Home Buyer Frequently Asked Questions

How do agents get paid?
The seller in a transaction will pay the agent who markets the home and a fee to the realtor that assists the
buyer with the purchase of the home. Realtors that work with buyers are typically paid a success fee when
the home closes. They buyer typically does NOT pay for the realtor’s services. I am free to you!

Why should I use a buyer’s agent?
A buyer’s agent looks out for the best interest of the buyer. Wouldn’t you like a trained, knowledgeable
professional looking out for your best interest when making the biggest financial decision of your life?

How do I use an agent when buying new construction? Why should I?
Have Lestel show you the new construction in the area that is in your price range. She can tell you about
the builder, their reputation and share with you about the neighborhood. She can also negotiate the offer for
you. Lestel understands the complexities of the fine print in the builder’s contract and can help you make
good decisions regarding options. A new construction representative is there to sell you more features and
more house. Lestel can help you set limits and be your guide through the process. Lestel can step in, on
your behalf if there is a problem. She is there for you!

What are the costs of buying a home?
When you purchase a home you will need to pay for your inspection and appraisal up front as a part of the
under contract period. When you close on your home you will need to pay your closing cost and your down
payment. How much your closing costs and down payment will be depends on the type of loan that you get.
You will need to talk to your mortgage lender to get more information.

What will my monthly payments be?
Your monthly payment will depend on several things. It will depend on how much you are borrowing, what
your interest rate is on your loan, what your real estate taxes are on the home and how much you are paying
in homeowners insurance. If you are paying private mortgage insurance that will also effect your monthly
payment. Your lender will be able to let you know what to expect before you close on your new home.

What do I do when I find a home I want to see?
When you find a home that you would like to see, whether on the internet or driving around, call Lestel. If
you contact the agent that has the sign in the yard or the one that is mentioned on the website, you will be
contacting the agent working for the seller and who is looking out for the sellers best interest. If you look at
a home with another agent Lestel cannot represent you or negotiate the offer for you.

What are the benefits of working with Lestel?
Lestel Meade has been a full time Realtor since 1998. Real estate is her career. Put her Experience, Enthusiasm, Education and Energy to work for you!

What you need to know about Buying New Construction in and Around Fort Collins

Northern Colorado is an ever growing and changing area. With that comes a lot of development. So you may find yourself thinking about purchasing a new construction home rather than something existing. If this is the path you want to take there are a few things you should know before pulling the trigger on a new construction home in and around Fort Collins, CO. 

First of all it is important to bring an agent. The reason is in the name. An agent is defined as anyone who advocates on your behalf, that is exactly what you want in this situation. The builders rep is there for the builder. A lot of people think that by going unrepresented they will save the money that would have otherwise gone to cover their agents commission. This is a common misconception, but in reality the builder will charge you the same amount for the same house as the person who walks in after you with their agent. Your agent is there for you to look out for your best interests as well as negotiate for you and have the hard conversations for you.

In order to make sure you get to work with an agent you need to select one prior to going out to the model home the first time. This is not to say that you can’t still be represented if you have already done this as we have negotiated for clients after this point, but it makes it very difficult. Instead select your agent and have them accompany you to any new construction developments you are interested in. Obviously one of the best realtors in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado is Lestel, so this decision should be the easiest one you make.

Have Lestel show you the new construction in the area that is in your price range. She can tell you about the builder, their reputation and share with you about the neighborhood. She can also negotiate the offer for you. Lestel understands the complexities of the fine print in the builder’s contract and can help you make good decisions regarding options. A new construction representative is there to sell you more features and more house. Lestel can help you set limits and be your guide through the process. Lestel can step in, on
your behalf if there is a problem. She is there for you!

Tips for Buyers Wanting to Make a Competitive Offer

Home buyers get ready for a wild ride this spring.  We are shaping up to have another spring buying season that has low inventory and a high number of buyers.  With this being the case, it is important to know how to navigate this market to put you in the best position to win when you write an offer on a home that you want to buy.  Here are 5 tips to set you up for success in the home buying process. 

  1.  Listen to your real estate agent.  Connect with an agent you trust and let that agent guide you.  Do not trust you emotions.  Your agent can help you stay focused on what is important to you and not allow you to compromise on your must haves or your financial needs.
  2. Know your budget. It is important to know how much house you can afford.  It is also vital to be pre-approved before you start looking.  Only 44% of today’s prospective buyers are pre-approved.  This alone can help you stand out as a strong, serious home buyer.  It can give you an edge in a competitive offer situation.
  3. Be ready to make a decision. When you find a home you like be ready to write an offer right away. The National Association of Realtors has said that the average property being sold today is receiving three offers and is only on the market a total of a few weeks. That is from when it goes on the market to closing.  That means that you do not have the ability to “sleep on it” or you will not be sleeping in the home you love.
  4. Make a fair offer.  This is where the agent for the buyer should call the listing agent to find out what is important to the seller so that those wishes, if possible can be included in the offer. This is not the type of market for a buyer to get a “deal.”  Your agent can help you arrive at an offer that is based on the market value of the home, based on the location, condition and recent sales in sales in the area.
  5. Be a flexible Negotiator.  Once a seller has received your offer they can accept the offer, reject the offer or counter with their own changes.  In a competitive market it is important to be flexible.  The seller may want a different closing date or want to keep the washer and dryer for example. Being flexible, can mean success for you in the negotiation process. Now what is important and also be ready to walk away if the seller is asking too much.

