Colorado Springs Real Estate Blog

Colorado Springs real estate and homes for sale. Tips for buyers and sellers, statistics and analysis, great homes for sale and more!

Recent blog posts

Feedback on Colorado Springs Homes For SaleOne of the most important things we, as listing agents, can do is obtain feedback about the properties we list for sale. We know and understand that It’s hard for homeowners to see their homes from an unbiased perspective. Homes hold many memories and stir up emotions that may be hard to relinquish, especially when it’s time to price a home for sale. As experienced listing agents, our job is to help set a realistic price for the current market; but if homeowners are clinging to an unrealistic expectation, buyer feedback can often help.

 

When an agent shows a home that we have listed for sale, we send that agent a form asking for feedback: what did the buyer think?  Were there any issues the buyer pointed out? If you are not bringing us an offer on the property, what could we have done to spark an offer?

 

Homeowners are often surprised to hear the answers to these questions. Pet odors are a common issue that many homeowners overlook but are often noticed by potential buyers. Maybe the kitchen and/or bathrooms are dated and, consequently, bringing down the value of the home. Sometimes the fixes are easy: fresh coats of paint and deep cleaning carpets can boost a home’s appeal. However, many times, it’s the listing price of the home that deters potential buyers.

 

Setting the right price for the most efficient and profitable sale requires extensive knowledge of what’s happening in the Colorado Springs real estate market, as well as the latest information about mortgage rates and availability. Internet-savvy buyers look at comparable homes for sale in the area and certainly have a good sense as to whether the home is priced accurately for the neighborhood. Although some homeowners want to price their homes based on Zillow and Trulia estimates, these are not always reliable sources as markets can change rapidly and sales data takes time to find its way into those systems.

 

So, the take-away lesson when listing your home is work with a knowledgeable real estate agent who is familiar with the community and will help set a realistic selling price. And always listen to the feedback.

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Posted by on in Personal
I Found Myself While Running

Zig Ziglar once said   "What you get by reaching your destination is not nearly as important as what you will become by reaching your destination."

In my case, my destination was to become a runner.  22 years ago I took up running.   At the time it seemed liked an effective way to lose and keep off weight.  And the long, lean look of a runner's body appealed to me.  Plus, I was tired of indoor gym excercising and aerobics classes packed full of sweaty people I didn't know.

So I became an outdoor runner, liberating myself from the indoors.  I was now free to take in the scenery, to see the mountains and trees and green grass in person.  What I didn't realize was the global, whole life effect running would have on me.

Physicians tell us running will lengthen our lifespan, lower our coronary risk and blood pressure.  All true, but it also added hours to my day. My physical work capacity is far greater today than it was in my 20's. 

Psychologists tell us than running reduces negative feelings.  Anxiety, depression and anger are replaced by constructive thoughts of self-esteem and confidence.

Socialogists tell us our professional success is linked to the fitness we earn from running.  It has been proven that fit people occupy the upper echelons in position and salary.

Educators would say running is my classroom where I have learned such things as sacrifice and solitude, courage and tenacity, victory and defeat.

 

Sheehan once said "People begin running for any number of motives, but we stick to it for one basic reason...to find out who we really are."   And that is the greatest gift of all.   In it, I found myself.

 

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Posted by on in Real Estate Statistics & Analysis
2015 Real Estate Update

COLORADO SPRINGS REAL ESTATE IS GOING STRONG SO FAR THIS YEAR.  HERE IS HOW WE DID IN JANUARY:

 

SINGLE FAMILY HOME SALES             - UP 6.7% OVER JANUARY 2014

AVERAGE SALES PRICE S/F HOME     - UP 11.4% OVER JANUARY 2014

CONDO/TOWNHOME SALES                  - UP 30.3% OVER JANUARY 2014

AVERAGE SALES PRICE CONDO/T.H.  - UP 2.8% OVER JANUARY 2014

TOTAL S/F HOMES FOR SALE                - DOWN 23.5% FROM JANUARY 2014

TOTAL CONDO/T.H. FOR SALE              - DOWN 15.6% FROM JANUARY 2014

 

IN SUMMARY...SALES ARE UP AND GOING STRONG, ESPECIALLY FOR JANUARY WHICH IS HISTORICALLY, NOT OUR BUSIEST MONTH.  PRICES ARE UP COMPARED TO LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME.  INVENTORY (meaning homes for sale) IS WAY DOWN.  

