Everyone Knows the Value of Video, So Why Aren’t More Listing Agents Using It?

Real_Estate_Today_bylineI started creating narrated video tours of my listings over a decade ago. To provide a sense of how long ago that was, the first iPhone had not yet been introduced. I remember demonstrating how to create and edit video tours using a handheld video camera at a marketing session of the Jefferson County Association of Realtors (now part of the Denver Metro Association of Realtors).  None of the Realtors in that meeting seized on the idea and even today I know of only two Realtors outside my brokerage who make a practice of shooting video tours of their listings.  Why?

Video tours are an effective way of providing a “virtual” tour of a listing, allowing people anywhere in the world to join the listing agent on a narrated walk-through of his listing. Many buyers have “toured” my listings on the internet and submitted offers sight-unseen, which they probably would not have considered had they viewed still photos alone.

A key component in a video tour is the narration. It’s what allows the listing agent to note that a fireplace is wood-burning or that a countertop is Corian. Without narration, a video loses much of its value.   With zooming and panning, video allows for a better depiction of views than still shots can provide.  It  allows you to pan upward to point out a skylight or Solatube or maybe a vaulted ceiling. Video, unlike still photos, can provide a sense of the flow of a floor plan, which is why it’s important to shoot each level in a single clip.

It’s unfortunate that the term “virtual tour” was introduced in reference to a slideshow of still photos, often accompanied by music instead of narration. Sometimes that slideshow is converted to an mp4 file, uploaded to YouTube and touted as a “video” tour.  Not!!

The only “virtual tour,” in my mind, is a virtual video tour of the home — a tour in live action, not a collection of still photos, with or without captions.

It’s common for listing agents to receive calls from appraisers asking about the condition of their sold listing, which they want to use as a comp. I simply tell them to have a look at the virtual tour, where they can see entire house and hear a description of each room. They never need to call back with questions, because the video did, in fact, fully describe the home’s condition.

Click here to visit my YouTube channel.

‘Love Letters’ Pose a Fair Housing Risk for Sellers

In a highly competitive real estate market, it’s not uncommon for buyers to submit letters to sellers saying how much they love the seller’s home and hope the seller will select their offer. However, this carries a big risk for sellers when it’s clear that a rejected buyer is a member of a protected class which, it might surprise you to learn, is most of us. Buyers bear little risk, but it’s something sellers and their agents need to be aware of.


Candelas Ranch Home Near National Wildlife Refuge Just Listed by David Dlugasch

Front pictureThis beautifully finished ranch home at 20062 W. 95th Place has 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths. The master suite has a spacious 5-piece bath with a very large walk-in closet. It has a 3-car garage pro-viding added storage space. The house is loaded with upgraded features. The kitchen has an oversized granite island, double ovens, stainless appliances, and full cut-glass backsplash. The large foyer, great room and kitchen area have hardwood flooring. The home comes with a solar plan which keeps the costs of maintaining this home very low. The back yard has a covered deck and a large paver stone patio. Candelas features miles of trails, nearby lakes and ponds, two fitness centers with outdoor swimming pools and a newly opened King Soopers. See video tour at www.CandelasRanch.infoOpen Sunday, July 15, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Or call David Dlugasch at 303-908-4835 for a showing.  Listed at $553,900. 


Denver Condo Across From I-25 Light Rail Station Just Listed by Kristi Brunel

Another front main view.JPGWelcome to Centre Pointe Station, 4600 E. Asbury Circle, and this updated 2-bedroom, 1-bath condominium (Unit 301), which is centrally located just across the pedestrian bridge from the light rail station just east of Colorado Blvd. Hardwood floors greet you as you enter this bright unit with large covered balconies and mountain views!  This condo features granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, newer sliding glass doors, room air conditioning, included washer/dryer unit, updated lighting, fans and fixtures. The building features reserved parking, a secured entry, fitness room, and owner’s storage. See more exterior and interior pictures at www.DenverCondo.info, then contact your agent or Kristi Brunel at 303-525-2520 for a private showing.   Sorry, there will be no open houses.  Listed at $210,000.


Golden Pines Condo Just Listed by Jim Swanson

DSC_0467Golden Pines is a complex of 3-story condo buildings, with six units in each of 28 entries. It is located in the Pleasant View community about 3 miles east of downtown Golden. The address is 16529 W. 10th Ave. #E-6. Enjoy the warmth and light of this south facing top floor unit. The private balcony looks over a grassy courtyard which is adjacent to an assigned parking space. It has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath and measures 773 sq. ft.  This property needs work. It was a long-term rental with smokers but is now vacant. Great potential and priced accordingly. Needs carpet and paint. Kitchen and bathroom cabinets are original and in poor shape. Flooring, furnace and fixtures all could use some improvement. Has newer appliances and the windows and sliding door were replaced several years ago. More info at www.GoldenPinesCondo.info, then call Jim Swanson at 303-929-2727 to arrange a showing.  Sorry, no open houses. Listed at $151,000.


