Real Talk with Adriana 

Welcome to Real Talk with Adriana, your go-to source for everything real estate, local events, and the latest buzz in town! Whether you're a seasoned homeowner, a prospective buyer, or simply curious about what's happening around you, we've got you covered. From insightful tips on buying and selling homes to must-attend local events, join me as we explore all things Morgan County. Get ready to discover, engage, and stay connected with all things community right here!

July 15, 2024

Top Home Buying Questions

The process of buying a home can be very daunting. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or not, it really doesn’t get any easier since every situation is different. That being said, there are some questions that are asked the most often by all types of buyers. Today, I’ll try my best to answer some of these questions and hopefully help you be a more prepared buyer when the time is right.

 

Where do I start?

The most commonly asked question is, “ Where do I start?” If you have followed me on Facebook or read my blogs, you already know the answer to this question. The first step in the home-buying process is to talk to a bank. This is because without knowing what type of loan or what price you are qualified for, you can’t start shopping for a home. You wouldn't go shopping at a store without knowing how much money you have to spend, would you? Home buying works the same way. Your loan type will also tell you or your agent the condition the home has to be in because all loan types have different condition requirements for the house.  

 

Do I have to contact the listing agent for a home I’m interested in, or can I use my own agent?

Another question I get often is, “ Do I have to contact the listing agent on a home I’m interested in, or can I use my own agent?” The answer is that agents in Colorado are licensed to sell in the whole state. This means that you do not have to contact the listing agent to look at a house, you can go through your own agent. This is true of almost any house currently listed for sale with an agent. In some cases, a seller may also want the seller’s agent to be present at the showing, but this does not mean that you still can’t have your own agent. Keep in mind that, effective August 17th,2024, agents will be required to sign a buyer agency agreement with you prior to showing you any homes.

 

What types of programs are there for first-time buyers or to help with a down payment?

The next question I get asked a lot is, “What types of programs are there for first-time buyers or to help with a down payment?” This one is kind of a long answer since there are various different loans that help both with down payment and some for first-time buyers. The most common are FHA ( which is a federally insured loan requiring 3.5% down), Rural Development Loan ( 100% loan), Conventional Loan ( down payment can be as low as 5%), CHFA ( which can be either a grant or 2nd loan that can be used for down payment or closing costs), Home Ready Loan ( 3% down. There are only a few of the most commonly used. If you want more information on different loan types, you can read my blog on home loans here or give me a call, and I would be happy to put you in touch with a lender.  

 

How long will it take me to find a home?

The last and final question I get asked is, “ How long will it take me to find a home?” The answer is there is no timeline. The amount of time it takes you to find a home depends on a variety of things, such as price range, location, inventory levels, and requirements; there’s no one size fits all. For example, if you were to tell me you want a 5 bedroom, 2 bath house with 2 acres in Fort Morgan that’s move-in ready, and you want to pay less than $200,000 for it, I would have to tell you we will likely be looking for a while. That’s because, in our current market in Morgan County, that type of home is selling for upwards of $300,000. This is why it’s very important to sit down with your agent prior to looking at homes and discuss your budget and list of must-haves for your home. Don’t be surprised if you end up having to take some things off your list in order to stay within your budget. 

 

Now, these are not the only questions to consider when thinking of buying a home, nor are they the only questions that come up. These are simply the most common questions that I get asked by potential buyers in my area. If you have any specific questions or if you would like to buy a home, call me anytime at 970-370-0135 or stop by my office, and I’ll do my best to help in any way I can. 

If you find this information helpful, please share it with a friend.

 

**This information is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal or tax advice. 

Posted in Home Buying
June 14, 2024

Top Home-Selling Questions

The process of buying a home can be quite complex and daunting but the process of selling a home can be just as confusing, regardless of how many homes you have sold a home. That’s because no two real estate transactions are the same, each comes with its own set of bumps in the road. That being said for many homeowners considering selling their home there are several questions that tend to come up quite often. Let’s see if we can tackle some of them and hopefully make the process slightly less confusing.

Does my house have to be paid off?

This is one question I get asked pretty often. The answer is no your home does not have to be paid off in order to sell it. There are however other factors to consider if you have a loan for your house. For example, if you owe more on your house than you can currently sell it for or if you are behind on payments; you will have to get permission from the bank. The bank could still the full amount of your loan to be paid before they declare you clear of the debt so you will have to come to an agreement with them on how that will be paid. This could also cause you to have to sell the home as a short sale which is a different process altogether. If you are current on your payments and have some equity you can generally sell the home through a regular sale, your loan will be paid off from your proceeds at closing and you will get any remaining amount after subtracting other costs associated with the sale.

Can I sell my current home & buy another one at the same time?

