Monthly Archives: January 2010

Selling Your Home 101-The Cliff Notes

Selling a home need not be difficult. Each deal is unique and requires many different skill sets.  No two deals are alike because of seller circumstances, market conditions, house condition, pricing.

Find a good realtor that you like, you trust and you are in “flow” with.  In other words someone with whom you can discuss your options and they will tell you the truth and keep their commitments. By this time you have already received a pre-listing packet and have all your questions ready.

More than likely your Realtor will show you:

  • Your odds of selling as a percentage
  • The best time of year to sell (adjusted for seasonality +outside forces)
  • Property exposure and how that will be achieved
  • A clear concise written Global Marketing Plan with options
  • The absorption rate for your neighborhood
  • A velocity chart showing supply and demand in price bandwidths
  • A relevant easy to read market analysis
  • Communication preferences and frequency
  • Showing instructions options

Some very relevant questions would be;

  • Your question list?
  • Why are you selling?
  • Where are you going?
  • How soon do you need to be there?
  • What is the condition of your house?
  • Are you willing to list your home at a fair market value?
  • What would happen if the house didn’t sell?
  • If the Realtor found a buyer for the house in 72 hours would you be okay with that?
  • Deciding on Pricing 30 day price, 60 day price, 90 day price…
  • De-cluttering and preparation for showings
  • Realtor walk through prior to launch

The listing agreement is signed.  Ask any questions that may have come up.  Okay now your house is a product competing against all the other houses in the demographics for the lifestyle.  It has to be the best or at least in the top 3-4. All things in control (ie condition, pricing, etc) need to be in alignment.

Showings begin and there is a flurry of showings the first few weeks.  Feed back is gleaned from every Realtor’s buyer that has set a showing whether it was shown or not. Adjustments are made in response to the feedback.  Realtors representing buyers will be attempting to find out what your motivation for selling is to give them a leg up on the offer.  It is important that you not be present during showings but if you find yourself present during showings you can always refer questions like “it’s such a lovely home why would you want to sell this?” A great answer is “so your buyer can buy it.”

  • An offer is made accompanied by a pre-qualification letter from a lender or a financier with proof of cash and an earnest money check.
  • The Realtor combs through the offer and brings his expertise and clarifies the offer or offers if there is more than one, making sure the contingency dates and all additional provisions are in alignment.
  • Which offer is best and why; going over every detail of the offers with the seller.
  • Negotiating at this point.
  • Offer or counter-offer is accepted
  • Some very important pieces coming up will be: Inspection, appraisal and loan conditions met and title documentation.
  • Inspection is done soon after the offer is accepted.  Either issues are agreed upon and are resolved or the buyer may terminate the contract at this time.
  • Appraisal is next.  If the house appraises under the value of the purchase price, the buyer’s agent may renegotiate with the seller, put additional money down to keep the loan to value ratios in line or terminate the contract.
  • Loan conditions are met.
  • Title documentation is received and all exceptions if any have been noted and mitigated.
  • The buyer’s Realtor will arrange to do a final walk through to see that all inspection items were addressed and all inclusions exclusions are in place.
  • Closing typically takes place at a title company.  Basically you bring keys, garage remotes, etc.
  • The title closer will guide the parties through the various documents that are signed.  After signing keys and remotes are exchanged and you have Sold! your home.

If you have any questions about buying or selling real estate in Boulder please feel free to call Michael. You can also visit my website.  Please feel free to leave a comment.


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Filed under boulder, Fuller Sothebys International Realty, selling your property

12 Questions (A conservative approach to buying a home during a recession)

By Michael Hughes January 30, 2010

Make sure your finances are in order.

  • Do I have a solid finances and/or Job?
  • Do I have solid credit and a great FICO score?
  • Do I have a decent down payment or cash?

Buy for living, not investing:

  • Am I buying this because I want to live in it and enjoy it?
  • Am I going to be okay if the market declines further?
  • Am I planning on staying here for a long time?

Buy conservatively:

  • Am I going to go over 35% of my collective gross monthly income?
  • Will this feel like a struggle?

Still a buyers market:

  • What concessions are most important to me? (closing costs, homebuyer warranty, credit for an inspection item, etc.)
  • Am I asking too much potentially alienating the seller?

Look at Foreclosures:

  • Would I be willing to consider a foreclosure?
  • Do I know an experienced foreclosure Realtor?

If you have questions or need help with a real estate transaction I can help.  Give me a call at 303-359-6627 or visit my website.


Filed under 2010, best place to live, Boulder County, boulder real estate, Buying Property, foreclosure, Fuller Sothebys International Realty, good credit

Home Buying 101-The Cliff Notes

By Michael Hughes  January 29, 2010

Buying a home need not be difficult. I have been doing deals since 1996 and multiple deals later, each deal is unique and require different skill sets. No two deals are alike because of circumstances of buyer and seller and house, etc.

If you have a solid job and a good credit rating there is no problem with financing.

