The Dos and Don’ts of the Mortgage Loan Process

You need to know the ins and outs of the mortgage process – what to do and what not to do while you’re getting a home loan. The infographic below takes a look at your “dos and don’ts” during the mortgage loan process.


How To Choose a Home Inspector…COMPARE THEM!

How to choose a home inspector
You have just signed the purchase agreement on your potential new home and now you need a home inspection to make sure that the home you are about to buy is worth it’s salt. Where do you begin?

All too often home buyers will choose a home inspector based solely off of the price of an inspection. That is the absolute worst way to choose a home inspector. Why? Because all home inspectors are not created equal, just as all home inspection reports are not created equal. When hiring a home inspector you want…no…you NEED a home inspector that will describe and document the ENTIRE condition of the home as it sits on inspection day. Not EVERY home inspector does this.

No doubt you have heard home inspection horror stories of items that were missed or defects that were somehow overlooked. While a home inspection is never a guarantee that 100% of all defects in a home will be found, studies show that if you hire the RIGHT home inspector, approximately 90-95% of defects CAN be found and reported on.

So how to choose?

Again, do not let price be your guide! I have actually lost a home inspection over $5.00!! Seriously! No offense, but that is absolutely ridiculous. You are not buying a gallon of milk, you are placing your trust in someone to inspect your home! You need to do your homework. When you are choosing an inspector based solely off of the inspection price, in most cases the old adage holds true…you get what you pay for. Looking for and obtaining the cheapest home inspection you can find will only leave you disappointed and most likely in more debt!

So how do home inspectors charge?

Many of the larger franchise inspection companies charge enormous fees to cover the cost of their offices, marketing to realtors (which is a conflict of interest), their vehicles and staff. On the flip side, many of the smaller independent home inspectors charge too little because they are either too inexperienced or they are in direct competition with the larger companies and are trying to gain an edge.

The following questions (in order) can be used as a useful guide in what you really should be asking a home inspector before making your selection.

1) How long have you been in business. In this industry a home inspector does not even become “somewhat seasoned” until around the 2-3 year mark. Anything over 5 years and the inspector is in the running to be considered a Jedi.

2) How many inspections have you performed? A good minimum answer would be 1000 for a one home inspector firm.

3) How long is your report, what is covered and what is not? Ask for a sample copy of an actual inspection report so you can see for yourself what it looks like and what kinds of things the inspector is calling out. You will be VERY surprised once you do this and I assure you, it will make your decision a much easier one. Many of todays home inspection reports simply do not make the grade when it comes to describing in detail the overall condition of the ENTIRE home. Most inspection reports are about 15 pages long. Approximately 3-6 of those pages are filled with disclaimers and useless information to the home buyer. That leaves you with maybe 10-11 pages (if you are lucky) of information, and to be perfectly honest, that is just not enough to describe an entire home. A good home inspection report should be AT LEAST 30 pages long and preferably larger.

4) Are you in good standing with the Better Business Bureau and/or any other performance based associations such as Angie’s List or Yelp? While this also is no guarantee, it seriously limits your chance of getting ripped off by someone who is not looking out for your best interest. You can easily verify their answer by visiting the appropriate websites and search for the company by name.

5) How much do you charge? Most inspections are based off of the total square footage and foundation type of a home. The average home inspection (1500-2500 sq ft) runs around $300.00-$400.00. While that may seem like a lot of money to shell out in one pop, think of it this way. You are looking for someone to inspect your potential new home. How much is THAT worth to you?

One last thing to remember:

Do not always rely on your real estate agents “list of approved home inspectors”. Why? Because you do not know how those home inspectors got on that list. Did they pay to be on the list? (very common). Do they bribe the agents with money, lunch, candy and/or gift cards to be on the list? (very common). Do they “go soft” on their inspections as to not ruffle the agents feathers? (very common). OR are they the most qualified, the most experienced and most thorough home inspectors in town (not common at all).

The choice is completely yours to make when it comes to choosing a home inspector. Do not feel pressured by anyone into making a wrong decision that could potentially affect you and your family for years to come. You want to feel comfortable in the fact that you did everything you could possibly do to ensure that you are getting the best home inspection possible. While some agents are looking out for you by recommending certain home inspection companies, there are some who just aren’t and there is an inherit conflict of interest present every time an agent refers a home inspector. Be smart and choose wisely.

