BuyingReal Estate July 18, 2022

Moving Checklist


Stay Organized

There are a lot of factors that come into play while moving out of state, so staying organized will be key. As simple as it sounds to ‘not forget,’ one of the most common mistakes while moving is forgetting. Using something tangible like an app on your phone or pocket calendar will allow you to create checklists and reminders for important dates and organize your budget for moving. Think of these as your personal moving assistant.


Cell phone apps

Most of us have our phones with us at all times. Using an app on your phone allows you to quickly jot down tasks that come to mind, check things off your moving supplies or ‘things to pack from the kitchen’ lists, remind you to get specific tasks done on certain dates, and helps you stick to your budget.



Can help you organize specific dates and hold you accountable for completing your task by a certain time. Google Calendar allows you to specify how far in advance you want to be reminded of an important date or a task you need to get done. This calendar is also accessible through your phone, and if you’re not alone in the moving process, you can easily share the calendar with people via email.

Color Coordinating can be helpful whether you’re using a digital calendar, sharpies, or paper. Color coordinating your calendar will help you clearly see your commitments. For example: using the color orange to label your most important tasks or dates like: hire movers on x date, finish packing on x date, etc.



Find Somewhere to Live

If you haven’t already found your home, reach out to me, and I will help you find a qualified buyer’s agent to help you in the purchase of your next home, whether it is out of town/state or even out of the country.


Transfer Utilities

Transfer utilities before moving into your new home will make your transition easier. Remember water, gas, power, internet, and cable (if you are still using that). Ensure all your subscriptions, billing companies, and so on have your updated mailing address.


Register for School Before You Move

If you have children, do some research on potential schools and select one. Once you have chosen a school, have the administration email or mail you registration forms. This is important, especially if you’re moving in the middle of the school year; you wouldn’t want your kids to miss a lot of school days.


Apply for a New License and License Plate

Once you move into your new home, apply for a new license and if you are out of state, make sure to get a new license plate ordered.



Check the Weather

The weather is a big factor while moving. If possible, schedule your move-in date when the weather is good. Driving a vehicle full of boxes can be especially dangerous in heavy rain or snow. Additionally, moving into a new home is physically strenuous already; you wouldn’t want to be moving around boxes in the heat or potentially getting your valuables wet in the rain.


Schedule Movers

Hiring professionally trained movers whether moving locally or out of state is important. If you are busy and don’t have time to pack everything, consider having your items professionally packed. A mover or an organizer can help with this. When scheduling, ask them when you can expect delivery. If you have more items than can fit in one truck, make sure to have them prioritize the most important items in the truck arriving first. Think about how you want to move your cars.



Packing takes a long time, especially when preparing to move out of state. Doing this early will prevent you from forgetting anything and feeling rushed when the move-out date comes along. Packing efficiently will not only help you move out with ease, but it will also help you move in a lot faster too. I recommend Sellers start packing items that aren’t essential before listing their homes. The rest should start after your home is past the inspection resolution deadline or after closing if you have a Post Occupancy Agreement set in place. If you have collectibles or other valuables that you’d like to store while showing your house, consider putting them in storage. Guardian Storage in Superior offers use of their truck to their customers.



Moving Artwork and other Specialty Items

Fine art, antiques, and other specialty items can require extra care in packing and shipping. Having them packed with care is a must!


Organize and Label All of Your Boxes

For example, your kitchen items’ labels can be KITCHEN: SPICES, KITCHEN: SILVERWARE, KITCHEN: POTS AND PANS, and so on.


Figure Out What to Pack

Moving out is a great opportunity to declutter. It will give you a chance to tidy up and overcome any hoarding habits. You don’t want to spend the extra time and costs packing up things you don’t need or care about.


Sell Things You Want to Get Rid Of

If having a yard sale is too much work, phone apps like Offer Up make it easy to sell used items. Selling items can also help contribute to other moving expenses.



Donating is also an option. is a great place to donate things like clothing, and Habitat for Humanity is a great place to donate large items like furniture or refrigerators. You can even donate your items to a local church or homeless shelter.



Hold on to Irreplaceable Items

These include important documents, jewelry, or even prescribed medications. It would be inconvenient if you lost your passport and unfortunate if you misplace a sentimental piece of jewelry. Also, if your travel time is far, you want your medications to be accessible.


Medical Professionals

These include family physicians, specialists, dentists, hospitals, and local pharmacies. Anything can happen at any moment. You will want to be able to locate where your nearest medical professionals are. If you want to transfer records, it might be wise to sign a release before you move. When you find your favorite pharmacy, have them reach out and transfer all your prescriptions.