Yes, you certainly can sell one home and buy another at the same time. Just like with any sale there are also things to consider. The first is, of course, make sure you are current on your loan and you would not have to sell as a short sale. You will also want to consider the type of loan you will be getting on your new home as there could be limiting factors depending on your loan type. For example, you can generally only have one active FHA loan at a time, VA also has a specific maximum loan amount that you can borrow at the same time. If this applies to you make sure you talk to your agent as they may have to make the purchase of your new home contingent on the sale of your current home. You will also want to consider how long you have been living in your current home. Some government loan programs prohibit you from selling a home too soon after you bought it unless it is a special circumstance you could also potentially owe taxes on the sale, so be sure to talk to a tax professional. The final thing to consider is, will you be moved out by the day of closing or do you need extra time. If you will need extra time, be sure to tell your agent so they can request that in the contract.

Do I have to pay closing costs?

There are some closing costs you may have to pay depending on what you negotiate with the buyer of your home. Generally, the costs that a home seller has are title insurance, closing services fee(title company), loan payoff, commissions, wire fees, prorated taxes, and utility bill escrows. There may be more or less depending on your area. As far as giving concessions to the buyer or giving the buyer a credit for a portion of their closing costs this is not required. Seller’s concessions are always negotiable and there is no set standard as far as what amount a seller should pay and no rule that a seller has to pay concessions. You will want to consider this when deciding as a seller what loan types you are willing to accept because although seller’s concessions are not required there are some items with certain loan types like a VA loan that a buyer is not permitted to pay. So talk to your real estate professional about different loan types when deciding if you are willing to pay concessions.

Should I be there during showings?  

This one is kind of touchy because many people are still living in the home while it is up for sale. When you list your home for sale think of it as a department store or sales gallery and put yourself in the buyer's shoes. If you were walking through the gallery would you feel very comfortable with the owner watching your every move, probably not? I personally recommend the owner not be at the home during showings, this allows potential buyers to feel more comfortable and fall in love with the house, which can translate into offers. However, if you feel more comfortable being home during showings consider maybe going to another room or separate area of the home to allow the buyers some space. There’s not one right or wrong answer for everyone. Talk to your real estate professional and discuss what you feel more comfortable with.

Do I have to hire an agent?

I know you’re probably thinking I’m shooting myself in the foot with this one right? Well maybe, but I’m all about being honest so here goes. The truth is no you do not have to hire an agent to sell your home. In Colorado, you can legally sell your home on your own without an agent. Of course, as an agent, I always recommend using one for a variety of different reasons. Agents have to ensure that any disclosures required by law are signed by all parties, we also protect your privacy, manage scheduling showings, inspections, appraisals, help you negotiate price and repairs with potential buyers, and help protect your privacy. For example if you tell a potential buyer you need to sell the house quickly so you can start a new job out of state next month, you have just inadvertently told the buyer your motivation for selling, this can translate into the buyer giving you a lower offer for your home than if they didn’t know that information. That being said if you feel comfortable selling your own home you can, and remember if you decide later that you do need the help of an agent I’m only one call away.

How much commission should I expect to pay?

This is another touchy one because there is no standard for this despite what you may read in the news. Any commission that you pay an agent to sell your home is always negotiable with every agent in any area. You should decide how much you are willing to pay and discuss that amount individually with your chosen agent. The final commission you pay an agent will be negotiated between you and your agent when you sign your listing agreement.

Where do I start?

If you decide you want to use an agent to sell your home the first step would be to set up a meeting with your agent and go over your situation. This will entail discussing your loan, assessing price, showings, loan types, timing, commissions, and many other details. From there you and your agent will come up with a plan of how and when to list your home for sale.

 

Now, these are not the only questions to consider when preparing to sell your home nor are they the only questions that come up. These are simply the most common that I get asked by potential sellers in my area. If you have any specific questions or if you would like to sell your home, call me anytime at 970-370-0135 or stop by my office and I’ll do my best to help in any way I can.

 

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Posted in Home Selling
May 16, 2024

Closing Costs ? Cash-to-Close? Down Payment?

The terms closing costs, down payment, and cash to close are often confused and used interchangeably, but they do not all mean the same thing. Let's break each of the terms down to what they are and hopefully help alleviate some of the confusion. 

 

When you get pre-qualified initially, your lender will quote you an amount for "cash to close." This amount includes both your down payment amount if required by your loan type, closing costs, and any other fees the lender requires. This is the total amount you will be responsible for bringing on the day of closing. Lenders do this because they want you to be aware of how much it could cost you to close on your home loan in the event you don't get any sellers's concessions, down payment assistance or any other credits. 

