Monday, May 9, 2011

Boulder Named #1 Area with the Highest Well-Being

Residents of Boulder, Colorado are used to hearing great press about the wonderful place we live. Over the years we have consistently been ranked in lists such as "Top 10 Places to Live", "Best Cities for Recession Recovery", "Top 25 Best Cities for Gen Y's", and Forbes' "America's Top 25 Towns to Live Well".

Just recently Boulder was voted the #2 College Town by Parents &, and rated Boulder "America's Smartest City".

But in perhaps the most satisfying ranking to date, Boulder was recently named the metropolitan area with the highest well-being and featured in this clip on CBS Sunday Morning,

Would you like more information about Boulder, CO and the surrounding areas?

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Press Release: Colorado Landmark, Realtors Wins International Marketing Contest

Boulder, COColorado Landmark, Realtors is proud to announce it is the recipient of a Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® Marketing Contest Award. The award was presented March 10 at the 2011 Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® Conference at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, an event that attracted 800 real estate brokers, managers, relocation professionals, sponsors and guests from across the U.S. and eight countries worldwide.

The award-winning entry in the Business Cards and Letterhead category was chosen based on creativity, quality and overall presentation and effectiveness. 

“We are delighted to recognize the member real estate firms that have showcased outstanding marketing, branding and promotional activities,” said Robin LaSure, LeadingRE vice president of corporate marketing. “Winning companies have distinguished themselves by providing useful information to home buyers in sellers in compelling and memorable ways.”

“We work hard to make sure our advertising and marketing materials represent what our company stands for – integrity, quality, excellence, expertise and service to our clients and community. We have been the Boulder area’s most powerful resource for distinctive properties since 1977,” states Pam Metzger, Director of Business Development for Colorado Landmark.

Colorado Landmark also received recognition for being a Peak Producer (sending one of the highest quantity of outgoing revenue-generating closings), the Million Dollar Club (for multiple referrals with an actual sales price of $1 million or greater) and the Momentum Club (for improving our company's Outgoing Referral Fee Split by at least two split levels from 2009 to 2010).

Colorado Landmark, Realtors is the local representative of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, the largest network of 600 premier locally-branded firms producing $250 billion in annual home sales. LeadingRE provides a broad range of brokerage services to its affiliates, including lead generation, branding support, luxury marketing through Luxury Portfolio International, web exposure and technology systems, and state of the art learning and credentialing.

For more information on Colorado Landmark, Realtors visit or call 800-737-MOVE.


About Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®
Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®  is the largest network of top independent local and regional brand-name brokerage firms in the residential sector of real estate. The 600 firms affiliated with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® are represented by 5,000 offices and 150,000 associates in more than 30 countries worldwide. The organization's leadership is demonstrated by the fact that its affiliates comprise six of the top 10 real estate companies in the country. Collectively, LeadingRE affiliates produced nearly 1 million home sales valued at $250 billion in the U.S. in 2009. In addition, LeadingRE affiliates hold the Number One position in terms of sales or volume in more of the top markets than any other organization.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Top Ten Sales - Boulder/Broomfield Counties - February 15-28, 2011

At the recent Vectra Bank Business For Breakfast the Colorado economy was the prime topic.  One of the state's leading economists, Dr. Phylis Resnick from the Center for Colorado's Economic Future, says that we can expect to experience a "new normal" for the time being.  This translates to slower growth in most economic variables and slightly higher long-term unemployment rates. The good news is that Americans are saving again, with personal savings rates returning to levels not seen since the 1908's. Colorado real per capita personal income dipped a little in 2009-2010 but is forecast to see a slow but steady upward climb.  The bad news is that there will be a continued gap between Expenditures and Revenues for the State of Colorado with no end in sight.  This means our local communities will continue to be challenged to maintain the amenities and services we have been so accustomed to.

Approximately every other week Colorado Landmark provides detailed information on the real estate actvity in Boulder and Broomfield Counties from the past two weeks. Hopefully our analysis will help reveal what properties are selling, at what prices, how long they are are taking to sell, and other relevant information about what's going on in OUR local area - Boulder County and Broomfield County.

