Monthly Archives: September 2010

Pushy Real Estate Agents

Michael Hughes  October 3, 2010

When you are thinking you are going to buy homes in Boulder you may want to ask yourself. The day of the pushy real estate agent. Is it over? It seemed as if the plaid coat wearing cousin to the used car salesman had become extinct. But there are still a few of them around. Good ole’ boys. Sometimes called bullies and working by intimidation rather than by enlightening their clients to help them discover and focus in on your true source of home buying happiness/price/completion. Narcissists working only for themselves rather than for their clients. Here’s an example of one:

Maybe this is the reason there were so many foreclosures early on and the shadow inventory while waning still languishes in the marketplace. Work with someone you feel competent can get the job done or simply check out the Boulder MLS.

I can help you. If you have questions about this article or houses in Boulder or Boulder Real Estate give me a call anytime. Michael Hughes-Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty 303-359-6627 or you can visit my website at www.BolderRealEstate.com

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Selling your home in Boulder…do you want to sell it or keep your pets happy?

By Michael Hughes  October 1, 2010

Are you trying to sell your home in Boulder? Does your house smell like dogs, cats or gerbels in any form?  Are cat boxes out? Has the dog made the backyard a non negotiable obstacle course? Clean it up!  Now! Is your home safe for buyers to be there, with your pets, when you are not there?

We all love our pets but a couple things every home seller must be brutally honest about – are my pets stinking up my home and making it hard for buyers to see or concentrate on my home? More specifically:

1. Are there pet stains on your carpet?

Does your house smell like dog pee, cat poop or hamster?  If it does, clean it up immediately, deodorize it or move it.  Have your carpets professionally cleaned or replaced.  Clean the cat box the backyard and the hamster cage daily!  This is not an option if you want to get your home sold.

2. Is your home safe for buyers to be there, with your pets, when you are not there? If the answer is Yes – you are good to go.

Your hamster is cozy in his cage and his wheel is well oiled with WD40.  Your cat is happy to nap on the bed and is not an escape artist ready to dart out any time the door opens.  You don’t have to make buyers wait for you to run home and get the pets ready.  As the saying goes time kills deals, even a little time and if the buyer can’t see the home it is soon forgotten.

If the answer is No, then consider the following.

Make a safe area in your home where you can temporarily confine your pet – so they are safe and visiting buyers are safe.  Crate your dog and confine your cat. Sometimes even cats attack surprised home buyers, check this out:

Of course we love our pets – But Potential Buyers May Not

If your pets are large, vicious, scared, overly affectionate, pee when visitors arrive, or have any behavioral or personality or physical characteristics that might put someone off, consider relocating them to a safe environment.  Perhaps your mother-in-laws house. Just temporarily,  until your home sells.   Put them in the laundry room, or in the kitchen with a baby gate.  Or in the backyard. Just think about how much easier it is buyers to see your home when it is convenient for them, rather than when it is convenient for your pet(s).

I can help you. If you have questions about this article or anything give me a call anytime. Michael Hughes-Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty 303-359-6627 or you can visit my website at www.BolderRealEstate.com

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Don’t Get Caught With Your Pants Down-Put it in the Contract!

Don't get caught with your Pants Down-Put it in the Contract!

By Michael Hughes  September 30, 2010

When you buy a house in Boulder, whatever you want kept in the house, cleaned, fixed, repaired, refinished, painted, pulled out, explained, or even permitted in the Boulder house you’re buying – put it in the contract or the Inspection Notice! Rule of thumb if it’s something you want; put it in the contract, if it’s something you need cleaned, removed, fixed or finished put it in the Inspection Notice (Notice to Correct).

The inspection is finished and whether you are the buyer or seller there may be a list of things that need to be addressed. When your Realtor creates a contract there is an Inspection Objection Deadline. This is not the deadline to have the inspection finished (it should have been finished earlier if possible) but is the date by which you must file an Inspection Notice. At this point you can decide to either check the box “Notice to Terminate” thereby terminating the contract or you can check the box “Notice to Correct” whereby you list the things you would like carpets cleaned, repaired, refinished, removed, etc.

Time to Negotiate!

Now, do some sellers automatically take care of cleaning the carpets, cleaning the floors, touching up the paint, filling in the nail holes when they take down their pictures?   Sure.  Sometimes.   But if it’s not in writing, you can’t count on it.  Sellers are only obligated to take care of the things that were in the contract or negotiated in the Inspection Notice.   That’s just reality.  If you don’t have it in writing you have to deal with it.

Put it in Writing – In the Contract or in the Inspection Notice

Dear other Agents, an email to me does not count as an amendment to the purchase contract or the Inspection Notice.  Never.  Never.  Never. Always present your clients’ requests on the appropriate  CREC form, with their signatures on it where required.  In the case of carpet cleaning, home cleaning, window cleaning, or tile cleaning – I would suggest to include these requests in the Inspection Notice-Notice to Correct.  Is the seller obligated to agree?  Absolutely not.  So you’d better put your marketing hat on and queue it up nicely for your buyer!  Make it as easy as possible for the seller to say yes and you increase your chances of getting it accepted.