Update Mailing Address

Don’t forget to update your mailing address for the following items:

  • Credit cards
  • Insurance
  • Utilities
  • Voting registration
  • Driver’s license
  • WiFi
  • Cable
  • Pet registration
  • Gym membership
  • Mail forwarding
  • Friends and Family—let them know you’ve moved!


Now that you have a strategic moving checklist for moving out of state and know what steps to take first, you are now ready for your big move! For more information on local contractors, check out my website Elisabeths-Favorite-Companies.



BuyingReal EstateSelling March 27, 2022

Transaction Broker Vs. Buyer’s or Listing Agency


When you buy or sell a home in the Boulder area, there are different ways to engage with real estate professionals.  The state of Colorado has a great document, Definitions of Working Relationships, that explains the difference between Seller’s Agents, Buyer’s Agents, Transaction Brokers, and Customers. In this blog, I will share these definitions and some insights.


Buyer’s Agent

When looking to purchase a home with the help of a Realtor, people will often hire a Buyer’s Agent. According to the Definitions of Working Relationships:

“A Buyer’s Agent works solely on the behalf of the buyer to promote the interests of the buyer with the utmost good faith, loyalty, and fidelity.  The agent negotiates on behalf of and acts as an advocate for the buyer. The buyer’s agent must disclose to potential sellers all adverse material facts actually known by the buyer’s agent including the buyer’s financial ability to perform the terms of the transaction and, if a residential property, whether the buyer intends to occupy the property. A separate written buyer agency agreement is required which sets forth the duties and obligations of the broker and the buyer.”

When would you want to engage a buyer’s agent? If you want a real estate professional to advise, advocate and negotiate for you in the purchase of a property, you should engage their services through a buyer’s agreement before you start house hunting so that if and when you find a home, you are able to have them advise and advocate you! I also advise having an agency agreement in place before you share any financial or personal information.

Although some people do not know this, you can also hire a Buyer’s Agent to guide you through the purchase of a new-home build. Often, the builder will only allow this representation if you bring your Realtor with you when you first visit the builder. Otherwise, the Builder’s Representative will represent the Builder and treat you as a customer, leaving you to negotiate for yourself.  Having a professional in your corner is invaluable when buying a new-build or an existing home!


Seller’s Agent

When looking to sell a home with the help of a Realtor, people will often hire a Seller’s Agent. According to the Definitions of Working Relationships:

“A seller’s agent (or listing agent) works solely on behalf of the seller to promote the interest of the seller with the utmost good faith, loyalty, and fidelity. The agent negotiates on behalf of and acts as an advocate for the seller.  The seller’s agent must disclose to potential buyers all adverse material facts actually known by the seller’s agent about the property. A separate written listing agreement is required which sets forth the duties and obligations of the broker and the seller.”

If you are looking for a real estate professional to assist you in selling your home and want that Realtor to not only guide you through the process of listing and selling your home, but to strategize, advise, advocate and negotiate for your best interest, you will want to hire a Seller’s Agent, also known as a Listing Agent. There is a state form for this called the Exclusive-Right-to Sell Listing Contract.



By law, a transaction broker is neutral and cannot act in the seller or buyer’s interest. The role of the transaction-broker is defined in the Definitions of Working Relationships as:

“A transaction-broker assists the buyer or seller or both throughout a real estate transaction by performing terms of any written or oral agreement, fully informing the parties, presenting all offers and assisting the parties with any contracts, including the closing of the transaction without being an agent or advocate for any of the parties. A transaction-broker must use reasonable skill and care in the performance of any oral or written agreement, and must make the same disclosures as agents about all adverse material facts actually known by the transaction-broker concerning a property or a buyer’s financial ability to perform the terms of a transaction and, if a residential property, whether the buyer intends to occupy the property. No written agreement is required.”

If you prefer this very neutral approach then this might be the best option for you. However, a lot of buyers and sellers want someone they can rely on and feel like is really in their corner.

It is important to note that if you do not have a signed Buyer’s agreement, your relationship with your Realtor is, by default, a Transaction-Broker!



The final term defined in the Definitions of Working Relationships is the Customer:

“A Customer is a party to a real estate transaction with whom the broker has no brokerage relationship because such party has not engaged or employed the broker, either as the party’s agent or as the party’s transaction-broker”.

This could happen, for example, when a person is selling their property as an FSBO (For Sale By Owner) and the buyer has engaged the services of a Realtor to assist them. To learn more about For Sale By Owners, check out my blog here!


How Can I Help?

Do you have further questions regarding choosing between a Transaction Broker vs. Buyer’s Agent or Seller’s Agent? Please reach out to me! If you are planning on buying or selling a home in the near future and you think that my expertise and positive attitude might be of service to you don’t hesitate to reach out and contact me!


