Useful information on buying or selling a home in the Denver market.

new-year-2015As the clock ticks toward year’s end, it’s time to review the 2015 real estate market.
When someone asks me how the real estate market is, the cocktail party answer is that it’s been a very pleasing 12 months and future looks bright and shiny. Because the economic news is good our Denver Metro real estate market is projected to stay strong but not overheat. I’ll share some of the metrics I use to evaluate the market and understand it better, describing what 2015 looked like and where I think we’re headed.
Market strength–2015 was an extremely strong seller’s market. The market strength peaked in the spring when the bottom dropped out of our inventory and multiple offers were all the rage. Frustrating for buyers who felt they had to give away so much to stay competitive, the good news is that the market reacted appropriately and became more balanced as the year progressed. With prices on the rise, sellers were motivated to sell as we approached the fall so the market cooled with the start of school and the weather. It is still a strong seller’s market, but far more in balance. I expect 2016 to continue along this line and see no sign of a major imbalance that could lead to any sort of ugly peak and crash. Sellers should get a good price for their homes and replacement properties should not be as hard to find.
Buyers– Real estate website Trulia says that buying an average home in Denver is a whopping 38 percent cheaper than renting a home! For the average home, the interest rate would have to skyrocket to 11 percent for renting to become cheaper than buying, meaning that it is currently MUCH more affordable to buy than to rent. Even with current prices and current rents, interest rates would have to nearly triple to make renting more affordable than owning. (Call me if you want to talk about this.)
Sellers-Can’t say this enough: the most important thing to prepare your home for sale is to get rid of clutter. This includes furniture. You may have learned to live with that cherished armchair stuffed into the corner but a professional stager will often times whisk away half of your furniture. The house looks so much bigger for it, leaving space for a buyer couple and their agent to tour the home without bumping into each other, and space for their imaginations to make it their own. You don’t have to go “Stager drastic” but take a hard look, be objective, and see what you can live without. Painting always pays for itself and statistics show that springing for a staging company is often a good investment.
Rental Vacancies– The rental market is stronger than it has ever been in metro Denver. The vacancy rate for 1- to 4-unit properties is an extremely low 2 percent. That’s a drop from the already 4.7% we’d been experiencing for the past few years. On top of this, rents are rising faster than ever, up 30% in the past three years. With rents equaling a mortgage payment, we’re seeing more renters making the decision to buy. Why live waiting for another rent increase, tough competition and another application process without building any equity? Many homeowners who lost their homes in the downturn and have been renting, are becoming eligible to purchase once again. This is great news for the market and will certainly lead to more sales in 2016, though the influx of buyers insures a continuing seller’s market.
Interest rates– No one knows exactly what interest rates will do in the future but my best guess is that they may rise a little in 2016, but only a little. Remember that the Federal Reserve has control over only short-term, not long-term interest rates. Even if the Fed raises rates, that doesn’t directly affect the 30-year home buyer interest rate you are concerned with. Long-term interest rates are affected by the bond market (as bond prices decrease, interest rates increase) which, frankly, is not predictable. Understand though that interest rates are at near 50-year lows so they are highly unlikely to fall any further. All we know for sure is that someday they will go up.
The Economy– No matter what you may hear in the months leading up to the election (places hands over ears), right now the metro Denver economy is very strong. This is fueling our terrific real estate market and the rising population of our city. The unemployment rate is extremely low, about 3.5 percent. Inflation will stay in the range of 1-2 percent, our population is rising at a rate of 50,000 people/year and consumer confidence continues to rise. Nothing can be better for the housing market than a strong and steady economy.
Mortgage -The single most important number for a home buyer is their FICO score. For good or bad, your FICO plays a major role in your ability to finance your home purchase. Your credit score is a snapshot taken by the three leading credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, to help lenders determine what sort of credit risk you are. Your FICO is a number between 300 and 850 and is calculated by a complex algorithm assessing your past credit history. Most home lenders will consider a score over 700 to be excellent while scores below 600 are considered poor. The better the score the more credit will be extended, at better terms, with a lower interest rate. The best credit terms are extended to consumers with scores above 740. Therefore, it’s critical to understand what your FICO is and what you can do to improve your score. When I work with buyers I help them understand the factors affecting their score so they can work to improve them. I can’t think of a better investment in your future than to spend a little time working on your FICO score.
Here are a few tips I give my clients:
1.Don’t max out your cards, try to keep them under 50% of available credit. Running high balances can severely impact your FICO.
2.Continue paying your bills on time.
3.Don’t apply for new credit or cancel an old card because length of credit helps.
4.Pay down high balances.
5.Dispute and resolve any inaccurate items in your credit report.
6.Invest in a credit monitoring company to track the changes to your score.

