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Real Estate Essentials Posts

Will the Colorado Real Estate Market Continue to Grow?

Ever wondered how the Colorado real estate market is looking or the local economy as a whole?  Is it still a good time to buy or sell property?  There’s good news, the market continues to look favorable according to the following data:

A recent study by Area Development assessed 373 cities in the United States for their potential as leading locations for business leaders to choose for expansion or location of their businesses.  They evaluated each city for its “prime work force, economic strength, year-over-year growth, and “recession-busting” attributes”.  The results put four Colorado areas in the top twenty ranking:

1.    Denver/Aurora/Broomfield

4.   Greeley

9.    Boulder

20. Fort Collins/Loveland

The Denver area is considered the hottest real estate market nationwide due to buyer activity, home value appreciation and a growing economy, according to a report posted by in May of this year.

According to the National Association of Realtors® 2014 Profile of Buyers and Sellers, Realtors® interviewed estimated that the housing prices in Colorado will increase by 5.2% over the next 12 months in 2015 compared to 3.5% for the entire United States.

What does this mean for the real estate market?  It means the value of our homes is likely to increase over time as there will continue to be an influx of people into Colorado, which increases demand and thus increases the value of our properties.   It means that people who recently bought a home can expect to see increased valuation in their property.  Also, it’s a great time for homeowners to sell as they will cash in on the equity they have built up in their home and will likely see increased valuation on their newly purchased home.  Further, due to high demand from low inventory, sellers can likely get a higher price for their home (sometimes with offers coming in above the list price) in a shorter amount of time.


Things to See in Colorado: Rocky Mountain National Park



A view of Hallett Peak (12,713 ft) from Dream Lake.  You can find this view by taking the trail from Bear Lake to Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.  Along the way you’ll come across Dream Lake and will have excellent views of Hallett Peak as well as Flattop Mountain (12,324 ft) which is just to the right of the frame of this photo.  It’s about a 1.8 mile hike from Bear Lake to Emerald Lake and is a nicely groomed trail.  A nice hike for the whole family!

Rocky Mountain National Park is a scenic destination for locals and tourists.  It is about 1 hour from Longmont, Colorado and about 1.5 hours from downtown Denver.

Need a Loan to Buy a House? Should You Get Pre-Qualified or Pre-Approved?

So you’re getting ready to buy a house, exciting!  What do you need to do to get ready to enter the market if you need a loan?  You’ll need to talk to a lender to determine if you are creditworthy for a loan first.  With that, you’ll have to consider whether to get pre-qualified or pre-approved.  I’ll briefly explain the difference and give you some pointers on which one is preferable.


To start, a pre-qualification is simple and only requires a phone call or can even be done online at various lenders’ websites.  You simply offer basic information on your income and other financial variables and you will be notified as to how much you will likely be approved for if the lender were to verify all of the information you provided.  There is no application to fill out and thus no application fee but also there is no guarantee that the lender will give you a loan.  It is merely an estimate of what you might be approved for.  This option doesn’t give you a whole lot of confidence that you are eligible for a loan.   Consequently, a seller may have the same lack of confidence when they receive your offer on their property.  However, it can be useful if you are not looking to buy a home soon but at least want to know a ballpark figure of what you might qualify for so you can plan ahead.  Ultimately though, when you are ready to get serious about buying a home you will want to get pre-approved.


A pre-approval, then, requires that a mortgage application be filled out.  The lender or bank will need documents that confirm your income and financial history.  They will do a thorough investigation as to your creditworthiness.  In the end, you will get a pre-approval letter that indicates if the lender approves you for a loan and for how much.  Essentially, the lender is saying that they will write you a loan today for the amount determined.   This gives great confidence to sellers when they receive your offer with this pre-approval letter.  It lets them know that you can make good on your offer.  This can give you an advantage over other offers when the seller is reviewing them.


Clearly the best option is to get pre-approved.  Especially in a market like Denver where homes often go under contract within the first day, you have to be ready to write an offer immediately!  If you are pre-approved, you won’t miss out on any opportunities.


Want to get pre-approved?  Please let me know and I can give you the names of a couple of good lenders in this area.

Should You Sell Your Home or Rent It?

Thinking about selling your home?  You may want to consider holding on to it if you can afford to do so.  Here’s why.  In this market, rental properties are scarce and rental rates are at a premium.  Since the foreclosure crisis, there are still many that prefer to rent or may have no other option due to their credit score.  And where do most people want to rent?  In single family homes.  So if you have enough reserves (usually 6 months) to cover your mortgage in case of no renters, you could buy a new home while keeping your current home as an investment property.


