The Oetken Group Answers Your Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs – Coeur d’Alene Real Estate


What if I need to sell my home before I buy a new one?

To put yourself in the best negotiating position before you find the new home you want, hire a qualified real estate agent to help you put your home on the market. Once you write an offer on a new home, your offer will be “contingent” upon the sale of your home. A buyer in this position may not have the same negotiating power as one whose home has already sold (or at least has an accepted offer). The seller may be hesitant to accept your offer because there are too many things that must happen before the sale can close.

How does my offer get presented to the seller?

I will call the agent who is the listing agent for the home you have chosen. We will make arrangements with the seller to present your offer. I will be there to explain the details of your offer and negotiate on your behalf.

What happens if I offer less than the asking price?

If you offer less money, the seller has three options. They can accept the lower offer, counter your offer, or reject it completely. Remember that there could be another buyer who is also interested in the home you’ve chosen. If they happen to write an offer at the same time you do, the seller will have two offers to compare. There are usually many aspects of each offer to consider, but ultimately the seller will want to accept the best and most complete offer. In active real estate markets, homes often sell for their listed price. In hot markets, there may be many buyers vying for the same house, which sometimes drives the final sale price above the original listing price.

As a real estate professional, I can help you plan your strategy, based on the current real estate market in our area.

Does it cost me money to make an offer?

When you write the offer on the home you’ve chosen, you will be expected to include an earnest money deposit. The deposit is a sign of your good faith that you are seriously interested in buying the home.

Where does my earnest money go?

Once the buyer and seller have a mutually accepted offer, the earnest money is deposited into a trust account. That deposit becomes a credit to the buyer and becomes part of the purchase expense.

Can I lose my earnest money?

Real estate contracts are complicated legal transactions. This is another area where having a knowledgeable and professional agent is a necessity. Rarely does the buyer lose the earnest money. Most often, if the transaction falls apart, there are circumstances beyond the buyer’s control that cause it to happen. If the buyer willfully decides, however, that they no longer want to buy the house and has no legal reason for rescinding their offer, then the seller has the right to retain the earnest money.

Why Windermere?

Windermere Real Estate has grown from a one-office operation to more than 300 offices in 10 states and 7,000+ agents. This kind of growth can only be attributed to a commitment of the highest possible standards.

The strength of Windermere’s brand assures you of exceptional service, the highest level of integrity and a code of ethics when or selling your home through Windermere.

Established in 1972, Windermere stands for:

  • Locally owned and operated offices
  • Neighborhood knowledge
  • Market expertise
  • Premium tools and services

While the real estate market has grown enormously in value and complexity over the last many years, one thing remains the same: Windermere’s commitment to focusing on your individual needs and dreams and providing exceptional real estate experiences.


What is Windermere’s network of offices?

Whether you are moving across the street or across the region, the Windermere network of offices is poised to help you make the right move. We are an extended family.

  • 300+ offices in 10 states
  • Washington
  • Idaho
  • Oregon
  • Montana
  • Wyoming
  • California
  • Nevada
  • Utah
  • Arizona
  • Hawaii
  • and British Columbia (Canada)

More than 7,000 agents

Complete coverage in the West

We can certainly help you with local information, but we are also very good at providing details on housing, community profiles and statistics for the area in which you are moving. We’ll even refer a qualified agent that can assist you with your new home search.

If you need access or support to facilitate your transaction, give us a call.


Why should I work with a REALTOR ®

Not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®

Only real estate professionals who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) can call themselves REALTOR®. The NAR is America’s largest professional association, over one million strong, and involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

As a REALTOR® I pledge to abive by the NAR’s strict Code of Ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public. Only REALTORS® are held accountable for their ethical behavior.

Benefits of choosing a REALTOR®

REALTORS® work hard to protect your property rights and to keep real estate excise taxes as low as possible.

REALTORS® have been instrumental in the implementation of many tax incentives for home buyers over the years.

REALTORS® have access to legal counsel to help answer those questions that put your mind at ease, all at no extra cost to you!

REALTORS® have consistently worked to increase FHA and VA loan limits to make sure you’re not paying higher fees to purchase an average home in your market.

