Personal

homeowners insurance refund check

Getting Your Homeowner’s Insurance Refund

No one likes to leave money on the table at the end of a real estate transaction. During the sale process, home sellers can get so focused on the big items like purchase price, inspection items and closing costs they miss the smaller items that can actually enhance their bottom line as well.

One of the most overlooked items in this category is homeowners insurance. This is because so few homeowners understand how homeowners insurance works and more importantly what happens to the policy when they sell their home.

If you had a mortgage on your home, you also had a homeowners insurance policy that would have been required by your lender. Additionally, unless you made a substantial down payment, more than 20%, your mortgage lender would have paid your insurance and taxes through an escrow fund they set up.

If you remember when you purchased the property, there was a category of closing costs referred to as “Prepaids”. The first year of Property Insurance was included in this category.

Each month when you made your payment a small portion went towards the next year’s homeowners insurance policy, that money was deposited into the escrow account that your lender maintained. Annually when these expenses came due, your lender paid them for you.

There are essentially two categories of insurance monies. The first is what you’ve paid into your current years escrow account. After the sale of your home, your lender should automatically mail you a refund check for the monies still sitting in your escrow account. That check usually arrives within 3-6 weeks of closing.

The second type of money is what you have already prepaid. The insurance company already has this money. When you sell your home, there will most likely be a surplus of funds from months you won’t own the house.This surplus is what you are looking to get back from the insurance company.

Example, if your homeowners policy begins every November 1st, then your annual premium is paid at that time, for the upcoming 12-months. If you sell your home six months later, you have only used six months worth of your policy. Since you have already paid for the entire year, a refund is now due for the unused portion.

In order to get this money, you are going to need to actually cancel the Homeowner’s Insurance policy. If you do not actually cancel the policy, then the premium already paid will not be refunded.

    1. Determine your mortgage anniversary date-This is generally your closing date. Find your original closing documents. If you can’t find your closing documents, your Realtor can help you find these documents as well as Supply you with your closing date.
    2. Check your escrow account– Do this to see how much you paid your insurance company check your statement or online portal for your account.
    3. Calculate the unused portion of your policy based on your closing date-You do this by taking the total policy amount paid (#2) and dividing it by 365 days, this will give you your per day policy rate. Now add up them remaining days in the year after your closing date. Multiply this number by your per day policy rate
    4. Contact your insurance provider– To cancel policy and initiate the cancellation and refund
    5. Keep your Personal Property Covered-Don’t forget to make sure you have some kind policy in place to cover your personal property.

The insurance company has to be notified in order to cancel the policy. Once you do that, they have to refund the portion of the year’s policy which you did not use.

You should call your insurance Agent or Carrier’s Customer service line. Each company handles cancellations differently. Some might ask you to sign a document, formally indicating the desire to stop coverage while others might want you to write a letter stating your intent.

While you’re on the phone, it’s also a good idea to discuss coverage options for your personal property during the moving process. Unless you have a specific policy in place, once the homeowners policy goes away, so does the coverage on your personal property. Moving and storing stuff often leads to unexpected damages, so it’s best to have some type of coverage in place to protect your property.

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

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Colorado Springs Best Coffee Ever

Colorado Springs has it all in the way of places to shop and eat. Chain stores pepper the city from North to South selling familiar goods like clothing and dog food and Starbucks coffee.  But we also have the specialty boutique stores, independently-owned and locally run offering unique, high-quality goods which you cannot get anywhere else.  I’m talking about Colorado Springs-based shops like the Wimberger Bakery which bakes its finest German breads right here, or the Ranch Foods Direct meat market which offers hormone and antibiotic free, Colorado-raised beef…or one of my personal favorites, Colorado Coffee Merchants which locally roasts and sells the best coffee I’ve ever tasted.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

Founded in 2004, Colorado Coffee Merchants opened for business in a quaint stucco building on Filmore Street located in the central, and what-used-to-be more industrial part of town. The owner, Eric Umenhofer, claims his store and success was completely unintentional.  A former firefighter, he had a passion for good, well-prepared coffee. As a result, he and some of his work friends developed a hobby of roasting their own coffee beans.  Eventually, they landed this location, a commercial building where they could install the giant roasters with tall metal stacks venting through the roof and roast to their heart’s content. They had no idea this “hobby” would draw such local interest. And before long, they had a cult following of committed coffee drinkers insisting to buy some. What began as a hobby evolved into a thriving coffee shop, offering single serves or beans to go as well as scrumptious eats from local vendors.

