- 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!
Monday, April 30, 2012
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
In fact, based on April data from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Alliance has calculated that the average U.S. household will spend about $2,100 on home energy this year.
“Consumers who experienced high winter heating bills and are already contending with spiraling gasoline prices are eager to spend less on home energy this spring and summer,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan. “Energy efficiency not only significantly cuts home energy costs, it also increases indoor comfort.”
To help U.S. consumers go green and save green this spring, the Alliance offers the following energy-saving tips:
Seal air leaks and properly insulate. This should always be the first step toward reducing energy waste as it can save homeowners up to 20 percent on heating and cooling bills. In addition, taking the time to seal air leaks and properly insulate will increase your home’s comfort.
Turn things off. Take the time to turn off all lights, appliances and electronics when you’re not using them.
Take advantage of window coverings. Close blinds located on the sunny side of your home during the summer and open them in the winter. http://ase.org/resources/earth-day-lighting-dos-donts
Get with the program. A programmable thermostat, properly programmed, can save up to 10 percent on heating and cooling costs.
Look for the Energy Star label. The government’s symbol for energy efficiency, the Energy Star label can be found on a wide range of consumer products and can save homeowners up to 30 percent on related electricity bills.
New and improved light bulbs. Reduce energy use from about a third to as much as 80 percent with today’s increasing number of energy-efficient halogen incandescents, compact fluorescents and LEDs.
Clean or change furnace filters regularly. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm.
Reduce water heater temperature to 130° F. Lowering your water heater’s temperature will save you both energy and money. Be sure to wrap the water storage tank in a specially-designed “blanket” to retain the heat as well.
Switch to cold water. Washing your clothes in cold water will help you save money on laundry day.
Use low-flow faucets and shower heads to save money on water bills, too.
Source: Alliance to Save Energy By Ronnie Kweller
Published with permission from RISMedia.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
One of the first things many homebuyers look for are the unmistakable signs of something called ‘pride of ownership.’ As a whole, it’s a relatively intangible concept: there are just homes that have it - reeking of their owners’ love and meticulous care for the property -- and homes that, well, don’t.
I’ve watched firsthand as buyers who like a cute home that is in generally good shape literally talk themselves into looking at a more homes once they start to notice one rickety gate, which snowballed into a nitpicky laundry list of little, tiny fixes the seller had left undone. The challenge is that between deciding whether and when to sell, staging, interviewing agents and determining a list price, it can be tempting for homeowners to fall into the trap of deferring maintenance on a home they might sell soon.
Whether you plan to put your home on the market next week or next year, here is a short list of home maintenance items you should put on your Spring to-do list, stat, if you want to attract qualified buyers and let your home sweet-talk them into making a sweet offer:
1. Banish chips, scuffs and the like with a fresh coat of paint. I believe that eliminating nicks, scuffs and scratches on any painted or finished surface is one of the cheapest, easiest and most impactful spruces a seller-to-be can do. That’s because these little tiny blemishes create a shabby appearance on a home that might otherwise be in great shape, but can be entirely banished with a good washing and some fresh paint.
This goes for interior and exterior walls, floors, and especially any sort of trims that are painted white, as is common with crown and floor moldings - scuff marks and blemishes seem to pop out from these items. Also, the edges of cupboards, doors and drawers are places where chips and nicks are so common that homeowners overlook them, but can be super visible to buyers who visit your home for the first time.
2. Brighten, polish and replace all trims. One day, I’ll do a scientific study, and I predict the results will reveal that if you put two identical homes side-by-side and give one a set of tricked-out trims - exterior shutters, front door, eaves - even your house numbers, door knockers, kickplates and other exterior hardware - people will rate the house with the beautiful trims way higher on the ‘pride of ownership’ scale than you’d expect.
Go stand on your own curb to get the buyer’s-eye view of your home, and then drive around your own neighborhood or the nicest part of town and flip through some home improvement mags or websites for ideas. If you can add attractive trims, freshen up the ones you have or paint them to create an unexpected but attractive color combination with the body of your house, you can skyrocket your home’s standing on my (newly invented) ‘pride of ownership’ scale.