Deal Killers – The Best Kept Secret in Real Estate

Thorough home inspections Denver Colorado
The best kept secret in todays Real Estate industry is that of the “Deal Killer”. The deal killer essentially refers to a home inspector who is widely known in his or her area as being extremely thorough and critical with their home inspections. The deal killers are the home inspectors that find and actually report on as many issues with a home that they can find. You will very rarely find a deal killer on your Realtors “list of preferred home inspectors” that they hand to you after you sign a purchase agreement.

To some in this industry, the deal killer is just another bump in the road, another obstacle to overcome on the way to the closing table. Many Realtors will try to dismiss the actual true meaning behind the deal killer epitaph and sugarcoat it with another description. The most common description you will hear is that a deal killer is a home inspector who “makes mountains out of molehills”. If you think about it from a common sense standpoint, home inspectors have absolutely no vested interest in the home you are purchasing, however your Realtor does. So why on earth would any home inspector make mountains out of molehills? The answer is simple…they don’t. If a home inspector is calling it a mountain, you can rest assured it most likely is.

So why do the good home inspectors get tagged as deal killers for identifying the home’s issues? We don’t just make up issues found during the home inspection process, we are specifically trained to find and report on these issues. This is what our clients are paying us for in the first place. As home inspectors, we get paid to identify and document the actual and true condition of the home we are inspecting. Any way you look at it, that is our job. Some in this industry claim that the deal killer is too critical. How is it possible to be too critical when you are a home inspector? The very nature of this profession is to identify what is right and what is wrong with a home.

The vast majority of home inspections reveal that most homes are in relatively good condition, however some homes do have several issues that are never disclosed until inspection day. Moisture issues, structural issues, rot, mold and termite infestations are often very hard issues to deal with during the negotiation process and unfortunately some of these deals die an agonizing death. It truly amazes me that homes with these and other issues don’t get the blame for killing their own deal. I suppose it is just easier to blame the home inspector rather than the home itself or better yet, the seller who has neglected the home in the first place.

I have often stated that some Realtors seem to prefer the one eyed, one legged home inspector that can’t see or get to everything. Home buyers on the other hand want to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the property that they are buying and they want their home inspector to be as critical as possible.

Most Realtors will hand you a list of three home inspectors who have been carefully screened not to be deal killers. The reason the list contains at least three inspectors is so that it is long enough to protect the Realtor from any referral liability should the client want to blame the Realtor for any mistakes made by the inspector during the home inspection. This gives the Realtor the perfect combination of: 1) no liability for the referral; 2) the buyer ultimately “chooses” an inspector; and 3) the buyer’s choice is still confined to a dependent home inspector who will not hurt or kill a sale. It truly is a vicious cycle that has been going on in this industry since Moses was a kid and unfortunately will continue until legislation is put in place to stop it.

It may sound like I am condemning all Realtors and that is not my intention whatsoever. There are many Realtors who refer deal killers by name and are completely sold on open disclosure and thorough home inspection reporting. These are Realtors who have built their businesses on good work ethics, morals and the philosophy that if there is going to be an issue to deal with, then it is much better to deal with it before closing rather than after the deal closes and their clients move into their home. The problem is, how do you as a home buyer know whether or not you are working with one of these Realtors? The answer is, you don’t.

It has been my experience as well as many others in this industry that most if not all prospective home buyers want a deal killer to inspect their new home. So how do you find the deal killers when choosing a home inspector? Most home inspectors do not advertise the fact that they are a deal killer because they fear that it may hurt their business. You will need to practice your due diligence and choose your home inspector wisely.

First and foremost, ask friends, family and co-workers about their home inspection experiences. Anyone who has had a positive experience with a home inspector will be quick to tell you about it and it is a great place to start. Word of mouth is everything in this industry and travels very quickly.

Get online. Over 87% of home buyers use the Internet when in need of a product or service. Another well kept secret is that the deal killers will always have a website. Since many Realtors do not and will not refer the deal killers to their clients, the deal killer has to get his or her business from somewhere. In most cases, the deal killers website is their main source of work.

Check with Angie’s List, Yelp and the Better Business Bureau. These are sites where you will find the deal killers shine because of their rave reviews from clients who bypassed the Realtors recommendation and went out on their own to find a home inspector.

