- 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!
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Homeowner confidence on whether they would receive the asking price for their home is nearly evenly split-43% said they are confident they would; 47% are not very or not at all confident.
However, many homeowners-39%-are not willing to settle for less than the asking price, even considering the tough real estate market, in contrast to 23% who are willing and 38% who are not sure.
To sell their home in the current market, 44% of homeowners note that they would be interested in including appliances, while 28% would consider offering to make requested repairs or allowing an allotment for repairs.
For more information, visit http://www.psbpr.com./
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
•Utilities - 87.0
•Housing - 91.8
•Misc. Goods and Services - 92.1
•Grocery items - 95.4
•Transportation - 96.2
•Health Care - 102.1
•Composite (total) - 92.8
Colorado Springs Utilities keeps electric rates low through efficient operations and by generating most of the community’s electricity at its local power plants. A proactive hedging program, long-term contracts and underground storage help keep natural gas rates low and relatively stable.
The ACCRA Cost of Living Index is produced by the Council for Community and Economic Research, a nonprofit research group in Arlington, VA. Learn more at http://www.coli.org/.
2. Saturday bus services and additional paratransit services restored
3. Residential streetlights turned back on
5. Trash cans and park maintenance services returned to neighborhood parks and medians maintained
6. Maintaining Park, Recreation and Cultural Services including the Therapeutic Recreation program, Center, Deerfield, Meadows Community Center, North Cheyenne Cañon Visitor Centers, Rock Ledge Ranch, and operating the Julie Penrose and Uncle Wilbur fountains next summer
7. Springs in Bloom volunteer flowerbed program
8. Free public recycling downtown and in major parks and sports complexes
9. Opening stage for Quiznos Pro Challenge Cycling Race hosted in August
10. U.S. Women's Open hosted at The Broadmoor in July
11. Growing amateur sports: USA Boxing National Championship; The Warrior Games; Rocky Mountain State Games; USOC 20ll National Coaching Conference; and more!
12. Thriving special events, Colorado Balloon Classic, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo and Rodeo Parade, St. Patrick's Day Parade, Festival of Lights, Everybody Welcome Diversity Festival, and more!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
What are savvy real estate buyers doing now to uncover real estate opportunities? Simply put, they are active. While they may not necessarily be buying, they are actively researching listings, viewing homes, staying up-to-date on market indicators and undertaking other proactive efforts to increase their chances of making the best purchase decision-whether that be today, tomorrow or later this year.
Robert Jensen, a real estate professional from Las Vegas, NV, suggests the following steps to ensure a successful real estate transaction in any sort of market:
1. Ensure Your Goals Are Realistic. Be sure you are clear on what you want to buy, and why. Is it an investment property, a dream home or somewhere in between? As your criteria for that perfect home increases, you may have to pay a little more to have your standards met. Be prepared to weigh possible cost savings versus quality of life benefits. If an investment property, ensure you have cash flow in mind with an acceptable return on investment planned before you buy.
2. Know the Properties. No matter the market conditions, continue to search for the right property and view listings in person. Even if you are not ready to buy today, this will help you learn the market and the property available in your price range. When the right opportunity comes along and the timing works, you'll be best prepared to make an educated rather than emotional decision.
3. Know Your Financing Options. Many buyers want to find the "perfect" home before having their credit pulled, which can backfire when an offer is on the table and time is of the essence. It's wise to get pre-approved for a loan even before you view your first home, and to get a pre-approval letter in hand. Once approved, check in with your lender every few weeks to see how your rate and program are doing.
4. Know the Market at All Times. Have a detailed talk with your agent about the current state of the market at the onset of the relationship, and at regular intervals thereafter. Also discuss what can be foreseen up ahead. Your REALTOR will have his or her finger on the pulse of the changing landscape and, thus, is an invaluable resource. On your own, locate information sources outside of mass media. Real estate markets follow basic fundamentals in the same way stocks do, offering infinite analysis possibilities.
5. Have a Purchase Game Plan. While it's certainly prudent to wait until you're comfortable executing a property purchase, it's imperative to know, in specific terms, exactly what economic indicators are impacting your decision and why. This will help it become crystal clear when it's time to make your move, and you can then do so with confidence.