During the emotional time of buying a home trust your agent to help you keep you on tract, navigating  the market so in the end you end you becoming a home owner. 

Blueprints for your Home Search

Whether you are a first time home buyer or an experienced homeowner, doing your homework before looking for a home is the key to saving you time and helping you get the best value for your money. How is it that your real estate agent helps you?

  1. The first step in shopping for a home is to make sure that you have financing ready to go! Your agent can recommend trusted lenders that will take you through the pre-approval process so you are ready to go shopping for your home.
  2. Your Realtor helps you find a home. But more than that, they provide you with information on neighborhoods, schools and the locations so that you can make good decisions on a home that best fits you. Your agent helps you clarify your needs and wants and provides you with property options that meet your specifications as much as possible.
  3. Now it is time to write the offer and negotiate. Your realtor will analyze the value of the home and advise you on what your initial offer should be. The market affects what you can do, but a good negotiator can tip the scales In your favor. Your agent will direct you on how to proceed with the seller’s response to your offer.
  4. Inspection time! Your agent knows the best home inspectors in the area. They will recommend
    the best that can help provide you with the true state of your home that you are interested in buying.
  5. Once you know about the condition of the home it is time to negotiate repair requests. Your agent can help you understand the inspection report and help you evaluate what is important to you to have repaired by the seller or if you should asked for a concession at closing. Realtors help you focus on what repairs to asked for and what to let go of.
  6. Your realtor handles all of the details so that your home purchase goes smoothly. They keeps everyone informed. They monitors the loan process so that you can successfully get to closing.
  7. Closing Day! You only need to get through closing to finally get your home, but details can make the difference on that final day. Everything from making sure you bring your driver license to making sure that the wire is received by the title company. Your agent does everything she can to insure that your closing day goes off without a hitch.

Your agent is your experienced guide through the process from beginning to end.

Think Ahead to Spring

If you are thinking that 2021 is the year to sell and move you need to be thinking ahead.  Spring, as I am sure you have heard, is a hot time for sellers and when the real estate market bursts to life.  2020 was a strong market all year long with interest rates being at near record lows.  Spring 2021 is expected to be a great real estate market for sellers. To have your home ready for market by spring, what should  you be doing to prepare?  It may not take as much time as you might think but it is good to prepare so that you are ready to go when the time comes.

The first step is to contact Lestel.  Have her do research on the market in the price range of your home.  You need to know how long it might take to sell your home.   As a seller you need to think backwards.  If it takes 45 days to sell your home and you want to be in your new home by June 1st. You will need to be putting your home on the market early to mid-April. 

Lestel can also tell you is if there are things that you should be doing to prepare your home for sale.  Should you be replacing the tired carpet, as an example, or does it look just fine given our current sellers’ market in most price ranges.  She will make suggestions that will help you maximize what you are able to sell your home for.  She will not suggest you spend money if you will not get more than the money back for improvements that you do. For example, she does suggest that you replace carpet.  That will cost $5,000.  She will make sure that you get at least $7,000 more for the expense and effort.  It is not worth it if your home would only be worth $5,000 more. Lestel can make some staging suggestions also.  This is not the full staging appointment that she does with you when you are ready to get the house on the market, but instead things that you can start doing to prepare like decluttering or furniture rearranging.

Next step is, by the mid to end of March, it will be important to have Lestel do a market analysis on your home.  The reason for waiting until just before you are ready to put your home on the market is so that you have the most up to date, accurate information on the market. Recent sale prices of homes that are similar to your will guide the pricing of your home. 

Preparing in advance of when you want your home on the market can minimize stress and maximize what you get for your home.  The extra time can make a big difference.

Rent Vs. Buy Which is Better?

The Advantages Of Home Ownership:

  • It’s your place. You can decorate the way you want.
  • Homes typically increase in value and build equity. Owning a home is one of the best ways to build long term wealth.
  • Your costs are more stable then renting. Rent costs typically increase a minimum of 3% per year.
  • Interest and property taxes are tax deductible. Owning a home does offer many tax advantages that can save you money.

The Disadvantages Of Home Ownership:

  • You are responsible for maintenance of your home. This can be as simple as a toilet repair or as complex and expensive as a roof or furnace replacement.
  • Owning a home is a long term financial commitment.
  • Owning ties you to a location, it makes it hard to just pick up and move.