Elisabeth Nelson
Luxury Home Specialist & New Home Specialist
Coldwell Banker Realty
(303) 916 5859


Home Security March 26, 2022

Security Devices in Boulder Area Homes

We live in a tech world and home security and home monitoring are great things to have in your Boulder Area home. You can control your sprinkler system, open and close your garage door and even adjust your window shades all from your phone! Ring doorbells will video your front door area when motion is detected and you have the added benefit of being able to answer your door remotely. There are many security systems that can monitor your home inside and out. Some give you a 360 view of your home. It can be very comforting to know that these technologies can help protect you while you are at work or out exploring the great community of Boulder.

Security devices are justifiably used in homes for security purposes. However, should they be used as a means of obtaining information on prospective buyers and their real estate brokers or to acquire confidential information about a prospective buyer? Of course not. Besides being unethical, the improper use of these devices could possibly result in civil or criminal liability. It is important to be mindful of such audio and video surveillance devices when marketing your home or as a buyer.


Rules About Audio & Video Surveillance Devices


In Colorado, audio surveillance needs the consent of at least one participant to the conversation before a recording can take place, unless the eavesdropping device is used on one’s own premises for security or business purposes and notice is given to the public. (See §18-9-304 and 305, C.R.S.) Because the seller is not present and not participating in the conversation between a prospective buyer and their real estate agent, the one-party rule does not apply and therefore, homeowners are not allowed to record conversations during showings or inspections.

In Colorado, privacy laws prohibit anyone from visually recording another without consent in situations where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. (See §18-7-801, C.R.S.) This would especially be true in the situation where a buyer is using the bathroom.


What I Advise My Sellers


The reality is, once set up, most owners have no idea how to turn the devices off, and the hassle of doing this prior to showings is an unrealistic expectation.

As a listing agent working with sellers that have audio and video surveillance, I always advise them to disclose this by clearly stating it on a sign at the front door. It doesn’t hurt to point this out to the buyer’s agent so that they can alert their clients. You can also disclose the presence of audio and video surveillance in the MLS comment field to draw further attention to it.


What I Advise Buyers


When working with buyers, I often just assume there will be audio and video recording systems on the premises. This is why I advise my buyers to hold off on all discussions about the house we are touring until after we exit the home and have left the property. This means waiting until in the car, or even the office, as a lot of homes have surveillance devices outside as well.



How Can I Help?


Need more advice on security devices in Boulder Area homes? Please feel free to reach out to me! If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Boulder or the surrounding areas, please reach out to me!


Elisabeth Nelson
Luxury Home Specialist & New Home Specialist
Coldwell Banker Realty
(303) 916 5859


Buying March 26, 2022

Preparing To Make An Offer In The Boulder Area


With inventory so low right now, buyers are finding it difficult to find homes. The competition is especially high for homes listed at or under $800,000. A home can be listed on a Thursday, start 15-minute showings on Friday, and be under contract by Monday with well over a hundred showings, multiple offers above asking, and closing soon after for tens of thousands over asking with a couple of months post-occupancy for the sellers at no extra cost to them. This can’t last forever but with the additional loss of homes because of the Marshall Fire, it is our current reality.

Needless to say, finding the perfect home in the Boulder Area right now can be stressful. Buyers have two options in this situation. First, be prepared to offer well over asking with a well-written contract that appeals to the seller. You will want to prepare ahead of time by discussing strategies with your Buyer’s Agent. The other option would be to wait until more homes hit the market. The good news is that you might not have to wait too long—maybe as soon as June or July. As the number of homes on the market increases, I believe the competition for those houses will level off so that offers of $50,000 to $100,000+ over asking with full appraisal gap clauses and inspection waivers will be reserved for the picture-perfect homes that don’t need any updates or fixes.

But say you find “your house” today and want to put in an offer. How do you go about doing that? First, it is so important in this market to have a real estate professional working for you before you start looking. I can advocate for your best interest, negotiating for and advising you.

When writing an offer on a home, you will want to make sure that you are comfortable with the price, dates, and deadlines as well as the additional provisions. The offer is binding by both sides once it has been signed by both the buyer and the seller, so it is important to review the offer in its entirety with your real estate agent. My years of knowledge, and experience will help make this process seamless for you!


