Joe Boylan

Staging a Home for Quick Sale

Staging a Home for Quick Sale

When it comes to selling your home, naturally you’ll want to ensure that you sell it within a reasonable timeframe – and for the best price possible. Staging a home for quick sale can be an effective tool to attract as many home buyers as possible.

While the market is the main factor that will dictate the price and the timeframe in which you’re able to sell the property, there’s something else that you can do to help give your home a significant competitive edge.

Introducing: staging –something that you’ve undoubtedly heard about or seen in design magazines –and a strategy that many sellers today are employing as an additional set of steps to selling a house.

The truth is prospective buyers will form an opinion on your house within seconds of entering your home, so it’s vital to ensure that you make a good first impression when selling.

This is where home staging comes in.

Staging: What is It?

The real estate market is always fluctuating; sometimes favoring sellers, sometimes buyers –but no matter what the market, there’s always competition for buyers.

The showing of a home should impress the potential buyer right away, and ideally, should create the vision of a comfortable, efficient, enhanced lifestyle that will come along with living in that home. If a buyer feels that a home will enhance their life, it will become very attractive –something that home staging can help to facilitate.

In short? Home staging is the process of casting a home in the most attractive light in order to facilitate a quick sale, for the best possible price.

A stager will use decorative flair and knowledge of potential buyers’ needs and desires to increase the likelihood of a positive impact on those who view the home. This involves a keen knowledge of different demographics, as well as an eye for style and a flair for making homes look good.

Staging a Home for Quick Sale Before Living RoomStaging a Home for Quick Sale After Living Room

Staging a Home for Quick Sale: How Does It Work?

In countless cases, staging has proven to be effective –whether a home is occupied or vacant.

As Colorado Springs Home Stager Megan Stackhouse observed, “It’s important to understand that buyers are not only comparing your home to others they have seen but to what they see on home improvement programs like they see on HGTV.”

“Younger homebuyers are more in tune with design trends because they see them everywhere online,” Stackhouse says.

In other words, there is a lot of competition out there for buyers and staging will give a better chance for a quick, top-dollar sale.

The National Association of Realtors 2017 Profile of Home Staging shows staging to be quite effective, with 77% of buyers’ agents stating that staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home. Additionally, 40% of buyers were more willing to walk through a home they saw online. Importantly, this study also found that 38% of the time, buyers’ agents identified staging as having a positive impact on the home value if the home was decorated to the buyer’s taste.

staging a home for quick sale

Generally, a stager will work to ensure that the home has a light and open look. This often involves removing heavy, outdated curtains –and opting for something lighter or even leaving the windows bare if the view outside is good. It also involves incorporating furniture and colors that’ll help to showcase the home in the best possible light. Pieces should be neutral and modern, and shouldn’t be too big, or else they’ll risk overwhelming the space. A good stager will also bring in decor items –new furniture, updated lighting fixtures, lamps, rugs, mirrors, sculptures, candlesticks, and plants to accentuate the home’s best features, and help a potential buyer to envision themselves living in the space –while at the same time taking care not to overwhelm the space with too many things. In the end, good staging is a balancing act –and one that an experienced stager will be familiar with.

Staging a Home for Quick Sale Pinterest

But staging isn’t just used to spruce up lived-in homes; it’s often used when it comes to new-build homes as well. Builders know that staging helps to show prospective buyers how the home can meet and exceed their needs, goals, and desires –and recognize the value of this investment.

In order to get the most out of staging, it’s important for the seller to be able to separate from a personal attachment to the home. This is something that’s often tremendously difficult to do, but it’s a vital part of transitioning from a homeowner to a home seller –and absolutely essential for getting the home into sell-ready condition. It’s vital for the homeowner to regard the property, not as their home, but as a commodity to be sold quickly and for top dollar. This mindset will allow the seller to prioritize the things that need to be done to bring about a favorable sale.

How Much Does House Staging Cost?

So what are the disadvantages to staging?

The only real disadvantages to staging a home for quick sale are the time and money spent on staging costs and the appraisal. But when you consider that the average price reduction for homes in the MLS is approximately $5,000 to $10,000 –substantially more than the cost of staging, the cost-benefit analysis quickly begins to tilt in staging’s favor.

Also, consider the cost of time. How many house payments would be saved if staging resulted in a quick sale? Additionally, in many cases, staging helps the seller to command top-dollar for their home, which means that they can come out ahead in terms of the speed of the sale and the sale price. Home sellers may be reluctant to stage in such a market where homes are selling in days and not months, but the data plainly shows that staged homes sell faster and for more money. In fact, in very hot seller’s markets and in very popular price ranges, staging may even lead to a bidding war among potential buyers. Of course, if you prefer to avoid a bidding war and any resulting appraisal issues, it’s a good idea to run those concerns by your Realtor to see what they recommend.

Staging a Home for Quick Sale Before Living Room
Before Staging - Living Room

The observation that staging can lead to a higher sale value, again, is supported by the National Association of Realtors 2017 Profile of Home Staging. When staging a home, 29% of sellers’ agents reported an increase of 1-5% of the dollar value offered by buyers compared to similar homes. Additionally, 21% of survey respondents stated that staging a home increased the dollar value of the home between 6-10%. In no case did the respondents report that staging a home had a negative impact on the home’s dollar value.

The cost of staging must certainly be considered, but estimating the cost is challenging without seeing the property. There are many factors that influence the price such as the size and condition of the home and whether or not it’s vacant or occupied.

Staging an empty house requires bringing in furniture and accessories which results in furniture rental costs and mover fees. However, occupied homes bring other considerations as well. If the homeowner’s furniture and accessories can be used the price will be reduced, but generally, some items will need to be removed and placed into storage. The cost of removing personal items, moving furniture, cleaning and making needed repairs will also impact the cost; although the homeowner may be willing to do some of the work themselves, therefore lowering the costs.

