The Cost of Appraisals

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

You’re under contract, have completed inspection, objection, and resolution. Your loan is very close to being funded, all that’s left is the appraisal. Just as every other inspection has a price, the appraisal also has some costs associated with it. So what is the cost of appraisals and can you shop around?

Home Appraisals: Some Are Easier Than Others

]The cost for home appraisals today varies a bit by geographic region, but it has always varied too by the complexity of the assignment. It takes a lot more time to appraise a custom home in the mountains, for instance, than to appraise a tract home in the city.

Of course, this makes perfect sense. It would be very easy to compare a house in a subdivision to another house the exact same size and floor plan, with extremely similar finishes, conveniently located directly across the street. Conversely, it would be much harder to try to figure out the value of a home if there wasn’t another home like it anywhere.

The appraisal tells your lender how much the home is worth. The appraiser uses recently sold homes in the immediate area and compares them to the home you are buying in order to come up with a value. If there aren’t any recently sold homes like yours, any recently sold in your area, or both, their job is infinitely more difficult. Some areas of difficulty that are more time consuming for your appraiser may affect the home appraisal cost.

An appraisal seems like an easy place to game the system. Simply hire someone you know already and make sure the appraisal comes in where you need it to.  Before the current regulations went into effect, this is exactly what people did.

The Cost of Appraisals

The Cost of Appraisals

The NEW Rules for Home Appraisals

In 2008 new regulations put a firewall between mortgage originators (loan officers/any production folks) and the appraisers to make it impossible for stakeholders to influence the appraisal.

Today we have to order the appraisal through an online portal via the lender’s website. (Mortgage companies and banks do the same, so it isn’t any different. The originator cannot choose or have any contact with the appraiser.)

The lender engages an independent Appraisal Management Company (AMC), which maintains a panel of independent appraisers throughout the country. An appraiser may belong to several, if not dozens, of AMC panels. The loan officer is not even allowed to talk to the appraiser, much less influence them in any way.

There are several implications to this organization: The customer may not shop for the appraiser. The appraiser is selected independently and only through this system.

There is no cost difference between refinancing and purchase transactions, although, as noted above, there could be differences for complexity or scope. For instance, if you are buying a rental property, the appraiser will be asked to complete a rental survey in addition to the appraisal — obviously, the home appraisal cost will be higher.

Not Everyone Likes the New Regulations

In the past, I’ve recommended that sellers give a cheat sheet of sorts to the appraiser when they get there, including measurements of their home and a list of improvements along with information about the neighborhood, explaining any homes that sold recently for a less-than-market price for reasons not readily apparent. On my street, I know of three houses that sold last year for significantly less than they should have for reasons that would not be known to someone who wasn’t in tune with the latest neighborhood news.

Hampson says, “I do meet the appraiser when it’s my listing and always bring comparable’s. Sometimes they appreciate it.” I would always recommend doing this. If they don’t look at the comparable’s you bring, you haven’t really lost out on much. But if they do take them into consideration, you can control the process a bit more.

Unique Isn’t Always a Good Thing in Real Estate

Every single piece of property is 100 percent unique — there will never be two properties that are exactly alike. However, the more unique your property is, the more difficult it will be to value, and the higher the chances are that your appraisal will come in low.

The cost of appraisals will run between $350 and $600 for a home that is easier to appraise — and could run much higher for a unique property. Shopping around for the best price isn’t really an option, so focus on making your home look its best, and ask your agent for a list of favorable comparable’s to share with the appraiser.

Here is another resource from our friends at regarding appraisals: Appraisal Info

When you are in the real estate market and searching for a Colorado realtor, I would love the chance to work with you!


Tips on How to Prepare for your Final Walkthrough

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

You have found your new home and you are so excited to move in that you cannot wait to complete the final steps before closing! While you daydream about arranging your furniture and putting your dishes into the cabinets, make sure you are giving proper attention to the very important final walkthrough of your new palace. Preparing for your Final Walkthrough is a crucial step before closing.  This should take place after the home inspection and 2-7 days before closing. Prepare yourself by getting plenty of sleep for mental clarity, bringing a support system to help out, and packing a few small tools to aid in your walkthrough. Being very careful to check every detail will ensure you have a happy homecoming when the keys are finally yours.

Final Walkthrough Tips

Preparing for your Final Walkthrough

Are you Ready for your Final Walkthrough?

When preparing for your final walkthrough, make sure you check every appliance, window, door and electrical outlet. Check all faucets and flush all toilets. Open every cabinet. Bring someone with you and task him or her with checking a particular area or category.  Though your inspection has already occurred, there could be problems that may have come up since. You may find that a faucet that worked during inspection is no longer working after the seller removed a water filter improperly. It could happen that a roof leak has caused water damage that was not visible before. You can use a phone and charger or outlet tester to check every outlet in the house. Take a notebook with you and write the name of each room on each page to record any issues.