 

SUPPLY IS DOWN.  DEMAND IS STRONG.  INTEREST RATES ARE STILL AT RECORD LOWS.   WOO HOO, I SAY!

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For all you city-dwelling folk, you may not care about this one, after all your personal waste gets whisked away by the city or local municipality's sewer system. 

For those of us living a little more rural, we handle it a bit differently. Septic systems are a large tank to handle waste from an individual home, which has to be pumped out (depending on tank size, persons living in the property, and use) about every 2-5 years. It's super fun (insert sarcasm).. after living in our house 6 years we just had ours pumped for the second time. **helpful tip -  keep those doors and windows closed or the stink could grace your house for a while

Effective January 1, 2015 the "On-Site Wastewater Treatment System Transfer of Title Inspections" took effect - New county regulations are requiring that their approved inspector check and certify every septic tank on which the property will be transferring title. What this means, is if your home closes any time after 1Jan2015, you must have an approved inspector check your system. This list of approved inspectors can be found at http://www.elpasocountyhealth.org/services/site-wastewater-treatment-systems. Most of your usual septic companies are on the list plus others. In November there were a few names on the list, but with this regulation ramping up, they were able to add a bunch of names to the list. 

I would speculate that a great majority of these will be fine, but there could be some damage to some systems. The program allows 90 days for repairs and re-inspection. I imagine if there is damage, it could delay some real estate closings. Because of this new requirment, loan underwriters will be aware and also require satisfactory inspection reports. So, if a system does not pass, I'm sure lenders won't fund until the system is in working order by inspector standards.

If you are about to sell your house, with septic system, you might go ahead and get the process started. Or you can consider waiting until you receive a contract on your property. The "acceptance document" priovided by El Paso County is good for 6 months, with a potential extension (obviously not all homes sell in 6 months). 

As always let us know how we can help you find out if this or other county or state requirments apply to your home and property as you prepare to sell. 

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Posted by on in Military
Everyone Wear Green!

I'm totally wearing green tomorrow!  Admittedly, it's one of my favorite colors to wear but that's not why I'm wearing it.  Tomorrow there will be high ranking military officials in Colorado Springs, here to determine the pros and cons of military cutbacks at Fort Carson.  As a community, we are told to wear green in protest to these cutbacks.  It's our way of telling the government that we want to keep Fort Carson and the local economy strong.  Here is an excerpt from our local paper, with more details on this:

"The Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance hopes to make Feb. 3 look like St. Patrick's Day in Colorado Springs as part of an effort to stave off military cuts.

Getting locals to wear green that day is part of a wider effort to impress Army brass who will be in town to hear public comments on cuts for Fort Carson that could eliminate up to 16,000 soldiers from the 24,500 now on the post. The alliance is working to pack the Army's "listening session" downtown with boosters, including Colorado's Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.

 

"The Army is sending out some pretty significant officials," said Andy Merritt, who oversees military affairs for the alliance. "We certainly want to be able to make sure those guys go back with a positive view of what is going on here."

The Army is dealing with a $900 billion financial squeeze over 10 years brought on by postwar downsizing of the defense budget and $50 billion in annual cuts mandated by a 2011 budget deal in Congress called sequestration. Last spring, the Army announced proposed cuts of up 16,000 soldiers at each of 30 installations, including Fort Carson. The move, Army leaders said, will allow the brass freedom to pick targets for a cut of 40,000 soldiers designed to trim the Army's active-duty roster to 450,000.

