Buying a Home

Denver metro area remains a seller’s market with December 2021 yet another record-breaking month. Interest rates remained low throughout 2021, while demand from buyers remained high. In 2021, the Denver metro averaged $612,274—a 16.68 percent gain over 2020.

Though mortgage rates are pretty low on a national level, Denver home values have spiked in the past year. Granted, that situation is not unique to Denver. Home values are inflated on a national level, and until more properties hit the market, that’s unlikely to change.

If you have a healthy enough budget to afford a home in Denver, and you find one that checks the right items off your wish list, then now could be a good time to buy. But if purchasing a Denver home means taking on a higher mortgage than you’re comfortable with, then you may want to hold off on buying.

Denver is a great place to live, and planting roots there may be important to you. But if you can’t swing a home of your own, it’s not worth putting your finances at risk to buy today. Instead, you may want to sit tight, see what inventory looks like a year from now, and look at buying then. The good news is that mortgage rates are likely to stay low well into 2022. So you may have plenty of opportunities to lock in an affordable mortgage at that time.

The first step in the home buying process is speaking with a Lender and getting pre-approved for a mortgage. This tells you how much you can afford and helps you set a budget!  This allows us to narrow down online home searching to suitable properties, assuring no time is wasted considering homes and falling in love with those which are out of reach.

Further, the loan estimate from your lender will show how much money is required for the down payment and closing costs. You may need time to save up money, liquidate other assets or seek mortgage gift funds from family. In any case, you will have a clear picture of what is financially required.

Being pre-approved for a mortgage also demonstrates that you are a serious buyer to both your real estate agent and the person selling their home.

From start (searching online) to finish (closing escrow), buying a home takes about 10 to 12 weeks. Once a home is selected and the offer is accepted, the average time to complete the escrow period is 30 to 45 days. However, well-prepared homebuyers can move faster than that, at times.

Home shoppers pay little or no fees to an agent to buy a home. Here’s why:

For most home sales, there are two real estate agents involved in the deal: one that represents the seller and another who represents the buyer.

Listing brokers represent sellers and charge a fee to represent them and market the property. The property will be placed in the local multiple listing service (MLS), where other agents will be able to search and find the home for sale.

Agents who represent buyers (a.k.a. buyer’s agent) are compensated by the listing broker for bringing home buyers to the table. When the home is sold, the listing broker splits the listing fee with the buyer’s agent. Thus, buyers don’t pay their agents.

Most loan programs require a FICO score of 620 or better. Borrowers with higher credit scores represent less risk to the lender, often resulting in a lower down payment requirement and better interest rate. Conversely, home shoppers with lower credit scores may need to bring more money to the table (or accept a higher interest rate) to offset the lender’s risk.

The national average for down payments is 11%, but that figure includes first-time and repeats buyers. First-time homebuyers usually only put down 3 to 5% on a home because several first-time homebuyer programs don’t require big down payments. A longtime favorite, the FHA loan, requires 3.5% down. What’s more, some programs allow down payment contributions from family members in the form of a gift.

Some programs require even less. VA loans and USDA loans can be made with zero down. However, these programs are more restrictive. VA loans are only made to former or current military service members. USDA loans are only available for low to-middle income buyers in USDA-eligible rural areas.

For many years, conventional loans required a 20% down payment. These types of loans were typically taken out by repeat buyers who could use equity from their existing home as a source of down payment funds. However, some newer conventional loan programs are available with 3% down if the borrower carries private mortgage insurance (PMI).

When you make an offer on a home, the earnest money will need to accompany it. This is a deposit, typically 1% to 2% of the purchase price, made in good faith to demonstrate to the seller that the buyer’s offer is genuine. Earnest money essentially takes the home off the market to anyone else and reserves it for you.

The money is deposited in a trust or escrow account for safekeeping. If the contract closes, the earnest money is applied to the down payment and closing costs. If the contract falls through, the money is dispersed in accordance with the contract (most frequently to the buyer, but not always).

Written offers will stipulate the timeframe in which the seller should respond. Giving the seller twenty-four hours is standard courtesy.

Sellers can flat-out accept or reject an offer, but there is a third path that is quite common, sellers can initiate a counteroffer. Remember this: a deal isn’t dead until it’s dead. So, if a counteroffer is proffered by the seller, you’re still in the game. You need to review the terms to determine whether the counteroffer is acceptable. If so, then approving it formalizes the contract immediately. Keep in mind, offers and counteroffers can go back and forth many times; this is not unusual and negotiations are a part of what Realtors do as a matter of routine. Each revision should bring both parties closer together on the terms of the deal.

Yes! Home inspections are highly recommended because they can reveal defects in the home that are not easily detected. Home inspections bring peace of mind to one of the biggest investments of a lifetime.

It’s not required, but it’s a really good idea! Final walk-throughs give buyers a chance to make sure nothing has changed since the first visit. If repairs were requested as part of the negotiations, a follow-up visit ensures that everything is squared-away, as expected, per the terms of the contract.

When buying a home, you are the only one who can determine how much you should offer a seller. I will offer advice and thoughts, but ultimately you are the only person who can decide the offer terms.

If the built-up equity in your current home will be applied to the down payment on the new home, naturally the former will need to be sold first.

