Monday, September 5, 2016

The Old North End in Colorado Springs

The Old North End is by far one of my favorite neighborhoods in Colorado Springs. Many of the houses were built in the late 1800's to early 1900's. The neighborhood is located to the north of Colorado College. You can see a map of the neighborhood at You will find wonderful Victorian style homes. The attention to detail is obvious in every house. As you walk down the streets in the neighborhood you will see homes colorfully painted and lovingly taken care of. Don't be surprised to see that a few homes still have the old horse tie ups.

I used to live in the Old North End. I loved the two homes I lived in. The neighbors were always friendly and were quick to start up a conversation. I had a cat that used to like to take walks with me and the kids. Sometimes he was a bit naughty and not as helpful as he could have been when helping a few neighbors garden. Cats just don't make good gardeners. They do seem to be great conversation starters though. The friendly neighbors made it hard to leave the neighborhood.

One of my favorite things about the homes in the area are the big front porches. The big porch just gives a welcoming feel to a house that almost invites conversation. I feel it is what helps promote the friendly feel of the area. The detail to all the trim work inside the homes in this area are impressive. I was lucky enough to live in homes where the wood was never painted over. The cut leaded glass windows were beautiful, though far from energy efficient. Both of the homes I lived in always required work, as to be expected from an old home. The charm of living in a home with history always made it worth the work.

The variety of architecture in the Old North End is wonderful. I always loved that not all the houses looked the same. It is always nice to see people be able to express themselves through where they live.

One such neighbor I had while I lived in the neighborhood had his whole home one the outside full of art and many miscellaneous items he acquired through yard sales. The inside of his home was filled with books and plants and many more things he acquired through his lifetime. Bill was a wonderful character that I think of often even though he passed away many years ago.

My favorite park is located near the Old North End. Monument Valley Park is within walking distance. The park is filled with trails, a play area for the kids, and creek. If you like to jog or ride a bike for recreation this is a great park for that. Monument Valley Park stretches for miles. When I lived in the area we used to walk downtown as well. Sometimes a morning stroll for coffee and a bagel. Other times an evening stroll for pizza or what ever we were in the mood for. There are lots of options in downtown Colorado Springs when it comes to eating.

I know I loved living in the Old North End part of town. If you are interested in living in or around this area I can help. Search for homes in the 80907 area code or contact me directly so I can also help you in your search.

If you have a home to sell request a free Comparable Market Analysis and lets talk.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Should You Buy Or Rent A Home

When you rent you are at the mercy of the landlords wishes.
Why should you buy instead of rent? Both options have there pros and cons...

     Lets consider the positive side of buying first. You get to experience the joy of home ownership. The longer you keep your home and the more you improve it the more it is worth. Statistically owning a home is the largest wealth accumulation most Americans will achieve. For most of us accumulating wealth is at the top of our goals list. Owning a home gives you that chance to reach that goal. It could also benefit your children should you choose to hand the home down to them.

      As the cost of rent continues to rise you can avoid those constant rent increases. This year in Colorado Springs we have had the largest increase in the nation. It went up over 11 percent according to As a homeowner, if you don't take out a second mortgage, your mortgage payment will stay fairly constant. What that means for you: you are able to save more money because your mortgage payment stays about the same. Those that rent continue to pay more for where they live. It becomes more and more difficult to keep up even with a yearly raise from their employer.  The raise you receive will slowly begin to impact your life for the better.

     Now for the downside to home ownership. When something like the furnace or refrigerator goes out it will be up to you to fix it. You no longer have the benefit of calling the landlord. There is up keep on the house that will need to be done. Sometimes the upkeep is as simple as keeping the lawn mowed and the weeds out of the flower bed.  Less simple would be painting the house or replacing the carpet. You may be able to take care of some upkeep on your own which will help keep costs down. You will want to put some money away to be able to cover your homes needs and avoid running up credit cards for unexpected and unwanted surprises.

