Real Estate Negotiation Tips

There are many ways to come out on top in real estate negotiations both as a buyer and a seller. Today we want to highlight some of the methods you and your agent can have at their disposal.

Real Estate Negotiation Tips For Sellers: Your keys to success

As a seller you hold a lot of the cards in negotiation. You have something that the buyer wants and have piqued their interest in your property enough that they have presented you with an offer. However, negotiation is still key to ending up with the most favorable offer. It is important to share with your agent what terms you are looking for. Is price your number one concern? Or are you more concerned about not paying for potential repairs? Timing is also a crucial factor. Do you need a specific closing date in order to purchase your next property? As your agent I will field phone calls prior to offers being written. Armed with this information the negotiation begins. These days there are a lot of competing offer situations. Informing these agents what terms would be most favorable to you allows them to create a great offer. My goal is always to present you with the greatest number of amazing offers. I then help you weed through all the idiosyncrasies to sign the best one.

Real Estate Negotiation Tips For Buyers

With the seller’s market of the last few years it can seem like sellers certainly have a bit of an upper hand. While this is true in some aspects at the end of the day a seller wants to dispose of their property and receive fair compensation. They may also have time constraints. Then we negotiate condition at time of inspection. The terms we first negotiate will always include timing. Sometimes, sellers are flexible but this is not always the case. The seller may need the cash from this sale to close on their next house in two weeks. Or they might need a rent back for several weeks after closing in order to secure their next move. The saying time is money is especially true in real estate. An offer that meets the timing the seller needs can easily beat out an offer thousands of dollars over yours. You can also waive your right to inspection. This ensures the seller that there will not be extra expenses that they need to worry about. Agreeing to cover any gap between the appraised value and your offer price is another strategy. This means you will bring the difference in cash to closing. When combined, all of these negotiation strategies provide a seller peace of mind in accepting your offer.

We Are Your Negotiation Experts

Need some help negotiating your next real estate transaction? Contact us and we would be happy to help you reach your real estate goals with the least amount of stress possible.

Waiting for the Real Estate Market to Cool Off?

Are you waiting for the real estate market to cool off? We have discussed in the past it is unlikely that there will be a market crash like the 2008/09 housing crisis. There is still a chance that at some point the market will shift. This could be from a sellers market to a buyers market or even a balanced market.

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

You might be wondering if you should wait for the real estate market to cool off before purchasing. This is a fair question and one that we get fairly often. Unfortunately, even if the market cools over the course of the next few years, it still may mean housing costs are just as high. Let us illustrate this point with some math if you will bear with us.

Do The Math

So are there any benefits to waiting for the real estate market to cool off? Let’s say that you can purchase a home today for $400,000 with a 3% interest rate, this would make your monthly payment roughly $1,686 per month. This is when you factor in a rough estimate for property taxes and insurance. Now let’s say that the market takes a nose dive. With your crystal ball you wait and buy that same house in a year or two. Now that house sells for $350,000 but with interest rates climbing your rate is now 4.75%. This would make your monthly payment $1,826 (allowing for the same estimate for taxes and insurance). You are still paying $140 more per month on the same property. Even though the value of the property has gone down.

In this scenario it is also important to note how unlikely that situation is to occur. In Fort Collins during the housing crisis, home prices dropped less that 1%. On a $400,000 home this would equate to it being worth $396,000. In the above example the home decreasing in value at that rate equates to a price drop of 12.5%.

Waiting Doesn’t Work

The simple thought experiment above demonstrates that waiting for a hypothetical market shift does not result in any real cost savings for you. If home valuation trends continue you will have lost out on thousands of dollars of appreciation waiting for a day that may never come. So, if you have been on the fence about beginning your home search contact us and we can help you get started today.

Can You Compete With Cash Buyers

Cash is King! We have all heard this saying but how close to the truth is it?  Do sellers ALWAYS accept cash offers?  Can you compete with Cash Buyers?  Let’s dig into this and find out just how cash is viewed in our market.

What Amount of Home Buyers Pay Cash?

Looking at home sales for the year (2021) in Fort Collins there have been a total of 555 cash sales that were accepted by sellers.  That amounts to 19.2 percent of the market being cash offers. This is an increase over previous years.  Nationally in the spring of 2021, 25 % of home sales were made with cash. That is a notable increase over 15 % in 2019 and 20 % in 2020.  Based on this information from the Council of Residential Specialists, it appears that buyers that have the ability to pay cash for a property are. This has the potential for getting their offers accepted over those buyers that must get financing.  Clearly, there are more cash offers being seen by sellers. 

Advantages of Cash

What are the advantages to a seller to accept a cash offer over an offer that requires financing?  One of the major advantages of an all-cash transaction is speed.  Buyers with cash in hand don’t need to wait for financing that could require about 30 days to close. Cash buyers can also wave some contingencies such as appraisal or the sale of a previous home.  Sellers who want a quick closing may find this very appealing.  Other sellers may feel rushed by this and not find it quite as attractive.  Not having the requirement of an appraisal, may certainly be appealing. Especially if the offer that the seller has received is significantly over asking. 

So Can You Compete With Cash Buyers?

