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By Julie Reddington | Agent in Highlands Ranch, CO
  • Landscaping Improvements Protect Property Values

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Highlands Ranch, Home Selling in Highlands Ranch, Property Q&A in Highlands Ranch  |  July 22, 2014 5:47 PM  |  4 views  |  No comments

    Real estate prices may continue to go up. They may retreat. However, you don’t have to be the victim of market whims. There are strategies you can employ to protect your property value. Our favorite strategy is landscaping.


    Landscaping is unlike any other improvements that you do to your property. Improvements like new kitchens or window coverings get dated with time. You can choose the most popular upgrades for a kitchen or bath today and they will feel dated in a few years. Tastes change and, as a result, the value of the interior improvements you do today always decline with time.

    In contrast, landscaping is the one improvement that actually appreciates with age. Landscaping becomes more valuable as it matures.

    You can buy a 4-foot tall Baby Blue Eyes Spruce today for $200 and plant it in a strategic spot. In six to seven years, it has topped out at 12 feet with an 8-foot diameter and provides an anchor for a cozy little patio located away from the house itself. It would cost thousands of dollars to buy and plant that mature tree today.

    Research by Alex X. Niemiera, a horticulturist at Virginia Tech, has shown that landscaping can increase the perceived value of a home by 5.5% to 12.7%. However, not all landscaping is created equal. Here are some tips to get the most from a landscaping project.

    Start with a Master Plan: Niemiera’s research indicates that a well-designed plan is the most important factor in maximizing the value of landscaping. Bob Villa echos this sentiment and advises homeowners to start with a master plan.

    Landscape PlanMany people do landscaping piecemeal. They plant a tree this year. Next year, they add some shrubs with no unifying plan. People buy things they like individually with no thought of how they fit together or if they can even thrive in the place planted due to variables like sunlight and water.

    A thoughtful master plan helps avoid these problems. Even if you don’t have the money to implement the whole plan in a single season, the master plan assures that each item you do today fits in with the larger picture.

    The plan may call for five Red Twig Dogwoods to cover up the back fence and provide a backdrop for other landscape elements. You can spend $180 buying those five dogwoods and plant them this year with confidence, knowing that they will thrive and function well when the yard is completely done.

    Divide Your Yard into Rooms: It makes sense to divide up a yard into several useable areas or “rooms”. You may have a deck right off your back door where many people can congregate. A path from the deck can lead around to the side of the house where you create a small, private patio shielded by shrubs. Two or three people can break off from the crowd and use this intimate area as a separate space. Another path from the deck might lead to the swing set or trampoline. Having several centers of interest in your yard increases its usability.

    Get Professional Guidance: As you can already see, landscaping requires expertise. How do you know whether a given plant will thrive where you want to plant it and whether it will grow to the right size? What is the best layout?

    You can certainly research these things on your own and become an expert if you are looking for a new hobby. However, most of us will benefit by getting help from an expert. Most large nurseries and garden centers provide such expertise. Alternately, you can goggle for “residential landscape designers in metro Denver” to find a skilled designer.

    source: Mike Cooke, Colorado Home Realty

  • Seller Strategies for Finding A Replacement Home

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Highlands Ranch, Property Q&A in Highlands Ranch  |  July 14, 2014 11:03 AM  |  62 views  |  No comments

    Right now, sellers can sell quickly and for more than their home has ever been worth in many cases and still have options to implement strategies to protect themselves in case they cannot find an appropriate, exciting or acceptable replacement home. Here are some of those strategies:

    • Have home totally prepared, ready to go to market, then find replacement home.  Working with a great agent means the sellers home is staged, pictures taken, brochures done, price determined and an effective CMA ready to present to the listing agent on the purchase of another home (this requires trust and partnership between home owner and agent as agent will have already invested a significant amount in preparation for marketing of the home and seller must be committed to the process).  The moment a seller finds the right replacement home, they get it under contract and immediately place their home on the market. PROS: lower risk of not finding replacement home.  CONS: must be more aggressive in asking price on current home, reduced negotiating power on the purchase of new home, requires lots of explanation and education of agent and seller on other and of transaction.
    • Purchase new home prior to selling current home.  If sellers lender will qualify them to own two homes, use equity in current home to purchase the replacement home.  The seller takes out an Equity line of credit against the current home to use as down payment against the purchase of a new home.  PROS: take time to find replacement home, not rushed to get out of current home, tremendous negotiating power in purchase of new home, assuming appreciation continues at similar pace, the seller actually achieves appreciation on the ownership of both properties.  CONS: must qualify for owning two homes, must carry note on two homes, risk of owning two homes longer than anticipated.  (given the appreciating market we are in, if a seller can afford to do so, this is the most financially beneficial strategy).  Alternative forms of this strategy might include borrowing against retirement and replacing those funds upon sale of current home, or other forms of accessing capital if a seller can afford to purchase prior to selling.
    • Sell current home and take time.  While this is definitely a hassle, when sellers look at this strategy it actually makes a lot of sense.  Sellers sell their home, focus on getting top dollar for that home and put the vast majority of their belongings in a short term storage facility. Sellers then move into a short term rental (which has its own challenges right now, but there are options) and take their time to find the right replacement home.  If someone is looking at a 10-20 year move, is it worth 15 days to 3 months of short term rental and hassle to find the right home?  only the seller can decide the answer to that question.  PROS: most money for current home and appropriate time to find great replacement home.  CONS: hassle.
    • (Most Applicable for Most Sellers) Sellers put their current home on the market and select the offer to purchase that allows the seller the greatest flexibility in finding a replacement home.  Sellers can write into a counter proposal to any prospective buyer for a longer closing time frame AND that seller has 2 or 3 weeks (or whatever seller chooses to ask for) to find a suitable replacement home.  In the event that seller does not notify the buyer that a suitable replacement home has been found and placed under contract by “X” date, the current contract terminates.  PROS: great confidence for the seller to place the home on  the market and know they have opportunity to find a great replacement home.  CONS: lose some negotiating ability with buyers.