Market Snapshot september I’m frequently asked where the real estate market is headed and when we will get back to some kind of equilibrium. The truth is it’s extremely difficult to accurately predict the future but here’s what I know: Right now we are experiencing one of the strongest seller’s markets in our history and we’re a full six and a half years into this market recovery. The reason is simple: we have much more demand for homes (buyers) than we have supply of homes (sellers). What’s fascinating to watch is the dynamic build on itself. It looks something like this:
1.Buyers make offers on homes and continue to lose out to higher offers.
2.Buyers get increasingly frustrated and begin to get more aggressive with their offers.
3.The momentum builds on itself until we see what is occurring today, with multiple offers on a propertythe norm rather than the exception.
4.The multiple offer dynamic almost always bids prices higher than the original asking price.
5.The buyers that lose the bid learn from the experience and become more aggressive on their next offer.
6.Then back to Step 1, until the buyer bids high enough on a property to finally get an offer accepted.
The result of course is the tremendously strong seller’s market we have experienced for the past several years. And this seller’s market is not going to change any time soon, at least not until we get back to some kind of balance in the market between buyers and sellers. I don’t see that happening for at least several more years. In the meantime, if you’ve thought about selling your home, now might be a great time to find out what the market is like in your neighborhood and see what your home is worth. It’s almost certainly worth more than it was just a few years ago. Drop me a line and I’ll put together a professional Competitive Market Analysis on your home so you have the data to make the right decision.
Another question my potential sellers often ask is if they sell today, can they find a replacement home in time to move? In a market like ours this is a very good question. Fortunately, there are a number of things savvy sellers can do to take advantage of the seller’s market and put themselves in a good position when looking for their replacement home.
Here are a few:
1.First and foremost, work with an experienced agent to write a strong, professional offer on the home you want to buy. In a dramatically competitive market like we have now, weak, poorly written, unprofessional, and bad offers just aren’t taken seriously. There is both an art and a science to writing a strong offer. Call me and I’ll explain more about how to write an offer that has a great chance of getting accepted.
2.Add a contingency clause to your contract to buy another home. The clause would say that you will close on the home you are purchasing once your own home sells. The problem with this is that it somewhat weakens your offer as many sellers don’t want to accept a contingency when they can sell quickly to the next buyer. But occasionally we do run across a seller that is in no hurry and is happy to wait for the buyer’s home to sell.
3.Lease the home you just sold from the buyer for a period of time while you are looking for your new home (this is called a lease back). Some buyers do not want or are not able to move into their new home immediately and this permits them to earn rent from you for the period of time you are shopping for your next purchase, a win-win situation. 4.Look into a new construction purchase. Builders are building as fast as they can in this market to keep up with demand and there may be inventory of completed or soon-to-be-completed homes that could suit you. 5.Arrange to stay with family or move into short-term rental housing until you find your next home. While not a perfect solution I believe it’s far better to inconvenience yourself for a short period of time than to settle for anything less than your dream home!
september graphic
“Denver apartment rents rising three times the national average”

This was the Denver Business Journal’s Sept. 2 headline. Denver rents have increased another 7 percent in the past year, which is three times the national average of 2.3 percent. And given the continued lack of rental inventory, rents are expected to continue increasing at a strong pace. Sooooooo…. 1.If you’re a renter it might be time to consider looking into buying a home to get out of the rental market madness! 2.If you’ve ever thought about buying a rental as a long-term investment now might be the time to learn how to purchase a safe, cashflowing property. Interest rates are still near record lows and rents havenever been higher, a wonderful combination for any real estate investor.

Mortgage rates continue to hover at near-record lows. For homeowners looking to upgrade to a larger, better home, low rates combined with low home inventory are making this a great time to upgrade to a larger home with very nearly the same monthly payment. We have several recent examples of clients selling their current homes and getting into a $40,000 – $50,000 more expensive home with the exact same monthly payment. Please give me a call or send me and e-mail and I’ll do a free analysis to see if this might be a good scenario for you to take advantage of.

