Frequently Asked Questions

Here's a great collection of answers to the many questions we are often asked about buying and selling homes in Colorado Springs. This list is constantly growing, so check back often as we are constantly adding new information. If there's a specific question that you'd like to have answered (and added to this list!!), simply contact us and we will respond as soon as we are able.  

Frequently Asked Questions for Buyers:

The short answer is, honestly, “lots”. Buying or selling a home is a fairly involved legal transaction, and we all know what happens when the law is involved. Having said that, we do our best to make this process as painless as possible from a document standpoint. To that end, we utilize a service called CTM eContracts, which allows the real estate portion of your transaction to be handled entirely electronically.

Your lender will require their fair share of paper documents to be signed, as will the Title company on the day of closing. But outside of that, The Springs Houses utilizes technology to make things a little less annoying for our clients. There won’t be any sore wrists or ink stains from the Colorado Real Estate Commission forms that we will have you fill out and sign.

The Definitions of Working Relationships disclosure form is a document that all licensed agents in Colorado are required to go over with all members of the public at their first meeting. It defines the different types of relationships agents can have with the public in Colorado. You are not required to sign this document, but as an agent in Colorado we are required to give it to you and explain its contents. Here’s a quick synopsis of the different types of relationships we, as agents, can have with the general public:

  • Seller’s Agent: A seller’s agent (or listing agent) works solely on behalf of the seller to promote the interests of the seller with the utmost good faith, loyalty and fidelity. The agent negotiates on behalf of and acts as an advocate for the seller. The seller’s agent must disclose to potential buyers all adverse material facts actually known by the seller’s agent about the property. A separate written listing agreement is required which sets forth the duties and obligations of the broker and the seller.
  • Buyer’s Agent: A buyer’s agent works solely on behalf of the buyer to promote the interests of the buyer with the utmost good faith, loyalty and fidelity. The agent negotiates on behalf of and acts as an advocate for the buyer. The buyer’s agent must disclose to potential sellers all adverse material facts actually known by the buyer’s agent including the buyer’s financial ability to perform the terms of the transaction and, if a residential property, whether the buyer intends to occupy the property. A separate written buyer agency agreement is required which sets forth the duties and obligations of the broker and the buyer.
  • Transaction-Broker: A transaction-broker assists the buyer or seller or both throughout a real estate transaction by performing terms of any written or oral agreement, fully informing the parties, presenting all offers and assisting the parties with any contracts, including the closing of the transaction without being an agent or advocate for any of the parties. A transaction-broker must use reasonable skill and care in the performance of any oral or written agreement, and must make the same disclosures as agents about all adverse material facts actually known by the transaction-broker concerning a property or a buyer’s financial ability to perform the terms of a transaction and, if a residential property, whether the buyer intends to occupy the property. No written agreement is required.
  • Customer: A customer is a party to a real estate transaction with whom the broker has no brokerage relationship because such party has not engaged or employed the broker, either as the party’s agent or as the party’s transaction-broker.

To view a sample copy of the Definitions of Working Relationships document, click here.

A Buyer Agency Agreement is a contract between a buyer (you) and your Realtor (me). This agreement sets out the various expectations each party has when it comes to representing you in your real estate transaction. It establishes a Fiduciary Relationship between us, meaning that I am bound by confidentiality rules while representing you and am 100% in your corner. A similar agreement exists between a seller and their listing agent.

While some agents will represent you without a Buyer Agency agreement in place, doing so puts everybody in the transaction at risk. Clearly spelling out your rights and the agent’s rights from the very start of our relationship will make everything go smoother.

The Springs Houses does not represent clients without first establishing an agency agreement.

To view a sample Buyer Agency Agreement document, click here.

While the home buying process will differ slightly from city to city (and greatly from state to state), we have an excellent overview of the home buying process in Colorado Springs on our website. Click here to be taken to that page. 

Yes.

That may seem like a very blunt answer, but even the most aesthetically pleasing homes can be hiding some pretty nasty surprises. You need someone who can look objectively at all the systems of the home to identify safety and security issues that could be problematic down the line. It is also important to have that third party document the issues if you want to ask the seller to remedy them as part of the deal. You have the ability to back out of a contract (and get back your earnest money deposit) based on an inspection, so this is an opportunity to make sure you’re not inheriting someone else’s problems.