That makes it unlikely that any base will take the full brunt of the cut. But any cut worries business leaders in Colorado Springs, where the alliance says 50 cents out of every payroll dollar are tied to the Defense Department."

Around 50% of our local economy is military.  That is our stability.  Personally, military buyers and sellers are a huge part of my real estate business.   I encourage everyone to get out your green stuff tomorrow!

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Posted by on in Personal
Meet My Puppy!

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What do puppies and real estate have in common...well not much other than I'm a Realtor who happens to have a new puppy.  Meet Clio, pronounced CLY-OH. She's a soft-coated Wheaten Terrier.

It all started last month.  We had to put our adult dog down due to health issues.  We were devastated.  She was a family member, and to lose her rather suddenly and right before Christmas made it even worse.

So, to assuage our grieving we decided to get a puppy, someone to help fill that hole left behind by our previous dog, someone to love and give our energy to.  Early morning on January 5th we drove excitedly up to the Denver airport where our new puppy would arrive.  She was sent on an airplane from a breeder in North Carolina. 

Why a wheaten?  Well, one day I was at the car wash and ran into a man with an adult wheaten.  She was the perfect size...around 30 lbs., cute, smart, interactive, obedient and she didn't shed!  Turns out they have hair not fur, so there is no shedding. I was especially excited about that since our last three dogs have all been very furry Chows!

Clio is definitely much easier to groom.  A light daily brushing and eventually, regular visits to the groomer for "hair cuts" is all she will need.  Her hair is very soft, and I'm told she will lose most of the dark coloring and mature into a true wheat color as an adult. She's a great sleeper and eater and is gradually learning to walk on her leash around the neighborhood.  She's quite vocal and talks up a storm, which takes some getting used to.

I'd say the only thing I wasn't prepared for is the length of time it's taking to completely house break her.  With dogs past, I've had them all house broken in about a week.  This one is definitely more challenging.  She gets the whole going outside thing quite well, but she hasn't completely learned to leave inside when the urge hits. I must confess, this traning is exhausting!   Overall, I am very pleased with our decision to get this puppy.  But if any kind soul out there has some good advice on how to house break, I'm all ears!  Replies are welcomed and appreciated!

 

 

 

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Obama Directs FHA to Reduce Mortgage Insurance Premiums

On January 26th, the Federal Housing Administration reduced its mortgage insurance premiums by 50 points, from 1.35% to 0.85%. This was by executive order from President Obama. The cuts will help more than 800,000 homeowners save about $900 per year and existing homeowners who refinance will see similar savings.  The White House estimates that the lower premiums will enable up to 250,000 new buyers to purchase a home.

FHA raised its mortgage insurance premiums as a result of the financial meltdown and foreclosure crisis. Now, home values are on the rise, jobs are improving and foreclosures have fallen to the lowest level since 2006. FHA will not need another bailout due to improving financial conditions.

I’m hopeful that this will have a significant positive impact for many borrowers and the housing market.

 

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Southeast Colorado Springs Home For SaleI have just listed this adorable ranhcer in the Eastborough neighborhood of Southeast Colorado Springs. The home features main level living in the heart of Colorado Springs. This home features a large Living Room and Spacious Eat-In Kitchen and large laundry area as well.

 

There are three large bedrooms and two baths. The home is situated on a quiet cul-de-sac and has a fenced back yard.

 

Additionally, there is an attached one car garage. The home is in great condition and ready for occupancy. For More information: http://kilmercourt.com/

 

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Briargate Home For SaleI have just listed this great four-level home in the Briargate neighborhood. This home is a “Campbell Homes” resale. When you enter the home you walk into a large living room area with vaulted ceilings, skylights and hardwood flooring. The living room is currently being used as an oversized formal dining room. The Living Room has a large pass through window that opens to the kitchen.

The Kitchen has vaulted ceilings as well as tile flooring, Corian countertops, lots of cabinets and walks out to a large fenced backyard. There is a gate in the fence that provides access to the greenbelt behind the home. Additionally, the backyard also features a large storage shed and fenced dog run.