Staging a Home for Quick Sale After Living Room
After Staging - Living Room

For sellers who may be wondering how to stage a house for sale while living in it, it’s important to note that it is certainly possible –but it can be a bit more challenging. In some cases, the homeowner’s furniture and accessories may be able to be used, but more often than not new pieces may need to be brought in. At the very least, new slipcovers may need to be purchased to spruce up outdated furnishings, and some fresh, new accessories brought in. Personal accessories, souvenirs, and mementos –such as photos, children’s artwork, and similar items should all be removed, and there should be a focus on implementing neutral decor throughout. Remember, the goal is for the potential buyers to envision themselves living there –and that’s something that’s hard to do when there are tokens of the previous owners everywhere. Clutter should be kept to a minimum, baskets can be brought in to house spare items, while extra pieces should be put into storage. Beds should be updated with fresh new duvets, and every attempt should be made at keeping the home in a clean and tidy state. Of course, the extent of work and the number of purchases that are required to bring a seller-occupied home up to scratch will significantly impact the staging price.

Comparing vacant versus occupied prices from recent similar transactions gives a good cost comparison:

  • A vacant 3,000-square-foot home had five rooms staged (the main rooms plus the master bedroom and bath) for a cost of $1,600 plus $195 per month furniture rental.
  • An occupied home, also 3,000 square feet and five rooms staged, cost $625 to stage plus furniture rental of $115 per month.

Of course, the number of rooms that are staged will also have a big impact on cost. Usually, a stager will do the living room, family room, kitchen, master bedroom, master bathroom, and the den or study. Generally, the main level of a home, the master suite, and any large recreational areas are staged as well. Depending on the home’s price point, additional bedrooms may be staged as well, especially if they have attached baths. This is usually done for luxury properties.

At times special features of a property must be included when staging as well. For example, a very large wraparound deck with a gorgeous view may not have its area included in the square footage of the home, but it certainly should be staged to present the property in its most favorable light. The deck may need some new furniture, which would increase the cost of staging a bit.

Because of the unique nature of each individual property, it simply isn’t possible to provide a firm formula for pricing. The best we can do is share numbers based on our experience. Generally speaking, we’ve found the range to be between $500 and $5,000 –or, in some cases, even more depending on the size of the home and the number of rooms staged. The average home will cost $1,200 to $2,000.

Staging costs can be paid in several ways. The home seller can pay, or the Realtor may pay as part of their service. Sometimes the Realtor pays and is then compensated at closing. The National Association of Realtors 2017 Profile of Home Staging states that 25% of the time the costs of staging a home were typically paid by the seller before the home is listed, while 21% of the time the seller’s agent personally offered to stage the home, and 14% of the time the seller’s agents offered a home staging service.

Normally stagers will accept a 50% deposit before work begins with the balance due at the completion of staging. Payment can usually be made by check or debit/credit card. The monthly furniture rental can be paid for by check or by automatic payment via debit/credit card as well. Automatic billing is a popular method for monthly charges. If the seller wishes, they’ll usually have the option to purchase any of the staging items or furniture.

Staging should always be done before listing photos are taken. In today’s world photos are more important than ever –and in many ways are the new first-showing. Photos taken after staging greatly increase the likelihood a home will actually get shown. At this time it’s important for the seller to remember that they are not the homeowner but the seller and must keep the home in its best sellable condition. The stager can help with ideas or routines for maintaining the work that they have done.

Alternatives to full staging include what’s known as soft staging and virtual staging. Each of these has their own sets of pros and cons. Let’s look at them now.

Soft staging is normally done on properties that are vacant. As the name suggests, this type of staging is less involved than full staging and consists of simply adding plants, candles, artwork, and other decorations order to give a home a warmer, less barren feel. When done well, it certainly can help but it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not a substitute for full professional staging. For home staging tips for sellers, be sure to check out this helpful article: Home staging ideas to help you sell your home.

It’s important to note that some items that are lumped under the category of soft staging are actually simply basic tasks that should always be performed prior to staging itself. This generally includes cleaning and ensuring that the home is kept free from clutter. According to the National Association of Realtors’ home staging report, the most common items that agents recommended were decluttering the home (93%), entire home cleaning (89%), carpet cleaning (81%), and removing pets during showings (80%).

Virtual staging is a technique that’s used primarily on vacant properties –and is one idea for staging an empty house. The virtual stager uses photo manipulation software –like Photoshop, to virtually place furniture and decorations in a room. When done by a talented virtual stager, the pictures can make the room look attractive, but more often than not the pictures end up looking artificial. Additionally, there’s another downside of using virtual staging as well –the risk of disappointing a prospective buyer. A potential buyer who was impressed favorably by the virtually staged photos that they saw online, will almost certainly be very disappointed when entering the room and finding it empty.

Staging a Home for Quick Sale Virtual Staging

What to Look for in a Stager

Ok, so you’re thinking of choosing a stager. Naturally, you’ll want to ensure that the one you opt to go with is the right choice –someone with a skill to transform your home into a sell-ready property.

For Realtors, recommending a stager also involves several considerations. A Realtor bringing a stager to the transaction must ensure that they are someone who can work well with the home sellers. Tact and empathy will go a long way to avoid hurt feelings or resentment.

If you’re a seller who will be hiring the stager yourself, you should find someone you can work with comfortably, someone who doesn’t intimidate you –and who’s able to make recommendations tactfully.

In either case, a stager must be able to show impressive before and after photos of their work. These images should clearly demonstrate a stager’s expertise and skill, showing you what they’re capable of, and giving you a good idea about what you can expect when working with them.

You’ll want to choose a stager that is appropriate for your situation. This means that if your home is a median-priced property, you’ll want to avoid choosing someone who specializes in multimillion-dollar properties unless they are really good at median price listings as well. Choose a stager that will accentuate the positive aspects of the home you are listing –not just someone who works primarily with homes that are in a different price bracket than yours.

Your stager should also own their own furniture and accessories –or should be able to source them easily, and should provide the delivery service and movers as well. If your listing ends up being long-term, the stager should also be prepared to update the seasonal elements to keep the property looking current.

Finally, a look at the technicalities. A stager should have a business license with the state that you’re in, carry liability insurance, and should have a certification from a formal staging organization. These organizations include the International Association of Home Staging Professionals, the American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners, the Real Estate Staging Association, and the Home Staging and ReDesign Association.

In the end, enthusiasm is the final differentiator and is a good indication of someone who loves their job, and who will be a joy to work with. Be sure to look for a stager who’s excited about your project, and who enjoys working with the decor style that the house dictates.

