Compare Troutman Park Home Valuations Here

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Online home valuations can vary quite a bit. When I looked up my homes value online I found estimates that ranged anywhere from $435,836 to $525,442 (that’s an 18% margin). After looking over a market analysis I prepared the fact of the matter is that my home’s worth somewhere around $435,000 to $450,000.

If you’re curious to know what your home might be worth online home valuations are a fair place to start. Here is a resource that you can use to compare some of the most popular home valuation sites side by side and all in one place: https://www.windermere.com/whatsmyhomeworth

There are several variables that online valuation tools have a difficult time calculating however (condition, improvements/updates, proximity to busy streets, views and current available comparable inventory, etc.)

If you want to get more clarity on your home value it’s important to consult a real estate professional that has experience in your neighborhood. I’ve worked hard to develop my expertise in the Troutman Park market by previewing most of the homes for sale here over the last 10 years and then analyzing the terms of their sales. I’m not just a realtor, I’m also a Fort Collins native and resident of our neighborhood that’s dedicated to this community.

I’m always happy to share what I’ve learned so please let me know if I can answer any questions you might have.

All in for Troutman Park!

 


Posted on March 11, 2020 at 4:03 am
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Market Data, Troutman Park | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Economic Impact of NoCo’s Public Universities

A recent study by Emsi illustrates the economic impact that Northern Colorado’s Public Universities have on our local economy.


Posted on March 10, 2020 at 8:16 pm
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Market Data, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Economic History Lesson

With the stock market on a wild ride and the Dow Jones dropping nearly 1,000 points yesterday, it makes some people wonder if the local real estate market might also crash or at least “correct.”

A little history lesson is in order.

Over the last 40 years, the real estate market along the Front Range has averaged 5.5% appreciation per year.

The highest appreciation in one year was 15.9% in 1994.

The lowest ever was -4.0% in 1982.

The last time Wall Street was in turmoil and the stock market was plummeting was 2008.  This was, for many reasons, the worst economy of our lifetime.

That year real estate along the Front Range dropped 2.2%.

Meanwhile that year the Dow Jones fell 33.8%.

Bottom line, our market has no history of crashing or even experiencing a major correction.

Why is that?

The answer is fundamentals.

Our local economy has inherent fundamentals that insulate it from big downturns.

We have an incredibly diverse economy which is not reliant upon a single industry.  We have all the way from health care, to technology, agriculture, oil and gas, major universities, and financial services (just to name a few).

We are a global destination with a major international airport.

Oh, and the quality of life here isn’t too shabby.

Prices of real estate, just like prices of anything, come down to basic economic principles of supply and demand.

Because of our diverse economy and desirable quality of life, there has been strong, consistent demand for housing along the Front Range.

While there may be little bumps along the way, over the long term our market has proven that it performs.


Posted on March 10, 2020 at 6:38 pm
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Market Data | Tagged , , , , , , ,

What Makes a Home “Modern?”

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Sleek, sustainable design, open concept floor plans, minimalism, and eco-conscious thinking are defining characteristics of modern architecture. Recently, modern design concepts in home building have become more popular, and the resurgence of interest in modern real estate has followed suit.  

 

These characteristics are what define Contemporary Architecture: 

 

Clean geometric linesAt the heart of modernist values lies the simplification of form. Modernist homes have a very ‘linear’ feel with straight lines and exposed building materials. Furnishings and adornment reflect this value, incorporating vibrant, geometric and abstract designs. 

 

Smaller, multifunctional spaces: With the Tiny House subculture consistently on the rise, and the new generation of homeowners expressing a desire to move away from the sprawling dwellings of the past, multifunctional living spaces are a must for modern homes. Built-in storage is commonly used to reflect this multi-purpose; space-saving feel. 

 

Eco-conscious: Modern homes are wellsuited for technological and green upgrades, as well as eco-friendly building materials and energy efficient practices, and flat roofs to accommodate solar power. A new trend is to bring nature into each room for a calming, soothing effect. Large windows are abundant in modern architecture, allowing light to fill and expand the interior space, bringing the natural world indoors. 