    Get excited about more inventory, low interest rates and the opportunity to save a tremendous amount of money over the ownership period of the next home.

    This might be the seller’s perfect storm.

    source: Mike Cooke, Colorado HomeRealty

  • Is it beneficial to over price your home?

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Highlands Ranch, Property Q&A in Highlands Ranch  |  June 17, 2013 5:18 PM  |  803 views  |  1 comment
    One of the first things I was told when I started working as a real estate agent is that I had a solemn moral and ethical obligation to scare the #@%*^ (daylights) out of sellers about the dangers of over pricing their homes.
    Grizzled veterans explained that over pricing a home leads to many bad things: fewer showings, longer time on the market and ultimately getting less than full market value for the property. 
    It is conventional wisdom in the industry that over priced homes eventually sell for less than full market value.
    PricingMythSellers are often shown this chart from data published from the National Association of Realtors to confirm this fact. Some sellers priced right and sold in less than 30 days for about 2% under asking price. Other sellers priced too high, sat on the market more than 90 days and were punished by having to take 10% less than asking price.
    Well … not so fast. Here is another chart. This is research done on a suburban area including parts of Littleton, Englewood and Centennial in the metro Denver area. It covered almost 500 two-story homes with 2000 to 2800 square feet that sold over a six-month period in 2011.
    PricingTruthPretty startling! Regardless of days on market, these homes were selling between $341,000 and $345,000. The houses that took more than 90 days to sell got 10% less than their inflated asking price but still ended up selling for the fair market value in the low $340s.
    So the real estate industry is just flat wrong about over pricing. All things being equal, over pricing is not going to hurt you financially as a seller.
    On the other hand, over pricing does not help either! On average, the people that started with higher asking prices did not accomplish anything by doing so. They eventually had to come down to the market price range to get their places sold.  Plus you have the longer inconvenience of showing your home, making sure your pants are in place everyday!
    Rethinking the conventional wisdom in real estate is one of our passions at Colorado Home Realty. We ask continually if the old rules of thumb are really true. By doing so, we are discovering that some traditional approaches are wrong and we are innovating new approaches that make your transaction faster, safer, more enjoyable … and more profitable
    (c) Colorado Home Realty
    compliments Mike Cooke
  • The Do’s and Don’ts to House Hunting

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Highlands Ranch, Rental Basics in Highlands Ranch, Property Q&A in Highlands Ranch  |  April 16, 2013 7:08 PM  |  751 views  |  1 comment
    1. Do Expect to ‘Kiss a few Frogs’

    This whole process is a bit like dating. You will ‘kiss a few frogs’, have your heart broken on a deal that goes south, and then just when you think there are no more ‘fish in the sea’, Mr/Mrs Right House will be just around the corner

    1. Pick your favorite SHORT list

    It is recommended when you go out and look at houses, stick to around 6.  After this number, they will all start blending into one!  It can also be quite exhausting.  If you have a lot of house you want to look at, schedule for another day when you will be refreshed. The average buyer will look at around 12 houses before deciding.

    1. Do Take lots of notes, pictures, video tours on your phone

    This will help you remember the properties – trust me, you might not forget the neon paint, but you might forget the payout, where the washing machine was etc.

    1. Do Listen to your Gut

    I truly believe that a house can pick you as much as you pick a house.  Your instinct can be powerful

    1. Do Allow Enough Time

    Don’t buy in haste, repent at leisure.   Make sure you allow lots of time on your house hunt, and arrange a second viewing on any potentials. Follow the rule of thumb – your first visit with  your heart, the second is with your head.

    1. Don’t have a Extra Large Coffee before you start your tour

    It is not always the polite thing to us everyone’s facilities. Plus, some vacant homes may have the water turned off.  You don’t want to be caught short.