In conclusion, there is little doubt that staging can help a home to sell more quickly and for more money. The only reasons to not consider staging are the time required, cost of staging, or appraisal issues. At the end of the day, your success with staging is largely contingent on the stager that you choose –so make your decision carefully, looking for someone with both skill, and experience working with homes that are similar to yours. In most cases, your Realtor will work with stagers and may even be able to recommend one to you, so be sure to have a discussion with your agent to see if they can recommend someone that they trust.

Additional Staging Resources:

For more information on home sales in Colorado Springs, be sure to get in touch with Springs Homes today. Our agents will work hard to help your home sell as quickly as possible –and for a competitive price.

Rocky Mountain Film Festival

Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival

There is always something exciting happening in the Colorado Springs Arts community. For November, that focus is on the Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival.

The festival is in its 31st season and is the longest running Women's Film Festival in North America. The festival is organized by the "Rocky Mountain Women's Film Institute." This event has become an essential part of the cultural fiber of the Pikes Peak Region.

The Festival takes place this weekend November 9-11, 2018. For tickets and more information, visit:

Springs Homes Realtor Maggie Turner is very involved in both the Film Institute and the Festival. She helps sponsor the event as part of the Women In Reel Estate Group, an award-winning business and arts partnership made up of various women in the Colorado Springs real estate industry. Here is a short video featuring Maggie that talks about the organization as well as the festival.

Great Realtors also make their communities a better place to live. That's why Springs Homes agents support Colorado Springs in so many different capacities. We are proud of the work Maggie, and all our team members do in our community.

hardwood floor header

What Types of Flooring Do Home Buyers Prefer?

Most people have a goal of one day, owning their own home. To achieve this goal, you have likely been saving your money and working to raise your credit score for quite some time. When you are financially ready to buy a home, it is time to start looking at real estate for sale. This is where the fun begins. Before you start touring homes for sale, you should create your “must have” list. This is a list of things that you want your new home to have. Your “must have” list can include the number of bedrooms you need, the number of bathrooms, the layout of the home, and the neighborhood you would like to live. If you are like most home buyers, you have a specific idea in mind of the type of home that you would want to buy.

One thing that you should consider when creating your “must have” list is the type of flooring that you would like in your home. Many home buyers are looking for homes that are move-in ready and require no additional work before moving in. One important factor to consider is the flooring. Years ago, many home buyers were looking for homes with wall-to-wall carpeting in the majority of the rooms because it was in style at the time. As with most “in things,” this has changed. Today, many home buyers are interested in homes with hardwood floors. Hardwood floors have many benefits that you cannot get from other flooring materials.

best flooring for house flip

Flooring with a Timeless Look

People have been installing hardwood floors in their homes for centuries. Unlike other flooring materials such as linoleum and wall-to-wall carpeting, hardwood floors have never gone out of style. In fact, many homeowners will pull up their carpet and be thrilled to find that there are hardwoods underneath. Hardwood flooring has a timeless look that will remain popular for many more years.

New Colors and Styles of Hardwood Floors

While shopping for a new home, you will likely find that the floors in each home will have a unique look. There are plenty of styles available that make each floor unique. The species and the stain on the floor can look unique. Also, the size of the boards vary. If you are worried about the floors in your new home looking like every other house on the block, you should be looking at homes with hardwood floors. With all of the types available today, the flooring in your new home will be both beautiful and unique.

Hardwood Floors Fit in with Any Style

One of the main benefits of hardwood floors is that they can fit in with any style home. If you are looking for an elegant look, you can find a type of hardwood floor to fit in with your particular style. The same is true if you are looking for a traditional look or a rustic look. Of all the flooring materials available today, you won’t have any problem finding a hardwood floor to tie into your decorating style. This becomes a distinct advantage later on when you become a home seller.

Hardwoods are Easy to Maintain

If you are like most home buyers, you lead a busy life. Between your career, your family, and social obligations, you may not have much time left for floor maintenance. Of all the flooring materials available, hardwood floors are the easiest to maintain. Carpeting, for example, can get dirty over time. Even if you remove your shoes before walking on the carpets and if you avoid eating and drinking on the carpet, accidents can happen. Also, normal wear and tear can make your carpets look worn and dirty. If you go with tile flooring, you would need to have the grout cleaned on a regular basis. Avoiding this task will have a negative effect on the appearance of your floor.

how to clean hardwood floors

Hardwood floors are very easy to clean. A weekly sweeping and washing with warm water are all that your floors need to remain clean and shiny. Also, they don’t stain. If someone spills juice on a carpet, it can be difficult to remove the stain. If the juice spills on tile flooring, it can stain the grout. If you spill something on a hardwood floor, a quick wipe is all that it would need.

Hardwood Floors Can Be Easily Repaired and Restored

If your new home has carpeting and it gets ripped or if there is a stain that you cannot get out, replacing the carpet might be your only option. It is possible to replace just a section of the carpeting, however, this can be expensive. If you have tile flooring and a tile gets cracked, you would need to replace the cracked tile. If the floor was installed years earlier, it could be hard to find a tile to match the rest of the flooring. Also, a professional would need to replace the tile and then regrout the floor. A job like this can be very costly.

If your hardwood floors get scratched, it can be easily buffed out. If the hardwood floor has lost its shine, it can be buffed out and refinished. Best of all, this is affordable. If you are handy, you could handle the job on your own. If not, it won’t cost too much to hire a professional to make your hardwood floors look new again.

Hardwood Floors Work Great in Every Room and Area of the House

Using the same type of flooring throughout the house is in style today. Thanks to recent flooring technology, this is possible with hardwood floors. There are floor coatings available that will help your hardwood floors stand up in high moisture areas such as in the kitchen and the bathroom. This is not possible with carpeting.
Hardwood floors are very durable, which make them a great choice in high-traffic areas. If you choose to carpet these areas, the carpeting will wear out quickly. If the tile is used in high-traffic areas and something is dropped on the floor, the tile can easily crack. Since hardwood floors are durable, damage and wear and tear are non-issues.

When it is time to start touring homes looking for the house of your dreams, you should pay particular attention to the flooring. The type of floors that most home buyers today are looking for is hardwood floors. Not only will they always be in style, but they are also durable, easy to maintain, simple to restore, and there are plenty of colors, species, and styles available. If you buy a home with hardwood floors, you can expect them to look gorgeous for the entire time that you live in the house. When searching for homes to tour, you should start by looking at homes whose ads read, “hardwoods throughout.”

