A licensed Colorado Real Estate Broker since 1996, Nicole works with both buyers and sellers. In 2009, she was ranked #21 out of 214 ERA agents state wide, for volume sold. She proudly supports our local military and is happy to offer our military appreciation program to active duty clients. http://www.springshomes.com/military-assistance-program. In addition to real estate, Nicole’s passions include running, ballroom dancing, cooking and playing piano. With a strong background in new home construction and accounting, she has a sharp eye for detail.

The Importance of a Buyer's Walk Through!

Walk-Through

As a Realtor, I have learned many lessons through the ins and outs of closing so many home sales over the years. This story is a recent one, which will stay with me for a long time and I thought that it was important to share in hopes that potential home buyers or home sellers might avoid this pitfall by taking some good real estate advice. 

In the Colorado residential purchase contract for real estate, it states in paragraph 19.4 that the buyer has the right to a final walk-through of the property to verify condition before closing. This story demonstrates why a walk through after a home purchase is so important and why after this incident I NEVER allow my buyer to close without one!

Meet my home buyer, David

It was summer of 2006, a warm sunny day in Colorado Springs and I had a closing to attend that afternoon. My buyer, David, lived in California and would not be present for his closing.  So I offered to drive to his new house and do a quick walk through on his behalf. I pulled up to the large 2-story home, which had been vacant for five days. I opened the front door and walked through the grand entryway into the large living room. All seemed fine so far. I past through the dining room which had wall to wall hardwood floors, and I stepped into the kitchen.

Funny, I noticed a large puddle of water sat on the kitchen floor right around the refrigerator. I thought it seemed strange that the sellers didn't clean that up! I grabbed some nearby paper towels and bent down to blot up the standing water. The towels quickly absorbed the water, taking in much more than I had estimated. In fact, the floors were soaked. The entire kitchen floor, all hardwood was completely drenched. I could feel the ripples of the warped wood beneath my hands as I crawled around trying to assess the damage. The water had traveled through the kitchen and into the dining room whose wood floors were also rippled. Carpets in the nearby living room and family rooms were all soaked. Water was everywhere. 

Could it get any worse?!

But the problem didn't stop there. Underneath me was a finished basement, complete with rec room, bedroom, and a finished bathroom. That included carpet and drywall and paint and light fixtures and baseboards and doors, etc. I walked my way downstairs, not knowing what to expect . By now I could hear running water. As my foot finally touched the bottom step, my feet were submerged in a good two inches of standing water. It was everywhere. It was pouring from the ceiling, from that main level upstairs. Large sections of wet sheetrock dangled from the floor joists above. Water was even running through the light fixtures. 

I waded through the damaged remains of this finished basement until I could find the mechanical room. I opened that door only to find more standing water, puddling around the furnace and the water heater. I went to every shut off valve I could find and turned off every bit of water in the home. Gradually that stopped some of the leaking. I then proceeded to call my buyer and let him know that he would not be closing today. I called the seller's agent and informed her of the bad news. Closing would be postponed.

The Damage Assessment

The Selling Agent and the sellers were very good about getting the appropriate contractors and trades to the house right away. They assessed the damage and determined it would cost $26,000 to repair and restore the home. The source of our problem? A small water line to the refrigerator which had burst after the sellers had vacated. It had been pouring water into the house for days.

The Lesson Learned

Had I not spent that extra bit of time and done a walk through, David would have owned that damage and all the costs involved in fixing it. As a new homeowner, this type of responsibility is both financially and emotionally devastating. So I pass this lesson on to you. ALWAYS do a final walk through. ALWAYS!!! Read more about final walkthroughs and let me know if you have any follow-up questions.

 

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Colorado Springs Bike Trails: Pikes Peak Greenway Trail

Greenway-Trail-I

With the warmer weather, I have been excited to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. With my bike, I have been exploring some of the great Colorado Springs Bike Trails and I stumbled upon another one. The Pikes Peak Greenway Trail is one of the most popular bike trails in Colorado Springs.  I like it because it's paved, located in the heart of town and is gently sloping.  It winds through the city, but you'd never know you were in one.  The trail parallels streams, rock formations and even crosses over some old, wooden bridges.  At certain points, you can even see a train which runs daily.

Pikes Peak Greenway Trail II

The Greenway Trail is multi-use and runs north to south across the whole city of Colorado Springs. It connects to a number of other trails with multiple trailheads and is easily accessible. You can decide how far you want to go and how much time you want to spend on the trail. 

On the north side of Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak Greenway is connected to the New Santa Fe Trail which runs through the Air Force Academy, through the town of Monument and ending up in Palmer Lake. Unlike the Greenway, the New Santa Fe Trail is a gravel surface.

