Fort Collins Hidden Neighborhoods

Here’s one of the best kept secret in the area.  North East Fort Collins, East of I-25 is a special area.  I frequently have buyers say, “I don’t want to live East of I-25.”  Here are some great neighborhoods that they are missing out on by saying that, Clydesdale Park and Estates, Serratoga Falls, Vista Bonita and Trails at Vista Bonita.  These neighborhoods are located East of I-25 just off Highway 14.   The location makes for easy commuting.  It also makes it quick and easy to get to almost anywhere in Fort Collins using I-25 as your main street. Each one of these neighborhoods is unique and special in their own way. 

Vista Bonita is the oldest neighborhood with homes first being built there in the mid 1970’s. The neighborhood was finally built out in the mid 2000’s with the last section being named “Trails at Vista Bonita.”  Vista Bonita and the Trails are special because they share Baker Lake.  This lake is 13 acres, in the center of the neighborhood.  Residence use the lake for swimming, fishing, and non-motorized boats.  The neighborhood is also known for their amazing Fourth of July celebration, highlighted by a great fireworks display. People love the neighborhood because it is quiet, close to everything and love the wildlife and the feeling of being away from it all.  Walking trails are also a big part of the neighborhood. 

Just across Highway 14 from Vista Bonita is Clydesdale Park and Clydesdale Estates. This neighborhood was developed by Stoner in the early 2000’s. The unique style of the exterior elevations of the homes makes them have a “Colorado Style.”  The estates section of the neighborhood has large lots the Park section is known for the walking paths through the neighborhood and the small ponds that attract ducks and geese.  Views can be amazing from this neighborhood.  The undeveloped lots went to the bank during the financial crisis and the final lots were built out by Journey Homes and Richmond.  

Serratoga Falls was intended to be a high end neighborhood when it was developed.  Home prices in 2007-2008 were to start in the $700,000’s and go up from there. Then the down turn in the housing market occurred and homes in that price range were not being built and people were not building custom homes. Today the neighborhood has a nice mix of homes and is delightful with extensive landscaping and open space throughout.  The mountain views from the neighborhood can be breathtaking. 

No matter what you have in mind when you say HOME….there is something to meet your needs in North East Fort Collins.  Go explore and you just might find HOME!

A Northern Colorado Housing Bubble 2021?

Will there be a Northern Colorado housing bubble 2021?

This is a question that I am frequently asked. Articles like this one from the Denver Post seem to be published every week. But just what would a Northern Colorado housing bubble 2021 look like? A housing bubble is a temporary period of time that is characterized by high demand and low supply. This causes a boost in pricing. A housing bubble can be caused by a combination of low interest rates, economic prosperity and easy access to credit.

So, what is the concern with a housing bubble?

The concern is when speculators enter the market. This causes a boost in demand over and above “real” buyer demand. Speculators can be investors from out of the area and even fix and flippers. This causes an already tight market with limited supply to have even higher demand, pushing housing prices even higher. The price of housing, like any good in a free market is driven by the law of supply and demand. When the demand increases the price goes up. When the price of housing is going up faster than expected, many people fear that a Colorado housing bubble is about to burst and prices are going to come crashing down.

Is that the case in 2021? I would say that this is not likely. I see some major differences between 2021 and our last housing crisis.

What are the major differences?

1) Mortgage lending practices that brought down some of the major banks and mortgage companies during our last financial crisis have led to many regulatory changes. Federal regulators have new stricter requirements of borrowers and new requirements of lending intuitions. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created to enforce these new regulations. Because of this the housing market is safer than it was 15 years ago.

2) In 2007 and 2008 the market in many parts of the country was flooded with foreclosure homes. This caused falling prices of homes. The pandemic has caused mass unemployment. However, the forbearance programs have allowed homeowners to postpone their monthly payments without penalties. Many of those unemployed homeowners resume their mortgage payments as they again become employed, avoiding foreclosure.

3) One of the major differences between the housing crisis and the pandemic is that homeowners today have EQUITY in their homes. This could prevent a Colorado housing bubble 2021 Equity is the difference between the current market value of your home and the amount that you owe on your mortgage. As prices have rises your equity increases too. During the housing crisis many home owners had the amount of their home value less than what they owed on the home.