Additional Resources:


Bruce MacDonald leads the team at MacDonald Hardwoods, a hardwood flooring store in Denver, Colorado. He often shares flooring advice across the web. Let him teach you how to choose the best hardwood flooring for your home.


Q3 2018 Market Report for Colorado Springs

Q3 2018 Market Report Highlights

The Colorado Springs Real Estate Market has its ups and downs, but overall she acts in a pretty predictable manner. Looking at trends over time, you can see that traditionally Q3 serves as a bridge quarter prior to the slight slowdown that Q4 tends to bring. 2018 behaves right on target.

The third quarter of the year tends to be flatter because most families looking to move over the summer have already done so and are ready for school to begin in August.

The slowdown in Q4 always occurs because less people are looking to move over the holiday season and the weather and school schedules tend to occupy our time and energy.

Here at Springs Homes, the fourth quarter is a catchup time for us. We finally get some time recover from the busy season, fine tune processes and marketing and get ready for the rush of the new year.

Q3 2018 Market Report for Colorado Springs

The Housing and Building Association’s Annual Parade of Homes was so much fun this last August. It was filled with new building materials, new designers, interior design trends and homes that flat-out wowed us.

We encourage you to mark your calendars for next August so that you can find some home design inspiration, or finally meet the builder of your new dream home.

Colorado Springs Market Reports

Springs Homes has been producing market reports for Colorado Springs since 2010. The benefit of reading through these reports is to gain an understanding of the current market to see trends and to be able to predict what is coming up in the future.

Whether you are a home seller, or a home buyer, these market reports will give you an in depth understanding of the Colorado Springs market by area and price point which will give you an edge when heading toward your next sale or purchase of a home.

Visit the archive of our past market reports to take a stroll down memory lane, or download a copy of the current market report.


Little London Colorado Springs

“Little London” was the nickname given to Colorado Springs in its early years of existence. This was because there were so many people of British descent living in the area. As a matter of fact, at one point, 1 in every 5 residents was of British descent.

This was due in large part to the fact that much of the money raised by William Palmer to develop both Colorado Springs and the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad came from English Investors.

Charles Kingsley Little London

Charles Kingsley courtesy:

In his book “Newport in the Rockies”, Marshall Sprague explains how good luck and a little bit of good old-fashioned marketing by one of General Palmer Associates named Dr. William A Bell helped fuel the growth and investment in “Little London”.

According to Sprague, Charles Kingsley, Canon of Westminster Abbey caught a cold in the fogs of San Francisco in June of 1874. Doctors ordered him to Colorado Springs to get over this cold.

The great man had no interest in visiting the area even if it was beginning to be called “Little London”. For him, Denver was more appealing but at that time Denver was no place for the head of the Temperance Society.

When the Canon arrived in Colorado Springs he couldn’t wait to get away. Remember, the Pikes Peak region was a pretty rough place in 1874.

Dr. William A. Bell Little London

Dr. William A. Bell

Dr. Bell assumed duties as Kingsley’s host and press agent. Bells frequent reports back to Great Britain failed to mention Kingsley’s desire to leave the area as soon as possible. Instead, the reports boasted that Colorado Springs was the Highpoint of Kingsley’s American tour and was furthermore, the one place on Earth where a man could recover from a cold in proper British fashion.

Dr. Bell exploited Kingsley’s month-long stay, to strengthen the Little London idea and to lend prestige to his advertisements in the British dailies on the wonders of the Pikes Peak region for sheep and cattle ranching.

Farmland in Britain at this time was no longer able to grow enough food to support the British population. By 1874, Bell was aware that British emigration was approaching flood-tide. Thousands of tenant farmers and younger sons of large landowners were on the move to the American West. Bells efforts saw to it that Colorado Springs received its fair share of these immigrants.

Located in what is now Manitou Springs, Bells home, Briarhurst is where Kingsley stayed to convalesce and eventually became the social center of the Little London Society. Briarhurst still exists today and is more commonly known as “Briarhurst Manor Estate” and consists of an excellent restaurant and a popular facility for weddings and other events.

Briarhurst Little London Colorado Springs


Colorado Springs residents evidently became “quite British” according to Patricia Farris Skolout, in her book “Colorado Springs History A to Z. Residents carried umbrellas, celebrated English holidays, flew the English flag on Queen Victoria’s Birthday, played cricket and rugby. The police in Colorado Springs at that time were even called “Bobbies”.

Vestiges of our British past still exist today. For example, The Broadmoor Hotel still hosts afternoon teas from Monday through Saturday. One of our favorite bakeries is the Little London Cake Shoppe.

Little London Cake Shoppe Colorado Springs

Little London Cake Shoppe

The Little London Market is a popular upscale consignment shop on the western edge of Downtown Colorado Springs.

Little London Market Colorado Springs

Little London Market

Colorado Springs most popular Community Band is named the Little London Winds. This group performs entertaining concerts throughout the year. For a truly historic taste of the region make sure to catch the Little London Winds during their Summer season. The group performs in the historic Soda Springs park located in the heart of Manitou Springs, Colorado.

The British theme continues in a myriad of other ways, for example, many of the streets northeast of the Broadmoor Hotel are named for the old polo grounds that were housed in that area.

So, although the name “Little London” and the atmosphere are long gone, you can still find pieces of that unique Colorado Springs history, if you know where to look.


Easy Steps to Decorate Your House With Color

How to use color in your house

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Decorating a new space, or reimagining a fresh new look for a space you’ve lived in for a while, can be an exciting and often daunting project to tackle. One way to quickly and effectively start the process is by selecting a fresh color scheme for your walls, furniture, and decor. By starting with the color story you want throughout, it can make the redesign more organized, less stressful and way more fun to put together.

Finding ways to match or coordinate your paint colors to your decor can go a long way in quickly transforming your space. This is particularly true when you have limited time or energy to put into creating an elaborate design or simply trying to get your home ready to sell. Having a cohesive and coordinated style using color throughout your space can make it look bigger, more put together and effortlessly chic.

Create Your Own Story with Color

decorating your house with colorTo keep it consistent, and also be appealing to a broad range of home buyers for those selling, pick a neutral color and two or three complimentary accents that come in a range of shades you love to build your color story. Neutrals don’t always mean beige, either! Sage green, navy blue and richer earth tones like dark coffee and charcoal can easily take the place of eggshell and or the slate gray that’s been dominating in recent years.

