Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

What’s Your Home Buying Timeline?

You’ve gotten the itch to buy a new home – maybe it is because you’re sick of renting, you’re at a different stage in your life and either need more home or less home, you need to be closer to work or maybe you are just starting to dream about your next home … there are so many different reasons and each one is unique to you. In turn, so is your timeline.

Your lease is not up for 3 more months, you want to find your next home before you sell, you need to sell your current home first and don’t want to be homeless, you want to wait until school ends or starts …. Everyone’s timeline is different and that’s where our team can help.

Our website, has thousands of visitors looking at homes each month – searching for the home that is going to fit their needs and sometimes their dreams. And every one of these people have a different timeline. The real estate market in Colorado never disappoints and there is opportunity for everyone to buy a home, though different locations and price points, combined with YOUR timeline, each provide their own challenges.

I want to meet with you, face-to-face, so I can get to know you, fully understand your next home’s must haves and your timeline – this then allows us to give you the guidance you need to reach your goals. This guidance may be for buying a home this month, 12-months from now or 2 years from now. I specialize in working with home buyers to create a timeline that is realistic and achievable. I am not here to be your one and done real estate resource – I am in it for the long haul and look forward to building a long lasting real estate relationship with you!

Once again, I’m Sarah Futa with the Scott Futa Home Team & we get you moving in the right direction – We look forward to being of service.

Scott & Sarah Futa | The Scott Futa Home Team
Keller Williams Action Realty, LLC
140 S. Wilcox Street
Castle Rock, CO 80104
(303) 225-2707 |

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Sam’s Club in Castle Rock

Life just got a little bit nicer with the opening of the Sam’s Club in Castle Rock this week! First warning … as excited as you may be to check it out, hold out a week as it is a mad house in there! But, if you can handle the crowds, make your life easier by downloading the Sam’s Club Scan & Go app on your mobile phone – it is sure to make your life easier.

Our Castle Rock real estate team went to check out Sam’s Club in Castle Rock today and while it was crazy, the Scan & Go app made it manageable, plus it helped me stay on track of how much I was spending (let’s face it — it’s easy to go into Sam’s Club or Costco with the idea that you are going to spend $200 and you check out spending $500)!

Here’s how you use it –

1) Download the app on your phone
2) As you are putting things in your cart, scan them
3) When you are done, you’ll see the total scanned in the bottom left corner
4) Select Checkout
5) Add your payment method if you don’t already have it stored in there
6) Hit the Checkout button at the bottom of your screen (below all the items you scanned)
7) Walk to the exit of the store with you phone, stay to the right so you go in the “Scan & Go” lane. They will scan the screen on your phone and you walk out of the store

AMAZING! I love great technology like this! Let us know what you think of the new Sam’s Club in Castle Rock and this new app!

3 Steps to Set You Up for a Successful Home Purchase


There are three critical steps every home buyer should take in order to have a successful transaction. We will go over those steps today.

Buying a home is a big financial decision, whether it’s your first, second, or 10th home. Buying a home is not like buying a car. When you buy a car, you walk around the dealership, pick a car, and go for a test drive. Then you talk to the finance manager to purchase the car, sign some papers, and drive off the lot within a couple of hours.

Buying a home is an entirely different process that definitely takes longer than a couple of hours. We talk to buyers every week who want us to show them houses before they even meet with us face to face! Then, after they find the home they want to purchase, they get frustrated because they were not set up for success.


Our team wants to make your real estate dreams a reality. In order to do that effectively, there are three important steps that you need to take. The good news is that, as a buyer, you can work with a Realtor at no cost to you.

So, what are the first three steps you should take in order to have a successful home purchase? Here they are:

1. Make the call. Give us a call and we’ll talk about your motivation and current situation. You may want to buy something this month or in 12 months. However, don’t wait 12 months to start planning your home purchase. Start now so that you are ready when the time comes to make your move.

2. Speak with a mortgage lender. We have a deep network of lenders that we trust who can help you determine how much home you can afford. They will help you find a loan that fits your budget and your timeline. Now, talking to a lender does not mean that your credit will be pulled right away. Your credit will only be pulled when it comes time for the pre-approval process to begin.

3. Have a face to face consultation with us. The buyer consultation gives you and our team a chance to get to know each other. After all, if you hire us to guide you through the process of buying a home, it’s important that you like and trust us. During this meeting, we will go over the home buying process so that you will know exactly what to expect.

These three steps are critical in helping you meet your goals. If you have any other questions about the home buying process or about the real estate market in general, give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help you!