     A subject that does not get thought about is taxes and homeowner insurance. Yes you will hear about it at the closing table, but because it is wrapped into your mortgage payment you wont think much about it.When the value of your home goes up so will your property taxes. Likewise when your property value goes down your property taxes will eventually go down as well. When the taxes change you will get a notice of payment increase or decrease from the mortgage company. In most situations it wont be a big difference. Your home owners insurance can be another reason for a change in payment. In Colorado Springs after the fires happened most of us saw a huge spike in the cost of our mortgage insurance. Withing two years mine nearly doubled. Most of the time your insurance will only raise slightly. You will want to keep in mind during the course of your mortgage the payment may go slightly up or down depending on the circumstances. Be prepared for change.

     When it comes to renting there isn't as much to consider. The best part of renting is that if anything major needs to be done it falls in the hands of the landlord. If  your lucky the land lord will pay to have someone tend to the yard freeing you from that responsibility as a renter. If you don't plan on putting down roots renting frees you to just move along when your lease is up.

     The downside to renting is that you are paying off someone else's mortgage. Any value in the house is that of the owner. When your lease runs out your rent may go up or you may have to move if they don't renew the lease with you. The house may get sold while you are renting forcing you into another situation where you have to move. I had it happen to me twice while I was a renter.

     When you rent, you put down a deposit. It seems like no mater how clean you leave a place the landlord doesn't give back the full amount you gave to them. Do you have a pet? You may not get to keep your buddy. Some places do not allow pets. There are now landlords charging pet rent. My personal opinion is that it is just ludicrous and just another way to bleed people for their hard earned money. Renting just doesn't give you the same freedom as being a homeowner.

     When you have made your decision to to purchase a home I will be here to help you every step of the way. You can start keeping an eye out for houses by browsing the neighborhoods you are considering at my website You can create your own account there for free by signing up. You can get new listings automatically sent to your email to make it more convenient to stay on top of what is available in the housing market. I hope to hear from you soon.

Are you not sure where to start when your ready to buy? This article may help:

You pets will enjoy your new home as much as you do!
Pets need a place to feel safe and run free.
Home ownership can help fulfill that need.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Don’t Underestimate the Value a Real Estate Professional Brings to a Home Sale

This is some great information about what a Real Estate Agent does for you when you sell your home.

Well-known actor, humorist and economist Ben Stein once wrote a column entitled “Pieces of Heaven.” It was a love letter of sorts about the many homes he has bought, sold and enjoyed over the years – and the many real estate professionals who helped him find his little bit of paradise each time.

The properties were located all over the country – the California coast, Beverly Hills, the Eastern seashore and Washington D.C., to name a few. The one thing they all had in common, Mr. Stein said: “We could never have gotten them without brokers.”

“Every time I use an agent, I am amazed at how hard they work...always available around the clock,” he wrote. “They handle even the most minute details like inspections, and the big ones like financing. They show endless patience. They are relentlessly upbeat. They need to be a diplomat, design expert, financier, psychologist, surrogate parent, and often surrogate spouse.”

Some sellers may think you just stick a for-sale sign in the front lawn and buyers will beat a path to your door. Guess again! Real estate professionals develop comprehensive marketing plans, take professional photos, arrange inspections and appraisers, oversee home staging, hold open houses, place print and online ads, reach out to their networks to find potential buyers, and negotiate with buyers’ agents to get the best price and to get the deal closed.

Pre-sale activities

A Listing Agent’s work starts with researching the current market to aid the Seller in determining the right list price. They provide information about professionals who can help get the home ready for sale, arrange and develop disclosure packages for potential buyers.

Before any potential buyer sets foot inside the home the Listing Agent will work with the Seller to find out the Seller’s preferences regarding a menu of options as to how to best market the home. Depending upon the Seller’s preferences, the Listing Agent will assist in choosing a stager and/ or a landscaper to make the property look it’s best inside and out; to have multiple photos and/or a virtual tour, post signs, create a website as well as put together compelling marketing material to highlight it’s positive attributes and features.

Maximum exposure marketing

Putting the home on the local MLS is just the start of what goes into effectively marketing a home listing. Real estate professionals may create and distribute a just-listed postcard, create and send out open house invitations, submit ads to various publications, promote the home to the Listing Agent’s
network locally and regionally, as well as use relocation referral networks to promote the home to relocating buyers from around the country.