Things to consider:

  1. Check with a lender to see if you qualify for this option.
  2. Find out what the rental rates are in your neighborhood for similar properties.  If it is more than your current mortgage payment you could stand to make money each month as well as enjoy tax benefits.
  3. Consider whether you will manage the property or if you will hire a property management company to do it for you.  They typically charge 10% of your rental rate.  If it is only one property, you can likely manage it yourself.
  4. Research how you will find renters.  I posted on Craigslist and had a call within an hour!  They turned out to be great renters.
  5. Subscribe to an online tenant screening service so that you can verify the creditworthiness and legal history of your prospective tenants.
  6. Talk to an accountant about how to document properly for tax deductions related to owning an investment property.   Also inquire about selling the investment property down the road and avoiding capital gains tax.  If you have lived in your home 2 out of the last 5 years you could be exempt from paying taxes on your net proceeds.  So make some profit while renting, then sell the home at a profit and not pay taxes on your net proceeds.  Have your accountant help you document this properly.


Renting your own property can be a great experience and financially rewarding!

Want to Know Where the Fireworks Will Be This Weekend?


Below is a list of local fireworks displays to celebrate the 4th of July:




Estes Park


Fort Collins


Happy Independence Day!

“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered… deeply, …finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”  George Washington

Transaction Broker or Agent, What’s the Difference?

A licensed real estate broker can perform one of two roles with you as the client.  Both are held to the same uniform duties that govern licensed brokers, though an agent has additional responsibilities to you as the client.

The default role is that of a Transaction Broker.  A transaction broker will facilitate the process of a real estate transaction, perform any written or oral agreements given by you as the client, fully inform parties involved in the transaction and assist with contracts.  A transaction broker can work with both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction if the parties agree.

An agent on the other hand, is committed to advocating solely for you as the client.  An agent must promote your interests with the “utmost good faith, fidelity and loyalty” according to the Colorado Real Estate Commission.  Further, in advocating for you, a real estate broker working as an agent will seek the price and terms that are acceptable to you as the client and inform you of all material benefits and risks of the transaction.

When shopping for a broker, it is important to know the difference between these roles and seeing which one best fits your needs.  A key distinction is that a transaction broker assists while an agent advocates.  Some real estate brokerages may only provide the role of a transaction broker or that of an agent while others allow their brokers to perform either role in meeting your needs.

For me, I have the freedom to perform either role.  Though personally I prefer the role of agent as that allows me to provide the most extensive level of customer service to you.

Please let me know if you have any further questions about this topic.

Is It a Good Time to Buy Real Estate?

Buying a home is the largest investment you’ll make and should also be one of the most enjoyable.  So when should you buy a new home?   Answer: When you find that perfect home and you can afford it!  In today’s market there are some that say it’s best to hold off due to appreciated values as well as the difficulty in getting your offer accepted in this hot market.  We’re experiencing a  significantly high demand due to low inventory.  This results in multiple offers being made on homes though of course only one is accepted.  This is frustrating to buyers , especially those that have made multiple offers in their efforts to buy a home.

However, it’s still a good time to buy if you have the patience and the ability to keep trying.  With mortgage rates still hovering at  historical lows, you can save yourself a lot of money over the course of a 30 year loan.   According to a recent article on, buying in at these rates can save you over $100,000 over the life of a 30 year loan (Stults, 2015).

You can also save yourself money in the short term as well.  If you’re renting, Instead of throwing money away at rent you’ll be building equity, get tax benefits and likely have a lower monthly mortgage payment than you currently may pay for rent.

So if you’re in a place where you’re ready to buy, it’s a good time to start looking so you can capitalize on savings.


Which Home Improvements Will Give the Greatest Return on Your Investment

Which remodeling ideas will bring the biggest return on your investment?  Recent data suggests that less is more.  One simple idea to improve both curb appeal and value to your home is to replace your front door.  If the structure of the door is in good shape, re-coat it with fresh paint or varnish (if it’s a wood door) to make it look brand new.  Not sure if you have the know-how to refinish your front door?  Let me know and I’ll be glad to give you the name of good, professional painters in the area.

While replacing a door is relatively inexpensive, it can be a difference maker in the  attractiveness of your home and possibly bring more buyers should you be selling your home.  If you choose to completely replace your front door, you will likely recoup 91% of the cost with a steel door and 69.6% with a fiberglass door , according to the COST vs VALUE Report (see website below).

Whether you live in your dream house and want to find cost effective ways  to improve it or are preparing your house for sale,  it is good to know what gives you the most value for your investment.