Things to Do in Colorado Springs this Weekend (May 20-May 21)

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One weekend before the Memorial Day holiday and we're still getting snow, freezing overnight temps, and cold breezes to make you think winter is back. No matter! There are still plenty of fun events happening in Colorado Springs this weekend. 


Things to Do This Weekend

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Colorado Public Lands Day Celebration -  Sat May 20, 8:00am, Red Rock Canyon Open Space Ridge Rd. & US-24

Admission: Free. We are the first state in the nation to have our own state holiday to recognize Colorado public lands! Join together to work on improving our trails followed by a guided hike tour and other outdoor activities. Minimum age is 16, or 13 with a parent/guardian. For more info, visit: Rocky Mountain Field Institute.

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Tesla’s Toolbox: Water Widget Races -  Sat May 20, 10:00am - 12:00pm, Space Foundation Discovery Center 4425 Arrowswest Drive

Admission: Included in admission ($5-$10). Engineer your own self-propelled boat and race it against others! For more info, visit: Space Foundation Discovery Center.

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Run to the Shrine -  Sat May 20, 7:30am - 5:00pm, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Rd

Admission: Registration fee $30-$55/person. Take advantage of the one day of the year you can view Colorado Springs on foot from the scenic road leading up to the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun. Proceeds benefit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo! For more info, visit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

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Colorado Springs Philharmonic presents Carmina Burana -  Sun May 21, 2:30pm, Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts 190 South Cascade Avenue

Admission: $21+. Enjoy the medieval cantata Carmina Burana performed by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. For more info, visit: Colorado Springs Philharmonic.

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City Wide Gaming Event Benefit -  Sun May 21, 10:00am - 8:00pm, Imagination Space 750 Citadel Dr. E

Admission: $7/day. Come play role playing games, board games, card games, and miniature games with proceeds benefiting the Imagination Celebration and Dragon Theatre. All skills levels welcome. For more info, visit: Facebook Event.

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Home Buyer's Needs Assessment

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It seems in this "transitional community" we live in, with military, job growth, etc. we frequently do needs assessment over the phone or on-line... only planning showings once the buyers arrive and we hit the ground running. 

What is a needs assessment for a home buyer? and where do we start?

Recently I had a buyer who lives here in town already and wanted to have coffee and chat before actually starting their home search. So we planned a Saturday morning meeting and here is what we talked about.

How are you going to finance your home?

We started with financing because while it is so fun to be looking at houses starting on-line, it can be disappointing and time wasted if you're not in the right target price range. There are a variety of mortgage calculators available on-line, but your best bet is to ask us for one of our awesome local lenders to start the mortgage discussion! I put buyers in the capable hands of a couple different awesome local lenders, if you are in need of one, .

There are two components to the loan approval... what you can spend... and what you want to spend. (okay, there's much more than that, but this is an important part of the decision.)

I tell clients ALL the time that my husband and I never take advantage of the full mortgage amount we are approved for. We prefer to save a little for home improvement, emergencies, travel, camping, and generally enjoying life not being strapped to our house and mortgage. 

So, I have the buyer thinking about the financing... and then we start talking about their wants and needs. 

What do you need in a home? 

The basics start with:

  • number of bedrooms/baths
  • number of garage spaces/carport/etc
  • total square footage
  • main level bedroom for elderly/disabled
  • area, location, neighborhood, schools

These items are generally decided based on the size of family, whether their growing or downsizing, etc. Based on price, buyers may include other wants into their needs.

The location is often determined by job expectations and then driven by price and availability of homes nearby. I will say that Colorado Springs and the surrounding area is generally extremely easy to commute. The most challenging commute is the bottleneck at Monument, as the market has driven people out of the Denver market and into the Pikes Peak Region; however many of those still commute north to the Denver metro area daily! 

Now, there are other criteria for most people, but they tend to be more in the "wants" category. I'm perfectly capable of running up and downstairs 100 times a day for my kids, my upstairs home office, etc... but we still strongly prefer a main level master. 

What do you want in a home?