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Current Trends in Real Estate Appraisals


The appraisal process has changed significantly as of late. They are being scheduled sooner and cost more than they used to.

Over the last few years, several changes have been made in the real estate appraisal process. These changes have had an impact on the buying and selling processes, and we wanted to go over them in further detail today.

An appraisal is an independent third-party report of a home’s value. The appraiser wants to ensure that the collateral that secures the mortgage (the home) is enough to cover the loan. Banks and lenders are risk-averse in nature, so they want to make sure the current market value of a home is in line with the amount being borrowed.

What has changed recently is how appraisals are conducted, how much they cost, and the time frame it takes to complete them. Lenders now order appraisals through a blind bid system and they don’t have much influence on how long it takes for appraisals to b assigned.

Some lenders have established pre-negotiated rush fees to speed things along. I like these lenders because they usually don’t miss closing dates, which is good news for all parties involved.

However, appraisal costs have risen because of this. An appraisal that used to cost $399 can cost over $1,000 and have rush fees as high as $1,500. In the past, lenders waited to order an appraisal. However now, that the process taking up to six weeks now, they are ordering them immediately after the contract is accepted in order to avoid delays.


In the purchase contract, there are three deadlines around the appraisal process. The first is when the appraisal needs to be completed. The second is when the buyers can object to the appraisal if it comes in lower than the purchase price. Finally, the third deadline is the appraisal resolution deadline, where the buyer and seller need to come to an agreement on solving a low appraisal.

With a low appraisal, the buyer might have to increase their down payment or the seller might have to lower the sale price. Most often, it’s a combination of the two. Remember, appraisals must be disclosed to any other buyers that come along. Simply coming back on the market might not be the best option if that happens.

If you have any questions for us about appraisals, don’t hesitate to ask. We would love to hear from you and look forward to answering them.

Selling a home? Get a free home value report

Buying a home? Search all homes for sale

Should You Rent Your Home Out or Sell It?


Should you rent your home out or sell it in today’s market? Here’s what you need to know.

As a homeowner, you have two options when it comes to maximizing your investment: sell your home or rent it out. Which is a better option? The answer is usually, “It depends.”

There are several factors to consider when it comes to deciding whether to sell your home or rent it out, and everybody’s situation is a little different.

With current housing inventory still at an all-time low and the demand for homes still at an all-time high, it really is a great time to sell your home, cash out your equity, and roll into your next home purchase. That said, some homeowners do consider keeping their home and renting it out, which is great, but if you’re considering this, just remember that you will be starting a rental business.

Many people simplify this and think that the best option would be to rent their home out in order to put a few extra bucks in their pockets, but the reality is that there is a lot involved in the rental business. For example, you have to consider establishing escrow accounts, tenant background checks, home maintenance and upkeep, possible evictions and vacancies, as well as insurance and tax implications.


Renting out your home does allow you to capitalize on future equity opportunities and create some monthly cash flow, but on the other hand, the market favors sellers and prices are at or near all-time highs. This means that your equity position may be such that you can capitalize on some gains.

If you’d like to learn more about your best options as a homeowner, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email with any questions you may have. My team and I would be happy to get you moving in the right direction!

Selling a home? Get a free home value report

Buying a home? Search all homes for sale

5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Fall


Fall is upon us. There are five things you should do now to prepare your home for the cold, harsh winter weather.

Fall is upon us and there are five things you can do to prepare your home for the colder weather.

1. Examine your roof, gutters, and downspouts. Your roof is often forgotten about because it’s not at eye-level — out of sight, out of mind. Check the flashing around the chimney and look for any openings in the roof, especially around skylights.

2. Change the filters in your home. Most people are aware of HVAC filters but you may also have filters for your stove, vents, dryer, or fans. Clean filters keep your appliances in working order longer.

3. Prepare your fireplace. Gas log fireplaces are the most common these days, but some homeowners still have traditional wood-burning fireplaces. You need to get these serviced by a qualified professional at regular intervals.

4. Have your garden tools serviced. Sharpen the blades on your lawn mower and trimmer. If you need new garden tools, you may get a great deal by buying some in the fall.

5. Take care of your lawn needs. Aerate the lawn and apply fertilizer to prepare for the cold weather and long winter months. Blow out those sprinklers, too.

By taking care of these things now, you will beat the spring rush by making repairs at the end of the season. If you need any recommendations on who to work with, let me know and I’ll send you a list of vendors.


If you have any questions about preparing your home for colder weather or about the real estate market, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!


