Castle Rock, CO Real Estate News

By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
"Uncle Sam" is doing a few things right!  They have finally stepped up to help responsible homeowners continue to be able to afford their mortgage payments. Most homeowners pay their mortgages and pay them on time.  But there are circumstances, often beyond our control, that make it difficult to continue to make those payments. The current economic difficulties have led to lost jobs and lower incomes for many Americans. The drop in values of most homes has made it impossible for many people to refinance their mortgage at a lower, more affordable interest rate. Some have been caught in the "increasing interest rate" TRAP of adjustable loans. More information about exactly what help is available and who is eligible for this assistance can be found at MakingHomeAffordable.Gov. There are t...
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By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
Let’s clear one thing up first.  What you paid for your house or what it USED to be worth are meaningless numbers.  Now, please don’t “kill the messenger" but that is just the cold, hard truth.  I feel your pain - I’m about to put my own house on the market for less than I paid for it almost six years ago - financial losses of any kind hurt.But, instead of dwelling on a painful past, let’s consider some possibilities for a brighter financial future.If you currently own a home worth $300,000 and you are considering selling and moving up to a more expensive home - say $400,000, is this a good time or should you wait for your home to appreciate BEFORE you sell and make the move.Some quick calculations show why now is the time:  (Here, I’m assuming 5% annual appreciation - this is just an e...
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By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
Good News!  The "Conficker" worm that was supposed to wreak havoc on PC's around the world, today, has been broken.  Well, sort of - from what I read, they've figured out how to get rid of it but maybe not stop it completely.  We'll have to "stay tuned" for more on that one. What all of the media attention regarding this worm threat should have done, though, is remind all of us about the multitude of threats that are lurking just on the other side of that firewall.  Spams, scams, a new virus, computer eating worms, Phishers - the list seems to be growing. So, what can you do? install a good anti-virus/anti-spyware/firewall/etc. program and THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK! Did that email come from someone you expect to be sending to you - are the questions it asks reasonable (they should NEVER as...
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By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
  I love it when spring comes here in Castle Rock.  The trees are budding out.  Tulips are starting to push their way up out of the ground.  Sixteen inches of new snow and wind chills down around zero degrees!  I know - I know - you folks up in North Dakota have weather like this in July - what am I complaining about?  Actually, I'm not complaining.  I love Colorado and the weather, here.  This time of year is when we typically get a lot of our snow, so it's just a part of life here.   It's kind of like the real estate market.  There are dry times when home sales slow and prices drop.  Then there are the "flurries" of activity when markets surge and we all enjoy appreciation of our homes, the biggest asset for most of us. The key to all of these "situations", whether it be weather or r...
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By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
I'm sure most of you read several blogs on a regular basis.  I do too.  As much as I enjoy Activerain, it's not the easiest place to get around to all of those blog subscriptions that you may want to check often. So, what's the answer?  READERS! I know there are many good blog/rss feed readers available, but the two I use are BlogLines and Google Reader. They both allow you to easily subscribe to the blogs you want to keep up with and then read those posts in one central location.  Then, if you want to comment on a particular post, you can easily move straight to that post to write your comments.   They are both Free offer many other nice features for highlighting or saving those posts you want to return to and work in popular browsers on any computer you happen to have access to.      ...
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By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
Just three short days until the Vernal (spring) Equinox.  Of course, here in Colorado, that does NOT mean the end of winter since April is one of the snowier months, here.  We've even had snow during the first week in June! This is also one of my favorite times of year (the autumn is the other - something about change) - the grass turns green, buds are appearing on trees, and flowers will soon be in bloom - - - sort of a renewal or new beginning that takes place each year. We have the typical rituals of spring cleaning to deal with and, of course, the lawn mower will need servicing, but more importantly, I like to use this time of year to review my business model, see what's working and what needs tweaking, and try to stimulate the growth of my client relationships. One of my new "trick...
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By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
I keep hearing on the news that this winter is trending toward being the driest winter on record in Denver.  What that means to those of us who live here, and especially in outlying areas, is that we are all going to have to contribute to increasing fire safety awareness and doing our part to prevent these devastating wildfires.   Colorado State University publishes a publication on the internet titled, "Forest Home Fire Safety".  If you follow that link, you can find some excellent information about: Creating Wildfire-Defensible Zones Fire-Resistant Landscaping and More. . . This is a photo of the terrible "Heyman fire" which burned thousands of acres of forest and destroyed many homes not far from Denver in 2002.  I took this picture while flying at around 35,000 feet and you can tell...
