Category Archives: 100 Real Estate & Relocation Tips

Quick and Easy State Parks

100 Real Estate and Relocation Tips in 100 Days (Day 95)

With the understandable attention given to Colorado’s 4 National Parks (Rocky Mountain, Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison), and a plethora of National Monuments, Historic Sites, and 11 National Forests, it is easy to overlook Colorado’s fabulous State Park System. There are 42 State Parks, 8 of them within an hour’s drive of Metropolitan Denver. A 12 month vehicle pass costs only $60.00, truly a bargain for the family looking for close to the city fun. Starting from due north and working toward the east, we have:

St. Vrain State Park, located just north of Denver, this park is popular for birding, hiking, and human powered boating.

Barr Lake State Park. This popular park located just outside of the Adams County Seat of Brighton, boasts a nature center, large lake, wildlife, and an extensive train system.

Cherry Creek State Park. This very popular State Park, located in the southeast metro area, has many kinds of activities, such as horseback riding, cycling, swimming, and of course sail and power boating.

Castlewood Canyon State Park, located just south of Parker, this natural canyon cut by Cherry Creek, is the site of the ill-fated Castlewood Dam, which burst in 1993, flooding Denver. The Visitor Center plays a movie of the dam’s history, and many trails are popular with local hikers.

Roxborough State Park, located southwest of the city, just beyond Arrowhead Golf Course, Roxborough contains some of the state’s most spectacular scenery. Red rock formations on a par with The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs are truly breathtaking. Camping is not permitted, but numerous trails crisscross the park, providing the photographer with ample opportunity.

Chatfield State Park. Chatfield Dam, constructed after the devastating 1965 flooding of the Platte River, is now the site for another edge of the city park, offering boating, camping, cycling, and many other activities, including the a launch site for hot air balloons.

Golden Gate Canyon State Park, just west and north of Golden, Colorado, offers 12,000 acres of forested mountain terrain. Numerous group facilities allow for gatherings of all sizes, plus camping, hiking, and horseback riding, all just 30 miles from Denver, make this one of the jewels of the state park system.

Eldorado Canyon State Park, can be found just south of Boulder, Colorado. This park features slabs of sheer vertical sandstone, popular with rock climbers.

There are 34 other state parks, featuring boating, camping, wildlife habitats, and all manner of activities suited for that particular park. For a complete list and information about all of Colorado’s wonderful state parks.

Negotiating a Closing For a Distant Date

100 Real Estate and Relocation Tips in 100 Days (Day 94)

There are five main items buyers and sellers of real estate negotiate on a sale of a home.  One of the most critical is the closing date.

Buyers often have a good reason to want to purchase a home and then have a long time to wait until closing. This gives them time to plan, pack and prepare to move.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a time buffer to get all the millions of details it seems to entail when moving to a new home. But, this reasoning is often at complete odds with the seller of the home.

Let me explain.

If a buyer finds a home say 3 or 4 months before they want to move, most likely the seller will want to move within 1 to 2 months of the contract date.  The difference of 1  or 2 months is huge when you consider the seller’s perspective.

During that time many things can happen. The buyer can change their mind, lose a job, or any number of other reasons.   When this happens the seller not only loses out on the sale of their home, but valuable marketing time.

Even with a buyer who is steadfast and solid in life the seller most often will refuse a far out closing date.

Why? The risk is just to great to assume.

But, there are ways to make both sides of the contract happy.  Here’s a suggestion, why not have the buyer perform all the inspections, appraisals and loan commitment.  When done the earnest money becomes what we call “hard.”

Hard means if the buyer  does not perform, for ANY reason the seller is given the earnest money.  Of course the earnest money needs to be substantial enough to make it attractive to him.

By offering this solution the buyer is removing the risk for the seller.

Colorado Does Recreation Centers Nicely

100 Real Estate and Relocation Tips in 100 Days (Day 93)

Swimming Pool in Lone Tree, Colorado

With the advent of summer, it’s time to get outside, The Denver area has all kinds of places to swim and play. Topping an expansive list is Water World the enormous water park in the northern suburb of Federal Heights. For something unique, the 104 year old pool at Eldorado Springs is filled with natural sprig water. Broomfield Bay Aquatic Park has lots of fun features and expansive grassy area for picnicking. For folks out west, there is The Splash at Fossil Trace in Golden. The new pool and play facility in Lone Tree’s Cook Creek Park opens early this summer.