No one can predict what will happen for sure but it is not likely that there is a Northern Colorado housing bubble in 2021. Low interest rates and demand have certainly driven prices up in 2021. You can always contact us for a free market analysis to find out where you stand. In the meantime hold on for the ride to see where we go for the rest of 2021.

So, What’s it like to live in the Landings?

About The Landings

The Landings is a collection of 400 residences made up of a mix of single family homes, townhomes and condo units. It is located in Mid-Town Fort Collins near foothills mall and the Max bus line. This makes for easy access to shopping, dining out, or attending a movie at the nearby theater. The central location also means excellent access to other parts of town making for a short commute no matter where you work. Midtown Fort Collins also seems to have less traffic than other areas like the Harmony Corridor as once you people are here they have reached your destination, rather than passing through on their way to somewhere else. 

Warren Lake

One major thing that sets the Landings apart from other neighborhoods is Warren Lake. Warren Lake is a 141 Acre irrigation reservoir that supplies water for many City of Fort Collins properties. The Landings holds surface rights to the lake which allow for recreation access for swimming, sailing, canoeing, paddle boarding or low horsepower electric motor watercraft. There is also some outstanding fishing in the lake because it is stocked with some regularity. The lake features a surrounding trail as well as several greenbelts along the periphery.

Community

There are many community gatherings that take place next to and on the lake including a chili cook off, a sailboat race regatta in the summer and a 4th of July parade on the street. The lake attracts many different forms of wildlife and there are frequent bald eagle sightings. Many other charismatic fauna call the area around Warren Lake home, including owls, wood ducks, cooper’s hawks, golden eagles, pelicans and cormorants just to name a few. The area is also part of the City of Fort Collins Sustainable Neighborhoods Program.

Amenities

There are many other amenities within the Landings. There are two separate tennis court locations one of which has lines for pickleball. There is also a pickleball set so that you can borrow to try your hand at the sport. The pool is a common gathering place for the children and their parents as they look to cool off in the summer. The neighborhood is a friendly and active one because most people wave at passers by, and many people get outside to recreate either, walking, biking, or playing on the lake in the summer.

Want to Call The Landings Home?

After reading all that we hope it is clear that the Landings is a great neighborhood to call home. If you would like more information, or a personalized tour of Fort Collins including this and other neighborhoods that may be of interest to you please contact us and we would be happy to be of assistance.

Blueprints for your Home Search

Whether you are a first time home buyer or an experienced homeowner, doing your homework before looking for a home is the key to saving you time and helping you get the best value for your money. How is it that your real estate agent helps you?

  1. The first step in shopping for a home is to make sure that you have financing ready to go! Your agent can recommend trusted lenders that will take you through the pre-approval process so you are ready to go shopping for your home.
  2. Your Realtor helps you find a home. But more than that, they provide you with information on neighborhoods, schools and the locations so that you can make good decisions on a home that best fits you. Your agent helps you clarify your needs and wants and provides you with property options that meet your specifications as much as possible.
  3. Now it is time to write the offer and negotiate. Your realtor will analyze the value of the home and advise you on what your initial offer should be. The market affects what you can do, but a good negotiator can tip the scales In your favor. Your agent will direct you on how to proceed with the seller’s response to your offer.
  4. Inspection time! Your agent knows the best home inspectors in the area. They will recommend
    the best that can help provide you with the true state of your home that you are interested in buying.
  5. Once you know about the condition of the home it is time to negotiate repair requests. Your agent can help you understand the inspection report and help you evaluate what is important to you to have repaired by the seller or if you should asked for a concession at closing. Realtors help you focus on what repairs to asked for and what to let go of.
  6. Your realtor handles all of the details so that your home purchase goes smoothly. They keeps everyone informed. They monitors the loan process so that you can successfully get to closing.
  7. Closing Day! You only need to get through closing to finally get your home, but details can make the difference on that final day. Everything from making sure you bring your driver license to making sure that the wire is received by the title company. Your agent does everything she can to insure that your closing day goes off without a hitch.

Your agent is your experienced guide through the process from beginning to end.

Think Ahead to Spring

If you are thinking that 2021 is the year to sell and move you need to be thinking ahead.  Spring, as I am sure you have heard, is a hot time for sellers and when the real estate market bursts to life.  2020 was a strong market all year long with interest rates being at near record lows.  Spring 2021 is expected to be a great real estate market for sellers. To have your home ready for market by spring, what should  you be doing to prepare?  It may not take as much time as you might think but it is good to prepare so that you are ready to go when the time comes.