    1. Do wear practical shoes

    Some homeowners may request that you remove your shoes, and especially in when the weather is inclement. Wear shoes that are easy to take on and off, not lots of laces, and wear your best socks.

    1. Do Find a babysitter for the children

    Especially until you narrow down the possible house. Children find the whole process VERY exciting. So rather than worry about if they have knocked over the Seller’s best china, find care for them, and bring them in when you have a short list.

    1. Don’t be a Wall Flower

    Do be very vocal. As your Realtor, I have many gifts, the power of reading exactly what the mind is thinking is not one of them.  This is not my house I am showing, so you will not offend me.  And it will truly help me understand what you are wanting in your Dream Home.

    1. Do be Prepared to Compromise

    Just like dating, you might be looking for your ‘Dream Partner’, but not everyone or everything is perfect.  Create a ‘Wish List’ and if you are buying as a couple, compare your lists so that you are on the same page.  Also discuss your big ‘no-no’s’.  And be prepared, you probably won’t find everything on your list so be prepared to compromise on this. (c) Julie Reddington Real Estate

  • Understanding the Inspection Process

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Cherry Creek, Home Selling in Cherry Creek, Property Q&A in Cherry Creek  |  March 28, 2013 9:47 AM  |  354 views  |  No comments

    The inspection phase of the home buying process is vitally important, often misunderstood and frequently just a tad bit frustrating. Here is a brief primer on this vital topic.

    A pre-purchase inspection is crucial because it is your chance as a buyer to uncover hidden defects. While it is true that sellers are required by law to tell you of known problems, the disclosure process is handled pretty-poorly in many cases with sellers not being adequately informed of their legal obligations. In addition, problems can be present in a property without the seller knowing about them.

    It is also important to understand what you are getting into when you hire an inspector. If you read the inspection contract used by most inspectors, you will find that it typically defines the scope of the inspection as follows: A pre-purchase home inspection is a visual inspection of major components of a house that can be safely and readily observed to document significant deficiencies that are ongoing at the time of the inspection.

    A pre-purchase inspection of a home is very much like getting a physical from a doctor. Your family practice doc looks in your eyes and listens to your heart and is on the lookout for anything that is not functioning properly. A home inspector does the same with the major systems of a house – looking at the structure, roof, electrical system, furnace and so forth for telltale signs of underlying problems. If he finds any, he may recommend further evaluation by a specialist.

    Some aspects of the home inspection process that are frequently misunderstood:

    1.    There is no such thing as “passing” or “failing” an inspection. The inspector just gives you a factual report on the condition of the house.

    2.    You can ask the seller to fix defects that are uncovered by the inspection but sellers are not obligated to do anything. A negotiation must occur about which items, if any, will be corrected by the seller and/or if a price concession or some other remedy is available.

    3.    Inspections do not provide a warranty or a guarantee on the property. We’ve all heard stories of people who have a heart attack right after a physical where they got a clean bill of health. Likewise, things can be wrong with houses that are not caught by an inspection. However, this is extremely rare.

    The frustrating part of the inspection process is that buyer and seller expectations are diametrically opposed and always will be. The seller almost-always wants to do nothing and the buyer almost-always wants everything fixed.

    The good news is that there are strategies for dealing with these differing expectations. It begins with a lot more education about the inspection process itself.

    Also, there are ways of preparing the initial contract on the property that make it more likely for sellers to agree to your inspection requests when you are a buyer and less likely for buyers to ask for unexpected items when you are selling.

    We will discuss in more detail when we work together on your transactions.

    Julie Reddington
     | ABR®, REALTOR ®,  Broker Associate | Colorado Home Realty |

    (Cell) 720-226-4168 | (Fax) 720.981.4788

    Go to JulieReddingtonRealEstate.com or CLICK HERE to see what people say

     (c) Colorado Home Realty

  • Free Home Buyers Class

    Posted Under: Property Q&A in Douglas County  |  February 19, 2010 12:51 PM  |  668 views  |  No comments


    I am hosting a FREE home Buyers class next week – Wednesday 24 February.  This is for First Time, move up/down Buyers, Investment Buyers.  It will be a fun, informal class and topics we will be covering are:-


    • Credit Repair
    • Buying vs. Renting
    • Moving up/down
    • Accelerating mortgage payments (paying home off early)
    • Current Rates/Fees & closing costs
    • Renting options and tax benefits
    • Refinancing vs. selling and buying
    • Down Payment Assistance
    • Financing options, ie: FHA, VA, USDA, CHFA, Conventional
    • Buying process & Loan process
    • Investment property financing & "how to do"
    • Second home financing: options and guidelines
    • What the market is doing
    • The house buying process

    I would love for you to attend.  The location is 7807 E Peakview Ave # 150 Englewood, 80111 CO MAP.  Time 7pm


    If you have a FACEBOOK account, you can RSVP HERE.  If not, just send me an email to confirm your spot.


    I look forward to hearing from you.



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