property is beautiful but can mean more expense to you as the buyer and additional problems.  Water front property can indicate that there is a higher chance of flooding. The property may also require flood insurance. 

Beware of Water Inside

Water can also cause problems inside. Mold is a four-letter word in real estate.  A small bit of mold can cost thousands of dollars to address.  Make sure that bathrooms are inspected for mold.  Check under sinks in kitchen and bath for small gray or black spots. Look for water damage. Musty odor can indicate that you should check further to ensure that the home that you would like to buy does not have water damage. Check ceilings for water damage and even make sure that your inspector checks the attic too.

Cosmetic updates can be the reason that you fell in love with the home.  Beware and make sure that those great updates are not hiding something that could be a deal breaker if you knew about it. Bad ventilation can allow moisture to stick around and create mold.  Make sure that bathrooms have working vent fans. 

Red Flags When Buying A Home: Wonky Windows

Another important thing to watch for is wonky windows.  What is a wonky window?  That is a window that does not open smoothly.  A wonky window can signal foundation issues.  Moreover, windows are pricy to fix and repair.  

Buying a home is exciting.  It is important to know what you are buying.  Watch out for these red flags when buying a home. Get the home inspected to ensure that you are not taking on more than you can handle. Some of the issues listed above are not quick or inexpensive fixes.  You should enjoy home ownership and not feel burdened with a problem that costs thousands to correct. Your inspector should be able to find issues like those listed above.  Then you can make an educated decision to buy.  Let us be your guide through the process. Contact us today.

Preparing Your Home For Sale

When preparing your home for sale there are a few things you should keep in mind. Preparing your home for sale is even important in a strong sellers market. This is because the time you spend preparing can mean more money in your pocket and possibly more offers to choose from. Attractive houses appeal to the greatest number of buyers. In turn these buyers that are excited to buy your home and pay top dollar for it. Follow along with our checklist below to ensure that you don’t miss any of these easily overlooked steps.

✔ First Impression Is So Important

Curb appeal is vital for pictures and showings. Your lawn should be trimmed, sidewalks swept, front door clean and door bell working. You never get a second chance to make a first impression on a potential buyer for your home.

✔ Painting For A Better Sale

The difference between old paint and new paint is an easy one to see almost immediately. Therefore, you should make sure to freshen up paint. Especially in rooms that may have been neglected. Neutral tones are the most desirable by the largest number of buyers. Try to avoid dark and overwhelming colors as they have the potential to be objectionable. A minor investment in paint will pay dividends in the form of a better price and quicker sale

✔ Preparing Your Home For Sale: Here Comes the Sun!

An image of a light and bright living room demonstrating the best ways for preparing your home for sale.

Bright houses sell. Prior to showings and photos make your house as bright as possible. To do so open the curtains and clean the windows so a prospect can see how bright and cheerful your house is. This is because dark and dreary rooms are not appealing to homebuyers. We photograph homes to show both the interior and exterior so clean windows are paramount.

✔ Don’t Be A Drip

Fix leaky faucets. Both on the interior and exterior of your home. Dripping water suggests faulty plumbing and major repair bills. Discolored, rust-stained sinks are also warning signs. Your sinks, tubs and fixtures should be clean and sparkling.

✔ Little Things Mean A Lot

Prospective buyers will not only walk through your home. They will also open cabinets, closets and drawers. They want to know that your home will work for their things. For this reason loose doorknobs or cabinet pulls, sticking doors and drawers, wobbly hinges, and stuck windows are negative factors. Check and repair all these minor flaws prior to listing your home for sale.

✔ Preparing Your Home For Sale: Safety First

Keep stairways and corridors absolutely clear. Not only does excess stuff make your home appear smaller. Clutter is also unattractive and can cause accidents.

✔ Bathrooms Sell Homes

An image of a bathroom demonstrating the best ways for preparing your home for sale.