Find a professional Realtor with experience.  Realtors also have tools to help you get the most up to the minute information on active and new listings.  Often times I find I will know about a house going on the market a week or two before it goes on the market.  I can set up a password protected or regular MLS search so you can see what is on the market and what is coming.  Give Michael a call today.

Get pre-approved by a reputable lender.  A couple of very competent individuals Amanda at WR Starkey Mortgage and Jennifer Asbury over at Wells Fargo-Private Mortgage Banking.

Seeing homes.  I suggest 6 or fewer per day. After that it becomes a blur.  I love hearing what you do like as well as what you don’t like about each house.  I give you a summary of what we will be seeing to take notes on, ask questions and communicate likes and dislikes.

After viewing and narrowing your choice for homes down to one. it will be time to make an offer.  Before the offer is made I will research what is on the market as well as what has recently sold nearby to confirm the offering price.  Now it is time to evaluate the seller, what they owe, how many days on the market, what do I know about their motivation and what was the starting price, has anything changed in the neighborhood since they went on the market. With this in mind we create an offer stratagem.

Once the strategy is in place your Realtor will prepare a written offer.  Your Realtor will advise you on reasonable and achievable dates, contingencies, inclusions, exclusions, financing (unless cash), and any additional provisions unique to this particular property.  Once the offer is finished the buyers sign and date the agreement.  The offer is then delivered to the listing agent for review.

Included with the offer is a check for the earnest money.  This is a good faith deposit.  This check is deposited into a brokerage or title company escrow account.  Earnest money is negotiable but is typically around 1% of the offer price.  You can lose your money if you do not perform provisions in a timely manner or change your mind.  Your deposit will be returned if you are not approved for a loan or there is an inspection issue where resolution cannot be achieved.

After the contract is accepted by the sellers the major contingencies are loan approval, inspection resolution and title documentation.  This is a good time to lock in an interest rate with your lender.  Inspection is next and done soon after acceptance.  Either issues are resolved or the contract is terminated.  Next is clear title and exceptions and hoa covenants.

Appraisal is next.  If the house appraises under the value of the purchase price, the buyer has three options, re-negotiate with the seller, put additional money down to keep the loan to value ratios in line, or terminate the contract.

Right before closing is the time to do the final walk through.  Your Realtor will arrange this.  This is the time to make sure all inclusions are present and all inspection issues and any additional provisions have been finished.

Closing typically takes place at a title company.  Your Realtor will have already told you how much money to bring to closing in the form of a cashiers’ check or a bank wire. The title closer will guide the parties through the various documents that are signed.  After signing typically keys are exchanged and you are now the proud owner of a wonderful home.

If you have any questions about buying or selling real estate in Boulder please feel free to call Michael. You can also visit my website.  Please feel free to leave a comment.

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Filed under appraisal, Automated Home Search, boulder real estate, buyer agent, Buyers, Buying Property, interest rates, listing agent, real estate, realtor, relocating, relocating to boulder

Real Estate 2010-A Balancing Act

By Michael Hughes  January 28, 2010

What Do I Think 2010 Will Bring?

  • The fallout from the jobs market will continue with an increase in Foreclosures and Short Sales mostly on the coasts and Las Vegas, NV.
  • Look for more foreclosures and short sales in the upper price ranges.
  • Because of the feds’ decision to no longer buy mortgages, starting the end of March, Interest Rates Will Rise. A great way not to stimulate the economy; higher interest rates. We’ll see.
  • The homebuyer tax credit may not be extended beyond April 30th, 2010 and/or may be reduced.
  • 2010 will be a year of recovery. Nothing dramatic but it will be in the right direction. Given the over-reaction of the financial and corporate world in 2008 we are now seeing jobs slowly return.  In Boulder County we are in pretty good shape and 8th in the nation as far as the lowest unemployment.
  • Because we didn’t have the run-ups like some areas we will recover faster than most areas.
  • A balanced market is about 5.5 months of inventory in a given price bandwidth and area. It will continue to be a buyers’ market in most areas of Boulder County with as much as 24+ months of inventory in some areas. But there are some areas of Boulder and in certain price ranges where there is only a 4 month inventory (more a sellers’ market).  The absorption rate calculated for these areas is nothing more than a very handy way to explain supply and demand.

If you have any questions please give me a call anytime Michael or visit me at my website.  Please leave a comment below.

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Filed under 2010, best place to live, Boulder County, Boulder Economy, boulder real estate, employment

Aren’t You Glad These Aren’t Your Neighbors!

By Michael Hughes   January 28, 2010

While sometimes it is funny to have Pink Flamingoes in your front yard,  or have a rainbow colored house, try selling a home when you have one of these homes next door.  Check it Out:

Overzealous Broncos Fan

Color Blind, Bipolar, Extremely Happy?

2,083 Flamingos-Oh My

Handyman Special

Aqua Butt Ugly


If you have questions about anything or wish to talk about our written global marketing plan for your home please contact me at 303-359-6627 or my website or my blog.  Please leave a comment.

