Buying a home can sometimes seem totally overwhelming. Our job as your Realtor is to hopefully make that process as painless as possible for you. Of course, we're always available to answer any questions you have regarding buying or selling a home. But here's some questions we get asked fairly regularly as well as our responses. If you have specific questions that are not addressed here, or would rather ask them directly, don't hesitate to contact us. We're happy to help.
Just click on the question to reveal the answer to any of the FAQ's below.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.