Are there any items that the seller agreed to leave behind such as light fixtures, shelving or outdoor structures? Be thorough in checking that these items are in place and intact. A specific area that always gets overlooked is landscaping. Walk the yard while referencing photos from your previous visit to ensure that no trees or shrubbery or built-in patio items were removed if the agreement was for them to stay. Use your notebook and camera or phone to document any issues. Be very specific.

After the seller’s belongings have been removed, check all storage areas and nooks for items left behind. You do not want to be responsible for throwing out a box of old paint left in the garage or heavy crates full of magazines shoved in an attic corner. You also do not want to have to communicate with the seller or have them come by to retrieve items while you are trying to make the home your own. Check walls again to make sure no damage occurred while moving out. It is not uncommon for television sets to leave gaping holes in walls or for a sofa to take out a chunk of a doorframe on its way out. Make sure any potential issues are properly repaired, and not just patched up to provide temporary visual appeal.

It is very important that you schedule your final walkthrough with plenty of advance time for repairs to take place. Remember, you may need to schedule an additional walkthrough to double check that all loose ends are tied. Giving yourself an extra week is often easier than rescheduling a closing due to a dispute. Your home is your investment and making reasonable requests for repairs or changes is part of the real estate process. Do not let your eagerness to settle in cause you to settle for less.

If you are searching for a homebuyer’s guide, I have also completed that for you.

Categories: Buying Property

Colorado Real Estate

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

Are you like some of the other thousands of people moving to Colorado recently?  If so, chances are you are curious about the Colorado Real Estate market and what is happening.  Before you dig in deep to Colorado real estate, you might want to get an understanding of the Centennial state as a whole.  This article will help you with that.

As you might learn, Colorado is home to more than 5 million people.  Last year in 2015 it is estimated that more than 101,000 people decided to move to Colorado.  With that said, we are in the midst of a population boom!  Typically a population boom like this will come with a real estate boom on its tail.  That is exactly the case here in Colorado.  Even small towns in the Western Colorado real estate market like Glenwood Springs have felt the surge in population therefore creating a spike in real estate prices.

What most people find when they arrive in Colorado and start to figure out their housing plans is this.  Unlike most other places where it makes sense to rent an apartment and get your feet wet with surroundings before buying, the opposite is true.  With the population boom, rent has sky rocketed in most areas of the state and if you have the means to do so, purchasing real estate can actually be less expensive than renting! An average 2 bedroom condo in Colorado will rent for approximately $1,400 per month right now.  You can still purchase a 2 bedroom condo in many places for around $200,000 resulting in a monthly mortgage payment of around $1,000.

The big thing here is that you need to be ready to purchase real estate sooner than later if you plan to stay in Colorado and build your life in this beautiful state. By saving money, ensuring your credit score is good and reducing debt to income ratios, these will all help you achieve the goal of purchasing real estate in Colorado. Although it can be challenging, it will certainly be worth it when you are able to call a property your own and no longer have to pay for someone else’s mortgage!

Another bonus of purchasing real estate in Colorado is that if you ever need to move, you can easily rent your property to cover the costs.  This is investing 101 and a sure way to start building incredible equity for yourself. Whether you are planning to purchase a forever home, an investment property or just a weekend getaway in the mountains, I would love to chat with you about your real estate goals and do all I can to help you achieve them!

Categories: Colorado Real Estate

Population of Glenwood Springs CO

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

When I am working with clients from out of the area there are many questions that come up regarding our community.  One of these is the size of our city.  Glenwood Springs CO is the largest city on the I-70 corridor between Denver CO and Grand Junction CO. Please find the chart below to learn about the population of Glenwood Springs CO.

Male Female Total
Total Population 4,904 4,710 9,614
White 3,967 3,854 7,821
Hispanic or Latino 1,579 1,452 3,031
Some Other Race 658 613 1,271
Two or More Races 120 102 222
Black or African American 72 44 116


In addition to population, there are many other factors you might want to learn about if you are considering the move to Glenwood Springs CO.  As you can see from the chart above, we have a fairly diverse community compared to some other small towns in Colorado. One could argue this is because the schools, weather, attractions or many other things.

One thing that is undeniable is that our population is continuing to rise.  The culture of Glenwood Springs CO attracts people and tends to make visitors turn into residents.  As we look at housing, there is starting to become a shortage because of the population increase.  Since we live in a valley and cannot really expand construction outward we are seeing people start to relocate further up or down valley to some of our neighboring communities. To get more information on Glenwood Springs CO and the community check out this post:

If you are interested in Glenwood Springs CO real estate or just the community in general, we hope you find this article helpful.  If you or someone you know are interested in learning more about Glenwood Springs CO or the real estate market here, please contact me today.

Categories: Glenwood Springs

Reasons to Buy Real Estate This Summer

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

Reasons to Buy Real Estate This Summer

Summer is here! The temperature isn’t the only thing heating up right now. So is the housing market in many areas of the country! Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.  Whether you are located in Colorado or somewhere else in the country, these will more than likely all be applicable. Here are some reasons to buy real estate this Summer.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 5.9% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.3% over the next year. The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects home values to appreciate by more than 3.2% a year for the next 5 years.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense in our current real estate market.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase 

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have remained around 4% as a national average. Most experts predict that they will begin to rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home. Consider this when deciding whether it’s worth waiting another year.  At 4% and good credit a $400,000 home will cost you about $2,000 per month currently.  At 5% the same home could cost you as much as $2,300 per month.