First the Walk Through and then Closing. Always ask for invoices for repairs from professionals to be provided at closing. This will ensure that things have been done properly and by a professional or certified person.

You can’t always get what you want; or can you?

Here’s a short list of things that buyers have asked for up front, with their offer, and sellers have agreed to:

  • Home and carpets to be professionally cleaned prior to Closing.
  • The 200′ irrigation line and pump.
  • The oil painting in the dining room.
  • The 12’ Mirror with Gold Inlay
  • The custom made curtains, throw pillows, comforter, bed skirt and upholstered chair that match the mural in the little girl’s room.
  • The patio furniture all of it.
  • The kids play-ground sized redwood play set with swings and a slide.
  • The pot rack above the kitchen counter.
  • The family dog.  Oh Yeah.
  • And last but not least a BMW 535i in mint condition

Michael grew up near Santa Fe and is a longtime resident of Boulder and has been with Sotheby’s International Realty since their inception in Boulder County.  If you have questions regarding this article or would like information about Boulder real estate or Boulder Luxury Real Estate check out my website. You may also call or TEXT me 303-359-6627 or e-mail Michael Hughes.  Michael is a (CNE) a Certified Negotiation Expert and full time Realtor at Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty in Boulder, CO. What’s your lifestyle? I take great pride in my in-depth knowledge of Colorado luxury home market trends, research-based pricing strategies, having a powerful network of qualified luxury home buyers, first-hand Boulder real estate insight and a proven 16 year track record of selling unique Denver and Boulder luxury real estate.

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Drugs, Guns and Money…so what does that have to do with selling my home?

By Michael Hughes              September 29, 2010

So, your Boulder County home is for sale.  There’s a lock box on the front door, a sign in the yard and a daily prayer for a steady stream of motivated, qualified buyers to come through.  What valuables should you protect or remove when you open your home to Realtors and their clients?  Especially during open houses the list may surprise you.

1. Prescription Drugs – All prescription meds are a target for theft by unknown visitors to your home.  And you may not find it hard to believe that the most popular drugs for visitors to pinch from your medicine cabinets and drawers and swiftly deposit into their pockets are the three V’s Viagra, Valium and Vicodin! Don’t even get me started on the three O’s Oxcontin, etc etc. Don’t give anyone the chance to lift these prescription drugs from your premises! Protect all your prescription meds by locking them up, storing them away, out of sight and in an unlikely, inaccessible area, in other words not the medicine cabinet.  This holds true not only when you are marketing your home for sale but also when you have anyone unknown whether it is the gardener, repairmen or contractors in and out of your home.  Just fyi.

2. Small electronics – Ipods, Ipads, Ipones, Cell phones, GameBoys, Kindles, and laptop computers are also a target for easy pickins – easy to slip into a pocket while touring your super WOW  home.  While agents who are with their clients have a mindful eye on your home, they are not familiar with your personal belongings and cannot always be watching their group of clients.  Picture a family of 5 –Mom, Dad, Jessica, Robert and Scott.  All go meandering through the house at their own pace and in the rooms that interest them most.  Allen the Agent isn’t going to be able to watch all the hands and pockets – nor will Allen the Agent be able to spot when something valuable of yours is not in its place.  Be pro-active and place all valuable or small electronics out of sight and as inaccessible as possible.  (Get the drift here?  Out of sight out of mind and inaccessible.)

3. Jewelry or Cash – watches, rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, cash, credit cards – anything of real or sentimental value –  say it with me  – “Out of sight, out of mind.” Don’t tempt anyone to help themselves to your pretty baubles, bangles, bling, bling or cash.

4. Guns and Ammo – Seriously.  Sellers says, “Michael, should my husband take the Glock and ammo box out of the upstairs bedroom while our house is on the market.”  Are you kidding me? Hello?  Yes!  Put the guns out of sight and make them absolutely inaccessible.  Locked in a gun safe is your safest bet.  And put the bullets somewhere else entirely, out of sight and inaccessible.  And any other weapons or sharp swords, knives, etc. Locked up, Locked up, Locked up!

So there it is – what valuables every (Boulder County) Home Seller needs to stow away out of sight and put in an inaccessible area to prevent unexpected and costly loss.

If you have questions about this article or anything give me a call anytime. Michael Hughes-Fuller Sothebys International Realty=303-359-6627 or you can visit my website at www.BolderRealEstate.com

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Attention Boulder County Homesellers

By Michael Hughes                             September 27, 2010

So your house didn’t  sell?  Selling your home in a buyers market can be, to say the least, challenging, but here are some suggestions to help tip the scales in your favor. All the hours spent vacuuming and making beds and putting your stuff away and keeping dishes out of the sink and physically leaving your home, so complete strangers, who never make an offer, could look inside your drawers, your closets or even your medicine cabinets.  Or even worse, you get your house ready to show every day and no one comes. Really!

