Archive for the ‘Real Estate’ Category

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.  


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.


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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.

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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. 



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                    Now that we are headed into the winter months it is more important than ever to correctly price your home to position it strategically amongst the competition.  There are 3 things that give you the edge: location, condition, and price.  Let’s take a look at price.  According to statistics provided by Jay Gupta, PPAR chairman, 26% of the homes sold were on the market less than 30 days.  Only 12% of the active listings sold in September and with 26% of those selling in less than 30 days, the other 74% of homes that sold had been on the market from 30 to over 120 days.  Another interesting fact is that the sale to listing price ratio is at 96.5%- low ball offers are not winning the day.

Getting it Right= Success!

Getting it Right= Success!


                        So the important lesson to take from the data is that you want to have your Realtor do a current market analysis on your home taking into consideration the most recent sold statistics, the current condition of your home, and the active competition.  The numbers will tell what the market is going to support for your home and from that you can choose if this is the right time to sell and what the best price should be to position you correctly.  Now is not the time to “test the market” and that mentality usually leads to frustration, lower offers in the long run, and more upheaval during the marketing stages.  Selling your home doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process if the home is priced correctly from the onset.  Check in next time for a discussion on condition.

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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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Another Realtor in Colorado

Why would anyone be a Realtor in today’s market?  That’s a question I get asked numerous times each week.  Each person is ready to hear the doom and gloom and woes of being a Realtor.  I love it and can’t imagine doing anything else.  Why?  Because I thrive on viewing, staging, marketing, and selling homes as well as helping people to purchase them. 

OK so this is going to be another blog that discusses certain aspects of the Real Estate world but the attempt will be to inject some of my personality as well as educate and interact with all of you.  This is a place to come with a good cup of coffee and a few free minutes to feel welcome and possibly find some little tidbit of info about Colorado Springs and the housing market that you might not know.

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