What to do About Household Hazardous Waste

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Household Hazardous Waste is defined by the EPA as:

Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, and/or reactive ingredients. Products, such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides, that contain potentially hazardous ingredients require special care when you dispose of them.

These items always seem to be an issue when it's time to move, people often leave them behind because the just don't know what to do with them. Identification and proper disposal of these items is important for several reasons, least of which are human health and safety. For example, used motor oil is insoluble, slow to degrade, and can contain toxic chemicals and heavy metals.

Household batteries contain cadmium, lead, mercury, copper, zinc, manganese, lithium, or potassium, which are all know to be hazardous to the environment and human health.

Due to their toxic nature, items categorized as Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) need to be disposed of at an appropriate facility. Fortunately, El Paso County has a Hazardous Waste disposal facility and drop of HHW items is free for El Paso County residents.

The facility is located in the Powers area at 3255 Akers Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80922. This is between Constitution Ave. and North Carefree Circle, just West of Marksheffel Road.

 

 

For a complete list of what types of waste the facility collect as well as information on hours, please visit their website Click Here

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Choose Your Colorado Springs Title Insurance Company Wisely

When buying or selling your Colorado Springs home you most likely do the appropriate research before choosing your real estate agent, your lender, your moving company and others. But did you know that you also have the right to choose your title company? In our previous posts we explained the importance of title insurance and how the costs are determined. So, it is critical to choose a reputable, experienced company to ensure that you have a smooth and hassle-free transaction.

Below are 9 questions you should ask when searching for a title company.

  1. Is my Money Safe? Make sure that the company has a fully staffed escrow and accounting department dedicated to protecting your funds. Ask for a written guarantee that the company does not disclose your personal information to anyone not involved in the transaction and find out if they carry fidelity coverage and errors and omission insurance.

  2. Is the Title Company Financially Stable? To make sure that the title underwriter is financially stable, check the Demotech website, which issues Financial Stability Ratings (FSRs) for title underwriters.

  3. Is the Title Company a Neutral Third Party? Some title companies are owned by lenders, real estate firms or builders which may cause a conflict of interest. Your Title Insurance company should be independent and unbiased to ensure that the transaction closes according to the terms of the contract, without any complications.

  4. Is the Rate Quoted Much Lower than What Other Companies are Charging? Below market premiums may indicate a lack of experience, subpar service or insufficient financial and accounting controls.

  5. In Addition to the Premium, are there Other Fees and Charges? Ask about fees for electronic delivery, overnight courier, cashier's check, release tracking, wire transfers and other charges that may add up to be more than the amount charged by reputable title companies. 

Make sure you have all the associated fees in writing before signing any agreement.

  6. Does the Title Company Conduct Thorough Title Searches and Report All Exceptions? Title companies are required to perform a "reasonable examination" for every transaction, which includes providing you with actual documents for any exceptions (e.g. liens, unpaid taxes). Your title company must identify, disclose and resolve all issues prior to closing.



  7. Is the Title Company Locally Owned and Operated? Beware of a title company which outsources production of the title commitment and portions of the closing process overseas. A local company will be more knowledgeable about Colorado Springs real estate laws and customs as well as the local real estate market.

  8. Are the Employees of the Title Company Licensed? In Colorado, title underwriters, agent companies and agents are licensed through the Colorado Division of Insurance. Any title company employee who provides rate information to the public must have a license. By Colorado law, sales people, title examiners and searchers must be licensed. The Division of Insurance also regulates activities and has the right to audit files, impose fines for improper actions, discipline agents and take other corrective action.

  9. Is the Title Company a Member of the American Land Title Association (ALTA)? The professional/lobbying organization for the title insurance industry is the American Land Title Association (ALTA). In 2007, ALTA launched the "The Title Industry Consumer Initiative" which details the association's strategy for improving industry oversight and educating and protecting consumers. You can learn more about the Consumer Initiative on the ALTA Web site.