Denver is one of the most vibrant cities to summer in. While the mountains give us splendid hiking, biking, camping, fishing, the city gives us all kinds of opportunity to get out and party with your neighbors. City Park Jazz is a summer tradition in my fam. Sunday in the park with a picnic, a paddle or a Frisbee, the whole town comes together for dinner and dancing to Denver’s best jazz bands. Music is everywhere in the summer, calling us out to the dance floor or or to stargaze, and with festivals a mile high and higher and there’s live music on somebody’s patio every night of the week. surf dance
Wednesdays the Denver Cruisers bike ride through the night; kinda fun, kinda scary. You can get a few First Fridays in before fall and three more Mixed Tastes, tag team lectures on unrelated topics from the MCA and the . If the summer storms have left your peonies in tatters, visit Denver Art Museum for In Bloom; Painting Flowers in the Age of Impressionism.
One of the most fun groups in town is Denver Film Society’s Reel Social Club, where the artistic and social gather. Coming in August is their annual Summer Scream at Lakeside, a private party with all of the rides and neon you can handle plus bands and booze stands. Not too soon to get your tickets and don’t forget “The Breakfast Club” plays Film on the Rocks August 26th! #summerscream5,#fotr,#cityparkjazz.

july newsletter 15
From Page 4
4. The Investor Real Estate Market: Denver is still a great place to invest in real estate. The fix and flip market is strong for those who can find underpriced homes to buy and repair. They’re out there but it takes tools, patience, and work to find them. Once you get one fixed up, selling is the easy part because of the lack of competing inventory. The buy and hold market will continue to be extremely profitable for long-term investors. Interest rates and vacancy rates are still near record lows and rents continue to rise – a record 10.8 percent per year the past three years. It’s not difficult to buy a rental property in today’s environment and put it on the path to be paid off in 12-15 years. Just think how your life would change if you owned a couple of rental properties free and clear! For building long-term wealth it’s tough to compete with rental property ownership. That’s the one thing that will never change. CLICK ON MAP TO ENLARGE
july 15 map

Need more info? Boy you are a real estate geek! (and I love it) CLICK LINK for the metrics from Matrix. 15-0705 DSF Data CITY – Copy

If you would like a personal real estate consultation, have any questions about the market, your home’s value or need more specific information about your neighborhood please give me a call.
Until next month… use your sunscreen!

Five Essential Things You Need To Know About the 2015 Summer Home Buying Market
This year has kicked off with an array of experts trumpeting the Denver housing market’s strength and resilience. Inventory is at record lows, home prices continue to rise, and foreclosure activity has ebbed to lows not seen since before the 2007 downturn. Spring and summer is the time for selling houses. The months of April, May, June, and July typically account for more than 40 percent of all housing transactions annually, thanks in large part to good weather.
1.Inventory shortages: “The story of the day is on the inventory front,” stresses Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). It’s a sentiment echoed by many. The number of available homes in metro Denver has plunged to a record low, thanks to both an abnormally small supply of existing homes for sale and a dearth of new construction not keeping pace with the current demand.
2. Increased Competition: In addition to a dwindling supply of available homes, the number of buyers has surged. And not just traditional buyers – investors have comprised a sizeable chunk of the buyer pool since the downturn and continue to do so. Real estate investors are responsible for about 25 percent of the existing home sales each month. You, the prospective buyer, need to be prepared to move fast if you find a property you’d like to buy. “Buyers need to be patient because many will be outbid by others and might have to bid on multiple homes,” cautions Jed Kolko, chief economist of Trulia. Yes, indeed.
3.Cash is Still King: Given the steep competition, all-cash buyers who can close a deal relatively quickly offer great incentive to sellers. “Cash will still be king if there are multiple bids because from a seller’s view, they want a deal with fewer hiccups, “says Yun. My sellers are surprised to hear that about 30 percent of home sales each month are all-cash purchases.
4.The Good News: Lending Tree chief executive Doug Leboda says in light of the recently unveiled new home-lending standards, lenders are slowly starting to make it slightly easier to get approved. Talk to a couple of lenders, they’ll tell you things have improved over the past few years on the loan front.
5.More Good News: We are seeing a definite correction in the appraisal business. A few years ago appraisers were consistently under-valuing properties, reacting to the over-conservative nature of their shell-shocked underwriter patrons. Today we are seeing the vast majority of appraisals coming in at value, killing far fewer deals than in the past.