Selling a home? Get a free home value report

Buying a home? Search all homes for sale

Trends We Are Seeing in the Denver Market


Denver is still in a strong seller’s market, but things are beginning to balance out. We are heading toward a more healthy market because of this.

June and July mark the peak of the market here in Denver. The flurry of activity in the market eventually subsides each fall, and 2016 is no different from past years.

Most job relocations take place in late spring and early summer. Traditionally, the later summer months mark the height of vacation travel, and that leads into back to school time for students.

The market still favors sellers right now, but signs of balancing continue to show,particularly in the market around the $400,000 price range. As prices climb, so does inventory. This brings further balance to a heated market. Showings have slowed, which is typical for this time of year.

However, days on market have climbed quite a bit. The average days on market are still hovering around 30 days. As you may expect, higher price point homes have fewer qualified buyers based on the average household income. Price reductions and low offers continue to further support the balancing movement.


The market price of homes is driven by a combination of recent sales, seasonality, availability, and homeowner input. A seasoned professional should see these things and give them weight when writing offers. You can’t know there has been a market shift until you’re already in it. This is where clients can capitalize on a seasoned Realtor’s knowledge for guidance.

To sum it up, the local market is still very strong and favoring sellers. The market is trending towards being balanced, but Denver is still one of the most active markets in the U.S. Appraisal completion times and costs are at an all-time high, so keep that in mind if you plan on buying or selling as it may affect your timeline.

If you have any questions for us at all, don’t hesitate to give us a call or shoot us an email. We would love to hear from you!


Selling a home? Get a free home value report

Buying a home? Search all homes for sale

What Qualities Should Buyers and Sellers Look For When Hiring a Real Estate Agent


When I ask people what qualities they look for in an agent, I receive many different responses. The most common are integrity, experience, honesty, great communication, knowledge of their local market, and personal compatibility.  All these are important, but really, these are the minimum expectations.

Most people don’t say that they want an agent who clearly identifies and understands my needs and goals, but that’s exactly what you need. Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice. You wouldn’t expect to walk into your doctor’s office and say, “I want to feel better,” and have them immediately write you a prescription without problem-solving.

It’s the same scenario with the average agent. Voltaire once said, “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” Understanding the why of your move will lead to the right strategy for your move.

For instance, if you’re moving for a job relocation, the net profit from your home may not be your number one focus. You may be more concerned with the time frame, or how flexible a buyer can be on the closing date. Average agents don’t think in those terms. They just focus on netting the highest amount for the home, period. That certainly is important, but again, other factors can come into play.

By clearly identifying client goals at the initial meeting, we are able to create a marketing plan and put together the ideal contract for you.  With a solid plan in place, top agents can deliver a top experience.

If you have any questions, give us a call or send us an email.

Want to sell your home? Get a FREE home value report. 
Want to buy a home? Search all homes for sale.

Should Homeowners Trust Zillow?


People always ask my opinion of online evaluation sites and their accuracy. It’s important to know most online evaluation sources use basic algorithms with generalized information to estimate home values. It’s that simple! Often, Zillow estimates are off by 5% to 15%.
The best way to price a home is to closely analyze everything about it. Looking at a home physically also helps, too. Zillow cannot actually go into a home to examine the property and analyze certain factors. A website can’t tell you how living next to a garbage dump affects your home value. If you use online valuation sites, refer to them as a starting point. They’re a resource for anyone beginning their search.

However, a professional Realtor can provide a comprehensive analysis. I do it for free all the time. If you’re interested in more information about buying a home in Colorado, just ask. I’m happy to help you by phone phone or email! Let’s talk.

Want to sell your home? Get a FREE home value report. 
Want to buy a home? Search all homes for sale.

Good Credit vs Bad Credit

I occasionally get people in my office who want to buy a home, but they have no credit history whatsoever. This leads me to a good question: is it better to have bad credit or no credit?
From the perspective of a lender, it is riskier to lend to someone with no credit history at all than someone with bad credit. They have no way of telling if you are good at making payments or not. When you have bad credit, we can fix it. But if you have no credit at all, there is no way of telling what kind of borrower you might be.
A lot of the time, no credit ends up getting you no mortgage. This is why it’s not a terrible idea to start building credit now. You can buy a credit card and put a very small balance on it, and pay it off month to month to build a little bit of consistent credit history.

It’s surprising to most people, but it is better to have bad credit than no credit at all. If you want to buy a home in the future, I highly suggest that you begin to build credit now.

If you need help buying or selling in Denver, please don’t hesitate to contact me!
Want to sell your home? Get a FREE home value report. 
Want to buy a home? Search all homes for sale.