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Ron Rovtar's Blog

By Ron Rovtar | Agent in Boulder, CO
  • Berkshire Hathaway Brand Catches Fire . . . !

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Boulder County, Home Selling in Boulder County, Home Ownership in Boulder County  |  March 19, 2014 11:35 AM  |  226 views  |  No comments
    The Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand has been live less than a year. But it already has caught fire in a big way!

    It was announced this morning that BHHS was named the  “Real Estate Agency Brand of the Year” in the 26th annual Harris Poll EquiTrend® study.
     
    And why not? Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices combines the Prudential Real Estate brand, which won three of four J.D. Powers awards for customer service last year, with HomeServices, a regional brand with a stellar reputation of its own.

    “This terrific honor by consumers is a tribute to our powerful brand – whose namesake is the world-renowned Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and the top-quality affiliates and agents who represent it,” said Earl Lee, CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC, which operates Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

    To win this honor, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices received the highest numerical Equity Score among large real estate brands included in the 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study.

    The study involved 41,806 consumers. This morning's press release said the study " . . . measures and compares the brand health of more than 1,500 brands across 170 categories from airlines and apparel to retailers and real estate."


    Ron Rovtar, dba Front Range Real Estate, Ltd., is a broker associate at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices/Real Estate of the Rockies in Boulder, CO. Please call Ron with all your questions. He can be reached at 303.981.1617.  To learn more about Ron, please visit his website. For more about life in Boulder County and nearby, check out our facebook page.

    Tags: Boulder, Boulder County, Berkshire Hathaway, HomeServices, real estate, agency, realtor, BHHS,
    EquiTrend®, Harris Poll, Prudential Real Estate, real estate agency brand of the year
  • A Year for New Home Construction . . .

    Posted Under: General Area in Boulder County, Home Buying in Boulder County, Home Selling in Boulder County  |  February 18, 2014 11:12 AM  |  328 views  |  1 comment
    If ever there was a year tailor-made for Boulder County home builders, 2014 may be (probably will be) it.

    The reasons are simple. Inventory of existing houses and "attached dwellings"  has tumbled well below historic levels. Meanwhile, buyers have returned to the market in numbers larger than we have seen since before the 2008-2009 recession.

    As a result, bidding wars are common. Existing home prices are rising. Buyers are settling for less. Sometimes potential buyers are deciding to stay where they currently live.

    And new home construction is starting to boom.

    According to the Boulder Area Realtors® Association, house sales in Boulder and Broomfield Counties rose 8.6 percent during 2013 on a year over year basis, while the sales of attached dwellings rose 16.9 percent.

    The increases occurred despite strong headwinds. According the the Colorado Association of Realtors®, 2013 Inventory of available Boulder County houses hit its yearly peak of just 1,390 units in June.  There were just 411 attached units available at the yearly peak in May.

    In recent Boulder County history, house inventory regularly rose above 2,000 dwellings during the summer while attached dwelling inventory usually topped out at more than 800 units.

    Unfortunately, nothing suggests inventory of existing dwellings will improve this year. In fact we've heard a number of potential sellers say they are staying put because finding a new home will be too hard after they sell or end a lease.

    Which brings us back to new construction.

    It is booming throughout Boulder County. And it offers buyers an important escape from the uncertainties of searching in the existing residential market.

    Construction at recently initiated projects, like Steel Ranch in Lafayette, moves along briskly these days. 

    Recently we've seen regular reports of new projects in local media. It was announced this week that Markel will build 53 homes at W. South Boulder Road and Cimarron Dr. in Lafayette. A 31-home project in North Boulder was unveiled in December.

    Additionally, we noticed on the IRES MLS that McStain has started building new homes at the Triple Crown Meadows subdivision in Niwot. Triple Crown builders fell on hard times during the recession, but the situation clearly has improved recently.

    Of course, new construction is not for everybody. 

    New home buyers often must sign a purchase contract before construction starts, making the move-in date feel like a distant dream. It can be hard to predict what the homes will sell for once the builder (or builders) leave the subdivision. Even with model homes to walk through, visualizing a new home with different finishes can be challenging. And some builders simply do better work than others.

    For these and other reasons, hiring a knowledgeable real estate agent is good advice for buyers of new homes.

    But buying a new home can be the right answer for many. 

    Today's new homes generally are among the most energy-efficient ever built. They come with a builders' warranties. Buyers often can pick their own finishes. Builders sometimes offer reduced-interest mortgages and other incentives. Construction periods give new home buyers time to prepare current homes for sale.

    So there are good reasons to consider new homes. And we expect more buyers to explore new construction this year because the market has made "new" more appealing.


    Ron Rovtar, dba Front Range Real Estate, Ltd., is a broker associate at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices/Real Estate of the Rockies in Boulder, CO.  Please call Ron with all your questions. He can be reached at 303.981.1617. To learn more about Ron, please visit his website.

