Category: Real Estate

What is a ‘Backup’ Offer?

[ 0 ] September 23, 2016 |

So, what is a “backup” offer? A backup offer, simply stated, is when a second buyer comes along and likes your home enough to bet on the possibility that the first contract falls through. If the second buyer writes a backup offer, and if you accept it, and if the first contract does fall through, the backup offer will immediately take effect as the active contract. If the second buyer does write an offer, we go through the negotiation process just like we did with the first contract. You evaluate the dates and deadlines, and the price, and you decide if you want to accept, counter, or deny the offer outright.

Frankly, it isn’t likely you will receive a backup offer — however, even given their infrequency, it is our opinion that leaving the door open for such an offer can’t hurt. Being open to a backup offer also means maintaining your home as available for showings (making beds, wiping crumbs off of kitchen counters, keeping clutter to a minimum, etc.).

Once your home goes under contract, we are obligated to change the “status” of your home. That is, we have to let potential buyers and agents know that your home is under contract. How we do this is up to you, and what you decide will determine whether or not you have the possibility of receiving a backup offer. You will decide whether you want the status of your home to change to Under Contract/Backup or to Pending. By changing the status to Pending, you are effectively telling buyers and agents that you want no more showings. You may decide to go this direction because it’s too much work to get your home ready, or maybe because you are tired of leaving every time someone wants to see your home; by identifying the contract as Pending, we will receive no requests for showings, and as a result, you will have no potential for receiving backup offers. If, however, we identify your listing as Under Contract/Backup, we are effectively telling agents and potential buyers that you are still willing to show your home and that you would consider a backup offer. These are the only two options available to us — it is not an option to leave the home listed as it was before; that is, once your home goes under contract, we are obligated to change the status, letting buyers know your home is under contract.

Risk vs. Reward

[ 0 ] September 22, 2016 |


Every real estate transaction comes with some amount of risk and potential reward. For example, you may love the house that backs up to the four lane road, with a 45 mph speed limit, and the reward for you may be a home you love. But we might suggest a couple of potential risks. We would tell you that, 1) that home is always going to be more difficult to sell — because at least half of the people that look will rule it out because of the road, and 2) you may love the home now, and you may love it if you are the type of people to spend most of your time inside, but if you enjoy outdoor living, you may grow to hate the hum of the road. Read More

One thought when buying an investment property

[ 0 ] September 16, 2016 |

To the extent possible, buy based on the worst of times, not the best.

A photo by Todd Diemer.

Rental properties are a hot topic right now in Fort Collins.  Rents are up, vacancies are down, and interest rates are very, very low.  At this point in time, there would appear to be very little risk; it’s difficult for investors not to find renters, and current rental rates are at a premium.  I contend, however, that this is a potentially dangerous and shortsighted view to take.  When I work with investors, my goal is to help them buy a property that is not only easy to rent now, but will be easy to rent when vacancy rates are higher (and they will, eventually, be higher).  Before writing an offer, I would urge you to consider this: Is this the type of property that is going to be appealing to a quality renter when vacancy rates are up?  That is, there will come a time when renters have multiple options, and aren’t desperate to find just anything; when this day comes, will they pick your rental, or the one down the street?  To the extent possible, buy based on the worst of times, not the best.


Behind the Graph

[ 0 ] June 16, 2016 |

graphBased upon our experience over the past decade, there is a “statistics driven” trend in real estate. Agents place statistics—often beautifully presented—in front of a client and then encourage that a decision be made based upon those statistics.

Thus, our cautionary note: If an agent puts a graph, chart, or set of numbers in front of you but doesn’t also reveal the data source, sample size and method of collection, then “buyer beware.” Statistics can either be manipulated or omitted to serve an agent’s agenda. And, to be fair, it’s also possible that an agent not familiar with the derivation of statistical figures could unwittingly present invalid information.

So, if an agent tries to convince you of something using statistics, or more to the point, if an agent claims some absolute based upon statistics, just be ready to ask questions and be informed. There is certainly a place in this business for statistics, if used appropriately and with full disclosure.

However, keep in mind that the value of an agent is the knowledge and experience behind the graph, not the graph itself.

Regarding insurance on condos and townhomes

[ 0 ] June 16, 2016 |


Most buyers are aware that, when buying a condo or townhome, a monthly HOA fee comes along with the purchase. And, most buyers are also aware that “insurance” is included in this fee. This is great, because it means that you no longer have to worry about insurance on your new investment…right? Well, yes and no. Yes, it is almost always the case that included in the HOA fee is a hazard insurance policy on your condo/townhome; so yes, you do have insurance. However, this policy very often DOES NOT cover any damage to the inside of your home; that is, these policies generally cover you from the “studs out.” It’s very likely nothing inside your home is covered. So, imagine a kitchen grease fire gets out of control and causes serious damage to your kitchen and living room. Well, most insurance policies included in your HOA fee would not cover this damage.