6. Understand the Timeline. While great deals are certainly abundant in today's market, nobody said it would be easy to land one for yourself. Particularly on short sales and foreclosures, be prepared for bidding wars, bank delays and other challenges. Learn in advance the average timeline involved with each type of transaction based on prior 30 to 60-day statistics, so that you may strategically plan your efforts.
Don't forget that I am here to help you if you have any questions.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
1. Try out the color. Narrow down your options to three or four shades of the same color, then purchase 3-oz sample cans to test-drive them. Apply the paint to foamcore boards or repositionable adhesive Small Wall sample boards, which are designed to mimic a wall’s surface ($7.99 for two 12 x 12-inch sample boards; MySmallWall.com for store locations). Let dry, and place in different areas throughout the room. See how both artificial and natural light complement the color before buying.
2. Choose the finish. “The more wear the walls will get, the higher the gloss should be,” says Brian Santos, author of Painting and Wallpapering Secrets. Traditionally, “presentation” rooms, like a formal living room, qualify for the more easily marked-up flat finish, which some designers think has a richer color. Choose gloss for more high-traffic areas, like hallways or the kitchen, and use a satin or semigloss for trim. When possible, opt for paint with built-in primer to speed up results. Although more expensive, this type of paint cuts down on time by combining the prime and main coat processes.
3. Prep your walls. Clean your walls before painting them; Santos suggests replacing your typical cleaning agent with rubbing alcohol (put it into a spray bottle to easily apply it to the walls). “It degreases and de-glosses without using toxins,” he says. Let dry for 15 minutes before proceeding to fill holes and cracks with lightweight Spackle.
4. Protect other areas from paint. Carefully place painter’s tape along the edges of the walls, trim and any door handles or outlets to prevent paint from straying. Be sure to adhere it firmly onto the surface so paint can’t get underneath the tape. Scoot furniture toward the center of the room and cover it with old sheets; cover the floors near the walls with a plastic or canvas dropcloth.
6. Paint the trim first. Allow for imperfection by painting the trim before the walls. “This is the simplest way for most people to get the nooks and crannies between the wall and the wood,” Santos says. Be sure that the paint has dried completely, then mask off the trim and paint the rest of the room.
8. Allow paint to dry. Most paints take at least six hours to dry, but Santos recommends painters allot nine hours for dry time to make sure paint sets thoroughly. Wait until it has dried to apply a second coat, then allow that to dry completely as well. Most paints require two coats, but if you are painting over a very different color or painting a dark shade, a third might be required. Once the final coat has dried completely, carefully remove the tape along the edges and trim.
9. Clean up. Reseal any partially used cans or transfer the leftover paint into an airtight container to store it (be sure to write the color name and room on the lid so that you can identify it for touchups!). If you have leftover water- or latex-based paint you don’t want to keep, allow the excess to solidify (leave the can open, or mix in cat litter to absorb moisture) before putting it in the trash. Oil-based paint is considered hazardous waste, so you should contact your local government to find out where to take it. For more information about disposing of paint supplies, visit earth911.com/paint.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
The following tips should help you get the best deal possible if you do decide to refinance.
Do talk to your own lender first. You may be able to skip some expenses, like an appraisal, if your mortgage is fairly new.
Do compare fees and closing costs as carefully as interest rate. These can vary widely.
Do see whether your lender is able to switch your escrow from the old mortgage to the new one, so you don't have to prepay. This isn't common, but it's very handy.
Do make sure to get the loan you want. There are numerous accounts of borrowers who sign up for a loan guaranteed to lower their payments, only to learn their payments are lower because they do not include taxes and insurance.
Don't refinance for small gains. Mortgages cost money. It would be counter productive to pay $4,000 in closing costs to lower your payment by $35.
Don't believe "no closing costs." If they are advertising no closing costs it is likely that they make their profits with higher interest rates.