REALTORS® have access to the latest legal and legislative issues that they need to know to best represent your real estate needs. In addition, REALTORS® take extra classes and earn designations to prove excellence in various areas of real estate.

REALTORS® have worked diligently to preserve the full usage of waterfront properties.

REALTORS® are currently fighting to keep the mortgage deduction credit unchanged.

As a Windermere associate and REALTOR®, I am committed to providing you with the highest standard of service and integrity.

Courtesy of WA Association of REALTORS®

What about timing the market? When is the best time to put my home on the market?

A commonly asked question is, “Is there a ‘best time’ to put my home on the market?”

The answer is “Yes.”

The best time to market your home is exactly when you are ready.

What is important is to have a good game plan and time for preparation. When you area ready, I will be there to assist you with information that will help you get the greatest return on your investment.

We can help:

  • Assess how much your home is worth
  • Provide information on how long homes in your price range have been on the market.
  • Prepare your home for showings…and for selling.

Let’s talk about your personal goals and current market conditions to determine when the time is right for you.


How can you help me sell my home?

Helping to find a buyer for your home is only one facet of our job.

In addition, we will:

  • Explain basic real estate principles and paperwork
  • Do a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to help determine your home’s value
  • Help determine the right selling price
  • Assist you in preparing your home for sale
  • Market your home to buyers and other agents
  • List your home on, and other real estate websites
  • Keep you up-to-date on current market activity, as well as comments from potential buyers and agents about your home
  • Assist you with the purchase and sale agreement
  • Negotiate with buyers and their agents on your behalf
  • Track contingencies and ensure contract deadlines are met
  • Work with the escrow company to ensure all documents are in order and on time
  • So by working with us, you will:
  • Be more likely to get the highest return on your investment
  • Decrease your days on market
  • Understand all the terms, processes and paperwork involved
  • Have exposure to more buyers and agents with qualified buyers
  • Have current market information to make informed decisions
  • Have a skilled negotiator on your side

We cover all of this so you can have peace of mind that the details are being handled


How should I price my property?

Determining the right price for your property is the most critical step in ensuring you get the highest return on your investment in the least amount of time. MLS statistics show that the longer a home is on the market, the lower the sales price. So my job is to help you set the right price from the start, and to position your property so it stands out in the market.

The market value of your home is what buyers are willing to pay in today’s market conditions.

Our goal is to determine its market value and set the price accordingly.


Your true target buyers may not see your property because it’s listed out of their price range.

The buyers in the higher price point may compare your home to other homes at that price and consider it a bad value.

It may sit on the market longer and sell for less than asking price, while you continue to pay ownership costs and can’t move on with your life.

Here’s how we will help you successfully price and position your property for the highest return:

  • Analyze current market conditions and sales prices of comparable properties
  • Discuss your goals and needs
  • Advise you about ways to make your property more attractive to buyers
  • Create a comprehensive marketing plan targeting the most likely buyers
  • Market your property to other agents, and get their feedback on its price and presentation
  • Keep you up-to-date on sales activity and market conditions

You can be assured that our experience and understanding of the marketplace will help you get the best price possible in the shortest time.


How do you handle Listing Input and why might that matter to me?

We will get the news out fast.

Once you have listed your property, we will immediately input all the details of your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Within minutes, every real estate agent in the system will know that your property is on the market.

Simultaneously, your property will be listed on, which receives an average of 1.4 million monthly visits. Windermere listings are also accessible through top real estate sites such as Yahoo, Google and others.

Providing photos and detailed information about your home quickly and accurately is all a part of getting your home sold.


What do you do to market my home online?

According to a national survey*, 88% of home buyers use the Internet to search for homes. When you’re ready to sell your home, you should expect your agent to have a plan for marketing your home online.

We will post your home on, and because we are members of the Multiple Listing Service, your listing will also appear on all other major participating brokerage sites in the area.

Windermere’s listings also appear on other leading real estate search sites like Trulia, Yahoo! Real Estate,, and Zillow.

Your home is your most treasured asset. Don’t miss out on this crucial opportunity to reach buyers in your community, and beyond.

*National Association of REALTORS® 2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Seller ©2012

Do you use Social Netorking?