3. Furry, drippy, noisy or broken HVAC systems. Maintaining your heating and air conditioning systems is not that expensive, but buyers think it is. In fact, your furnace and AC are precisely the sort of major household machinery that intimidate first-time home buyers. So, if they show up to the open house or a private showing of your home in June and the AC is making a funny knocking sound or just flat out doesn’t work well enough to keep the house cool, buyers might perceive that as a more serious red flag than it truly is.
Does your AC has that furry ‘science experiment’ look to it? Not only are you paying for the energy it’s probably wasting to push the air pass all that dust and dirt, the gross-out factor will have even the hardiest buyer wondering what else might be wrong with your home.
On the flip side, letting prospective buyers know that your home’s HVAC systems have been recently maintained or upgraded is a nice touch that makes itself obvious during showings and allows buyers to breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to concerns about short-term repair bills and the comfort level of family members who may have allergies and asthma.
Side note: if your AC does make a funny sound you might be so accustomed to you can’t hear it anymore - check in with your agent unless you know as a matter of fact that your AC is in tip-top shape. One more side note: if you live someplace where it gets cold around the holidays and you don’t plan to list your home until wintertime, right now may be the ideal time to have your heating system serviced. Off-season repairs and maintenance are often discounted.
4. Mend and tend to your fences, gates and screens. These items may not jump out at us in our own home - in fact, these are things I often see sellers skimp on or run out of time and money to tend to. And it’s easy to rationalize your way out of dealing with them, as they seem like relatively inexpensive fixes for buyers to make themselves. But screens with holes in them and gates that don’t budge or hang off their hinges are precisely the sorts of things I’ve seen make buyers walk back through a home looking for other flaws; and anything to do with fences makes them envision neighbor disputes over bills. You have the power to avoid sparking these concerns in the minds of house hunters by mending these items this Spring.
5. Doors, cupboards and drawers. One creaky door or squeaky cupboard does not kill a deal. But keep in mind that in some homes, other than the lights, these are the only functioning systems of your home that house hunting visitors will almost certainly use during the course of a viewing. Making sure your entry, interior closet and cupboard doors are in good cosmetic shape and that they work well and don’t stick is an easy, inexpensive way to position your home as a (literally) well-oiled machine.
One point of clarification – it’s less the case that buyers will notice, ooh and ahh over your smoothly sliding drawers than that they will notice and grow concerned if they don’t.
6. Have everything cleaned and washed. Even the most immaculate of housekeepers can realize a massive refresh to the look, feel, smell and the overall air quality of their homes by having professional cleaners come take a tour through the place. Springtime is a great time to ask your agent for referrals to the best local vendors to power wash your house, windows and driveway, as well as to have your carpets, rugs and window coverings cleaned. For those who are on a tight budget, many vendors offer Spring cleaning promotions for these services right about now (and if your budget is even tighter, there are products you can buy and machines you can rent to do these things yourself – just make sure you account for the value of your time).
7. Shred it up. Some might say this is more like Spring cleaning than home maintenance, but I’ve noticed that the clutter of boxes and boxes of paperwork, old file cabinets and the like have a tendency to contribute to the sense that a listed property might be unkempt, the aura of stagnation. If you have no cash to do anything else on this list, one thing you can do for free is to go through all your files and boxes, get rid of old papers and shred anything with sensitive information.
Just think – you’ll have to do it anyway when you move, so this is like giving yourself a head start and your attic, basement office or other rooms a fresh start. You can count it as a staging tactic as well, as it gives the rooms at issue some added visual white space, making them seem larger!
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Homebuilder contracts to buy northern part of Banning Lewis | homebuilder, homes, banning - Colorado Springs Gazette, CO
Informative article about Banning Lewis Ranch's future.
Last week, Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates holding relatively stable this week amid signs that inflation remains in check with the 30-year fixed up slightly at 3.90 percent and 15-year fixed at 3.13 percent. Meanwhile, the average 5-year ARM hit a new all-time low of 2.78 percent, from its previously low of 2.80 percent set the first week of February, 2012.
• 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.90 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending April 19, 2012, up from last week when it averaged 3.88 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.80 percent.
