Colorado Real Estate News


Just like in any other profession, there are good real estate agents … and there are, unfortunately, subpar real estate agents, too. But how do you know if you’ve got a dreamboat or a dud handling your real estate transaction?

One way to know whether you’ve got a good agent (or not) is to consider some of the tasks and activities that a really good agent will manage for a client, then apply what you’ve learned to your own agent. If you don’t have time to track down all of the things that a good agent should be doing for a buyer or a seller, then you’re in luck: We’ve compiled a list so you don’t have to.

Ask you about your homeownership needs (and hopes)

It’s dangerous to make assumptions at the best of times, but when it comes to shopping for a home, assumptions are downright dangerous. So if you have an agent who assumes … everything … be wary.

A good agent should ask you questions — lots of them — about where you’ve lived, what you liked and disliked about both the home and the neighborhood, where you work, how long you plan to stay there, your future family plans, and more. This is all to the greater good of helping you find the right place, and possibly revealing a neighborhood or property type that wasn’t on your radar. So if your agent isn’t trying to figure out what would make you happy by asking lots of questions about your homeownership needs and wants, that’s a red flag.

Recommend a mortgage broker

If you don’t already have a mortgage broker to help you with your loan, then your real estate agent should be providing referrals for someone trustworthy. (And any agent worth his or her salt should definitely ask if you’re pre-approved, so if you haven’t been asked, be wary!)

Real estate agents work on real estate transactions every day, and they have contacts who can help with mortgage, title, appraisals, inspections, and beyond. Use them!

Get you pre-approved

Speaking of pre-approval, this is also something that a good agent will help you manage. Not every client will need it, but some will appreciate the additional help. Agents can give you an idea of realistic sales price tags, and they can also typically put you in touch with people like mortgage brokers or even sometimes credit counselors to help get you in the best position possible to buy.

Talk about schools

You might not have kids, and you might not ever want kids, but even if that’s the case, your agent would be remiss not to have the “and this neighborhood has access to the best schools” conversation with you. Why? Because you’re not the only person on the planet, and some of the other people here who might buy your home at an unspecified future date could be parents. They are most certainly going to care about schools.

Your agent should give you a rundown of which elementary, middle, and high schools service the areas where you’re searching.

Give you feedback on the neighborhoods

Unless you’ve lived in a neighborhood your entire life — and even then! — there will still be things to learn about the place where you’re buying your home. 

A good real estate agent should be able to answer your questions and explain how each neighborhood compares against the others. You’ll probably have questions about everything from where to buy groceries to where to walk to dog to what people do for fun on weekends, and your real estate agent should help answer those questions.

Help you find a home

You might think that finding a home is as easy as looking it up on the internet, and for some lucky people, maybe it is. But most buyers have to check out endless potentially unsuitable homes before they find “the one” that’s their long-term best fit, and pictures (especially on the internet) can be deceiving.

An agent should hook you up with an MLS feed that will alert you when a home that meets your criteria hits the market — and agents should also help you come up with alternate strategies if the going is just too tough in your price range.

Price the home correctly

For sellers, this is one of the most critical jobs that your agent will complete — and if they don’t do a good job, you could lose tens of thousands of dollars. Pricing the home correctly right out the gate is absolutely vital to selling the home quickly and for fair-market value.

Some agents will inflate the possible sales price and tell sellers that they can always reduce the price if they don’t get an offer. Although this is certainly true, those agents are misrepresenting a bigger truth: your listing is going to get the most attention from qualified buyers within the first 48 hours of hitting the market. Price reductions after the home is listed are never going to attract nearly as many eyeballs as new homes on the market — and you may need to reduce the price well below fair-market value to generate buyer interest if you start off too high. 

So it’s not typically wise to go with the agent who offers the highest sales price; instead, ask prospective agents how they calculated that sales price, whether it lines up with the typical price-per-square-foot in your area, and how long homes priced in that range tend to stay on the market.

Market the home well

One reason why sellers hire a real estate agent in the first place is because the agent has a marketing platform to use to advertise the home for sale. Some homes require more marketing than others, but agents should have a plan to market every home they list. And marketing goes far, far beyond “put it on the MLS, Zillow, and — then pray you get a qualified buyer.”