Having your property information seen on the internet is essential for the sale of your home. It is the fastest-growing way that buyers hear about the homes they buy, second only to real estate agents.*

Social networks are where people go to talk, share information and keep informed. We will ensure that your property will be listed on several high-traffic websites and social media channels.

*National Association of REALTORS 2009 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

We actively participate in social media, and Windermere trains its agents on how to most effectively use these sites to maximize marketing efforts

Benefit: We connect with more buyers, and can increase visibility of your home beyond traditional channels

Does your marketing include Flyers and Signage?

Selling your property means the careful orchestration of advertising, marketing and public relation. My goal is to reach precisely the right target audience through key local and national contacts.

One way to achieve this goal is to pique interest with the full-color marketing materials we use to showcase your home. Whether we are presenting your information in a postcard mailing to the neighborhood or in an informative flyer, each piece will exude quality and professionalism.

Another way is to display a Windermere yard sign, which for over three decades has become synonymous with quality listings.

What better way to tell the story of your home?


What about controlled access to my home?

Easy access for buyers to see the interior of your ome increases marketability ans shortens market time. For added security, we use a state-of-the-art key box system to provide access to your home.

This allows:

  • The ability to control times that people area allowed in.
  • Only real estate agents in good standing to have access.
  • The tracking of agents as they show the home.
  • For me to obtain immediate feedback from agents who have shown the home.

Security, safety and traceability offer real peace of mind.


How do you use

Another way to get your home sold quickly is to provide detailed information and pictures on

The Windermere site has:

  • On average 1.4 million monthly visits
  • On average 475,000 property listings
  • Information about every listing, listed by every company, in the regions we serve
  • Enhanced search capabilities and photo gallery
  • A “save your favorite” feature
  • RSS feeds
  • Open house search
  • Featured homes on home page

But home listings are not the only information that you will find.  Buyers and Sellers use

  • Learn buying and selling tips
  • Better understand the buying or selling process
  • Read the Windermere blog
  • Use the mortgage calculator
  • Brush up on real estate terms
  • Find an agent or an office

Let the power of technology and work for you.


Do you have a checklist of things that need to be done when I list my home?

Yes. Properly preparing your home for sale is one of the best ways to make a favorable impression that will help it sell more quickly and for the best price. I can help you stage your home or refer you to an accredited staging professional. But there are a lot of things you can do yourself, both before and during showings, to improve its appeal.


  • Turn on all interior lights, even during the day, and exterior lights at night.
  • Make the temperature comfortable— approximately 68 degrees.
  • Keep pets in a separate area, and change litter boxes daily.
  • Put money and other valuables away and out of sight.
  • Keep curtains, drapes and shades open.
  • Open all doors inside the home, except closets.


  • A buyer will likely spend more time previewing your home if you’re not there.
  • If you can’t leave the home, try to stay out of the way, and keep children quiet and out of the way.
  • Don’t precede or follow potential buyers through your home.
  • Let us as the REALTORS show and sell your home.

Here’s a checklist to help you identify areas in your home that may need improvement in order to make the best impression on potential buyers.


  • Traffic Patterns
  • Furniture Arrangement
  • Window Coverings
  • Fireplace
  • Floors/Carpet
  • Walls & Ceilings


  • Countertops
  • Cabinets— Exterior & Interior
  • Appliances
  • Faucets
  • Sinks
  • Floor
  • Walls & Ceiling


  • Tub
  • Shower Enclosure
  • Tile & Grout
  • Sinks & Counters
  • Toilet
  • Faucets
  • Floor
  • Walls & Ceiling


  • Traffic Patterns
  • Furniture
  • Arrangement
  • Window Coverings
  • Closets
  • Floor/Carpet
  • Walls & Ceiling


  • Lawn
  • Hedges & Shrubs
  • Flower Beds
  • Fences & Gates
  • Walks & Driveways


  • Paint
  • Trim Paint
  • Porches, Decks,
  • Railings
  • Brickwork
  • Siding
  • Front Door
  • Roof


  • Stairway
  • Floor
  • Storage Areas
  • Finished Areas
  • Windows & Window Coverings


  • Door
  • Storage


  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Window Frames
  • Lights

How do you handle Open Houses?

One powerful way to create traffic and exposure for your home is by holding open houses.