WHAT MAKES THIS COFFEE SO GOOD?

I am told it’s the combination of the air roasting method plus the finest quality imported beans from trusted growers all over the world which makes this coffee taste so darn good. The coffee brand is called Umpire Estate Mountain Roasters. The beans are imported in select batches from places like Guatemala, Ethiopia, Italy, Mexico and even France.

A GOOD FEELING

Step inside and you’re immediately warmed by familiar smiling faces, the heavenly smell of good coffee and rustic atmosphere. This local store is always buzzing with loyal customers greeted daily by the staff or owner himself. Yah, he knows everyone by name. How he remembers everyone I don’t quite know. But I guarantee you’ll feel welcome. And if it’s roasting day, you just might leave with your clothes and hair smelling of great coffee!

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Nicole Happel’s Favorite Pumpkin Bread

It’s that time of year again!  Every October I post my favorite recipe for pumpkin bread.  I’ve tried a few, and this one is by far the best.  I think it’s the cream cheese which makes it extra yummy.  And there’s a funny story about how I came across this recipe.  One day I got home from work, and in my mailbox was this pumpkin bread recipe from another Realtor, who was soliciting my neighborhood for business. I doubt she knew she was sending it to “the competition.”  Anyhow, I read the ingredients and it looked pretty good.  I gave it a try and must say it’s the best I’ve had.  So here you go, my favorite recipe for pumpkin bread…compliments of me and that other Realtor out there.

PUMPKIN BREAD

*Makes one 9″x5″x3″loaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Ingredients

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/4 cups white sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 eggs

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

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

In another bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt cinnamon, cloves and walnuts.  Stir together.  Pour all at once over batter.  Fold together, just enough to moisten. Pour 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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Being a Realtor Is About Personal Relationships

Over the years my clients often become friends.  After all, we talk and email daily during the course of the transaction, and with that, we become quite familiar with each other’s lives and routines.  We share stories which go beyond real estate, delving into the personal about our kids and pets and how we feel today.  Clients have met my family, joined us boating at the lake, taken pictures of our dogs.  They invite me to their weddings and baby showers and parties.  They sometimes call for relationship advice or where to buy a good burger.  One client currently under contract is pregnant, so we begin our conversations with “how are you feeling today?  are you so excited to be having a girl?”  My business is so personal.

Today I received this special and oh-so-personal poem.  It was written by a past client whom I met at the park where we all run.  And I recently sold their home.

She’s up in the morning awake with the dawn

   Checks her computer and then she is gone

   Out for a run in the brisk morning air

   Back for a shower and washing her hair

   A quick bite to eat, she’s ready to go

   Staging a house so it’s ready to show

   Back in the office she answers her phone

   Wishing some clients would leave her alone

    Off then to school to pick up her child

   Gotta be careful cause traffic is wild

   She sits down to dinner and gets a brief rest

   Knowing that this day she gave it her best

   Early to bed with her pillow and dog

   Once again in the morning, she goes out for her jog.

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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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Requirements to become a Realtor

With the booming real estate market, especially locally, we are seeing lots of people interested in the real estate business… friends, family, & clients. Here are the requirements to become a Realtor and what you need to know before you take the first steps towards changing your career.

It all starts with real estate school, but those of us in the business a while know there should be some sort of personality exam first. HA! It’s a very interesting and challenging business, but so much fun most of the time! Here are the requirements to become a Realtor and what you need to know before you take the first steps towards changing your career.

Real Estate School

This is the actual real first step. My schooling was 16 years ago, WHOA! So things have obviously changed, but the goal of real estate school is to provide a framework for the industry and help you learn to pass the test. Then the real education begins. 😉  My top recommendation would be a real school like Kaplan where their sole focus is the real estate industry and surrounding fields (appraisers, etc).

There are other ways to do it, I think our local community college and probably the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) have real estate classes. Classes can be taken on-line through schools all over the country.

