Real Estate

Good House.  Good Deal.

Gain the benefits of a realtor who also does real estate law.  In addition to your finding the right home or selling your home, the home’s pricing and terms will be fair and your contracts will be safe.

Buying or selling real estate is probably the largest transaction you’ll ever make. The contract is long and confusing, and little changes or mistakes can cost you thousands of dollars, or even worse, you could lose your dream home.

With me as your realtor, you’ll benefit from a unique perspective few others can offer: I’m both a Realtor and an Attorney. While no attorney–client relationship is established when I’m acting as your real estate agent, you’ll have the benefit of my understanding of contracts, and my obsession of reviewing documents with a fine tooth comb to make sure you’re getting what you want. My skill in negotiating will help ensure you get the best deal possible that still benefits both sides.

When it comes to purchases of this size, small changes in a contract can have huge impacts. I know how to work together with the buyer, seller, mortgage lender, and title company to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal.

Services:

  • Utah Realtor
  • Contract Review
  • Negotiations
  • Real Estate Law

How Much Is My Home Worth?

Complete the form below and I’ll contact you with a free home value analysis.

FAQ—Real Estate in General:

What is a Broker?

A broker is a real estate agent who has gone through additional schooling and testing and has been licensed to run his or her own agency. Each real estate office has one “principal broker.”

What is a real estate agent?

Someone licensed to help you with the buying or selling of your home. All agents must work under a principal broker in a brokerage.

What is a “Realtor®”?

“A REALTOR® is a licensed real estate salesperson who belongs to the National Association of REALTORS®, the largest trade group in the country. Every agent is not a REALTOR®, but most are. If you’re unsure, you can ask your agent if they’re a licensed REALTOR®. REALTORS® are held to a higher ethical standard than licensed agents and must adhere to a Code of Ethics.” — http://www.realtor.com/advice/what-is-a-realtor/?is_wp_site=1.

How much are closing costs?

There is a lot that goes into transferring property from one person to another, often including getting a mortgage (loan), filing with the recorder’s office, getting title insurance, etc…, and all of this costs money. A lot of these costs are a percentage of the cost of the home, so even the smallest difference in percentage can mean a big difference for your wallet. Ask your real estate agent who they suggest and why, and find the best mix of quality and price.

FAQ—Buyers:

What does FSBO mean?

For Sale By Owner” or someone who decides not to use a real estate agent. You should do you independent analysis on the price of their home, because their home is usually listed way too high or way too low.

How does my real estate agent get paid?

Most Buyer’s Agents work 100% on a contingent basis (meaning they don’t get paid unless you buy a home) and they usually paid by the Seller’s Agent. This means that unless you buy a home from a “FSBO” you shouldn’t have to pay your real estate agent anything except for maybe a small transaction fee ($50 – $250).

What is the MLS?

Multiple Listing Service. This is where every real estate agent lists the properties they are selling. This is hands down the best way to look for a home: in my opinion, it is way better than Zillow, Trulia, etc… because those other sites usually gets their info from the MLS and are often not as up-to-date as the MLS. Many agents will have a link on their site to search the MLS.

What is an HOA?

Home Owners Association. HOAs usually have rules to help maintain specific standards, such as length of grass and colors/materials you can use on your home. It is very important to understand these restrictions (called CC&Rs) before buying a home. Most HOAs also have a fee involved, and should be considered (in addition to your mortgage payment) when deciding how much you can afford to pay each month.

FAQ—Sellers:

How much is my home worth?

Your home is worth whatever someone will pay for it, or more realistically, however much a bank is willing to lend someone to buy it. Because banks will only lend up to the value of the home, working with their appraiser is often key to getting the most for your home. Having someone advocate for you who can help the appraiser find the best comparables, and show they how this home is worth more, can make a huge difference on how much money you can get for your home.

How should I price my home?

Not too high and not too low; easier said than done of course. If your home is listed too low, then you won’t get as much as you deserve (but it will sell fast). If you list it too high, (as some say, leaving room to negotiate) you often won’t get the right people coming to see your home. I find that it’s best to list your home for the highest FMV (fair market value) you can, and then relying on you or your agent’s negotiations skills so that you don’t “wiggle” too much.