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Filed under Ugly Houses

Reading Between the Lines-Real Estate Buzzwords

Handyman Special

By Michael Hughes  January 27, 2010

Listing agents represent the seller, they sometimes tend to be a little…”Creative” when describing some properties, This list is only a partial coverage of words unique to the business. I thought it would be helpful to include my interpretation of alternative possible meanings to some commonly used phrases listing agents might use:

  • “Handyman special”——–Major renovations and this will be your primary job
  • “Starter home”—-small, needs work, don’t expect to live in the top floor for a year
  • “No neighbors behind”—- Probably backs to a busy street. Check a map before you schedule a viewing.
  • “Light and Bright” —- Window coverings not included.
  • “Low Maintenance” —- No yard.
  • “Cozy”—-Smaller than normal but larger than a closet
  • “Rustic”—-Paint is peeling and floors need refinishing
  • “Lots of possibilities”—-You will need major renovations
  • “As-is”—- Possibly an REO with appliances and entire kitchen missing
  • “Beautifully landscaped”—-Until we stopped watering
  • “Large closets”—-Great! My cousin George can come over now
  • “Neutral color scheme” —White
  • “Motivated seller”—-In redemption period of pre-foreclosure
  • “Good value”—-I need out of this now before I totally lose it, short sale ok
  • Immaculately maintained”—- The orange countertops and green shag carpet are still in excellent shape.
  • “Mountain View”—- You MIGHT be able to see some mountains from one of the rooms if you press your cheek to a window and look west, or climb on the roof.
  • “GREAT Mountain View”—-You should be able to see mountains from one or two rooms,hopefully either the master bedroom or the living room.
  • “Panoramic (or fabulous, terrific, amazing, or insert similar adjective) mountain view!”—-This home should have some great views. (If mountain views are what you are after, you might not want to bother with a showing unless you see a comment something like this.)
  • “Secluded setting” —You’ll spend in gas what you save in mortgage payment
  • “Price reduced”—-Even if it was a big price reduction, that still doesn’t mean it’s a good deal. (That’s where a buyer agent can step in and help you determine if it’s a good deal.
  • “$2500 bonus to agent who brings a full price offer”—-This is a HUGE conflict of interest. Any real estate agent who represents a buyer and advises them to pay full price just so they get a bigger commission is doing their buyer a disservice.  Remember, a buyer agent’s job is to negotiate on the buyers behalf the best possible price & terms.
  • “Only 15 minutes to downtown”—-Sure, if you’re Mario Andretti on a closed course. A more likely commute would be 20 to 30 minutes.
  • “Backs to open area”—-Beware: You might be staring at the backside of a shopping mall someday if you buy this place. (Otherwise, the description would have read “Backs to OPEN SPACE”)
  • Backs to “OPEN SPACE”—-Open space can’t usually be developed, so the property should always back to open space, and your odds of having something built behind that property should be minimal.
  • “Charming” —- The 2nd bedroom serves as your closet.
  • “Needs TLC” or “Needs a little work”—-Probably needs a LOT of work.
  • “Bring your handyman” —This house probably needs a MAJOR renovation. (Otherwise, they would have just said “Needs TLC” 😉
  • “Carpet allowance”—-Seller will pay to replace the avocado green shag carpet.
  • “Pet free”—-This doesn’t necessarily mean pets aren’t allowed; just that the present owners don’t have pets.
  • “Sale contingent upon seller finding replacement home”—-The seller may accept your offer, but beware: If they get a better offer and they don’t find a replacement home, the seller could terminate your contract and take the better offer. Talk to us about this. Our agents have better ways of getting around this without putting you at risk.
  • “In-law apartment”—-This can be considered a “non-conforming duplex” which is a great way to get a duplex without having to pay for it. Basement might be used as a rental to subsidize your mortgage payment.
  • “Seller will pay $3000 towards a rate buy-down with a full price offer”—-Don’t be fooled by this. This simply means that the seller will give $3000 towards making your payment more affordable for a year or two, but don’t pay full price just because of a buy-down. We can help you analyze the real value of the property, and whether or not taking such an offer is worthwhile.
  • “And much, much more…”—-Nothing else comes to mind about this home.

I would love the opportunity to help you “read between the lines” on the next home you buy. Don’t forget that my services to you as a buyer are absolutely free!

If you have questions or need help buying or selling a property please give me a call Michael or visit my website or my blog.

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Filed under best place to live, bolder real estate, boulder, boulder real estate, buyer agent, Buying Property, Fuller Sothebys International Realty, listing agent, listing your property, real estate, realtor

As Predicted M Rates Start To Rise Before FOMC Meet

Posted by Michael Hughes January 25, 2010

The pre FOMC jitters are being reflected in what will be higher mortgage interest rates.  They may come down but once the fed stops buying mortgages with their $1.25 Trillion program the end of March; Buyer beware.  For the entire story click Rates Rise

If you have questions please call me 303-359-6627 or visit my website at

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Filed under interest rates, mortgage, mortgage interest rates