Real Estate Test

(Dun dun DUNNN)

  • You have to pay each time
  • There is one test facility in Colorado Springs (and one in Pueblo)
  • There are two portions… State and National
  • Plan a couple hours
  • Results pretty much immediately
  • I think the majority do not pass the first time
  • Your license can transfer to different state with different levels of reciprocity (some are full transfer, some partial, some require taking their state test, some don’t transfer and you have to start over)

Hanging Your New License

Once you pass the test!.. you will soon have a Colorado Real Estate license, but now you have to figure out where to “hang” your license. During real estate school, if you went to classes at Kaplan in person, some real estate companies will come visit your class and do some light recruiting. You may also do research on your own. What do you want? … what do you need?

  • First, the state requires hanging your license under a brokerage for minimum 2 years to be supervised by a broker.
  • small or big?
  • boutique or big box?
  • company splits or desk fees?
  • personality (yes, offices carry different personalities, and like any job, it’s nice to get along with the people you work with)
  • monthly meetings
  • supporting staff
  • mentor program

Once you pass your test, to be issued a license, you have to be fingerprinted by the state of Colorado. They do a full background check.

The Costs of Being a Realtor

It is expensive to get going; there are start-up and recurring costs:

  • Real Estate School
  • PPAR/CAR/NAR (see next paragraph) – monthly/annually
  • Electronic Contract Software – monthly
  • License Renewal – every 1-3 years
  • Signage – as needed
  • Lockboxes – as needed
  • Education – multiple times annually
  • Gas/vehicle maintenance – weekly/monthly (I drive now about 25,000 miles per year)
  • Meals, expenses, client referral gifts
  • I’m sure there are others I’m not thinking of!

Join a Real Estate Board

Our local board is the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors. Membership here includes membership to the local board (PPAR), Colorado Association of Realtors (CAR) and National Association of Realtors (NAR). To join the board there are required orientation and ethics classes. You will learn how to use the MLS and how to handle various situations. It would also be advised to take additional classes through PPAR or local title companies for things like contracts, electronic contract software, etc. There is so much you can learn.

Required Continuing Education

As with most licensed profession, continued education is required… a certain amount of hours per 1 and 3 year period… ethics, contracts, elective courses… all to help you become better at what you do.

The industry is constantly changing, the contracts change annually, every transaction is different because of various parties involved and every home is unique.

My best advice

  • work on a team or under a mentor for at least a year!
  • soak up everything you can from the successful agents around you
  • SAVE$$!… it can take months/years to be truly successful, and even then there are rollercoaster times as the market shifts. It may be several months before you close your first sale, and you need to still be able to pay your rent/mortgage during that time… and probably eat.

If you have a friend who is a Realtor in Colorado Springs, take them to lunch or coffee and “pick their brain”. I have done this with several people in the past few years. I love helping people, so I want to talk them through if it’s a good choice. Everyone thinks it’s so easy right now because it’s busy, but in 16+ years, this is the hardest market I think I’ve worked! If you are interested, jump in with both feet and prepare to be challenged, frustrated, encouraged, let-down, built-up, and grow!  If you already have your license check out our mentorship program. It is a good option to get off on a good foot once you have your license.

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Preparing Your Teen for Driving

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Back when I was a teen getting a driver’s license was pretty simple. We enrolled in driver’s education offered in public schools and at the end of the course we took an exam and upon passing were eligible for a learner’s permit. The permit was obtained at the local DMV where you fill out an application and maybe showed them your birth certificate (if you even had one). You had to be 15 1/2 years old to get this permit and then your parents would take you out and teach you how to drive. You didn’t log your hours on the road.  It wasn’t that formal. We just drove with adults until turning 16, at which point we could go get our actual driver’s license. There wasn’t a lot of regulation to it.

Well, times have changed. Today it’s quite different than that. My daughter recently went through the process, so it’s fresh in my mind. Allow me to enlighten you about obtaining a Colorado driver’s permit and license today.

Start with Driver’s Education

First, driver’s education is no longer offered in the public schools. So you have to find a private driving school and enroll them in it. In Colorado Springs we have many options for schools like Academy School of Driving, 1st Drive or Master Drive. I opted for Master Drive since they have a great reputation here. The student must be at least 14 years old in order to enroll. They must take 30 hours of classroom training. Additional behind-the-wheel training is available through each school but is not mandatory. Upon completion of the 30-hour class, the student takes a written exam, but he can only do that after turning 15. This exam can be taken at the driving school or at the local DMV. In order to pass the exam, the student cannot miss more than five answers. Otherwise, they must re-take the exam.  After passing the student can now apply for a learner’s permit.  