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a paper from 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.”

Think about it… how much longer do you want to pay someone else’s mortgage payment?

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.  Hopefully these reasons to buy real estate this Summer help you with your home buying decisions.  If you are located in Colorado, give Shawn Manwaring a call and he would be delighted to assist with all your real estate endeavors.

Categories: Selling Property

Tips for Selling a House with Tenants

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

Selling a house with tenants can be problematic or a blessing in disguise. This article was written to help you discover tips for selling a house with tenants.

There are lots of questions that arise and you may ask “where does one begin?”

The secret here is that a lot will depend on the working relationship between landlord and tenants.  Seemingly helpful tenants at first might turn out to be tenants from hell and completely wreck any hope for a successful conclusion of a property sale!  Or the tenant ended up playing quite the crucial role in getting the property sold.

How can one improve the odds of getting it right, and actually be able to sell the property?

The following Tips For Selling A House With Tenants will go a long way in getting clarity on all those questions:

Tip #1 – Communicate with the tenants

A landlord isn’t prohibited from selling his property while there are tenants with a lease agreement occupying the property. This lease tends to precede the sale of property which means that the tenant is perfectly entitled to remain at the property until the end of the lease period.

Even though tenants are entitled to stay on one will actually see quite a few tenants looking for another accommodation.  Due to the uncertainty created by an incoming landlord and/or unfavorable terms at the next lease negotiation.

Yet another reminder why one has to read the lease agreement so questions regarding the rights and obligations in the event of a property being sold, will not be unknown elements! In most cases both landlord and tenant will give one another additional flexibilities in the event of the property transferring owners.

The tenant might even be allowed to cancel the lease prematurely and find a new accommodation once the decision has been made that the property will go onto the market.  If those are the terms then no penalties can be placed upon the tenant if he chooses to break the lease agreement.

However if nothing specifically is noted in the agreement regarding the sale of the property, the tenant will not be able to just walk away from the lease agreement.  

As much as the new landlord needs to respect the terms of the established lease agreement so will the tenant need to respect the agreed upon contract. Especially if the new landlord bought the property with a buy-to-let investment goal in mind!

Who knows, by playing open cards with the tenants, and perhaps giving them the first refusal, selling a house with tenants might be the fastest way one has ever sold a property. Even if the tenants don’t buy the property they will feel very appreciated by having given that opportunity.

Quite a few rather big uncertainties remain:

Will the tenants be helpful and/or flexible when it comes to showing times for the real estate agent?

How will the property look like during showings?

How will the tenants behave during the sale of the property?

Tip #2 – Await the end of the lease

The huge uncertainty of not knowing whether the tenants will be helpful in getting the property sold, and hereby risking wasting a lot of time (and money lost as the property becomes stale by sitting on the market for weeks and months on end!), result in a lot of landlords preferring to rather wait until the end of the lease agreement before placing the property on the market.

Besides basic cleaning and freshening up the house, an empty house does show its imperfections more easily, so make sure to address those few cracked tiles in the kitchen or bathroom, as well as fix those small hairline cracks in the walls. Small renovations don’t need to cost a lot of money and will definitely help in the sale of the property!

Although we know that empty houses don’t sell easily there’s a huge upside of a 24/7 ease of access for the real estate agents to show clients!

Tip #3 – Dealing with cooperative tenants

According to most real estate agents, selling a house with tenants is asking for trouble, will get messy and rarely ends on a good note!

Nonetheless, the reality of the situation is that not every landlord has the luxury to wait for months until the lease agreement expires before selling their property. Even then, it might easily take as long before the house is sold, which means loss of rental income for the landlord.

In the event that the tenants have offered their cooperation in getting the property sold, it’s important to lay down some ground rules. Personally, I refer to these opportunities as the real estate agent’s chance to excel at managing expectations!

What will the condition of the property be like during the selling process?

How long in advance will the agent give the tenants notice for showings? How long is too long or how short is too short?

Will there be open houses?

Will the tenants be getting feedback of what’s happening with the showings?

In the end, will there be some sort of reward for the tenants in exchange for their assistance?

On the one hand, the tenants’ privacy is important, while on the other, it’s important for them to understand the need to be accommodating for showings!

Tip #4 – Dealing with uncooperative tenants

Selling a house with tenants, uncooperative ones that is, will be viewed by most real estate agents as mission impossible!

These are the people who actually live in the house, day-in day-out, who are very familiar with the property, know every problem or shortfall the house has, and who are very familiar with the neighborhood!

Can you imagine the damage these uncooperative tenants could do?

Unleash these tenants on some unsuspecting interested buyers with their complaints, and that’ll be the last you ever hear from those buyers again!