 

Let's talk about your down payment. The amount of your down payment depends on the type of loan you are approved for. For example, a conventional loan can require between 3-20%, an FHA loan requires 3.5%, a CHFA loan requires $1,000 out of pocket, and a USDA & VA loan are typically 100% loans and don't require a down payment. One other thing about the down payment of your home is that it has to come from either you, the borrower, directly or from gift funds that don't have to be repaid if they are coming from someone other than you. In both cases, however, it has to come from your side of the transaction; it can't come from the seller. This means the seller can't let you borrow money or give you credit at closing for your down payment. 

 

Your closing costs are fees for other items necessary to process and close your loan. Associated fees can be anything from loan origination fees, points, credit checks, appraisal fees, title fees, prepaid items like insurance, and taxes, among other possible fees. You can request that a seller help you pay for a portion or all of your closing costs, but remember, it is not a requirement for a seller to pay your closing costs. Any seller's concessions are not given to you the buyer directly, they are credited to you at closing.  Make sure you are aware of how much they are so that if the seller doesn't pay for all or some, you know how much you are going to need to be able to close on your home successfully.

 

 

These are just some of the differences between the terms. If you have any particular questions about any of them or about real estate, I'd be happy to help in any way possible.

Posted in Real Estate Terms
April 17, 2024

Top 5 Reasons Your Home Hasn't Sold

Every market is different, and every property is different, so it's important to know what the typical marketing to under-contract time is for your type of property. If your home has been on the market longer than the average time, you may be asking yourself, why hasn't it sold? There could be various reasons why your home probably hasn't sold; in my experience, there are 5 main reasons: price, staging(aka clutter), availability, flexibility, and odors. Which one is plaguing your property? To find out, let's get into each of these a little deeper.

 

The first and biggest elephant in the room is usually price. Now you may be thinking, can't I price it high and just lower the price later? Yes, you can, but if you price it too high, potential buyers may not even consider your property. Whether it's a buyer's, seller's, or balanced market, you still have to be realistic with your pricing because if a buyer is getting a loan and the home doesn't appraise, you will find yourself in a pickle. You can list your house for $500,000 and go under contract; but if the identical home across the street sold for $400,000, you're gonna have a hard time convincing an appraiser that your home is worth more. One thing to remember when pricing a home is that what is important and meaningful to you may not actually hold any monetary value, so, be sure to take the emotion out of the pricing equation.

 

The next issue that can keep your house from selling is clutter.  Now, that doesn't mean you have to get rid of everything you own, but it does mean some serious de-cluttering is in order. If you're planning on selling your home or if your home is on the market and hasn't sold, consider getting a storage unit and packing up everything that is not a necessity. When looking at homes, buyers need to be able to picture themselves in your home, and they can't do that if you have too much furniture & personal heirlooms in it.

 

I know we all have busy schedules, but it's important to remember that a buyer can't fall in love with your house if they can't see it. When you put your house on the market, you have to be aware that buyers often have busy lives, too, and you don't want to miss out on a potential buyer being able to see your home. That's why it's very important to be flexible when it comes to showing requests. Now, that's not to say you have to let people in at all hours of the day and night, but the more flexible you can be, the better, especially during those first few days when the house is new on the market. The more buyers that look at your home, the more opportunities you will have to get an offer.

 

Another thing that can affect your home is odors. I'm not saying your home is stinky, but there are many odors a house can have that we become immune to and used to over time. For example, the smell of smoke or cat litter may not bother you because you're used to it, but for a buyer who walks in and is not used to it, it could be a major turn-off. If you smoke, make sure you smoke outside, away from entryways, to avoid the smoke smell traveling indoors. If you have pets, consider getting a spray or powder you can use before showings to neutralize the odors, and make sure to keep litter boxes clean to minimize the smell. For very potent smells an ozone machine may help remove odors. I also want to point out that good smells can be just as bad as foul smells. While you may love the strong citrus or cinnamon smell of your Scentsy warmer, it could be too much for potential buyers. If you decide to use candles, sprays, etc, opt for mild scents like "clean linen" that give off a pleasant scent without being overpowering.

 

Regardless of the market or area, it's important to remember that people will always want to negotiate. So whether it's the price or inspection issues, don't shut yourself out of negotiations. Most buyers want to feel like they're getting some kind of deal. That can be anything from including the appliances to getting a home warranty, paying closing costs, or even something simple like getting an outlet cover replaced. You might find during negotiations that something is less expensive to fix than you initially thought. While I know you want to win as a seller, too, you don't want to be firm and risk losing a buyer for a $100 concession or minor 30-minute repair.

 

The final thing I want to leave you with is this: if you have your home listed with an agent and it's not selling, set up an appointment with your agent and discuss what you could do differently to sell it. As agents, we are in the business of selling homes, not just listing them, so we want your home to sell just as much as you do.

 

If you've been contemplating selling your home, stop thinking about it and call me right now to set up a Free Market Analysis.

 

***If your home is currently listed with an agent, this is not an attempt to solicit your business.

Posted in Home Selling