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Colorado Springs Real Estate – 10 Tips to take the hassle out of moving!

It is so exciting when you sell or buy a home in Colorado Springs but moving is one thing most people do not look forward to.  Many buyers and sellers dread moving especially if they have a lot of stuff.  One option that may save time is hiring a moving company.  If you decide to hire movers, one way to save money is by reducing the amount of work the movers have to do once they get to your home.   It will reduce the amount of your bill significantly.

 

  1. Move ALL of the furniture from the rooms in the upper level and basement level to the garage and main level living area. When we recently moved, we brought a pair of sofas upstairs from the basement and it was tricky due to the narrow hallways! We had to take the stair railing off and remove the couch legs. It saved us 30 min. on moving day because we already moved them.
  2. Take apart furniture. Many movers will take apart kitchen tables and remove mirrors off of dressers. Save time and do it before moving day.
  3. Pack your own boxes. Save money and pack well in advance. The movers will gladly help you box items but it will not be free!
  4. Wrap, wrap, wrap! Movers spend SO much time wrapping dressers, couches, and televisions with plastic. You can purchase large rolls of plastic wrap from your local hardware store and do it yourself. We wrapped some of our own furniture and fragile items which in turn saved the movers’ time and money for us.
  5. Get a good estimate! We had someone come out for an estimate and the salesman said we would only need on 27ft truck. Everything fit but it took a lot of time on moving day for the movers to plan on how to organize the furniture on the truck, too much time!! If the estimator had planned on two trucks, we would have paid more for an additional truck but saved on the hour or so total time the movers spent just talking amongst each other on the best plan of action…our stuff barely fit!!
  6. If given the choice, order 2 movers instead of 3 for loading and hire 3 for unloadingIn my situation, I noticed only 2 movers would be working when loading the truck and the other would just be standing there doing nada, nothing, zilch! It wasn’t worth having a 3rd mover to load the truck. Two movers could easily have gotten the job done without the third helper. Unloading is a different story, the more movers you have to unload the truck, the better. Unloading always goes much, much faster!
  7. Unhook your washer and dryer. Your washer will have some water that will need to be drained and that takes time, so save time and do it yourself before moving day. Unhook the plumbing for the washer and the dryer vent from the dryer.
  8. Have a garage sale! If you do not use it, get rid of it! The less you have to move the better. Have two bags to help you sort items when going through your closets: one for charity or a garage sale and one for throw away. Don’t lug things you do not wear or use around from one house to another.
  9. Get three estimates. Any time you hire a mover, make the time to get a few estimates. What type of insurance does the mover offer? Do the movers undergo background checks? Are there any hidden fees you don’t know about or does the estimate include all charges? Some movers charge by the hour, some charge by the weight amount on the truck, etc…
  10. Schedule movers well in advance. The busiest time for moving is between June and September. If you are going to move during busy season, try moving in the middle of the month and the middle of the week instead of the end of the month and the end of the week like everyone else.

For further information on available Real Estate in Colorado Springs contact your Colorado Springs Realtor, Patricia Beck.

Sellers: Update your Colorado Springs home by changing the hardware!

Updating a home does not have to consist of a major overhaul or remodel. Homes can look SO much nicer by doing one simple thing: changing the hardware.

If your kitchen cabinets look a little dated, try adding updated handles or knobs. Cabinets can look really bare and boring when they do not have any hardware. Change the hardware if the existing knobs on your cabinet are unappealing and dated.

It is fairly inexpensive to purchase cabinet hardware for your kitchen and bathroom cabinets at Home Depot or Lowe’s but it can make the world of a difference!! Don’t go too crazy with the style you choose, keep it simple so it will appeal to most buyers (i.e. brushed nickel).

Brushed nickel sink faucet

Take a look at your bathroom sinks and kitchen sink, does the hardware look dated? If so, changing out the sink faucets can really change the look of your sink and bathroom! If you have the plastic knobs in all of your bathrooms, I would change them. They look very dated and are difficult to keep clean, grime always gets trapped in them and really shows!