Why bring through interested buyers if you don’t know whether you’ll actually get access to the property, arrive yet again at a pig sty, or worse, having those tenants hang around during the showings!

Waiting it out until the lease expires all of a sudden doesn’t seem to be such a bad idea after all, does it!

Tip #5 – Incentivize the tenants

Money talks!

The cooperative tenants will very likely see some incentive reward heading their way for the help given during the sale process; the uncooperative tenants might change their bad attitude once they find out how much they’re about to make for being normal.

Of course, this is a tit-for-tat exchange: the tenant needs to clean up his mess on a daily basis (ideally 1st thing in the morning), and make sure to be available for showings! The landlord will then work on a big discount on the rent (e.g. rent amount cut by 50% per month), or other great incentives, such as helping to pay for the outgoing tenants’ moving expenses!

Will it be an offer the tenants can’t refuse?

Closing thoughts

When selling a house with tenants, it can be a potential minefield.  Be sure you understand all the tips for selling a house with tenants before you get into it!

From a legal point of view, the landlord needs to make sure to have verified his tenancy facts, his lease agreement and run his actions by his legal counsel. This is all in order to avoid getting stuck in an ugly legal fight with his tenants!

All the tips for selling a house with tenants have been given to you.  When you are ready to make the plunge, contact Shawn Manwaring, Realtor in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Categories: Selling Property

Pros & Cons to Buying a New Construction Home

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

Pros & Cons to Buying a New Construction Home

Should you buy a brand new home or an existing home? While there is no definitive right answer, only the buyer can determine what kind of home they should invest in. A home is most likely going to be your largest monetary investment. While there are various pros and cons to buying new homes as well as existing homes, in this article, we will uncover Pros & Cons to Buying a New Construction Home.

Buying a new home is different from buying a pre-existing home. Besides the obvious distinctions, such as upgrades in design and appliances, an important factor to keep in mind is who you will be purchasing from. Buying a new home will take place directly from a builder, whose sole purpose for building is to profit. Where-as the sale of an existing home will be less likely be motivated by profit and more so motivated by factors such as downsizing, needing more space, job relocation, etc.  Please see below for a full list of Pros & Cons to Buying a New Construction Home.

Pros For Buying A New Construction Home

Customization & Personal Touch

One of the biggest advantages of buying a newly constructed home will be the ability to customize your home and add a personal touch. The day you are ready to move in, your newly built home will already have your wants and preferences. Where-as for a home that is not brand new and has existed for years, the colors, fixtures and design will be according to the previous owner.

Being able to customize your dream home will allow you to add extras that you may have not otherwise been able to. For example, adding a garden tub to an existing home can be a difficult and expensive task. Being able to choose how you want your new home to look is an obvious advantage of buying a newly built home.

No Work For You

Another perk of investing in a new construction home is that the work is done for you. While your dream home is being personalized, you won’t have to lift a finger and do any of the manual labor yourself.  As long as the Home Builder is still in the process of constructing the home, you should be able to add your personal touches, without doing the work yourself. To name a few, this work would otherwise include painting, installing the flooring and cabinets.

Walking into an older home that has your likes and dislikes, may be highly unlikely.  After buying this pre-existing home, you may have to do upgrades such as fresh paint, new flooring and cabinets, either yourself or with the help of a contractor.

New Home Smell

Just like when you walk into a brand new car, and it has that distinct “new car smell”, new homes also have this. The new home smell is created by the brand new appliances, flooring and fixtures. Since nothing has been previously used, it has that unique new smell.

If you don’t believe us, walk into any home that is currently being built and compare it to the smell of a home with residents still living there. The two will have distinct differences in odor.

Energy Efficient Homes

Since you are purchasing a new home, it will be built with the newest materials that are more energy efficient. Companies that produce building materials and appliances are creating products that focus on energy efficiency. Implementation of newer technologies such as better HVAC systems, energy efficient windows, and Energy Star appliances may result in lower utility bills. Some builders go as far as to add solar panels to roofs to further lower utility bills.

Less Hazards

Newly constructed homes will have less hazards than existing homes. Depending on the age of the existing home, it may have structural integrity issues, lead paint, or mold. Newly built homes on the other hand, will be free of such hazards. Prior to gaining full ownership of either a new or older home, an inspection will find these hazards. With structural and engineering technological advances, newly structured homes are less likely to have hazards.

Improved Technology

Some of the biggest selling points of a new home are the technologies used. Newer built homes and condos often come equipped with the latest technology such as solar panels, security systems and sound systems. Some newer homes come with the label “connected home” where several features of the home, such as temperature and security are completely integrated into tablets and phones via applications.

Some of the subtle differences in a newer home will be wiring and cables already built in. This means less work and holes in walls to create for you. Such recent technologies may not be compatible with the structure of existing homes.

Newer Designs

Newer homes come with the latest designs. If you ever watching any home remodeling or design programs on tv, you know that modern architects design new homes with the goal of maximizing space and having an open floor plan. Modern floor plans offer large family rooms to entertain guests that open up to the kitchen and eating areas. Older homes on the other hand were built with compartmentalized living areas. Whereas newer designs maximize space, by avoiding walls that close rooms, older homes were designed more for privacy.