Don't dismiss an adjustable rate if you know you'll move -- for example, a 5/1 ARM. Today with good credit and no points, you could lock in about 4.5 percent interest for five years. Your rate will move after that, probably up.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
3. At the same time, find out what your home is worth so you will know how much equity you have (or if it's worth less than the mortgage balance). There are online home valuation tools on Zillow.com, Trulia, and several other websites, but an experienced and knowledgeable local real estate agent's written market valuation is likely to be more accurate and will be helpful in discussing options with lenders. Modifications, forbearance and recasting are all possible if you have sufficient equity in your home, and if you have sufficient equity, selling the home if necessary may not be the worst idea if home values are dropping.
4. Avoid fee-based for-profit mortgage prevention companies or counseling agencies - many are rip-offs that provide few if any meaningful services for distressed homeowners, and you can get quality counseling for free. Also be wary of investors who advertise offers of immediate cash for your home. Many of them are also unethical or outright crooks, seeking to strip home equity through a variety of techniques. If any firm claims they can stop your foreclosure immediately if you sign a document appointing them to act on your behalf, you may well be signing over the title to your property. Never sign any legal document without reading and understanding all the terms and getting professional advice from an attorney or a trusted real estate professional, or a HUD-approved housing counselor.
5. Know your mortgage rights. Find your loan documents and read them so you know what your lender may do if you can't make your payments. Learn about the foreclosure laws and timeframes in your state (as every state is different) by contacting the State Government Housing Office.
6. Foreclosures are expensive for lenders, so they are usually willing to listen to reasonable ideas that can reduce their potential losses, such as restructuring the loan at lower rates or accepting a "short sale," which occurs when the lender agrees to let the owner sell the home for less than the mortgage balance, and agrees to forgive the shortfall and not downgrade the homeowner's credit. Your willingness to cooperate is a negotiating tool if your suggestions are likely to be less expensive than a foreclosure action.
7. Bankruptcy is an option, particularly if your lender is inflexible or your mortgage is on a second home or a rental property. Bankruptcy judges can reduce debts and modify interest rates on commercial loans, second home mortgages, and investment property mortgages when it is in the best interest of both parties. Unfortunately, they have no such latitude with the mortgage on your primary residence, but if your mortgage lender is inflexible, bankruptcy proceedings may be the wisest choice.
8. Even if you are current on your mortgage payments but have an adjustable loan, thoroughly review your mortgage documents, even if your reset date is many months in the future. Check the reset interest rate or formula for determining the reset rate and any future rate resets, and see if there are mortgage prepayment penalties.
9. If you think you could have trouble keeping up with the new payments on an adjustable mortgage, consider refinancing into a fixed rate mortgage if possible. Some lenders may be willing to forgive all or part of a prepayment penalty if that payment presents a problem and you qualify for their fixed rate product.
10. Don't assume that you are immune to a foreclosure in the future. Don't assume that a mortgage lender's underwriting process will assure that you'll not be approved for an unaffordable mortgage in the future. When lenders discovered that they could package and very profitably sell risky loans to investors, they became way less focused on responsible underwriting because they weren't at risk if they sold the loans. Sound underwriting practices began to deteriorate, eventually causing the current mortgage meltdown. This could happen again. In the future, you need to consider the total amount of likely monthly payments, including taxes and insurance, and be comfortable in your own mind that you can handle those payments. Adjustable rate loans are risky because you can't control the future interest rate at the time they will be adjusted, so you need to assume the worst (in other words, a substantially higher index interest rate when they adjust) in deciding whether they will still be affordable.
For more information, visit http://www.americanhomeowners.org/.
"It's been suggested that many of today's tax incentives for homeownership primarily benefit wealthy individuals, but that's simply not true," said Phipps. "As today's public debate continues about what homeownership means for families, communities, and the nation's economy, there's no question that for many, owning a home is still the best way to begin building wealth."
Ninety-one percent of homeowners who claim the mortgage interest deduction earn less than $200,000 a year, and the ability to deduct the interest paid on a mortgage can mean significant savings at tax time. For example, a family who bought a home in 2010 with a $200,000, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, assuming an interest rate of 4.5%, could save nearly $3,500 in federal taxes when they file this year.
"REALTORS see the very real positive impact of homeownership every day with our clients," said Phipps. "Recent proposals to reduce or eliminate the mortgage interest deduction and remove government support of the housing finance market could have disastrous consequences for the economy, not to mention making it harder or nearly impossible for millions of families to own their own homes. We believe America must continue to invest in homeownership, for the future of our families and our nation."
