I’m here to help you, and to answer any questions that I can.
Check out some of the most frequently asked questions I receive, broken down into categories.


In my search to buy, do I need a buyer’s agent?

The short answer is YES!

You are best served by having a great buyer’s agent assisting and advising you in your home search.
Your agent should understand the market, the home-buying process, and most importantly, your needs.

A great buyer’s agent will do the following:
  • – Track the market and alert you to new listings of interest.
  • – Preview properties upon request and arrange showings by appointment.
  • – Complete a home value report of any property of interest to you.
  • – Prepare and present your offer(s).
  • – Communicate with you on a regular basis and remain engaged in your search from start to finish.
  • – Guide you through the transaction process from offer to purchase & sale to closing – and beyond.

Some people think there is an advantage in bidding directly through the listing agent for the seller. In my 22 years of experience, I have not found this to be true. Most real estate transactions involve two agents – the listing agent for the seller and the buyer’s agent for the buyer. A buyer benefits from the insight, advice, and counsel of a good buyer’s agent.

It’s important to remember that your relationship with your buyer’s agent is a partnership. Both the buyer and the buyer’s agent have responsibilities. A good buyer’s agent makes known to you what you need to do and reminds you along the way. A good buyer’s agent helps you understand the decisions you are making. If you are more aware and more informed as you proceed forward, your real estate experience becomes more meaningful and less stressful. 

How much should I offer?

Offer an amount you are comfortable and capable of offering and be prepared to make your best offer.

No two properties are the same. No two buyers are the same. This is a specific question that we would need to discuss when you are ready to submit an offer.

Is a second showing necessary?

A second showing is not necessary but a very good idea if time allows.

A large number of Denver homes are being listed for sale on a Thursday or Friday, with open houses held on Saturday and Sunday, and bids due on Monday or Tuesday. That is a very fast track. And on such a fast track, a second showing is not always possible, given a buyer’s schedule and the times the property can be seen. That being said, a second showing is a very good idea if time allows.

When you visit a property for the first time, everything is new. There is a lot to take in. If you like the property, you could forget to look at certain aspects or details in the flush of excitement about liking the place. Or there could simply be so much to take in that you simply cannot process everything on the first visit.

A second showing is a chance to notice things you missed the first time around. It’s also a chance to check in with your feelings. Maybe you were on the fence after your first visit. A second showing might help you understand if you are leaning towards making an offer or towards taking a pass. And there could be all sorts of variables that have changed, such as the time of day, the traffic or the neighbors. More often than not, the second showing is very clarifying. There are buyers who don’t need a second showing, but there are other buyers who need three or more to make an informed decision.

That being said, it has been my experience that most buyers really benefit from two showings. It tends to make for a more informed decision regarding whether or not to pursue the property.

What should I pay attention to when visiting a property for sale?

Pay attention to the things that matter the most to you. 

There is a lot to take in when visiting a property, especially for the first time. Buyers often ask me what they should pay attention to when visiting a property for sale, and there really is no right or wrong answer here.

That being said, it is a good idea to pay attention to the things that matter the most to you. For example, let’s say that the things that matter the most to you ceiling height, quality of natural light, and an outdoor space.

Well, if those are your big three, you may do the following:

  • 1) You might literally measure the ceiling height. I myself carry a laser measuring device; you may just raise your arms and get a sense of the height from an action as simple as that.

  • 2) With regard to the quality of natural light, you may accurately discover what direction the house is facing by employing a compass app on your smartphone. Having established the direction, you may consciously spend time in different rooms considering and noting the quality of light. Obviously, the time of day of your visit and the weather will influence this.

  • 3) As for outdoor space, check it out carefully. Maybe walk off the back yard to measure it. Sit down on a deck chair and study the site lines. Locate the grill and see how that is. If you have a pet, imagine how it might work for your pet to be in the space. Examine how the space interacts with the neighboring spaces. Consider the privacy or lack thereof.

These actions all require you to FOCUS. This is not always easy in today’s busy world. Your cell phone is ringing when you are there and your boss is calling. You are visiting the house with a child who needs your attention. Perhaps it is an open house and you are distracted by conversations taking place around you. Got it. Get it. Been there. Do the best you can do.

Even though I have been a Realtor for over 22 years, I still aim to FOCUS each and every time I visit a property. Generally speaking, I am seeking to process the overall condition, comprehend the layout, and note any particular aspects of the property to see if it meets the needs of you, my client.

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What is a CMA?

A CMA is a Comparable Market Analysis.
The purpose of a CMA is to arrive at an understanding of market value for a specific property.

When a Seller asks me to list their home for sale, we review my Comparable Market Analysis – my CMA. The key element of a CMA is the relevant comparable sale events – the comps.