    Tags: new home, new construction, homes, houses, townhouses, condos, neighborhoods, builders, Boulder, Boulder County, Lafayette, Louisville, Longmont, Niwot, CO, Colorado, local
  • Boulder, Dakota Ridge and Newlands . . .

    Posted Under: General Area in Boulder, Quality of Life in Boulder, In My Neighborhood in Boulder  |  January 30, 2014 1:03 PM  |  371 views  |  2 comments
    As a former professional journalist, information is very important to me.

    And I try to make spreading good information a major part of marketing my real estate business.

    But, I don't think you are all that interested in me, unless you are buying or selling a home.

    I do think you are interested in what goes on in your community and in the larger Boulder City and Boulder County  communities.

    So, over the last couple of years, I've found myself experimenting with some of the opportunities provided by social media.

    I think I am getting it right –– or at least as close to "right" as humanly possible.

    Meaning now may be a good time to introduce you to my social media efforts (beyond this blog, of course).

    My first experiment was a facebook page about Boulder City and surrounding areas.

    I'm first to admit I made a mistake here.

    This started out as a page for people who were considering a move to the Boulder area. Thus, it was named "Movetoboulder."

    Facebook won't let me change the name, so I am stuck with it even though it turned into a generally informative page about the Boulder area itself.

    Nonetheless, I would invite current Boulder residents to "like" it as well. I think you will find it very helpful and interesting.

    I've also created two facebook pages for local neighborhoods. 

    One is for the Newlands area, a large, well-loved neighborhood with historic roots.

    The second is for Dakota Ridge-Northbriar, one of Boulder's newer neighborhoods, which appears almost fully built out now. Construction did nearly stop during the recession, but the last few new homes are going up as I write this.

    If you live in either of these neighborhoods, you may want to "like" the appropriate page. (Let me note that there is some overlap in the postings for pages, so you may not want to "like" all three of them simultaneously.)

    Finally, just for fun, I've also created a page for Boulder Photographers, which, let's face it, includes just about everyone with a cell phone these days. I would like to see you there also. And I would love to see you posting your best photographic efforts. Give it a try. Maybe we can get a photographers' group together eventually.

    And please let me know what you think about any or all of these offerings. Your feedback will be appreciated and very welcome!



    Ron Rovtar, dba Front Range Real Estate, Ltd., is a broker associate at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices/Real Estate of the Rockies in Boulder, CO.  Please call Ron with all your questions. He can be reached at 303.981.1617 .

    Tags:  Boulder, Newlands, Dakota Ridge, Northbriar, neighborhoods, facebook, social media, local, information
    , photographers, photography
  • Do You Need a Realtor® When Buying New Construction . . . ?

    Posted Under: General Area in Boulder County, Home Buying in Boulder County  |  December 17, 2013 10:00 AM  |  427 views  |  No comments
    Homebuilder confidence improved significantly this month, meaning new residential construction activity probably will ramp up again in 2014. (Read today's news here.)

    We're hearing a million units will be built nationwide next year, which would be a large increase from this year. Estimates suggest  700,000 to 800,000 units will be constructed during 2013.

    And Boulder County will be no exception! Construction activity here is already brisk and clearly growing, making new homes a more appealing option for area buyers.

    So should buyers hire real estate agent when buying new?


    Absolutely!

    Reputable builders do not charge you more because you have an agent. They will pay the agent's commission and you will be much better informed with someone knowledgeable working at your side.

    But builders often will NOT acknowledge validity of a buyer-Realtor® relationship if that relationship does not exist the first time the buyer walks into the builder's sales office. So it is important to contact an agent before you go and, if possible, have the agent accompany you to the first meeting.

    Several factors favor hiring your own agent.

    You will want to understand what your home might be worth once the neighborhood is finished and builders have left.

    Is this the right builder for your particular project? Builders specialize these days. And some do better work than others.

    What about the finishes you choose?  Would it cost less to do some work after you move in? Will your choices make the home harder or easier to sell when the time comes? Once you've chosen finishes, will the home really look the way you envision it?

    Perhaps most important is that builders use their own purchase contracts, which (not surprisingly) tend to favor the builder/seller.

    This is different from the sales of existing homes, which are almost always guided by an agreement published by Colorado's Division of Real Estate
    . The state contract includes many buyer protections.

    For example, you are much more likely to lose your earnest money if you back out of a deal with a builder than if you exit a deal with a owner-occupant, though you can lose it in either situation.

    This does not mean builders are greedy. But they have much at stake financially when deals fall through. Consider the costs of reselling a unit to new buyers with different tastes and preferences.
    Finishes may have to be changed.

    While Realtors® cannot give legal or personal financial advice, they understand the complexities of the home buying process and usually are pretty clear about which of your questions require answers from lawyers, lenders, accountants and/or tax experts.

