- Melissa Kellerman
Buying or selling a home can be a stressful experience without the security of a trusted REALTOR in your corner.
Choose me to be your trusted REALTOR.
I will guide you through every step of this rewarding process with professionalism and dedication. My attention to detail, strong communication and 100% effort will deliver the results you deserve. It is my mission to build lasting relationships and earn repeat referrals. The key to this is providing my clients with personalized service before, during and after every transaction. I am here to help you with all of your real estate needs.
Feel free to call or email me anytime!
Friday, December 31, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
To help keep frozen pipes from being a drain on your wallet, Mr. Rooter Plumbing has released a series of tips for homeowners to use when preventing or dealing with a frozen pipe scenario.
•Apply electrically-powered heat tape. (Follow manufacturer's instructions or call a plumber.)
Homeowners should also locate the main water shut-off valve, and learn how to use it. This can come in handy if pipes freeze and burst.
•Turn off the water at the shut-off valve.
•Open the nearest faucet. This allows water to drain out as the ice melts.
•Heat the exterior of the pipe with a hair dryer. Apply heat slowly and don't keep heat in one spot.
•Do NOT attempt to thaw exposed frozen pipes withan open flame, such as an acetylene torch.
If immediate assistance or repairs are needed, it is recommended that you call a qualified plumber. By following these prevention tips, hopefully your pipes will remain unfrozen and usable throughout the entire winter season.
1. Retrieve your credit score via FICO. Whenever youre applying for any type of loan or mortgage, lenders always want to know your credit risk level. FICO is the principal credit scoring program used by lenders in determining this risk. Your FICO score is a huge factor in determining the amount that lenders will agree to loan you and also the details of the terms. Its the go-to credit score program. Any other scoring program is a waste of time, says Ostad.
2. Reduce credit usage. Your FICO score is extremely sensitive to credit usage. The most important way to help your score is to reduce your overall usage. In addition, be sure to pay your bills on time. Pay debt off rather than shuffle it around. Remember, the better your score, the better terms you may receive on loans.
3. Plan for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. In an unstable economy, the 30-year fixed rate is really the safest way to go, says Ostad. Dont simply accept any mortgage, however. Shop different lenders and make sure the 30-year fixed rate is your best option.
4. Research and enroll in first-time home buyer programs. Many of these programs alleviate large down-payments and forgive loans. Tax credits for first-timers may have expired, but there are other options. Do your research to find out what is currently available in your state at the time of your search.
5. Utilize the MLS. The Multiple Listing service is the most comprehensive and up-to-date database for all available listings. Use an MLS to explore any and all options that fit your desired location and price range.
Ostad also recommends that buyers be realistic. One thing I stress is to not over-extend yourself.
Renting is almost throwing your money into a black hole. Although it may seem nerve-wracking at first to put that initial payment down, youre going to end up spending that money on rent regardless. At least now you will have a tangible asset thats proven to eventually head up in value. Its a great time to take advantage of the good financing available.
Friday, December 10, 2010
For the editorial board
Colorado Springs — the media symbol of danger caused by limited-government extremism — is the 14th-safest big city in the country.
Should Colorado Springs smirk? Should we laugh at those who portrayed our conservative city as dangerous? Should we say “told you so”? That would be rude.
With a population exceeding 400,000, the Springs is not some burg that’s barely a big city. It’s the 46th-largest city in the country and growing, meaning high crime rates might be expected. It is larger than all but five of the 13 safer cities on the new list of 100 Safest Cities in America. An assortment of smaller cities — including safe-sounding places like Lincoln, Neb., Boise, Idaho, and Overland Park, Kan. — have worse crime. The list results from FBI data compiled by FreeBackgroundChecksUSA.com, which pit the Springs against cities with populations as low as 170,000.
So much for all that noise and media attention regarding the crime wave that would surely result from darkening streetlights and scaling back on police to the point of asking cab drivers to help watch for crime. So much for the front-page New York Times story that focused on the horror of a frightened woman and her adult son who pawned a TV to buy a shotgun to protect themselves from the inevitable dangers of streetlight control in Colorado Springs.