Call around and talk to home inspectors in your area. You can usually tell the good inspectors from the bad just by talking to them. Ask them about their experience, how many inspections they have performed, where the bulk of their referrals come from and last but not least, come right out and ask them if they are considered a deal killer. The real ones will tell you straight up. If a home inspector comes out and actually admits to you that they are a deal killer, book your home inspection right then and there, and then relax, you will be in good hands.

Key Negotiation Points for Getting your Offer Accepted


By the time making an offer rolls around, you’ve likely already invested a hefty amount of time and energy into finding the perfect home for your family’s needs. With financing options in place and a great property in your sights, making an offer is the beginning of the backstretch, and, with a little help, you can maximize your chances of having your offer accepted. Particularly in a seller’s market, finding important points of contention that can give your offer a boost of favorability in the eyes of sellers is important to winning bidding wars and walking away with a new home. With the help of an experienced real estate agent, negotiating an offer to acceptance is a distinct probability. Depending on the market and property, the approach you take to submitting your offer will vary, but, by following these key guidelines, you’ll improve your odds of getting accepted. Let’s take a closer look at some key negotiation points to aid in ending your home search on a happy note.

While your opening offer should be serious to alert the seller to your intentions, don’t be afraid to leave the door open for future negotiations. Treating your initial offer as an introduction to the seller can be a good idea if the housing market isn’t too hot.

According to, your opening offer on a property is a great opportunity to learn a little more about the seller and customize future negotiations to their individual situation. Did a recent change of job force a quick sale of their home? If so, removing contingencies and shortening closing is a great way to make your offer more favorable, even if you don’t increase your offer price. On the other hand, if the seller refuses to come down from the list price and is slow to respond to your offer, there’s a good chance that a quick sale isn’t a necessity. In this case, increasing your offer is probably a better bet than removing time-intensive contingencies.

Make the seller respond to you in a reasonable amount of time by writing tight deadlines into your offer. By condensing the schedule, the seller won’t be able to wait around for competing offers.

Even if you’re in love with the property, keeping your cards close to the chest and getting a timely response is vital to getting a great deal on your dream home. When placing an offer, putting tight time constraints in place is an ideal way to ensure a prompt response and limit competing offers. A short, 24 hour period to review your offer before expiration could lead to great results. If rushing a seller into making a decision gets your offer accepted before other buyers have the chance to submit an offer of their own, you could save a good bit of time and money while acquiring a great home.

If contingencies and closing costs have you stuck, be prepared to meet in the middle. Splitting the difference can go a long way in the eyes of a seller.

According to About Home, contingencies come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to help buyers escape the purchase of a home if certain conditions aren’t met. From standard loopholes based on home inspections and appraisals to contracts depending on the buyer selling their current home, offers can be adjusted to include nearly any contingency you can think of to protect your interests while purchasing a home. However, contingencies can make your offer less appealing. If a seller has a problem with the number of escape clauses built into your offer, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to meet in the middle to retain the goodwill of the homeowner. From splitting closing costs to completely removing contingencies, be prepared to negotiate the details of your offer.

Depend on your real estate agent for additional advice on navigating a difficult negotiation. After all, he or she will have the experience needed to create a win-win outcome while working on your behalf.

The number one tool for developing a great offer is the knowledge and experience of your real estate agent. The advice and tips offered by the professionals can be incredibly effective in ensuring a smooth negotiation process. With knowledge of the local real estate markets as well as the ability to communicate directly with sellers or their representing agents, your real estate agent will have the insider information specific to your home search that can get you in your dream home more quickly and without unnecessary stresses and headaches.


Denver housing: Rocky Mountain High and HOT!

The supply of homes for sale in Denver is down 15 percent from a year ago, the number of days on the market for homes has fallen 31 percent and the median home price is up 11 percent, according to the real estate company Live Urban Real Estate. Homes are flying off the shelves, and bidding wars are the new normal.

“Prices are going crazy. Multiple offers, love letters, videos, all kinds of things to appeal to a seller in order to make yours stand above all the others,” said Denver real estate agent Jill Schafer.

Supply here is low for a number of reasons. Employment is growing at more than 4 percent versus a year ago, home builders really didn’t ramp up production after the recession and land prices in the Denver area are at an all-time high, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Most of the available land is out by the airport, where sales are not particularly strong.

Read More:

MC2 Home Inspections 2014 blog in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,600 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 60 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.