David a 5-Star Pro in 5280 Magazine!

David a 5-Star Pro in 5280 Magazine!

 Five Star Professional will recognize me in an upcoming issue of 5280 Magazine.

Five Star Professional administers a survey, by mail and phone, to recent homebuyers. Clients of real estate agents may also submit evaluations online. Each respondent is asked to evaluate only real estate agents with whom they have worked and evaluate them based upon ten criteria: customer service, integrity, market knowledge, communication, negotiation, closing preparation, post-sale service, finds the right home, marketing of home, and overall satisfaction.

David Halterman, Denver Real Estate Broker

“We are pleased to inform you that you have been named a 2013 Five Star Real Estate Agent. Congratulations on reaching a level of excellence achieved by fewer than 7 percent of the real estate agents in your area.

You are being recognized by the largest and most widely published real estate agent award program in North America. Your selection is the result of a rigorous research process that included a regulatory and consumer complaint review, and an evaluation of objective criteria associated with real estate agents who provide quality services to their clients.”

Read more about 5-Star Professionals . . .

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Top 10 Real Estate Search Sites 2013

Top 10 Real Estate Search Sites 2013

According to data from Alexa Traffic Rank and Compete.com, the “top” (most used) search engines are a couple of 2nd-tier engines from years past: Zillow and Trulia.

All of the top search sites use information aggregated from Realtor.com, which comes in 3rd for traffic and unique visits.

Here’s the list. Read more details at List of Search Engines.

Top 10 Real Estate Search Engines 2013

Top 10 Real Estate Search Engines 2013

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Buy a House with Your IRA

Buy a House with Your IRA

Self-directed IRA’s — too good to be true?

This is not for everyone, but what it boils down to is that if you have a lot of money in an IRA and want to expand your investments beyond ordinary securities, a self-directed IRA can help you do what you want with your money – including buying real estate.

Difficult times have caused many people to look at alternative ways to save for retirement, and if you like owning real estate and think the long-term returns are likely to beat securities, this could be a good way to invest your IRA.

There are lots of rules, and you should be aware of what you can and can’t do with your IRA’s real estate.  For example, you or any immediate family members can’t live in it or get any rental income from it directly. Additionally, all repairs, management and property tax costs must be paid with the IRA’s funds – you’ll need to use a management company.  You can’t even make repairs by yourself without your own “sweat equity” being considered a contribution to the account.  So get expert tax advice and educate yourself prior to getting started.

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Appraisals: Still A Problem

Appraisals: Still A Problem

Brokers say Appraisals cause problems with 35% of sales

Wow. Appraisal issues continue to be a problem according to the latest Realtors® Confidence Index Survey.  Realtors® surveyed said delays, lower sales prices, or cancellations occured in 35 percent of recent transactions.

appraisalsDoes that mean you have a 1-in-3 chance of experiencing some kind of appraisal-related “glitch” in your home sale?  Sounds that way – especially in Colorado with the new inspection disclosure requirements.

Looking at the pie-chart, and assuming you’re not one of the lucky 65%, you’d probably prefer a delay over either a lower sale price or a cancellation.  Start by setting realistic deadlines and do your homework in advance of the appraisal.

3 ways to Do it Right:

1.  Pick a realistic “Appraisal Deadline.”  Buyers aren’t expected to order the appraisal (it’s expensive) until after the inspection (expensive) is completed and resolved in writing.  That could easily take 7-10 days. After the appraisal is ordered, lenders are telling us it will take 5-7 business days to “get it back.”  And that’s when the lender sees it, and you know if you have any problems. So don’t make the mistake of creating an unrealistic “deadline” which could make the contract easily voidable.  Bottom line: give it 3 weeks minimum.  Then if there’s work to do, you’re more likely to have delay and not a cancellation.

2.  Write the Inspection Resolution on a separate Amend/Extend form.  The objection form isn’t meant to be part of the contract, and
it is not within the normal scope of work of an appraiser to perform an inspection of tangible property and tangible property components in the manner comparable to an engineer, home or building inspector. (DORA, Colorado Board of Real Estate Appraisers, Nov. 19, 2012)

3.  Do a good job selecting and analyzing comps to support your value. This will not only result in a faster and higher sale, but comes in handy later:  appraisers really do appreciate useful corroborating information from the brokers.

 

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Best Month to Buy a House?

Best Month to Buy a House?