Each day, it seems, the joke is more on the Times, NPR and the dozens of other national media organizations — along with a few helpers in the Springs — who spent the past year blasting our electorate for fiscal restraints that would ruin this great city. As big-media anti-Springs propaganda became a near-weekly phenomenon — frightening prospective tourists and employers — city spokeswoman Sue Skiffington-Blumberg told The Gazette in August that the stories were accurate and helpful, and she refused to counter them. Somehow, a Springs-is-scary message would save us from ourselves as we go forward.
We don’t need a reformed electorate. We need a public relations effort that promotes us and a strong mayor who will demand it. Tell the world Colorado Springs ranks high among the safest urban environments in the country. Extol the quality of life that remains intact here. It is information other big cities could use as they slash their own budgets.
As sales-tax dependent Colorado Springs slowly emerges from the darkness of deep recession, cities that depend more heavily on property taxes are just beginning to feel the budgetary despair we have endured. While city council members in the Springs determine how to spend, after 13 straight months of revenue growth, other cities look to them for ideas on slashing budgets and reducing government.
The city’s public relations staff, department heads and politicians should tell the rest of the country that Governing magazine was correct this fall when it declared that Colorado Springs “could be the future.” The article, which blew the lid off rehashed stories that falsely portrayed the Springs as hell on earth, said “other cities are watching the Springs” as they begin to feel the lagging effects of diminishing revenues that result from depressed property values.
While shamelessly promoting our safe-city designation, city employees and politicians should promote all the other extraordinary quality-of-life indicators that have landed the city on impressive lists of best places to live in recent years. Simply promote and market our city.
Inevitably, whether city officials choose to promote us or not, Colorado Springs will become the symbol of how it is done in times of economic crisis. Truth will emerge from the pile of yesterday’s anti-Springs horse manure.
OUR VIEW: The Springs among safest U.S. cities (vote) springs, safest, view - Opinion - Colorado Springs Gazette, CO
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Some of the potential alternatives to foreclosure that you can discuss with your lender or chosen representative include:
-Forbearance: A temporary agreement with your lender that delays mortgage payments for a short time. Lenders are generally only willing to allow this avenue if you can prove that you will be able to restart your payments and bring your mortgage up-to-date. Terms can vary greatly by lender, so be sure you clearly understand the terms of your specific agreement.
-Reinstatement: This occurs when you are behind on your mortgage payments and agree to a lump sum payment by a specific date that brings you current on your loan status. This is normally part of a forbearance agreement.
-Repayment: This is a negotiated plan that allows you to become current on your mortgage by making catch up payments over a fixed amount of time or by combining a portion of your overdue amount with your regular payments until you are current.
-Loan Modification: This option has gained the most notoriety over the last few years because of government and non-profit programs that incorporate loan modification. In this course of action, the terms of your loan are adjusted—normally the amortization table or a lower interest rate—to sizably affect the amount of your regular payments. In this way, the bank avoids foreclosure while you retain your home through a more affordable monthly bill.
-Short Sale: If it is impossible to reach an agreement with your lender to maintain the mortgage, then a short sale can help avoid an actual foreclosure. In a short sale, your lender agrees to let you sell the property for less than it’s worth and they will absorb the loss. This helps you avoid the stigma and credit damage of a foreclosure, while allowing the lender to recoup more money than in a foreclosure. As with other arrangements, terms can be radically different with each lender, so be sure to understand the terms of your specific agreement.
-Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure: This is a last resort option that essentially allows you to give your property back to the lender in return for cancelling the mortgage. While this will hurt your credit score, the damage is less severe than a foreclosure.
For more information, visit www.bills.com.
RISMedia welcomes your questions and comments. Send your e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright© 2010 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.
-Disconnect all outside hoses and turn off outside faucets. If leaving the home for a long period of time, turn off the water to the house and turn on the faucets to drain the pipes.