In the seller’s market we’ve seen in Colorado Springs recently, many buyers submit offers on several homes before they have one that is accepted. That can be frustrating, to say the least. But there’s a few things you can do to help your offer stand out above the rest in a competitive marketplace:

  1. Price. Trust your Realtor’s opinion on the best price to offer. He/She knows the market very well and will be able to tell you if the home is priced appropriately. In a seller’s market, homes sell very close to asking price (or above), so coming in with a low offer is almost surely going to mean it is not accepted.
  2. Get pre-approved by your lender. Submit proof of this pre-approval with your offer so that the sellers know you’re ready to buy. Pre-approval is one step better than a “pre-qualification” letter. Getting pre-approved means you’ve submitted all your paperwork to your lender, and they have taken a much deeper look at your credit than a simple “pre-qualification”, which is often verbal.
  3. Lose the conditions. Sometimes, there’s no way to avoid putting a condition on an offer, but if you’re making your offer contingent on the selling of another home it will be a weaker offer than an identical offer without the condition. Sellers don’t have to take offers like that when they know there’s other buyers out there that won’t have that issue.
  4. Up the earnest money. There’s nothing that says you can’t submit additional earnest money to make the sellers know you’re serious. It will go towards the purchase price anyway, so the money’s not lost. But it will make a seller feel better to know that you have more skin in the game, which reduces the chances that you’ll back out.
  5. Don’t ask for Seller Concessions. There’s no point in coming in with a high offer and then asking for thousands of dollars in seller concessions. Sellers (and listing agents) aren’t stupid…the offer minus the concessions is the net offer, so don’t try to disguise a low offer by coming in high but ask for a ton of concessions. That will annoy sellers. Make your offer a good one from the start.

 

A lot of this depends on you. We’re more than happy to show you as many homes as you would like, any time that works for you. Heck, we actually LIKE our job!! However, many buyers find that they reach a point when all the homes start to sort of blend into one another. That point is different for everybody, but a good rule of thumb is to try and not do more than about 4 or 5 in any one session. Significantly more than that and you are setting yourself up for a frustrating evening trying to remember all the different features of each home.

We have a few tricks up our sleeves for keeping you focused and remembering one house from another, but your brain can only take so much. If it’s possible with your schedule, try to look at homes in smaller bunches rather than huge binges. You’ll be more attentive to the details of each home, and your evening won’t be spent pulling your hair out to remember which one had the green bathtub. Ugh.

The price will vary based on the home inspection company that you choose and the size & style of the home being inspected. Here is a sample price list from one of our preferred home inspection companies, Wall to Wall Inspections:

 

This is a very common question…and one we are asked quite often. Unfortunately, there isn’t one definitive answer that works for everybody. Much of it will depend on your lender (or if you’re even using a lender). Cash deals can generally close pretty quickly…really, as soon as the Title Company has done title searches etc. Lenders will have the biggest impact on how quickly you can close after you go under contract. Don’t always assume that the biggest lenders can get you closed quicker…very often, the opposite is true.

As a general rule of thumb, however, most lenders in Colorado should be able to get you to the closing table in about six weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions for Sellers:

If you’d like us to host an Open House for your home, we are more than happy to do so. However, it is not a requirement. Open Houses can generate interest in your home and bring people through who may not have considered buying initially. They can also bring people who have absolutely no interest in buying but like to look through homes for decorating ideas. There’s also the risk of Open Houses bringing criminals who take the opportunity to either case your property or steal valuables while the agent hosting the Open House isn’t watching. For this reason, at every Open House we host we always have at least two agents present so that no clients are allowed to wander the home unaccompanied.

You do not need to be home for any showings. In fact, it is always recommended that you not be present when others are looking at your home. This will make them much more comfortable and free to explore the different features of your property without worrying about if they will insult you if their tastes differ from yours.

If you’re worried about the security of the items in your home, rest assured that anyone looking at your home will be accompanied by a licensed Realtor. That being said, it is an excellent idea to lock up any valuables you have when your home goes on the market. You can never be too careful…

The amount of time you get before showings will depend entirely on you. There is no hard and fast rule. Some people request 24 hours’ notice for all showings, others only require one hour. In many cases when the home is unoccupied, sellers don’t require any notice at all.

If you are selling a home that is an investment property and is currently occupied by tenants, be aware that Colorado law requires that you provide your tenants with 24 hours’ notice for all showings. Your tenants can waive that requirement (in writing is always best) if they are amenable.

The short answer is, honestly, “lots”. Buying or selling a home is a fairly involved legal transaction, and we all know what happens when the law is involved. Having said that, we do our best to make this process as painless as possible from a document standpoint. To that end, we utilize a service called CTM eContracts, which allows the real estate portion of your transaction to be handled entirely electronically.