Sink faucets are a little pricier than cabinet hardware but well worth the investment!Lever Door Handle

Are your door knobs dated? I have seen many homes in Colorado Springs with door knobs straight out of the 80’s and it isn’t pretty! Changing the door knobs or handles will make the whole house look different since there are doors everywhere. Remember to change the hinges; gold hinges with Venetian bronze door handles will look tacky! Prices for door knobs will vary depending on the type of hardware you purchase.

Keep track of the total price for hardware because purchasing door knobs and hinges for the entire house can add up if you do not have a set budget.

Don’t forget about the hardware on your front door; updating it can make your front door look more flattering. What is one of the first things buyers notice first when walking up to a house? That’s right, the front door!

Changing out the hardware in your home will give your home a newer feel and will make your home more appealing to potential buyers.

 

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For more information on Colorado Springs Real Estate or the Colorado Springs Area contact me or visit my website.

Colorado Springs Homebuyers Beware!

 Foreclosures in Colorado continue to be high and filings last week reached 915 for all counties in Colorado. Out of the 915 filings last week, El Paso County had 115 filings for foreclosure. Although there are many foreclosures in Colorado, we are no longer one of the top 5 foreclosure states in our country.

I actually have not known anyone personally who was at high risk of losing their home to foreclosure until recently. These homeowners purchased their home in Arapahoe County not even one year ago and are going to stop making payments on their mortgage since they are in over their heads. I reviewed some of the possible options with the homeowners and they are leaning in the direction of foreclosing on the home despite of the consequences the foreclosure will have on their already less than perfect credit. They do not have money to bring to the closing table if they are able to sell and they do not want to receive a deficiency judgment from the lender down the road (lenders have 6 years to file a judgment) as a result of a possible short sale.

After paying their mortgage, there is minimal money leftover to pay for everything else (utilities, groceries, gas, car payments, etc…). One of the homeowner’s told me: “Looking back, I wish they didn’t approve me for the loan.” Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the buyer to ensure they can afford a home but many individuals look to a lender for guidance and this lender put them in a home they could NOT afford. I am wondering how he qualified these homeowners and if he even calculated their debt less income (back end ratio). I don’t know what kind of ratios he was using when qualifying them for their 80/20 conventional loan let alone how they were approved for it! In this instance, the homeowners did not create a budget and prior to purchasing this home, looked at a mortgage calculator to find out how much they could afford and figured they could afford the mortgage. Mortgage calculators are useful tools but buyers need to take into account other expenses and debts as well!

If you are looking to purchase real estate in Colorado Springs make sure and qualify with a good and reputable lender. If the pre-qualification you receive is based on your gross income, you may want to re-think how much you can afford to buy. Gross income is before taxes and last time I checked, a large amount of your earnings go to taxes. Instead, look at your net income and then subtract all of your debts every month (car payments, credit cards, school loans, etc…) and you will have a better idea of how much you can really afford. Be wise, don’t get into the situation where you pay your mortgage each month and then charge all of your other expenses on credit cards. Before you know it, you will be in over your head in thousands of dollars of credit card debt.

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For information on the buying process and available Colorado Springs Housing please go to http://www.patricia-beck.com.

5 things sellers can do to make a deal go sour fast!

  1. Talking to or meeting with the buyers without the knowledge of your realtor- If you are speaking with the other party and no one else knows about it, promises can be made verbally that are not reflected in the written contract and this is a big no, no! The reason you hire a real estate agent is so they can communicate with the buyers’ agent to ensure the transaction goes smoothly. Do not talk to the other realtor without your agent present either.
  2. Not disclosing material defects of the property- If you are aware that the roof leaks or about the black mold in the bathroom upstairs, it is wise to disclose the information to your Colorado Springs Realtor and on the seller’s property disclosure form you fill out. Think you’re off the hook after you walk away from the closing table? Wrong! The buyer can take you to small claims court. Disclose all material defects with the home, it’s the right thing to do and the buyer deserves to know!
  3. Refuse to repair a big problem in the home- Sure it’s your right to refuse repairing items requested by the buyer after an inspection and I am not saying you should agree to repair everything but think twice before saying “no” to a large or serious repair. If the roof has hail damage and needs replacement and you refuse to repair it for the first buyer, the next buyer who comes along will more than likely request the roof be replaced also. If the item is serious enough to come up in the future with another buyer again, you should probably fix it.
  4. Not being honest with your realtor- You and your realtor work as a team during the transaction so if you withhold certain information from them that could affect the transaction, you may have a big problem. Keep it simple and be honest with your agent.
  5. Not having permits for work completed in the home- You didn’t get a permit from Pikes Peak Regional for the basement, bathroom, or deck you built and now you are under contract with a buyer for your home. If you try to acquire permits for work completed after you finished a project while you are under contract you may have to make corrections in order to bring the work completed in the home up to building code. Not only can that become costly, but also very time consuming. In some circumstances, the buyer may have issues with their lender or homeowner’s insurance due to the absence of permits. The buyer also knows when they go to sell the home in the future, they have to obtain permits (which may involve making corrections at their expense) and that just may be enough to steer them away from the deal. It is wise to obtain permits for work completed before you list your home for sale.

