How To

Real Estate Buying Guide: 6 Common Problems Home Sellers Try to Hide

Don’t you sometimes feel as if the process of buying the house was just one big game between the buyer and the seller in which the latter is trying to outsmart the first one and trick them into purchasing a home that is really not worth the price? Well, if it’s a game they’re playing, no problem. We’ve prepared a list of the most common issues they’re trying hard to hide, so you will be well prepared to lower the starting price as much as possible, or even give up on the purchase altogether if the home in question has all these problems.

 

Neighborhood issues

Before even taking a peek inside, let’s remember that location is everything, and for a good reason. First of all, you should check if the area is famous for common traffic congestion. Also, ask around to see whether any of your neighbors are too noisy to be put up with. If you have children, you have already enquired about the education institutions in the area, but what if they are not that suitable, so you plan on buying an affordable home and paying for education more in a school from a different district? The school district zoning system may represent an obstacle in this case.

These and plenty of other issues have a huge impact on the price of the property, so it’s advisable you get a free property report for the house you wish to buy. Not only will you have the price estimate and what to look for list, but also information on earlier sales, and even rental history.

 

Leaks

Leaks of all kinds. This is something most people put off doing, and eventually they are closer to selling their homes than solving the simple issues. Leaking can appear anywhere: ceilings, roofs, radiators, faucets – you name it, it’s dripping and taking your money away. Most leaks occur in the bathroom of course, but you should check the whole house for signs of leakage.

 

Aging mechanical systems

Do not be fooled with the seller’s faked ignorance about the age of water heaters and HVAC systems. If that’s the answer you get, the systems are probably considered too old to be mentioned. Nevertheless, your home inspector should be able to find the information rapidly. As opposed to leaks, these can cost you quite a lot.

 

Pest threats

Imagine this: the freshly painted walls look picture prefect, as the whole house in general, but it hides one dirty secret – termites! Before you ask about any pest issues, check if the seller can lie to your face, i.e. if there aren’t any disclosure laws that would force them to share the information with you.

 

Structural situation

Even though some of them are really easy to spot, such as a sagging roof or cracks in the walls, that does not necessarily mean the complications are always going to be visible to an inexperienced eye. In order to definitely determine whether you would be in for a costly repair, call a home inspector to take a professional, closer look and give their stamp of approval (or not).

 

Pool problems

However, one thing a home inspector cannot help you with is a pool in the back garden. If you are looking for a home with a refreshing area, be aware that there is much more to check than just water consumption and pool shape. Most home inspectors aren’t trained to estimate pools since they have complex systems that can usually only be checked by a professional pool expert. Don’t expect from your seller anything apart from proudly presenting you the pool. No one is going to brag about the existing complications of something that is considered rather a luxury than a necessity, thus admitting their bad judgement.

 

Now that you know what to pay attention to, you are ready to begin proper house hunting, ask the right questions and negotiate the price. In short, let the games begin!

Guest blog provided by Bill Gordon:

Bill Gordon is a freelance writer who likes writing articles that cover small business and corporate related topics. He has written numerous articles and contributed to several other blogs. When he is not writing, he enjoys spending time with his wife and riding bikes.

Most Recent News Regarding Failed Front Range MLS Merger

REcolorado (Denver MLS)-IRES (Colorado Springs MLS) Merger Talks End Again!

REcolorado (Denver MLS)-IRES (Colorado Springs MLS) Merger Talks End Again! and the only people getting hurt are the agents and consumers. Unfortunately, I have reported this before.  The front range Colorado MLS bureaucracy is still power hungry.  As I have dealt with both MLS over the years I can say with certainty that the Denver MLS is better in every way.  The Denver MLS does not require you to be a member of any outrageously expensive and ineffective Realtor Association.  They do not require you to pay for their special every expensive lock boxes with additional monthly fees.  They answer the phone and respect the agents.  I can’t say any of those things about the Colorado Springs MLS.

Anyway, here is the email I received from the Denver MLS this morning regarding the issue.

“We are disappointed to report that REcolorado and IRES have terminated merger negotiations.

For more than a year, the managements, Boards of Directors, and shareholders/members of both REcolorado and IRES have tried to move forward with a potential merger of the two MLS organizations. The parties could not reach agreement on a number of key terms. We appreciate the deep involvement of the shareholder/member associations of both REcolorado and IRES, and are not ruling out future discussions.”
The bottom line is agents from Castle Rock to Monument Hill continue to be forced to pay both MLS companies to advertise their listings in order to correctly market homes along the front range.

When Should You Use an Escalation Clause and What Is it?

 

Denver Home Buyer
Denver Home Buyer

When you’re deciding on a price to offer on a home, the circumstances may call for a single price or, in some cases, an escalation clause. What is an escalation clause?

What is this escalation clause?

An escalation clause is a contract in real estate, sometimes called an escalator, that lets a Denver home buyer state “I will pay y price for this home, but if the seller receives another offer that’s higher than mine, I’m willing to increase my offer to x price.”  In theory, an escalation clause is pretty simple. In practice, there are a lot of details involved.

How does an escalation clause function?

While escalation clauses vary infinitely, the general escalation addendum has some basic parts:

  • What is the original offer of the purchase price?
  • How much will that price be escalated above any other competitive bid?
  • What is the ceiling of the purchase price in case of multiple offers?

