May 2011 Archive

How to Choose the Ideal Realtor in Colorado Springs – What Every Military Family Should Know

Military families tend to move around a lot. If your next military assignment is taking you to a Colorado Springs military base, then consider yourself lucky as stunning panoramic views and a fantastic alpine desert climate is what you have to look forward to.

The City has a long military tradition. There are a few Departments of Defense posts, all within easy reach of each other. There is Fort Carson, The North American Defense Command, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Peterson Air Force Base, an air base called Schriever, and the national United States Air Force Military Academy. All these installments are located where you’ll find the Rocky Mountains meet the Great Plains.

Usually, military families don’t have time to search weeks and months for the ideal house. Colorado Springs realtors all boast to offer military relocation services and experience. Truth be told, very few of them really understand what military relocation is all about. Here are some things that a realtor should be familiar with which will make choosing the right one a lot simpler.

What the Realtor Must Know

The ideal realtor who offers military relocation services should know the Colorado Springs area like the back of their hand, as well as the different local military installations and they must be able to identify and appreciate what you need. As previously mentioned, chances are, there won’t be lots of time to make decisions and choose a house. Swift and informed decisions will have to be made. Because the realtor is ultimately trying to help you make the best choices for your family, they should be able to quickly evaluate your needs and the type of home, neighborhood and conveniences your family is looking for. If you have children, then the realtor should be capable of showing you the best school districts and safe neighborhoods that are located in close proximity to where you will be stationed.

Not only should they know the basic things, but also important are other factors that as a homebuyer, you must be made aware of. There is a list of reasons that Colorado Springs is a great place to reside. Just ask Money Magazine, Forbes Magazine or the other mediums that have voted it “one of the best places to live or purchase real estate”. The City experiences over 300 days of sunshine a year, beautiful spots such as Pikes Peak or Garden of the Gods can be enjoyed year round, great neighborhoods and world-class shopping and dining are at your finger tips.

A great realtor should be able to include a quick tour of the Pikes Peak area to help you familiarize yourself with it as well as “sell” you on the idea of living there. After all, the average person is not usually enthused about frequently packing up and moving. You should look for an expert in fulfilling your needs which all starts from the first stage of short listing to the actual tours and the bidding process as well as contract signing. The ideal Colorado Springs realtor should be proficient in the unique issues that military families have.

Real Estate in Colorado Springs – An Investor’s Nightmare or Dream Come True?

Colorado Springs is a highly ranked place to live and has been so for a number of years. For example, it was voted in Money Magazine as the number 1 Best Big City in “Best Places to Live” in 2006. It was also voted as number 1 in Outside’s list of “America’s Best Cities” in 2009, number 19 in “Best Cities Overall’ by in 2010 and number 3 as one of the “Best Cities for Relocating Families” by Another category that Colorado Springs has been made mentioned in many times, is one of the best areas to purchase a home in the recovering housing market.

Positive rankings such as these make Colorado Springs an ideal place to live for many people. Due to factors such as tax rates, average home cost, home appreciation and other positive factors that affect the quality of life and cost of living in the City, the high rankings are valid.

However, even with such rave reviews, some people are beginning to cast doubt on the market’s long term viability due to the fact that the data is not holding up to expectations. For example, AOL Real Estate (March 31, 2011) has stated that Colorado Springs houses now reached 150,894 that have depreciated by 4.7% over the previous year. The most up to date reports have found that over 4,300 homes are up for sale in the City and the trend from May 2010 to now is only climbing upwards.

Colorado Spring’s 2011 real estate market has been seriously affected by the deficiency as it relates to a Federal New Homebuyers Tax Credit. Since the federal tax credit was extended until April 2010, it resulted in an influx of activity during the typical inactive months of January to March. The imminent result is an identified “double dip” in the 2011 real estate market. This of course will lead to a year by year comparison that is not truly tell-tale.

Even with this crisis happening, Colorado Springs, when compared to other parts of the country, is doing well. Forbes magazine recently named it number 6 out of 10 for “America’s Best Housing Markets for Investors”. So, if you are thinking about selling or investing, you can still have an air of optimistic expectation due to the positive indicator for long-term home prices.

This list put together by Forbes is based on market study by a real estate research firm. It was calculated on the community’s home prices during the economic crisis and it factored in issues such as employment growth and population. It was forecasted that the area’s prices would stay flat over the upcoming years but that home values would eventually rise due to a recent enlargement in population.

While real estate owners should feel pride about this ranking, the fact remains that it may or may not give life to home buying again. While nothing is assured, it must help somehow by having positive exposure in a nationally acclaimed magazine. Also, the Colorado Springs real estate market is influenced by other factors such as good schools, breathtaking surroundings and quality of life. These factors alone are great enough to make people want to live in the Springs.