Thank you to Sara Martin of Land Title Guarantee Company for providing the above information.

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Which Cell Phone Provider Do I Choose?

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So I'm driving around in the car this weekend with some new buyers from out of state.  They traveled with their cell phones, naturally.  As we drive, we notice that they keep losing cell phone service. Their signal is weak and they can't get good connections. They do not have AT&T.

A good friend of mine who lives in the East area of Colorado Springs, near Academy Blvd. and Maizeland, is constantly dropping cell phone calls and having to redial...very frustrating!  He does not have AT&T.

I mention this becuase it DOES matter who your cell phone provider is around here.  In Colorado Springs I have found that best service is through AT&T.  I have found their rates are pretty competitive. I rarely drop calls.  I have good coverage throughout the area.  It is important...especially when your livelihood depends on it!

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2014 Housing Market at a Glance

This year the Colorado Springs housing market started off a bit slow.  From January to mid March we Realtors were all scratching our heads wondering where all the buyers were and why houses were taking longer to sell.  At at some dark point, which no one cares to admit, we even began to wonder "is it me?  is there something more I could be doing?"

But around mid March things changed back to normal.  Buyers came out to buy, and houses began to sell at their usual pace. Springtime sales gradually heated up transitioning into a typical, busy and productive Summer.

Here is how our Colorado Springs housing market fared, through the 3rd quarter of this year:

          -  Single Family Home Sales Up 1.2% over last year

          -  Average Sales Price of a Single Family Home Up 2.6% over last year; to $250,928

          -  Total Homes for Sale (active listings) Down 5.9% from last year

          -  Condo/Townhome Sales Up 5.2% over last year

          -  Average Sales Price of a Condo/Townhome Up 1.5% over last year; to $168,948

          -  Total Condos/Townhomes for Sale (active listings) Down 11.2% from last year

 

To summarize:  Home sales have increased slightly over last year. Home prices have increased slightly.  There is less inventory for sale now than there was last year at this time. And although we started off the year a bit slow, we have made a nice recovery.  Whew!  Nice to know we're still on track!

 

 

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How to Assess Title Insurance Rates and Fees for your Colorado Springs Home

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In our last blog post we talked about the necessity of buying title insurance for your home purchase. Now, we want to discuss the cost of title insurance, how it is calculated and how a little legwork on your part can save you money.

The title insurance industry is unique in that regulation by the state serves as a natural check on profits. Rates by title companies are ultimately set in response to competition in the marketplace. However, if the competition does not lead to fair rates, the state steps in stating that rates cannot be “excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory”.

There are a number of things you can do to monitor the cost of your title insurance. Below are five steps you can take.

  1. Do your research. Title insurance is a two-part transaction. The first part covers the property’s history to determine if there are any unpaid loans or liens. The second part insures you against future discoveries or problems with the property. Insurance companies are allowed to set their own rates, so it pays to spend some time comparing policies to make sure you get the best possible deal. Visit Home Closing 101 to find title insurance companies in Colorado Springs who are members of the American Land Title Association.

  2. Ask about add-on fees. These may include mail and courier charges, copy fees and fees for searches and certificates. You have the right to ask a company to reduce or drop these fees.

  3. Ask about a “re issue rate.” If your home has been refinanced or sold within the last 5 years, you may qualify for discounts up to 50%.

  4. Ask about Endorsements. An endorsement is a rider attached to a Mortgage or an Owner policy to expand or limit the policy coverage. Attaching an endorsement to the policy adapts the coverage to meet the needs of the insured. Examples of common endorsements are: Condominium Endorsement, Mineral Endorsement, Encroachments on Easements, just to mention a few. By issuing an endorsement, the insurer may take on additional risk normally not covered under the policy. A premium is usually charged for issuing any endorsement.

  5. Don’t rely on a single recommendation from your real estate agent. Ask for two or three companies that he or she recommends.

For a list of title insurance companies in Colorado and their fee schedules visit DORA or Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies or Network Closing.

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