Step One of Preparing your Offer in the Boulder Area


In the state of Colorado, the offer is prepared using a standard Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate form.  There are many areas that can be customized and filled in or left blank to generate the offer the buyer wants to submit to the seller. While preparing this offer, you will want to include specific details about a range of items. Some of the most important things for you to include are:


  • The amount of the earnest money deposit and the date it is due
  • Your name as a buyer and the property owner’s name as the seller
  • How you will be taking title of the property
  • The total purchase price and the type of purchase (cash or type of loan)
  • Full legal description and so street address of the property
  • The title company, brokers, and others involved in the sale
  • Terms and conditions of their compensation


In addition to the main terms of the deal are the many dates and deadlines of the deal. Here are some examples: the inspection objection deadline, appraisal deadline, and other time-sensitive items should be outlined for both the buyer and seller to complete. As the buyer, you also want to put a time limit on how long the seller has to consider your offer.



Step Two of Preparing your Offer in the Boulder Area


Once an offer is sent to the listing agent, a seasoned buyer’s agent will reach out to confirm that the offer was received along with the pre-approval letter from the lender or proof of funds if it is a cash offer. I will also make sure that the lender working for the buyer reaches out to the listing agent. After reviewing offers, the seller either accepts, rejects, or counters your offer. If the seller counters the offer, the seller or their listing agent will send back a counter-offer for you, the buyer, to likewise accept or reject. A counter could include changes or modifications to one or more components of the offer, like purchase price, closing costs, or a contingency. This back and forth could continue until the buyer is satisfied with the seller’s requests or vice versa. Having a knowledgeable Realtor by your side to guide you and negotiate for you is important to ensure you are getting what you need as the buyer in your Boulder area home.


Step Three of Preparing You Offer In The Boulder Area


It’s a deal! Once the seller accepts the initial offer or the counter-offer has been signed by both parties, it becomes a legally binding contract, and both the buyer and the seller work to meet the terms and conditions outlined in the contract. Again, a good real estate professional will help guide you, step-by-step, through the process and all of the agreed-upon stipulations of the contract until you finish at the closing table and receive the keys to your new home!


How Can I Help?


If you are planning on buying or selling a home in the near future give me a call. I’d love to help you.


Elisabeth Nelson
Luxury Home Specialist & New Home Specialist
Coldwell Banker Realty
(303) 916 5859


Buying March 25, 2022

What Is Included When Buying A Home In Boulder?

Looking for your Home Sweet Home? If you are on the hunt for your dream home in the Boulder Area, there are many variables to think about. One thing to understand is what is included when you purchase your dream home. For example, will the refrigerator stay with the house or the curtains in the living room? It’s important for you to know this beforehand! What’s included should be written into the offer for the house. So, let’s discuss inclusions when purchasing your Boulder home.



What’s Included In The Purchase Of Your Boulder Home?


Exactly what is included will vary from home to home, but there are some standard things you can expect. Typically, in this market, kitchen appliances and window treatments are included unless noted in the MLS. Washer and dryer are often conveyed but not always. You will want to make sure communication is clear about this topic so that everyone is on the same page. Some things are considered attached and part of the property unless specifically excluded. Here is a list of fixtures of a home that are generally associated with being attached:


  • TV wall mounts
  • Ceiling fans
  • Shutters
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Blinds and shades
  • Garage door openers
  • Curtain rods
  • Shrubs and planted landscaping
  • Built-in shelves and bookcases


If a seller wants to keep the chandelier, their favorite curtains or their prized rose bushes, it is very important to not only post this in the exclusions portion on the listing, but to exclude these items on  the contract to buy and sell. If not written clearly in the contract, the assumption is that these items will convey with the house because they were attached to the wall, ceiling or planted in the ground when the buyer wrote the contract.  This is where having a real estate agent’s expertise is helpful and I can mention these “small” things to you before they become a problem.


Inclusions And Exclusions


Everything in real estate is negotiable and this goes for inclusions and exclusions. Although it is not typical in the Boulder area to buy a house fully-furnished, it can happen, especially as there are so many buyers out there who have lost everything to the Marshall Fire. A couple of years ago, I had a buyer purchase a home where the sellers did not want to move their furniture. My clients were thrilled to purchase the home with all the furniture included. When they moved in, they found the sellers had even left their wine collection for them! Another client was happy to purchase a home with several high-end televisions, car maintenance equipment and even a professional Hotsy car wash system!  Just last week, my client closed on a home and purchased the dining room furniture. The items included will usually be listed on the MLS and the items excluded should be listed there as well.

If unusual items are being transferred with the property, it is best to have those items purchased outside of the sale, especially if there is a lender involved. There is an additional form that helps transfer items other than the typical kitchen appliances or washers and dryers. This document is called the Personal Property Agreement. As an experienced real estate agent, I will help you make sure this is filled out correctly to avoid any confusion or misinterpretation.

If the sellers have a solar panel lease, the lease will need to be transferred and the new buyers will have to qualify for that lease. Again, the lender will need to be consulted. As with all things in real estate, make sure everything is clearly written out in the contract.