And because 90 percent of buyers begin their search for a home on the Internet, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, Listing Agents will promote the property on many of the country’s top real estate websites. Through web syndication, Coldwell Banker listings, for example,
are featured on an unsurpassed 700-plus websites around the world – including Coldwell Banker’s exclusive websites.

Open houses and tours

Listing Agents may host a broker’s open tour to let agents working with potential buyers see the property first before holding any public open house. They may canvass the neighborhood to invite people to the open house, as well as alert past client referrals about the listing. In addition, they will schedule individual showings to let more serious potential buyers tour the home personally and privately. Listing Agents will then follow up with those potential buyers and their agents to gauge their reaction and discuss next steps.

Negotiate offers/acceptance

Once a buyer or multiple buyers make an offer, Listing Agents will schedule an offer presentation with the seller, presenting the offer(s), discussing the terms and the seller’s options. At the Seller’s direction the Listing Agent will negotiate terms on behalf of the Seller and prepare contract documents. They coordinate and attend inspections and work with all parties to help resolve problems and challenges relating to the property. Last but not least, the Listing Agent will help secure all of the necessary paperwork and coordinate the closing.

There is much more to successfully selling a home than putting up a sign. A professional REALTOR® can make the process seem so much easier through their hard work, their expertise and their attention to details. Buying and selling a home is often the largest financial transaction that any of us will ever make. But with the help of a real estate professional, the next generation of buyers and sellers can find their own “pieces of heaven” – just as Ben Stein has been able to achieve so often over the years.

If you are thinking about selling your home request your free Comparable Market Analysis and lets talk.

List your home with a licenced Realtor for optimal results selling your home/
©2016 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker® is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Office is Owned by a Subsidiary of NRT LLC. Real estate agents affiliated with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage are independent contractor sales associates and are not employees of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage or NRT LLC. This blog piece is provided by Coldwell Banker.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

2007 Hibbard Ln Fountain CO 80817

For sale by Niki McElroy with Coldwell Banker
View a virtual tour
                Asking $267,105
         Back on the market
This beautiful property in Fountain Colorado located at 2007 Hibbard Ln. has been nothing but loved and is currently for sale. This home is close to the Fort Carson base located about 6.8 miles away. The seller was raised in this home and loved it as much as her parents did. The home was originally built for her parents. It is well landscaped with roses and a wonderful dwarf apple tree in the front yard. The front entry way is covered with enough room for a bench or porch swing.

This is a two story home with a partial finished basement. The basement has a full bathroom. A game or family room and two bedrooms. The landing space in the basement offers plenty of room for storage.

The main floor has a large living room with an open dining room towards the back. The family room on the main level has a cozy gas fireplace. The kitchen comes complete with bar seating for at least 4. The appliances in the kitchen will be included. The laundry room is just off of the kitchen. The laundry room offers entry into the garage. This home has a two car garage with a bonus room or workshop. There is a full bathroom on the main level. There is one bedroom on the main floor that is currently being used as an office.

The upper level has plenty of space for a reading nook in the landing area. There are four bedrooms up stairs. There is a full bathroom between the first and second bedroom.  The master bedroom is decently sized with a walk in closet. The master bathroom has a jetted tub and a free standing shower.

The back yard has a walkout deck from the family room. There is a wood shed that will stay with the house. The back yard has plenty of space with potential for a garden. 2007 Hibbard Ln. is a corner lot with potential to be loved by you, the next owner. If you are looking for a large home with lots of room this is the one. The property does need a little work. The trim board on the main level needs to be put on. The master bathroom needs the flooring put in.
If you are interested in this property contact me.

2007 Hibbard Ln. in Fountain Colorado is listed on the Pikes Peak MLS #5569538 with an asking price of $267,105.

To search for other homes in Colorado Springs and the surrounding area or learn more about this home visit me:

Ready to sell your home, I can help. Request your free Comparable Market Analysis

Saturday, June 11, 2016

How To Prepare To Sell Your Home

     Are you ready to sell your home? Are you curious as to what you should do to get your home ready to sell? I will give you some pointers to prepare before your home goes on the market. Lets start with the simple steps first.
  1. DEPERSONALIZE: You will want the buyer to be able to see themselves in the home. Personal items such as family pictures may hinder the visualization process. Put things such as make up or toothbrushes away. Remove items that are attached that you plan to keep. That could be a favorite chandelier, prize rose bush, or a built in book shelf your uncle made. Basically, anything you would not want to stay with the house.