The area abounds with recreation centers, which I have been told are a “Colorado thing”. Highlands Ranch has 4 huge facilities, all with pools and every type of indoor activity you can think of. The South Suburban Parks District operates a dozen great facilities, including the Lone Tree Recreation Center and the Family Sports Center near Centennial Airport. The Trails Recreation Center, located in the Piney Creek area of southeast Arapahoe County is a first class facility. Denver operates recreation centers all over the city, and Commerce City and Northglenn each have their own indoor sports facilities.

Many suburban neighborhoods have their own community pools, and the area has over 400 developed parks and expansive open spaces. Bicycling, amateur ice hockey, soft ball for all ages, pretty much everything you can do outside is part of the exciting background of Metropolitan Denver.

How To Find the Best Value in a Home

100 Real Estate and Relocation Tips in 100 Days (Day 93)

Value is in the mind of the buyer. How to find the best value for you is a process, a search if you will, but not as much of a discovery as enlightenment.

Let’s look at value from the seller’s perspective. A few sellers set a price based on what they want, and not on what the market is indicating. Most sellers set their price based on market information, known as comparable sales, with that information usually being provided by a Realtor®. Because appraisers determine value based on certain well defined strictures, most Realtors® attempt to provide their selling clients with market data similar to what an appraiser will use at the time of sale. Simply stated, that means very similar houses, in close proximity to the subject house, and sold in the past 90 days. A seller can gain a small edge by offering a house in very good condition, staged for showing, with the best terms of purchase available. As a buyer, the value proposition starts with that well maintained house offered at the market price. Prices set arbitrarily by a seller because that is what they want do not represent a good value.

As a buyer, you must first become acquainted with prices as they generally apply to house of the same type, size, and area as the most likely house you wish to buy. That will provide a framework for pricing, a component of value. A your search narrows, your agent can provide you with recent sold information, which will help you further define a most likely offering price.

With the pricing component coming into focus, other value concerns must be considered. Timing is of considerable importance. If you cannot move into your dream house until 30 days beyond your most convenient date, then the cost of that delay must be considered. If the house has deferred maintenance, then the cost of any repairs must be factored into your decision. Locational convenience must be considered. 5 minutes further from work is ten minutes a day, or 48 hours in a year. Children walking to school are preferable to a 30 minute bus ride. How far to shopping, parks, and all of the other things in you and your family’s life that require a venue other than your home?

There is of course value in a stable neighborhood verses a declining neighborhood. Proximity to transportation systems, top rated school districts, police and fire protection, all of these things affect value. While the final price is important, use care in not making price the sole deciding factor. Such a decision would definitely not represent good value

Hunting Houses

100 Real Estate Tips in 100 Days (Day 91)

After all of the research on the internet, deciding on which Realtor® to work with, interviewing lenders and making loan applications, and getting more advice from friends and family than you really need or want, it’s time to look at property. Whether you are looking for condos, lofts, houses, new homes or classic craftsman, you are going to get in a car and hit the streets. Here are some tips:

  • Dress comfortably. You may end up really looking a house of you find one you like, meaning peeking into every corner, and checking every nook and cranny. Wear slip off footwear. Many home owners would rather you did not track the outside all over their carpet, so honor their request for no shoes on the inside. Bring a camera for outside shots, but respect the homeowner’s privacy regarding inside shots. Bring water and stay hydrated, especially if you are from out of the Denver area. Bring a notepad, and take notes. Finding the right house to call home is a process, and you will need to have notes to refer to as you search. Take a break after every six or seven houses. Your Realtor should do this, but if not, you should control this process. Looking at houses is exciting, but it is also hard and emotionally difficult work. Taking a break for lunch or coffee help to reorganize your thoughts and redirect the search as necessary.
  • Searching for your new home can be stressful. If you have children, try to arrange for child care. By all means, when it gets down to the home or a choice of two or three, involving the children can be a good thing for the whole family. However, dragging children through 20 homes in 2 days can be an excruciating experience for parents and child, so if at all possible, try to make house hunting an adult activity.
  • Communicate your likes and dislikes. There is not sense plowing through a dozen 2 story homes if you discover early on that the only type of house you want is a ranch. If you have to have a main floor master, stop looking at upper level master suites. If you do not want to spend more than $400,000, it makes no sense to look at $500,000 houses. You agent is not physic, so expressing you likes and dislikes makes the process better and more efficient for you.
  • Bring a positive attitude. You will view many homes that are not right for you, but you are only looking for one. As much as the search has been aided by the internet there is still a need to visit and compare a collection of the most likely homes.
  • Most of all make it fun. Enjoy the experience as a unique opportunity to discover and learn about neighborhoods, schools, shopping, and all of the things that come together to make a house a home. Laughter and levity will help ro make a very serious activity a little easier for you and your family.