Buyers love bathrooms. For this reason it is important to make bathrooms sparkle. Clean sinks and toilets and repair any damaged or discolored caulking. Doing so will help your home have a universal appeal. It will also help your property appear move in ready. This is paramount as most buyers aren’t looking for projects the minute they move in. A little elbow grease could net you thousands.

✔ Preparing Your Home For Sale: From Top To Bottom

Potential buyers do not want to see the way you live in the home. They want to be able to see themselves living there. We all have extra stuff but don’t just tuck it away in closets or the basement. Let the prospects see the full value of your basement, attic, garage and closets by removing junk and cartons. You may need to rent a short term storage space, but this small investment will pay off.

Ready to sell. Let us help point out the things you may be overlooking. Contact us and we would be happy to walk you through everything you need to do in order to get your home ready for sale.

Home Showing Tips

Showing your Home At Its Best means following some tried and true methods. Below are some of our best home showing tips. Utilizing these will help your home sell the fastest and for the most money possible.

✔ Make It Light & Bright

Light and bright homes are attractive to potential buyers. Leverage this to your advantage when ou have a showing. You want to make lighting in your home the “Welcoming Sign” for home buying prospects. Prior to a showing please make sure to turn on all exterior and interior lights, including accent and picture lights.

✔ Home Showing Tips: Avoiding the Crowds

An image of a door to demonstrate some tips that sellers should follow for successful showings.

You don’t want to crowd out potential buyers when they are at your home for a showing. If there are too many people around during a showing, potential buyers will feel like intruders. This makes them want to hurry through your home. It is always best to not be home for a showing. Instead, take a nice drive or walk with the kids while your house is being shown. For longer showing windows on more popular properties it might be best to go to a movie. If you find your home is generating a great deal of interest, a staycation in a local hotel might be required. Remember this is just part of the home selling process.

✔ Peace and Quiet

When your home is being shown, have all TV’s turned off. Turn the stereo off, too, or put on soft classical music. Let the buyers agent and the prospective buyers talk calmly without having to yell over any noise. This calm environment also helps your home to show its best.

✔ Home Showing Tips: Pets Around the House

Having pets around your home is wonderful, except when showing your house. Pets can be disruptive to potential buyers. These buyers are trying to imagine themselves living in your home. This can be difficult to achieve if your pets are distracting them with barking or other potentially disruptive behaviors. When you leave for a showing try to take Fido and Sylvester out with you.

✔ This is Not A Social Call

If you have to be present at your showing there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all you need to be courteous and friendly. However, you don’t want to force conversation with potential buyers. They’re there to inspect your house, not to be social. Stay out of the way, and do your best to avoid making this an awkward interaction.

✔ Home Showing Tips: It Is Not A Garage Sale

It is important to remember that potential buyers are there to view your house, not your stuff. With this in mind don’t try to sell potential buyers any of the furnishings that you don’t want to take with you. They haven’t even bought your house yet. Doing so could jeopardize their interest in your home.

✔ Trust Us To Do It Right

Let us negotiate with the buyers about price, terms, possession, date, etc. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to get you the best deal. Contact us to get started today.

Golf Courses in Fort Collins

To start off this list let’s explore the municipal golf courses in Fort Collins, Colorado. Information on each of these courses and how to book at tee time can be found on the municipal golf website.


An image of a sign depicting the Collindale Golf Course in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Let’s first take a look at Collindale golf course. Collindale is an 18 hole course with a par of 71. Additionally, it is characterized by a medium green length which are fast and well manicured. Collindale also features a driving range for those of us who need to shake the rust off early in the season. This course also features the C.B. & Potts restaurant and bar at the clubhouse. The clubhouse is a great place to finalize your business deals post play, or just grab a bite to eat before heading home.

Golf Courses in Fort Collins: City Park 9

Shorter greens and old growth trees characterize this 9 hole course located near Old Town Fort Collins. City Park 9 has a par of 36 and is great for a fast game when you don’t have time for a full 18 holes. This popular short course is great for those who want to walk while they play. Just make sure to lighten up your bag before hand.


