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Tenacity Driven-Turn Key Results

Tenacity Driven-Turn Key Results

 

Welcome to my  blog on the Pikes Peak region.  Colorado Springs is a community at the base of Pikes Peak home to several military bases including the Air Force Academy and Fort Carson.  The community is also the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts and is conveniently located to some of the best ski resorts in the world.  Here you will find interesting news on the community as well as the current real estate market.

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Are we finally turning a corner in the housing market?  According to a recent article in the Gazette

            The pace of home construction soared last month in the Colorado Springs area according to a report today by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department.  Single-family home building permits totaled 166 in February in the Springs and surrounding El Paso County, more than a threefold increase from 53 permits during the same month a year ago…. It was the most single-family permits in any month since 180 permits were issued in May 2008 and the most in any February since 179 in 2007.

 

Active listings in the El Paso County for the month of February were 4361 with the median price at 182,000.  The average days on market were 82. 

This time last year the active listings on the market were 5060, and the average median price was 177,250.  The average days on market were 95 for the first quarter of 2009.  Although these seem like slight changes it is a move in the right direction towards stabilizing the housing market in the area. 

Sold!

 

The Colorado Springs area is unique in that we had a recent influx of military families that decided to purchase homes utilizing the tax credit and incredible interest rates.  The lack of on-base housing contributed to the decrease in inventory especially in conveniently located communities to the bases.  A large proportion of renters became first time buyers as the tax incentive and low rates made home ownership a reality for many allowing an escape from the variable expense of increasing rents. 

The first quarter of 2010 appears to be promising for the Real Estate market here in El Paso County.  The days of screaming deals are gone in the under 200k range with the average home price increasing and the multiple offer scenarios on the rise.  Things could get very interesting for the Spring and Summer season here in Colorado Springs and I for one am looking forward to it.

Riches to Rags

Starting over

I just watched another agent pack up their office for the last time and head off into the sunset of obscurity.  Not by choice or was it?  Having come from the corporate world I’m finding this commission arena one that baffles and yet intrigues me.  I’m hearing the latest version of riches to rags too often and have to pause to question what choices were made to warrant this current phenomenon in our industry?

Yes these are tough times in the land of Real Estate and many agents are working harder for less reward, but how are experienced agents ending up in such dire straights as to be filing bankruptcy and leaving the industry?  Did these seasoned agents not work during the good years just a few short years ago when deals were aplenty and the land of Real Estate was paved in Gold?  Surely they heard the warnings of others to save for the downturns in the market.  “This is a cyclical industry” as told by my instructors when I entered the field a few short years ago. Business fluctuations are a standard and one must live within a reasonable budget to survive.  

Budget

As mentioned earlier I came from the corporate world.  Salaries are fixed and one learns early on to intricately budget in order to adjust for life’s unexpected curve balls.  It is still hard for me to fathom how one can be suffering the woes of bankruptcy when having had the luxury of 6 figure incomes for an extended period of time.  Had the agents learned the age old lesson of storing up for the winter from our old friend the ant, they might not be packing and heading out to pasture but enjoying the rewards of longevity in an ever changing  and rewarding industry.

AdAmAn Club Heads for the Summit

          While most of us here in Colorado Springs are having our second cup of coffee and processing our agenda for the day, the AdAmAn club is sharing a warm meal together at the edge of the Barr Trail and discussing the upcoming climb to the Summit of Pikes Peak.  The club originated in 1922 with only 5 members: Ed and Fred Morath, Fred Barr, Willis Magee, and Harry Standley, and with the addition of Bill Slaughter this year, the club has grown to 91 members. 

 

             The AdAmAn club has grown in popularity over the years and each new member is selected from a large list of applicants.  The members are a group of avid mountaineers that embrace the original “Frozen Five’s” vision to spend New Years Eve void of boring cocktail parties.  The original 5 picked up abandoned flairs along the trail and lit them on top of Pikes Peak at the stroke of midnight.  A huge bon fire was also built and the display could be seen for miles.  Thus the tradition of having a fire works display at the stroke of midnight every year was born. 

            For those that want to experience a more luxurious lifestyle there are several country and golf clubs conveniently located in and around the greater Colorado Springs area.  Starting with the elegant Country Club of Colorado at Cheyenne Mountain nestled in the foothills of Cheyenne Mountain and conveniently located near the Broadmoor resort.  There is something for everyone including swimming, tennis, fitness, and of course golf.  The various memberships available include everything from just a social or recreational membership all the way up to the corporate all inclusive membership with unlimited access to the golf course. 