-Know the location of the water shut-off valve. Should a pipe rupture, quick action to shut off the water supply can prevent excessive damage.
-Homeowners in recent wildfire areas should be prepared to evacuate if necessary by collecting copies of their insurance policy and other critical documents.
When the storms clear:
-Trim trees. High winds can rip branches from trees, which ultimately could damage your home.
-Maintain gutters. Keep gutters clear of debris and seal any leaks that may drip onto a walkway causing a slip hazard.
-Insulate water pipes. Freezing temperatures can cause pipes to burst. Insulate pipes which may be exposed to cold temperatures and consider using heated pipe tape in more extreme climates.
Many winter calamities are covered by a standard homeowner insurance policy, however, flood damage is not. To insure against flooding, homeowners should plan ahead and purchase flood insurance, which is available through insurance agents.
5 Ways to Slash Your Heating Bills
RISMEDIA, December 2, 2010--Temperatures are plummeting and thermostats are rising. Some homeowners might not be able to avoid it, but there are many ways you can cut your energy bill this season. From GreenerChoices.org, a Web-based initiative that informs consumers about environmentally friendly practices, here are five low- and no-cost moves to help you save money, while staying comfortable and warm at the same time.
2. Seal up the leaks. Caulking and weather-stripping cracks and gaps around your home are some of the most cost-effective steps you can take to conserve heat. Focus on the attic, basement, windows and doorways. Also check near pipes, vents or electrical conduits that go through the wall, ceiling or floor. When sealing leaks, use no-VOC or low-VOC caulking to minimize potentially harmful indoor gases.
3. Program thermostats for savings. Shave up to 20% off your heating costs by lowering the thermostat 5F at night and 10F during the day if no one is home. Most electronic setback thermostats let you set different schedules for weekdays and weekends. Some automatically switch from heating to cooling, and many tell you when it's time to change your furnace or air-conditioner filter.
4. Save money on hot water. Insulating hot-water pipes and lowering the temperature on your water heater from 130 to 120 can help you save up to 5% on your energy bills.
5. Shorten showers. Showers account for two-thirds of your water-heating costs, so even shaving off a few minutes can help. Replacing a showerhead thats more than 12 years old with a low-flow model can save up to half the hot water used for showering.
By heeding the advice of these five tips, you can easily reduce your heating bills throughout the entire winter season.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
But the vacancy began drifting downward 18 months ago as more troops returned from deployments or were transferred to Fort Carson from other posts. Also, few apartments have been constructed in recent years, and many homeowners have become renters after losing their properties to foreclosure.
Expect the vacancy rate to drift even lower, said Ken Greene, a broker with Apartment Realty Advisors in Denver whose company co-sponsors the Housing Division report.
Not only are more Fort Carson troops expected to return from overseas, but apartment developers can’t obtain financing for new projects — keeping a lid on supply for at least the next three years, Greene said.
Around the region, northwest Colorado Springs was the toughest place to find an apartment in the third quarter; vacancies dropped to 4.3 percent in that part of town.
In contrast, the third-quarter vacancy rate was 18.4 percent in areas around Fort Carson — higher by far than anywhere else in the Pikes Peak region, although down significantly from a few years ago, when more than one-third of apartments were vacant near the post.
As the apartment market has tightened, rents have begun to spike, the Housing Division report shows.
In the third quarter of this year, apartment rents averaged $729.47 a month, a $10.25 increase from the second quarter and a $34.07 jump from the third quarter of last year.
Third-quarter average rents were highest in far northeastern Colorado Springs — $838.51 a month. Average rents of $596.85 a month around Fort Carson were the area’s lowest.
Rents will continue to rise as vacancies fall, while incentives — such as free rent and utilities — have all but vanished, Greene said.
“Renters have been living in an absolute bargain environment for the past eight years,” Green said.
“This is the real world they’re going to be facing from now on.”
Meanwhile, the statewide vacancy rate was 5.5 percent in the third quarter, down from 6.6 percent in the second quarter and 7.4 percent in the third quarter of last year.