The first step is to contact Lestel.  Have her do research on the market in the price range of your home.  You need to know how long it might take to sell your home.   As a seller you need to think backwards.  If it takes 45 days to sell your home and you want to be in your new home by June 1st. You will need to be putting your home on the market early to mid-April. 

Lestel can also tell you is if there are things that you should be doing to prepare your home for sale.  Should you be replacing the tired carpet, as an example, or does it look just fine given our current sellers’ market in most price ranges.  She will make suggestions that will help you maximize what you are able to sell your home for.  She will not suggest you spend money if you will not get more than the money back for improvements that you do. For example, she does suggest that you replace carpet.  That will cost $5,000.  She will make sure that you get at least $7,000 more for the expense and effort.  It is not worth it if your home would only be worth $5,000 more. Lestel can make some staging suggestions also.  This is not the full staging appointment that she does with you when you are ready to get the house on the market, but instead things that you can start doing to prepare like decluttering or furniture rearranging.

Next step is, by the mid to end of March, it will be important to have Lestel do a market analysis on your home.  The reason for waiting until just before you are ready to put your home on the market is so that you have the most up to date, accurate information on the market. Recent sale prices of homes that are similar to your will guide the pricing of your home. 

Preparing in advance of when you want your home on the market can minimize stress and maximize what you get for your home.  The extra time can make a big difference.

2021 Decorator Trends

If you are like most people you spent more time at home in 2020 than you ever have.  Depending on how you feel about your home that time spent could have added to your joy or taken from it.  You may be feeling like home is ready for a refresh in the new year.  A new year always means new decorator trends are announced.  Here are some 2021 decorator trends you may want to try.

Smart home trends continue to be hot for 2021.  Maybe it is time to try a nest thermostat or a ring door bell.  The trend has more to offer than just those basics.  Smart homes can automatically control lighting and smart appliances are expected to grow in popularity too. 

Rattan and wicker furniture is making a comeback.  They bring a beach vacation vibe to your home.  The materials blend well with existing decors which may also explain their popularity.

Light woods have come back.  If you have some of the dark wood floors that were popular several years ago, you understand why that trend faded so quickly.  The dark floors showed scratches and dust.  New lighter colored wood floors are more forgiving, neutral and go with everything.  White oak and maple are taking the lead. 

Curved shapes are in.  That means everything from round rugs, to round mirror and round bathroom sinks.  Curves respond to our need  for softness. 

Plantscapes are in and a new passion for many.  That is everything from hanging plants to terrariums.  Plants add a feeling of warmth to our spaces and as a bonus they clean the air in our home.  There are plenty of plants that are easy to grow if you have a brown thumb.

There are other decorator trends that are on the horizon.  They include:

  • Black Kitchens
  • Dark Bathrooms
  • Kitchen Cabinets Without Hardware
  • Large Format Porcelain Tiles
  • Painted Floors
  • Strict Minimalism
  • Colored Ceilings
  • Large Wall Murals

Some of these new trends may not seem so new at all.  The funny thing about decorator trends just like fashion they seem to circle back around.  You can decide what, if any of the new trends you would like to include in your home.  Here’s to 2021.  Enjoy your home!

So, You’ve Decided to Buy Your First Home

Congratulations!  You have decided to buy your first home.  That means you need to get connected to a great Realtor.  It is important that you get to know your agent and your agent gets to know you.  That means you should have a sit down meeting with the agent you are considering working with. Expect to be asked a lot of questions.  Like what you say? Here is an example of some questions that you might be ask.

  • Why do you want to buy know?
  • Are you working with a lender?
  • How many houses have you looked at?  What did you like and not like?
  • What would you do if we found the perfect house tomorrow?
  • What is your favorite room of your house?
  • How important is outdoor space?
  • Who will we be shopping for?  Do you have pets to consider?
  • How long do you think that you will live in this home?
  • What is your preferred method of communication?

When your agent gets the answers to these questions or questions like them, your agent will start to get a feel for you and what you feel is important.  This will help your agent find the home that is right for you.  Of course your agent will also be interested in the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and if you need a garage.  The more information you share with your agent the better. 

It is helpful for your agent to know what you love about where you live now.  If you hate everything about it, tell your agent that too! 

Now you are ready for the hunt for the perfect home for you.  Enjoy it!

