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.

Getting Your Homeowner's Insurance Refund

picture of insurance

Did you know there might be money waiting for you?   And if you don't claim it, it may never be yours to keep.  I am referring to homeowner's insurance refunds. 

When you buy a home you purchase homeowners insurance for it.  And most of us have that insurance policy premium paid by our mortgage lender.  In this case, every month a portion of your house payment goes towards your property taxes and homeowners insurance.  That money is kept in an escrow account by your mortgage lender, and annually when these expenses come due your lender actually sends the payments for you. 

When you sell your home, after the sale your lender will mail you a refund check for the monies still sitting in your escrow account.  That check usually arrives within 3-6 weeks of closing.

But if you do not actually call to cancel your homeowners insurance, then the premium already paid will not be refunded.  The insurance company has to be notified to cancel the policy.  Once you do that, they have to refund the portion of the year's policy which you did not use.  Example, if your homeowners policy begins every November 1st, then your annual premium is paid at that time.  If you sell your home six months later, you have only used six months worth of your policy.   But you have already paid for the entire year, so a refund is now due for the unused portion.

Be sure to call your insurance company and tell them you sold your house and want your refund for the unused portion of the year.  Otherwise, that's money you'll never see again!

If you have any other questions, feel free to give me a call.

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Show Me the Money!

Show Me the Money

When purchasing a home, personal checks are not accepted at the closing table.  “Good Funds” as our contracts call money due at closing, will need to be either a cashier’s check or wire transfer. A cashier’s check is simple to obtain. Usually you can purchase one at your bank. These work well when you have a down payment to bring.

 

BUT be aware! There are limitations as to how large a cashier’s check can be.  Example, if you are a cash buyer and need to bring a sizeable amount to closing, the title company will probably require you not bring the whole amount in the form of a cashier’s check. I recently had a closing where this very thing happened. The title Company conducting closing would not allow the buyer to bring a large cashier’s check for his purchase. He had to wire money in advance or we couldn’t close.

 

Wire transfers are pretty simple.  You go to your bank and give them the title company’s wiring instructions. Your bank will then send the wire for you. But, wire transfers do take some time to show up.  All wire transfers have to go through the Federal Reserve Bank which is located on the East coast.  So wires can take a few hours to route correctly.  And if you send a wire in the later part of the day, keep in mind that it may not show up until the following business day.  East Coast hours do apply and the cut-off time is 3pm East Coast time.

 

On the other hand, earnest money deposits (up-front monies) can usually be in the form of a personal check.   Money stuff is always complicated.  One of the many reasons you hire a Realtor, so you don’t have to figure all this stuff out for yourself! If you want to learn more, check out our finance videos for Buyers or simply give me a call!

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Stress-free Moving Tips

When selling a home, we always seem to have extra stuff we don’t want to take, i.e. furniture we won’t use or household goods to get rid of. Having gone through the selling process myself recently, this is fresh in my mind so I had to write about the best ways to get rid of pre-move stuff.

For large items like furniture, you can do a few things:

  1. Advertise them for sale on Craigslist. You can usually expect a higher price than you would get selling them at a garage sale, but be prepared. You won’t get top dollar for them on this site, and many buyers who shop here are looking for a deal!
  2. Consign them for sale. If it’s high end furniture, you can call a local consignment shop and get them to put it in their store. This usually brings in a higher price for each item, but the stuff has to be in great shape since consignment stores are particular about condition. We’ve got a local one in Colorado Springs called The Consignment Gallery. They will even come and pick it up for you, at their cost. You only owe them $35 as reimbursement once the item sells.
  3. Donate them to the ARC or Goodwill. Both charities have a curb-side pick-up service, free of charge! They will ask you to place the items on the curb the day prior. And that’s it. They come by and get your unwanted items for you. The local number to call for ARC pick-ups is 303-238-5263.

 

All of these came in very handy during my recent move. After all, who wants the added stress of moving all of that unwanted stuff? 

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Favorite October Activity...BOO at the ZOO!

boo at the zoo

This year it saddens me to write about this.  My daughter, age 13, is too cool to dress up and go to the zoo with me now.  But when she was younger, BOO at the Zoo was one of our favorite Halloween activities!   Our local Cheyenne Mountain Zoo hosts the event for a few weeks every October.  Children dress up in costume and go trick-or-treating at the zoo.   Giraffes and other animal exhibits are open, and you can ride the old ski lift to the top of the mountain overlooking the brilliant city lights of Colorado Springs.   Here is an excerpt from their web site:

 

Boo at the Zoo

Come See the Original Creatures of the Night!

It’ll be all treats and no tricks for your little pirates and princesses at this year’s Boo at the Zoo, the region’s most unique Halloween event. Boo at the Zoo is a fun way for families with young children to trick-or-treat and enjoy Halloween festivities in a safe environment, and all of our candy is made with sustainable palm oil to help protect wild orangutans!

Support the Zoo’s efforts to reduce waste by bringing your own trick-or-treat bag from home!
 

Dates

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, October 23 – 24 – 25
Friday & Saturday, October 30 – 31

Time

4 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – with the last ticket sold at 7:30 p.m.

Please NOTE: The Zoo will close early for day visits at 3 p.m. on all seven Boo at the Zoo evenings, with the last ticket of the day sold at 2 p.m. Guests must exit the Zoo at 3 p.m. Last Sky Ride is at 2:30 p.m. and the Shrine Road closes at 1 p.m. The Zoo will open for Boo at the Zoo at 4 p.m.

 

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Pumpkin Bread

In continuation of my "things to do in October" theme, I thought I'd post my favorite recipe for pumpkin bread.  Funny story about this one.  I received it in the mail at my house.  It was sent by a Realtor who was trying to drum up new business.  Clearly she didn't know that she was mailing it to a fellow Realtor's house.  Nonetheless, I tried it out and it happens to be a really good recipe! 

So, here ya go:

 

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

 

Ingredients:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter

1 1/4 cups white sugar

2 eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

 

Grease one 9x5x3 loaf pan.   Put softened cream cheese, butter and sugar in mixing bowl.  Cream together well.  Beat in eggs one at a time until blended. Mix in pumpkin.

 

In another bowl combine flour, soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and walnuts.   Stir until thoroughly misex.  Pour all at once over batter.  Stir just enough to moisten.  Turn into greased pan.

 

Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes in pan.  Remove to rack to finish cooling.

 

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