If you don’t know the listing agent’s plan to market your home — or worse, if you don’t think the agent has a plan at all — then that’s a huge sign that your agent might not be the best fit for you.

Negotiate an offer

Once you’ve identified a neighborhood and found a good home, is the agent’s work mostly done?

Not remotely. A real estate agent proves his or her worth on the negotiation floor, and you should expect nothing less from your agent. From landing on an offer price that seems fair to all parties, to including contingencies, to stipulating timeline, a real estate agent is your guide on the journey to buying a home, and this is where a good agent really shines.

If your agent isn’t really involved in the negotiation process, this is a big problem. You deserve an advocate in this home sale transaction.

Help you pick an inspector

When a buyer is financed for a home loan, the lender is going to want to know that the investment is solid — that the house doesn’t have any major issues, for example. That’s where the inspector comes in, and the inspector will have to enter the picture before closing.

Your real estate agent should help you find an inspector and answer any questions you have about whether the inspector’s price tag is reasonable.

Attend the home inspection

For a buyer’s agent especially, this should be a must — and it’s a good idea for a listing agent, too. The inspector is going to look at the nuts and bolts that put the house together, from the foundation to the wiring to the exterior, and note the home’s condition.

Almost every home is going to have something “wrong” with it per the inspection; houses, like all other goods, deteriorate over time, and building codes change. A good agent will help sellers prepare mentally and financially to tackle any possible issues, and a good agent will also take note of what the inspector finds to help the buyer negotiate repairs in the deal.

Negotiate home inspection repair requests

Speaking of negotiation: Who should pay for the repairs if the home needs a new roof or (heaven forbid) some foundation work?

That’s going to be between the buyer and the seller, but an agent really should be available for both sides to help with the negotiation process. There’s no right or wrong way to manage repairs; some sellers will want to tackle them while others will prefer to knock some money off the asking price and ask the buyer to handle them. Whatever the case, the real estate agents should be the people managing this negotiation.

Attend the appraisal

A lot of agents do not consider attending the appraisal to be particularly pressing — and that’s fine. But if the appraisal comes in under the sales price and there were no agents present to answer questions or help the appraiser figure out the home’s value, then you’ve got a problem that might not be very easy to solve.

Many buyer’s agents will make a point to attend the appraisal and make sure that the appraiser has access to everything he or she needs and can get any information necessary to complete the appraisal thoroughly. Is yours one of them?

Communicate, communicate, communicate

A lot can change between putting an offer on a home and actually moving in. The real estate agent should be the person who knows all of the different parts and pieces of the transaction — and is willing to serve as the point of communication between them.

If the appraisal is delayed, or there’s an issue with the loan, then the agent is one who is communicating that information to the people on each side who need to know. An agent’s job is to make the transaction easier for you, and that typically means managing the messages for everybody.

Help you prepare to buy or sell

As the closing approaches, there’s a lot to do for both buyers and sellers who are getting ready to exchange ownership of a home.

Both buyers and sellers need to pack and arrange for at least a truck to move their things. Sellers are also going to have to clean — the oven, the bathrooms, the works — before they hand over the keys, and ensure that any trash is hauled away.

Your real estate agent should be sharing resources to help with some or all of these activities.

Stay on top of the mortgage

If the mortgage loan doesn’t go through, then the sale is lost. That’s why a good real estate agent will make sure that the loan is ready to go — in every way.

For a buyer’s agent, that probably means working with the buyer to ensure that they have all the documentation that they’ll need to present to the mortgage broker, and helping the buyer track down any missing pieces of paper.

And for the listing agent, that means keeping in close communication with the buyer’s agent so that there are no nasty loan surprises while everybody waits for close.

Tie up any loose ends

There are a lot of moving parts and pieces to a real estate transaction, and a good agent is going to be there to make sure that those parts and pieces are moving correctly — and to work on anything that could be a problem.

If two appraisals need to be reconciled, the inspection repairs need to be documented, or the title search hasn’t happened yet, then the agent is the person who tracks down the scofflaws and whips everything into shape.

Help you manage emotions

Buying a home is a process fraught with anxiety, feelings of missing out, and even sadness surrounding a big change. Sellers especially might be caught off-guard by how they feel about leaving a house when the time comes to pack everything up.