Rolling hills medium green length and spectacular views make Southridge a local favorite golf course. With 18 holes at a par of 71 this course is one that you should not miss when visiting or living in Fort Collins, Colorado. A fun fact about Southridge is that it is also a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Who knows what neat birds you might see when you play this course.

Golf Courses in Fort Collins: Fort Collins Country Club

Our area also has a number of privately run golf courses. The most notable of these is the Fort Collins Country Club. The course features 18 holes that features great mountain views and mature trees lining the fairways. In order to play here you will need to be a member. If you are interested in membership more information can be found at the Fort Collins Country Club’s website.

Mountain Vista Golf Course

Mountain Vista is another private course in our area. It is 9 hole course located just North of town. Want to get in 18? Just play the course twice. This course also features a driving range, putting range, and chipping area. The chipping area even has a practice sand pit. Find yourself getting thirsty out there? No worries there is a full service beverage cart for all your needs. Visit the Mountain Vista website for more information.


While it is not really a golf course XGolf offers a unique golfing experience. You will be able to play digital golf using the latest technology. These golf simulators have a 98% shot prediction accuracy. This is a great way to work on your golf game when the weather is less than ideal. There is also a bar, ping pong, foosball, and shuffle board. More information about booking a session can be found at the XGolf website.

Contact Us if you have any questions about the recreation opportunities our area has to offer.

Signs You’re From Fort Collins

People from Fort Collins have a number of distinct qualities. Living in a unique place has had an impact in all of our lives. Moreover, this often translates to a number of indicators that you are around someone who calls Fort Collins home. Here are a few signs you’re from Fort Collins.

Ram Gear Everywhere

An image of a Colorado State jersey to demonstrate the signs you're from Fort Collins

If you are from Fort Collins, it is almost impossible to not be a Colorado State University Ram’s fan. Even if you have another alma mater, you likely have Ram hats, gloves, coffee mugs or something else somewhere in your home. Having Ram gear in your house is one sure sign you are from Fort Collins.

Signs You’re From Fort Collins: Ope

A word with a bazillion uses. It is usually used by Coloradans to say “sorry for being in the way.” If you are from Fort Collins there is no question that you use this word all the time. Moreover, from trying to get around someone else, to dropping something on the floor, ope is your go to.

The Wave After Merging

If you are from Fort Collins you are probably a pretty polite driver. If someone lets you merge you take the time to acknowledge that they went out of their way for you. Additionally, it is not uncommon to see locals wave if you let them merge. Most of us aren’t really sure where the horn is on our car. This is because unlike other places it is very uncommon for us to honk at other drivers. We use our best manners on the road because we know that we all have places to be.

Signs You’re From Fort Collins: A Taste For Craft Beer

An image of a Colorado Sunshine Hard Cider to demonstrate the signs you're from Fort Collins

In Fort Collins we are spoiled. We have access to a variety of different craft breweries. This means that we can be a bit picky when it comes to the beverages we select. Additionally, we are fierce advocates for our favorite breweries. So don’t be surprised if we turn down a Corona in favor of one of our local favorites.

Those are just a few signs that you’re from Fort Collins. Contact us today if you want to call this wonderful place home.

Home Seller’s Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

We receive a number of home seller’s frequently asked questions. We wanted to highlight a few of these in order to shed some light on the home selling process. With some of these answers in hand you will be best positioned in order to make knowledgable decisions when selling your home.

Home Seller’s Frequently Asked Questions: How much is my home worth?

A photo of the exterior of a home illustrating home seller's frequently asked questions

One of the most common Home Seller’s Frequently Asked Questions is how much their home is worth. Homes in Northern Colorado are probably worth between $2 and $2,000,000. We will complete current market analysis or CMA in order to give you a snapshot of what your home could sell for if it was on the market today. You can use this information to make an informed choice about selling your property.

How do you determine what my home is worth?