How Can I Help?


Need more advice on what is included when buying a home Boulder Area? Please feel free to reach out to me! If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Boulder or the surrounding areas, please reach out to me!


Elisabeth Nelson
Luxury Home Specialist & New Home Specialist
Coldwell Banker Realty
(303) 916 5859


Energy Efficiency March 25, 2022

Energy Efficiency and Your Boulder Area Home


More and more people are keeping energy efficiency in mind when it comes to their homes in the Boulder area. The goal of an energy-efficient home is to reduce and conserve energy use. While some people consider this option because they are concerned for the environment, it’s also a cost-efficiency and health benefit. As sustainability becomes a normal part of the building and home renovation process, it’s helpful to know what’s available. Here’s everything you may need to know about energy efficiency and your Boulder area home.


City of Boulder Energy Conservation Code


The City of Boulder adopted an Energy Conservation Code years ago and updates it every three years. The current code was adopted in March of 2020 and became effective July 1, 2020. The goal for this energy code is to help Boulder become more high-performance and build Net-Zero Energy residential and commercial buildings. They aim to achieve this by putting in place several rules regarding new builds, as well as alterations, additions, or repairs done to existing buildings. There are rules regarding the Energy Rating Index (ERI) requirements for example which detail what ERI score you must have based on the square footage of your home. Additionally, there are rules regarding the energy efficiency of windows, doors, roofs, and even lighting equipment. Whether you are building, renovating or simply repairing your home – having an experienced and knowledgeable contractor is essential. You want someone you can trust to follow all the rules and make sure your home is up to code.



Boulder County has a program called EnergySmart that helps homes become more comfortable and energy-efficient. You can sign up with them and then an expert Energy Advisor can answer your questions and help you assess what energy efficiency projects you should take on first. They have an extensive rebate and financing program to help make these changes and installations affordable. The City of Boulder, Lafayette, and Longmont has also partnered with Boulder County to add their own rebates that you can use in addition to the normal ones as well. Part of the EnergySmart program is Comfort365. This service provides a cleaner, more efficient option for heating and cooling your home. If you’re more interested in producing your own energy then they can help you get set up with solar panels as well. They can even help with incentives regarding electric vehicles.


Boulder County BuildSmart


If you are building a new home in the unincorporated areas of Boulder County or making additions to an existing home, you need to know about the county’s residential green building code. It’s called Boulder County BuildSmart and the regulations encourage high-performing and sustainable residential construction in the unincorporated areas of Boulder County. For homes over 5,000 square feet, they also require Zero Net Energy, meaning the building produces as much energy as it consumes. You might want to check to see what the rules are if your home was destroyed by the Marshall Fire, as some changes have been made for those owners.


Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Homes


Zero Net Energy homes are becoming increasingly popular, and with good reason. In the City of Boulder, all homes over 3,000 square feet are actually required to be ZNE. It not only moves Boulder county towards a sustainable future by protecting the health and economic prosperity of the community, but it’s good for you as an individual too. The total costs for Zero Net Energy Homes are generally lower and there are financial incentives in place for building energy-efficient homes. These homes are also cheaper to operate because there are little to no utility costs. There are incentive programs that could provide a loan benefit to buyers based on the energy efficiency rates of the homes. Zero Net Energy homes are sturdier construction and thereby more resilient, more disaster-resident and last longer than conventional homes. They also aren’t as dependent on the grid system for energy as they generate their own power. This is very convenient for unanticipated events like power outages or severe cold spells.


Ways to Make Your Home ZNE or Energy Efficient


There are many ways to make your home more energy-efficient or even Zero Net Energy. A helpful first step is to estimate your home’s energy use and then work backward from there. If you are building the home, then you can work this into your designs and make sure you achieve ZNE while keeping costs down. This is also useful when renovating or making changes to your home as you will know what projects to tackle first. Remember that you will have to follow the code if you are building or making any changes to your home in the City of Boulder. Overall, any energy-efficient changes or additions to a home rely on smart design. Talking to a designer, architect, and builder who has experience with energy-efficient or ZNE homes is essential. They can guide you on what the best steps may be and work with your budget. They’ll also be the most familiar with the code and rules in place for the specific city you are building or buying in. Here are a few of the most common features that people include when making their home Zero Net Energy or simply more energy efficient.



Solar Power


One of the popular ways to make your home more energy-efficient or ZNE is by adding solar panels. These are sometimes also called photovoltaic (PV) panels and they’re a great form of renewable energy. Usually, they are tied to the grid, meaning that you can pull energy from the grid on very cloudy days when you’re producing much. This also means that you put energy back into the grid if you’re overproducing; you then get paid for the energy your solar panels have generated. These solar panels can power your whole home including lights, heating and cooling system, heating water and powering appliances. PV panels do tend to be quite expensive so you will need to consider your budget. The good news is that the solar investment tax credit (ITC) will stay at 26% until 2022 and different kinds of rebates may be available to you as a way to keep costs down.