For the two week period from February 15 through February 28, 2011 here are the numbers:

•148 properties sold (compared to 197 for same period in 2010)
•Price range of properties sold during this period: $60,000 - $2,500,000
•Median price: $287,000
•Average price: $389,586 (down from $420,907 for last period examined)
•$0-199k = 34 sold this period
•$200-299K = 41 sold
•$300-399k = 24 sold
•$400-499k = 17 sold
•$500-599k = 10 sold
•$600-699k = 9 sold
•$700-799k = 1 sold
•$800-899k = 5 sold
•$900-999k = 2 sold
•$1.0-1.9M = 4 sold
•$2.0M+ = 1 sold

Top Ten Listings Sold during this period:

Information obtained from MLS and public record.

Each period's Top Ten numbers continue to point to the potentially fatal ramifications of over-pricing.  This period the glass-half-full view is that 5 of the top 10 properties examined sold for 90% or more of their original asking price.  The flip side of that is that the remaining five sold for 77.5% or LESS than their original asking prices.  The property on Bellevue Dr. sold for a dismal 56.8% of it's original 2007 asking price.  The key here is the 2007 ... it took 1000 days for this property to sell.  Now we expect that properties of this caliber can take a year or more to sell, but almost 3 years?  That's a total miss on the pricing mark from the get-go.  2539 Briarwood sold for 77.5% of it's asking price after a ridiculous 1334 days on the market.

The other part of the glass-half-full is that only NONE of the above properties sold for less than what the owners paid for it.  That is great news!  It is impossible to tell if these owners put in any improvements that would have increased their basis significantly, but if not then all of these lucky folks did a little better than break-even.  As I said last time, homeowners can't assume that their housing is going to be a big money-making investment - key word = housing, when it comes down to it that is what your home is.  Homeowners also should not be surprised if they encounter a few more realtors out there that are willing to turn down the opportunity to list their house.  You know a good realtor when they turn down your listing because you can't agree with them on price.  No amount of marketing and internet exposure can make up for pricing too far beyond what the market can bear.

Your takeaway here is the following advice on Selecting a Listing Agent: 
  • If you are considering listing your home, interview at least 3 realtors.  Ask each about their experience selling homes in YOUR SPECIFIC neighborhood.  If they don't have it, show them the door.  What different skill sets do they bring to the table? How will they alter their marketing strategy if your home doesn't sell quickly?
  • Ask each for an opinion of likely sale price and therefore best list price.  IMMEDIATELY throw out the high one.  Seriously!  Don't get sucked in to overpricing your home by a realtor that just wants another listing in their inventory and will tell you what you want to hear.  If you hear what you want to hear, consider that a big red flag. 
  • Don't necessarily choose the realtor that you "like" best.  The goal here isn't to make a life-long friend, it is to sell your house, for the highest price, as quickly as possible so that it is the least inconvenience to you.
Until next time ...

Pam Metzger
Director of Relocation and Business Development
Colorado Landmark, Realtors

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Credit Scores - What it Means, Why it is what it is, How to Change it!

The broker associates and staff at Colorado Landmark were fortunate to have Kevin Teel (303-920-1052 office) from ABC Financing come and speak on the topic of credit scores.  In his capacity as a mortgage lender Kevin is often faced with having to help clients decipher their credit scores, and as such has become somewhat of a local expert on the topic!  Here is a summary of some of the things he spoke to us about ...

What IS a Credit Score? 
It is a number between 350 and 850 that represents what tradeline organizations (credit cards, lines of credit, store accounts, lenders, etc ....) think your credit and transaction history represents.  The higher the score, the less risk it will be for them to extend you further credit.  "Perfect credit" right now would be a score of 740.  The highest score Kevin has ever seen was an 823!