The upper level features three large bedrooms, a Master Suite and two additional bedrooms and two full bathrooms, an attached master bathsuite as well as a full bathroom in the upper hallway for the remaining bedrooms. The lower level consists of a huge family room complete with fireplace. This room walks out to a two car attached garage complete with opener.

The basement is unfinished and offers ample storage with the option of adding an additional bedroom and bath. This is a great home in a popular neighborhood.

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Hot Market in 2014...Can We Do It Again?

Colorado Springs saw a great real estate market last year.  Sales of single family homes rose by 3.8% from the previous year, ending 2014 with 11,197 total homes sold.  The average sales price of a single family home was $251,430, up 2.8% over last year's average price.  Inventory, meaning homes for sale, dropped dramatically as homes continued to sell at a record pace.  As a result, we ended the year with 20% less inventory from a year ago.

 

Condos and townhomes saw the same kind of gain, with total sales of 1,474 units sold, up 6.6% over last year.  The average sales price of a condo/townhome was $167,893, up 2.3% over last year's average price. Inventory, or units for sale, had dropped by 13% by year's end.

 

In summary, there are less homes for sale right now.  There are more buyers buying.  As a result, prices are going up and houses are selling faster.   2015 is already paced to outperform last year.  We are seeing a lot of activity early in the year, and we haven't even hit our peak busy season which is usually Spring and Summer.  Bring it on!

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Posted by on in Powers Neighborhood
6144 Montero Circle

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Check out my new listing!   Enjoy unobstructed Pikes Peak and mountain views, with open space directly behind the property.  And, no rear neighbors means plenty of privacy. Built in 1997, this terrific ranch floorplan features walk-out lot, stucco exterior, wood floors, vaulted ceilings, gas fireplace, spiral staircase, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, finished basement, media room with projector, big screen and built-in speakers, air conditioning, wood deck, and all appliances stay!  Great Powers location...walk to nearby shopping and parks!

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Posted by on in General News
12254 Angelina Dr - Meridian Ranch

With mixed feelings I listed this sweet house in Meridian Ranch... why the mixed feelings?!? Well these are new friends, and once again the Air Force will take a friend across the country! However, this is a GREAT house... so let's focus on that! :-)

Hardwoods grace all the important main level traffic areas and kitchen. The previous owner did some outstanding electrical upgrades...Boston surround sound system, holiday lighting package, central vacuum system, and so many other beautiful lighting upgrades!

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The kitchen has gorgeous granite counters and these owners have added granite counters and tile floors in the bathrooms. The main level has dining and living that have peaked ceilings. The kitchen includes a tray ceiling and pendant lighting over the island. 

From the ktichen walk out onto a partially covered, stamped, stained patio... plus this lot backs to local park / open space and they have a nice water feature in the corner. 

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The basement family room is huge... with theater area ,2nd gas fireplace, generous wet bar, and 2 large bedrooms! 

The garage has a 4 foot extension for workshop, your longer truck or extra storage... plus they added overhead storage out of the way. 

Meridian Ranch is such a great community with your water bill and a Recreation Center included in your HOA dues, plus available nearby golf course and up-and-coming shopping center. Near Peterson AFB and Schriever this is just a great location! 

Check out more details and the video tour - http://angelinadrive.com/ 

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Posted by on in General News
Fireworks on New Year's Eve

Tonight there will be fireworks from the top of Pikes Peak.  Every year the Pikes Peak AdAmAn Club climbs the icy slopes of Barr Trail, located on the east face of the world famous Pikes Peak.  Then, at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, AdAmAn members and their guests ignite a glorious fireworks display from the summit to usher in the New Year.

The club has been a local tradition since 1922.  It is a unique group of mountaineers, who each year on December 30th and 31st make the climb.  The club was founded in memory of the original "Frozen Five," Ed Morath, Fred Morath, Fred Barr, Willis Magee and Harry Standley.  Their idea was that each year only one new member whould be added to the club, hence the name AdAmAn (for add a man).  New members are chosen from a list of applicants, and it is quite an honor to be selected.

