Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Wrap Up And Welcome 2015!

Its certainly going to be a chilly one, but a trip to Denver this New Year's Eve will not leave you cold! From the zoo, to parties and balls, to spectacular fireworks, Denver covers every member of the family.


I wish you a fun and safe New Year's Eve and a very Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Myth Of The Winter Slump

Here is a piece of conventional wisdom about real estate: It is slow in the winter. The holidays are busy. People are preoccupied with other things. No one is thinking about real estate.
Not so fast.
The stats tell a different story. If we look at the winter months of late December thru late March, it is not uncommon for 20% of the yearly sales to occur during this season versus the spring, summer and fall periods.
The supposed winter lull in real estate activity turns out to be more myth than reality. The truth is that each season of the year offers both opportunities and challenges. There is no perfect time to buy or sell and there is no time that is horrible either.
All of this is good news if you need to sell or buy a home in the next three months. You can be successful at wrapping up a winter real estate deal.
Let’s think about the situation for buyers first. While there are a lot of closings that happen during the winter selling season, it is true that there are fewer properties on the market during this time frame. It makes finding the place you want a little more problematic.
What can be different and favorable for buyers is that winter sellers tend to be serious and motivated. We don’t have a lot of discretionary sellers during the winter. Some sellers who have been overpriced make price adjustments and get very serious about consummating a sale. All things being equal, you can negotiate more aggressively.
The situation for sellers is not all that dissimilar. There are fewer buyers floating around but also fewer sellers with whom you must compete. In addition, the buyers that are active at this time of year are often people with deadlines. Something is driving them to take time during a busy season of the year to get out there and find a home. It is a good time of year for sellers to reevaluate just a bit and make a small price adjustment that will attract the attention of the serious buyers.
Myths die hard. The winter IS as good a time for doing real estate as any other time of year.
(c) Colorado Home Realty

Monday, December 22, 2014

Get The "LED" Out!

No. That’s not a typo. Everyone knows that LEAD is bad for the environment, which is why we got it out of gasoline. Did you know, however, that an LED (lightbulb) is good for both the environment and your pocket book? You want to get LEDs out of the store and into your light fixtures.

LED stands for “light emitting diode”. LED technology has evolved to be a viable alternative to regular incandescent light bulbs. They can save you money and can save the planet, so they are “green” in multiple senses of the term. We’ve been told for a few years now that our light bulbs are killing the planet due to their inefficient energy use. We have been urged to switch to the “compact fluorescent light” bulb. Known as “CFL’s”, these curly shaped tubes of glass use less energy.

However, CFLs are are pretty dull until they have spent a few minutes warming up when first switched on. They also contain mercury, making many wonder how they could be better for the environment. If you break one in your house, your property becomes an EPA superfund clean up site – a slight exaggeration, but certainly a broken CFL requires careful clean up. When CFLs burn out, you can’t just throw them in the trash but should take them to special reclamation facilities – and you know everyone is doing that!

LED’s do not suffer any of these problems. The come on instantly. They contain no toxic materials. They typically don’t break when dropped. In addition, they now produce a soft white light comparable to regular bulbs and the light diffuses in all directions instead of being focused in a beam like original LEDs. They use less energy than a CFL and only 16% of the energy of regular light bulbs. Almost all the energy gets turned into light instead of heat, so your house stays cooler and requires less AC in summer. Heck, they probably make you look younger and skinnier too!

So here is the math on the green (money) front. Assume a bulb is on for three hours a day, which is the national average for lights in frequently used rooms like kitchens, dining rooms, family rooms, living rooms and bedrooms. You install the traditional 60-watt bulb on January 1st and it will cost you $7.63 in electrical use for the year. The bulb will burn out on December 31st. Add the 50 cent cost of the bulb, and it has cost you $8.13 for it’s 12-month life.