Let The Math Do The Talking
In most situations if you plan to stay in the area it is better to buy instead of rent. If you need to figure out
whether buying is best in your situation this rent vs buy calculator will help you decide.

You have learned what it takes to buy a home, now it is time to get ready to do so. Before doing anything else you must get your finances in order:

  1. Pay down your debt.
    • Pay off your credit cards, car loans etc. Your total debt should be no more than 38% of your income.
    • Once you pay off credit cards make a habit of paying them in full every month. Do not carry a balance on your cards.
  2. Get your down payment together.
    • Start saving.
    • Ask for a gift (talk to that rich uncle).
    • Pay yourself first. Deposit a predetermined percentage in your savings account, then live off the rest of your paycheck.
  3. Clean up your credit.
    • You generally need a credit score of 650 to get a mortgage. The higher your credit score the lower your interest rate will be. The lower your interest rate the lower your monthly mortgage payment
    • Repair bad credit, talk to your mortgage loan officer about how to do this.
    • Establish credit if you don’t have any. Talk to your mortgage loan officer for tips on how to establish credit.

What Are Some Important Things to Know When Buying a Home?

Let’s take a look at some information that it is helpful to know about the process of buying a home.

IMG_2790-HDR1. What does it mean to get pre-qualified? This is an easy, free process that helps a home buyer determine how much money a home buyer can borrow to purchase a home. In order to get prequalified the potential home buyer must consult a mortgage loan officer. Get recommendations from friends or your real estate agent on a good mortgage company and loan officer that will get the loan completed and offer you a competitive interest rate. In the process of getting pre-qualified the loan officer will pull credit, look
at your assets and income.

2. What is the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval for a loan? Once you are pre-qualified the next step is to get pre-approved. It is more detailed step in the process and requires a more in-depth assessment of your ability to purchase. More information will be required by your loan officer. They will asked for pay stubs, bank statements and tax returns. The reason to get pre-approved is that you are viewed by sellers and the realtor for the seller as being serious and stronger when you place your offer on a home. This may give you an advantage.

IMG_2589-HDR3. What are closing costs? Closings costs are the fees that are charged to the buyer for the services that are preformed to process and close the loan. These may include appraisal fees, title insurance, recording fees, loan closing fee and more. These closing costs could be shared with the seller. This should be discussed with your realtor.

4. What is included in a mortgage payment? Typically a mortgage payment includes principal (a part of the amount that you borrowed), interest (a charge for holding the loan), property taxes, and home owners insurance. Your payment may also include private mortgage insurance. If PMI is included depends on what percentage of down payment you had when you took out your loan to purchase your property.

IMG_21835. What is PMI? PMI is private mortgage insurance. This is additional insurance that is required by your lender when your down payment is less than 20%. This protects the bank against loss if you default on the loan.

6. What is hazard insurance? It is insurance that is purchased to protect you from any financial loss on the property such as fire, wind, hail or other hazards.

Now you know some of the terminology and information that is helpful to know in purchasing a home. Contact us to set up an appointment to get more information and to learn more about the steps to home ownership.

How Will an HOA Impact My New Home

HOA’s (Home Owners Associations) impact us all.  If you live in a neighborhood with one you are affected and if you are looking for a house to buy and the home you like is in an HOA you are affected.  What are the pros and cons of HOA’s?  Lets first cover some cons.


  1. Will an HOA impact my new HomeThey cost you money. If you are a buyer and looking to buy a home in a neighborhood with an HOA that cost per month will affect your ability to qualify for a loan. What you get for the amount that it costs you may or may not be important to you. Make sure you know what you get for that monthly cost.
  2. They may affect your ability to use the home and the property in the manner in which you wanted to use it. For example, you may have wanted to park your new boat in your driveway.  The HOA may not let you.  Or perhaps you have three, large dogs…the HOA may limit the number of animals and the size of animals that you are allowed to have.


  1. Homeowners Association Pro and ConWhen you live in an HOA the homes there maintain a more uniform and overall nicer look. Some would say that they maintain a higher property value because of this. You do not have to worry about your neighbor painting their home bright pink and you have to live with it.
  2. Depending on the services that are provided by the HOA, you may not have to maintain the exterior of your home. You also may not have to shovel snow or maintain your yard. Doesn’t that sound nice?
  3. You may also have your hazard insurance covered by the HOA. If that is the case you can be saving money on insurance only having to pay to insure personal belongings and the interior.  If you were to think a total loss, insurance would pay for appliances, cabinets etc.

HOA’s provide services and keep the neighborhood consistent and have some control over how you live and use your property.  Some people are OK with that, others are not.  HOA’s do cost you money.  Make sure that you understand the services that are offered and what they cost before you consider a home in an HOA. As always Contact Us with any questions you may have.