For homeowner tax season tips, visit http://www.houselogic.com/. HouseLogic is a free source of information from NAR that helps homeowners maintain and enhance the value of their homes and engage in issues that affect their local communities. For other information about NAR, visit http://www.realtor.org/.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Here are a few spring lawn care tips designed to promote a healthy yard well into the summer:
Fertilization: Spring is a crucial time to fertilize because it replenishes the food reserves your yard draws from while dormant in the winter, and fuels grass' rapid growth phase. A top recommendation in lawn care is to utilize a balanced fertilizer consisting of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium is best, with 30% of the nitrogen slow release. Don't over-fertilize your lawn no more than one pound of nitrogen should be applied per 1,000 square feet. A thick, healthy lawn also helps prevent weeds.
Weed control: Apply a pre-emergent weed killer on lawns to prevent grassy weeds from germinating. Spring broadleaf weeds like dandelions, clovers and plantains, are best prevented by maintaining a proper mowing height and fertilization. After a mild winter, annual weeds that germinate in the fall, like henbit and chickweed, will be more visible and require higher levels of broadleaf weed control through herbicides.
Pest control/Disease repair: Severe winters may increase the incidence of winter diseases such as snow mold and Bermuda dead spot. Proper cultural care is important in helping your lawn recover from stress related winter diseases. Properly timed fertilizer application and mowing at the recommended height for your grass type are two items that will aid in the recovery of your lawn.
Mowing: Contrary to popular belief, setting your mower at a very low height can actually increase weeds by exposing the soil surface to sunlight and removing stored nutrients in leaf blades. Cool weather grasses, such as bluegrass, ryegrass and fescues, should maintain a height of 2.5 to 3.5 inches. Warm season grasses, like bermuda, zoysia, St. Augustine and centipede, should be kept at 1.5 to 2.5 inches tall.
Timing: Spring is also the perfect time to plant summer annuals and vegetables, but hold off on seeding until the fall when fewer weeds, more moisture and cooler temperatures allow seedlings to develop.
For more spring lawn care tips, visit http://www.lawndoctor.com/
Thursday, March 10, 2011
3. Learn the process along with the terminology. The more you learn about the process and transaction ahead of you, the easier it will be. Research things like the differences between co-ops and condos, or prices per square foot. Be aware of certain costs, such as underwriting costs and closing costs--the less surprises you have in store, the better. Click here for Helpful Terms and Jargon
4. Find a team you can trust. Start with finding a reliable and trusted real estate professional who will work with your best interests in mind. From there, you may want to ask for referrals for mortgage brokers, inspectors and other vendors and establish contacts that will be able to help you throughout the process. The better your team, the easier the transaction will be. Click here for a great Inspector
Source: AOL Real Estate
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
2. Some FHA costs are increasing. As of April 18, the Mortgage Insurance Premium on FHA loans will be increasing for those with a down payment below 10%. If your down payment falls short, you will be hit with an added $250 per $100,000 borrowed. This could cause a monthly payment to be increased $50-60 per month and may even mean you have to downsize your ideal home to make room for this added cost. This rule stresses the importance of a sizable down payment.
3. However, origination fees might decrease. In other news, origination fees may decrease come April 1 due to a revision to the Truth in Lending Act. Mortgage brokers will now only be able to accept payments from either borrowers or lenders, but not both. If working with a mortgage broker, inquire how this revision affects you and your buying transaction.
4. Lending guidelines may get tighter in the future. With the possible fading of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in as little as five to 10 years, guidelines to get into the housing market may be even tighter. A 10% down payment won't be suggested, it'll be flat out required, with some advocating an even higher standard. With prices nice and low, home values and prices are bound to rise as well, meaning more money will be required down than if you purchased today.
If you're ready to buy, now is a great time to search for a house and complete the transaction. For many of the reasons above, now is a unique time to invest in your future and we'll never know just when guidelines may tighten.
Friday, March 4, 2011
In order to make sure that you do not pay for that one mistake over the next 30 years it is important to do your homework and gain an understanding of the mortgage process. Below you will find a list of some of the more common mistakes that mortgage brokers and lenders see every day.
