The Virtues of Owning vs. Renting (1)

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

Shawn’s monthly column from The Post Independent is below.

A wise man once told me that if you can find a way to purchase real estate early in your adult life and maintain that asset, it will be the best way to build and sustain long term wealth. I along with many other first-time home buyers have taken this advice seriously. Colorado has become a very popular destination for people to relocate to, especially in the past 5-10 years. Simple economics will tell us that with increased demand, we have decreased supply, and therefore prices will rise. This trend has been going on locally for several years, and there is no sign of that slowing down in the near future.

Many folks assume you must have 20 percent for a down payment and credit scores in the 700s to buy a house. Although this can help the buyer with lower interest rates or more attractive loan packages, this is not always the requirement. Buyers today can purchase a home with as little as 3.5 percent down for an FHA loan or in some specialty cases, 0 percent down. So, why do I bring this up?

It’s important to realize that in our area buying can sometimes be less expensive than renting. Look at Glenwood Springs for example. Currently, the average price for a three-bedroom rental property is around $1,800 per month. On the flip side, assuming you have a small savings for a down payment, you can purchase a 3-bedroom property starting at around $300,000. A recent quote I have from a mortgage lender shows an estimated monthly payment of $1,771 on a property that costs $305,000 with 5 percent down payment. This monthly cost also includes private mortgage insurance, HOA fee, property taxes and property insurance. So the ultimate question becomes, do you want to pay your mortgage and start building equity for yourself or keep paying your landlord’s mortgage?

Shawn Manwaring is a broker associate with Roaring Fork Sotheby’s International Realty in Glenwood Springs. Shawn services Western Garfield County and the lower Roaring Fork Valley.

Categories: Owning vs Renting

Glenwood Springs Affordable Housing

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

A very hot topic in our local community today, is Glenwood Springs Affordable Housing. Whether you are a long time local who rents, a person or family new to the area, or an Aspen ski bum trying to make it through Winter, it seems all are very interested in this topic.  In the recent years we have experienced a surge in population and economic conditions making all of Colorado and especially the Roaring Fork Valley even more desirable to live in than previously.

it seems like landlords are continuing to up their rents each time a current lease agreement expires.  I have one friend who has been living in the same 2 bedroom apartment for the last 3 years and his rent started at $1,200 per month and this year is $1,600 per month.  We all know simple rules of supply and demand will lead to a situation like this, but at what point does it give?

It brings me to the main point I wanted to make in this article.  We are learning that for more and more individuals and families here in Glenwood Springs, it is becoming more affordable to own than to rent.  This seems like a mountain town phenomena over the last several years not just here but all around Colorado. As a realtor working with buyers and sellers I get to see both sides of this day in and day out.

Many of my buyers are renters who have saved enough money to afford a small down payment and are finding that for the same monthly price they were paying in rent, they can own a larger more desirable property. This allows them to start paying their own mortgage and building their own equity rather than contributing to someone else.  For my sellers, some are selling because they recognize their values are higher than ever and there are many investors trying to purchase rental properties for their own personal gain and therefore it creates a sellers market.

It seems we are seeing less and less Glenwood Springs Affordable Housing become available.  The good news is that there are active proposals to build new construction and offer higher density affordable housing arrangements that our community currently lacks.  If you are looking to re-locate, move from renter to owner or for any reason might be interested in learning about our real estate market locally, I would be honored to have a conversation with you and discuss your goals. I look forward to hearing from you!

Tags: Real Estate
Categories: Affordable Housing

Real Estate Photography

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

When you are considering selling your home, there are many decisions to make.  More than likely you are going to contact a realtor and meet with them to learn about what they can do to assist with selling your home.  When talking to real estate professionals about what they can do for you, I encourage you to ask this real estate photography question:  How do you photograph our home to ensure it’s represented professionally?

The reason I encourage your to ask this question is quite simple. People searching for property today rely on the internet to learn about property and see images before they get in a car and drive around.  With that being said, your photos can be the difference to getting showings on your property or not.  The days of realtors pulling out their cell phone and taking photos of your property are long gone (or at least should be).  If your realtor is not willing to make the investment in professional photography for your property, I would question their overall committment to you.

In our office, all realtors use professional photography not because it’s optional but because we feel like we owe that to our sellers.  In a competitive market where we are competing against other sellers we feel this offers a competitive advantage to our seller and often times separates their property from others before prospective buyers even step foot on the property.  Here is an example of the difference a professional photo makes:

When you are ready to sell your property in Glenwood Springs or the surrounding area, contact me and I would be honored to show you how I separate myself within the realtor community outside of professional photography.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Tags: Real Estate
Categories: Selling Property

Skiing at Sunlight Mountain’s Skier Appreciation Day

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

I was once again reminded of how lucky we are to live in Glenwood Springs when I attended Sunlight Mountain’s Skier Appreciation Day to kick off 2017. It is incredible how our community comes together for this event each year that provides support to The United Way of Garfield County. All day long people ski, eat, drink, party, listen to live music and create memories.  This year there was a contest for best dressed 1960’s attire.