No Repairs 

Another benefit of buying a new home is that it won’t need any repairs. Since everything from the appliances, structure, and fixtures are brand new, they should be repair free. This also means that maintenance costs for the first few years will be low. You shouldn’t expect any large expenses for awhile.

With an older home on the other hand, appliances and the home have experienced some wear and tear. No matter how well kept everything was, all objects have a life expectancy. Whereas in a new home you shouldn’t expect to pay for any large unexpected items in the near future, we cannot say that with ease for an older home.

Home Warranty 

Many builders also provide a warranty for the newly built home. Depending on your builder, they may offer one or ten year warranties. So in case something does break down or there are problems, the warranty will more than likely cover damages.

Cons For Buying A New Construction Home


High Upfront Cost 

One of the cons of buying a brand new home is the cost. A brand new home can cost up to 20% more than a similar home that has existed for years. Comparable properties in the area that feature the same amount of bedrooms, bathrooms and square feet but were built years ago will be much cheaper. Upgraded features offered in brand new homes are sometimes marked up heavily by builders to increase their profits. Not only are features marked up, but builders are building for the sole purpose of earning a profit. This has to be kept in consideration at all times.

No Landscaping or Grass 

A home that has been under construction for several months may lack developed landscaping. Heavy machinery and workers walking around the project often destroys any grass or landscaping previously there. After the project is complete, it takes several months for grass to grow and for the dirt to dissipate. The owner may be required to maintain upkeep of the grass and landscape afterwards to ensure growth.

Time To Build

One of the biggest disadvantages of a newly constructed home is the amount of time it takes to build the home. Depending on the size of the project, it can take several months to finish. On the other hand, moving into an older home that has residents, usually takes 45 days. If you are selling your current home, in order to use that money to buy a new home, the time to build should be considered. Some clients choose to rent until the construction is complete. This may not be the case if the construction project is already finished.

Unexpected Costs

Unexpected costs such as certain upgrades and customization may come at a cost. For instance, if you have a preference for different appliances or flooring, than those planned by the builder, there may be a price tag associated with the change. A long list of changes can add up in costs and is something to certainly to consider.

On the other hand, if you are satisfied with selection for flooring, appliances and finishes, there will be no additional unexpected costs.

Possible Future Construction

If there is a new home under construction in the neighborhood, there is good chance there will be future construction in the area. In that case, it can take many months or years for the construction or the development to conclude. This may mean heavy construction equipment in your area, as well as noise and general debris from construction. Construction of the surrounding areas is something to consider.

Some buyers do not mind the possibility of future construction in the neighborhood. If other houses are knocked down and replaced with brand new, bigger homes, buyers are at ease with their purchase. From their perspective, this an increase in demand for the surrounding property, reassures them that this is a quality neighborhood.

Less Desirable Neighborhood 

Depending on where the new home is being built, you may not find the neat and clean tree-lined neighborhood you had hoped for. Land is scarce. If the home is being built in a brand new development, it may take several months for the development to become well-established.

 Builders often find undeveloped lands in less desirable locations. Because land is scarce and cheaper land is further away from major cities, you will often see homes priced accordingly. This may mean further away from city centers. This is something to consider if you work in city centers, where your commute may be longer.

Lack of Customization

While there are opportunities to customize a brand new home that is being built, you may not be able to customize or upgrade an already complete project. This is a tough pill to swallow for buyers who take pride in doing a lot of the customization themselves. For buyers interested in being more hands on, and tailoring their home accordingly, an already complete brand new home may not be a good fit.

Small Yards

As previously mentioned, land is scarce. Builders are sometimes forced to build bigger, new homes on smaller lots. If you are looking for a new home over 3200 square feet, with a big back yard and ample space between your neighbors, it may be tough to find. Because land is scarce, builders often implement strategies to maximize the amount of land, by building as big of a home as possible. This may mean decreased space between neighbors and limited outdoor space.

Less Room for Negotiation

 Since builders are making these homes for a profit, there is very little room for negotiation. Builders know that if they accept a lower offer for a home, this may affect the amount they receive for future projects in the area. While some builders may work with you on giving you some upgrades, don’t expect to come away with a steal.


Should you buy a new home or an existing home? This is something only you as the buyer can answer. While there are pros and cons to owning both a new home or an existing home, you have to sit down and figure out what is best for your needs.

The best thing you can do to begin your journey is to find a real estate agent who is knowledgeable on the intricacies of buying a brand new home. You want to find an agent who can explain to you the pros and cons of buying a brand new home in the neighborhood you are looking for.


Tags: Real Estate
Categories: Buying Property

Carbondale Colorado Real Estate

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

History & Location

Located 170 miles west of Denver and 30 miles from Aspen in the heart of Colorado’s central Rocky Mountains is Carbondale. Carbondale was first occupied by the Ute Indians then by silver prospectors cattle ranchers and potato farmers.