Obtain the Learner’s Permit

In order to get the permit the student must meet the following requirements:

1. They must be at least 15 years of age

2. They must show proof of 30 hours of driver training school

3. They must show proof that they passed the written exam or be prepared to take the exam at the DMV

4. They must have a valid birth certificate

5. They must have a valid social security card

6. They must show two written proofs of their current Colorado address (which I found a bit challenging because my 15-year-old doesn’t receive a lot of official mail at the house yet)

7. They/you must pay a fee of $17

8. They must have a parent or guardian with them at the time of application so that person can sign as the responsible party for the minor behind the wheel (basically, if your kid crashes and does any harm or damage to another it’s your liability).

Once you’ve done all this the applicant is issued their learner’s permit. The student driver must have that permit for one year before they can obtain an actual driver’s license. During that year the student driver must log at least 50 hours behind the wheel with an adult who is at least 21 years old. Those driving hours are written on a form provided by the DMV, and that form must be signed by the parent or guardian. 

Finally the Driver’s License

After the year is up and the student driver has logged the required hours, they can then go to the DMV and get their driver’s license.  There they will have to pass a written exam and actual evaluation behind the wheel. 

I know it sounds like a lot to go through, and at first, I was slightly overwhelmed by the regulation involved here. But I have concluded that it’s all good. Requiring kids to spend more time learning how to drive is a plus, not only for their own safety but for the safety of all drivers on the road. Requiring more documentation at the time of application is a plus because driving is a privilege for US residents, and proving proof is a small price to pay. And requiring kids to drive for at least one year before obtaining a license is a plus because it’s more supervised time behind the wheel. Thank you, Colorado, for holding us to this higher standard!

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How Does a Realtor Get Paid, Anyway?

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 payday 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 commission, 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… 🙂how does the realtor get paid,

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A Love Letter to My Clients

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I am writing this love letter to all my clients. 

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Dear Clients/Friends,

Thank you for allowing me to help you with one of the most important decisions of your life, one of buying and selling your home, one of relocating your family, one of financial change, one of great impact to you.   Thank you for trusting me to guide and advise you through the process.  Thank you for the opportunity you have given me to feel significant. 

Thank you for the knowledge this work has given me.  Thank you for the confidence I have gained.  Thank you for the difficulties it has posed which have forced me to grow in patience and wisdom.  Thank you for the income it has offered, enabling me to provide a great life for my daughter.  Thank you teaching me how to do this job the best way I can.

Thank you for sharing your personal stories with me.  I love hearing how you couples met, who your children are, what brings you joy and what sorrows you face.   I love knowing you so intimately that I learn your pet’s names and get invited to your baby showers and weddings.  I love that we have laughed together, and I cherish that we have cried together.

What a gift you have all given me…one of knowing you! 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Nicole Happel

Understanding your Colorado Springs property taxes

Understanding Your Property Taxes

Understanding your Colorado Springs property taxes

Will property taxes go up in 2017? Better yet, just how are property taxes calculated? Here, in Colorado Springs, the El Paso County Assessor re-evaluates the value of homes every two years. He starts with the current market value of the home. Market Value is based on the most recent comparable sales in the area.

Once market value is determined, he multiplies the current market value by 7.96%, which is the current assessment rate for all residential properties.   MARKET VALUE times 7.96% = ASSESSED VALUE.

Once the assessed value is determined, he multiplies that by the current mill levy for the area. And that result is your annual property tax.

The mill levy for your area is dependent on many factors including but not limited to the school district, fire district, water district, library district, your county, and city. These various taxing entities comprise the total mill levy for an area. Taxing entities in one area may be higher than another. For example, the taxes for School District 20 are higher than those of School District 11. Although, the school district is not the only taxing entity in an area, the example gives you some information regarding the various mill levies for El Paso County

You can appeal the assessed value of your Colorado Springs home, thereby possibly lowering your property taxes. If you choose to do so, remember the El Paso County Assessor will only consider comparable sales for a specific period. That period must fall within the Assessor’s specific collection dates. For this task, I recommend calling your Realtor. As a part of our ongoing service and commitment to you, we can easily provide those comps to help you through the process, just give me a call.

 

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Homes for Sale in Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Real Estate

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703 N. Tejon St. Suite E
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

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We list and sell homes across the entire Pikes Peak region. Additionally, Springs Homes offers property management services. We work with a select few home builders in order to provide our clients with new construction options as well as resale opportunities.

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