Some home buyers decide to turn their current home into an investment property, renting it out. In that case, the current home will not need to be sold. However, your loan advisor will still need to evaluate your risk profile and credit history to determine whether making a loan on a new home is feasible while retaining title to the old home.

Buyers often have a short time frame to sell their current home when relocating to a new city because of a job transfer. If you are moving but taking a position with the same employer, check to see if they offer relocation assistance to help offset some of the costs.

That’s up to you! For sure, home shopping today is easier than ever before. The ability to search for homes online and see pictures, before setting a foot outside the comfort of your living room, has completely changed the home buying game. Convenience is at an all-time high. But, nothing beats visiting a home to see how it looks and ‘feels’ in person. Some people will view one home and know instantly it is for them, others will need to view several to compare and contrast neighborhoods, floor plans, and amenities.

Selling a Home

This frequently asked question leads to a common pricing mistake that sellers make. Many sellers believe they should price their home $5,000 higher than what a top Realtor suggests to leave room for negotiations and low-ball offers. A well-priced home will sell quickly and will sell for close to the listing price. There is no need to leave room for negotiations, as today’s home buyers are well educated. Sellers who price their home high to leave room for negotiations can actually be costing themselves more money than if they price it to reflect the suggested market value.

The short answer is yes. The initial listing price is only the start. If you start to get overwhelmed with showings, we may decide to raise the price before an offer comes. Conversely, if there are very few showings and no offers are coming in, we may decide to lower the price. Market conditions constantly change, and you have the flexibility to meet these changes.

First impressions matter in real estate and you never get a second chance to make that first impression. Anyone walking through a house or viewing it virtually will be looking for ways to pass on it or negotiate down the price. You must show Buyers how the home has been maintained: that the HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems all work properly. Every room should look clean and decluttered with no overt damage insight.

Getting a pre-sale home inspection is never a bad idea, especially to get the best price for your home. A pre-sale inspection lets you know of concerns before they arise during the transaction with a homebuyer. This allows you to make repairs you may have been unaware of, prior to listing the home.

Once the house is on the market, it may take anywhere from four to six weeks to sell. However, if the market is hot like it is today, you may see your house off the market within a week. On the flip side, if the market lulls or the home doesn’t present in its best light, the property can sit on the market for months.

The selling price of a house fluctuates depending on multiple factors. The most common ones are the neighborhood and what similar-sized homes are currently selling for. I also look at the age and condition. Do major repairs need to be done? If so, that might lower the property value. And again, the market matters. Like everything else, home prices vary depending on supply and demand. My job as your realtor is to best inform you about these different factors and advise as to the best list price.

Yes, most things in real estate are negotiable. Typically, there is a difference between a home’s list price and how much it actually sells for. The current market conditions determine whether that is above or below list price.

Easy question to answer – no! There are many reasons why sellers should not be present during showings. The primary reason why you should not be present at showings of your home is potential buyers can feel uncomfortable talking openly with their Realtor about your home. They do not want to say something that could offend you, the seller. The best idea is to leave shortly before the scheduled showing and come back once you are certain the buyer and their Realtor have left your home.


PITI is an acronym that stands for principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. Many mortgage lenders estimate PITI for you before they decide whether you qualify for a mortgage.

Though there’s no law against paying more than a property’s appraised value, mortgage lenders almost never loan more than that value. In cases in which a property’s appraised value is less than the sales price, the buyer and seller often find themselves in uncertain circumstances.

In s seller’s markets, increasing demand for homes drives up prices. Here are some of the drivers of demand:

Economic factors – the local labor market heats up, bringing an inflow of new residents and pushing up home prices before more inventory can be built.

Interest rates trending downward – improves home affordability, creating more buyer interest, particularly for first-time home buyers who can afford bigger homes as the cost of money goes lower.

A short-term spike in interest rates – may compel “on the fence” buyers to make a purchase if they believe the upward trend will continue. Buyers want to make a move before their purchasing power (the amount they can borrow) gets eroded.

Low inventory – fewer homes on the market, prices for existing homes may go up because there are fewer units available.

A buyer’s market is characterized by declining home prices and reduced demand. Several factors may affect long-term and short-term buyer demand, like:

Economic disruption – a big employer shuts down operations, laying off their workforce.

Interest rates trending higher – the amount of money people can borrow to buy a home is reduced because the cost of money is higher, thus reducing the total number of potential buyers in the market. Home prices drop to meet the level of demand and buyers find better deals.

Short-term drop in interest rates – gives borrowers a temporary edge with more purchasing power before home prices can react to the recent interest rate changes.

High inventory – a new subdivision can create downward pressure on prices of older homes nearby, particularly if they lack highly desirable features (modern appliances, etc.)

Natural disasters – a recent fire or flooding can tank property values in the neighborhood where the disruption occurred.

A stratified market happens where supply and demand characteristics differ by price point, in the same area (typically by city). For example, home sales for properties above $1.5M may be brisk (seller’s market) while homes under $750k may be sluggish (buyer’s market).

Denver winters are actually quite mild.

While it can get decidedly chilly sometimes, overall temperatures during the winter months are actually pretty moderate. Even the coldest month, December has an average daily high temperature of 45 degrees, and days reaching 60 degrees are fairly common.

Work With Allie

Allie represents an equal number of buyers as sellers and treats each transaction with the same care and high level of service regardless of price. To Allie, every client is important, from the first-time homebuyer to the high-level executive.

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