Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Got Kids? ...How to Keep your House in Showing Condition

I recently asked a client how the showing went and she enthusiastically replied, "Great! But...." But what? She went on, “my kids think I am “Crazy Mommy!” I yelled at them to 'finish the snack!' 'Clean up the mess!' 'Put the dog in the car!'" Her kids wanted to know what happened to Mommy? Let's take a moment to understand that while it is important to sell the house, we don't need to throw the kids under the bus to get it done! Here are some tips for managing showings in a household with kids:
  • Morning Routine.

Add a 10 to 15 minute clean-up routine after breakfast; this way if you get a call to show the home anytime throughout the day, the house is relatively clean. Make sure surfaces are picked-up, beds are made, breakfast is put away and toys are in their rightful bin/closet/chest, etc

  • Requesting Time.

Request a 2-hour prior notice to showing; 2 hours gives your family time to straighten up and exit the home.

  • Ready ... Set ... Go!

Pack a "field trip" bag. It may contain excursion essentials such as snacks, diapers, wipes, sippy's, and sweat shirts. Having it ready by the front door or in the car means you can grab and go just before a showing.

  • Excursion List.

Prior to placing your home on the market, develop a list of places to go and things to do. In good weather, you can head to the park, creeks, farmer's markets, trailheads, Pearl St, the reservoir and the like. In bad weather, you can easily spend time at Moe's Bagels, the libraries, Barnes & Noble and Border's, BMOCA (Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art), Boulder Book Store, The Parenting Place, Logan's or Vic's, Amante or Laughing Goat, rec center pools, the movies, etc.

  • Your Village.

Nothing beats having a friend who will open their doors to you and the little ones during a showing. Be sure to ask for help and let friends know prior to listing your home you might need a place to lay low during showings.

  • Sports Pitstop.
Keep a bin of basketballs, mitts, tennis rackets, Frisbees, kites and the like in the car; a quick jaunt to the courts or parks gives your little ones an opportunity to expend energy and have fun during a showing.
  • Teamwork.
Give your little ones age-appropriate tasks to help the household get ready for a showing. A two year old may like to use a dustpan and sweeper to clean up the floors. A three year old may clean surfaces with a duster. A four year old may want to make their bed. Giving children a chore teaches teamwork, jump starts the learning of some important life skills, and keeps them out of trouble while you get the house ready.
  • Containing Messes.
From art to popsicles, explain to little ones that certain items must be used or eaten in rooms where messes clean up easily. I can tell you from experience, a red magic marker + master bedroom curtains = disastrous mess.
  • Donate It.
Your family may have an opportunity to clean-out closets, playrooms and the like when selling a house; cleaning out the home prior to placing a house on the market helps make the home feel organized and roomy. Groups such as Saver's, The Salvation Army,, There With Care, Lupus Foundation, etc appreciate the donation, offer tax write-offs and may pick up donations at your front door.
  • You Are Not Alone.
If you are struggling with showings, contact your listing agent. He or she is your ally and may be able to adjust the showing instructions giving you more time to get ready, conduct fewer open houses, etc.

In the end, your house will sell and the whole family can say they helped make it happen!

This article contributed by:

Amy Zoldak, Broker Associate

Colorado Landmark, Realtors

720.841.2390 (cell phone)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Boulder Real Estate Firm on the Money with Leading RE affiliation

At Colorado Landmark, Realtors we are very proud to be members of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World. Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® is a global network of nearly 700 premier real estate firms with 5,500 offices and 170,000 sales associates in 38 countries around the world. Collectively, this group has sold over 1.2 million homes worth $370 billion in 2007, more than any national real estate brand. LeadingRE dominates the United States’ list of top 500 real estate firms, with more of the Number One market leaders in the top 90 markets than any network.

A recent study by Real Trends shows that the independent member companies that make up Leading RE close almost twice as many transactions when compared to ALL of the top franchise brands in real estate, with 50% less firms! (REAL Trends, Inc. is a publishing and communications company considered to be a leading source of analysis and information on the residential brokerage industry. REAL Trends is based in Denver, Colorado.)
This just confirms what we have known all along ... that independent real estate firms are entrenched in the hearts of their communities and therefore know their markets better than any large multi-state corporation could ever hope to.

It is a great time to buy a home right now with prices and interest rates at their lowest points in decades. If you do decide to take the plunge the smartest thing you can do is pick up the phone, or click that mouse, and find the best local independent firm that also has worldwide affiliations.