The comparable LED bulb will only use $1.08 in electricity over the one-year period. With a purchase cost of $7.00, it has cost you $8.08 for the year (we’ve seen 60-watt LED bulbs for as little as $4 at Home Depot recently, but we’ll not use that lower number in our analysis) No big deal, right? You’ve only saved 5 cents. The important difference is that the LED bulb has a remaining useful life of 21.8 years! For some of us, those bulbs will still be working when our kids are settling our estate! So in year number two, you will NOT have to buy a new LED bulb and it will only cost you about a buck in electricity to run it. You’d incur over $8 in cost in the second year to replace the regular bulb and pay its electrical usage cost.

If you’re keeping score, that’s a savings of about $7 per year per bulb for the LED once you get to the second year. Since the average home has around 40 bulbs, you are saving approximately $280 a year by using the LED bulbs over the regular bulbs.

The equation is a bit different if you are comparing 100-watt bulbs or the 65-watt can lights common in many homes. The payback period of these is about 18 months instead of 12 months. Still, they quickly get to the point of saving you money.

If you are more motivated by being “green” in the environmental sense, here are the numbers. Producing the electricity to power a traditional 60-watt incandescent bulb for a year will cause about 300 pounds of C02 to be emitted. The comparable LED bulb will result in less than 50 pounds of carbon dioxide being released to the environment. So whether you are focused on fiscal responsibility OR you’re concerned about climate change, the LED light bulb can bring you joy and satisfaction.

Courtesy of Mike Cooke, Colorado Home Realty (c)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Enjoy The Sparkle Of The Holidays!

Many of us are donning the outside of our homes and our yards with pretty lights to celebrate this holiday season. The Botanic Gardens is no exception! Enjoy a magical evening at Blossoms of Lights at York Street, and Trail of Lights at Chatfield this year.
They are sure to bring a sparkle to your holidays!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Should You "For Sale By Owner"?

The article, "5 Reasons You Shouldn't For Sale by Owner,"
makes some interesting points about the disadvantages that arise when an owner sells a house without the help of an agent. However, a couple comments are in order.

Like most articles we see on this topic, the author cites studies that show that houses sold directly by an owner typically sell for substantially less money -- exactly 20% less in this case. The study that allegedly shows this is not referenced.
While it is true that For-Sale-by-Owner (FSBO) houses sell for less money than those with an agent involved, the differential is not nearly that large. Our own in-house studies show that For Sales By Owner properties in metro Denver typically sell for prices that are 4% to 6% less than the sale prices of houses sold where an agent is involved.
This differential is substantial and significant. Most agents charge sellers a fee in that range. Bottom-line: It turns out that most owners that sell without an agent end up doing all the work themselves, but don't put any more money in their pocket for their effort.  They are out their time and don't have any more money to show for it.
One of the reasons that By Owner properties sell for less money is because of Items #2 and #3 in the article. Through Multiple Listing Services, networking with other agents and internet agreements, real estate agents get much more exposure for a given property. Increased exposure means greater likelihood of finding a better and more motivated buyer than is found with limited exposure as a For-Sale-by-Owner seller. 
Be sure to read Item #1 in the article. It makes an excellent point that many By Owner property owners do not consider. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Holidays Are Here!

Wrap up warm and enjoy some great events in Highlands Ranch this Holiday Season!
December 12th - Showtime at Southridge, Holiday Concert - The Highlands Ranch Swing Shift Band will have you tapping your feet in no time!
December 13th -  Bring the little ones and have ‘Breakfast with Santa’ at Eastridge Recreation Center. The morning includes a pancake breakfast and a visit with Santa!
December 13th and 14th - Enjoy the Winter Market at Town Center North. This is a free event for all. Its great for choosing some unique holiday gifts and tasting delicious holiday fayre!
December 14th - The Hanukkah Celebrations at Northridge include singing, dancing, face painting, prizes, etc. A great family afternoon!
December 20th - Don’t miss the Giant Menorah Lighting ceremony at Eastridge! There will be Hanukkah gifts, latkes, children’s entertainment and much more!
….and there are always the Custom Holiday Sleigh Rides, through the Backcountry Wilderness, with roasted marshmallows en-route!
For further details please see HRCA’s 2014 Holiday Happenings,  http://hrcaonline.org/ProgramsEvents/CommunityEvents/HRCAHolidayHappenings.aspx