From here, it’s time to decide if you want your walls to be painted in your selected neutral with pops of accent colors in your furniture and decor. Alternatively, you can choose to have your larger pieces like sofas, rugs, and furniture in the neutral color to keep the room grounded, while more vibrant accent colors cover the walls and smaller decor.

This can be a tricky process, even when you have a clear vision of what you want, don’t be afraid to get advice from your Realtor when showing. If you’re short on time or settling into a new home, you can find help online by consulting an interior designer on your plans or looking through home improvement magazines.

Picking a color palette can be overwhelming to begin researching and shopping for, but thankfully there are several ways to get inspiration. If you’re someone who loves color, think of the ones that you want to live with each day and start from there to find a neutral to balance it out.

On the other side of the spectrum, if you’re a less-is-more person, focus on what simple and versatile neutral speaks to you the most. If you’re still at a loss, there are expert guides to interesting neutrals and trending colors online you can look for to get you started.

Build Your Color Palette

Once you’ve settled on the color you want to build your story around, time to have fun rounding out your palette with accents. A tried and true method is picking colors that oppose each other on the color wheel. For navy blue, think of fuchsias, shades of yellow or muted oranges. If you’re someone who wants a less eclectic vibe, select one color that contains a vast range of shades that speak to you, like greens that can go from light sea-foam to dark evergreen and pick different hues that work together.

For a color palette that might focus on different shades of the same color, you can add variety and depth to each room by including different textures and materials. For example, if you went with the green color story and selected hues in a light sage and a deeper forest, look for silk accent pillows, fuzzy throw blankets and textured glass votive candle holders all in different shades in your selected colors.

When looking for decor to based on a more vibrant color story, look for simple shapes in similar textures to create layers of depth without overwhelming the space. Rounded vases for seasonal flowers, oval-shaped trays for the coffee table and everything in smooth-faced materials like glass and acrylic add interest in a cohesive way that keeps the room tied together.

Should You Make it Match? or Not?

Best ways to use color to decorate

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Mixing metals and wood tones is tricky no matter what your color story. Stick to one or two different tones, keeping in mind any flooring or paneling already in the space, and make sure they don’t clash with each other or any shades in your selected color palette. Looking at the undertones of each is usually a sure way to make sure they blend. If you have a cool toned color story, try to find cool toned wood stains and metals that compliment, rather than look out of place.

Using color to help create a beautiful home, whether to settle into your new house or appeal to buyers, can quickly transform the space that doesn’t necessarily demand a large budget or ample time for renovations. If you are taking steps to sell your home, this is also a way to get it show-ready and prepped for staging with a project that you can even do yourself in a pinch!


Additional Resources:


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Q2 2018 Market Report for Colorado Springs

Q2 2018 Market Report Highlights

Q2 has brought us both hot weather and a hot real estate market. Although Buyers are still feeling the eects of the low inventory, there is some relief in sight. In the lower price point ranges, the months of inventory has increased compared to Q2 2017. This may be partially due to an increase in the building of single family as well as multi-family units across El Paso County. Like with most regional real estate markets, we anticipate our annual slow down to happen in late Q3 and into Q4.

Market report for Colorado Springs

Don’t forget the Housing and Building Association’s Annual Parade of Homes this year. The Parade of Homes is an annual event showcasing the newest home designs. Take a tour of newly constructed homes from the mid $200’s to $2.8M throughout the Pikes Peak Region. Homes will be open Fridays-Sundays from August 3rd through August 19th. Stayed tuned for our Springs Homes Parade of Homes ticket giveaway on social media. You may be one of our lucky winners!

Colorado Springs Market Reports

Springs Homes has been producing market reports for Colorado Springs since 2010. The benefit of reading through these reports is to gain an understanding of the current market to see trends and to be able to predict what is coming up in the future. Whether you are a home seller, or a home buyer, these market reports will give you an in depth understanding of the Colorado Springs market by area and price point which will give you an edge when heading toward your next sale or purchase of a home.

Visit the archive of our past market reports to take a stroll down memory lane, or download a copy of the current market report.


We Buy Houses for Cash! Understanding Wholesale Real Estate

What’s with these “We Buy Houses for Cash” signs?

You’ve no doubt seen those “We Buy Ugly Houses” and “We Buy Houses for Cash” signs planted around medians and near high traffic areas. These are posted by “Wholesale Real Estate” companies.

Wholesale and retail are terms we don’t generally associate with buying and selling houses. These terms are usually reserved for mass-produced, lower cost commodities like clothes, shoes, and cars.

wholesale real estate

Homes, on the other hand, tend to be more unique due to factors like location, landscaping, updates, etc. The sad truth is that some homes just aren’t that special, primarily when they have not been maintained, fallen into disrepair or have been neglected.

Unfortunately, there are homeowners that find themselves in circumstances that don’t allow them to sell their home for what we would call retail price. These are situations where the seller is in crisis, they may have lost a job or developed health issues. Their home has fallen into disrepair and they don’t have the money or ability to make the necessary repairs. In many cases, they are no longer able to make the payments and they are just looking to get out.

This is where the wholesaler comes in. The wholesaler guarantees a fast cash sale for the property at a deeply discounted price. This private cash sale also circumvents issues that would arise from inspections and appraisals. VA and FHA have certain standards and distressed properties usually don’t meet their minimum guidelines.

The wholesaler depends on a number of sources to find these distressed homeowners. Everything from roadside bandit “We Buy Houses for Cash” or the all-appealing “We Buy Ugly Houses” signs that offer fast sales for cash to direct mail and even plain old door knocking in targeted neighborhoods.

We Buy Ugly Houses

Photo by Lynly Bernstein

How Wholesale Real Estate Works

When a home seller is facing stress on multiple fronts, the promise of a fast cash sale can very appealing. But is it the best option?  Let’s take a look at how wholesaling works in order to understand why it’s different than a retail sale.

Wholesaling is an umbrella term for an entire category of property transactions. The wholesale landscape consists primarily of wholesalers and investors. You can certainly be both an investor and a wholesaler but this is not generally the case.

A “wholesaler” is often someone trying to break into the real estate investing world. This individual generally has more time than money. The established investor, on the other hand, doesn’t have the kind of time to track down wholesale deals. This doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t, it’s just not the highest and best use of their time.