If you are interested in moving to Boulder, Longmont, Broomfield, Denver or any points in between of course we would love to talk to you, so check us out at If you are moving elsewhere in the country or in the world, our relocation department has would be happy to refer you to one of our affiliates, many of whom we have successfully referred clients to. If you prefer to "do-it-yourself" you can easily find a company in your location by going to Leading Real Estate Companies of the World then click on "Member Directory". To search community information and Leading RE listings worldwide go to RELO HomeSearch.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Martin Acres Home Tour 2009 | Saturday May 16th

We just delivered 500 fliers to the 'hood. Despite my feet being a little tired, I am very excited for the Home Tour this weekend! Linea Rein, a fellow Colorado Landmark agent, and myself are personally sponsoring this great event with Colorado Landmark Realtors, our real estate firm and a few other local businesses. Last year the MANA (Martin Acres Neighborhood Association) Home Tour raised over $500. Details are below.

What: A self-guided tour of eight, “green” Martin Acres homes ranging in size and in stage of renovation. Come tour with us and learn remodeling ideas and green building techniques. All of the proceeds will go to our community’s school, Creekside elementary and non profit, the Chase House.

Cost: $5. Tickets will be sold the day of tour at any of the participating homes.
When: Saturday, May 16th, 11am-2pm
Where: Right here in Martin Acres at the addresses listed below.

1. 2836 Elm
2. 310 31st
3. 265 31st
4. 3005 Birch
5. 200 31st
6. 110 30th
7. 3300 Martin
8. 285 S 42nd

Take the tour in any order that you’d like. See you on Saturday!

Sheila Mudd Roberts
Broker Associate, Colorado Landmark, Realtors

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What's in a Sign? Choosing the Right Listing Agent to Sell your Home.

The spring selling season is well upon us, but perhaps you are still in the process of putting your house on the market for sale and wondering how to choose a listing agent. Today’s consumers have almost unlimited options when it comes to selecting a real estate firm for the sale of their property. The purchase or sale of a home is about the experience of the transaction and performance of the real estate professional as much as it is about the property itself. As such the selection of the right real estate professional is of the utmost importance. Colorado Landmark, Realtors recommends that anyone looking to select a real estate firm consider the following five important criteria.

  1. Have the right network connections.
  2. Demonstrate a proven track record.
  3. Have a property marketing program.
  4. Be invested in resources.
  5. Specialize in luxury (IF your home qualifies as a luxury property)
The Right Network Connections
It is important to evaluate what the individual realtor's or company's name or connection actually represents with regard to local sales statistics as well as strength on a global basis. For example, Colorado Landmark is a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, as well as two global luxury marketing programs, The Luxury Portfolio Fine Property Collection™ and Christie’s Great Estates®.

  • Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® is a major real estate network comprised of the best locally and regionally branded residential firms selling nearly $370 billion in homes annually, more than any national franchise brand.

  • The Luxury Portfolio Fine Property Collection™ , the luxury marketing program of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, sells more $1M+ homes each year, has more top sales associates, and has more of the top listings in the country than any other real estate organization.

  • Christie's Great Estates®, a wholly owned subsidiary of Christie's, the world's oldest fine art auction house, was established in 1995 and is the largest network of real estate brokers dedicated to the marketing and sale of important properties.
Demonstrate a Proven Track Record
Choose a firm that has a proven track record in dealing with properties in your specific neighborhood and price category – a firm that has done this before and has existing clients that you can contact for references. You can always see what properties a firm is marketing and make sure that the firm you choose is entrenched in the marketplace, working with other similar buyers and sellers.

Have a Property Marketing Program
All firms can “run an ad” or put a sign in your yard, but the effectiveness of that promotion and the overall marketing program needs to be evaluated. In this challenging market, it’s not about more marketing but marketing differently. The firm that you choose needs to have access to the right buyers – and target their program to reach those buyers. The web is just as selective and effective marketing dictates being on sites that attract the right consumers, not necessarily the masses. Today, the mix of websites should include those attracting local and regional customers on a global basis, as this is the key to finding the right buyer for your home.

Be Invested in Resources
All real estate firms are licensed to sell all properties, but it is important to choose a firm that has invested in the resources it takes to successfully market properties. Every home needs to look its very best, and in this challenging market it is even more critical that the home appears to offer the best value for the money. This means finding a firm that can consult with you to improve the salability of your home. The firm should also assist in the process, recommending efficient solutions to correct any issues through their network of service providers and resources.

Specialize in Luxury (if applicable to your home)
In the Boulder area a luxury property would typically be one priced over $900,000, although there are some homes that would be considered "luxury" in eastern parts of the county in the $800,000 range. Big firms and national franchises are not necessarily better; a boutique marketing organization within a large firm or a local single office firm that specializes in luxury is probably best suited to handle the individual marketing needs of a luxury customer. Every luxury home is unique and individual – typically because it was designed and built for the needs of a very exacting individual with very unique and specific requirements. It takes a educated real estate professional who does not use an “off the shelf” approach, but rather understands the needs and sees the unique features of the home that actually make a difference in the lifestyle of the owner and future buyer.

