We understand that you have lots of questions about the Denver real estate market and the buying and selling of Denver homes.  We want to answer those for you.  Being a teacher by degree and having been a full time residential realtor in Denver for over 30 years, Cheryl loves to share information with home buyers, sellers, and investors.  You’re welcome to call or drop Cheryl an email, by clicking here to ask your question.  You can also attend one of Cheryl’s amazing classes by visiting Red Rocks Institute.

What are home warranties and should I get one?

Home warranty plans offer protection for some the more costly elements associated with home repairs.  They are not to be confused with homeowner insurance policy, but they do come in handy when the refrigerator, furnace, air conditioner, garage door, etc break down.  Generally you make small deductible payment and the plan covers the remaining cost for repairs to those items listed in your policy.  The basic plan is about $300/year with a $50 deductible.  Check out www.BlueRibbonHomeWarranty.com for Colorado home coverage.

How do I determine the value of a home?

You’ll need comparable market data from the immediate neighborhood and the sold dates should not be more than 4 months old preferably, and 6 months at the latest.  Remember to compare apples to apples and not to oranges.  This means that you’ll need to match up ranch style homes with ranch style homes, and 2 story homes with story homes.  You should be looking for common characteristics such as a finished or unfinished basement, the garage size, the above ground square footage vs. the below grade square footage, and of course the condition of the property and additional amenities.  Your realtor has access to the most accurate and relevant information possible.  Just make sure your realtor knows how to properly interpret the data in order to come up with a true market value.

Are new homes better than previously owned homes?

There is no right or wrong to this question as it is matter of preference.  New homes offer the latest in design, energy features, lifestyle, and financing.  However, previously owned homes offer a better value as the yard and window coverings are installed,  and often basements are finished to name a few.  Previously owned homes come with established neighborhoods and trees.  One additional benefit of a previously owned home is that they have been “time tested” against possible structural defects.  New homes do come with a warranty that like a car is more or less “bumper to bumper” coverage during the first year.  It’s a good idea to read thoroughly the warranty plan to make sure that as a new homeowner you do not invalidate the warranty.

How much money will I need to buy a home?

This depends on the type of financing you obtain.  There are many different loan programs available often with little to no down payment required.  There are even some “cash assistance” programs available for first time home buyers.  If you’re a veteran, you can buy a home with zero down payment.  And if you’re not a veteran you can buy a home with a down payment from 3% down to 20% or more down.  The larger the down payment the lower the monthly payment.  However, do not put off what you can buy today in order to raise a larger down payment in the years to come.  Most people buy their first home with the least amount of money down and then in their future home purchases they put a large chunk of money down from the sale of their home.  Remember too that when you buy a home there are closing costs to be paid.  Those costs can often be negotiated with the Seller depending on market conditions, demand, etc.  Speak with your realtor about the best negotiation strategies to meet your objectives.