Your lender will require their fair share of paper documents to be signed, as will the Title company on the day of closing. But outside of that, The Springs Houses utilizes technology to make things a little less annoying for our clients. There won’t be any sore wrists or ink stains from the Colorado Real Estate Commission forms that we will have you fill out and sign.

The Definitions of Working Relationships disclosure form is a document that all licensed agents in Colorado are required to go over with all members of the public at their first meeting. It defines the different types of relationships agents can have with the public in Colorado. You are not required to sign this document, but as an agent in Colorado we are required to give it to you and explain its contents. Here’s a quick synopsis of the different types of relationships we, as agents, can have with the general public:

  • Seller’s Agent: A seller’s agent (or listing agent) works solely on behalf of the seller to promote the interests of the seller with the utmost good faith, loyalty and fidelity. The agent negotiates on behalf of and acts as an advocate for the seller. The seller’s agent must disclose to potential buyers all adverse material facts actually known by the seller’s agent about the property. A separate written listing agreement is required which sets forth the duties and obligations of the broker and the seller.
  • Buyer’s Agent: A buyer’s agent works solely on behalf of the buyer to promote the interests of the buyer with the utmost good faith, loyalty and fidelity. The agent negotiates on behalf of and acts as an advocate for the buyer. The buyer’s agent must disclose to potential sellers all adverse material facts actually known by the buyer’s agent including the buyer’s financial ability to perform the terms of the transaction and, if a residential property, whether the buyer intends to occupy the property. A separate written buyer agency agreement is required which sets forth the duties and obligations of the broker and the buyer.
  • Transaction-Broker: A transaction-broker assists the buyer or seller or both throughout a real estate transaction by performing terms of any written or oral agreement, fully informing the parties, presenting all offers and assisting the parties with any contracts, including the closing of the transaction without being an agent or advocate for any of the parties. A transaction-broker must use reasonable skill and care in the performance of any oral or written agreement, and must make the same disclosures as agents about all adverse material facts actually known by the transaction-broker concerning a property or a buyer’s financial ability to perform the terms of a transaction and, if a residential property, whether the buyer intends to occupy the property. No written agreement is required.
  • Customer: A customer is a party to a real estate transaction with whom the broker has no brokerage relationship because such party has not engaged or employed the broker, either as the party’s agent or as the party’s transaction-broker.

To view a sample copy of the Definitions of Working Relationships document, click here.

An Exclusive Right To Sell Listing Contract is a contract between a seller (you) and your Realtor (me). This agreement sets out the various expectations each party has when it comes to representing you in your real estate transaction. It is where we establish things like the Selling Price, included & excluded items, the various ways in which I will market your property and the sales commission (among many other things). It also establishes a Fiduciary Relationship between us, meaning that I am bound by confidentiality rules while representing you and am 100% in your corner.

The listing agreement document can be amended if a situation arises where the original items need to be changed (listing price, commission rate, extension of listing period, etc).

To view a sample copy of the 2017 Colorado Listing Contract, click here.

This really depends on how much of the home you want to have staged. Is the home completely vacant? Do you want to stage the entire home, or just the main areas like the living room, kitchen and master bedroom? Most home stagers will have various packages that take into consideration the scenarios that different homeowners have. To get an idea of one home stager’s pricing, click here to view the pricing model for Karen Conrad Home Staging. 

The benefits are many. Homes that are professionally staged sell quicker and sell for more money. Research has proven that a seller makes (or does not make) an emotional connection with your home in the first seven seconds after they walk through the door. A professional home stager will ensure that buyers see your home in the best possible light, and can position items for maximum emotional impact on buyers.

For more information on home staging benefits see our page on the subject. There’s an excellent video that shows before and after shots of a home that was recently staged by Karen Conrad Home Staging.

That’s an excellent question, and a lot of it will depend on what sort of issues you expect buyers to find with your home. If your home is in outstanding condition and you have been maintaining it regularly, then an inspection is probably not necessary. However, if you are selling a home you are not overly familiar with (maybe it was an income property, for example), you may want to do an inspection so you have an idea of the sort of things a buyer may expect you to pay for in their inspection objection.

It isn’t unheard of for buyers to waive their right to an inspection if a seller has recently had their own inspection completed and has documented that major issues have been addressed. It can make your home more appealing to buyers if they know you’ve had it inspected and made some repairs.