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To find out more about Colorado Springs Realty and The Colorado Springs Area contact me or visit my website.

Factors to consider when selecting an agent to sell your home in Colorado Springs

There are many good real estate agents in Colorado Springs and if you are planning on selling your home, take the time to interview a handful of agents first. Here are a few questions to add to your list when interviewing a realtor in Colorado Springs.

1. How well does the agent know the area your home is located in?

Some agents specialize in specific areas of the city and may know your area better. Has the agent lived in the area long or did he/she just move here?

2. Is the agent you are interviewing a Realtor®?

A Realtor® subscribes to the Code of Ethics and is a member of the National Association of Realtors.

3. How is the real estate agent going to market your home?

Will they advertise on television, the radio, newspapers, internet, or Open Houses? Some real estate agents may not be willing to hold an Open House for your home, is that a problem for you? Approximately 75%-85% of buyers go online to search for a home in Colorado Springs, is your agent internet savvy?

4. How many years has the real estate agent been in the field and have they obtained any additional designations in addition to their real estate license?

It is important for realtors to continuously stay educated since real estate trends and laws are always changing. Your agent must be knowledgeable and educated in real estate and it is important they have experience.

5. What commission is the agent going to charge and what will that entail?

Make sure and negotiate a commission you are comfortable with and keep in mind that a lower commission may include limited services by some real estate agents.

6. How is the agent going to price your home?

What kind of research does the agent have to back up the price they are recommending? If your home is overpriced it will not sell, it needs to be priced accurately to the current market value.

7. Is the individual an honest and ethical agent? Can you trust him or her?

You may have heard something about the agent from a friend or you may have not heard anything about the agent and are meeting for the first time. Do you feel comfortable with the agent? Do they seem trustworthy, sneaky, transparent…? Do they tell you the honest truth about the market value of your home or just what you want to hear?

8. Does the agent listen to you?

Make sure the Realtor takes the time to listen to you and to the information you have about your home that may be important to know. If the agent does not take the time to listen to you and just talks over you about what they know it may not be a good fit.

9. Is the Realtor working as a full-time or part-time real estate agent?

This is a very important question to ask. Is your agent going to be too busy at his/her other job to answer your phone calls or concerns? How flexible are they? If he/she is working as a part-time real estate agent, is that going to be an issue for you? Will your listing get the adequate attention required to sell?

10. How do your personalities mix?

 If you and your agent clash or have different expectations, that can be a recipe for disaster. Make sure you and your Realtor get along and connect because selling your home is going to be a team effort! You need to get along with everyone on your team and have the same game plan. Make sure you feel comfortable communicating with your Realtor; good communication is essential!!

Search the Pikes Peak MLS

To find out more about Colorado Springs Realty and The Colorado Springs Area contact me or visit my website.

Sellers: Do not stay home during showings if you want your home to sell!

When taking buyers through homes in Colorado Springs, they often have something to say about the property while walking through it: “The paint on the walls is repulsive!”, “I love the kitchen.”, “What is that smell?”, “I can see the neighbor’s junk pile from this backyard!”

Of course, the buyers can freely communicate about the property when the seller is not there but what about when the seller stays inside the home during the showing? Well, let’s just say, it is uncomfortable for many buyers. So if you are a seller reading this, please do not stay home during showings! Buyers always cruise through the house quickly when the homeowner is there and feel like they cannot ask questions or say much because the seller is present. Some even buyers even tell me “let’s just go on to the next house.”