Discussed as one of the “Top 12 Towns” in the “50 Next Great Places to Live and Play” by National Geographic Adventure magazine.  Also listed as one of the 50 Best Places to Live/Most Active Towns by Men’s Journal magazine. Carbondale is a great base camp for recreation enthusiasts. Resting in the shadow of 12,953-foot Mt. Sopris there is plenty to do in Carbondale.  This includs biking, hiking, gold medal fly-fishing, kayaking, and world class skateboarding. In winter excellent cross-country skiing can be found at Spring Gulch and beautiful snowmobiling and snowshoeing trails are accessible in all directions. World famous downhill skiing and snowboarding is 30 miles away in Aspen/Snowmass and also 15 miles away at Sunlight Mountain in Glenwood Springs.

For a spectacular driving experience take the West Elk Loop that is a Colorado Scenic Byway. It starts and ends in Carbondale and wanders on the edge of town. The commercial airports of Aspen, Eagle/Vail and Grand Junction offer convenient access to Carbondale.

At an altitude of 6,181 feet, the Carbondale area is characterized by an average of 295 days of sunshine, low humidity, cold but mild winters and comfortable summers. Carbondale often avoids storms that can inundate the surrounding mountains creating its reputation as the “banana belt” of the Roaring Fork and Crystal River Valleys. There is a significant day to night temperature swing and precipitation can vary greatly from year to year. Average snowfall is approximately 69 inches. The growing season averages 98 days with the last spring frost about June 1 and the first killing frost about September 15. Carbondale residents embrace a sense of community. This manifests itself in the promotion of recreation, great dining, art and artists, public radio, renewable energy and resources, community gatherings and events.  It also boasts a wide range of economic, social, and philosophical viewpoints.

Carbondale Colorado Real Estate

Carbondale, located in Garfield County, Colorado, is home to 6,492 people and is a suburban community. The median household income is $60,597. 54% of residents of Carbondale are married and 35% are families with children. Half the residents in Carbondale commute just 30 minutes or less to work, with 31% of residents holding white collar jobs and 69% residents holding blue collar jobs. The median age of homes is 19 years. In Carbondale, 54% of homes are owned, 37% are rented, and 9% are not occupied. Last year, 133 Carbondale properties were sold and the median sale price of a home was $437,934.

Carbondale Colorado Real Estate is fairly diverse in nature.  Because of the mid-valley location offered by Carbondale, it attracts all kinds of real estate action.  Only 10 miles from Glenwood Springs and 30 miles from Aspen makes for an appealing location to many people. In addition to location Carbondale offers a culture that is second to none in Colorado.

If you are in the Carbondale Colorado Real Estate market than chanced are you are shopping for something $300,000 or more.  With high demand comes high pricing unfortunately.  We start to see real estate prices increase significantly as you leave Glenwood Springs and head towards Carbondale.  There are a variety of factors that contribute to this phenomena.

As of today there are 27 listings in Carbondale under $500,000.  By increasing the budget to $1,000,000 there are currently 77 listings. In Carbondale we see a huge diversity among properties offered.  Starting at $315,000 you can purchase a 1,248 square foot 3 bedroom 2 bathroom condo.  There are several condos and town homes located near the downtown area of Carbondale.

As you approach the $500,000 mark you start to break into the single family home market. Single family homes in Carbondale range from small lots and properties to large ranch properties.  Very few single family homes come with HOA covenants.  This sometimes is a big deciding factor for buyers.

To learn more about the town of Carbondale HERE


Not All Real Estate Agents Are Created Equal

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

Real estate is stressful. Between setting up your home for showings, trying to figure out where you’re going to make compromises, and making a gigantic life change, you’re overwhelmed. When selecting an agent it’s important to recognize not all real estate agents are created equal.

Whether you’re buying or selling your home, you want a real estate agent you trust. You want someone who understands the market and is experienced at negotiating. You want a partner who can reduce your stress.

There’s tons of conflicting information about the types of real estate agents out there. How do you pick one? Should you go with a real estate broker, a Realtor®, or a real estate agent? What are a real estate agency’s responsibilities?

What’s the difference?

Real estate agent vs. real estate broker

Most states differentiate between two types of professionals– agent and broker. A real estate broker runs a real estate agency and must pass an exam and be licensed to be a broker, while a real estate agent must pass an exam and be licensed to sell property.

The real estate broker is the leading person in a real estate firm. They man the whole operation. They’ve taken coursework to ensure they can manage a real estate firm. This person takes responsibility for all of the real estate agents she employs. Brokers must have a particular license, and some licensed brokers choose to work in someone else’s firm. In this case, they’re usually called an associate broker.

The real estate agent has met their state’s requirements for getting a license to sell property. An agent usually works under a broker, and are sometimes called subagents, real estate salespeople, or sales agents. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there were 151,700 employed real estate sales agents in the United States in 2015.

When it comes to buying or selling a home, you’ll probably work with a real estate agent who works for a real estate agency led by a broker. The real estate agent is the person you’ll work with most directly. They’ll be on call to help you through any questions.  This hopefully helps to show how not all real estate agents are created equal.