 

Post-and-beam structure: Exposed wood posts and ceiling beams are classic elements in modern architecture. This style of building has been around for thousands of years; however, modern homes significantly emphasize the structure, rather than hiding the bones behind drywall. In new modern homes the post-and-beam structure can be made of concrete, iron or other materials. The visible horizontal and vertical beams reinforce the clean geometric lines of the space. 

 

Open concept:  Modern design strives to “open” the space by eliminating enclosed rooms. A common tactic is to open the kitchen and dining room into an open living space, allowing the spaces to flow into one another. 

 

Minimalism: With open and connected modernist spaces, careful curation of furniture, adornments, and household objects is paramount to incorporating the modernist aesthetic. Generally, modernist homes have art and furniture that reflects the clean geometric lines and the natural materials of the architecture, leaving less space for clutter. Minimalist philosophies encourage few household items that serve both form and function, which work well within this design and architectural style. 


Posted on March 10, 2020 at 3:55 am
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Architecture, Home Design | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Designing Your Home Office

Image Source: Canva

Working from home is an aspiration for many of us, but to do so effectively takes effort. A disorganized space at home can be just as troublesome as a hectic office. The most disciplined telecommuters will tell you that you need a structured routine and organization in order to be successful.

Having a designated workspace is one of the most important elements to your success when you make the switch to telecommuting. Even if you live in a small space, you need to find a balance between home and office. People who work from home often have a difficult time separating their work hours from their non-work hours because it’s so easy to keep at it late into the night. But maintaining a balance and shutting down the computer is important for overall wellbeing. What are some other must-haves for a successful home office? Here are the top five:

 

  1. Natural Light – Study upon study tells us that natural light is needed to boost productivity and mood. Make sure to set your desk up as close to a window as you can. If being near a window isn’t an option, a natural light lamp is the next best thing. It helps balance your body clock and leaves you feeling rested and refreshed.
  2. To-Do List or Planner – Start each day off by making a to-do list outlining what you need to get done before the end of the workday. Make sure to set a realistic time frame in which all of that should be completed, so you can check each one off the list and feel immense accomplishment once you’ve completed them all.
  3. Storage – If you have a big enough space, put in a large bookshelf where you can organize everything (think storage boxes). It reduces clutter and looks stylish. Using your walls and cabinetry is the most efficient use of space.
  4. Calendar – Many people tend to rely on digital calendars these days because of their convenience. When all of your devices sync together and pop up with reminders, you never have to worry about missing an appointment. However, many people find that it helps to keep a paper calendar handy too so you can easily view your whole month at a glance. Choose which options works best for you by playing with both options, or something in between and see which one lets you be more productive with the least amount of stress.
  5. Space for Inspiration – It doesn’t matter what field you work in, having a source of inspiration in your workspace is essential. Whether it’s a photo of your family, your dream car, or that vacation you’ve been dying to take, having that inspiration right in front of you provides a constant reminder of why you do what you do.

Posted on March 10, 2020 at 3:47 am
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Home Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Finding Your New Home in Four Steps

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or you currently own and are looking for a new home, the ideas below will help you better navigate that all-important first step: Finding a property that is both appealing and affordable.

 

The search for a new home always starts out with a lot of excitement. But if you haven’t prepared, frustration can soon set in, especially in a competitive real estate market. The biggest mistake is jumping into a search unfocused, just hoping to “see what’s available.” Instead, we recommend you first take some time to work through the four steps below.

 

Step 1: Talk to your agent

Even if you’re just thinking about buying or selling a house, start by consulting your real estate agent. An agent can give you an up-to-the-minute summary of the current real estate market, as well as mortgage industry trends. They can also put you in touch with all the best resources and educate you about the next steps, plus much more. If you are interested in finding an experienced agent in your area, we can connect you here.

 

Step 2: Decide how much home you can afford

It may sound like a drag to start your home search with a boring financial review, but when all is said and done, you’ll be glad you did. With so many people competing to buy what is available, it’s far more efficient to focus your search on the properties you can afford. A meeting or two with a reputable mortgage agent should tell you everything you need to know.

 

Step 3: Envision your future

Typically, it takes at least five years for a home purchase to start paying off financially—which means—the better your new home suits you, the longer you’ll most likely remain living there.