I Want To Buy A Home, Where Do I Start?

If you are interested in beginning your home search, but you are either a first time home buyer, or someone who hasn’t bought a home in a while we want to shed some light on first steps and provide you with insight into the process. The very first step is to find a lender to work with. We have a couple of recommendations here.

Once you select a lender you will likely begin by filling out a loan application in order for your lender to be better able to understand your financial situation. You will answer a number of personal financial questions. The process might feel a little uncomfortable, but rest assured it is confidential and will stay between you and your lender. When complete your lender will be able to tell you how much you can spend on a home. It is always up to you to choose to spend less, but you cannot spend more.  This is because this number is tied to your debt to income ratio. This is the amount you earn vs the amount you owe on other liabilities like car payments.

Your lender might also need to do some credit repair in order to boost your credit score. They can tell you exactly which things should be paid off in which order and which accounts you might be better off closing for good. Once you begin this process do not buy a car, or close accounts without first discussing it with your home lender. This can completely derail the process and set you back to square one. For more information on what not to do, see our blog post 6 Don’ts When Applying for a Mortgage.

As soon as you have your number from your lender they can provide you with a lender letter that is required with any offer you submit. This letter acts as the proof that you can afford the home you want to buy. When you have this letter in hand you and your real estate agent, ideally us, can begin to look at homes and figure out what specifically you want and need. We can narrow it down together until we find the home you want to buy, and that is how you begin the home buying process.

Are We Headed Towards a Foreclosure Crisis? Probably Not.

If you have spent much time reading the news you likely know that the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic has resulted in a massive loss of jobs, income, and stability for many Americans. You may also have read some opinions that the hardships people are going through will ultimately result in the foreclosure of a massive number of properties, the likes of which has not been seen since the recession of 2008.

However, the conditions that preceded that crisis are not the same as those we see today. Many Americans at that time participated in cash out refinances of their homes leveraging their homes value against the market. This left many of them high and dry when they ended up owing more on their homes than they were worth.

Today the market has far outpaced that of 2008 and homeowner levels of equity are in abundance. These homeowners would not be upside down in their mortgage in the same manner as those in 2008, which means that rather than face foreclosure they can sell their homes and pocket this equity at the close of sale. This also doesn’t take into account the fact that due to the pandemic the federal government has mandated forbearance on mortgages should homeowners choose to participate. 91% of the homeowners in forbearance have 11% equity in their homes. One can visualize this slice of the mortgage pie as the worst-case scenario, and they still have enough equity to walk away without facing foreclosure.

At the end of this there will still be those who will be foreclosed on, but the economic conditions that led to the mortgage crisis in 2008 are not the same as we see today. The economy should bounce back once COVID is a thing of the past, and jobs should return too. There is seemingly no real estate bubble, and real estate presents one of the more secure investment options outpacing bonds, notes and stocks which have proven extremely volatile throughout the pandemic. 

How We Have Adapted Our Business to better assist you during Current Events

While the global pandemic continues so does our work. The real estate market in Colorado has not stopped and neither have we. In Colorado Real Estate Agents, Title Companies, and Real Estate Appraisers have all been classified as “essential services” in order for the real estate market to continue functioning as normal as possible.

We recognize that for some of our clients buying or selling a home simply can’t wait until after the pandemic has ended. To address concerns over the spread of COVID-19 we are working with all of our clients a little differently. For our sellers we are currently offering a 3D tour of your home included in your home marketing. If you are not familiar with this process an example can be viewed here. We are also happy to offer Current Market Analysis’ to any of our clients to understand how your properties current value looks in the current market. For our sellers the limited inventory on the market can be a huge benefit to the marketing of your home if now is the time you need to sell.

For our buyers we are offering online home shopping meetings that can be held over the Zoom video conferencing service that we are sure that everyone is becoming very familiar with as this crisis continues. While in person showings are not currently possible we have the ability to write a sight unseen offer that allows you to place a home under contract and then view prior to inspection to verify that it meets your needs. This means that you might be able to go under contract if you are 99% sure that you love the house just based on what you can see without setting foot inside the home. This is beneficial if you are a member of an at risk group or at all concerned about having a showing during the normal marketing period as your viewing of the property in person can be put off until later in the process. As a buyer you have a unique opportunity right now as mortgage rates are still at multi-decade lows.