For example, let’s say a Seller owns a 1,000-square-foot, renovated, two-bedroom, one bath condo without parking in Arvada. I will put together a CMA with relevant comps – that is, the relevant properties in Arvada area that are similar. In this example, I will be reviewing in the CMA the recent condo sale events in Arvada for those condos with approximately 1,000 square feet, two bedrooms, one bath, and no parking.

Of course, no two properties are the same. Among the key elements that influence an understanding of a property’s value are condition and location. That being said, relevant recent sale events, pulled together in a CMA and reviewed there, typically allow us to zero in on a specific market range of value for a property.

A CMA is equally valuable to a prospective Buyer. When a Buyer client of mine wishes to make an offer, I complete a CMA of the property of interest. This allows the Buyer to understand if the property is priced below market value, at market value, or at a premium. This information is useful for the Buyer to make an informed offer.

Market value is ultimately determined by the market. That is, what a ready, willing and able Buyer will pay for a property offered by a ready, willing and able Seller, typically in the open market. A CMA is a crucial element for both Buyers and Sellers in the real estate process, as it sheds light on the range of value in terms of comparable sales.

What should I do to get my home ready to sell?

Clean, declutter, and fix minor repairs.

Every home is different, but the main question here is what can you do to get your home ready. I will list a few common areas for improvement, but I understand that there may not be enough money or time to make any or all of these happen. That being said, here is a list of basic actions a Seller can take before coming on the market.

Clean up.
For example:
House need a deep cleaning? Hire a professional to clean it. Can it be expensive? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.
Smuggy windows from kids, pets, or the weather? Right before coming on the market, have the windows professionally cleaned.

For example:
– Lots of junk in the basement? Now is a good time to get rid of it.
Home office full of clutter? Take the time to organize it and toss what’s not necessary. It will make a huge difference for pictures and showings.

Fix minor repairs.
For example:
Front door lock broken? Fix it.
Paint needs touched up in the entry way? Touch it up.
– Bathroom faucet leaking? Have it repaired.

What is the best time of year to list my property for sale?

Early Spring.

When is the spring market? 
A broad definition defines the spring market as being mid-January through early-June – basically the first six months of the year. The heart of the spring market is typically March, April, and May.

The determining factor here in Colorado is the weather. The sooner the temperature warms up, the sooner the spring market heats up. New listings steadily start coming on the market in the spring.

Why is the spring market the best time of year to list your property for sale?
Well, typically it is the time of year that the most buyers are in the market. Buyers are a good thing for sellers. Your house can look very appealing in the heart of the spring market when the grass is starting to green up, the flowers are blooming, and there is more daylight.

To say that the spring market is the best time of year to list your property for sale is not to say that it is the only time of year one can list for sale. Properties are for sale all year long and one can list at any time.

The next best time after the spring market is the fall market. The fall market runs from just after Labor Day until mid-November. The summer market (June, July, and August) is also a perfectly fine time to list. Really, the only time that it is truly challenging to be on the market is between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, because you are up against the holidays, the sun goes down before 5 pm, and there are not too many buyers in the market.

The answer to the essential question when is the best time for you to list your property for sale is going to be determined not just by what time of year is best, but also by other factors impacting your decision, such as when you are moving, the date you are aiming to close by, or possibly a job relocation. An experienced Realtor will help you make the best decision with regard to when to list for your property sale based on your variables.

What interior paint colors will help sell my home?

Neutral paint colors – in the off-white and gray families of paint colors – tend to be the most popular with most buyers.

Many homes have sold for top dollar with a richer palette of paint colors. That being said, the off-white and gray paint color families are the biggest winners with most home buyers, simply because they are neutral.

Atlanta Realtor Lesa Bell has put together an awesome Pinterest board on interior paint colors that will sell your house. Check it out!

What can I do to prepare my home for inspection?

The first priority is to make your home fully accessible for the inspector to complete the inspection.

Also, very often it is valuable for you to take care of basic repair and maintenance issues prior to the inspection. David Rainey and Sallie McBrien have written a useful blog post on the topic: Preparing the Home for Buyer Inspections. Worth reading their post! In my view, the best time for a Seller to prepare is prior to coming on the market.

A Seller who has prepared for a home inspection is likely in better shape than a Seller who has not.

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What is the downpayment?

Your downpayment is the amount you are not mortgaging.

Let’s say you are purchasing a property for $500,000. Your offer indicates your loan amount is 80% of the purchase price or $400,000. This means that your downpayment – the amount you are not mortgaging – is $100,000 or 20%.

What is title insurance?