But what’s a Realtor®, and do I need one?

A Realtor® is a real estate agent who is part of the National Association of Realtors, which has a certain standard of ethics and moral codes to follow. These rules have a reputation for being strict. Many real estate agents and brokers are Realtors®, and they’ll proudly display this information on their business cards.

Realtors® have access to inventory that real estate agents don’t, particularly through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which gives them greater access to homes on the market. If you work with a Realtor®, you’ll have access to more homes.  Just like not all real estate agents are created equal, the same goes for Realtors®.

Other types of real estate agents and terms to know

Seller’s agent or Listing agent

When you sell your home, you’ll need to find a sellers agent.

The seller’s agent is the real estate professional who represents the person selling the property. This person will act as the manager of your house sale. Think of them like the project manager. They talk fast, act fast, and get stuff done.

The seller’s agent will work with the buyer’s agent to come to a final price for the property. Get the property sold and you enter into a brokerage agreement with your agent and their firm. This agreement ensures they will represent your interests as a seller.

Buyer’s agent

When you’re buying a home, you want a buyer’s agent to help you out.

Consider the buyer’s agent your first mate, willing to do the heavy lifting, negotiate on your behalf, and rally the crew to find the perfect house.

Real estate agents are often both buyer’s and seller’s agents. The only real difference between the two is that buyer’s agents work for the house hunter. They’ll typically take you around town, show off houses they think you’ll like, and manage the process from negotiating the offer to closing the deal.

Designated agency

A designated agency began because of conflicts of interest with dual agencies. A designated agency is when a real estate firm has a designated individual agent to represent only the interests of the seller, and another designated agent to represent the interests of the buyer. This gives both the buyer and the seller more personalized representation.

Dual agency

A dual agency is when a buyer is represented by the same firm that has the listing. It’s also called a dual agency when the same real estate agent represents both the buyer and the seller.

Imagine playing a game of blackjack as both the dealer and a player. There are a handful of potential benefits of using a dual agent as a seller but its not a recommended best practice.

Potential Benefits of Using a Dual Agent:

  • Streamline the transaction. After all, negotiating with yourself is so much easier.
  • The agent might have more information about the property than an agent working strictly from the buyer’s side.
  • Dual agents will occasionally take a reduced commission since they’re working both sides.
  • Buyer’s tend to have more purchasing power because the agent knows everything about the seller.
  •  Communication between buyer and seller gets a little easier since there’s only one primary point of contact.

Minor benefits aside, some states have tried to outlaw the practice by citing a conflict of interest. Unfortunately, every state in the US leaves some sort of opening for real estate agents to “double dip.” The good news is that where the practice is legal, most states require the real estate agent to disclose the conflict of interest.

Here’s where the issue gets a little murky. The right real estate agent can get you in or out of a home smoothly. A bad one can bring on substantial headaches that cost you time and money.How to Work with Any Type of Real Estate Agent

Here’s how to ensure you get the best results, regardless of the type of real estate agent you’re working with:

Be clear about what you want

Even the best real estate agents depend on their clients to be honest and upfront about their needs. If you disagree with a real estate agent’s opinion, it’s important that you voice your position. Explaining your stance is essential– whether you’re buying or selling.  Remember not all real estate agents are created equal and therefore most will listen to your needs.

Consider client reviews but don’t rely on them

While sales data is arguably the most objective way to compare real estate agents, its not necessarily the end all be all. Ask each agent for a few references from a few of their previous contacts, read up on a decent sample set of online reviews posted on their various agent profiles, and do everything you can to make sure their a good personality fit.  To see Shawn’s reviews, Click Here.

Stay local

You want to work with a real estate agent who has significant experience in your neighborhood. If you’re selling, your agent will have up to date data on how hot the market is. If you’re buying, your agent will help you make decent offers. No matter what, choose a real estate agent with experience where you are.

Choose the right type of real estate agent

Some real estate agents may claim that they specialize in both buying and selling. But the best really stick to one lane or the other. Again this speaks to the fact that not all real estate agents are created equal.

The bottom line is that you can’t just pick any old Seller’s or Buyer’s agent out of the phone book. There are tangible differences between one type of real estate agent and another. Don’t leave one of the biggest financial decisions of your life to the first agent that comes along.

Carefully consider the pros and cons of using an agent who specializes in sales, purchases, or both, weigh they’ve done historically in your area and how they’ve worked with other clients in the past. Then, after all of that research, go with someone you’re comfortable working with for at least a month.

If shopping the Colorado real estate market, give Shawn Manwaring a call at Roaring Fork Sotheby’s in Glenwood Springs. 


Mortgage Pre-Approval Vs Pre-Qualification

Posted on September 26, 2018 by shawn_manwaring

Mortgage Pre-Approval Vs Pre-Qualification

There are a lot of terms used in the mortgage and real estate industry that may be unfamiliar to you, especially if you are a first time homebuyer. The phrase Rate/Term Refi may not sound like much to you, but to a mortgage lender this simply means someone wants to refinance his or her existing mortgage in order to get either a better rate or a better term. Likewise, pre-approval vs pre-qualification may sound the same but there are a few important differences between the two.  In this article we explain the difference between Mortgage Pre-Approval Vs Pre-Qualification.