            For those that want to experience the majestic views of the infamous Garden of the Gods a membership to the Kissing Camels Country Club and Spa would be an option. With over 75 overnight accommodations this is a favorite for that weekend get away. Other amenities include fine dining, fitness, tennis, recreation area, and of course a beautifully designed golf course. Memberships available include the regular, sports, social, and the national for the out of towners. 

            The Woodmoor Pines Golf Club in Monument is now associated with Kings Deer Golf Club giving members more options for golf and dining.  Nestled within the tall pines of the Black Forest it provides seclusion as well as outstanding views of the Front Range.  Memberships range from the Full to the Social depending upon the needs of the customer and their interests. 

            The Colorado Springs Country Club provides great golf opportunities as well as fitness, tennis, swimming, and special events.  There are various golf memberships allowing for the occasional game or the more inclusive for those die hard players.  There is also a social and clubhouse membership for those non golfers that enjoy the other amenities of the country club atmosphere. 

            Flying Horse takes pride in the fine dining atmosphere provided allowing even non members to book special events.  Amenities include dining, tennis, fitness, golf, and an upscale spa.  Memberships vary from the full to junior, and from the social to corporate depending upon inclusions. 

            The opportunities are endless for entertaining, fitness, business conferences, family gatherings, and special occasions at the areas upscale country clubs and spas. Taking the time to preview the club as well as talking to the membership team should be part of the process of choosing the right club matching lifestyle to amenities and location.

Collateral Damage

Renters Beware

 There is a new wave of victims in the mortgage crisis these days, a quiet group that doesn’t get much attention, but victims none the less.  Renters across the country have been put on the streets with sometimes no more than a couple of weeks notice due to the foreclosure crisis.  In some cases the property owners fail to pay HOA fees leading to the shut off of utilities if that property is a condominium or town home. Many times the security deposit and last month’s rent are not returned leaving the renter without necessary funds to secure new housing.  This group that is usually already financially strapped and barely scraping by is left in crisis mode and without recourse. 

 Information from the California Tenants Together site states that  President Obama in May of 2009 signed a bill as part of the  Helping Families Save Their Homes Act  protecting renters from the quick evict process that has been the norm in foreclosures.  Previously the lease did not survive the foreclosure and renters were given only days in some cases post auction to move or face eviction.  Now the law states that a lease survives auction and must be honored and those without a lease are given up to 90 days to find suitable housing.  The law signed in May of 2009 extends until 2012 at this time.

 Many banks are offering “keys for cash” from renters knowing that a vacant property is easier to sell than a tenant occupied.  This can be a good deal if the offer is adequate for the renter to pay upfront costs associated with the move and securing new housing.  Unfortunately in most cases the offer is close to $1000 dollars which in many cases does not cover out of pocket expenses. 

 This growing group of victims otherwise known as collateral damage from the foreclosure crisis was one that I had not been made aware of until I received a call from my daughter telling me her water may get cut off from nonpayment of HOA fees and potential eviction from foreclosure on her rented condo.  My daughter pays her rent on time and was enjoying the convenience of living near her work.  Now she faces more financial upset in an already insecure entry level work environment.  At least now we know she will have 90 days to vacate should the property be sold at auction.

Condition Matters

          Just like the ingredients in a recipe, the 3 major factors in a home sale must blend together to create the perfect combination for success: location, price, and condition.  When these three areas are addressed at the beginning of the transaction there is a greater chance for a successful sale in a reasonable time period.  They do interconnect and if one has a major flaw then another must be altered to reflect.  For instance, if your home backs up to a busy highway then price must be adjusted according to the competition. 

v    Cleanliness: This area cannot be overemphasized.  When a buyer looks at a property, they are emotionally stimulated to investigate the property further or write it off the list of potentials.  Bad smells such as pet odors and mustiness must be addressed and can turn off a buyer immediately.  Always have the home present like a model void of knick knacks, family photos, and with limited personal items. Look up, down, and under to find neglected dirt or clutter that might distract the buyer. Take a few moments every day to pick up and put away items where they belong leaving an inviting clean atmosphere for the buyer to peruse.