We visit your home to gather as much information as she can about your home including square footage, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, recent improvements, upgrades, condition and more. We compare this information to other similar homes that have recently sold and homes that are currently on the market. No two homes are exactly alike but we try to find homes that are most similar. Then we use this information to arrive at a value for your home.

What is the difference between the assessed value and what you told me my home is worth?

The assessed value of your home is what the county assessor believes your home to be worth for tax purposes. This amount is almost always lower than the true value of your home. The amount we have told you that your home is worth is based on a current market analysis of properties similar to your home. This provides you a market snapshot which indicates what your home would likely sell for if it were on the market today.

Home Seller’s Frequently Asked Questions: What is the difference between list price and sales price?

Another photo of a home listed for sale to depict home seller's frequently asked questions

The list price is what we believe you should list your home for in order to net you the most on the sale of your home. The sales price is an estimate of what we believe your home would sell for if it was put on the market at the list price. Pricing your home correctly is vital to attracting the largest number of buyers. Attracting the largest number of buyers is key for getting multiple offers on your property.

Are the values that Zillow have accurate for my home?

Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff says that Zestimates are a Good starting point. However, nationwide Zestimates have a “Median error rate of about 8%.” It can be much higher. Why are they so wrong? They have not been in your home for one thing. You need a professional agent to come in and see your home. Then they must account for all the parts of your home that contribute to its value. Only then can a value estimation provide insights for your particular property.

What are the benefits of working with you?

Lestel has been a full time Realtor since 1998. Real estate is her career. Put her Experience, Enthusiasm, Education and Energy to work for you! Contact us to get started today.

Should You Stage Your Home In A Seller’s Market

Home staging helps your listing appeal to the greatest number of buyers. However, should you stage your home in a seller’s market? There are a few reasons that this is a vital component of listing your home that you do not want to overlook.

Should You Stage Your Home In A Seller’s Market: Your House Looks Better

A photo of a dining room showing that you should stage your home because it makes a room look bigger.

Homes that are staged look bigger. This also means that they appear more valuable. Think about the last time you were in a vacant home. What did you feel? Now think about a time you saw a well decorated home. If you were a buyer which property could you see yourself living in? You want buyers to see your home looking its best. You dress up for an interview, so wouldn’t you dress your home up for a potential buyer?

Tugging on Heartstrings

Staging makes buyers fall in love with your property. Emotionally invested buyers are more likely to work harder to make sure they get to buy. This means that they may overlook other issue with the home. Issues that non emotionally invested buyers may have a problem with. Staging helps to make sure that the buyers for your home stay in love with the property gets them to the closing table.

Should You Stage Your Home In A Seller’s Market: Photographs

A photo of a kitchen counter showing that you should stage your home because it makes a home looks better in photographs

Home staging means that your MLS photos will look much better. These pictures are the first thing that entice potential buyers to come and view your home. We hear from buyers all the time that they didn’t like the way a home looked in photographs online. It is because of this that they often rule the property out before even seeing it in person. This means that you should do everything in your power to make this first impression count.

Return on Investment

Staging has a substantial return on investment. Staging can cost hundreds of dollars. However, it can result in thousands of dollars in increased value for the property. It may feel like just another thing to have to deal with. However, if we told you that you could make a few thousand dollars for an hour of your time you would probably jump at the opportunity.

More Money

Beyond providing a solid return on investment homes that are staged sell faster and for more money that homes that are not. This is because buyers are able to see more value in a home that appears to be happy and lived in. Moreover, vacant homes appear cold and less valuable. At the end of the day you want to make sure that you are able to walk away from your home sale with the most money possible.

Did you know that when you list your home with us home staging is included? Contact us for help listing and staging your home. Doing so will attract more buyers helping your property sell faster and for more money.