The Advantage of MLS for Colorado Springs Real Estate

Colorado Springs has been fortunate in that it has not witnessed the big swings that other markets have had. Colorado Springs has been lucky enough to have a slow, stable and strong growth in its housing market. In fact, Colorado Springs has had an average growth rate of 7% since 1992 and has not had the massive declines that other parts of the country have experienced.

However, there is a down side to the housing market in Colorado Springs. Property owners have been looking for brokerage options in selling their homes. The frequency of homes in the Colorado Springs area being bought and sold is exponentially more significant compared to the national average. This is due to the fact that there are many military related jobs as well as a mobile workforce associated with companies such as HP and Boeing. Since homeowners aren’t usually a fixture to the years of appreciation that properties accumulate, the high brokerage commissions are severely felt. Sellers therefore believe that their only alternative is to skip agent fees altogether by putting their property up as For Sale by Owner. However, there are other alternatives available, one of which is to utilize a flat fee listing on the Multi Listing Service (MLS).

Often times, listings are sold by buyers’ agents who sometimes work with a listing agent. Whether the listing agent sells directly to the buyer or works with the buyers’ agent, the commission rate is typically the same. Even when the buyer did not have an agent, the seller may not see any savings.

A MLS listing allows the seller to see some profit as the agreement with the listing agent is to list the property for a small, flat fee. The seller is responsible for showing the property and handles negotiations with the agent as the middleman. If the buyer’s agent is responsible for the sale, only the buyer’s agent is paid but the listing agent is not paid at closing. If a seller finds some aspects of selling a house difficult, a MLS broker can agree to take on additional functions for more money at closing but this is usually less than 1%.

Other than savings on commission payments, a huge benefit to using MLS for selling property in Colorado Springs is the effective exposure. Buyers and their agents can find data with MLS feeds and internet sites. A for sale sign is never sufficient in pulling in interested house hunters, especially, given the fact that many of them are not residents of Colorado Springs.

The MLS for Colorado Springs outreaches to neighboring areas such as Woodland Park, Falcon and others. Sellers are finding that the flat fee MLS listings offer is effective in selling anything from an urban to suburban property and a single family home to a condominium. No matter the type of property, the fact that a seller can save money by avoiding those steep commissions as well as gaining exposure to buyers, makes this alternative the best to hiring a broker. It is expected that more and more sellers will use this medium in the future.

Looking at Homes for Sale in Colorado Springs

One of the most populated counties in Colorado is Colorado Springs. It’s located on Fountain Creek south of Denver’s Colorado State Capitol. It is home to a diverse mix of educational, cultural and historic attractions. For example, you will be educated at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, entertained at the Museum of the American Cowboy and wowed at the Peterson Air and Space Museum.

Persons seeking homes for sale in Colorado Springs will be intrigued to learn that tourists from around the world visit Colorado Springs to see the amazing rock formations as well as to experience the popular tourist spots such as Seven Falls, Garden of the Gods Park and the Cave of the Winds. Becoming a homeowner in Colorado Springs will drive you to the realization that the town draws people from all over because they love what it offers. It makes a fantastic place to live and not just a vacation spot.

Homes in Colorado Springs tend to be on the expensive side as compared to those located on the outskirts. However, you should factor in the fact that it is a popular tourist destination and so it makes for a good investment as your home will surely appreciate in value. Not to mention, you are able to rent your home as a vacation property in order to generate a size able income during peak tourist season. Here are some other reasons to become a homeowner in Colorado Springs.

Housing Assistance – Though housing can be expensive, you can take advantage of the fact that the city provides technical assistance and helps to provide affordable housing programs. Examples of funding include grants, low-interest loans for projects and direct rental assistance. Technical aid is inclusive of but not limited to assisting other organizations in the form of structuring projects, management assistance and program reviews.

Housing Rehabilitation – Citizens who are qualified for Colorado Springs real estate and home rehabilitation can receive loans with low to no interest. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development in association with the Community Development Block funds the local Housing Development Division.

Business-friendly – New and existing businesses are encouraged to transfer to, stay and expand in Colorado Springs due to the efforts of the Economic Development Division.

Transportation – There are many route and fare options available from the Mountain Metropolitan Transit. Public transportation and fixed route service is not hard to adjust to here. There is also a daily commuter bus – the Ute Pass Express- that runs along Highway 24 to and from Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Green Mountain Falls and Woodland Park. However, other transportation options include commuting aid through carpool matching, school pools and van pools.

Jobs – . As such, it attracts many highly educated and sought after professionals. This is a reason why there exist many outdoor activities and other attractions that add to quality of life so that the working community can find a work-life balance.