Buyers– If you’ve been considering buying a home it’s critical to understand the amazing tax benefits you’ll enjoy. Talk to your CPA to get professional advice, but here’s a brief look at some of the tax benefits of home ownership:
1.The Purchase. The IRS says that in most cases loan discount points and origination fees are tax deductible to the buyer, regardless of who pays them.
2.Mortgage Interest. In general, you can deduct interest charged on a loan used to acquire or improve your principal residence in the year that it is paid. In the early years of a loan, most of your monthly payment is interest, so this can really add up. If you are in a 28 percent federal tax bracket, this can have the effect of lowering your borrowing costs by almost a third.
3.The Sale. If you have owned and occupied your principal residence for at least two of the past five years, you can earn up to $500,000 on the sale of that house and pay no federal income tax whatsoever. That’s assuming you are married – singles get up to $250,000 tax free. You can do this as often as every two years for the rest of your life with no limit on the number of times you do it! The one restriction is that you MUST own and occupy the house as your principal residence.
Sellers– Month after month in this newsletter we have discussed the incredible strength in our housing market. If you’re looking to sell your home this should be very welcome news! The inventory of homes on the market is at an all-time low and prices continue to climb. Call me and I’ll be happy to run a complimentary Comparative Market Analysis on your home to let you know what it might be worth. It’s great information and costs you nothing.
Investors -For years our clients have been buying rental properties in metro Denver to build their long-term wealth. Our record low vacancy rate is a big driver of why rental property has performed so well. First, the lower the vacancy rate the higher the demand for the property. More demand means landlords can be more selective with prospective tenants and can also charge higher rents. Rents have skyrocketed the past few years because the vacancy rates have remained so low. One of the reasons vacancy rates are so low is that many people still cannot qualify for a loan. I don’t expect this to change in the foreseeable future. We’ve had a huge shakeout in the lending industry and lending guidelines are still much stricter than they were a few years ago. Until lending standards ease up more I expect vacancy rates to remain low and keep my investor clients happy. If you’ve ever thought of investing in a condo or house as a rental property call me and I can show you what the numbers look like and what options you might have. Graphic Mortgage The mortgage market continues to remain strong with historically low interest rates. Low rates combined with low home inventory are making this a great time to sell your home and move up to a larger home with the same or lower monthly payment. We have several recent examples of clients selling their current homes and purchasing new ones costing $40,000 – $50,000 more with the exact same monthly payment. Drop me a line and I’ll do a free analysis to see if this might be a good scenario for you to take advantage of!

What’s new in the Denver Real Estate Market?
The question I’m asked all the time by friends, colleagues and clients who are still renting is whether it’s too late to buy a home. “Are we heading for a big downturn?” and “Are we too deep in the market cycle to buy?” they wonder. For those of you who read my newsletter and know me well the following will sound familiar but it bears repeating: timing the real estate market perfectly is extremely difficult (maybe even impossible) and those who try usually fail. So don’t try to time the market. Instead, look at factors like the ones below to see if homeownership is right for you.

1. You should buy a home when you feel it’s the right time in your life to do so. Don’t try to time the market, instead time your life. Are you getting married? Sick of paying skyrocketing rents? Looking for a bigger place for you and your family? Want your own backyard for the kids to play in? Want to be part of a neighborhood community? Plan on staying in one place for a number of years? Want to build long-term wealth? These are the types of questions you should ask yourself when considering whether you want to own a home. To the extent you say yes, home ownership might be the answer for you.

One important stat to keep in mind is that the average rental household in the U.S. has a total net worth of only $5,500. In contrast, the average homeowner has a net worth of $195,500 — that’s 36 times those who rent! Over the past 15 years, this multiple has ranged from as low as 31 times to as high as 46 times the net worth of renters. You don’t want to try to time the market, but over the long term home ownership is the tried and true path to wealth accumulation and financial security. (So is owning rental property, by the way. Call me if you’d like to learn more about that as well.)

2. Interest rates remain at record lows but this can’t last forever. No one knows when they’re going to rise (remember, you can’t time the market!), but rise they will at some point in the future. Though home prices have gone up the past several years, low interest rates continue to make homes relatively affordable (especially compared to renting). Once interest rates do rise the window of home ownership affordability will truly begin to close for a lot of potential buyers and they will be sorry they didn’t act when interest rates were at 50-year lows.

To illustrate the numbers, assume you are purchasing a $210,000 home with a 5 percent down payment. The Principle + Interest payment at 4 percent interest would be $952 per month. Just a 1 percent interest rate increase to 5 percent would result in a payment of $1,070 per month for a total increase of $128/month and $1,416/year. Now assume that rates tick up to 6 percent. That increase would result in a 21 percent increase in payments from $952 to $1,196. Where you really see the effect of these increases is when you hold the property for the full 30 years. On a $200,000, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage that increases from 4-5 percent, the borrower who obtains the 5 percent loan would pay an additional $42,772 in extra interest as opposed to the borrower who paid just 4 percent interest. That’s 21.4 percent of the total loan amount! This is why a lot of folks who don’t purchase a home while interest rates are near record lows are going to regret it down the road.

