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.

Low Property Taxes in Colorado

Low Property Taxes in Colorado

I often hear buyers comment on how low our property taxes are here in Colorado as compared to other states. I've heard that in places like New Jersey they are much higher.  But I never knew exactly how much higher. Recently I came across this article on Realtor.com   It's about property taxes and how much they cost in each state. The cost differences are quite shocking. This data is direct from their site:

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Why Doing a Final Walk Through is Crucial

When buying a home, you have the option of doing a final walk through to verify condition before you close. Some buyers want to waive this right, especially if the home they are buying is vacant. They figure the house probably looks the same as it did when they initially saw it and there is no reason to look again.  WRONG!

Here is my favorite story about a final walk through I did which ended up saving my buyers $26,000 in repairs:

It was the morning of closing. My out of state buyer was not in town for his closing. He would be signing everything through the mail, which we refer to as a mail-out closing. I offered to do a final walk through of the property on his behalf. The property had been vacant for six days. The sellers had moved out and the house was now empty. 

I opened the front door and could hear the faint sound of water running. I followed the sound into the kitchen, where I noticed a small pool of water underneath the refrigerator. I quickly grabbed some paper towels and attempted to mop up the "puddle." I soon discovered the entire wood floor was saturated with water and warping as a result. The warping continued throughout the kitchen and into the dining room. The adjoining carpet in the living room was also soaked. Then it dawned on me...there is a finished basement. If the water has permeated the main level, it has probably leaked down to the basement level, too.  

So, I rolled up my pants and proceeded downstairs to the basement level. I opened the door to the most horrifying scene, about an inch of standing water on the carpet. Water was pouring through the ceiling. It was even running out of the light fixtures. The sheetrock ceiling was so wet it had broken off in large pieces, leaving the above floor joists exposed. I made my way to the mechanical room, and when I opened that door there was a good inch or more of standing water all around the furnace and water heater. I quickly waded through it and managed to turn off every water supply and valve I could find. At least the water would stop running now.

I then proceeded to call my buyer and tell him the news. He could not close that day. For if he did, then he would own not only the house but all the present damage as well.

It turned out the source of the leak was the small water line to the refrigerator's ice maker. It had burst after the sellers vacated and had been pouring water into the house for days. Contractor bids for repair work came in at $26,000. Fortunately, the sellers covered the costs. And four weeks later the house was restored, and we were able to close after all.

But the lesson here is obvious. Always do a final walk through when buying a home. And if you, the buyer, are not able to do it in person have your agent do one on your behalf. It could end up saving you so much money!

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Crazy Good Real Estate Market

Crazy Good Real Estate Market

It is a good real estate market for sellers right now. And it is a crazy real estate market for buyers right now. Sellers are getting top dollar for their homes, and often times they are seeing bidding wars and multiple offers in the under $300,000 price range. Buyers, on the other hand, have to act fast when they find that perfect home. Most likely, they will have competition for it and the highest offer will get the deal.

Here is how our market was doing, as of the end of March:

TOTAL HOMES FOR SALE        :     1,941 (down 23.5% from same time last year)

AVERAGE HOME SOLD PRICE :     $267,451 (up 4.3% from same time last year)

TOTAL HOME SALES                :     2,891 (up 22.4% from same time last year)

AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET   :     47 (down 53% from same time last year)

MEDIAN PRICE                        :     $239,500 (up 6% from same time last year)

Although it remains a seller's market in most cases, it does change to a Buyer's market at approximately the $450,000 price range. At that point buyers still have multiple properties to pick from and can probably expect some concessions from the seller. Full price offers are not as common at this point. 

My advice...buy while you still can. Home prices are going up this year. I suspect interest rates will rise, too. Real estate won't be any cheaper a year from now.



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It's a Seller's Market for Sure!

I keep running into the same problem...not enough houses for sale for all the buyers right now.  Currently I am working with a sweet, young couple looking to buy their first home.  They both work and have 2 little children with a 3rd one on the way. So needless to say they are busy.  Time is limited. And when they do make  time to go view some houses, we are finding they go under contract before we can even set up a showing. It's so frustrating for them and for me.  I want to do the best job for them and make this a happy experience. But this is a tough, competitive market we are in. And to get their hopes up over and over is discouraging to say the least.

Example; we tried to view a new listing yesterday.  We were told "no showings are allowed right now." So we waited until the next day.  When I called to set up the showing I was told "no more showings period.  That house is now under contract." You can imagine our frustration. We never even got a chance to see it. I called the Seller's agent to find out more.

Here is what I learned: That house went on the market 2 days ago. The first day it had 21 showings. And they received 8 offers on it that night. Many of the offers they received were well above asking price.  The seller took the highest one and did not even have to pay any concessions. And, her buyer is so intent on closing this transaction that they have already indicated if the appraisal comes in lower than contract price, they will pay cash for the difference.  

This is what happens in a Seller's market. There aren't enough houses available to meet the current demand. Bidding wars occur. The highest offer gets the deal, and everyone else gets to go back out and try again for a different property.

My best advice in this type of market: Have your lender pre-qualification letter in hand when you hit the road and start looking. Any time you see a new listing come on market, try to be the first one through the door. If you like the house, DO NOT hesitate in writing your offer immediately. Go above asking price, as high as you can stomach. And...hire a good Realtor who knows how to work in such a market!

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Colorado Springs in the Top 20 Cities for Real Estate

CEN Downtown Alt min

I just read a fun article in Realtor.com about which 20 cities have the hottest real estate markets right now. Guess what? Colorado Springs is in there! According to them, they rank a hot market by how many showings a home gets, how long houses stay on the market, and how many new sales the area is seeing. Here is the complete list, all 20 cities which are head and shoulders hotter than the rest of the country:

The hot list

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. San Jose, CA
  3. Dallas, TX
  4. Denver, CO
  5. Vallejo, CA
  6. San Diego, CA
  7. Santa Cruz, CA
  8. Santa Rosa, CA
  9. Stockton, CA
  10. Oxnard, CA
  11. Sacramento, CA
  12. Los Angeles, CA
  13. Boulder, CO
  14. Modesto, CA
  15. Eureka, CA
  16. Portland, OR
  17. Nashville, TN
  18. Colorado Springs, CO
  19. Palm Bay, FL
  20. Tampa, FL


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