For example, buyer Joe offers $200,000 for a home. His Realtor adds an escalation clause that, in the case of a higher competing offer, will increase Joe’s offer in increments of $3,000 above the competing offer. His escalation clause goes up to a maximum of $230,000.

If no other offers are submitted, Joe’s offer remains at $200,000. If buyer Sally offers the seller $203,000, then Joe’s offer would automatically escalate to $3,000 above that, bringing Brown’s offer to $206,000. If buyer Cedric offers $235,000 for the home, then Joe’s maximum of $230,000 will be eclipsed, and Cedric will have the top offer.

Will the seller accept an escalation clause?

Some Denver home sellers state that they will not accept offers with escalation clauses. They would prefer that every Denver home buyer submit their “highest and best”. Sellers often prefer this method because it motivates buyers to outbid one another from the get go. It also streamlines the paperwork and simplifies the decision-making process.

There definitely be multiple offers?

Escalation clauses should only be used when the buyer is confident that there will be multiple offers, or when the buyer plans to pay an escalated price. If a buyer submits an offer with an escalation clause, they’re laying all their cards on the table: The seller knows immediately how far the buyer will go to secure the home.

If that offer ends up being the only offer submitted, it technically remains at its original price. A Denver Seller’s Agent will know, however, to counteroffer to the buyer’s agent at a higher price, since the buyer is clearly willing to pay more. While there’s no guarantee that the buyer will agree to the higher price, it is highly likely that they may. A buyer gives up a lot of negotiating power and potentially leaves money on the table when using an escalation clause that goes unmet by a competitor. Therefore it is wise to request verifiable contracts when adding an escalation clause.

Has the seller’s agent clearly stated a one-day review or multiple rounds of offers?

In Denver’s hot market, there’s a wide variety of offer-review processes these days. Some state that the property is going on the market on Saturday, and all offers will be reviewed the following Monday. The seller and their Realtor will make a final decision that Monday. This situation can be ideal for the escalation clause, when a buyer knows it’s an all-or-nothing offer.

Other sellers prefer to take a back-and-forth approach. They may collect offers from Denver buyer’s agents for one week, and then respond to a handful of the best offers by saying “Send us your highest and best offer.”  This technique is particularly disliked by many consumers and professionals for its lack of clarity, but it’s important to know it may be coming in a hot market.

Prior to writing an offer, a buyer’s agent in Denver should inquire and make sure the buyer is prepared to walk away. Writing an escalation clause on the initial offer in a multistage situation could put the buyer in a weak position during the second round. It’s perfectly legal for a seller’s Realtor, with the seller’s permission, to reveal to all potential buyers agents what the top offer on the table is and to ask everyone to beat it. In this case, the escalation clause would flesh out that buyer’s maximum, and they would lose the competitive edge.

Bid with confidence and realize that each situation is unique

Denver Buyer's Agent
Denver Buyer’s Agent

If you’re contemplating using an escalation clause, your Realtor is probably knee-deep in researching the situation surrounding the seller’s process of reviewing offers. The Denver Realtor’s knowledge of normal practices and probable outcomes in the Denver real estate market will make your offer much more likely to succeed.

Escalation clauses can cause a lot of extra stress for home buyers, but when they’re boiled down to the basics, they’re fairly straightforward and can save the Buyer’s some money. Remember to be realistic and comfortable with how much you’re willing to pay, and to confidently go after a home at that price. Buyers shouldn’t be tempted to raise their purchase price above what they are comfortable paying. At the same time, they should realize that low inventory and low-interest rates, and aggressively pursuing a good home at a good price is necessary to win in a super competitive Colorado market. Potential real estate buyers who are only looking to get a steal often end up not getting a home at all.

Get Free 1099 Tax Forms Mailed to You For Free!

I got a call from a client yesterday with a CPA wanting a 1099 reporting how much income she received from her property last year. I haven’t really reported that before because I just started the property management gig and I give them a profit and loss spreadsheet every year that explains the entire income and expenses. But maybe I’m supposed too?

So this morning I woke up and decided I better figure out how to get my hands on these 1099 forms so I can report someone else’s income. I called the library and they were closed 🙁  rumor has it sometimes they have at least 1040s but I’m not sure they have the 1099s I’m looking for anyway.

I then googled “free tax forms Denver” and found nothing. I googled “free tax forms” I googled “free tax forms near me” then I started reading the blogs about the fact that you can’t find free tax forms anywhere anymore and people are driving from city to city apparently in search of these snipes…I started to get nervous…. someone suggested that maybe the libraries are getting charged for the forms so they are no longer carrying them.  I did find them for sale at Office Depot but I don’t need 40 forms for 20 bucks so in order to make a long story longer at least I found this link to free tax forms that will be mailed to you for free.  If you click it will direct you to a page with a million and one forms on it from 2017 and 2018.  You simply fill in the box with the number of forms you would like the IRS to mail to you.  I don’t know why there are 1000 different forms to choose from, I always just picked 1099 miscellaneous because I figure it’s miscellaneous so it should cover all the bases.

Uncle Sam has not made it very easy to find this link probably by design or possibly incompetence but I finally found it so click on it!

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/online-ordering-for-information-returns-and-employer-returns