Thinking of your near future, what life events do you anticipate in the next five or six years? If you’re planning to add to the family or change careers, or even rent out a portion of your home to others, share this information with your real estate agent. They will be able to help you evaluate your current and future needs to help find the best home that you can grow into.

 

Step 4: Visualize your ideal home

When it comes to this step, be realistic. It’s easy to get carried away dreaming about all the home features you want. Try listing everything on a piece of paper, then choose the five “must-haves,” and the five “really-wants.”

For more tips, as well as advice geared specifically to your situation, connect with an experienced Windermere Real Estate agent by clicking here.


Posted on March 6, 2020 at 6:57 am
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Buyers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What’s My Home Worth? The Pro’s & Con’s of Home Valuation Tools

What’s your home worth?

 

It is a seemingly simple question. However, discovering the worth of your home is more complicated than it might seem. Sites like Zillow, Redfin, Eppraisal, and others have built-in home valuation tools that make it seem easy, but how accurate are they? And if you get three different answers, which one do you believe? Online valuation tools have become a pivotal part of the home buying and selling process, but they’ve proven to be highly unreliable in certain instances. What these valuation tools have made clear is that real estate agents are as vital to the process of pricing a home as they ever were—and maybe even more so now.

 

Every online valuation tool has its limitations. Most are readily acknowledged by their providers, such as “Zestimate” from Zillow, which clearly states that it offers a median error rate of 4.5%. That may not sound like a lot, but keep in mind that 4.5% amounts to a difference of about $31,500 for a $700,000 home. For Redfin and Trulia, there are similar variances. When you dig deeper into these valuation tools, it’s no wonder that there are discrepancies. They rely on a range of different sources for information, some more reliable than others.

 

Redfin’s tool pulls information directly from multiple listing services (MLSs) across the country. Others negotiate limited data sharing deals with those same services, relying on public and homeowners’ records alike. This can lead to gaps in coverage. These tools can serve as helpful pieces of the puzzle when buying or selling a home, but the acknowledged error rate is a reminder of how dangerous a heavy reliance on them can be.

 

Nothing compares to the level of detail and knowledge a professional real estate agent offers when pricing a home. An algorithm can’t possibly know about the unique characteristics of neither a home nor its neighborhood. Curious about what improvements you can make to get top dollar or how buyer behaviors are shaping the market? They cannot provide an answer there, either. That can only be delivered by a trusted professional whose number one priority is getting you the best price in a time frame that meets your needs.

 

If you’re curious about your home’s value, Windermere offers a tool that provides a series of evaluations on your property and the surrounding market. And once you’re ready, I’m happy to help clarify this information and perform a Comparative Market Analysis to get an even more accurate estimate of what your home could fetch in today’s market. Just let me know how I can help!


Posted on March 6, 2020 at 6:51 am
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Sellers, Troutman Park | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Under Contract Properties on Rise!

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According to Info Sparks (which is a data resource for Northern Colorado’s multiple listing service of homes for sale), we’re seeing a significant increase in the number of properties going under contract this year.  Here is a snapshot of each January since 2015:

  • 2015 = 1312
  • 2016 = 1349
  • 2017 = 1372
  • 2018 = 1495
  • 2019 = 1532
  • 2020 = 1769

That’s a 17.5% increase over 2019, and 30+% increase since 2015!  One more trivia item for you is that 26% of properties Under Contract in January 2020 have a Year Built of 2018 or Newer, so new construction is coming on strong.

If you have questions about what’s happening in our real estate market let me know. I’m always happy to talk shop and share what I’ve learned.


Posted on February 29, 2020 at 6:14 am
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Market Data | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Interest Rates near All Time Low!!!

Interest rates on a 30-year mortgage right now are just about the lowest they have ever been in history.

  • The rate today is 3.45%
  • The lowest-ever in November, 2012 was 3.31%
  • A year ago they were 4.35%

So, what gives?  Why are rates so low?  It turns out that the coronavirus is pushing rates down to historic lows.

The virus is causing uncertainty in the global financial markets.  When there is uncertainty, there tends to be a flight from stocks into bonds.

Specifically, there tends to be a flight to U.S. Treasuries.