Sunlight Mountain is a small ski area compared to most in Colorado.  What Sunlight lacks in acreage and amenities is surely made up in character and charm.  Sunlight is a skiing gem located in Glenwood Springs, Colorado and it offers a variety of terrain for all types of skiers.

Brettelberg Condominiums are located on site but other than that very little residential real estate is located at the mountain. This is unusual considering most ski areas in Colorado are now peppered with residential real estate and you find houses located at almost all base areas. To get to Sunlight Mountain, you travel the 4 Mile Road corridor about 20 minutes from Glenwood Springs to reach the ski area and all along that drive there is residential real estate the entire way.  Many people consider “living up 4 Mile” to be the most desirable location within our community.  It sure is beautiful.

I took some photos and a video for you to enjoy and next year we hope to see you there too!

Click Here for Video: Mount Sopris View from atop Sunlight Mountain





Categories: skiing

Skiing in Glenwood Springs

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

Glenwood Springs is a river town that just sleeps through the Winter, isn’t it?  Wrong!! Glenwood Springs is actually one of the only true 4 season mountain towns that Colorado has to offer.  Although we have become famous because of our world class rivers for rafting and fishing along with our hot springs mineral pools for soaking, Glenwood Springs is also a fantastic ski location in the Winter.  On a very snowy day today I thought it would be appropriate to share how great the skiing can be in Glenwood Springs.

Ski Sunlight ( is our local mountain in Glenwood Springs and it offers historic, small town charm with the steepest ski slope (52 degrees) in Colorado! Sunlight gives you a full day of skiing for about half the cost of the mega resorts like nearby Vail and Aspen. You’ll park for free, walk to the lifts, and never stand in line. Without the big crowds, the powder lasts for days at Sunlight. All 67 trails lead right back to the lodge where you can stow your gear, meet your family and friends, and get something hot and delicious at the grill.  No matter the age or ability anyone who spends some time skiing at Sunlight is surely not to be disappointed.

It’s the way skiing should be and the way many that came before us remember skiing, “to be”.  You will be very happy if you decide to make a day trip or weekend trip to Ski Sunlight. In addition to the ski mountain, downtown Glenwood Springs offers a variety of boutique shops, hot springs and family activities for you to enjoy after a day on the slopes. If you love it so much you decide to relocate here, I would be honored to show you the local real estate market that Glenwood Springs has to offer. I hope to hear from you soon!

Categories: Skiing

Real Estate in the Winter

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

Many people think the idea of buying or selling real estate during Winter is a crazy idea.  This is especially true if you live in a Colorado mountain town like myself.  I have had this conversation several times recently with clients and so I thought it would be helpful to share some insight to what the actual experience looks like to buy or sell during the Winter months.

If you are considering selling during the Winter, here are a couple tips to keep in mind:

  1. Inventory is generally lower.  As we study history of the market it is almost always going to show that inventory levels are the lowest during the Winter months.  This is good for sellers because they will likely attract more buyers and be able to market their property at top dollar.
  2. Buyers who are shopping in the Winter are serious.  Unlike other times of the year where a casual Saturday might consist of popping into some Open Houses around town just because, that is not the case in Winter.  Folks who are out in the conditions looking at property are serious about buying and want to find their property to purchase today.

If you are considering buying during the Winter, here are a couple tips to keep in mind:

  1. Interest rates are on the rise.  You have probably seen over the last 30 days that The Fed has raised the prime rate for mortgage loans and many analysts are predicting this to happen 2-3 more times in 2017.  With this being said the buyers purchasing power is going to start to decrease based on what they can afford with increasing rates.  Basically if you are considering purchasing, it might be better to get it done with now before another increase in rates.
  2. Snow covers up landscaping.  This seems like a dumb thing to mention but imagine buying a property with a huge back yard that you are very excited for in January but come April when the snow disappears you have nothing more than a hard packed dirt area that you thought was going to be lush green grass.  Ask your realtor or seller if there is a way to see some photos of the property from the Summer time to be certain.
  3. Have a plan to transport your belongings after you close.  Again this seems like common sense but make sure to line up an enclosed truck or trailer to protect your belongings on moving day.

I hope you find this article helpful and if you are considering buying or selling during the Winter you are now more confident about that decision.  Whether you are considering buying or selling, please feel free to contact me anytime to discuss your goals and we will personalize a strategy that fits your situation and get to work to accomplish those goals.

Have a Happy 2017!