To quote attorney Richard Vetstein, “Title insurance is policy of insurance (technically an indemnification policy) protecting homeowners and lenders from actual financial loss in the event that certain covered problems develop regarding the rights to ownership of property. While Massachusetts closing attorneys search and certify each title to real estate before a closing, there are often hidden title defects that even the most careful title search will not reveal. In addition to protection from financial loss, title insurance pays the cost of defending against any covered claim.”

As Vetstein notes, title insurance is a one-time premium paid at closing, and the cost of title insurance is calculated based on the purchase price of your home. There are two types of title insurance: lender’s policies and owner’s policies. Lender’s policies are required by most every public mortgage lender in the U.S., and lender’s policies are typically paid as part of closing costs. Owner’s policies are optional and paid for by home buyers. 

What is the appraised value?

The appraised value is the specific dollar value placed on a property by a licensed appraiser.

As a Realtor, I frequently complete a home value report for a property to arrive at a market range of value. It is a Licensed Appraiser who completes an appraisal and comes up with an appraised value – a specific dollar value for a specific property on a specific date. Typically, an appraisal happens in the following circumstances:

1) A property owner wishes to refinance or to establish a home equity line of credit or to establish the value of the residence for some other purpose such as estate planning or a divorce proceeding

2) A buyer with an accepted offer is getting a loan to purchase the property.

When an appraiser visits a property in the course of a real estate transaction to complete their appraisal, the appraiser is fully aware of the agreed upon purchase price. It is normal for the listing agent to give the appraiser a copy of the signed purchase and sale. It is also normal for the listing agent to give the appraiser relevant comps – that is, relevant recent sales for like kind properties that support the purchase price. It is not uncommon for the appraisal value to come back at the purchase price – or sometimes even a bit above the purchase price. It’s good news for everyone in the transaction when the property’s appraised value is equal to or higher than the purchase price, as it means there is no appraisal issue and the likelihood of the loan being approved is very high.

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What is the normal timeline of a real estate transaction?

From accepting the offer to closing, the typical timeline is four to six weeks.

Here is an overview of the process:

An offer is made and accepted. A current pre-approval letter or proof of funds is attached to the offer. And a few days later, the earnest money is delivered by the Buyer, usually 3-5% of the purchase price.

Inspections: If the offer accepted includes any inspection contingencies, the next step very often is completing any inspections. The most common is a home inspection, but some may also do a sewer scope or pest inspection. By law, for properties built before 1978, the buyer has 10 days to have a lead paint inspection completed. The buyer indicates on the lead paint form if they are accepting or waiving their right to this particular inspection. Typically, inspections are completed within 7 days of offer acceptance. After the inspection is complete, the Buyer will recieve a copy of the report and is given an opportunity to withdraw their offer, negotiate items of concern with the Seller, or accept the home as-is.

Mortgage Commitment: Generally speaking, for a deal with a mortgage contingency, the mortgage commitment letter is issued by the lender three to four weeks after the signing of the purchase and sale agreement. The mortgage contingency is usually the last contingency to be satisfied. Next step is the closing! 

Closing: The date arrives for the transfer of real estate. Generally speaking, the closing date is four to six weeks after offer acceptance.

What does it mean when a property is under contract?

When a property is under contract, the property has a signed, accepted offer. That is, there is a legally binding agreement between Buyer and Seller.

Most residential properties for sale in the Denver Metro market are listed in our local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) called RE Colorado. In our MLS, a property that is for sale is listed as A for active and a property that is under contract is listed as UC.

It is typical for an accepted offer to have contingencies. Standard contingencies include home and pest inspections, mortgage and (for condos) condo docs and budget review. Contingencies afford a Buyer a way to exit a transaction. This means that a property that is under contract could possibly come back on the market.

Some properties that are listed as UC on the MLS may be accepting back up offers, just in case something falls through with their current Buyer.

What is radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that the ground produces through the normal decay of uranium and radium.

As it decays, radon produces new radioactive elements called radon daughters or decay products which scientists have proven to cause lung cancer. Concentrations of radon gas are measured as “picocuries per liter” (pCi/l). The EPA recommends that if a radon test results in a reading greater than 4 pCi/l, remedial measures ought to be taken to lower the average annual exposure to radon.

A radon test can be added during the inspection. Typically a radon test takes 48 hours and is completed with a machine that monitors for radon in the home. The machine produces a report detailing the radon levels during the test period. Results are available immediately at the end of the 48 hour test period.

If there is a high radon reading, a radon mitigation system is necessary. As noted above, the EPA recommends that if a radon test results in a reading greater than 4 pCi/l, remedial measures should be taken to lower the average annual exposure to radon. If a radon mitigation system is necessary, your agent will help you negotiate the terms.

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