  • basement... finished basement
  • deck/patio/sunroom
  • house age
  • wood burning or gas fireplace
  • gas range (actually difficult to find here in our average price range)
  • mountain views (see my previous blog for more on that one)
  • vaulted ceilings
  • large / fenced back yard
  • backing to open space/golf course 
  • treed property
  • privacy from neighbors
  • acreage 
  • Upgrades (granite, hardwoods, custom, etc.. and consider location ahead of these items that can be added/changed)
  • natural water... I chuckle a little when people want to have a creek running through or back to a lake. There is just very little water in our area. There are several small lakes in the "Tri-lakes" area (Monument, Palmer, Woodmoor and now Forest Lakes). There is water/creek running through the Ute Pass area and on the northwest side of town south of the Air Force Academy... plus creeks in Cottonwood area and Fountain. 

Location, location, location... it will always be the case, the one thing you cannot change, location! It's extremely expensive and not always cost effective to add onto a home, so size is probably the next most important factor. 

What about buying a home that has good resale?

Resale is also a very important factor when buying. If you know you'll be transitioning out of the community in 3-5 years for military, job, family, etc, you might have to stave off your desire to have the most expensive and unique home in your neighborhood. Often in these cases, the basic home in the popular neighborhood that is well kept will help tremendously with resale.

What do you give up?

Compromise - When you cannot line up the age, size, style, area, the budget for your home, it's time to start talking about which criteria you're willing to compromise... "I'll accept an older home in this area", or "I'll go farther from work for the house I want". In this high-demand market, buyers are making more sacrifices and learning what it means to compromise. 

Finding the right home to buy

We take all of these factors into account with the buyer and set them up with a search. "Garbage-in-garbage-out" can be a bit of a challenge... for example, if a buyer wants wood floors & you select "wood" as a requirement in the MLS flooring field, but a listing agent forgot to check that box, a house that might work for the buyer won't actually show up on their search. It's best to keep the MLS search basic and use pictures, descriptions, & virtual tours to decide if it's worth a personal showing. 

Writing this makes me realize how much I love this process. After 16+ years, I'm still not tired of looking for and finding "the one" for buyers! It's fun to be presented with a unique challenge and find the solution... no doubt every buyer that I work with has a unique set of wants/needs, it's so cool! If you are ready for a Home Buyer Needs Assessment, .

More Information:

Home Buyer Needs Assessment

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Things to Do in Colorado Springs this Weekend (May 13-May 14)

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Happy Mother's Day! Perfect weekend to take out the important women in your life to fun events in Colorado Springs. Many things to do with Mom including a Victorian Tea, Pikes Peak discounts, and more! 


Things to Do This Weekend

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Victorian Tea and Ball -  Sat May 13, 4:00pm - 10:00pm, BeMore Event Center 3958 N. Academy Blvd

Admission: $35/person. Learn Victorian era history and enjoy dance and music. For more info, call: (719) 635-1773.

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Treat Yourself Mother's Day Fair -  Sat May 13, 10:00am - 1:00pm, PPLD - Briargate Library 9475 Briar Village Point

Admission: Free. Massages, chocolates, clothes, and crafts will spoil moms on Saturday. First 50 moms will receive goodie bags!  For more info, visit: Facebook Event.

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Active Adults Club: Spring Birding Photography Workshop -  Sat May 13, 11:00am - 1:00pm, Fountain Creek Nature Center 320 Peppergrass Lane

Admission: $20/person. Mike Pach, award-winning local photographer, teaches how to take bird photography. Hobbyists and professionals welcome. For more info, visit: El Paso County.

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Mother's Day on Pikes Peak -  Sun May 14, 9:00am - 3:00pm, Pikes Peak - America's Mountain 5089 Pikes Peak Highway

Admission: Mom free with paid admission. Treat Mom to free visit to Pikes Peak on Sunday. For more info, visit: City of Colorado Springs website.

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Pike’s Peak Antique Machinery Days -  Sun May 14, 10:00am, Western Museum of Mining and Industry 225 North Gate Blvd.

Admission: $5/person. Last day to attend the first annual Pike's Peak Antique Machinery Days featuring antique tractor pulls, silent auction, antique engines, and more! For more info, visit: WMMI.