Life Expectancy of Housing Components

In our last post we covered a plan for home maintenance.  However, in this post we will be covering the life expectancy of housing components. With home components the better you take care of them the longer they will last. When it comes time to sell your property buyers can certainly tell the difference. The difference between a property that has been well taken care of and one that has not been.  Buyers often will pay more for the home that has been well maintained.  That should be reason enough to take the time and spend some money one home maintenance.  Consider it protecting your investment.

Below is a chart of the Life Expectancy of Housing Components

A chart showing the life expectancy of home components

The actual life expectancy of the components of a home depend on several factors.  Those factors include level of maintenance, climate conditions and the intensity of use. If you never use your stove when you cook it will last longer than someone that uses their stove frequently.  This graph does not warranty or guarantee the life expectancy of any particular product. However, this chart can be used as a guide. With this guide you can plan for expenses. 

When you buy a home the seller’s property disclosure often tells you the age of the components.  If you purchase a home that has a 12 year old refrigerator, an 8 year old dishwasher, you should plan on saving for new kitchen appliances. This chart does not include all components of a home but can be used as a general guide for the life of the components listed. If there is a specific component you are concerned about Contact us with your questions about housing components and when to replace them. We can also provide you with a list of qualified professionals who can help repair or replace components as needed.

What is Basic Home Maintenance?

Congratulations, you are a home owner.  This wonderful event may have just happened or it may have been a while ago.  However, no matter how long it has been this information is good for you to know.  Additionally, here are basic home maintenance tasks that should be completed regularly that will ensure that you get the maximum life out of your home’s components.

You should be checking the following annually:

An image of a bathroom sink describing the need to for basic home maintenance to check plumbing annually
  • Check grout and caulking.  Touch up voids to protect against water damage. Additionally, check for plumbing leaks under sinks, around toilers and in showers.
  • Check sump pumps.
  • Do a visual inspection of the water heater.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  Additionally, make sure to replace batteries.
  • Have HVAC systems cleaned and checked. Moreover, make sure that you have filters on hand for your furnace and you are changing them every 3 months.
  • Clean out the gutters and check for leaks.
  • Walk around the exterior of your property.  Additionally, check to make sure that vegetation is trimmed.  Test your lawn sprinkler system for leaks.

Home maintenance every 2 to 5 years:

An image of a fireplace describing the need to service fireplaces every 2-5 years
  • Fireplaces should be serviced.  Gas log fireplaces should be cleaned about every couple of years, depending on use.  Additionally, wood burning fireplaces should have the chimney cleaned every couple of years.
  • Clothes dryer exhausts vests should be cleaned.
  • Replace caulking around windows and doors.

Home maintenance every 5 to 10 years:

  • Plan on replacing the water heater in this time frame.
  • Replace the garage door opener.
  • Replace smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Home maintenance every 15 years:

You are now reaching the point in home maintenance that you have gone full circle.  Additionally, this means that you have replaced everything and you are starting over again.  There are some items in this list that have a big price tag on them.  Moreover, the replacement of these items may require some planning and saving for.

An image of a deck describing the need for basic home maintenance to plan on replacing a deck every 15 or more years.
  • Plan on replacement of the roof.  Depending on the roofing material and the climate.  Replacement of the can need to occur anytime between 20 and 40 years.
  • Budget for replacement of HVAC systems including furnace and central A/C units. Properly servicing these units can length the life of the equipment, but plan on replacing between 15 years and 20 years.
  • If your property has a deck, plan on replacement.  Decking materials have greatly improved with the introduction of Trex and other composite decking materials.  You do not have to choose wood.  Do your research and select replacement products that will function well and give the new deck a long life.
  • Bathroom and kitchen faucets and sinks.  This is a task that could be performed by you or a handyman. Remember to select quality.  It will save you money over the long term.

Owning a home is more than just enjoyment and a place to store your stuff.  A home requires regular maintenance. This post should give you an idea of what you should be doing to maintain your home.  Additionally, if this is nothing you feel comfortable doing you can always hire this work done for you. Contact us for a list of trusted people who can help you complete these tasks.