Pre-Qualification is Quick, Easy and Non-committal

A pre-qualification for a mortgage is quite simple. You call a lender, or visit their website, and provide some basic information. Things such as your annual income, your approximate credit score and your current debt payments are usually all that is requested. With this information, the lender will then tell you the range of mortgages that fit with your information.

Although this sounds good in theory, it is really just a casual conversation between you and the lender. You have not provided any supporting documentation for your financial situation. The lender has not provided any formal letter stating that you can buy a home.

Think of it like this; if you call a local department store and ask for a price to buy a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, the clerk will likely give you a rough estimate. However, this does not take in to account your style preference, color choice or even your size. It is just an idea of how much you might spend on some clothes, but nothing real definite.

Pre-Approval Shows that You are Ready to Buy a Home

Compared to the pre-qualification, a pre-approval is proof to real estate agents and potential home sellers that you are ready to buy a home. Getting pre-approved is quite detailed and may take a few days compared to the 10 minutes of a pre-qualification.

For starters, you will be asked to provide multiple documents to a lender. The lender will likely ask for all of the following items

Mortgage Pre-Approval Vs Pre-Qualification
  • Your most recent paystubs covering at least the last 30 calendar days
  • Your W-2 forms from the previous 2 calendar years
  • The most recent statements from all checking accounts
  • The most recent statements from all savings accounts
  • The most recent statement from all retirement or investment accounts
  • If you are self-employed, you will also be asked to provide the previous 2 years business tax returns as well as your personal tax returns

The lender will take all of this info and pull a fresh credit report for you. The financial data and credit report will be reviewed with a bit of scrutiny. The lender will compare your information to the mortgage guidelines and decide if you are pre-approved for a loan.

If you are pre-approved for a mortgage the lender will then provide you with a pre-approval letter. This letter will usually have your name and the lender’s name on it. It will state that the lender has looked over your information and determined that you are a good risk for a mortgage. Be sure to have your non-occupying co-borrower pre-approved as well. It’s important that everyone on the mortgage is pre-approved.

Why The Letters are Necessary

Real estate agents are professional representatives of buyers and sellers. In order for a seller to take an offer seriously, the agent will need some reasonable assurance that a buyer can actually purchase a home if they put an offer on the place. This protects the sellers from reviewing offers that may be just wishful thinking on the part of the buyer.

Another reason real estate agents ask for a pre-approval letter is that it also helps them get the correct focus. It really makes no sense for an agent to show a client a home priced at $425,000 if they can only afford $285,000. At the same time, it makes no sense to show someone a home priced at $79,000 if they are pre-approved for $325,000 and want to look in that price range.

A pre-approval letter will also be a powerful tool if you are competing against other buyers. Sometimes a seller may get multiple offers on a home. While your offer may be slightly lower than someone else, your offer may carry more weight if you have been pre-approved and the other buyer is postponing talking to a lender.

These are just a few of the many reasons why you need a pre-approval letter.

Pre-Approval Does not Always Mean you Get the House

While you can see there is a difference between pre-approval vs pre-qualification, it is also important to understand that a pre-approval does not always mean that you will be approved for the loan.

There are different reasons why someone will receive a pre -approval letter from a lender but than are turned down for a home loan. The most common reasons come from either the appraisal or the home title work.

Some homes have structural damage or other issues that are not easily noticed by an untrained eye. Appraisers often see things beneath a home or in the attic that indicates a major problem.

Likewise, the title report for a home is not easy to obtain. It requires a bit of research and sometimes the research turns up an issue with how the property was transferred among previous owners. On the other hand, there may be an issue with the property line or even an old judgement that needs to be paid.

Sometimes, a lender may change their guidelines for a specific loan between the time a person gets pre-approved and the time that the loan goes to an underwriter. This is rare, but it does happen.

Besides the appraisal and title issues, the most common reason for a person with a pre-approval to get turned down relates to their credit or employment. One missed payment on a debt or a change in jobs can jeopardize a person’s chance of getting a home loan. Suffice it to say, once you receive a pre-approval letter DO NOT miss a single payment to anyone and DO NOT change jobs. Wait until the loan is closed to make changes to your employment.

What is a Mortgage Pre-Approval Vs Pre-Qualification?

Summing Up Pre-Approval Vs Pre-Qualification

Getting pre-qualified is a good idea if you are considering changing your living arrangements and might want to buy a house. This will let you know an approximate price range as well as the corresponding house payment. There are many signs that you are ready to purchase a home. When you feel that you are fully ready to take the plunge and buy a home, that is when you should seek out a lender and get pre-approved for a home.  Now you are equipped with the knowledge to understand the difference between Mortgage Pre-Approval Vs Pre-Qualification.

When you are ready to pursue your real estate dreams in Colorado, I look forward to your call!

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