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How Does a Realtor Get Paid, Anyway?

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Ever wonder HOW and HOW MUCH a Realtor gets paid?

Before I bought my first house, I was aware of HOW Realtors got paid. I had the chance to work in the industry earlier in my working career. However, it wasn’t until I started researching how to become a Realtor, and considered becoming a Realtor myself, that I learned more about HOW MUCH a real estate agent gets paid.


I was curious to find out if some of my friends {that had purchased a home} knew how a real estate agent got paid. Or if they knew how much a Realtor makes. So recently I asked some folks if they knew answers to these questions. A small handful knew exactly how and how much. But, most everyone said something like…

"I have no idea!"

"Now that I think about it, I still wonder how much our Realtor got paid."

"That’s a GREAT question. How does a real estate agent get paid?"


So, that boomeranged! The question came right back at me. Huh… Okay… Well, I’d love to answer that question.


Maybe you’ve wondered about this yourself. Maybe you feel uncomfortable asking. Maybe it never crossed your mind to ask. Either way, it’s okay and understandable. Generally speaking, we don’t ask our co-workers or friends what they make at their jobs. So it makes sense that we don’t think about these things. Or if we do, we're uncomfortable.


Asking a real estate agent how they get paid let alone how much money, exactly. Well.... that's awkward!


So, it’s a great question, and absolutely okay to ask!! AND it’s all part of, for most people, the largest transaction you will tackle in your lifetime. And no matter if you’re buying or selling, you are contributing to HOW and HOW MUCH the Realtor makes. I’ll cover this from a VERY high level, bird’s eye view.


Okay, so let’s start with HOW and that will lead us to HOW MUCH…


No Settlement, No Paycheck = 100% Commission


The vast majority of Realtors are only paid if your deal closes. In other words, they get paid via commission from the sale of the house. It’s not about finding a house or putting a sign in your yard, and then agreeing on a final price.


They have to sell a house either for a seller or to a buyer.


They have to get the entire transaction processed and to the “closing table” to complete the sale. And there are many hurdles and hoops to jump over and go through before you get to that closing table, my friend.


A house could not pass inspection... loans fall through... appraisals fall short of the agreed price... or any of the other hiccups that can occur in the process...


Soooooo...no closing table with everyone signed on the dotted line, then no pay day for that realtor. Bummer huh!?


Like the English language, there are exceptions to this general rule of thumb though. For example, depending on the negotiated contract, there still might be a commission due to the Realtor. And there are brokerage companies that pay their realtors on salary, with an extra commision, bonus structure. Like I said...this is a “typically speaking” overview that will not include all the exceptions. Otherwise, we’d be here all day.


Okay, moving on…


Who Pays the Real Estate Commission: Sellers And Buyers And Brokers, Oh My!


Typically speaking (you’re gonna get tired of me saying that!), the seller pays the commission for the Realtor fees. Which are always negotiated between the seller and their listing agent. And then if there is another agent involved in that transaction, then they share the commission with that Realtor. There are exceptions to this typical process. You may think that’s a bummer for sellers. Yet, when you think about it, usually the sales prices takes Realtor commission or the real estate fees into consideration. So the buyer is contributing through their agreement to that sales price.


As I mentioned above, I’m giving a broad overview. For more info on the HOW a Realtor gets paid, check out this article on Realtor.com.


Now this brings us to HOW MUCH…


Slice of the Pie: Negotiable Commission Rate of the Sale


If the sale of the house is the whole pie, then a Realtor gets a thin slice. Across the country and here in Colorado, the average commission rate agreed upon by sellers and listing agents is a variable percentage of the sales price of the house. This varies based on many factors - market area, market conditions, type of property, negotiated elements of the real estate contract, and the list goes on. Realtors cannot price fix! So, the commission percentage is always negotiable. If there is another agent involved in the transaction on the buying side, then it's shared. And even that is up for discussion.


Myth Buster: Not All Realtors Are Rich!


