Questions we hear from buyers...
Buyers often ask why they should team up with us to buy their new home. After all, aren't all real estate brokers created equal? Hardly! Sure, almost all brokers have access to the MLS and can show you any house listed. But more important than that is whether they have the experience to help you identify a good buy, make your offer attractive to the seller and help you through the mine field of disclosures, dates and deadlines. On top of that, the broker you choose should be someone you feel comfortable with. Someone who will listen to what is important to you and make that their top priority. That's our goal, and because clients not only come back to us, but also refer their family, friends and associates, we think we have a pretty good track record!
How much experience do you have?
Phil has been licensed in Colorado since 1979. Elaine has been licensed in Colorado since 1997. We’re both Denver natives and both have lived here all our lives. Between us, we have over 40 years’ experience helping people in the Denver area buy and sell homes.
How much experience do you have specifically working with buyers?
Over the last 15 years, we’ve been directly involved in over 250 buyer transactions. I say “directly” because we don’t have showing assistants or transaction coordinators. We believe that we can get to know our clients better and provide better service in the long run by being more “hands on” in handling the entire transaction. And, we’ve been blessed to maintain a volume level that allows us to keep our fingers on the pulse of the market as it changes.
Do you have references from other buyers you have worked with?
Check the "Testimonials" link on our web site. We think you will be impressed.
How well do you know the area in which I’m looking to buy?
As Denver natives, we are somewhat familiar with most areas of town. Thanks to the internet and other available technology, we are able to quickly “bring ourselves up to speed” on any area of town. As a side note, you may want to consider “the other side of the coin” when working with a broker who specializes in one part of town. That is, those brokers are constantly soliciting listings in the area, and have a vested interest in keeping property values as high as possible. As a buyer, that may not be your best bet because 1) you’ll have a much higher probability of working with a broker who wants to sell you one of their listings (and in the process they can no longer represent your best interests), and 2) since those brokers have a vested interest in the area, they may encourage you to pay more for your home than you may have to (your purchase could be the next best comparable for one of their listings).
What is your average List-Price-to-Sales-Price ratio?
This question assumes that the most important thing to all buyers is price, and that we decide how much a buyer should pay for their home. While price is the most important thing to some buyers, it isn’t the most important thing to all buyers. Our slogan is, “What’s Important to You is Important to Us.” We work as a team member with our clients. We consider that our most important job is to educate you and provide you with the information necessary for you to make the best decision for you. Once you have the information you need, you tell us the price and terms that you’d like to offer. As your agent, we go to bat for you at that point to negotiate what you want, when you want it. That said, when price is a high priority for a buyer, we have a great track record for negotiating substantially lower prices in any given market.
How will you search for my new home?
Again, this is a team effort. We have several resources for finding homes that meet your criteria. Homes that are listed by brokers can be found in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). We can search that data base and be advised whenever a new listing that matches your criteria appears. We can also include you in our system that will automatically notify you by email every day when new listings appear that meet your search parameters. You can also do much of your own searching by visiting Realtor.com and REColorado. Those data bases generally contain about 92% of the active listings in the Denver area. We also provide a search engine for you to use through our web site. The data base we use contains about 98% of the active listings in the Denver area.
What type of connections/resources do you have to find unlisted or “exclusive” homes?
We periodically scan the internet for these types of homes that may match your criteria. Additionally, if you identify a particular neighborhood (typically within a 2 or 3 block area) we can send a mailer indicating that we are currently working with a buyer. If the owners have considered selling, they’re invited to call us. Creative use of public information can also be a resource for uncovering these types of properties. Perhaps the best resource is our buyer client; since this is a team effort, we’ve found that our buyer clients often drive through the areas that they’re interested in. If they see a “For Sale By Owner” sign in front of a home, they will call us so that we can follow up with a seller contact.
How would you handle a situation where I’m interested in a home you or a member of your team has listed?
As you can see from our responses in the above questions, we don’t specialize in any one area of town. Accordingly, the probability that this would happen is very low. However, in that situation, you would be informed up front that the listing is ours. Because we can’t serve two masters, we would have your permission, as well as that of the sellers, to become a Transaction Broker. As such, all of your confidential information would remain so, as it would for the sellers. We would become a neutral player in the transaction with our primary focus being getting you and the seller to the closing table. In essence, you and the seller would write the music, and we would play the piano.
How do you feel about my desire to see virtually every home in our focus area?
We agree that you should view as many homes as possible so you’ll know your dream home when you see it, but encourage you to limit the tours to homes that actually meet your criteria (i.e. price and other important features). We’ve found that it actually tends to confuse you and hinders the process if you look at homes that are too far above your price range or don’t include other features that are important to you. For instance, if you know that you need at least 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a 2-car garage, there won’t be any benefit in looking at a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom home with a 1 car garage. Or, if you fall in love with a home that’s over your top price, you’ll likely become disenchanted with all the homes in your price range.
What is your commission? Is it negotiable? How is it negotiated with the seller’s agent? Do you charge any other fees?
Brokers who list homes in the MLS offer a “Co-op Fee” to selling brokers (the broker working with the buyer). In accordance with our MLS agreement, we can rely on receiving the amount offered in the MLS. Most, but not all, listing brokers offer a buyer’s agent between 2.50% and 3.00% of the selling price of a home. Because not all brokers offer the same Co-op Fee, we write into our agreement with you that we will accept anything between 2.5% and 4.0% of the selling price of your new home. This is a fee that the listing broker pays us. You will not be asked to bring any additional money to closing to pay for our fee, unless the listing broker offers less than 2.50% of the selling price. If that is the case, you will know before you make an offer. That way, you will have the opportunity to negotiate with the seller to pay any shortage within your offer to buy the home. In the event a seller or listing broker pays us more than 4.0% of the selling price, we will make arrangements to refund the excess to you or pay some of your closing costs within the constraints of real estate law. Our fee is negotiable to the extent that we will accept any additional compensation that you, in your sole discretion, believe that we have earned.