Buyers often believe their lender will tell them if additional coverage is needed. Unfortunately this scenario is, in my experience, the exception rather than the rule. It makes sense the lender would be on top of this, but for some reason, it is just not generally the case.

So, the bottom line is this: When buying a property where insurance is included in the HOA fee, be sure to secure a copy of the policy, and pass it along to your own agent. Experienced insurance agents will be able to guide you in the right direction, warn you if additional insurance is needed, and if so, will inform you on what kind of additional coverage may be necessary.

The Title Commitment

[ 0 ] June 16, 2016 |

road-mountainsTitle Insurance is an essential piece of any real estate transaction, however it can also be somewhat complicated and potentially difficult to understand. Here, we’ll offer an overview of Title Commitment, and specify the roles and responsibilities as they relate to the title company, us, and you, the buyer or seller.

Once you are under contract for the purchase or sale of a property, you will receive a Title Commitment, also called a Preliminary Report. The Preliminary Report is an offer to issue a Title Insurance Policy as of a specific date and time. You will find the following information within the Preliminary Report:

    • Name of owner of record (should be seller’s name)
    • Type of ownership interest (e.g., Fee, Leasehold Estate)
    • Reference to property legal description (actual legal description likely detailed on separate schedule)
    • Plat map
  • Exceptions: All properties have exceptions, those matters not covered by the Title Insurance Policy, and they relate specifically to the subject property.
  • Exclusions: Preprinted limitations on coverage that are included on all properties of the same type

Roles and responsibilities:

Title Company

  • As the experts in this area of the real estate transaction, the Title or Escrow Officer will ensure that all Exceptions to the Title Commitment have been addressed


  • Check accuracy of basic facts of Preliminary Report such as names, legal description, necessary parties in distribution list, etc.
  • Answer client questions when possible or refer questions to Title or Escrow officers when appropriate


  • Review Preliminary Report once received
  • Make a note of any questions that either we or the Title/Escrow officer can address

Please refer to the following links for further detail, and please contact us with any additional questions.

 Q & A About Title Insurance

 Why are there separate policies for owners and lenders?

 National Real Estate Glossary

 Video & Article – How to Read a Preliminary Report

 Video – Common Title Problems

 The Title Commitment – Overview and Tips on Reading




The Sparkle Factor

[ 0 ] April 16, 2016 |


    1) you want to sell your home for as much as the market will bear; and,
    2) you want to sell it quickly

    Then, you need to do your best to address the following questions:

      1) Does your home sparkle?*
      2) Does your home currently highlight a unique feature?**
      3) Does your home’s location offer something special to potential buyers?***
      4) And finally, based on your answers to the above questions, is your home priced accordingly?****

*Your home needs to be clean (very, very clean, including carpets); it needs to be clutter-free (get a storage shed or give it away); it needs to be free of “odd” odors (smoke is the worst and pet smells are a close second); your home’s landscaping needs to be tidy and attractive (cut the grass, fill in the rock/mulch, trim the bushes and trees, etc.); your home needs to be shown with as much light as possible (natural light is best, but any light is better than a dark house).

**For example: a nicely remodeled kitchen; a comfortable and inviting sunroom, porch or patio; views of
the foothills or front range; a three-car garage when most homes in the neighborhood have just two; a
walkout basement with 9′ ceilings when similar homes have no walkout and 8′ ceilings; hardwood floors
when vinyl is typical; mid-century modern architecture, etc.

***For example: backing to a greenbelt; located on a lot across from a nice park; situated at the back end of a quiet cul-de-sac, etc.

****Even if everything else is perfect, if you don’t come close to asking the “right” price, your home won’t

Wire Fraud in Real Estate

[ 0 ] February 28, 2016 |
If there is money involved, as there always is in a real estate transaction, there is going to be someone who is trying to take it.

Scams and fraud are everywhere. Craigslist is ripe with people trying to run one scam or another; huge companies like Home Depot have been victim of security breaches that have affected millions, and we have all received the email from the middle eastern prince who needs to give us piles of money if we’ll only grant him access to one of our accounts. Real estate is no different. If there is money involved, as there always is in a real estate transaction, there is going to be someone who is trying to take it.

What the fraudster wants is for you to wire the money into their account, instead of the title company’s account

When purchasing a home, buyers will often use a wire transfer to get their down payment to the title company (where the closing will likely take place). In order to do this, buyers must first have the title company’s wire instructions. The buyers then give the wire instructions to their bank, which directs them where to send the money. What the fraudster wants is for you to wire the money into their account, instead of the title company’s account. One of the ways they do this is by crafting very official looking emails, from email accounts that look like they are from the title company, your bank or even from your Realtor’s office. The fraudulent email will contain altered wire instructions which, if followed, will direct the money directly into the fraudster’s account. Once this transaction is completed, it’s nearly impossible to recover this money.

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