Just because a seller has received a cash offer does not mean that it is the “best” offer.  In working with cash buyers, I often need to remind them not to get cocky.  Remember that proof of funds will need to be provided.  If your funds are tied up in your home and you will need to sell that in order to purchase your offer may not be as attractive as someone who is getting financing.  As a cash buyer you need to understand just how competitive the market is.  Just because you are paying cash does not mean that you will be able to purchase the property for a lower price.  If you plan to pay cash for your purchase it is important to know how liquid the funds are that you will be using to purchase. How long will it take to have that cash in hand? 

Planning to Compete

Sellers do NOT always accept cash offers.  You can write an offer that can be seen as just as attractive to the seller as a cash offer.  It will be important that you are working with a strong, well known, local lender.  You must also recognize the importance of being pre-APPROVED!   There are ways that your lender can have you appear like a cash offer even when you are getting a loan.  There are tricks out there.  Be careful not to misrepresent yourself.  Remember that a good solid offer, well written that is offering an attractive amount, getting a loan from a local lender can get accepted over a cash offer. 

Make sure that your agent finds out what is important to the seller and be sure to include that in your offer.  It may take a tiny bit of luck too, but you can get your offer accepted. Contact Us today so we can work together to create a plan of attack. This will allow you to be in the most competitive position possible regardless of your financing.

What is Title Insurance

 Title insurance is issued to protect you the owner or the buyer of a property against ownership claims.  Title insurance is a one time premium that protects against past events.  That protection includes claims to the rights of the property.  These can include false claims, forgeries, forgotten heirs to a property or claims to anyone. 

The title order process is as follows:

  1. The property goes under contract and contract is provided to the title company.
  2. The title company will research the title work spending form 5 to 7 business days
  3. Title commitment is issued along with a list of requirements. 
  4. The requirements are satisfied so that clear title can be provided
  5. Closing of the property
  6. Final Title policy is issued about 30 days after closing.

When title search is pulled

As a part of the under contract period, research is done to see what encumbrances there are on the property and what claims there are. When this research is done the title company can find a problem that needs to be resolved prior to closing approximately 36% of the time.  These problems can be anything from a name that has to be verified, to a mechanics lien that is on the property that has to be verified. The under contract process provides the title company with time to do the research so that they are able to provide a marketable title, that can be transferred to the new owner (buyer). 

What is Title Insurance

The title commitment is issued and provides information regarding the property.  It is the report that is provided to the parties after the research has been completed.  The commitment provides information regarding liens against the property and the person in title on the property.  The requirements, that are a part of the title commitment, will tell what needs to be satisfied so that a clear title can be provided at closing. 

The list of requirement are listed Schedule B of the title work.  This will include the list of liens that must be paid off and what liens must be added.  For example the new mortgage for the buyer.  The list of requirements might also require that the seller provide an improvement location certificate (ILC) for the property. Another important section of title work is schedule B part II.  This section of title work includes any easements that are on the property in addition to convenance, conditions and restrictions (CC and R’S) if the property is within an HOA.  This is important to read to make sure that the CC and R’s can be abided by.

The next things that occurs is the property is closed.  The title company participates in the closing on the property making sure that all documents are signed properly at closing, liens are paid off and all documents are properly recorded.

Approximately 30 days after closing the final title policy is issued and mailed out to the buyer.  The transaction is complete.  The title policy lasts for as long as the person owns the property. If you have any questions, contact us. We would be happy to point you in the right direction.

Home Buyer Frequently Asked Questions

How do agents get paid?

This is one of the most common home buyer frequently asked questions. 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!

Home Buyer Frequently Asked Questions, 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?

Why Should I use an agent when buying new construction?

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!

Home Buyer Frequently Asked Questions, 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. While you can estimate these figures with a mortgage calculator, your lender will be able to let you know what to expect before you close on your new home.

Home Buyer Frequently Asked Questions, 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! Contact her today.

New Construction Around Fort Collins

Northern Colorado is an ever growing and changing area. With that comes a lot of development and a lot of new construction around Fort Collins. 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 an advocate on your behalf. The builders rep is there for the builder. A lot of people think that by going unrepresented they will save the money. Money that would have otherwise gone to cover their agents commission. This is a common misconception. 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 Meade. 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! Contact her today.

Tips 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. In order to put you in the best position to win when you write an offer on a home.  Here are 5 tips to make a competitive offer.

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.

Tips To Make A Competitive Offer, 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.

Be ready to make a decision.

When you find a home you like be ready to write an offer right away. According to The National Association of Realtors the average property 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.

Tips To Make A Competitive Offer, 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.

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. Contact us so that we can guide you through the process.

Home Search Blueprints

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? Here are some home search blueprints.

  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. They can also provide a list of trusted workers.
  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.

Follow these home search blueprints and use an experienced agent. Your agent is your experienced guide through the process from beginning to end. Contact us today.

Plan Ahead to Sell Your Home

If you are thinking that 2022 is the year to sell and move you need to plan ahead to sell your home.  Spring, as I am sure you have heard, is a hot time for sellers and when the real estate market bursts to life.  2021 was a strong market all year long with interest rates being at near record lows.  Spring 2022 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 you need to prepare your home for sale.  Should you be replacing the tired carpet or does it look just fine given our current sellers’ market.  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.

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 when you get the house on the market. Instead it is 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. 

Plan ahead to sell your home 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. Contact us to start today.

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. Additionally, 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. Additionally, 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. Moreover, 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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Contact us and when can help you get started today.