• 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.13 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.11 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.02 percent.
• 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.78 percent this week, with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.85 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.61 percent.
• 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.81 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.80 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 3.16 percent.
According to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac, "Fixed mortgage rates held relatively stable this week amid signs that inflation remains in check. Industrial production was flat in March, a reading below the market consensus forecast. Meanwhile, both headline inflation gauges (the consumer and producer price indexes) for March were in line with market expectations."
Published with permission from RISMedia.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Great article about why waiting isn't a good idea. We are seeing the exact same situation here in Colorado Springs.
By Steve Raabe The Denver Post The Denver Post
New advice from the trenches on buying a home: Look early. Think fast. Hone your quick-draw skills with the checkbook.
Metro Denver's real estate market, not long ago a buyer's domain, suddenly has shifted to a seller's paradise, at least in some neighborhoods and price ranges.
Realtors' offices are rife with fresh anecdotes of sellers happily cherry-picking from multiple offers — some of them above the asking price.
How fast is the market moving? A new report shows that Denver is No. 2 in the nation for the shortest length of time that a home is listed before being sold — 33 days — far below the national median of 89 days.
Until recently, prospective buyer Patty Kupfer had viewed shopping for a home as a weekend diversion. You know, tell your broker that you're available, say, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
"There's no such thing anymore as a weekend home tour," Kupfer said this week. "Because if you wait till the weekend, nothing's going to be there. If you're just looking casually, you're not really in the market."
Kupfer, managing director of a non-profit immigration-reform organization, said she has adjusted her approach in the face of vigorous competition from other buyers.
"Every house I've looked at has gone under contract within 48 hours," she said. "This has forced me to be more serious about it. The very next house that seems like a good fit, we're going to visit it that very day (it's first listed)."
In recent months, buyer demand has surged and the number of homes for sale in metro Denver has dropped sharply.
Unsold homes on the market totaled 10,325 at the end of March, a 42 percent drop from March 2011.
The result is that for some neighborhoods and some price ranges, homes are in short supply and selling fast.
In particularly high demand are homes priced from $250,000 to $400,000 and in central Denver neighborhoods such as Park Hill, Congress Park, Curtis Park, Mayfair and the Highlands, said Michelle Ackerman, Denver-area manager and broker for Redfin.
Even though metro Denver homes have shown only marginal price appreciation so far this year, realty analysts say strong demand and multiple offers could soon push values higher in lower to moderate price ranges.
One factor that makes price predictions difficult is foreclosures.
Lenders hold an estimated 1,650 foreclosed properties in metro Denver that haven't been put on the market,
according to data compiled by Redfin. As the market strengthens, more foreclosures will be listed for sale, which in turn could slow down price appreciation.
Sellers of homes listed for more than $500,000 generally aren't enjoying the market heat.
"Once you move above $500K, inventory widens dramatically and prices are still down, and arguably falling," Ackerman said.
Elsewhere, inventories are low and urgency among buyers is high.
Joshua Kurdys and Ileana Sadin, recent arrivals to Denver from State College, Pa., found the Denver market to be an exercise in frustration.
"You'd go out and see five or 10 houses, and the one house that was decent would be snatched up immediately" by other buyers, Kurdys said.
After several failed offers in central Denver neighborhoods, the couple decided to expand their geographic
parameters, accelerate their pace and be willing to bid higher.
"It was very apparent that if we didn't make an offer at very close to asking price, we weren't going to get it," Kurdys said.
The strategy worked. They recently targeted a newly listed home in Curtis Park, made a 9 a.m. appointment to see it and submitted an almost full-price offer the same day. They now have it under contract.
What can be a frustrating endeavor for buyers is a pleasant relief for sellers.
Connie Ulrich was anticipating the worst in attempting to sell her three-bedroom home in the Northbrook
subdivision of Thornton.
But within a month of listing the home, she'd had 34 showings.
"We had so many showings, it was just insane," she said. "I never expected it to be so busy."
Listed at $254,000, the home now is under contact for $256,000.
"There is a shortage of good product," said broker Rhonda Knop of Distinctive Properties. "If it's priced right and shows well, it is selling."
