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!
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Today I sat through a class on legal topics for realtors in 2016. The class was hosted by a real estate lawyer Scot Peterson. Scott has taught the same class to all 34 realtor associations in Colorado. The topics were decided because they are the most common topics they receive calls to their legal hot line for from other real estate professionals. Please read below and share with anyone you know in real estate.
Cyber Crime. With technology in every facet of our lives, real estate is no different. We are seeing more and more cyber crimes in real estate. These vary in nature but usually affect the client and the broker both. Sometimes people steal realtor info and than ask clients to wire them money. Sometimes people pretend to purchase property and demand earnest money be paid in cashiers check. These are just a couple of the many possible cyber crimes in real estate today. To protect yourself, setup Google Alerts.
Variable Commission Structures. The big idea here is that agents are not disclosing the fact they are working on a variable commission basis. This can be a huge risk for the transaction and the client. Basically the code of ethics requires sellers agents to disclose this information so it can be easily verified.
Marketing Services Agreement. This used to be very common with realtors, lenders, title companies and other who team up for marketing efforts. Since than there have been several high dollar lawsuits. With the knowledge of the crack down, we are seeing less and less marketing service agreements being signed.
Earnest Money Disputes. In real estate there are many ways a buyer can back out of the contract and request the return of their earnest money. This is a two part process. The first is contract termination which is unilateral in nature. The second is the earnest money request which is bilateral in nature and requires both parties to sign. When an earnest money dispute arises, be sure to work with your realtor and possibly legal counsel to get this resolved.
Use of Social Media. There is no doubt social media marketing is often times successful. Almost all real estate professionals use social media today for their business. As a realtor you are required to have your firm name and contact immediately verifiable in posts. Lots of violations are occurring with respect to this. When advertising on social media be sure to include all the necessary info to legally market yourself and your properties.
Service animals and emotional support animals. There is a difference between the two. Service animals are always a dog and trained for 1 skill set and directly benefit their owner. Emotional support animals can be any animal and are more vague in nature for what they actually do. The big thing in real estate is that because of fair housing regulations, you cannot deny a tenant based on the fact they have a service animal or emotional support animal.
Appraisal Contingency. This is related to FHA and VA loans. If the seller gives the buyer a VA or FHA loan contingency, they are waiving the rights of the appraisal contingency. This is not always discussed but very important to real estate.
Disclosure of Known Conditions. The real estate commission position 46 was written just for this. As a realtor or property owner you are required to disclose all latent and known defects to a property before sale. If a buyer comes along and performs an inspection and withdrawals the offer based on inspection results, you are required to disclose that to any future buyers. This is obviously for the protection of the buyer. Many realtors and sellers are not adhering to this therefore creating a violation.
Evictions. These are not fun for anyone involved but are very common. When evicting a tenant you must provide a notice to quit and than have the sheriff evict them after 3 days. This usually goes to legal proceedings and takes at minimum a few weeks to resolve. To protect your sellers, be sure to stay ahead of the eviction process when applicable.
You can find more information at www.coloradorealtor.com/legal-hotline
Thanks for reading and sharing my column today on Legal Topics for Realtors. I hope to hear from you soon when you are ready to enter the real estate market!
I was recently talking to some friends who run a business in the ski industry about how the below average snowfall this Winter has impacted their business and I suddenly had an epiphany; All businesses have seasonal challenges to overcome.
When studying historic real estate market trends here in Western Colorado, the common pattern we see in the real estate market is that activity tends to heat up in the Spring and Summer and cool down as we head into Winter. So, what does this mean for a potential buyer or seller?
For buyers, there are several factors to consider when shopping for a home and seasonality plays a role in this believe it or not! As a buyer it’s easy to get tunnel vision on the house you want, the neighborhood you want or just finding the best deal out there. I challenge my clients to take off the blinders and ask yourself questions like this; I wonder if anyone else is considering this home? Will more homes like this one become available in the next 3-6 months? Will the price change once we get to warmer weather?
When you’re in the process of looking for and buying a home it’s important to be aware of external factors that play a part in pricing and our current market absorption rate, this includes our season. I recognize that sometimes issues such as timing are outside of your control and you must make a speedy decision on which home to purchase. However, in many cases this is a decision that you have been working towards and when time is on your side, I would strongly encourage you to work with an experienced professional that can help you leverage this seasonality effect of pricing.
Historically our region has seen more properties available for sale in the Spring and Summer months than any other time of year. Although it seems like an oxymoron, prices tend to go up in these months too. While it is true that you will have more options available to choose from, you are also most likely to pay top dollar for your property. When shopping in the Winter months, you may have less inventory but you also have less competition with other buyers and generally, deal with more motivated sellers.
As a seller, seasonality also plays a key component to successfully selling your home and it all begins with marketing your property. Most properties are more aesthetically appealing in the Spring/Summer months and therefore get more views online when advertised. The prospect of moving in the Winter also tends to keep many sellers to wait until Spring to list their property. Just know that if you begin marketing your property for sale during Winter, that there tend to be less competition and the buyers that are shopping, tend to be more serious. Above all else, it is important to price your home competitively in our market in order to get the highest offer in the shortest amount of time and successfully close the transaction. For that there is no comparison to having an experienced professional advocating for you.
While there may not be a perfect time to buy or sell, if you’re observant to our season you may just find yourself with a competitive advantage in the Roaring Fork real estate marketplace.
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. He can be reached at 970-389-6069, Shawn.Manwaring@SIR.com or www.ManwaringProperties.com