What puts you above your competition? What is the benefit to me by using you as my realtor instead of someone else?
We are essentially a two-person team. It’s our version of a “two-for-one sale.” We provide personalized service to all of our clients. Many brokers will sign the brokerage agreement, then turn you over to a showing assistant. The next time you see or speak with the broker is at closing (that’s why many of them say that “they” sold 40, 50, or more homes in a year). We are your agent from start to finish, and even beyond. When you call our office, you can expect to speak directly with one of us. We believe that buying a home is most likely the single largest purchase you’ve made and should be taken seriously. Yet it can also be a fun, exciting event, and we strive to make it so. After closing, our standard procedure is to follow up with the title company to make sure that the county records reflect that you own the property and that all of the debts of prior owners have been paid. Also after closing, you can expect to receive monthly information covering various topics that we think will provide added value to you. We want to be your realtor of choice when it comes time to sell your home. Be sure you visit our web site at www.LunnonRealty.com. You’ll find a number of resources that will answer questions as you proceed in your home buying process.
May I review documents beforehand that I will be asked to sign?
Absolutely! We love it when our clients request documents in advance. It shows us that “their head is in the game.” Because we take seriously our commitment to educate our clients and provide them with the information they want in order to feel comfortable with their buying decision, we are more than happy to provide documents in advance. That way, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to ask any questions before you sign. In fact, we encourage you to review all real estate documents with legal and tax counsel before you sign. We can provide most forms by email in a PDF format. We also have the capability of providing online forms that you can actually sign electronically. If you’re comfortable with new technology, you may want to give it a try!
What type of Buyer’s Broker Agreement do you expect? Will you release me from the agreement if the relationship isn’t working out? Have you had any cancelled agreements in the past? For what type of reasons? Is there a time limit on the agreement?
The Colorado Real Estate Commission requires that we use either 1) a standard form approved by them, or 2) a contract prepared by an attorney. We will customize the time frame of our agreement to meet your timeframe. Against our attorney’s advice, we offer an “Easy Exit Policy,” which allows either of us to terminate the agreement for any reason prior to finding your new home. That, in effect, makes it a day-to-day agreement. Trust is a key factor in your decision as to which real estate broker you wish to hire. In return, we trust that you will not terminate our agreement lightly or without at least as much deliberation as went into your hiring decision in the first place. In the last 15 years, we have had 2 buyers terminate pursuant to this clause. One found out that a friend was selling their home as a For Sale By Owner, so they decided to buy that home. The other buyers listened to some friends who convinced them that they didn’t need a real estate broker (a decision, by the way, that they later admitted was a mistake). Incidentally, you may have friends or family who will give you free advice based on their perception of the real estate market. Keep in mind that those perceptions, and the resulting advice, are sometimes based on broad generalizations derived from media sources reporting about a wide geographical area. Whether you work with us, or choose to work with another broker, find out whether the general rule applies to your specific market before making your decision.
Who will work with us if you go on vacation, or if something happens?
We work closely with a number of excellent brokers. In fact, we have several relatives who are also real estate brokers. In the unlikely event that both of us will be unavailable for some period of time, we will make arrangements with a broker who we believe will be a good match.
How will you help me find other professionals (i.e. home inspectors, title companies, etc)? What is your relationship with these professionals? Do you receive “referral” compensation?
Since we have been in the real estate business for so long, we’ve had the opportunity to develop a list of professionals in whom we have a great deal of confidence. While we are happy to provide you with their contact information, the decision to employ these professionals is entirely up to you. If you prefer to work with a service provider who is not on our list, we will work with them as professionally as we do with those who are on our list. Although we have often been offered, rest assured that we have never accepted a referral fee from any other service providers. We work with professionals because they have proven to us that they are competent in their respective field. If we have not worked with a particular professional, we’ll tell you that up front. Further, our agreement with you precludes us from accepting any such compensation without your knowledge and written consent.
How often will we be in touch during the searching and buying process?
As often as is necessary. We have several ways to keep in touch. Whether you prefer high-tech or high-touch, we’re available to answer your questions, provide information, or just kick around ideas. Your home-buying process is more about you than it is about us, so just let us know what works for you.
Can I look at homes without you?
The short answer is, “Yes, within certain limitations.” A standard provision in the agreement between you and us is that you will agree to conduct all negotiations through us and to refer all communications about real estate to us. So, we will provide you with a stack of business cards. You may look at homes without us, but you should make sure that whoever you are speaking with about real estate knows that you are obligated to include us in any real estate transaction. If they refuse to honor our relationship, you should simply thank them for their time and walk away. You can then call us to follow up. For example, you stumble across an open house that looks interesting. The first thing you should do is hand our business card to the host and explain that you are working with us. Ask if they will honor our relationship and pay us a co-op fee. If they will, (professional brokers will always acknowledge our relationship and agree to pay our fee), you’re free to look at the home. If not, just leave and call us to schedule a showing for the home.
What haven’t I asked you that I need to know?
You may be interested in knowing that neither of us smokes and that both of us have clean driving records. Upon signing a brokerage agreement, we’ll provide you with a personalized home buyer’s guide which will help you better understand the home buying process.