Insulation & Sealing Building Envelope


These things are easier to add in new construction than an existing home, but it’s not impossible. Sealing the building envelope involves air sealing the home. This is a cost-effective way to reduce space heating and cooling use and increase indoor air quality. It can be difficult however and requires a decent amount of work. You’ll always want to make sure your home is well insulated. This helps maintain the temperature of your home so that your heating and cooling systems don’t have to work too hard. If you’re buying an existing home you can ask the home inspector to take a look and assess the insulation.


Windows & Doors


You want windows and doors to also be well sealed and insulated. It’s often easy to lose heat or coolness through these means. When building a home make sure to choose appropriate window and door products. You can also choose where to put windows for optimal solar tempering. If you have south-facing windows you can use the sun to heat your home in the winter months. You’ll want to design this carefully however so that you don’t just add additional heat in the summer. Replacing all the windows and doors can be a costly process when buying an existing home, but it will save you money in the long run as you lower your utility bill. You can also maximize the amount of natural light you get through your windows as a way to reduce the use of lights throughout your home.


Using Efficient Appliances and Systems


When choosing or upgrading appliances, heating and cooling systems, or even lights, keep their efficiency in mind. Do some research and see if appliances are Energy Star certified to get a better idea of how efficient they are. Switching out your normal light bulbs for LEDs is another great way to reduce the amount of energy you need to use. Finding energy-efficient HVAC and water heating equipment is also essential. If you have solar panels, you could use this to heat your water and increase efficiency. An air-source ductless heat pump, also known as a mini-split heat pump, is a good choice for a high-energy efficient heating and cooling system.


How Can I Help?


I hope you found this information on energy efficiency and your Boulder home helpful. If you want to buy or build a home and want an experienced real estate agent to guide you through the process, don’t hesitate to contact me.


Elisabeth Nelson
Luxury Home Specialist & New Home Specialist
Coldwell Banker Realty
(303) 916 5859


Selling March 24, 2022

FSBO vs Hiring a Realtor To Sell Your Home


An FSBO, or For Sale by Owner, is a home that is being sold by the owner without the assistance of a listing agent. Thinking about skipping the services of a Realtor and saving the cost of that service when selling your home? Some sellers don’t want to hire a professional Realtor because the Realtor receives a portion of the profits from the sale of the home. To be blunt, this commission is well earned considering all the intricacies that go into selling a home and all the hard work and effort it takes to make that sale happen.

The National Association of Realtors has done the research and found that homes sold by people utilizing the services of a listing agent sold their homes for an average of 23% more than if they had sold the home themselves. In this example, I’ve lowered the percentage to 16% to be conservative and put in the hypothetical compensation at 6% (this would cover both the Listing Agent’s and Buyer’s Agent’s brokerage firms’ compensation). When looking at the chart below you will see that even with the agent’s compensation subtracted from the final listing amount the home still sells for more than if the owner had tried to do it themselves. The hypothetical seller actually has a 9% net gain on the price. It’s important that you do not underestimate the expertise, knowledge, resources, and experience a qualified real estate agent brings to the table. If you are considering an FSBO because you believe it will save you money, I strongly suggest you reconsider. You would be doing yourself a disservice and losing out on time, money, and peace of mind.


What a Realtor Can Offer You


Still thinking that selling your home yourself can’t be that difficult, I’d like to offer you some insight. Here is a list of things that a seasoned real estate agent would be doing for you that you would have to do yourself instead:

  1. Expert Insight into the current local market to help with pricing
  2. Pre-Marketing/Prepping your home: From a Pre-Inspection to a consult with a professional stager, you will get a clear idea of the steps to take to show your house to its full potential.
  3. Incredible Marketing: Rather than putting a sign in the yard and advertising on Craigslist, professional photography, video, and hi tech, 3D photos will be used in a multi-pronged approach to advertising which will cover google ads, social media advertising, internet, email to print (Colorado Homes or 5280 magazines as well as geo-targeted advertising.
  4. Negotiation: As a Certified Negotiator, I am uniquely qualified to represent your best interests throughout the process.
  5. Contracts: Selling a home involves a lot of decisions with legal ramifications. My transaction coordinator and I work hard to keep you on track throughout all of the dates and deadlines that are involved in a sale. I enjoy guiding my clients through every step of this process.
  6. Showings: From Open Houses to an organized system to allow agents to show their qualified buyers your home, you will have more potential buyers view your property, which should bring in more buyers than you would, doing it on your own.
  7. Expert Advice: When all those offers come in, I will put them into a spreadsheet so that you can look at them all in an organized way.
  8. Qualified Buyers: I will vet the buyers to make sure they are pre-approved to purchase your home

What Do Buyers Think of FSBO?