Vets Day, Supermoon, Warm Weather & Roaring Fork Valley Real Estate

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring
I hope this sunny Friday here in the Roaring Fork Valley finds you doing well.  I wanted to shoot you a note with some happenings before you head into your weekend.
VETERANS DAY: From the bottom of my heart, I send a sincere thanks to all men and woman who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms of our country.  For all those currently serving, you are in my thoughts and prayers often but especially today.
SUPERMOON: On Monday evening we are set to witness the closest full Moon to Earth since 1948!  I hope you can get outside and witness this.  Fun fact: The term supermoon actually originated in astrological circles and is not a scientific term.
WEATHER: My birthday is tomorrow and this will be the first time since moving to Colorado 6 years ago that I will not be skiing on or before my birthday.  Certainly do some snow dances but more importantly, continue being extra conscious to your life and consumer habits while keeping in mind that Global Warming is the single biggest threat to mankind right now and it’s going to take an effort from each of us to change this. 
REAL ESTATE: As of the last 30-60 days we have undoubtedly started to see some slow down in real estate activity.  This is very normal given the time of year, coming off an election and the limited inventory locally.   Something to keep in mind is that interest rates have recently slowly started rising.  If you are on the fence about purchasing, it might just be a perfect time to jump in.  If you are on fence about selling, our local market could really use more inventory of all types and so you have an opportunity to attract top dollar.
As always, I welcome feedback and if you would like to discuss anything I mentioned above in more detail, coffee is on me anytime.

How do Rising Prices Impact Home Equity?

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

One of the big takeaways from the survey recently produced is that over the next five years, home prices will appreciate 3.5% per year on average and cumulatively will grow by around 18%.  So we set out to answer the question of how do rising prices impact home equity?

So what does this mean for homeowners and their equity position?

For example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home in January of this year. If we only look at the projected increase in the price of that home, how much equity would they earn over the next 5 years?


How do Rising Prices Impact Home Equity?

How do Rising Prices Impact Home Equity?

Since the experts predict that home prices will increase by 4.5% this year alone, the young homeowners will have gained over $11,000 in equity in just one year.  This is a larger equity gain than the 4 years that follow it but nonetheless a great way to start your path to building equity!


Over a five-year period, their equity will increase by over $46,000! This figure does not even take into account their monthly principal mortgage payments. In many cases, home equity is one of the largest portions of a family’s overall net worth.  Just like saving for retirement, the earlier in life you start building equity, the more wealth it will accumulate as you age.

Bottom Line

Not only is homeownership something to be proud of but it also offers you and your family the ability to build equity you can borrow against in the future. If you choose not to borrow against the equity you have built than your net proceeds of a sale end up being that much higher when you decide to sell the property.  If you are ready and willing to buy, find out if you are able to today!

Contact Shawn Manwaring, REALTOR in Colorado:

Categories: Selling Property

Whether you Rent or Buy, You’re Paying a Mortgage

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

There are some people that have not purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return.  

That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

Christina Boyle, a Senior Vice President, Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:

“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”

Paying a Mortgage

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person with that equity.

Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home and start paying a mortgage that you own! Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were 3.43% last week.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.

If your real estate search brings you to Colorado, contact Shawn Manwaring and he will be delighted to assist you!


Categories: Buying Property

Glenwood Springs Best Place To Live

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

Voted Americas “Best Town to Live” is Glenwood Springs CO.  Outdoor recreation is unlimited here in the Roaring Fork Valley.  Some activities include skiing, hiking, biking, rafting, shopping, soaking and more.

The real estate market is very active at the moment and we are seeing people of all ages move to this area of the state.  Whether you are buying or selling, there is great promise that awaits in the local market and I would be honored to have a conversation with you if interested.

See the video below for a quick tour of our downtown Sotheby’s office location.


Downtown Glenwood Springs

When your legs are tired and belly is hungry after a long day of activities, come downtown to relax and refuel!  Our downtown offers a wider range of local restaurants than nearby big city Grand Junction.  With the exception of sea food, we have a restaurant that specializes in just about anything you can possible be hungry for!

If you are looking to get some shopping in than we have that to offer as well!  A wide range of local, artsy and eclectic shops line the historic downtown landscape.  Whether you are a rugged mountaineer or looking for jewelry you are sure to find the perfect gift to take with you when shopping in Glenwood Springs.

We are seeing incredible action in the real estate market here.  Home prices continue to rise and some are higher than they were before 2008 when the housing bubble burst.  Some will say it’s a sellers market but I firmly believe there are two sides to our current market situation.  I think you should buy now because prices will continue to rise.  I also think you should sell now because at some point prices have to stop rising and begin to taper off.

Next time you visit Glenwood Springs CO please give me a call and I would love to show you around our beautiful town!

Shawn Manwaring, REALTOR

Categories: Glenwood Springs
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