Frequently Asked Questions


How do I pick a Realtor?

Not all agents or brokers are REALTORS® — there is a difference. As a prerequisite to selling real estate, a person must be licensed by the state in which they work, either as an agent/salesperson or as a broker. Before a license is issued, minimum standards for education, examinations and experience, which are determined on a state by state basis, must be met. After receiving a real estate license, most agents go on to join their local board or association of REALTORS® and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, the world’s largest professional trade association. They can then call themselves REALTORS®.


What is the difference between a buyer’s and a seller’s broker:

Suppose you sign an offer to buy a home for $150,000. You really want the property and there’s a chance other offers are coming in, so you tell the broker that “We’ll go up to $160,000 if we have to. But of course don’t tell that to the seller.” If you’re dealing with a seller’s agent, he or she may be duty-bound to tell the seller that important fact. In most states, the seller’s agent doesn’t have any duty of confidentiality toward you. Honest treatment might require that the agent warn you that “I must convey to the seller anything that would be useful so don’t tell me anything you wouldn’t tell the seller.”

TIP: If you’re dealing with seller’s agents, it’s a good idea to keep confidential information to yourself. These days many home buyers prefer instead to hire a buyer’s broker, one who owes the full range of duties, including confidentiality and obedience, to the buyer. A buyer’s broker is often paid by the seller, regardless of the agency relationship.


What is the best way to pick an agent:

I would primarily go by gut feel, you’ll know if you feel comfortable. Also, in making your decision to work with an agent, there are certain questions you should ask when evaluating a potential agent. The first question you should ask is whether the agent is a REALTOR® .


    • Does the agent have an active real estate license in good standing? To find this information, you can check with your state’s governing agency.

    • Does the agent belong to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and/or a reliable online home buyer’s search service? Multiple Listing Services are cooperative information networks of REALTORS® that provide descriptions of most of the houses for sale in a particular region.

    • Is real estate their full-time career?

    • What real estate designations does the agent hold?

    • Which party is he or she representing–you or the seller? This discussion is supposed to occur early on, at “first serious contact” with you. The agent should discuss your state’s particular definitions of agency, so you’ll know where you stand.

    • In exchange for your commitment, how will the agent help you accomplish your goals? Show you homes that meet your requirements and provide you with a list of the properties he or she is showing you

    • Each Blue Ribbon broker is a certified member of the Durango board of REALTORS®. We take pride in our job and offer professional service without the high-pressure sales pitch. Please rest assured that we will not sell you a house that you do not want or can not afford. In fact, I might suggest you do not buy a new house at this time, but remodel or add on to your current home. In short, we have your best interest in mind.


What can a Realtor do for You?

The REALTOR® you work with could be one of your most valuable resources. Unlike many real estate agents who are simply licensed by their state to do business, REALTORS® have taken additional steps to become members of the local board of REALTORS® and have agreed to act under and adhere to a strict Code of Ethics. Plus…

    • A REALTOR® can help you determine how much home you can afford. Often a REALTOR® can suggest ways to accrue the down payment and explain alternative financing methods.

    • A REALTOR®, in addition to knowing the local money market, also can tell you what personal and financial data to bring with you when you apply for a loan.

    • A REALTOR® is already familiar with current real estate values, taxes, utility costs, municipal services and facilities, and may be aware of local zoning changes that could affect your decision to buy.

    • A REALTOR® can usually research your housing needs in advance through a Multiple Listing Service–even if you are relocating from another city.

    • A REALTOR® can show you only those homes best suited to your needs–size, style, features, location, accessibility to schools, transportation, shopping and other personal preferences.

    • A REALTOR® often can suggest simple, imaginative changes that make a home more suitable for you and improve its utility and value.

    • A REALTOR® is sensitive to the importance you place on this major commitment you are about to make. Look for a real estate professional to facilitate negotiation of a win-win agreement that will satisfy both you and the seller.


Is Claudia Williams a certified REALTOR?