Who are the Credit Reporting Agencies, and Who Uses their Info?
There are 3 agencies that track your credit - Equifax, Transunion and Experian and each of them has a file on anyone who has ever been given credit. Each organization has their own secret formula for calculating your score.  A mortgage lender will get an overall picture of your credit worthiness by pulling scores from all three agencies.

How to have a GREAT Credit Score!
Make all of your payments on time, and have a good payment history.  Be aware though that if you have a late payment and are assessed a late fee, it is not necessarily reported to the credit bureaus. Have low balance ratios.  Example: if the card limit is $1000, a low balance ratio would mean you owe 33% or less than that, or $333 or less on that card.  Anything over a 65% balance ration will raise a red flag with your lender.  Have a reasonable # of tradelines open - Kevin mentioned that FIVE is a good number.  A mortgage, car loan, student loan, and 2 credit cards is an example of good combination.

What Other Things Affect Your Credit Score?
When you open up a new credit card account, your credit score could take about a 30 point hit initially, until a your payment and usage history can be determined.  When your mortgage lender pulls your credit report you will NOT take a credit hit.  However if you start talking to several lenders and there are more than 3 credit report pulls in less than 2 weeks your score may be reduced by 10 points per pull.  Usage on your debit card does NOT report to your credit score.

If you are taken to collections on something, this will definitely have a negative effect on your score.  If you are able to resolve the issues the creditor does have the ability to call the credit bureaus and have the item removed, you just have to convince them to do it!  The more credit applications you make, the more hits your score will take.  It usually takes 30-60 days for your credit score to be adjusted for these types of things.. 

If you have been involved in a foreclosure on a home mortgage your score likely take about a 200 point hit.  As far as the lender is concerned, being 120 days or more late on your mortgage affects your credit the same as a foreclosure.  Being involved in a short sale affects your score less - check with your lender or financial advisor about the specifics for you.

If you are applying for a mortgage DON'T do anything until your loan closes that will affect your score, like buying a boat, applying for new credit cards, renting a summer home, etc...  These are all things Kevin has seen clients do that ended up affecting their ability to close their loan and/or the rate they got!

Why Worry About Your Credit Score?
More and more orgagnizations we deal with on a regular basis are pulling our credit scores to get an idea of the kind of people we are - employers and prospective employers, insurance companies, car dealers, mortgage lenders, landlords, department stores, etc....  Did you know that a good credit score can make a difference in up to $100/month on insurance premiums?  Your credit score will also determine the interest rate you get on your mortgage, which of course you want to be as low as possible!

How Can You Establish Good Credit, and Help Your Kids Establish Credit NOT Debt?
Get a secured credit card from a bank or credit union.  Credit unions are especially great in working with young people.  Ask the tradeline that you use if they report to the credit bureaus, and if they don't, request that they do.  Gas cards are easy to get.  Put your child on one of your existing credit cards or lines of credit, but make sure the limit is low and they know that it is still your account!  Their credit will get "credit" too for the usage.

Stop applying for credit if you want to improve your score!  Close accounts you do not use, but keep a minimum of 4 lines open even if you don't use them.  Don't close the older more mature accounts as this history really helps you.

Find Out Where YOU Stand!
You have several options here.  You can go to each of the credit bureaus independently and get reports, or you can go to and order your Personal Three Bureau Credit Report and Score.  There is a fee for this.  To see your report only but not your score for free, go to and get one report per year free.

As a disclaimer we will say that we at Colorado Landmark are NOT credit experts.  Please contact Kevin Teel or your preferred lender, or one of the 3 credit reporting agencies to verify statements made in this post, or to answer any questions you may have on this topic.

Thank you Kevin for the great class!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Energy Efficient Homes and the SAVE Act, by Liz Benson

With permission from the author Colorado Landmark associate Liz Benson please enjoy Liz's recent article/blog post on the Elephant Journal on the SAVE Act and energy efficient homes.