How do I, and should I, counter offer?

You should counter offer any offer that is not FMV (fair market value). You do so with an addendum to the contract. I find it’s also super important to explain to the other side how you’ve come up with your number, and insist that you want to reach a “fair” number. Ask them how they got their number, so that you can show how your valuation is the most “fair” valuation.

How does my real estate agent get paid?

Most real estate agents work on a contingent commission basis (they get paid a percentage of the sale, but only if you actually sell your home). All commissions are negotiable, so don’t let your agent tell you otherwise. The important thing to remember is you get what you pay for. Agents offering 1-2% commissions are doing so because they don’t have enough work, and they’re not the agents you want to work with. A good agent will easily make you more money than you spend on them.

When is the “best time” to put my house on the market?

When you want to move. Markets go up and down, and they affect the home you sell just like the home you buy. There are typically more buyers in the summer, but there are also more sellers. I’ve found that if you’re willing to price your home “fairly” (at the highest possible FMV you can rationalize) you can sell your home at anytime.

What steps should I take to prepare my home for sale?

The old adage “you can only make a first impression once” is very true with your home. I’ve found that “clean, clean, clean” is the number one priority. I don’t suggest making too many cosmetic repairs, because the money you save on doing so allows for some negotiation room, and you don’t know what color of paint/carpet your buyer is going to want, but I think it is critical that you clean your home prior to showings.

What should I disclose to the buyers?

Everything that you know about. It’s better safe than sorry in this area. As an attorney, I see way to many disputes over undisclosed issues, which are so easily avoided. Just disclose what you know, and then develop a game plan as to how to effectively address the issue. For instance, a home I sold had the sewer backup into the basement. We still disclosed it, but what I made sure to add was that this was caused by the city, and the city came in and cleaned/restored everything; therefore, the carpet was only three years old. In the end, the buyers were stoked over the new carpet.

How do I handle “low ball” offers?

  • Everyone wants a good deal on their home, so don’t automatically dismiss a low offer. I find it best to understand how they came up with their number, and why they feel your home is only worth that much. Then insist that you want to reach an amount that is “fair” to both parties, and show them how you came up with your number.
  • Most low offers don’t have a reason for their calculation, so once you’ve gotten their buy-in on “fairness”, they’ll usually come up significantly when you show them you didn’t purposely over price your home, but that the listing price was fair.

Why is no one looking at my home?

  • The number one reason people stop coming to look at your home is because it is priced too high. Even in a Seller’s market, you’ll notice a lot of buyers coming to look at the home and then all of a sudden no showings. This is a prime example of an over-priced home.
  • The best thing to do is decide whether or not you want to lower the price. I suggest

Should I be present during a showing?

Short answer: No. Buyers and their agents

What is a CMA?

“Comparable Market Analysis.” This is a tool used by real estate agents to help you determine how much you can sell your home for (see “How Much Is My Home Worth?). This tool compares your home to other homes that have sold on the market in your general area, price range, and size. This is a great way to understand how to price your home.

What is an appraisal?

An appraisal is done by and appraiser, who uses a process similar to the “CMA” process to determine how much money a lender is willing to lend on a home. Most lenders will not lend you more money than the home is worth, because then their money wouldn’t be “secured” by the equity in the home, so this valuation of the property can often make or break a real estate transaction.

Who is responsible for making repairs, if any, as a result of the home inspection?

This is usually governed by contract, and many but not all contracts usually state that the Seller will pay for repairs up to a certain amount, and any additional repairs would either need to be paid for by the Buyer, or may be a

Can a seller back out of a contract with one buyer to accept a higher contract from another buyer?

Short answer is “no.” Long answer: anyone can back out of a contract, but this would most likely be considered a “breach of contract,” which can have some heavy legal consequences, and is not advisable without first contacting your real estate attorney to fully understand what those consequences will be (each contract is different).

Do I have to sell to the person with the highest offer?

In the event you receive more than one (congrats!!!) at a time, you can select any of the offers. Only you can decide what is best for you, and that may or may not be the highest price. Choose wisely though, as once you’ve decided, it’s very hard to back out.

“Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” — Mark Twain

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