I am a certified member of the Durango board of REALTORS®. I take pride in my job and offer professional service without the high-pressure sales pitch. Please rest assured that I will not sell you a house that you do not want or can not afford. In fact, I might suggest you do not buy a new house, but remodel or add on to your current home. In short, I have your best interest in mind. Please let me know how I can help.


What is My Home Worth?

Every reasonable owner wants the best possible price and terms for his or her home. Several factors, including market conditions and interest rates, will determine how much you can get for your home. The idea is to get the maximum price and the best terms during the window of time when your home is being marketed.

In other words, home selling is part science, part marketing, part negotiation and part art. Unlike math where 2 + 2 always equals 4, in real estate there is no certain conclusion. All transactions are different, and because of this, you should do as much as possible to prepare your home for sale and engage the REALTOR® you feel is best able to sell your home.

So, what is your home worth? All homes have a price, and sometimes more than one. There’s the price owners would like to get, the value buyers would like to offer and a point of agreement which can result in a sale. In considering home values (worth), several factors are important:

    • The value of your home relates to local sale prices. The same home, located elsewhere, would likely have a different value.

    • Sale prices are a product of supply and demand. If you live in a community with an expanding job base, a growing population and a limited housing supply, it’s likely that prices will rise. Alternatively, it’s important to be realistic. If the local community is losing jobs and people are moving out, then you’ll likely have a buyer’s market.

    • Owner needs can impact sale values. If owner Smith “must” sell quickly, he will have less leverage in the marketplace. Buyers may think that Smith is willing to trade a quick closing for a lower price — and they may be right. If Smith has no incentive to sell quickly, he may have more marketplace strength.

    • Sale prices are not based on what owners “need.” When an owner says, “I must sell for $300,000 because I need $100,000 in cash to buy my next home,” buyers will quickly ask if $300,000 is a reasonable price for the property. If similar homes in the same community are selling for $250,000, the seller will not be successful.

    • Sale prices are NOT the whole deal. Which would you rather have: A sale price of $200,000, or a sale price of $205,000 but where you agree to make a “seller contribution” of $5,000 to offset the buyer’s closing costs, pay a $2,000 allowance for roof repairs, fund two mortgage points, re-paint the entire house and leave the washer and dryer?

How much is too much? Because all transactions are unique there is flexibility in the marketplace. The amount of flexibility depends on local conditions. For example, suppose you’re selling a townhouse. Suppose also that there have been five recent sales of the model you own and that sale values have ranged between $200,000 and $210,000. You now have an idea of how your home might be priced. In a strong market perhaps you can ask for $210,000 or a little more. If the market has slowed, $210,000 may be a reasonable asking price.

Contact us for a free market evaluation (CMA, worth) of your home and assistance in finding the right price.


Should I tell the seller what I am willing to offer?

Never say anything to anybody unless you would be willing to have that information repeated into a seller’s ear. Assume that everybody, and I mean everybody, is working for a seller unless you have specifically hired them to work for you. And even then, be discreet. During the second world war, the military promoted a phrase designed to stop idle gossip: Loose lips sink ships! You would do well to adopt that philosophy in your home-buying as well.


How do I sign up to receive automatic emails with new listings?

Easy, do a home search on this website, click save search and sign up for auto notifications. Or send me an email - 970 749 3555.


How can I find out if the market has stabilized?

Check out the Market Snapshot tool. We will send you a customized Durango real estate market update email once a month or every other week, you pick. It’s easy to read, with cool mapping and a wealth of great statistics.


Is it a buyer's market or a seller's market?

Right now we are mostly in a buyer’s market but intown Durango is switching to a sellers market – good time to buy.


I'm not happy with my current realtor. What do I do?

That can be a tough one and I’d say it depends on what sort of written agreement you have with your realtor. Feel free to give us a quick call and we’ll review your situation and help you figure out the best way of action. If feasible, we’ll be happy to take over and even make those unpleasant calls to cancel whatever needs canceling. And no need to worry – at Blue Ribbon we offer a 100% all encompassing satisfaction guarantee. You’ll never need to wonder if it’s possible to get out – we are that sure of our superior service. And in the unlikely event it doesn’t work out we figure if you are not happy neither are we.


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