46 percent of buyers report using open houses as an important information source when looking for a home.*

Open houses also create “buzz” in the neighborhood.

Neighbor referrals and signs comprise 18 percent of the ways in which buyers have found the homes they bought.*

This really is a case where seeing is believing.

*National Association of REALTORS 209 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers


What do I need to know about the home inspection?

Home inspections are a critical part of the home buying and selling process.

Inspections take the mystery out of selling your home and may make it easier for prospective buyers to imagine themselves living there. By making repairs and disclosing the home’s condition to a prospective buyer before negotiations begin, you can create an atmosphere of good faith and instill confidence about your home’s condition. This in turn, may help sell your home faster and closer to your listing price.

We can help you:

  • Find a reputable inspector and home repair contractors.
  • Prepare for when unknown problems are discovered.
  • Review inspection options.
  • Negotiate fair and appropriate solutions, if necessary.

A home inspection benefits all parties involved by providing insight into the condition of the home thereby helping to reduce the overall listing time of your property.


Does Windermere do Community Outreach?

Windermere understands the importance of giving back to our community. Enriching the neighborhoods in which we live and work is an integral part of how we do business.

That is why we donate a portion of our commission from every transaction to benefit the Windermere Foundation.

Since 1989, the Foundation has collected and contributed over $30 million.

Assistance is provided to non-profit agencies dedicated to helping homeless and low-income families in our community.


Every year since 1984, Windermere agents have dedicated a day of work to those in need.

These hands-on projects benefit a wide variety of community based organizations.

Projects have included maintenance at a senior center, construction of a children’s playground and sorting duties at a food bank.

We are pleased to be a part of such an important mission. It’s just the right thing to do.


What should I know about Short Sales?

If you are facing a hardship and finding it difficult to make your mortgage payments, we can help you understand some of the options, and guide you through what may be unfamiliar territory so that you can make a more informed decision. Options you may be considering include:

  • Keeping your home and negotiating a loan modification or refinance
  • Selling through a short sale
  • Going through the process of foreclosure

If staying in your home is your primary goal, the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) or Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) may help you avoid foreclosure by modifying or refinancing your loan to a level that you can afford. We can work with you to determine which solution is better for you, and whether you meet the requirements for eligibility.

If your main goal is to avoid foreclosure and sell your home, then the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) and HUD Preforeclosure Sale Programs may allow you to engage in a short sale, in which your lender agrees to a sale of your property for less than what is owed on the mortgage while releasing you from liability for the unpaid mortgage debt. We can help you determine whether you qualify for these programs, and which is most appropriate for you.

After reviewing your personal and financial factors, preferences, and eligibility, we will recommend that you speak with a real estate attorney, accountant, or other professional about the legal, tax, financial and other implications for your particular circumstances to ensure that you are completely informed and making the choice that’s right for you.

If you decide that a short sale is your best option, choosing the right real estate agent to represent you can be critical to your success.

That’s because:

  • Short sales are particularly complicated real estate transactions
  • Short sales take several months, and are at a higher risk of falling through

We are familiar with the layers of management, insurers, and investors who will need to approve the sale

Banks may require you to use an agent experienced in handling short sales

Whatever your situation and goals, the vast resources of the Windermere network allow us to provide the appropriate expertise to help you achieve the best outcome.


What real estate related education and designations do you have?


  • Valuation and Analysis
  • Broker Management
  • Real Estate Finance
  • Real Estate Law
  • Listing and Selling in a Changing Market
  • Idaho Risk Reducation
  • Council of Residential Specialists – Ninja Selling
  • CNE – Certified Negotiation Expert
  • GRI – Graduate Realtor Institute
  • SFR – Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource Certification
  • ASP – Accredited Staging Professional
  • IMS – Internet Marketing Specialist
  • Buyer Representation in New Home Sales
  • ABR – Buyer Agency Representative
  • RSPS – Resort and Second Home Property Specialist


  • National Association of Realtors
  • Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors
  • Idaho Association of Realtors
  • Realtor Political Action Committee – North Idaho Region 12
  • Community Development Forum
  • Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtor Legislative Committee
  • North Idaho College Facilitator “Finally Home” Class

We regularly attend real estate related workshops and industry events to keep on top of what’s happening in order to provide our clients with the very best service possible.