We all know that energy efficient homes save money for their owners – money they can use to more easily pay their mortgage and maintenance costs. Current mortgage underwriting guidelines, developed in the 1940′s, don’t take this into account. They ignore the potential hundreds of dollars in savings that an energy efficient home can provide, compared to an inefficient home. Better information about the full costs of home ownership should include not only the principal, interest, taxes and insurance, (known as PITI) but also the energy cost. The idea is to revise these outdated credit policy decisions by the federal mortgage programs (Fannie and Freddie Mac) which guarantee more than 90% of all new mortgages. This will allow home buyers to more easily qualify to purchase an energy efficient home, set rules for appraisers to value energy efficient improvements, thereby encouraging builders to include them because they will get paid for any additional up-front costs.

The SAVE Act (Sensible Accounting to Value Energy) is championed by Senator Michael Bennett (D – CO) and supported by home builders as well as energy efficiency advocates. For more

And while you are at it, check out a zero energy home in Frazer Colorado, designed by a friend of elephant, Bryan Bowen.

This article authored by:

Liz Benson, Broker Associate
Colorado Landmark, Realtors

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Top Ten Sales - Boulder/Broomfield Counties - January 1-15, 2011

Modest improvement ... deals but no steals ... new companies sniffing around the Boulder-Longmont-Broomfield corridor ... those are the words on the street.  "Colorado is expected to add 10,100 jobs in 2011, with most sectors showing some growth," according to economist Richard Wobbekind of the University of Colorado.  Most area experts think that Colorado's economy will track with the national economy and show slow, steady growth over the next year.

The holidays are always a slow time for home sales, and this year was no exception.  But there is some pent up demand and we are seeing that start to trickle into 2011. 

Approximately every other week Colorado Landmark provides detailed information on the real estate actvity in Boulder and Broomfield Counties from the past two weeks. Hopefully our analysis will help reveal what properties are selling, at what prices, how long they are are taking to sell, and other relevant information about what's going on in OUR local area - Boulder County and Broomfield County.

For the two week period from January 1 through January 15, 2011 here are the numbers:

•85 properties sold (compared to 96 for same period in 2009)
•Price range of properties sold during this period: $43,000 - $2,109,000
•Median price: $300,000
•Average price: $420,907
•$0-199k = 22 sold this period
•$200-299K = 19 sold
•$300-399k = 14 sold
•$400-499k = 8 sold
•$500-599k = 6 sold
•$600-699k = 4 sold
•$700-799k = 4 sold
•$800-899k = 2 sold
•$900-999k = 0 sold
•$1.0-1.9M = 5 sold (none sold during this same period 2010)
•$2.0M+ = 1 sold

Top Ten Listings Sold during this period:

Information obtained from MLS and public record.

It never ceases to amaze me that each period's Top Ten numbers reveal an obvious trend or relevant market statistic.  This period the disappointing news is that our area is definitely seeing negative appreciation in the upper price brackets.

All but one of the homes in this period's list sold for over 80% of their original asking price, which in this market actually isn't that bad for these upper bracket price categories.  The home on Old Tale sold for an embarrassing 50% of the original asking price, and it took over 700 days to do it!  My guess is that if this had been priced in the $1.8-2.2M range it would have sold quicker, and the owners would not have left so much money on the table.  Someone really missed the mark on that one!

But the real story here is the negative appreciation.  Six of the ten homes on the list sold for less this month than they did in previous years from 2003 to 2007.  That time period was our boom, when buyers were scrambling to find good properties, willing to pay anything, and realtors were just taking orders.  We live in a "new normal" now as one of our associates said to me the other day.  Homeowners can't assume that their housing is going to be a big money-making investment, and realtors need to provide more analysis and be willing to turn down a listing opportunity if the seller can't be realistic about the pricing.