Steve Raabe: 303-954-1948 or email@example.com
The link above provides great information. Check it out!
“In the spring, it’s a great idea to incorporate color around the entryway,” said Barb Schwartz, Creator of The Staged Homes Concept and Home Staging Industry. “An easy way to do this is to place a large pot on each side of the door, fill it with greenery and then add color by integrating daisies or tulips.”
Moving past the entryway, it’s crucial to bring spring colors into the home as well. This can be easily achieved with accessories like throw pillows, area rugs, artwork, towels and bedspreads.
“You can change accessories and the whole house changes. For example, changing pillow cases on decorative pillows that are on a sofa can give a whole new color look to the room,” Schwartz said. “This year, nature colors are really in; green is really big and hot orange is an accent that is strong.”
Designers also recommend bringing spring indoors by incorporating the colors of pears, eggs, sea shells and nature in general into your interior decorating scheme. In addition, fabrics with leaf patterns, wicker, real leather and rust metal as contrast can also be utilized.
Schwartz said it’s also a good idea to replace the drapery panels in a home or office to achieve a fresh look for the spring. In fact, she recently overhauled a den by swapping out a blue daisy pattern and integrating plain cream panels that went from floor to ceiling. “The whole room looked bigger and more elegant,” she said.
Of course, every room in the house is important and there are ways to liven up each one. You want the buyer to buy the whole house, not just one or two staged rooms, so it’s important to create a somewhat cohesive design.
“All homes have to be staged to sell all year long, and spring is a good time to sell because people are out looking again now that winter has passed,” Schwartz said. “It’s important to keep in mind that two things sell a house: one is price and the other is staging.”
In addition to creating a fresh look within the home, homeowners should take the time to clean up the outside of the home as well. Be sure to clean up the yard, remove all leaves and dead plants and even trim bushes and hedges. “More often than not, with the arrival of spring, our homes are still cluttered with gifts from the holidays,” Schwartz said. “I recommend that when one new thing comes in, one other thing is packed up, given away, or donated. Otherwise, the house just gets filled with more and more clutter.”
While the spring season typically brings out more prospective buyers, make sure to take advantage of all the season has to offer.
For more tips on staging your home for spring, contact me today.
Published with permission from RISMedia.
Financial experts agree that long-term investing is the surest way to build savings—and also that you do not need a lot of money to get started. What is critically important, however, is that you save on a consistent basis.
There are classes you can take, books you can read, and experts you can consult in order to learn the finer points of investing. To begin with, however, there are three fundamental steps you must take:
- Determine your savings goals. You need to know what your savings goals are in order to figure out how to get there. Let’s say you want to retire at age 65 with the same standard of living you have now. You can find retirement calculators online to help you determine how much money you will need in order to reach that goal.
- Evaluate the stock market. Guaranteed investments and savings bonds are great for reaching short-term goals. They generally return about 2-5 percent at best. But if you have some time to reach your goal, investing in the market will likely be your best approach. Averaged out over the last 25 years, despite some trying times, DOW returns have paid around 9 percent or 10 percent. Here’s the difference: Over 25 years, a $10,000 investment at a 3 percent rate of return will grow to $26,000. A 9 percent return will give you $86,000.
- Understand that time is money and plan accordingly. For saving money to be successful, it must be approached as a long-term plan—there are no get-rich-quick plans that really work. Therefore, it makes sense that the earlier you start to save, the more money you will have at retirement. In these scenarios, assume a 10 percent rate of return compounded annually:
- Begin investing $100 per month at age 30 until you reach age 65. At that point, you will have about $345,000 in investments. You will have put in $42,000 over the 35 year span. The other $303,000 is from the growth of your money over time.
- Begin the same $100-per-month saving plan at age 20. At age 65, you will have about $916,000. You will have invested $54,000. The other $862,000 is from the growth of your money over time.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Colorado Springs has been stabilizing for a while. We weren't one of the markets that allowed inflated prices to spread like many other markets did. This is a great article on how the rest of the country is starting to get back on track too.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Cute article about house expensive famous homes would have been during the time the show aired and what they would be now.