Arvada Ranch Has Tons of Natural Light

5194 Bristol Street.JPGThis ranch-style home at  5194 Bristol Street is in the Blue Hills Estates subdivision west of Drake Middle School. Built in 1979, the seller is the original owner, and the pride of ownership is evident throughout. The original cedar siding has been replaced with fiber cement siding and freshly painted. Five large skylights bring sunlight into the family room, kitchen and the interior bathroom. The large family room has a vaulted ceiling with 3 skylights and a wood-burning fireplace with brick hearth and chimney. The covered front porch has a rich brick floor. The backyard features mature blue spruce, ponderosa pine and other evergreens. The high-efficiency furnace has both an electronic air filter and high-end Aprilaire steam humidifier. See more photographs and take a narrated video tour at www.ArvadaRanch.info. I’m holding it open on Sunday, July 15th, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Listed at $448,000.


What Are the Implications When a Buyer Waives Appraisal in a Bidding War?

Real_Estate_Today_bylineWhen a home is priced at or below its likely selling price based on recent sales of comparable homes, there’s a good chance in this seller’s market that multiple offers could bid it up, possibly above the value an appraiser might give it. So what happens then?

Fortunately, I can report that the homes I have sold above the value suggested by comparable sales have not, as a rule, had trouble appraising for the contract price. Showing the appraiser the multiple offers that were received can demonstrate real-world market value. Without seeing those competing offers, the appraiser might determine that the buyer paid more than they should have. The presence of multiple, nearly equal offers gives appraisers an important tool for justifying value in our rising market.

Whenever a purchase is financed by a lender, there will be an appraisal. Lenders require them to make sure they’re not lending based on an overstated valuation. That doesn’t mean that the buyer can’t waive appraisal objection and bring additional funds to cover the discrepancy between appraised value and contract price. The contract may or may not specify a limit to the size of discrepancy the buyer will cover. Regardless, it is important for the seller’s agent to ascertain that the buyer is able to bring that additional cash to the closing table.

If the buyer is borrowing 95% or more of the purchase price, one might ask whether bringing several thousand extra dollars to the closing table is possible. This is where it is advisable for the listing agent to interview the buyer’s lender — something we do regardless of the size of the down payment. Typically, a buyer who is putting down 20% or more of the purchase price is more likely to have available cash to cover an appraisal discrepancy.

With Golden Real Estate’s auction approach, which maximizes the purchase price for our sellers, it is not unusual for the final price to be well above what comparable sales might support.  And because one can never be certain that the appraiser will be impressed enough by the existence of those other competing offers to justify the contract price, it’s a good idea to ask that buyers cover some or all of any appraisal discrepancy and that they provide evidence of their ability to bring extra funds to closing for that purpose.

Few buyers start out offering to waive appraisal, but once the bidding enters a range that is considerably above an appraisal based solely on recent sales of comparable homes, the listing agent can and should encourage waiving of the appraisal objection by the highest bidders.

One should remember, however, that an offer to waive appraisal objection is not iron clad when a lender is involved, because the buyer can still terminate based on loan objection if the appraisal ordered by the lender comes in too low for the buyer’s comfort. I’ve witnessed the scenario where a buyer who has agreed to waive appraisal objection still threatens to terminate because of the low appraisal, at which point the seller offers to lower the price to keep the contract from falling (assuming he doesn’t have a backup contract).

This is not unlike when a buyer agrees to purchase a home “as is” and use the inspection deadline only to terminate, not to demand any repairs. That can be a hollow promise.  If, for example, the buyer decides to terminate because the furnace needs to be replaced, the seller is likely to say, “Wait! I’ll replace the furnace!” Why?  Because the seller now knows the furnace needs to be replaced and would have to disclose that fact to the next buyer. Indeed, when I’m representing a buyer in what appears to be a bidding war, I will suggest making our offer “as is” while advising the buyer that it doesn’t mean we can’t get serious items repaired. The only time this doesn’t work is when the seller has received a backup contract that’s more attractive than ours. I point out to my buyer that the seller might be happy to have him or her terminate so that back-up offer can become the primary contract.

These two areas — appraisal and inspection — require deft skill in order to navigate the negotiation process effectively — a good reason to employ an experienced listing agent like one of us at Golden Real Estate instead of trying the for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) approach. A good listing broker can definitely justify his or her commission both in getting a higher selling price and saving money through effective negotiation.