The climbing party of thirty members and guests leaves the trailhead of Barr Trail on December 30th, with an overnight camp at Barr Camp.  On December 31st they flash mirrors from their location at timberline, to friends and families in the Colorado Springs area.  In the early afternoon, they finish the ascent to the summit of Pikes Peak.  This 14,110 foot climb is often accomplished on icy and snow covered slopes with wind chills of -50 degrees.

Today our local weather in the Springs is a chilling high of 30 degrees.  The snow covered Peak towers above with temperatures well below that.  I admire those brave mountaineers who take such pride in this local tradition.  Thank you, AdAmAn, and be safe!

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Posted by on in Personal
Christmas Wishes!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Today I am especially grateful for all my clients/friends!  Thank you for your business, referrals and friendship.  Thank you for letting me help you with these life transitions.  I wish you happines and peace during this holiday season and in the year ahead. 

 

 

nicole happel

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Posted by on in Real Estate Statistics & Analysis
2014 Still Going Strong

I keep scratching my head cuz it's Christmas time and home sales have not diminished.   Homes are still selling at a record pace.  Buyers are still buying.  Normally around the holidays we quiet down.  I'm not even going to question why we haven't this year.  I am just happy and grateful that the market is so good right now.  Here is what our Colorado Springs housing market saw last month, November 2014:

 

SINGLE FAMILY HOME SALES        =  UP 10.3% OVER LAST YEAR, SAME TIME

AVERAGE SALES PRICE S/F HOME = UP 1% OVER LAST YEAR, SAME TIME

TOTAL HOMES FOR SALE                 = DOWN 14.8% FROM LAST YEAR, SAME TIME

 

CONDOS/TOWNHOME SALES          = UP 8.9% OVER LAST YEAR, SAME TIME

AVERAGE SALES PRICE OF CONDO/TOWNHOME= UP 2.4% OVER LAST YEAR, SAME TIME

TOTAL CONDOS/TOWNHOMES FOR SALE = DOWN 11.1% FROM LAST YEAR, SAME TIME

 

I don't know exactly why, but our market is just as strong now as it was earlier in the year.  I just hope that everyone still believes in Santa Claus!

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Posted by on in General News
Local Resource - Alpine Autism Center

Autism is a challenge affecting more and more families across the US. While I'm not interested in engaging in the great debate about why this is the case, I thought I would share this recent discovery. If you live here, and have a child on the autism spectrum, you may already be aware, but if your considering Colorado Springs, this might be a great resource for your family!

I was showing houses on the northwest side of Colorado Springs yesterday (worthy of a blog post all it's own sometime soon!) when I was intrigued by a gorgeous Tuscan style building just up the hill past my turn. I was a minute early, so I drove on up to check it out. I only snagged a picture of the sign & building setting, and looked them up when I go home. The Alpine Autism Center offers full and part day programs during their 8a-4p hours. Their site offers a plethora of information about autism and the services they offer, so I'm going to direct you to them- www.alpineautismcenter.org.... I just wanted to make this resource known for those not yet aware or researching it as a decision factor in coming to Colorado Springs. 

This tucked away and gorgeous location is great, I'm sure you could stop by for assistance as well. From Garden of the Gods Rd, go west to the "end", turn right/north on 30th, left on Flying W ranch, Left on Stoneridge left on Fieldstone, follow up hill and it ends at their property. 

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I was driving through the Promenade Shops at Briargate this week, I think I needed to make an exchange. I was driving around, checking out the changes. While I know Champps Sports Bar & Restaurant closed several months ago... low and behold they have torn the building down. Out of curiosity I stopped by the management office. They are so friendly and more than happy to share what's going on in the Shops. I suspect paritally because traffic to the east side of the Shops isn't the greatest, they are making some major traffic pattern changes!