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This is another one of my favorite Firefox add-ons.  It is also free and very easy to install and use. ScrapBook lets you save actual web pages (or complete sites) and then go back to that page at any time.  Bookmarks that we all use do something similar except for two important differences: Bookmarks can only take you back to the web address that you saved, so if the page has changed it may not still contain the information you want.  Scrapbook saves the actual page so that particular info is always available.  One of the things I use Scrapbook for is to save online receipts for things I purchase there and also software registration information.  The other BIG difference is that the pages you save to Scrapbook are always available - even if you're not connected to the internet.  So, if...
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By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
You may have heard that rates might go down to 4.0%. This may happen for some homeowners via the ARRA; but since no one knows what's going on, yet, I'm going out on a limb to tell you why I don't believe we will see 4% rates: 1. A total of $900 billion ($72 billion for economic aid) is going to be infused into our economy per the ARRA (American Recovery & Reinvestment Act). More money, less fear, more confidence = Rates go up. We are truly in a pattern of low rates/historical rates, however you want to define it. I call it "the sweet spot". If you have the opportunity to lower your rate by a point, increase cash flow/save money per month, lower your time in your mortgage, buy a home a rates below 5.5%, this is the sweet spot. Spread the word - now is the time. I gingerly say to my clien...
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By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
Here in Denver, Colorado, now is a great time for anyone wanting to purchase their first home, or for someone who hasn't owned a home in the last 3 years. There are three main reasons that make this such a great time to buy. In the under $400,000 price range we have a rare confluence of low prices coupled with low inventory.  This low inventory means that prices will most likely begin to rise giving new purchasers that holy grail of "appreciation" in their home. Coupled with these low prices are historically low interest rates which are still hovering in the 5% range! Finally, first-time home buyers may qualify for an "up to" $8,000 tax credit if they close before Dec. 1, 2009.  More information is available at:  2009 First Time Buyer Tax Credit Q&A
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By Stuart Dobson
(eLoanRates.org)
Castle Pines North will celebrate its first full year as an independent city today.  Castle Pines North development was started 25 years ago, and Mayor Maureen Shul is impressed with the formation, implementation, and achievement from the newly formed city municipal government.Castle Pines North today has over 3,400 homes, 10,000 residents and commercial development along Castle Pines Parkway.  Located in Douglas County, Castle Pines North recently secured the Lagae Ranch development that calls for building 600-700 new homes.  Additionally, a new church, school and park are also under construction.Also, as of today, the private contractor C2HM Hill will take over public works services from Douglas County which has handled those tasks in the past.  However, South Metro Fire Rescue and th...
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By Chrissy Doremus ~ US Inspect ~, Residential Property Inspections
(US Inspect)
Knowing what some of the usual situations our consultants discover during an inspection allows you to be a well-informed buyer. Over the years, and borrowing on over a half million inspections, here’s what we’ve discovered as the top 10 defects in most homes. Repair and replacement costs for such items could cost you thousands of dollars!    * Roof leaks due to poor flashing and / or roof material failure due to poor installation    * Water penetration in the basement or crawlspace due to poor surface water control    * Electrical safety issues due to age of home or homeowner alterations    * Deterioration of the interior wall material behind shower and tub surround areas    * Safety concerns associated with improperly installed decks, stairs or railings    * Heating unit and distributi...
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By Sheryll White, Denver Real Estate Guide
(Exit Realty Denver Tech Center)
Castle Rock is filled with charm from the historic buildings or the warm and friendly small town atmosphere.  One of my very favorites is an historic restaurant right in the heart of downtown Castle Rock.  The Castle Cafe is know for their family style portions and firendly staff but most of their fame comes from their fried chicken.  It would be hard to find better fried chicken but be prepared to wait, the 1/2 lb chicken dinner could take as long as 30 minutes as every piece is cooked to order.  If you find your self in Castle Rock the Castle Cafe is a must stop! The Castle Hotel and Bar was the gathering place for quarry workers, ranchers and travelers during the 1890's. In those days, the bar was one of the wildest in the area. Although reports of shootouts were not confirmed, brawl...
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By Steven Beam, Parker Colorado Real Estate
(RE/MAX Alliance - Parker Colorado Real Estate.)
