After graduating college, Courtney worked for a new home builder here in Colorado Springs for a couple of years before becoming a licensed real estate professional in the summer of 1997. With close to 20 years in real estate, helping buyers and sellers exceed their real estate goals, remains her true passion. From traditional residential sales, to investment, second home, resort, and fix and flip properties, Courtney's experience, skill, dedication, go get 'em attitude, and never say never spirit, are what help set her apart in this industry.


The military also hold a soft spot in Courtney's heart. With so many military installations in Colorado Springs, she became a member of the Volunteer Realtor Program at Fort Carson years ago so that she could learn the unique nuances of military transfers both in and out of state, country, and world. Since that time, she has helped 100s of military families make these sometimes difficult move that much easier!


In her spare time, her son takes priority. From walking the golf course with him during his school golf tournaments, from score keeping his traveling team's basketball games most weekend evenings, from getting him out on the trails with her so that he can grow up appreciating and respecting the beauty and perfection that is this great state of Colorado, her son is typically right by her side.

Choosing the Right High School

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Well, I am about to enter completely unknown territory!!!!  My only child, my son, will start his 8th-grade year and subsequently his last one in middle school.  Time to get down to business and start thinking about what high school he will be entering this time next year. (Uh, YIKES)!  Time to start preparing a checklist, or at the very least, a guideline, for what his Daddy and I will use to help make this next big step in our son's life that much easier.  I thought I would share my family's personal checklist for choosing the high school our son will attend. (Disclaimer, this list is prioritized first to last in what we determined, as a family, was most important for our own son).

Are any of his closest friends attending the same high school? 

As our son has gotten older, we have realized that the quantity of friends is not as important to him as the quality.  He has three or four close friends, but he has always put one particular friend above the rest. If he can have this type of strong, loyal, intense friendship with this other boy all the way through high school, he will have more than most.  (I am actually friends with the Vice Principal of one of the two schools we are considering, and I ran this sentiment by her.  It was a relief to receive her affirmation of how important this type of friendship will be, for both my son and his best friend, during their final four years as a child).

What kind of academic programs are offered

We like the idea of schools that offer both AP (Advanced Placement) and IB (International Baccalaureate) course work.  Since his Father and I both took Advanced Placement courses in high school, ourselves, we are more familiar with them and love the way these courses focus relatively intensively on one particular subject. But with IB courses, we were also intrigued with the more holistic approach that a particular subject may be given.  In the end, both schools we are considering offer a beautiful mix of classes that use the IB and AP curriculums together, which will hopefully allow our son to benefit and grow from the strengths of both programs.

What extracurricular activities are offered

For my son, his most important extracurricular activity is sports, so we made sure that both schools we are considering have programs for the three sports he has played since starting elementary school.  Other programs we looked for the schools to have include arts, volunteer work and community service, music, governance, and clubs.  It is very important to us for our son to be involved in character building activities outside of the classroom, and regardless of his first passion, it is very important to us for him to have the opportunity to explore other extracurricular options BESIDES sports.  Diversity is definitely key, here.

What is the overall school culture

After speaking with parents of high school graduates and teachers and administrative staff, the consensus was that the only way to really get a feel for a school's culture was to "get in the trenches", to actually go to each school and physically walk the halls while a school day was in session, and do this as many times as necessary, with and without our son present.  The goal is to get a feel for what we expect the school to teach our son about life beyond academics and the classroom, itself.  The goal is to see how students and teachers interact with one another in the classroom setting, to see if students and teachers greet each other personally, to see if students and teachers greet parents, to get a feel for student mood and how students treat each other whether they know each other or not.  The goal is to just get a sense of if the school has an overall feeling of joy and hope and happiness.  No science or numbers or stats involved here....just going to give it a go and trust that Mama intuition!

What is the graduation rate and what is the college attendance rate of the school

This was our last priority as a family as we are not the kind of family to base our decision on what high school our kid attends based on numbers alone, but, alas, numbers DO (kind of) matter! Plus, certain stats can suggest how successful a particular school has been at bringing our children to the next most important stage of their life....adulthood. 

This list is not inclusive, obviously, and may not even be any of your own priorities, but hopefully, it can at least serve as a jumping point for your family's own list if you, too, have a son or daughter who will be entering high school next year. This list for us, though welcomes balance, a concept we try to practice and live by routinely and day to day. We simply hope that addressing these five issues, as we choose a high school with our son, will create the ultimate opportunity for balance for him.  

Good luck and Happy High School shopping to you all!  See you in the trenches!

One final note:  It is too cliche' to even think about, much less type into words, but when I was growing up, I do not remember my mother having the option of choosing where I went to high school. Oh, you live in Hixson, Tennessee?  Yes.  Okay, your child will go to Hixson Junior High School and then Hixson High School.  And so, I did.  Regardless, I am grateful that, in this day and age, parents have the luxury to live in a certain area of Colorado Springs, (a city I have now called home for 25+ years) and choose for their children to go to school in a completely different area!!!!     

 

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Real Estate Inventory in Colorado Springs: What is causing the shortage?

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Wondering why Colorado Springs is seeing a severe shortage of inventory this year?  Here are a couple of reasons: 

First, the median price of a home in Denver is currently $377,500, and the median price of a home in Colorado Springs is $246,800.  As a result, folks from South Denver are having so much trouble finding a home to purchase there locally, that they are willing to commute the 45 minutes or so to Colorado Springs to save over $100,000 when purchasing a new home.  
 