On its southern end, the Pikes Peak Greenway continues on to the Fountain Creek Regional Trail at the El Pomar Youth Sports Park. The trail follows the Fountain Creek all the way to the city of Fountain and is mostly paved the entire way.

If you combine all three trails you can ride one way 40 miles from Palmer Lake to Fountain - mostly downhill!  How you get home is up to you. If you want some more tips on where to ride your bike, !

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Scenic Colorado Springs bike trails: Biking USAFA

AcademyView

Colorado Springs is unique in that we're a sprawling city at the base of the mountains. Nature and wildlife are abundant here, and the mountains are our backyard. Woven throughout the city are trails for biking, hiking and running. And it's easy to lose yourself in the outdoors. To really capture such beauty I highly recommend visiting the Air Force Academy.  Located near the Northgate area of Colorado Springs, the Academy was built right in the mountains and occupies 18,000 acres of land.

This weekend I took my new road bike to the Academy for a scenic ride. Minutes from my house I was immersed in pine trees, riding the gently curving roads which weave through the mountain. I passed some wild deer grazing, which is common for our town.  In fact you can often see deer, wild turkeys or herds of antelope at any given time. The Air Force fighter jets known as the Thunderbirds were practicing this weekend, in preparation for their upcoming air show for the graduation ceremony next month. I could see them flying in formation then splitting off into various directions. It's fun to hear their jet engines as they speed by the backdrop of majestic mountains. 

No wonder Katherine Lee Bates wrote the lyrics to America the Beautiful while in Colorado Springs. It's by far the most scenic, beautiful place to be. I wouldn't trade it for any other city! Want to know some of my other favorite places to go? Give me a call and I would be happy to share them!

View biking on USAFA

View while biking on USAFA

 

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Colorado Springs: A Seller's Market For Sure

sellers-market

It's definitely a seller's market right now. Properties often receive multiple offers. Bidding wars are the norm, where the highest and best offer gets the house. Days on market have dwindled down so much that many homes sell the first day they are on market. 

I am working with a family right now who is super excited that we got their current home under contract so fast, and it went for above asking price. Yay!

But now the flip side of that is we are pressed to find another home for them to buy.  There isn't much inventory out there right now, and the good stuff is selling super fast. 

For example, this week we looked at a home which had just hit the market earlier that morning. We arrived mid afternoon to see it. While there, we ran into two other buyers who were seeing it. We were going to write an offer on it, but I learned from the seller's agent that he already had two offers on the table, both of which were thousands above asking price.  And he was expecting more by end of the day. 

My buyers were disappointed. They learned that in order to even be considered they would have to bid thousands over asking price and even with that, there were no guarantees their offer would be accepted.  It's tough out there. An appraiser recently told me that in Denver they are getting offers sight unseen, meaning buyers are not even going in the houses before writing an offer. Yes, the Colorado real estate market is that crazy right now.

Here are the latest Colorado Springs housing statistics, as of end of March:

INVENTORY OF SINGLE FAMILY HOMES FOR SALE...down 25% from last year

INVENTORY OF TOWNHOMES/CONDOS FOR SALE...down 2% from last year

AVERAGE SALES PRICE OF A SINGLE FAMILY HOME...up 11.5% from last year

AVERAGE SALES PRICE OF A TOWNHOME/CONDO...up 12.1% from last year

To summarize, homes are in demand and there is less inventory for sale right now.  Supply is down which is driving prices up.  It's a great time to be a seller.  It's a tough time to be a buyer.  At times like this, you really need a good Realtor in your corner! Give me a call, I would be happy to answer any questions you have.

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15642 Coquina Drive Monument CO 80132

15642 Coquina Drive Monument CO 80132

I'm so excited about this new listing!  Built in 2001, this beautiful stucco home has 4 bedrooms, an office, great room, formal dining room, upper-level loft, finished basement and professionally landscaped yard!  The main level features wood floors, spacious kitchen with island, pantry and counter bar, master bedroom with his/her closets and attached 5 piece master bathroom!  The upper level loft is perfect for kids, with 2 good sized bedrooms, a full bath and loft area!  The basement includes a huge rec room with gas fireplace, dry bar, 2 more bedrooms, private bath and plenty of storage.  Great Jackson Creek location...walk to nearby parks and shopping! View on the MLS at: https://www.springshomes.com/mls/3550097-15642-Coquina-DR-Monument-CO-80132, or the single property website at: www.CoquinaDrive.com

coquina livingroommin

coquina diningroommin

coquina kitchen2min

coquina recroom2min

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