So you live in Fort Collins, and are ready to sell your home.

Great! Currently, (check publish date on this post) we are in what many believe is a seller’s market. We’ve seen homes for sale in Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Greeley, Timnath, Wellington, Severance and along the rest of much of Colorado’s Northern Front Range going for above asking price with very few days on the market.

If you sell Fort Collins real estate in an economic climate like this, and you price it right, chances are you can find someone to buy your home.

But what do you need to know before you hire a Realtor® and sell?

A few things.

Why Work With a Realtor®?

All Realtors® are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents are Realtors®. That is to say, all Realtors® are licensed by their respective states. The difference between a Realtor® and a real estate agent is that Realtors® go through extra education and commit to a standard of ethics which guide our practice. Realtors® are real estate agents that go an extra mile and make an extra commitment to doing things in a better way.

Real estate agenst, and Realtors®, are here to protect the public of Colorado during the sale and purchase of real estate. It’s such a big purchase, such a big sale, that the government has standardized many parts of the sale to protect the public. It’s one thing to lose money on the purchase of a sweater or a sandwich. The size of the transaction matters. A bad sandwich? You’ll find another good one. A bad home? That’s a little more to deal with.

Since real estate transactions are so big, Realtors® are licensed by the state to help buyers and sellers buy and sell homes in a fair and legal manner. Plus, hiring a Realtor®, according to some recent research, can help you net more money from the sale of your home.

What Parts of the Property Will Be Important? All of it.

Everything about the property will be important. When selling Fort Collins real estate, you will come to realize that you have to know or learn just about every aspect of the property. When it comes to the specifics, as your Fort Collins Realtor®, I will help you by preparing the proper documentation, and helping you fill it out.

Prepare for Documentation!

Here are names of some of the standard documents that I use to list and sell real estate in Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Greeley and along the Front Range. These come in the Pre-Listing-Package that I deliver to you before our meeting where we talk about price and potential.

  • Exclusive Right to Sell Listing Contract
  • Source of Water Addendum
  • Square Footage Disclosure
  • Seller’s Property Disclosure
  • Lead Based Paint Disclosure – if the property was built before 1979

Those documents, as will be indicated at the top of the contract, are forms created by the state. I am licensed to use them.You’ll know it’s a state contract if the top of it bears the following box and text. This particular grab has my brokerage logo on it. That isn’t the important part. The key aspect of this document is the rectangular box below the RE/MAX Alliance logo. It’s almost like an official seal, and it means that it was created by the state.  

There are other forms, some created by cities and municipalities and others that are created by brokerage firms, used to educate and protect buyers and sellers.

  • Seller/Buyer Advisory – RE/MAX has created a special form, some essential basics that we want all sellers to understand as they enter this process
  • Affiliated Business Disclosure – Informs buyers and sellers of business relationships that are required to be disclosed.
  • Occupancy Limits Disclosure – Some places in Northern Colorado have rules about how many unrelated people may live together.
  • Radon and other environmental disclosures

People are going to ask you a lot of questions. Don’t let it rattle you.

In order to keep things fair for the buyer and the seller, everyone is expected to act in “Good Faith”. That basically translates to being honest and open. The person buying your property is entitled to know everything about it. They are investing in every square inch of land of real estate that you currently own, so expect them to closely examine every part of it.

In Fort Collins and Colorado, Real Estate is defined as:

Real Estate – Land plus all improvements (things permanently attached to it), running from the center of the earth up through the sky. *Sources

Yep, you own the land all the way to the center of the earth when you buy real estate in America. Except when the subsurface rights have already been sold, which, in my experience, happens in the vast majority of residential real estate transactions. Subsurface, or mineral rights, have often, or even most likely, been bought and sold decades or more ago.

But, the point is, it’s a big transaction. Dotting t’s and crossing i’s is important.

For relief from the stress from the massive amount of documentation that is required to buy and sell real estate, just talk to some of your trusted people who have done it before. I’m sure they’ll tell you that it’s just part of the deal.

The BIG Question! 

How much? How much will you ask for your property? How much will you walk away from the transaction with?

Let’s call it what it is—pricing. How will you price your home? Trust me, throwing a high number out there and hoping someone will undercut you to something reasonable is not a good strategy. Nor is pricing it low and hoping people will rush to overpay. In my opinion, the best way to price a home is at fair market value. If comparable homes have sold in the neighborhood for a certain number, that number often comes to be understood as the fair market value for that specific type of property.

3 Aspects of Value in Real Estate

  • Land
  • Sq Ft
  • Extras and upgrades

When thinking of land, we are thinking about the size of it, the shape of it, the slope of it (or lack thereof), access to it, and of course, what is around it. Location? Location. Location! It’s a big part of the character of the land for sale. A neighborhood on gently rolling hills of grass and farmland with newer, efficient, sturdy and attractive structures that lie next to babbling brooks with deer grazing on yon meadow in the sunset next to fabulous schools that overlook modern parks with trail access is going to be desirable. Another neighborhood in town that is on the side of a steep hill, with older, leaky structures littering potholed roads, sans sidewalks, no grazing deer, no meadow yon, and no parks or trail access? Yeah, not as good. Land is the features of the land and also where the land is situated.

Square feet means square feet. But seriously. How big is the lot? How big is the house? Condition and age play a role.

Extras and upgrades are tricky. To most appraisers, a bathroom is a bathroom. Showerheads don’t raise value. Now, if everything is brand spanking new that can help value, but when we talk about extras and upgrades, its more often about a property having more elements than a comparable property, rather than having the same elements but one is nicer than the other. So, a nicer bathroom doesn’t move the needle much, but an extra bathroom does. A nicer kitchen floor doesn’t add much value, but a full kitchen in the guest suite might.

This is why it’s important, in my opinion to hire a real life Realtor® who will come to your home and really look at what is being sold, and what it compares to. Every part matters.

Don’t spend money on upgrades before you talk to someone that can help you make sure that what you choose to upgrade will actually bring you return on that investment. Realtors® are great at this.

Beware Miseducation

I, for one, am very glad about the empowerment that sellers have in this day and age of the Internet. You are the most educated sellers real estate has ever seen. However, just because it is on the Internet doesn’t mean it is valid or true.

You knew that, right? 😉

The leading national real estate websites are great resources. But they are often wrong. They list home prices incorrectly. They value properties way too high, or way too low. Get a ballpark from them. Learn what is generally happening in the market. When it is time to get serious, talk to people who have their boots on the ground. Local intelligence is the best intelligence.

I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to help my clients get what they deserve, instead of pricing their home too low and leaving equity on the table. Or, pricing it too high and it doesn’t sell.

*Sources – Real Estate Law and Practice Unit 1 Real Property and Ownership