Good real estate agents understand that emotions are part of the package and will both warn  you that you might be feeling a little blue about everything, and be there to help you get your bearings and power through.

Follow up to see how the move went

When all is said and done and you’ve got most of your possessions transferred from one home to the next, then the agent’s work is mostly done — right?

Well, maybe some agents, but a superior agent knows that your life is still in upheaval and will check in to make sure everything went smoothly with the move. Did you forget anything at your old place? Do you need help cleaning and getting settled in? A good agent will ask you these questions and help solve any problems that emerged as a result of changing your address.

Offer help finding contractors

As stated before, all homes deteriorate — so you can expect to have to make some repairs on your new place at some point, even if the inspection indicated that everything was perfect. But who do you call to take a look at your plumbing or your landscaping?

Ideally, you’ll already have a list of local contractors in hand that your agent provided for you when you moved in — but if not, this is something else that your agent should be able to help with. So ask!

Keep in touch

If someone asks you in three or four years whether you can refer them to your agent, and you can’t even remember your agent’s name, don’t feel too bad; it’s not uncommon for clients and real estate agents to lose touch as years pass.

But that’s why the best agents make a point to keep in contact with their best clients. A good agent will reach out to help celebrate your homeownership anniversary, ask how you’re doing, and generally stay apprised of any emerging housing needs that you might have.

Colorado Real Estate News


Great Denver Neighborhoods

Four More Great Denver Neighborhoods


Unfortunately, the secret is out that Denver is one of the most desirable places to live in the country. People seem to be moving here in droves, and with the sunshine and plethora of outdoor activities, it’s easy to see why. This means that the competition to find great housing has never been fiercer in the Mile High City. Fortunately, Denver boasts a wide variety of neighborhoods that includes some hidden gems. These represent a cross-section of housing in the city. One of the best aspects of Denver housing is a large number of neighborhoods that retain relaxed, almost suburban vibe are nestled in the heart of town. The four areas below represent examples of this. This is meant to serve as an introduction to the neighborhoods along with some expert tips on where to eat in them. 


Hampden South 


Hampden South has been one of Denver’s best-kept neighborhood secrets but word is starting to get out. To start with it offers the joys and tranquility of living in a more suburban environment while still being very much in the city and county of Denver. 

Situated directly next to the Belleview Station light rail stop ensures that residents can get anywhere in the city quickly. It’s also a short drive to the Tech Center for those working in that area. With a plethora of grocery stores, entertainment options and outdoor spaces it’s an amazing neighborhood. 


Where to Eat 


There are a ton of options in this neighborhood, but you might want to start at Tiffany Plaza. You could stop and grab a snack at the gigantic and absolutely gorgeous Whole Foods, where they smoke their meat in-house. Or if you’re looking for a full meal, next door is the Fresh Fish Co. which flies in fresh fish daily and serving some of the best seafood in the Mile High City. 


Cheeseman Park 


Nestled in the heart of the city is this absolute gem of a neighborhood that makes up for lack of size with stunning beauty and charm. The park the neighborhood is named after is a great example of the amazing parks Denver offers in almost every area. Although most of them are not this beautiful. Filled with bike paths and green spaces, it’s less crowded than Wash Park, and the lack of water means a delightful lack of geese. The highlight might be the Denver Botanic Gardens, which is extremely affordable for a yearly membership and one of the most relaxing places in the city. If you do get a membership, for a small fee you can get a key to a hidden entrance on the west side of the gardens. Just be careful around Halloween because the park was built on a graveyard and is said to be haunted.  


Where to Eat 


Colfax is beginning to be a great culinary destination in the city. Head over to Fat Sully’s which is a pizza spot inside of the Atomic Cowboy bar for a slice and a beer. If you’ve had a few too many you can stop by Pete’s Kitchen, which is a late haunt that has been sobering up generations of inebriated Denver residents after the bars close. For something a little higher-end, head over to Q House, which has the best Chinese food in the city.   


Five Points


Known as the Harlem of the West, this enclave has a rich history that is tied to the fabric of what makes Denver one of the best cities in the country. The proximity to Downtown makes it one of the most desirable areas of Denver, and housing prices have steadily been increasing accordingly. It technically encompasses the micro-neighborhoods of Curtis Park, Ballpark, and RiNO, although you could argue those are separate entities unto themselves. Either way this spot has it all from, hip coffee shops, to culinary hot spots, to music venues. 