According to Trulia, the hottest months for “Online House Hunting” in Colorado are March and April.

They crunched the numbers for their own site traffic from January 2007 – December 2012 and came up with a pretty nice article: When is Your Market’s Peak House Hunting Season?

I would add this:  according to the 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers (NAR):

The length of the search process has remained unchanged in recent years. The typical home search has been 12 weeks since 2009.

Now do the math: 12 weeks of shopping starting in March-April means buyers are writing the most contracts in May and June.

How to use this information.

Sellers:  List in March or April to get the most looks online with less competition from other sellers.

Buyers:  Avoid competition from other buyers by making a decision in March or April.

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Buying your Home: step-by-step

Buying your Home: step-by-step

The Colorado Division of Real Estate is committed to protecting consumers, and this is their step-by-step guide to “The Buying Process”:

Determine goal or outcome: A good decision is the result of thoughtful planning. A buyer should establish certain criteria including: affordable price range; style and size of home; location; lot size; school locations and access to facilities such as shopping, medical care and businesses. Real estate brokers can offer assistance in these areas.

See a mortgage lender: Many buyers find it is an advantage to be pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before beginning to shop. The qualifying process includes evaluation of available income and long term monthly expenses and past credit history to determine what type of mortgage financing is available to a prospective purchaser. A credit report is utilized by the lender to verify that the loan applicant’s credit is in good standing or identify problems that need to be addressed.

Establish brokerage relationship: When you have decided what type of broker relationship and services meets your needs, and after having interviewed enough brokers to feel comfortable with your decision, it’s time to finalize your decision with the broker you have chosen to work with. Your broker may ask you to sign an exclusive right to buy agreement to formalize the brokerage relationship. All Colorado approved forms advise parties to seek legal counsel if you are not sure about the meaning of consequences of the agreement. If you choose not to sign the agreement, the relationship between you and your broker will be “transaction-brokerage” by default according to Colorado License Law.

Preview properties: Once you have established a relationship with a real estate professional, discuss what types of properties and neighborhoods might meet your needs and price range. Plan on previewing several properties that you and your broker have selected as potential matches to your criteria.

Narrow the list: You will probably want to revisit those properties that seem to meet your needs. A closer look will likely bring more questions to mind that the owner or your broker can help answer for you. When you decide that you have found a property you would like to own that meets all of your criteria, it’s time to talk to your broker about making an offer. This may also be the time to consider what kinds of special assistance and information you may need from other professionals such as home inspectors, engineers or attorneys.

 

Make an offer:

Contract: An offer for the purchase of real estate must be in writing to be valid. The Colorado Real Estate Commission requires that every licensee use a contract form approved by the Real Estate Commission unless the contract is drawn by the seller or buyer or the attorney for the buyer or seller.

Contingencies: Since every offer to buy is unique, the Real Estate Commission approved contract allows for you and your licensed broker to make the contract contingent on certain things such as approval of financing, a satisfactory home inspection or the sale of your current residence. It is important to include those contingency items in your contract to eliminate misunderstandings about what circumstances will allow you to complete your end of the bargain.

Time is of the essence: Your offer allows you to make decisions regarding when to close on your new property and when you can take possession and what remedies are available if the contract dates are not met.

Acceptance, Rejection & Counteroffer: Your contract should give the seller a specific period of time to consider the offer. If your deadline is not met you have no obligation to continue with the purchase. If your offer is rejected either by notification from the seller or by no response you can decide whether to amend your offer or consider other property. If the seller wishes, he/she may decide to change the terms of the offer and give you the opportunity to consider the terms as modified. At this point your original offer is rejected and you can accept or decline the counteroffer.

See Your Lender: If your offer to purchase is accepted, the next step is to contact your lender. If you are pre-approved or pre-qualified, you are several steps ahead. If not you should make an appointment to make application for your new loan as soon as possible. Your lender will want a copy of the contract signed by you and the seller. In most cases the lender will arrange for an appraisal of the property to ensure that the value of the property is sufficient to allow a loan for you and your new home. During the next few weeks the loan underwriting process will continue until the lender makes its final decision to grant or deny your loan. In the meantime, they may request more documentation or clarification of your credit worthiness or more information about the property itself. Once the loan is approved the closing date can be set. At closing, the final paper work is reviewed and signed, and the funds change hands. After closing you can take possession of your new home subject to the terms of your contract.

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