You have to consider that the majority of Realtors are NOT independent brokers. So what does this mean, you ask? Every state is different. In Colorado, real estate agents must work under the umbrella of a licensed broker for at least two years and are called associate brokers. Generally speaking, most remain with a broker rather than go independent or open their own brokerage. This choice affords them support with their marketing, legitimizes their business with clients, and gives them the opportunity to not carry the brokerage liabilities and responsibilities. And that means these real estate agents are splitting their commission with their employing broker.


After these splits of the commission, your average Colorado Realtor makes $51,240*, which is a bit above the national median salary for a Realtor of $44,090*. And that’s all before you take into consideration business expenses, taxes, and other overhead costs.


*Source: U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

The Nuts and Bolts: A Basic Example


Due to a job change, a seller is moving out of state and needs a buyer for their house. Realtor A meets with them and signs a contract to be their Listing Agent. Due to the marketing required to sell their home, they agree to a reasonable and appropriate commission rate for the sale of the house. Realtor B brings a buyer to the house. They make an offer. Realtor A and B, on behalf of their seller and buyer, agree on a sales price. They go through all the inspection, appraisal, and loan process. So, let’s take a look at how this will all break down once they get to the closing table...


1. Total Commission (a percentage of the Sales Price of the Home) = $10,000
2. Negotiated agreement of Listing and Buyer Brokerages = 50/50 Split
3. Listing Broker = $5000 commission*, pays $3,000 to Listing Agent
(Broker/Listing Agent are sharing the commission 60/40)
4. Buyer Agent’s Broker = $5000 commission, pays $2500 to the Buyer Agent
(Broker/Buyer Agent are splitting the commission 50/50)

*Remember, no commission is paid to a listing or buyer agent directly. It’s paid to the broker, then distributed to the agent(s) based on the split with the brokerage company.


And don’t forget! This is all before expenses, marketing, taxes, and other costs to run an independent business are taken into consideration.


Sooooo...


I hope this brief overview has helped answers those questions. Bottom line, a Realtor is working for you! Until you get your house purchased or sold, they don’t see a paycheck. If you’d like to understand more or have further questions, . Part of my job is to answer these and any other question you have about real estate. Looking forward to hearing from you.


And remember a Realtor can be a Real Estate Agent, but a Real Estate Agent can’t always be a Realtor. And an Associate Broker can be a…. Well, keep your eye on our real estate blog for that upcoming answer… :)

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Things to Do in Colorado Springs this Weekend (May 6-May 7)

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Let the Cinco de Mayo festivities continue around Colorado Springs this weekend! Take advantage of this warm weather before some rain moves in next week. 


Things to Do This Weekend

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First & Main First Saturday Car Show - Rocky Mountain Mustangers -  Sat May 6, 8:00am - 10:00am, Parking lot in front of Dick's Sporting Goods @ First & Main Town Center

Admission: Free. First & Main First Saturday Car Shows are back for the season! For more info, visit: First & Main Town Center.

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'Sleeping Beauty' -  Sat May 6, 2:00pm - 4:15pm, Roy J. Wasson Academic Campus 2115 Afton Way

Admission: $15/adult, $10/12 & under. Enjoy this classical ballet performance by Rahcael's School of Dance. For more info, visit: Rachael's School of Dance.

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Fountain Creek Family Fun Day -  Sat May 6, 10:00am - 2:00pm, Fountain Creek Nature Center 320 Peppergrass Lane

Admission: $5/member, $6/non-member. 20 outdoor activities for the whole family including dino fossils, kite making, puppet shows, and more! For more info, visit: El Paso County.

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Joe Smith and The Spicy Pickles -  Sun May 7, 3:00pm - 6:00pm, Warehouse Restaurant & Gallery 25 W Cimarron St

Admission: $30/person. Enjoy local jazz and swing tunes from Joe Smith and The Spicy Pickles. For more info, visit: Friends of Colorado Springs Jazz.

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Pine Forest Spring Show & Sale -  Sun May 7, 11:00am - 3:00pm, Lewis-Palmer High School 1300 Higby Rd

Admission: $6/person, $1 off with canned good donation. Don't miss the home decor, antiques, garden exhibit, and Art Fest at this year's Pine Forest Spring Show & Sale. For more info, visit: Tri-Lakes Women's Club.

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