  2. DECLUTTER: It's time to address those piles of paper that have been sitting there for years. Now is a great time to put all that paper to use by using it to wrap up the knickknack collection that you have been building since high school. Get brave and tackle that laundry monster that scares the life out of you. You could clear those boxes from the garage, empty them out and have a yard sale or donate it to charity. Get rid of the extra furniture that doesn't allow you to move through the room freely. If your not quite ready to do a yard sale or donate your extras, consider renting a storage unit to keep it safe until your home has sold and you are ready to move into your new home.  You will want to simplify your home to give it that loved and well taken care of feel.

  3. ORGANIZE: Once you have decided what you will keep, it's time to organize. That closet that has everything stuffed in and piled on the floor, tackle it. Get the clothes on hangers. Put the pants together, line up the shoes, fold and stack the t-shirts and maybe even color coordinate everything. Whats going on with DVDs and books? Are they placed in order or tossed around? How about the pantry? You never know where people will look. If your not big on organizing you could consider hiring a pro.
     Now that you have knocked out the simple steps, lets work on the fun stuff. Do you remember all those projects you have been putting off? Now is the perfect time to finally get them out of the way.

  1.  CLEAN: I personally am not a fan of this step either but it is an important step. Get out that bucket of soapy water, get the gloves on and get the wash rags. When is the last time you washed down the walls? How about the window sill? Yep, its time to get down and dirty... wash the windows, scrub the floors, wipe out the cabinets, clean the carpets, dust the house and got the idea. If you have more money than you do time, hire someone to do it for you.

  2. BEAUTIFY THE OUTSIDE: How's the curb appeal? If your yard is lacking luster it may be time to do some weeding, mowing, and planting. If you walk across the street and take a good look, what do you see? If it looks great then skip this step. If it makes you cringe just a little then address those issues. You can be sure your sellers will see what you see.

  3. REPAIR: As you progress to this step, I am sure along the way you have run across a few things that should be fixed. If it's easy, touch up the paint, fix the leaking faucet, replace the caulk around the tub or shower enclosure or even tighten up the hinges on the door. If it is complicated, like a cracked window, damage to the siding, rotten window sills or something that is out of your range of expertise then you should consider hiring an expert.

   You polished off your to-do list and you think everything looks great, now what? Ask a friend to come visit and have them give an honest opinion. Just remember, you can only make one first impression, and you want your prospective buyer to have a good one. If you have already hired a Realtor have them stop in and look the house over. If you haven't hired a Realtor to put your home on the market now is as good of a time as any to find a great one to work with. If you are in Colorado Springs, CO or the surrounding area request your free Comparable Market Analysis today and lets talk.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

I Want To Buy A Home...

Learn more about homes for
 sale in Colorado Springs

You have decided you are ready to buy a home but you're not sure where to start. I will walk you through the steps you may want to consider.

  1. Your first step should be to contact a Mortgage Broker. You will want, and need someone to verify your ability to purchase the home you find to buy. You will need to find out what your budget will allow you to spend. If you are a cash buyer then this step of course can be skipped. 

  2. If you are buying your home with another person you should consider sitting down together to decide what the most important features are in the home you would want to buy. How many bedrooms, bathrooms, size of the yard or maybe even the style of the house.

  3. Find a Real Estate Agent to work with. You will want to share the details of your desired home and the budget you are working with to help the Realtor you hire help you.

  4. Look at several homes. You may want to consider bringing a note book to keep track of the pros and cons of each home you look at.

  5. Once you have narrowed it down let your Real Estate Agent know you have made a decision. Your offer will then be submitted.

  6. You should want to have the home inspected. Its up to you how you go about it. I would recommend using an inspector that has a licence to do the job.

  7. Provided the inspection went well you will move along in the process to get to closing.

  8. During closing you will have a lot of documents to sign and closing costs to cover. Not the most fun you will have during your house shopping event, but maybe the most exciting since you will now have achieved your goal of owning a home.
Want to Learn more about Colorado Springs and the surrounding area you can visit my other blog at