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The most important real estate decisions are yours to make

by Allison Simson

Don't put your agent TOTALLY in charge

Question: Allison , we’ve never bought a home before and we are working with a Broker to buy something in Frisco, CO this summer.  She is very helpful, but we are a bit confused about what she should do and what our responsibilities are.  Suggestions? 

Answer: Good question!  We are seeing some good movement in our market right now, so your timing could be perfect!  Buying or selling a home can be rewarding, although often stressful. To ease the pain, assemble a group of professionals to help you get the job done.

A good real estate agent can make the project a lot easier. Be sure to make your agent selection carefully. If you don't already have an agent with whom you've had a good prior experience, ask acquaintances who live in the area where you're buying or selling to recommend a well-respected, local agent.

Rapport is a very important component of the agent selection process. Your agent will act on your behalf with prospective buyers, other agents, contractors and inspectors, to name a few. Pick an agent you trust, respect and who has good communication skills.

Your agent can help coordinate the many details that need to be managed before and during the sale transaction. However, never forget who's in charge. Your agent works for you.

You rely on your agent's recommendations, intuition and skill based on years of experience working in your marketplace. But your agent is not the decision-maker -- you are.

Most buyers and sellers are busy. You usually don't decide to make a move when you're sitting around with nothing else to do. Buyers' dream homes often come on the market at the least convenient time.

As much as you'd like to turn the decision-making over to your agent, you need to stay current on what is happening during your transaction. Some agents withhold information from their clients because they know they're busy and they don't want to bother them.

This can lead to problems if you find out too late that you can't fix a problem that you could have if you'd only known earlier. Make sure your agent knows that you want to be kept informed throughout the transaction.

The same goes for your dealings with the rest of your team. For example, if you're having your home staged, it's best to meet with the stager and your real estate agent to look at the home and discuss the staging strategy. It's fine to leave this step to the stager and your agent if you really don't have time.

When you see your home staged, be aware that it won't look like you live there. That's the point. You want buyers to feel that they can make your home their own.

However, if you don't like something about the finished job, make your feelings known. A good stager will make changes in furnishings or remove accessories if asked to do so. Check with your agent first to make sure you're on target. Emotions can get in the way.

Today, working with lenders can be one of the most difficult parts of the home purchase transaction. Buyers don't feel they're in charge. Harassment might better characterize the loan approval process. Mandatory forms are ambiguous. Lenders ask for an ever-increasing amount of documentation. If you don't provide it in a timely fashion, your loan may be denied.

However, you choose the lender or mortgage broker you want to work with. You are the decision-maker when it comes to what kind of mortgage you want: fixed-rate, adjustable-rate (ARM), or a fixed/ARM hybrid.

Your loan professional should provide you with all the information you need to compare the various mortgage options available, but you decide which one is best for you. You also decide how much to borrow, even if it is less than what you can qualify to borrow.

Select expert local inspectors and take the time to read the reports. Sometimes there are mistakes in the reports. If so, contact the inspector and have the report corrected.

If you can't stay involved, make sure you hire an agent who will keep you up to date and who won't make decisions for you. Copyright Inman News.


For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800. Email - [email protected]. Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  Want to know the value of your Summit County property? Visit  

5 things homebuyers hate

by Allison Simson

Question:  Allison, I have my home in Silverthorne, CO for sale and while I’ve had some showings, I haven’t had any offers.  What can we do to spruce it up? Any suggestions?

 Answer:  Thanks for asking!  Without asking the buyers directly (or through their broker via feedback after showing) I can’t say exactly what they don’t like about your place, and I came this information about what buyers HATE that might be helpful! 

1. Images that lie

Stretching photos to make rooms appear much larger than they actually are would be banned by listing services, if buyers had anything to do with it. And if your home is pristine and staged during the photo shoot (which it should be), it should still be pristine and staged when buyers come to see it in person.

Taking a photo of just one corner of a room that is shaped strangely or stuffed full of personal items is another way to confuse and irritate buyers, who hate nothing more than to feel like they were misled and tricked into wasting their time to see a place that is nothing like the photos.

Another personal pet peeve of mine is photos where it is clear that the person taking the photo had to practically climb up on the roof, or belay up the wall to get a view shot.  Just stand on the deck and take the picture, for goodness sake!  You shouldn’t need a harness to get the shot!  

2. Listings with no useful images at all

Listing photos of the piano or a piece of beautiful furniture that is not included in the sale is irritating to online house hunters, who might assume that the house had no other attractive features to furnish. Even worse: Home listings with no photos at all.

Nine times out of ten, when the listing has no photos buyers simply scroll or click right past those homes -- even the ones that might perfectly meet their expectations.

Sellers, let's be clear: Skilled listing agents who are getting homes sold in today's market are putting 10, 20 even 30 photos of each listing online. That's your competition. If a buyer only has time to see seven homes on a Sunday, and there are 20 listed in your area and price range, chances are good that those with the best, most numerous pictures will capture those valuable showing slots.

Often, listings with no photos are that way because of technical difficulties. Check on your home's online listings on various real estate search sites and alert your agent if there's a problem with the pictures.

3. Misleading marketing

Problems in the condition of the home that will be obvious when buyers enter, like a shifting foundation or clearly leaky roof, should be disclosed as such in the listing to minimize the inconvenience to you and those buyers who wouldn't have bothered to visit if they knew. Disclosing such problems upfront will maximize your chances of finding the right buyer, who is willing to take them on.


Phrases like "immaculate" and "better than new" set you (and your home) up for failure when the buyer walks in and sees even normal wear and tear, or the smells and clutter of daily living.

4. "Stalkerish" sellers

Sellers who are intrusive or follow buyers around during a showing were No. 1 on my own list, and on the lists of many buyers. You might love the murals you've painted on your kids' walls or the custom living room crafting area you've set up, and want to share your love with prospective buyers.

But the fact is that most buyers just aren't interested, and would rather be able to discuss their plans to get rid of crazy customizations freely with their spouse and their agent than feel obliged to feign appreciation. (I've even had some buyers say they liked a house, but kept looking because they would have hated to pull out the sellers' beloved personal touches.)

5. Bizarro showings

Dogs, kids and sleeping residents all made recurrent appearances in the comments to my article. I've personally shown a home with dog "leavings" on the interior carpets, and even once joined my out-of-shape clients on a foot chase to catch a wily little dog whose owner had left explicit instructions not to let "Fido" out (but left him roaming around the house, poised to dart out the front door the second I opened it). One reader related a showing in which she opened a hall closet door and out popped a dog that had been cooped up there for the occasion.

Multiple buyers told of walking into rooms where people were changing clothes, eating, frying up food or sleeping during the showing. Not a selling point.

Showing bizarreness is tough for buyers to get past, even if the place is a palace. Copyright Inman News.


For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800. Email - [email protected]. Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  Want to know the value of your Summit County property? Visit  

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Photo of Summit Real Estate Real Estate
Summit Real Estate
The Bright Choice
330 Dillon Ridge Way, Suite 10
Dillon CO 80435
Fax: 970-468-2195

Allison Simson, Owner/Broker, is a licensed Colorado Real Estate Broker