Where to Eat


There are dozens of great options to choose from here but our favorite is without a doubt Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen. Bagels in Denver unfortunately for years left something to be desired. However, this scrumptious monument to the glory that lox on a salt bagel represents, proves that New York isn’t the only place with a great bagel.   


University Hills  


University Hills is one of Denver’s most beautiful neighborhoods filled with families and ranch style homes. This quiet residential area will not have a loud nightlife, but you will find great proximity to a number of retail and dining options. The area boasts several movie theaters and shopping districts, along with the underrated Eisenhower park. University Hills also borders the gorgeously tree-lined High Line Canal. It is a very short drive to I-25, which provides access to the whole city. A short drive away the prestigious University of Denver offers an assortment of cultural diversions from a symphony to film showings to renowned public speakers.  


Where to Eat 

While the neighborhood doesn’t have quite as many restaurants as other areas of the city, it does have a solid number of classics that local residents swear by. There are quite a few delicious Middle-Eastern options to choose from. Amira Bakery is known for baking Lebanese delicacies and pretty much anything on their menu is great. Our pick is the fresh-made pita covered in the Middle Eastern spice zaatar.  Marrakech Grill has been dishing out food to DU students and neighborhood residents for years. If you’re looking for something a little more classic, you can’t go wrong with Poppies. They’re known for excellent cocktails and prime rib; make sure to MOn-Sin 3-6 pm for an amazing happy hour. 

Colorado Real Estate News


You’re about to become a first-time homeowner—this is an exciting time! As you begin working with lenders on securing pre-approval for a mortgage, you probably hear some terms when it comes to mortgage interest rates such as “fixed” and “adjustable.” To help you make a smart decision, here’s what you need to know about these types of interest rates.


Interest Rate 101

An interest rate is the cost of borrowing money. When you borrow money to purchase a home, the interest rate applies to how much the home will cost you with borrowed money rather than saving a lump sum for the entire purchase price.


Fixed Interest Rate

The most straightforward type of rate is a fixed one. With a fixed interest rate, this means the rate and payments stay the same, regardless of what’s happening with the economy. Some homebuyers may be drawn to fixed interest rates since they offer rate security, making for easy budgeting, though it can end up costing more money in the long run. 

In the event rates go down, homeowners with fixed-rate mortgages will need to refinance. Refinancing with a reduced rate will save you some money, but keep in mind there will be upfront closing costs and time spent getting approved for a mortgage all over again with your tax documents, bank statements, and more. 

Adjustable Interest Rate

Often referred to as an Adjustable Rate Mortgage, or “ARM,” these types of loans can seem complicated to a first-time homebuyer. With an adjustable interest rate, borrowers are offered lower rates and subsequently lower monthly payments early in the mortgage loan term. ARMs let borrowers take advantage of falling interest rates without needing to refinance. When you refinance, there’s a significant time investment, and it will cost money each time you refinance. When you have an ARM, you can watch rates and your monthly payment fall without having to do anything.


An adjustable rate is a less expensive way for homebuyers who don’t plan on staying in one place for very long.


On the flip side, with an ARM, your rates and payments can also go up over the life of your mortgage loan. These rates will usually have an annual cap, so if rates rise significantly and quickly, you might not be affected right away. On certain ARMs, called negative amortization loans, borrowers could wind up owing more than they did at closing because the payments on these loans are set so low to make the loans affordable that they cover only part of the interest due. The rest ends up getting baked into the principal balance.


The low initial cost of adjustable-rate mortgages might be tempting, but they bring a degree of risk and uncertainty in the long run.


Fixed or Adjustable Interest Rate: Which Is Better?

There isn’t a straightforward answer about which type of interest rate might be better than the other. There are several unique factors to take into account such as the length of your loan, the index your lender uses, the number and timing of rate adjustments, and any assumptions about the future increase or decrease in rates.


Work with a reputable and trustworthy lender to review the pros and cons of each type of interest rate for your situation. Have questions or just looking for a little advice on where to start? Get in touch!