The wholesaler is essentially looking for deals in order to raise capital to fund their own real estate investments. Additionally, as they gain capital and experience, they may also be looking for properties to add to their own rental portfolio.

In its purest form, a wholesaler locates a homeowner looking to get out of their house quickly for cash. They negotiate a price and then execute a contract. The contract is transferable and will generally close quickly in twenty to thirty days.

This window of time gives the wholesaler a chance to find an investor to ultimately purchase the property. Remember, the investor has cash but not the time to find these kinds of deals.

Let’s say the wholesaler finds a property that in good condition would sell for $250,000 (retail). The repairs required to get the retail price would be $50,000.

The wholesaler agrees with the homeowner to buy the property for $175,000. The wholesaler would then take this deal to a couple of different investors. They would most likely end up selling the house for $180,000 to the investor pocketing the additional $5,000.

At this point the wholesaler would assign the contract to the investor, take their money and start searching for their next deal.

Is Wholesale Real Estate Legal?

The short answer is yes, there is nothing illegal about selling your property to another individual, even if it’s at a discounted rate. Things can get complicated and a little shady (think loan fraud) if there is an existing mortgage, especially if the homeowner owes more than the wholesaler is willing to pay.

If there is a mortgage, the homeowner has an agreement with the lender to pay off the loan either by making all of the payments or initiating a payoff at the time of sale or transfer of the property. If there isn’t enough equity in the property, this payoff can’t happen, unless of course the lender agrees to a short sale and depending on the condition of the market, this may be unlikely.

Another obstacle would be a second mortgage or lien. Any creditors that have a lien on the property must be satisfied before conveying clear title. The best candidate for a wholesale transaction is a single owner with a lot of equity, no liens and no way to get to that cash, besides selling the home.

There are certain organizations out there intended to help underwater homeowners avoid foreclosure. The lender doesn’t want to see the property go into foreclosure. Most lenders have programs or at least take part and bigger National programs set up to save troubled homeowners. Here is a list of such programs.

Retail Pricing of Homes

We Buy Houses for Cash

Retail pricing and sales, on the other hand, are much more common. This is what most real estate transactions look like. Home Sellers looking to get the most money possible from the sale of their home, they take the time to declutter, make repairs and even stage the home prior to sale.

These sellers choose Realtors with strong marketing programs, they invest in professional photographs, put together 3D Virtual tours and spread the word that their home is for sale through the MLS system as well as a wide range of online real estate portals. The “We Buy Ugly Houses” signs are replaced with professional real estate signs and full-service marketing.

The distressed home seller could certainly benefit from the same level of service as the retail home seller but there is a multitude of reasons they choose the alternative wholesale route.

Selling your home for top dollar is a major commitment, there are times when personal issues and the stress of just getting by making the thought of enduring the home selling process intolerable. These examples are certainly rare but common enough to explain the existence and success of wholesaling.

At the end of the day, wholesaling is just an alternative method of executing a real estate transaction. The ultimate goal is usually to rehab the property and of course, end up selling it at a retail price.

If you are considering using a wholesaler to sell your property, you owe it to yourself to at least talk to an established Realtor. The best course of action may end up being the wholesale route but until you exhaust all of your retail options, you may be giving away the farm.


Additional Resources:
Pros and Cons of We Buy Houses Flipping Companies-Bill Gassett
We Will Buy Your House For Cash, Close in Two Weeks- Too Good To Be True?-Kevin Vitali
What Does It Mean When A Home Is Listed As A Short Sale?-Paul Sian
Why Do Short Sales Take Longer Than a Traditional Real Estate Sale?-Karen Highland

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Q1 2018 Market Report for Colorado Springs

Q1 2018 Market Report Highlights

Q1 is off and running at a furious pace. With inventory and days on market at historic lows, Buyers in the Colorado Springs market have to be quick to see homes and make decisions almost the same day. In this video, our agents took a look at some of the highlights of the market report and reflected back on the same market indicators both 1 year ago and 5 years ago. It is amazing to see how our area has grown in only 5 years.

Colorado Springs Market Reports

Springs Homes has been producing market reports for Colorado Springs since 2010. The benefit of reading through these reports is to gain an understanding of the current market to see trends and to be able to predict what is coming up in the future. Whether you are a home seller, or a home buyer, these market reports will give you an in depth understanding of the Colorado Springs market by area and price point which will give you an edge when heading toward your next sale or purchase of a home.

Visit the archive of our past market reports to take a stroll down memory lane, or download a copy of the current market report.

Buying a Home in a Seller's Market, Your Survival Guide

Buying a Home in a Seller’s Market, Your Survival Guide

The Colorado Springs Real Estate market has quickly shifted from a strong buyer’s market to a strong seller’s market. Home buyers had just gotten familiar with the jargon and practices of a buyer’s market, like short sales and foreclosures, when suddenly, the market changed.

Now a few short years later, buyers have a whole new set of jargon and practices to deal with. If you are considering purchasing a home in Colorado Springs, read on to learn everything you need to know about our new seller-friendly landscape. Consider this your survival guide in a seller’s market.

How to Be a Competitive Buyer

Buying a Home in a Seller's Market - Be A Competitive BuyerBefore we discuss some of the seller’s market tactics you need to understand, let’s talk about how to increase your chances of getting your offer accepted.


Back in the buyer’s market days, buyers had the option of being pre-qualified and/or pre-approved for a home loan before house hunting.

This was helpful when the buyers were ready to make an offer on a home. Pre-qualification, and especially pre-approval, strengthened offers. They indicated to the sellers that the buyers would most likely be able to secure the funding needed to close the deal. This made the sellers more comfortable accepting the offer.

But in today’s seller’s market, pre-approval is a minimum requirement (pre-qualification no longer carries much weight in getting your offer accepted). Before you even begin your home search, you should contact a lender to get pre-approved for a home loan.

Buying a Home in a Seller's Market - Cash offers

All-Cash Offers

In many instances, buyers are now competing with all-cash offers.

And if the deal falls through, the seller has to put the house back on the market and start from square one. So, all other factors being equal, sellers would prefer to work with a buyer who can pay cash so no one has to worry about obtaining financing.