High demand for U.S. Treasuries means that the interest rates on those bonds goes down.

30-year mortgage rates track the rates on the 10-year Treasury and the 10-year Treasury just hit their lowest rates ever at 1.31%.

The uncertainty around the virus will likely keep rates down for the foreseeable future.

If you haven’t done so already, we encourage you to reach out to your mortgage lender to see if you would benefit by refinancing your loan.

If you would like to see a video recap of our annual Market Forecast you can watch that HERE.

If you would like recommendations for good, local lenders to compare just let me know and I’ll put you in touch with the best I know!


Posted on February 29, 2020 at 3:03 am
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Buyers, Mortgage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Handle a Home Inspection

For many people, a home inspection is a hurdle that every homeowner must overcome during the process of selling a home, but it’s a useful tool for sellers looking to get the greatest possible value from their home.

 

Finding Issues

When you’re selling a house, a pre-sale inspection can be particularly useful. By uncovering any potential problems your house may have, an inspection can give you an opportunity to address them before your first prospective buyer arrives.

In any market, a pre-sale inspection can give your home a competitive edge. Potential buyers are likely to find the kind of detailed information an inspection provides reassuring—and are encouraged to give your home a closer look.

 

When does a home inspection make sense?

In addition to routine maintenance and pre-sale inspections, there are a number of circumstances in which a home inspection could greatly benefit a homeowner. If you are not sure, here are a few simple questions to ask yourself:

  • Was your home inspected when you bought it? If not, an inspection would be beneficial even if your home was a new construction at sale.
  • If you are an older homeowner who intends to make upgrades in order to stay in the home, it makes sense to hire a professional who can inspect difficult-to-reach areas and point out maintenance of safety issues.
  • An inspection can alert you to any potential safety issues that could possibly affect a growing family, such as mold, lead, or structural problems. If mold or lead is present, be sure to rely on technicians or labs with specialized training in dealing with these conditions.
  • Are you buying a home that’s under construction? You may want to hire an inspector early on and schedule phased inspections to protect your interest and ensure that the quality of construction meets your expectations.

 

What doesn’t your home inspection cover?

For a variety of reasons, some homes will require special inspections that are not covered by a typical home inspection. A specialty inspection might include a sewer scope, septic system, geotechnical conditions (for homes perched on steep slopes or where there are concerns regarding soil stability) or underground oil storage tank. If you have any questions about whether your home needs a specialty inspection, talk to your real estate agent.

 

Hire a professional

If you decide to hire a home inspector, be sure they’re licensed in your state. They should be able to provide you with their license number, which you can use to verify their status with the appropriate government agency. It’s also helpful to ask for recommendations from friends and family members. Even among licensed and qualified home inspectors, there can be a difference in knowledge, performance and communication skills, so learn what you can before you hire a home inspector to ensure that you get the detailed inspection that you want.

 

What to ask your home inspector

Ask the right questions to make sure you are hiring the right professional for the job.

What does your inspection cover?

Insist that you get this information in writing. Then make sure that it’s in compliance with state requirements and includes the items you want to be inspected.

How long have you been in the business?

Ask for referrals, especially with newer inspectors.

Are you experienced in residential inspections?

Residential inspection in a unique discipline with specific challenges, so it’s important to make sure the inspector is experienced in this area.

Do you make repairs or make improvements based on inspection?

Some states and/or professional associations allow the inspector to perform repair work on problems uncovered in an inspection. If you’re considering engaging your inspector to do repairs, be sure to get referrals.

How long will the inspection take?

A typical single-family dwelling takes two to three hours.

How much will it cost?

Costs can vary depending upon a variety of things, such as the square footage, age, and foundation of the house.

Can I be there for the inspection? Will you go over the inspection report with me?

This could be a valuable learning opportunity. If your inspector refuses, this should raise a red flag.

Are you a member of a professional home inspector association? What other credentials do you hold?

Ask to see their membership ID; it provides some assurance.

Do you keep your skills up to date through continuing education?

An inspector’s interest in continuing education shows a genuine commitment to performing at the highest level. It’s especially important in older homes or homes with unique elements.


Posted on February 27, 2020 at 4:26 am
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Buyers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,