I hope it’s becoming clear how incredibly useful and beneficial using a real estate agent can be, but don’t just think about the sell side, let’s explore how a buyer views an FSBO as well:


  1. Buyers will look at an FSBO as a home that can be purchased for under-market value and often low-ball the offer because it will have less competition.
  2. Buyers will assume the Seller is not as knowledgeable about the local real estate market
  3. Buyers will think the Seller is not as experienced in negotiating as a Realtor would.


All of the above could very well be true. Another thing to keep in mind is that the buyer is likely that they have a real estate agent who will expect to be compensated for their work representing the buyer. In my graph, the compensation is for both the buyer’s agent as well as the listing agent. So, your potential savings could very well decrease significantly if they ask you to pay the buyer’s agent’s commission. If you would like to avoid all the pitfalls and sell your property for top dollar without all the hassle, call me! I will guide you through the whole process!


Elisabeth Nelson
Luxury Home Specialist & New Home Specialist
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
(303) 916 5859

Appraisals March 23, 2022

What To Do if Your Appraisal is Low?


In the current market, homes have been selling for well over list price and often will not appraise for the price that buyers have offered. What does this mean for a buyer and are there ways to protect yourself in this situation? The answer is yes!


The Appraisal Gap Clause


In this competitive market, buyers that can, will put in an appraisal gap clause to make their offer more appealing to the sellers. What is an appraisal gap clause and why is this important to the sellers? The appraisal gap clause lets the sellers know ahead of time that if the home appraises for less than the offered amount, the buyers will bring extra cash to the table to make up the difference. This could be a specific amount, or as we are often seeing these days, buyers will offer to make up any difference needed.

For example, if a buyer offers $550,000 on a cute starter home with 5% down, the amount that they would finance would be $522,500. If the home is appraised for less, say only $500,000, the lender will only lend 95% of the appraised amount, which would be $475,000. If there was a full appraisal gap written into the contract, it means that instead of the $27,500 that the buyers originally expected to bring to closing, the buyers will need to bring $75,000 in cash to closing to make up that difference. Without an appraisal gap of $75,000 or more, there would be an opportunity for a skilled negotiator to negotiate with the sellers to lower the price accordingly. This brings me to my next point. The benefits of working with an experienced Realtor, especially a Certified Negotiator.



Benefits of Working with a Seasoned Agent


If you are purchasing a home and the appraisal comes back low, your real estate agent will be able to review the appraisal for errors and up-to-date comps (similar homes that have recently sold in that location). With your permission, your lender can ask the listing agent to review the appraisal for errors as well.

As a listing agent, prior to the appraiser’s visit, it’s important to share a list of improvements for the home as well as multiple offers at the higher price, along with recently sold homes of similar size and features within the neighborhood. Whether representing the seller or the buyer, I will always advocate and negotiate for my clients. In years past, I have negotiated anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 reductions in the sales price for buyers when the appraisals came back low, so don’t get discouraged! A seasoned agent will be able to guide you through this process.


How Can I Help?

I hope that you’ve found this information useful. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out and contact me! If you are planning on buying or selling a home in the near future and you think that my expertise may be of service to you, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact me!


Elisabeth Nelson
Luxury Home Specialist & New Home Specialist
Coldwell Banker Realty
(303) 916 5859


Closing March 1, 2022

Calculating Closing Costs in Boulder, Co

Closing costs are the costs due at the “close” of the deal and will be itemized in your Settlement Statement that you will receive typically a few days before your closing. They include all the fees and costs linked with completing the sale or purchase of your home. Keep in mind that these costs are on top of the sales price of the home. Before you get to the closing table, it is helpful to understand what these costs are.