There are only three reasons why your  home won’t sell in today’s Boulder County Real Estate Market

1.      Emotional Appeal, that get ‘em in the gut, what I like to call the WOW factor

2.    Price (oh yeah, the money part)

3.    Exposure (what we Realtors call “Marketing” 21st Century Style)

How WOW is your house?  The more WOW – the wider appeal it has to a larger group of buyers.  The better you’ll be at grabbing those picky buyers in their gut – where they’re vulnerable and they get all mushy and emotional.  Low WOW – well just be realistic about the price.  And about how your house stacks up against the competition.  You have checked out your competition, haven’t you?

How have you priced your house?

  1. Below market value? Trying to start that feeding frenzy that’s got people more riled up than a Democrat on the Fox News Network?  Hope you can handle the volume of offers  and have a great Realtor to help you see the pros and cons of each offer.
  2. Right at market value? – good for you – now get in the groove and get ready for an offer.
  3. Over market value? Meaning, more than 1 red cent,  over what any other similar home has sold for in the last 3 months. Similar (size, bedroom count, lot size, upgrades, condition, location….) and actually SOLD in the last 3 months – not what some other confused seller has their somewhat similar home listed for .

So – when you’re ready to get real about getting your house sold. Give me a call.  I can help.

Michael Hughes. Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty-Boulder  www.BolderRealEstate.com or you can reach me at 303-359-6627

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The 3 Scariest Words in Boulder County Real Estate

Short Sale Time Line

Posted by Michael Hughes   September 17, 2010

When you hear the terms Approved Short Sale it’s like you think your dream came true. All is good in the world and the planets just aligned in Boulder County. Snap out of it!

What I know is this. At one time there was a buyer for the “Short Sale.” Many months later it was approved, for that specific buyer at that specific price at that specific point in time. It is only approved in the sense that it is an approval for a contract that is no longer valid. More than likely for one reason or another, the buyer walked on the offer. Evaporated.  Hasta la vista baby.

So now you as a buyer of the “Approved Short Sale” come along. You are prequalified for a bank loan, you have your down payment in line and completely documented. You think that the last buyer did all the work and now you will slide in to the “Approved Short Sale.”  Not so fast!

“Woohoo” Approved Short Sale, this is awesome. Think again. The previous offer was for then. The net sheet for the bank was done so many months ago. Before the grass died, before they didn’t pay the HOA for months and before what used to be a Koi pond is now a toxic waste dump. So the savvy Short Sale listing agent is now in scramble mode to re-market the house.  He remarkets it as “Approved Short Sale” hoping to bring in a similar buyer. After  months and months of dealing with the bank on a short sale, many buyers say “oh just shoot me now, put me out of my misery.

Here’s the scoop on Approved Short Sales. The bank or banks if there is a 2nd, 3rd or 4th lien holder will have to do a Re-Do. The bank will start from the beginning point and will proceed in the same way they did with the initial buyer.  There is an unknown, with the length of time of response and for the price, terms and conditions the bank will eventually get around to letting you know. So it’s back to square one and you will have to go through the entire process.

At least now you can decide if this is a game you wish to play and not put your fingers in your ears and say “lalalalalalalalala.” Just keeping it real in Boulder County.

Michael Hughes is a Realtor with Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty in Boulder Colorado. You may comment below. If you have a question you can call or text me at 303-359-6627 or you can view my website.

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Dump bad real estate agents

Posted by Michael Hughes   September 13, 2010

Have you ever done business with a friend and didn’t get the results you had hoped for? I was meeting with a family the other day to list and sell their home in Boulder. They were undecided about what to do. Do we stay with the real estate professional that is a lifelong family friend, when we’re not getting results or do we change to another real estate agent, get the home properly exposed and sold so we can move on in our life? My question was “well how’s that working for you?” Apparently it isn’t working at all  for them. They have been on the market for well over 9 months with few showings and no offers. This is a travesty, a waste of time, the market in Boulder is up (volume) 7% for August 2010. They want to sell their home but are worried about lifelong friends who “may” not react well to the seller firing the current agent (their friend).

Don’t work with your friends. Then you won’t need to worry about firing the agent who hasn’t called you in 6 weeks and is 45 minutes late to your appointment. The agent who when asked to put flyers out responds 8 weeks later with a “no.”  Clearly this agent is taking advantage of their “friend.” The agent did what is called the 4-P’s.

1.       Put a sign in the ground (a month late).

2.       Put it in the MLS (just the IRES not the Metrolist)

3.       Put a lockbox on the door

4.       Pray

I am not saying I walk on the moon or I invented the internet but why would you treat any client like this. My team approach is one of simplicity:

  • Call client every week for an update, showing feedback, the market, etc.
  • Proactively pursue buyers in the sellers price range for 2 hours every day.
  • Expose the property on over 300 websites so the guy sitting up in California at 2 a.m. looking for a house sees your house, over and over and over.
  • For more (20 additional points) of what my team will do for you call me today.

When you think about your real estate agent. Don’t work with your friends or family for that matter or the guy who works as a barista at the marketing firm and sells real estate part time. Work with someone you like, you trust and that is a fit for you and you are a fit for them, someone who will tell you the truth.

If you have questions regarding this article you can call, text me 303-359-6627 or e-mail Michael Hughes at Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty in Boulder, CO. Featured Listings

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