3. The main reason the average home owner has so much more personal wealth than the average condo owner is that over time, homes appreciate in value. Over the past 44 years, homes in metro Denver appreciated 6 percent per year, about 1 percent above the inflation rate. If you buy a $200,000 home, you can expect over the long term its value to rise about 6 percent every year. This means you’d make $12,000 in appreciation the first year, an additional $12,720 the second year, another $13,483 in the third year, and on and on. It’s that simple. So if you want to build wealth, your best bet may be to take advantage of these numbers and buy a home for the long term. I can help you do this. Call me and let me show you how.

home list If you’re my client, we’ve shopped, you’ve fallen in love, made your offer, had it accepted and gone under contract. Now you’re in the “discovery” stage” where you gather important information: title work, disclosures, surveys, and you schedule your home inspection. Now what?
A home inspection is one of the most important steps in the process, it’s the time then we take that silk purse and try to find the sow’s ear. Part ‘honey-do’ list, part ‘O.M.G. what have I done?’ the home inspection reveals and/or conceals just what you’re getting yourselves into. The house is everything you’ve ever wanted, and it’s the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. Shouldn’t we make sure it is all that?
I have a few good home inspection companies I rely on, have vetted and have found them thorough, honest and knowledgeable. There are many things your home inspection will show you and many that it won’t. Some things are minor, deferred maintenance and others are worth major consideration. Always best to hire a professional and ask your Realtor (that’d be me ;-)) for their recommendation. No matter how much you may love them, having a “friend who knows a lot about houses” take a look at it could be the end of a great relationship. Pay for the pro, it is money well spent.
Here’s what your standard inspection will show:
Structural Elements- Construction of walls, ceilings, floors, roof and foundation. Though inspectors are not usually structural engineers, their expert training gives them a good eye for when you may want to call one. Many times the crack you’re freaking out over is pretty normal to a resale home.
Exterior Evaluation- How does the siding, brick or stucco look? Does the grading flow toward or away from the house? Landscaping, elevation, drainage, driveways, fences, sidewalks, fascia, eaves, trim, doors, windows, lights and exterior receptacles—are they all doing what they’re supposed to be doing?
Roof and Attic- A visual inspection of the roof and attic will give you a good idea if they are framed and ventilated, insulated, or in need of repair. Though not a roofing specialist, your inspection should be able to tell the approximate age of the roof and how long you might expect it to last. If there is any doubt, I suggest having a qualified roofer come out and do an independent inspection to see if the roof can be guaranteed through certification.
Plumbing- Identification and condition of pipe materials used for potable, drain, waste and vent pipes. Toilets, showers, sinks, faucets and traps, water pressure and hot water heater will be included.
Systems – Your furnace, air conditioning, duct work, chimney and fireplace will be checked to insure they are in good working order.
Electrical- Main panel, circuit breakers, types of wiring, outlet grounding, GFCI outlets, exhaust fans, receptacles, ceiling fans and light fixtures.
Appliances-Dishwasher, refrigerator, stove/range/oven, built-in microwaves, garbage disposal, trash compactors, washing machine and dryer will be checked.
Garage- Slab, walls, ceiling, vents, entry, firewall, garage door, openers, lights, receptacles, exterior, windows and roof.
Although I’ve had inspectors note the possible presence of mold, termites, evidence of pests, or asbestos these, along with a sewer scope, require assessment by specialists and do not fall within the scope of your home inspection. Radon detection can be done by the inspector who installs a device to stay in the home for 24-48 hours at an additional cost.
My home inspectors provide my clients with a Home Inspection Checklist which categorizes items needing service and the urgency in doing so.
The serious problems are:
Any issue that pertains to health and safety; gas leaks, CO2 levels, non-functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, radon mitigation, sewer cracks or breaks.
Also for consideration are the big ticket items: old or leaking roofs or those which cannot be certified, furnace and A/C malfunctions, foundation deficiencies and moisture intrusion or drainage issues.
Who should pay for what?
Home Inspection Checklist Items Sellers Should Fix would include those listed above. There are many instances when it is wise for the buyer to take responsibility for the repairs themselves and ask the sellers for a credit or sales price reduction. Sellers, understandably, want to maximize their profits an may approach repairs from an economical perspective where you might go the extra mile, especially if you prefer a mid-high grade brand. Buyers and sellers might want to consult with an expert to get an estimate for repairs and all work should be done by a licensed contractor or technician. Make sure your agent is specific when responding to the inspection. If your request is vague, there is more room for interpretation of a repair.
Because for some people, duct tape doesn’t cut it.