If you’re competing with an all-cash offer, a personal letter to the seller could be useful. You could assure the sellers of your strong financial position and ability to secure financing. You could also express your plans for the house as a loving home. Many all-cash offers are made by real estate investors, who would flip or rent out the house. So you could sway a seller who has an emotional attachment to the house and wants the future owner to love and care for the home the way they have.

Tactics Employed in a Seller’s Market

Buying a Home in a Seller's Market - Deferred showings Now let’s discuss some of the tactics you’ll see sellers and their agents use under today’s market conditions.

Deferred Showings

Deferred showing is a tactic used to create a sense of urgency and demand for a particular property.

The tactic works like this:

The listing agent puts the home into the Multiple Listings Service (MLS) early in the week, ideally on a Monday morning. This timing brings the listing to the attention of all those buyers (and buyers’ agents) who are currently in the market for a home but didn’t find one over the weekend. The showing instructions for the property state that there will be no showings until the upcoming Saturday or Sunday at a particular time, usually 10 or 11.

The idea is to create a busy “Open House” environment with lots of potential buyers waiting to get in to see the property. The listing agent and home seller are hoping to generate and sense of urgency that will produce multiple offers and maybe even start a bidding war. This tactic is especially successful for the sellers in a seller’s market when many of those buyers have most likely lost out on previous homes because they were outbid.

There are a few additional details that make deferred showings even more effective.

First, it helps if the property is in a popular price range. This means the price should be close to the median sales price for the neighborhood. This ensures that many buyers will be interested because many buyers are looking in that price range.

Secondly, the location needs to be desirable. The property needs to be in an area that will appeal to many buyers.

An overpriced listing in an unpopular area isn’t a great candidate for deferred showings.

Deferred showing is a tactic used to create a sense of urgency and demand for a particular property.Click To Tweet

The Upside of Deferred Showings

Creating a potential bidding war isn’t the only upside of deferred showings for the sellers.

First, the schedule created by deferred showings is far more convenient for the sellers. Rather than working their schedules around multiple showings on multiple days for multiple buyers, the sellers can simply work around the Saturday/Sunday showings. They may even go away for the weekend and return to multiple offers.

Deferred showings also create an environment where the sellers feel in control. If they receive multiple offers, they can compare the offers and vet the buyers side-by-side to find the best offer. This is much easier on the sellers than receiving a single offer and deciding whether to accept, counter, or wait to see if a better offer comes in.

When a property is well-priced and well-staged in a hot seller’s market, buyers’ agents will often write a good offer with a short timeline for acceptance. This gives the sellers an appealing offer, but it also creates a sense of urgency for them to accept the offer before it expires.

The Downside of Deferred Showings

Buying a Home in a Seller's Market - Deferred showingsOne of the notable downsides of deferred showings is missing out on buyers because of simple scheduling conflicts.

Consider well-qualified, but out-of-area buyers, for example. It’s quite common for out-of-area buyers to schedule trips to Colorado Springs specifically to buy their new house. These relocation buyers (called “relo” for short) are often assisted with the move by their new local employer, so they are serious buyers and are able to secure financing. But if the deferred showing date doesn’t coincide with their buying trip, the seller could miss out on these well-qualified buyers.

Another significant downside of deferred showings is buyer’s remorse.

A bidding war environment creates buzz and excitement (especially for the winner!). But once the excitement wears off, buyer’s remorse usually sets in. Bidding wars pressure buyers to make hasty decisions and take advantage of the human impulse to win. This can leave the buyer with regret and maybe even a feeling of having been taken advantage of.

Unlike most bidding situations, sales of real estate aren’t final as soon as the bid is accepted. The escrow process typically takes 30-60 days, and offers buyers many opportunities to back out of the deal based on any of the many contingencies found in a real estate contract.

And if the buyer backs out, the seller is left at a serious disadvantage. And not only because they are back at square one in terms of finding a buyer. The real disadvantage is that the market will assume the buyer backed out due to a defect with the property.

After all, that’s the most common reason homes fall out of escrow: something is found during the home inspection which causes the buyer to walk away from the deal. So even if a buyer walks away because of buyer’s remorse or cold feet, the house will still be stigmatized. Once the buyer backs out, the house is categorized as Back on Market (BOM). And many of the homes on the BOM list are ignored by buyers and buyer’s agent because of the assumption that there was a problem with the inspection.

So this BOM category is bad for the sellers but could be a good opportunity for buyers. During a hot seller’s market, savvy buyers and their agents will ignore the deferred showings circus and will watch the BOM list instead. They know many of the BOM listings are simply the result of a bidding-war buyer getting cold feet, not a problem with the property. And they know they’ll have lower buyer competition for these properties because of that BOM stigma.

Highest and Best

The term “highest and best” has become very popular in the Colorado Springs Real Estate market. It’s the listing agents’ way of saying, “offers should be the top dollar you’re willing to pay with the most favorable terms you’re willing to offer the seller.” Then the listing agent will present these “highest and best” offers to the seller and help the seller choose the winner.

This has created a fair bit of controversy in the local market for a few reasons.

First of all, good Realtors pride themselves on correctly pricing listings. This includes pricing properties in a rapidly rising market. When you say highest and best as an agent the message being conveyed is that you have no idea what this home could sell for, so let’s just let the market dictate the maximum value.

On one hand that sounds like a decent idea, the problem with this approach is that it creates a feeding frenzy, you might end up with a great offer and terms that ultimately end up closing. You are more likely to end up with a deal falling out due to a case of “buyer’s remorse”.

A Realtor’s role is to give pricing advice and guide a contract through to closing. This type of pricing model alleviates the real estate professional from their responsibility of correctly pricing a home. If the deal goes sideways and the buyer develops remorse, the agents don’t have a firm pricing foundation to stand on.

In a strong seller’s market, good agents will advise their clients to present their best offer if they are serious about owning a particular home.

Highest and best also indicates that the listing agent may be uncooperative. They may be unwilling to work with buyers’ agents to find solutions which are fair to both parties (buyers and sellers) because they know they have the upper hand in a seller’s market. And remember, the offer and acceptance is only the first round of negotiations in a real estate deal. Another round may be necessary after inspections to address any issues with the property. Agents need to be willing to work together throughout the transaction to ensure that both parties are getting a fair deal.