Often times, I am not even told by the real estate office that the seller will be present and that makes it even more awkward for everyone. I recently had a seller say: “Come on in, feel free to take a look around the house, I didn’t have anywhere to go so decided to stay here.” What?! Please, go anywhere else except staying at the house! Did your realtor not tell you that important little detail? I took another pair of clients into a home they were interested in looking at a second time and the whole family just sat on the couch staring at the walls during the entire showing…my buyers did not feel comfortable taking a look in the living room since they were all sitting in there.

If you absolutely have to be home, it might be a good idea to at least step outside during the showing if the buyers are with a realtor. One little piece of advice: Please do not walk around with the realtor and the buyers giving them a lengthy tour of your home. Some of the details you have about the home may be important for the buyer to know so relay the information to your realtor to pass along to the buyer’s agent instead of bombarding the buyer while they are there. I have had many buyers get aggravated when the seller starts giving “the tour” down to the last little detail that the buyer could care less about. As a result, the realtor is placed in a little predicament while trying to show the home to their clients as you, the seller follow them around.

Search the Pikes Peak MLS

To find out more about Colorado Springs Realty and The Colorado Springs Area contact me or visit my website

Colorado Springs Homebuyers, important items for your new home!

 You close on your home, clean the carpets and paint, move everything in, and then you are ready to finally begin settling in to your new home, but wait, did you remember everything? Here are a few items to look over just in case you forgot something and it is an easy thing to do, especially, if you are a first time homebuyer!

  1. Call the utility company before closing and make sure the utilities are moved to your name, you won’t be happy if there is no electricity!
  2. You are going to create garbage, so set up a trash service to come pick it up. Don’t forget to buy trash cans for different rooms in the house.
  3. Set up the internet, cable, and phone service. You can reference these important phone numbers if you live in the Colorado Springs area.
  4. Change your address with the post office so you keep getting your mail, unless you don’t want to see those bills anymore!
  5. Before purchasing new furniture, did you remember to measure the doorways, hallways, and the room the furniture will go in to make sure it will fit? After spending the time to pick out, order, and pay for the furniture and delivery only to find out it will not fit would be frustrating so avoid any possible hassle and make sure to measure!
  6. If you live in a city like Colorado Springs where it snows, don’t forget to buy a snow shovel and a de-icing product for your driveway. It is not helpful to remember you forgot to buy a snow shovel after a big snow storm. It’s happened to me!
  7. If you have large trees, you will need to buy a rake to clean all of those leaves up when they come down in the fall.
  8. If don’t already have some tools, you need to buy a few of the basics just in case you have a small repair that needs to be tended to in your home down the road. You can purchase many basic tools in one kit at a hardware store like Home Depot. A hammer, wrench, drill, nails, screws, level, screwdriver (Phillips and a flathead), paint brushes, scissors, and measuring tape are just a few of the things you want to make sure and have handy in your garage.
  9. You never know when a toilet in your home will get clogged or flood and your garbage disposal may act up after you put something down it that you were not supposed to, so make sure you have a plunger around.
  10. Whether you are mopping, have a leak, or are doing other types of work in your home, you will probably come in need of a bucket. Buy a couple buckets; you will be happy you did!
  11. You need to water the flowers or wash the car but where is the garden hose, the seller didn’t leave it with the house? Oops. Check the spickets around the house and check if you need to buy a garden hose.
  12. Shower curtains may not be left behind for you and if you don’t have one in your bathroom, you are going to have a lot of water that does not stay in the tub!
  13. Black trash bags are a must have whether you are doing yard work outside or have a big project you are working on inside; they come in handy so don’t forget to buy them.
  14. If you have a yard, you are going to need a lawn mower. Keep your yard looking nice, otherwise, you may have some neighbors complaining to your Home Owner’s Association
  15. Light bulbs, batteries, and furnace filters are never around when you need them so make sure and buy some in advance and store them in a place where they can be easily found.
  16. You never know when an emergency will arise, make sure and have a fire extinguisher and first aid kit in your home.

 

For further information on available Real Estate in Colorado Springs contact your Colorado Springs Realtor, Patricia Beck.