They are beginning the process of tearing out the fountain and landscaping between PFChangs and Biaggi's. They are going to take a small road through that area, and the former Champps location, to draw people over to the east side of the Shops. 

In addition they will be building another building (or maybe 2), with 4 retail shops and 2 "fast casual" dining. To me that is along the lines of their existing Panera and Q'doba style restaurants... for lunch-goers to order quickly and dine during lunch... or high school students on their lunch hour. 

As of now they do not have the tenants in line, I'm sure they need to know what the lay-out will be to sell it to new tenants, and be closer to setting up occupancy of the new spaces. I hope it helps spread out the traffic. If you've ever been to lunch there you know the corner by Ted's Montana Grill provides no available parking and just stays congested east all the way to White House | Black Market. 

I did take a picture to show the area, but it's really a terrible picture, so I'll snap another one and add it to this blog if I have another good opportunity. 

Sidenote: Im sure this extremely gorgeous late-season weather has been fabulous for the outdoor shopping concept locations like the Shops. Happy Holidays!! Happy Shopping!! 

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Posted by on in Personal
Love or Fear; It's Your Choice

I once read a self-help book entitled "Love is Letting Go of Fear."  The basic premiss of it was that you cannot love something and fear it at the same time.  The two are mutually exclusive.  You must choose if you are going to love something or fear it.   Today I read a quote from Jon Gordon, basically the same principle.  Here it is:

Love the struggle because it makes you appreciate your accomplishments.

Love challenges because they make you stronger.

Love competition because it makes you better

Love negative people because they make you more positive.

Love those who have hurt you because they teach you forgiveness.

Love fear because it makes you courageous.

The secret to life and the greatest success strategy of all is to love all of it and fear none of it.

 

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Posted by on in Personal
Balancing Your Life

Websters Dictionary defines balance as "equality of distribution."   This means giving the same energy to both sides.  For me this concept is always a challenge, giving appropriately to all things without overdoing it in one area.  As a Realtor it's easy to overdo.   Our job is often seven days a week.  We work weekdays and weekends, anytime all the time.  We can easily let this work consume us where we have no personal life or time for family.

What I have learned is to take that personal time whenever the opportunity arises.  It may be on a Sunday morning when the phone is not ringing off the hook, that I can steal some down time with the family, make breakfast together, go to church.   It may be a snow day when house showings quiet down, that I have a chance to catch up on valuable reading or housework.  Or like today, it's Tuesday morning and I just snuck away to a Yoga class at Villa Sport, my favorite local athletic club.  Whatever the case, it's important to give back to myself so that I don't burn out and become one of those crusty old agents who complains about working all the time. 

Longevity is my personal goal in this business.  I want to do this work until I'm 75 years old.   And the only way I will accomplish this is to pace myself, to not burn all my energy today and leave nothing for tomorrow.  Pacing myself, giving back to my body and loved ones is how I manage to keep good balance in my life.  Afterall, I plan to be a Realtor for another 28 years or so!

 

 

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Posted by on in General News
Things Realtors' Kids Say (part 2)

I have no clue why, when I click to post yesterday's blog, it deleted the second half. So...here are my other 2 stories...

This first one comes from Nicole again. Our kids often overhear our negotiations and contract discussions, because we're always working, often driving them to and from school, extracurricular activities, etc. Well, Nicole was discussing a roof repair with her client and the other Realtor in a series of phone calls. Her daughter politely waited for her to finish her call and asked "doesn't home owners insurance cover that repair?" Ha! 

Several years ago when we were a team in a large office, I brought my boys by to show off their adorable Halloween costumes. As we rode up in the elevator, my oldest (who was 4 or 5-years-old at the time) told me "these are really nice granite tile floors mommy."... Seriously, what little kids care about that, but a Realtor's?! 

Comments like these often make us wonder if our kids will follow in our real estate foot steps....a truly scary, but fun thought. There are, after all plenty of parent-child teams in our business...our broker's daughter works with us! I can see my youngest son building or flipping houses with me someday....but who knows?!

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