My friend, DeAnna Neises with Chicago Title, provided me with the following lists for both buyers and sellers (This list assumes the buyer is purchasing with a Conventional Loan—Cash, VA, and FHA will be a little different). It is important to sit down with your mortgage expert and have them explain the costs associated with the loan:



  1. Mortgagee’s title policy and endorsements
  2. Record warranty deed
  3. Record trust deed
  4. Tax certificate
  5. State document fee ($.01 per $100.00 of sales price)
  6. Loan closing fee
  7. Real estate closing fee (this is typically split 50/50)
  8. Realty tax service fee (if lender charges)
  9. First-year homeowner’s insurance premium
  10. 2-3 months hazard insurance reserve
  11. Tax reserve (1-2 months, depending on date of closing)
  12. Loan origination and discount fee
  13. Survey
  14. Appraisal
  15. Credit report
  16. Interest on a new loan (depending on date of closing)
  17. Mortgage insurance premium (MIP) (if applicable)
  18. Water and sewer (as these are attached to the property)
  19. Simultaneous second mortgage closing fee (if applicable)
  20. Simultaneous second mortgage title policy (if applicable)
  21. Record second deed of trust (if applicable)
  22. Flood certifications
  23. HOA dues adjustment and/or transfer fees (If applicable/per contract)



  1. Loan payoff per existing lender’s payoff letter)
  2. Owner’s title policy premium
  3. Release tracing fee
  4. Outstanding taxes (see tax certificate)
  5. Real estate taxes (Jan. 1st to date of closing)
  6. Water and sewer adjustments
  7. Real estate closing fee (typically split 50/50 with the Buyer)
  8. Commissions (these are typically split between the listing agent’s brokerage firm and the buyer’s agent’s brokerage firm)
  9. HOA dues adjustments and/or transfer fees (if applicable, per contract)
  10. Seller concessions


As with everything in Real Estate, everything is negotiable so this is just a list of typical closing costs.


How Can I Help?

Have any further questions or concerns about buying or selling a house in the Boulder Area? Please reach out to me! If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to reach out and contact me I am here to help!  If you are planning on buying or selling a home in the near future and you think that my expertise and full-service approach to real estate would be of help, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact me!


Elisabeth Nelson
Luxury Home Specialist & New Home Specialist
Coldwell Banker Realty
(303) 916 5859

Buying February 27, 2022

How Mortgage Rates Affect Buyer’s Buying Power

As a full-service Realtor in the Boulder and Denver area, I have a list of excellent contractors, which you can find on my website (click on My Favorite Companies). Among them are several top-notch mortgage experts. With the low-interest rates making national news last year, I reached out to Kurt Rogers, President of Affordable Interest Mortgage, and asked if he would share his thoughts on interest rates and purchasing power and how it relates to our market. Kurt has been in the mortgage business for over 20 years and enjoys educating the public on Haystack Help Radio on KLZ radio. Here are his thoughts on the current rates and buying power:

We all knew eventually, those rates would start to go up.  When rates are at their lowest in history, and they start to go up, many think they’re going back to 6-7%.  While I don’t have a crystal ball, there are absolutely no indications that they will get to that level anytime soon.  Going from 2.5% to 3.5% may scare some, rates are still quite low.  With inflation causing most of the concern I don’t think you will see rates increase more than 4.5% – 5% this year.  Taking into account that never in the history of homeownership have homeowners had this much equity and that will continue throughout 2022.  What the increase has brought to our attention is that if you are looking at buying a property and rates and prices increasing, now is an ideal time to take advantage of the opportunities.

With the average price of a home north of $500,000, those homes at $600,000 to $800,000 are going to go fast.  Many potential homeowners will be eager early this year to purchase before the rates get in the 4’s and values continue to rise.  You could see prices rise 10% – 15% for 2022, so on a $650,000 home that is an increase of $30,000 to $45,000 in 6 months, and with rates increasing, waiting could really cost you more.  Every .25% increase in rates on homes in this market will cost you between $175 – $250 a month more in your payment.  So, act soon, or you may miss your dream home.

There are still many people moving into Colorado that believe our housing market is priced too low.  I have heard some say as much as 30%.  Due to the Marshall fire, you now have even more homeowners looking to buy.  One way to make your home buying purchase smoother, get PreApproved.  This will allow you to have your offers considered and put you higher up in the opportunity to own.

The effect of a higher rate is not just felt in the payment; it affects the ability of the borrower to qualify for the loan.  When the rate goes up, your debt to income also increases and you become more at risk of not qualifying.  That would affect how fast homes sell.  Meaning more homes on the market to fewer qualified buyers would cause home values to decrease. That is why taking advantage of rates today means the borrower has more buying power to own their dream home.

If you are still thinking of buying a home in the Boulder area right now, please get in touch! I can not only connect you to top-notch mortgage professionals but can also help you find and purchase your dream home.


How Can I Help?

I hope you have found this article informative regarding how mortgage rates affect buying power for buyers in Boulder and the surrounding areas. If you are looking to buy a home and want an experienced real estate agent by your side, don’t hesitate to contact me. As well, if you are looking to sell your home and want to take advantage of my local expertise and top-notch, full-service marketing approach, please reach out to me.


Elisabeth Nelson
Luxury Home Specialist & New Home Specialist
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
(303) 916-5859