So ... What to Do?
Just because you see someone's signs in a lot of yards it doesn't mean they will be successful selling YOUR home. Find out if the realtor works independently, with a partner, or with a large team. Decide how much personal attention you want and need from your realtor. Do you mind if you see them at the listing presentation and then never again? Is it okay if your main point of contact is their assistant? Do you want your realtor to check in with you on a weekly basis - hint ... they should! Are they stuck in a rut of newspaper ads, or have they migrated to a multi-faceted marketing approach that includes heavy internet presence?

Boulder has one of the highest numbers of realtors per capita than anywhere else in the country! Everyone in town seems to know at least 2-3 realtors! Decide if you are comfortable sharing your personal and financial information with a friend, or if you prefer to work with someone less closely connected to your circle. There are pros and cons to both scenarios, although many people swear by the tenet "business and friendship don't mix". Go with your instincts and prior experience and do what feels comfortable to you. A good friend will have your best interests at heart and should understand if you choose another realtor. If you decide not to work with a friend, then let them refer you to a colleague that they know and respect.

Ultimately your home selling experience should be as stress-free as possible. Sure ... it IS stressful to keep your house clean and ready for showings at a moment's notice. However, if you are confident that your listing agent will successfully guide you through the process from preparation and staging, to a multi-faceted marketing campaign, to contract negotiations, and finally to closing the transaction, your home selling experience can be a good one.

Pam Metzger
Director of Relocation and Business Development
twitter = @pmcolorado

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Why the Time to Buy is NOW!

Many buyers are dipping a toe into the market, but not ready to take the plunge. They are concerned that the real estate market hasn’t hit bottom, and therefore they are playing the waiting game. But it’s important to realize that interest rates are at record lows – in fact, the average rates we are seeing now haven’t been seen since the early 1970s. And many people don’t understand that interest rates can make a huge impact on your overall costs – sometimes even more than the actual purchase price of the property.

For example, if you purchased a house priced at the appropriate current market value of $250,000 with today’s rates (30-year fixed are around 4.875%), your payment would be around $1323.00. If, on the other hand, you wait for the price of the house to drop, thinking your market hasn’t bottomed yet, and the price does go down 10% - to $225,000 but rates have risen 1%, you could be looking at the same monthly payment. AND during the time you wasted you were paying rent towards someone else’s mortgage (your landlord!). AND if you are a first time buyer you only have until December 31st to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit.

Additionally, if you wait too long and “miss the boat”, there could be less inventory when you eventually decide you ARE ready – resulting in fewer options and a more expensive mortgage.

Your realtor should be able to refer you to a lender who can put together this type of break-even-analysis for your specific situation and help you determine if it is the right time for YOU. At Colorado Landmark, Realtors we work with a variety of excellent reputable local mortgage lenders - let us know how we can help!

Jennifer Fly
Broker Associate, Colorado Landmark, Realtors
Twitter = @JenFlyColorado

Monday, May 4, 2009

Much to my surprise! Real Estate Pirates

"Argh there Mate’s, there are pirates in our mists…”

In my effort to stay current I use Google Alerts and love it! But it can unearth the darndest things. I want to share my thoughts and hope to start some dialogue with our brokers and others about our own real estate style of piracy.

Being an old salty dog and long time listing agent, I believe there is some priority in the listing process, meaning that I am the one that has to provide my seller with the necessary exposure to sell their property. As a managing broker I am the one who designs, implements, and pays for the unique selling and marketing of each listing. I live or die on my performance, competency level and techniques. Or I walk the plank!

Today however there are other agents who scrape our listings and blog about them on their own websites, and market them as their own listings! When a listing is on a website sometimes it is not that obvious to the viewer who the listing belongs to. While at first glance this may seem like additional exposure for our listings, however there are several reasons why this is a problem.

We are hired by our sellers because they believe we can do the best job selling their property. We spend extensive time and money learning about the property, preparing it for sale, collecting pertinent documentation, and ensuring that every detail about the property that we enter into the MLS or any websites is accurate. Our sellers trust us to protect their investment and their privacy. This pirating of listings is counterproductive, disingenuous, and ultimately damaging to our clients, our businesses, and our cooperative relationships.

So, what do you think? If you are an agent, I encourage you to post a comment here or send me your example of real estate piracy and how it has effected you and/or your clients. If you are a home Seller, how would you feel about this if it was your listing being pirated to other unauthorizedwebsites? I’m convinced that social networking and personal communication is not only necessary but healthy. But like any good thing it needs to be tweaked and governed. We as real estate professionals have to work together and respect each other so we can dig ourselves out of this tough market effectively and successfully.

Joel Ripmaster
Colorado Landmark, Realtors