    Here at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices we always emphasize the role good information from the right experts plays in saving you money and reducing transaction problems.


    Ron Rovtar, dba Front Range Real Estate, Ltd., is a broker associate at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices/Real Estate of the Rockies in Boulder, CO.  Please call Ron with all your questions. He can be reached at 303.981.1617 . Click here for Ron's website.

    Tags:  buying, homes, new homes, construction, residential, search, real estate, Boulder,  Colorado


  • Don't Forget the Homeless . . .

    Posted Under: General Area in Boulder, Quality of Life in Boulder  |  December 16, 2013 10:46 AM  |  441 views  |  2 comments

    Just a reminder that not everyone has a home –– or even a place to stay during this Holiday Season.

    And even the smallest things can mean so much to homeless people!

    The Boulder Shelter for the Homeless needs donations of basic personal care items. Currently the shelter classifies blankets, toothpaste and toothbrushes as "urgent needs." There are a lot of other personal items listed as well.

    And, of course, the shelter can needs money donations. Volunteering is also helpful.

    Boulder's shelter is located at
    4869 North Broadway. If you cannot get to the shelter, give me a call at the number below. I'll make sure your donation gets there.



    Ron Rovtar, dba Front Range Real Estate, Ltd., is a broker associate at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices/Real Estate of the Rockies in Boulder, CO.  He can be reached at 303.981.1617 Please visit Ron's website for more information or to start your search for homes.

    Tags:  homeless, Boulder, donations
  • The Market has Cooled for the Holidays . . .

    Posted Under: General Area in Boulder County, Home Buying in Boulder County, Home Selling in Boulder County  |  December 3, 2013 10:46 AM  |  488 views  |  No comments
    If you think the holidays are NOT a good time to look for a new home, you may be half right this year.

    But only half!

    A check of new Boulder County listings does indicate that fewer houses, condos and townhouses have joined the market the last two weeks. Just 99 dwellings were added during the period.

    Which means buyers have fewer new listings to choose from.

    But buying activity has cooled more dramatically.

    Of 99 Boulder County residential properties listed during the last two weeks, just 18 have gone under contract.

    The current under-contract percentage for these newly-listed dwellings is 18.2, which is well below what we have seen during most of this year.

    So, if one finds comfort in having a day or two to consider a home purchase before making an offer, then buyers probably find the current market easier to cope with. There were times this year when the best homes went under contract the first day on market.

    And this is the other half of the equation.

    If a buyer feels more comfortable sleeping on a purchase decision (and who doesn't), then now may be one of the best periods of 2013 to look for a home.

    But how long will this lull last? We are guessing that buying activity will start picking up significantly in February 2014.  It may not reach the frantic levels of this year, but the market advantage probably will still tilt significantly toward seller's because inventory will remain low throughout next year.



    Ron Rovtar, dba Front Range Real Estate, Ltd., is a broker associate at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices/Real Estate of the Rockies in Boulder, CO.  He can be reached at 303.981.1617 Please visit Ron's website for more information or to start your search for homes.

    Tags:  buying, homes, search, real estate, Boulder, inventory,  Colorado
  • Berkshire Hathaway Now in Boulder . . .

    Posted Under: General Area in Boulder County, Home Buying in Boulder County, Home Selling in Boulder County  |  November 18, 2013 3:27 PM  |  563 views  |  No comments


    It will be official as of midnight tonight. 

    Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Real Estate of the Rockies will officially replace Prudential Real Estate of the Rockies in Boulder and Denver Colorado.

    The renowned and highly respected Berkshire Hathaway name appeared this morning at the  Real Estate of the Rockies sales center at 1505 Pearl St., #106 in Downtown Boulder when our old window awnings came down in favor new BHHS awnings.

    Soon, all our signage will follow.  Boulder area residents will start seeing BHHS yard signs replacing the old Prudential Real Estate of the Rockies signs before the weekend.

    But this is more than a name change.

    The commitment that won Prudential Real Estate three of four JDPowers awards for real estate service last year will be redoubled. This is true in Boulder and across the United States as some 400 Prudential Real Estate offices come onboard with the new brand during coming months and years.

    To assist our clients better, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has already rolled out new and sophisticated tools for customers and real estate agents.

    And a national campaign soon will acquaint home buyers and sellers with real estate's incarnation of a name widely considered among the most trusted in United States business. Who doesn't know about this multinational conglomerate or its Chairman Warren Buffet?

    So, next time you are near Pearl St. Mall, stop by our sales center to learn more about this exciting development in Boulder real estate. We will be more than happy to answer all your questions and talk to you about everything this change can mean to you.



    Ron Rovtar is a broker associate at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Boulder, CO.  He can be reached at 303.981.1617.

    Tags:  Berkshire Hathawy, HomeServices, Boulder, lifestyle, homes,  buy, sell, real estate, Colorado, Prudential



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