As a result, though, this migration is creating a large deficit in inventory for my own clients and customers who are here in Colorado Springs.The struggle really is real now, but for those of us practicing residential real estate, it is such a very, very good one! 
 
Another reason is a combination of economic ones....the potential for increased interest rates, something that has not been done since the financial crisis that lasted from late 2007 through early summer, 2009, increasing apartment rents, a two-bedroom apartment in Colorado Springs rents for, on average, close to $1,200/month, and inflation are all contributing to buyers getting off the fence and into a home purchase. 
 
This influx of would-be renters who are now want to be buyers is also contributing to keeping inventory at record lows. 
 
While it is always a wise decision, in any market, to interview your real estate professional before hiring them to work for you, it is especially important in a market as unique as this one. 
 
Find the right real estate professional who has the experience and longevity to successfully help you wade through all of the land mines that accompany a market that has not seen these kinds of shortages since mid-2001, and you are gold! 
 
 
It would be my pleasure to answer any questions you may have regarding the market itself, and/or to help you to formulate exactly what questions you should be asking your potential agent for hire!
 
Happy Hunting! 
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Top 4 Things you Need to Know about Appraisals

Top 4 Things you Need to Know about Appraisals

The appraisal of a home is a vital part of any real estate transaction, and the role of an appraiser is possibly one of the most critical parts of the entire transaction. See below as to how you, as a Seller, can be way ahead of the learning curve with just a few helpful hints from me when are you ready to put your home on the market for sale!

1. Appraisers are always hyper sensitive to contributing to potentially over inflating any real estate market. And, with multiple offers being the norm in most price ranges here in Colorado Springs, they are even more so.  Encourage your real estate broker to have comparable sold data ready to present to an appraiser. This data should support whatever sales price the buyer and seller finally agree to...ESPECIALLY vital if that sales price is OVER what the original list price was.

2. Most real estate brokers are ridiculously busy right now, but that ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT excuse your real estate broker from not showing up to your home, with comparable sold data and a list of every improvement made to the home in hand to meet the appraiser for his or her site inspection. Your real estate broker knows your home better than the appraiser does, so make sure your real estate broker shows up and represents!

3. Your real estate broker should be as descriptive as possible about your real estate listing and include, if at all possible, ALL 36 photos that the Pikes Peak MLS allows. It helps an appraiser immensely to include photos of the front of your home, the rear of your home, the street view of your home, and all major rooms in your home as well as the features of the home itself. Again, your real estate broker knows your home better than the appraiser does. 

4. What your real estate broker should tell you, from the very beginning, about the role of an appraiser in a real estate transaction? The role of the appraiser is actually NOT to confirm the sales price, but to provide the Buyer's lender an independent, objective, and completely impartial opinion of the value of your home. This value of your home is considered the collateral to which the Buyer's loan would be based.

Happy Selling! 

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1st Time Home Buyer's Seminar

1st Time Home Buyer's Seminar

In this crazy, fast-paced real estate market in Colorado Springs, if you blink you might miss out on getting the #1 home on your list. You need to know what you are doing and you need a good team on your side giving you the right advice. On Saturday February 4th, you are invited to a 1st Time Home Buyer's Seminar that will give you some great advice on going through the process of purchasing your first home. Courtney Gilmore, our agent at Springs Homes, teams up with Kevin Stevenson of Integrity Bank & Trust to cover financing, offers, mortgage payments and lots more. The seminar is being held at Integrity Bank and Trust 13540 Meadowgrass in Northgate, Saturday February 4th from 10-11am and refreshments are provided.

 

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Why People Move to Colorado Springs

Why People Move to Colorado Springs

There are probably a gazillion reasons why so many people are moving to Colorado, year after year, and after 27 years of living here myself, here are just a few of my own:

WE HAVE JOBS! And we apparently have A LOT of them, and in a wide range of industries, especially in the professional and business sectors. As of November, 2016, the unemployment rate for the country was 4.6%. As of November, 2016, the unemployment rate for Colorado was 3.2%.

WE HAVE MOUNTAINS! The Front Range, to include Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo is no more than an hour and a half drive to world class hiking, mountain biking, skiing, camping, and some of the most breathtaking views of the majestic Rocky Mountains in the country. Summer, Winter, Fall, Spring, you will never be without a ton of different options as you head west into Colorado's mountains.

WE ARE FIT! Colorado routinely ranks in the top ten for healthiest states in the country, and we routinely have very low obesity rates. Combine those stats with 300+ days of sunshine a year, and the almost obscene popularity of physical, outdoor activities, and you find yourself with a very healthy and fit population!

WE HAVE PRO SPORTS! So, if you are into that, you have a plethora of which to choose. The Denver Broncos play at Mile High Stadium in Denver and you may or may not have heard that they won the Super Bowl last year. The Colorado Avalanche (hockey) and the Denver Nuggets (men's basketball) share the Pepsi Center in Denver and both are always fun and great for a night out! The Colorado Rockies play baseball at Coors Field which is one of the most spectacular stadiums in the country with the stunning Rocky Mountains in the backdrop. Colorado even has a professional soccer team and two professional lacrosse teams!

WE HAVE ARTS AND CULTURE! So, if you are into that, you also have plethora with which to choose. Colorado's music, dance, theatre, and visual arts organizations are known here for presenting popular masterpieces and innovative, creative new works pretty much year round. Our state's long tradition of stellar cultural events, performing arts series, and indoor and outdoor art festivals ensure that there is always something amazing to do and see here and you will are pretty much always guaranteed to be entertained!

Need more reasons to move to our great state? Give me a call! We could talk the benefits and beauty of living here until I am blue in the face! 

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