Upgraded baths are a plus

Sleek and modern

v    Maintenance: NOW is the time to finish those little projects that have been on your to do list!  Replace burned out lights, broken shades, loose rails, and all the other little items that seem to always be on the list.  PAINT.  This is the cheapest and most cost effective way to give a home the boost it needs to look fresh and inviting.  Tone down extreme colors and smooth out those dings and scuff marks.  For the larger jobs that might be a deal breaker hire a professional and get it done.  A few hundred dollars now can reap greater profits in the eye of the buyer later.  They will ALWAYS discount more in the offer than it would have cost to repair/replace.  It might be a good idea to have a home inspection done pre- listing to get an idea of needed maintenance issues that will arise later and give you extra time necessary to orchestrate repairs.  It’s a great marketing tool as well to have a home inspection report with updated pages after suggested repairs are done for the prospective buyer to view. 

v    Curb Appeal: Buyers will actually discard a home before ever entering the property just by what they see as their first impression.  A neglected yard screams handyman special and they won’t bother to investigate further, unless of course they are looking for a fixer and will make an offer as such.  Trim, add color, mow, and replace.  Spruce up with mulch and fresh plants.  Paint or remove old worn furniture.  Paint porches, add style appropriate light fixtures, and again eliminate clutter.  Dead plants have to go.  Address dangerous steps or walkways.  Let your home be the one that looks well cared for and inviting.

Furniture placement as an accent

Highlight architectural features

v    Stage:  Buyers need to have a clear picture of what the home offers for their design needs.  Give each room a purpose and clearly define that purpose with the appropriate items.  Multi use rooms have a tendency to confuse the shopper and they will be left wondering how that particular space would serve them. If you give them an idea then they can interpret that as potential valuable space and it will stimulate ideas for their personal use.  Think of furniture arrangement as a tool to emphasize the floor plan, architecture, and most importantly square footage.  Less is sometimes better.  Rent a storage unit and remove larger pieces, multiples, and miss matched items.  Add a few decorative touches but don’t make is distractive to the main objective and that is selling the home. 

Staging doesn’t have to be expensive or stressful.  Visit a few model homes and get ideas on furniture placement and décor.  Mimic those ideas with your own creativity and utilizing items you already own. Have a friend critique your home as a buyer would see it and get another perspective.  Your Realtor should be able to give you suggestions and tips for staging as well as provide the name of professional stagers as an option. 

               

   

                                                  Off Leash Dog Parks

            Whether you are a dog owner or not you have to appreciate the wisdom of the community in embracing our four legged friends and giving them a place of their own to romp and play.  There are several off leash dog parks within the community that allow for social interaction, exercising, and training while providing dog stations for keeping the parks clean. 

 

           Here is a list of current off leash parks that welcome your well behaved dogs. 

  • Bear Creek Regional Park: 25 acres of fenced area that borders Bear Creek.  There is an additional 2 acre area for small dogs that is separated from the large dog play area. This park is on the west side of town near Cheyenne Mt. and on 21st street.   Fenced.
  • Garden of the Gods Dog Park: an area east of Rock Ledge Ranch on 30th.  3130 N. 30th street.  Hours:  5 AM to 11 PM May –Oct. 5 AM- 9PM Nov-March.  Not fenced
  • Rampart Dog Park: Located near Rampart High school and next to the baseball diamond.  8270 Lexington.  5 AM -11 PM May- Oct  and 5 AM- 9 PM Nov – March.  Water spigots and benches provided.  Fenced 
  • Palmer Park Dog Park: park is located at an old baseball field. There is a fenced play area.  3650 Maizeland Rd.
  • Red Rock Canyon: Unfenced areas uphill from the parking lot.  Upper and lower dog loop.  Open dawn to dusk daily.  High street.
  • Cheyenne Meadows Dog Park:  Fenced area at the southern part of the park.  Canoe Creek. 

           Remember it is up to the owner to keep control of their dogs at all times and to monitor activity.  Other tips for a safe and happy outing:

             1.  Use dog toys for your interaction with your pet, don’t let him carry them inside the play area as it might cause fights

             2. Make sure your dogs vaccinations are up to date

             3. If your female dog is in heat –leave her at home or take her for walks with you on a leash

             4. Don’t let small children play inside the dog play areas.

              5. If your dog is playing rough then leash or remove him

              6. Remember to clean up after your dog.