Here is is the full 2008 real estate report. The year in review for The Meadows in Castle Rock. This report will show you all the homes that sold/closed, are under contract as of January 1, 2009 and currently active. Status: A=Active, U=Under Contract, S= Sold Concession Amount=A concession is the amount the seller contributes to the buyer for closing costs and prepaid items. I have also added the original asking price and the final sales price. This should show you the difference between what the seller initially wanted versus what they actually received for the house. See the full report and Market Report Spreadsheet here.
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By Gene Elzenberger
(Your Castle Real Estate)
Investing in Real Estate 9 - Scrapes, Pops and New Construction This blog will discuss a type of real estate investment, scrapes, pops and new construction, in the Castle Pines area in Denver.   What this investment is:  Purchasing a small home in an expensive neighborhood that may or may not need work.  The home is bulldozed and a new home or duplex is put on the lot.  Alternatively, the existing home is renovated and more square footage is added on.  A pop-top is adding a second story to an existing home to add more square footage (commonly, a master bedroom suite).   Equity needed:  Being able to document your income and your assets will be critical.  For a commercial loan, your net worth should generally be at least as much as the loan you are seeking.  The good news is that the com...
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By Gene Elzenberger
(Your Castle Real Estate)
Investing in Real Estate 8 - Condo Conversions This blog will discuss a type of real estate investment, fix and flips, in the Castle Pines area in Denver.   What this investment is:  A synthesis of the fix and flip and rental operations - purchasing an apartment building in a neighborhood dominated by owner occupants, then converting the building from apartment building to condominium.  Often requires renovation of the units to meet the expectations of owner-occupant buyers in that area.  Complex and time consuming, but has wonderful tax advantages compares to fix and flips and often has superior returns to all other asset classes.  Ideally suited for the sophisticated investor with extensive experience.    Equity needed:  Being able to document your income and your assets will be criti...
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By Gene Elzenberger
(Your Castle Real Estate)
Investing in Real Estate 7 - Fix and Flips This blog will discuss a type of real estate investment, fix and flips, in the Castle Pines area in Denver.   What this investment is:  Purchasing a home that needs work.  The scope can range from the basic "paint and carpet" to extensive overhauls to scraping a decrepit property and completely starting over.  Usually does not involve tenants, and the objective is to get in and out of the property as quickly as possible.  Great for beginners with the right skill sets or the willingness to learn.   Equity needed:  With hard money loans (defined in next paragraph), potentially 0% and they'll finance the construction costs, too.  Expect a LOT of strings to be attached.  A small local lender might give you 75% of the purchase price and the renovati...
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By Gene Elzenberger
(Your Castle Real Estate)
Investing in Real Estate 6 - Lease Options This blog will discuss a type of real estate investment, lease options, in the Castle Pines area in Denver.                        What this investment is:  A lease option (L/O) is Acquiring control of a property (though not necessarily ownership), then leasing the property to a tenant.  The lease is bundled with an option, so the tenant can (but does not have to) purchase the property for a given price within a given time frame.  Again you are seeking a tenant for a property, but usually for a slightly longer term (12-18 months) and frequently (though not always) with the goal that the tenant purchase the property from you at the end of the lease.  If you purchase the property, then it's an easier process; if you find a highly motivated seller...
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By Gene Elzenberger
(Your Castle Real Estate)
Investing in Real Estate 5 - Large (5+ unit) Apartment Building This blog will discuss a type of real estate investment, large apartment buildings, in the Castle Pines area in Denver.   What this investment is:  Still targeting tenants for 6-12 months at a time, buildings with more than five units are considered "commercial" property.  The loans are more difficult to qualify for, and usually a larger down payment is needed.  Uncommon for the new investor; this is usually what landlords with several years of experience "trade up" to.  Cash flows on larger buildings are more stable than for smaller buildings, and the economies of scale make it practical (and desirable) to hire a property manager to take over most the work for you.  This takes reduces the hassle factor of the landlord proc...
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By Gene Elzenberger
(Your Castle Real Estate)
Investing in Real Estate 4 - Small (2-4 units) Apartment Building This blog will discuss a type of real estate investment, small apartment buildings, in the Castle Pines area in Denver.   What this investment is:  Purchase of duplex, triplex or quadplex to be rented to tenants, usually for 6-12 month terms.  Usually what the rental home / condo landlords graduate to.  In most markets they cost a little more than a rental home, but are much more likely to cash flow on the average month.  Less cash flow risk; if one unit is empty you have other tenants that still help you with the mortgage payment so it doesn't all come out of your pocket.  Many owners will start to delegate some of the property management tasks to an on-site assistant (typically the most responsible tenant), such as yard...
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