We should note that the term “highest and best” may actually be somewhat useful in those few areas of the country where real estate has gotten out of control (Silicon Valley or Manhattan, for example). In those extreme markets, prices may be on the rise faster than buyers can keep track of fair market values. So offers for the same property can vary widely between buyers offering rates in line with last month’s sales and buyers anticipating next month’s prices.

This is simply not the case in our Colorado Springs market. Offers the sellers receive will all be similar (it’s rare to see an extreme outlier).Additionally, we have enough new construction in the region so that buyers can choose to build if they become too frustrated with the resale Market. Commute times are not as severe in Colorado Springs as they are in other big cities.

Highest and Best Survival Tips

The most important thing to remember in a highest and best scenario is the you need to keep your emotions in check. Don’t get so attached to a property that you take the attitude that you must have it at any cost.

Base your offer and terms on numbers and conditions you are comfortable with. If you are working with a good agent, they will advise you of what the property is actually worth. It’s ok to stretch a little but don’t set yourself up for remorse and regret. Remember, markets rise and fall, you just might have to wait a little while to get what you want.

If you lose out on a property as the result of a highest and best war, don’t give up. Both you and your agent should keep an eye on this home to see if it closes or more likely comes back on the market. Back on the market might mean there was an inspection or financing issue with the house. The more likely scenario is that the winning bidder got cold feet and decided to back out. This creates a great opportunity for you the buyer, to swoop back in and put it under contract, maybe for better terms.

“Coming Soon” Signs

“Coming Soon” signs are another tactic used by listing agents and sellers to create buzz around upcoming listings. This tactic requires the seller to authorize the listing agent to pre-market the home before actually listing it on the MLS.

Buying a Home in a Seller's Market - Coming Soon Sign

Here is the stance taken in by our local Pikes Peak Association of Realtors. This comment speaks to just how controversial this practice is:

The RSC Board of Directors, with legal counsel, has concluded the following with respect to this practice:

  • Per NAR, the PPMLS cannot make a rule concerning the posting of signs. Therefore, the PPMLS cannot prohibit a broker from posting an “Available Soon” sign.
  • PPMLS Rules require that all Exclusive Right to Sell listings be submitted within 72 hours of seller signature.
  • If RSC receives a written (or emailed) violation complaint that a property is listed, but is not in the PPMLS, then the RSC can request a copy of the listing agreement which would confirm whether or not there is an office exclusive. If RSC verifies that a listing is in force, and there is no “pink slip/office exclusive” then RSC will ensure that the listing is input into the PPMLS. (Note: currently there is no fine or sanction for not having put the listing in within the required 72 hours.)
  • If the broker has an office exclusive agreement, then the listing is not required to be input into the PPMLS computer system (although a copy of the listing agreement is required to be filed with RSC).
  • The RSC will not prohibit a listing broker from inserting additional terms in the contract such as withholding the listing from the PPMLS for a specified period of time.
  • The RSC will not prohibit the listing broker from submitting the listing to PPMLS, but then, with the Seller’s authorization, temporarily withdrawing the listing from the PPMLS.
  • If there is no listing agreement, but the seller has simply agreed to allow the broker to place a sign on the property, then the RSC has no jurisdiction in the matter, and no action will be taken.

The listing agent installs a sign with an accompanying rider that advertises “Coming Soon”. Seems innocent enough, right?

Well, the goal of this tactic isn’t only to build hype. It’s also to prey on anxious buyers looking to get the jump on the competition. Buyers who see the sign think, “I should contact the agent on that sign to see when the house will be on the market.” So they contact the agent on the sign directly, and that can lead to trouble.

You see, when buyers contact the agent on the sign directly, they are actually reaching out to a real estate professional that has an agency agreement with the home sellers. This means that until you enter into some type of agency agreement with that same Realtor, anything you say can and will be passed along to the sellers and used against you.

If you do end up deciding to buy that house and work with the listing agent you contacted from the sign, that agent will represent you as a “transaction-broker”. This means the agent facilitates the transfer of the property but doesn’t advocate for the buyer. It also means they receive a much higher commission.

In cases where the buyers and sellers each have their own agent, the real estate commission is split between the two agents. But if the agent working with the sellers (either as a seller’s agent or a transaction-broker) can close this deal as a transaction-broker for the buyer, they are the only agent involved, so they get to keep the full commission themselves.

What’s Wrong with Using a Transaction-Broker?

The problem with using a transaction-broker is that you miss out on representation. You won’t have a professional advocating for your interests. A transaction-broker must follow certain legal requirements regarding disclosures and communication, but they do not work on your behalf.
Many buyers think this arrangement is acceptable as long as the agent is also acting only as a transaction-broker (not a seller’s agent) for the sellers. That way the agent isn’t advocating for anyone, so it will be a fair transaction.

In theory, this sounds fine. But in practice, humans find it very difficult to be entirely impartial. Even if the agent doesn’t intend to favor one party over the other, they may do so subconsciously. This conflict of interest is the reason dual-agency (where the agent advocates for both the buyers and the sellers) has not been allowed in Colorado since 2003.

For a fair transaction in which each parties’ interests are represented, it’s best for buyers and sellers to each retain their own agents.

Protecting Yourself as a Buyer in a Seller’s Market

The best way to protect yourself and your interests as a buyer in a seller’s market is to engage the services of a buyer’s agent. Buyer’s agents are advocates, working on your behalf to get you a fair deal.

It just takes a few pages of paperwork to confirm that you wish to be represented by your buyer’s agent, then he or she can get to work for you. Their services include:

  • Offering professional guidance throughout the buying process
  • Negotiating on your behalf
  • Assisting with the required legal documents
  • Overseeing the transaction through to closing

And here’s the best part: their services won’t cost you anything. The seller traditionally pays the real estate commission, so it costs you nothing to add this important layer of protection.

And once you’ve engaged the services of a buyer’s agent, take advantage of their knowledge and experience. Heed their advice, and you won’t fall victim to these seller’s market tactics!

Here are some additional resources that support the ideas in this post:


Homes for Sale in Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Real Estate

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Colorado Springs, CO 80903

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There is nothing average about Springs Homes. Everything we do crackles with intention and intensity, because we believe that strategy always wins when employed by confident, knowledgeable and trustworthy agents.

We list and sell homes across the entire Pikes Peak region. Additionally, Springs Homes offers property management services. We work with a select few home builders in order to provide our clients with new construction options as well as resale opportunities.

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