Denver Housing Market September statistisDenver housing market moves from a hot summer to a cooler autumn as seasons change. We see this every year, temperatures rise in spring and with them a flurry of buyers hurry to buy, sell, move and settle in before school starts up again. After August, as the heat subsides, there’s the correspondent cooling of the housing market as recent Metrolist numbers confirm. It’s cyclical and as predictable as the weather, meaning not at all. Here in Colorado, specifically in the Denver housing market, we’ve seen February price spikes, flat sales in June and the current bubble-pop-bounce-back of the past 18 months with increasing market stability. Settle in with your pumpkin spice latte, click on Metrolist link and see how they show and tell it best.
If you need further information on the Denver housing market, real estate values in your neighborhood, or the value of your home, I’d be more than happy to help.

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This Denver loft is a corner unit with twice the windows, twice the sunshine! Spacious one bedroom, one bath loft in the Denver Ball Park neighborhood lives larger than the square footage would have you believe. Open and cheery floor plan in the main living area allows for flexible living, dining, kitchen and/or office space, yet unlike many Denver loft homes, it has a wonderful private bedroom with en suite bath. You’ll love the long, exposed brick walls, an original feature of the old Cable Building structure in the Fire Clay Lofts while an abundance of high windows bring light, character and ambient charm to this urban loft living.The L-shaped configuration of the kitchen gives you lots of room and with granite counter tops, a new stove and microwave, you may find yourself quite the host or hostess! Uniquely positioned within the building, there is no shared wall between you and another tenant, and having your own washer and dryer in the unit gives you a bit more of that detached home feeling.The Fire Clay has low HOA dues, the management is responsive, and you’ll have your own parking space in a gated lot. Come home to the Fire Clay, where

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living and the Ball Park Neighborhood lifestyle began.
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I object! Often the process of buying or selling a home is so emotional, so stressful, that our every fear is stirred up. That’s why when buying or selling a home, the home inspection is critical. Your home inspection can put you at ease, whether you are purchasing a home you want to feel good about or selling a home you want to feel is safe for the new owner. The home inspection and the resulting INSPECTION OBJECTION and RESOLUTION can be fine points of the negotiation. Of course, the sellers don’t want to reduce their proceeds and the buyers don’t want to take on the extra expense of repairs. So, where’s the middle ground?
hot-wires-carboard
Let’s start with a few basic questions and let the answers guide us to our home inspection answers.
To the Sellers:
1. How motivated are you to sell your home at this time, with these buyers, under the terms of the contract?
2. What is your goal in selling your house? And what effect does this sale have on your life right now? On your future?
3. If I could tell you that the goal you want in question #2 would cost you X amount of dollars, would that seem like a fair price?
4. Is the cost of the repair(s) more or less than the cost of another month, maybe two, of your mortgage payment?
To the Buyers:
1. How would you feel if you let this house go?
2. Are the repairs immediate or can they be reasonably deferred?
3. How many things are you asking the Sellers to repair or credit for? I mean, it’s one thing to ask them to replace the faulty old Zinsco electrical panel or install radon mitigation, quite another to ask for a cracked plastic outlet cover to be changed.
4. Do you feel you are safe in the house without the repairs?

It’s that last question that is the most important. Are the requested repairs, replacements or credit for such, necessary to provide or protect the health and safety of the home buyer? This is where I draw the line. If the home inspection reveals something that would cause any reasonable buyer to feel unsafe they might need to walk away from the transaction. Even if you, Mr. and Mrs. Seller have lived with it for 20 years and nothing has happened, you might as well buck up and agree to make the repairs. You’ll have to disclose the issue to the next buyer if you lose this contract now that you know about it, so the problem isn’t going away.
If the buyers have reasonable expectations of the home’s condition based on its age and understand the responsibilities of home ownership, then health & safety should be your guide. That “honey-do list” the Inspector gave you? That would be yours, not the sellers, but those hot wires or the recalled electrical panel? Definitely calls for the experts. When both parties move away from all emotional or economic considerations and apply fair and equitable logic, the questions answer themselves. Logic, who knew?
Now… back to my clients and that electrical panel.