The takeaways here for me are the following:
  • If you know you will be somewhere for the long haul, then buy what you want, where you want.  But if there is a chance your plans could change in 5 years or less, avoid the higher price points and buy something that would be more widely appealing and attainable to a larger population of buyers.
  • Also, if you have a home priced over $700,000 you can expect the market to continue to be quite slow for a while and/or you may not recoup your original purchase price in today's market. Some folks might even have to wait until 2014 for that.
  • There is still a market for homes over $1M, especially in the $1-1.5M range, so if you can price your luxury home in that zone you might do well!
Finally, some shameless plugs for our company ... Colorado Landmark, Realtors represented buyers and sellers on 4 sides of the above 10 transactions (or 20 sides total) and we were the only company to participate in more than one transaction on this list.  Also, kudos to Colorado Landmark broker associate Michelle Clifford for selling her listing at 6487 Cherry St.  She priced it well and it sold for 86% of the original asking price, not bad for a property over $2M, and it sold in a year, which is to be expected for a property of this caliber and price point.  Congratulations Michelle!

Pam Metzger
Director of Relocation and Business Development
Colorado Landmark, Realtors

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Open House Tips for Sellers

An open house is a great way to showcase your home, and an opportunity for many people to view your home at once.

Here are some tips to get your home "open house ready":

Curb Appeal is Key: The first thing a prospective buyer notices about a home is the front yard. Cut the grass, trim the hedges, rake those leaves, sweep the sidewalks, and power-wash the driveway. If appropriate for the season, include a few potted flowers to brighten up the entryway.

De-Clutter: A cluttered room can appear too small to buyers. Go through each room and divide belongings into two piles: “keep” and “give up.” Items in the “keep” pile will be used to stage the room, while those in the “give up” pile should be stored elsewhere, or better yet given away. You are not selling your things or trying to impress anyone with them. You are selling your space and buyers can’t visualize themselves or their own things there when there is too much of your stuff in the room. Don’t forget about the outdoor spaces too – de-clutter potted plants, kids’ toys, gardening items, outdoor furniture and accessories, etc…as well.

Make your place “Q-Tip clean.” A properly staged home should be immaculate, or “Q-Tip clean,” This could mean using Q-Tips to clean dead flies out of a windowsill or going around the bottom of the toilet on the floor. The purpose of an immaculate house is more than just making it presentable. If a home is messy or dirty, a buyer may wonder what else about this property hasn’t been cared for, like major and minor maintenance items.

Check the temperature. In winter a warm home is always more inviting than one that has people reaching for their coats. On a hot summer day a cool home can be a welcome oasis to weary home buyers. In warmer weather have windows open for fresh air if it’s not hot outside.

Light it up. Open blinds and window coverings, and turn on all the lights. This helps make the spaces feel bigger, and specially placed lighting can showcase special aspects of the home. It may also be appropriate to have fireplaces and candles lit to create a cozy environment.

Say “Yes” to neighbors. Some sellers are against holding open houses as they can be a magnet for “nosy neighbors”. While this may be the case at times, your neighbors are also a great resource to help get your home sold. Make them feel welcome by letting them know ahead of time that the open house is scheduled, and invite them to come check it out. The more eyes that see your house, the better.

For additional information and resources to help get your home sold quickly, feel free to contact us - we are here to help!

Colorado Landmark, Realtors
(303) 443-3377

Check out our 356 Things to do in Boulder Page!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Freeze warning tonight - is your house ready?

We wondered if it was going to happen - but finally, we are seeing some real Colorado winter weather. And with the beautiful snow that has been falling comes some FREEZING cold temperatures. Unfortunately, this can lead to frozen pipes and damage to your home.

When the temperature drops, water freezes and expands. Water pipes do not expand causing broken pipes and possible flooding that can lead to hundreds or even thousands of dollars of damage.

Here are some extra precautions you can take today to prevent frozen pipes tonight:
  • Set the thermostat in all areas no lower than 60 degrees.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
  • Turn on a trickle of water in any areas that you are concerned about, especially any faucets near outside walls. Let the warm water drip overnight.
  • For future protection, considering adding insulation around pipes in your home's crawl spaces and attic if possible.
If you do suspect a frozen pipe, dont risk it -shut off the main water supply and call a plumber!

Colorado Landmark, Realtors
(303) 443-3377