Doug Van EttenYOUR JOURNEY HOMEGrand Junction Free Press Real Estate Columnist

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March 25, 2012
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Local real estate Q&A

Q: My home has been for sale since November. It had lots of people looking at it and then came a lull; now we are getting showings every week, often 3 times a week. Why, with all this attention, is my home not selling?A: Yours is a common story right now in that Grand Junction has returned to being a "seller's market," meaning we have less than six months worth of houses to sell in most price ranges under $350,000. That is driving a lot of interest in homes that are on the market.The simple response to why your home is not selling is "price, price, price." However, it may also be emotional or other sensory appeal. While every buyer objection can be overcome by adjusting the price, it may be that even though other homes similar to your size and price may be selling, yours may just lack something in appeal. Maybe yours is on a busy corner; you cook with strong flavors and odors; or visually it just does not "zing." The street corner is out of your control, the cooking aromas you can address and the missing zing may be able to be provided by having the home professionally staged. A stager, a short-term interior decorator, may charge as little as $250-$350 in the Grand Junction market. If it turns out that is the missing key to getting a sale, you'll save more than that small amount of money by selling this week rather than having to make next month's mortgage payment.***Q: The Realtor who lives next door keeps telling me to get pre-qualified before I get serious about looking at houses for sale. How can I know what I want a loan for if I do not know what I want to buy?A: Your Realtor-neighbor is advising you that the chicken has to come before the egg. By making a free visit to a mortgage company to get pre-qualified for a loan you will know how much they say you can afford to buy. It is perfectly fine to be told by a lender that you can qualify to buy up to a $275,000 house; then you decide either that is fine or you might decide you want a lower payment so will buy a less expensive house.On the other hand, if you go out and find a $210,000 house that you set your sights and heart on buying only to be told the next day when you go to the mortgage company for the first time, that you only qualify for a $150,000 loan, it can be both heart-breaking and frustrating.Pre-qualifying also puts you in position to move quickly when the house you want comes up for sale. It is not happening every day in our current market but any Realtor can tell you stories of recent clients who did not get to purchase the house they wanted because they had to delay making a purchase offer while they went to the mortgage company.In the meantime, some other pre-qualified buyer swept in and bought the house because they had their pre-qualification letter ready, in hand so to speak, the day the house came to their attention; and, seller's require that letter along with your purchase offer to even consider your offer.Listen to your neighbor's advice and at the same time, ask them for the names and contact information of two or three mortgage lenders they suggest you may want to talk with. Mortgage loans are a product you can shop around for.--------------------------Doug Van Etten is a local Realtor with Keller Williams Colorado West Realty. He is also founder and organizer of the Real Estate Investors Network of Western Colorado ( For information about buying or selling a home, investing in real estate or joining REIN, contact Doug at 970-433-4312 or

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The Post Independent Updated Mar 25, 2012 04:51PM Published Mar 25, 2012 04:49PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.