Credit problems: It is important to obtain a credit report at least 180 days before you are planning on applying for a mortgage. This will give you time to challenge any mistakes or discrepancies that appear on your report before it gets into the hands of your lender. This will also give you an idea of the legitimate factors that are hurting your FICO score and time to do something about them, such as paying an overdue bill or paying down credit card debt.
Qualifying for a first-time buyers program: If you are a first-time home buyer then you might be able take advantage of the lower rates offered by the many first-time homebuyers programs. These programs were designed to help individuals with damaged credit or small down payments achieve their dream of home ownership. The best way to find out more information on these programs is to call or visit the website of the housing agencies for your state, county, and city to see if you are eligible.
Waiting until the last moment to get approved: Homes move fast in our market and it is important that you are ready to move when you find that perfect home. If you are going to buy a home there is no reason not to turn in the loan paperwork and get approved before you start the home buying process. Horror stories abound regarding buyers who found their dream home and then initiated the loan approval process only to learn the home had already been sold by the time they got their paperwork back.
Not shopping for rates: Some homebuyers are not aware of the wide range of rates that are on the market and could fall victim to subprime lenders. Subprime lenders specialize in securing financing for individuals with damaged credit, at a premium, and occasionally people with good credit unknowingly get stuck with such a loan. It pays to make sure that you know the prevailing interest rate for individuals with your FICO score. If you go to MyFico.com you can enter your FICO score and get an idea of the cost of financing in your area.
Paying Junk fees: Some lenders attempt to line their pockets with a variety of fee, some of which are legitimate and some of which are not. Once more it pays to do your homework beforehand. Contact several different lenders to find out their rates, loan points charged, and any other fees associated with the application. Once you decide on a lender they should give you a good-faith estimate of closing costs, which should include any extra fees. Inquire about any additional fees and try to negotiate the more excessive charges down. If your chosen lender is unwilling to negotiate take the estimate to someone else and see if they will be able to beat it.
Closing Costs: Plan ahead for the closing costs. The day that you are scheduled to get your loan you will also need to pay for expenses such as; attorney's fees, title insurance, and other lender fees. Closing costs can be anywhere between 2 and 7 percent of the selling cost of the home. The good faith estimate that you received from the lender will give you a good idea of how much you can expect to pay and make sure that you have enough to cover the cost in your bank account.
Cash on hand after closing: After scrimping and saving every penny you were able to secure your mortgage and have moved into your new home. Suddenly, out of the blue your car breaks down and you are stuck with a hefty bill and you run the risk of not having the money to cover your first mortgage payment. When budgeting for your new home it is a good idea to have enough cash to cover your expenses for several months. This will help you get over any unexpected expense speed bumps.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Myth: Foam gaskets in electrical outlets will reduce air leakage. Foam gaskets are often cited as a quick fix to stop air leakage, but the reality is that less than one percent of a home's air leakage is resulted from outlets. If your home has an abundance of outlets, sealing them may help, but spend your time on larger efforts--insulating attic floors and doors, as well as basement ceilings. This will have a far better effect in keeping the warm air in and cold air out.
Myth: Dimming lights will cut your lighting bill. The relationship between dimming and energy use isn't linear, and savings will be less than expected. When the voltage drops, the filament cools, the wavelength spectrum of the light shifts further into infrared, and efficiency suffers. For real savings, try CFL or LED light bulbs.
Myth: Buying an efficient air conditioner or furnace will automatically reduce my energy bill. Savings are not automatic. Make sure the unit is properly sized and installed. Improperly installed systems can waste one-third or more of the energy that is actually used by the unit. By completing the job right the first time, you can hopefully see future savings as a result.
Myth: Insulating the ceiling will cause more heat to leak out the window. Adding insulation to one section of your home will not increase the pressure to other parts. However, properly insulate the poorly insulated areas, because those will be areas of concern regardless. Use a flame or incense to find air leaks around doors and windows. Seal them up with caulking or expandable foam.
By avoiding these myths and following this advice, you can continue sealing up any leaks in your home before you start shelling out your money. Heat your home the proper way.
Source: Consumer Reports Blog