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Colorado Springs Real Estate Market Update - May 2007

by Jason Daniels
For the Colorado Springs Area
April 2007
All Sales
Existing Homes
Apr 2006
Apr 2007
% + or -
Apr 2006
Apr 2007
% + or -
New Listings
Ave. Sales Price
Median Sale Price
Total Active
New Listings
Ave. Sale Price
Median Sale Price
Total Active
Jan-Apr 2006
Jan-Apr 2007
% + or -
Jan-Apr 2006
Jan-Apr 2007
% + or -
New Listings
Ave. Sales Price
New Listings
Ave. Sales Price
What Does This Mean?
We are seeing a 15.5% decrease in the number of sales from this time last year, and there are 26.1% more listings on the market.  The average sales price has only increased 3.6% compared to April 2006.  The statistics still show a market lull, but is still good compared to the national average.  Buyers now have more choice and can be more selective.  Sellers need to make sure their homes are priced correctly and are in excellent condition to be competitive.  Homes in great condition and great prices are still selling relatively quickly.  Sellerswho really need to sell are dropping their prices.
Now is still a great time to buy with more selection and interest rates still at historical lows.  It is also a great time to sell before more listings hit the market and increase the competition even more this summer. We have seen an inventory increase of over 400 homes since last month.


Five Quick Tips To Enhance Curb Appeal

In a buyer's market, its important for sellers to do what they can to get their home to stand out.  here are some quick tips you can use to generate some excitement for your home on today's market.  

1. Use paint:  A new coat of paint can go a long way to making your home look up to date. Neutral colors work best because they appeal to the most number of people.

2. Mow the Lawn:  Take the time to mow the lawn and clean the yard. Rake leaves and grass and put away any tools that may be lying around.  Don't turn buyers off with a messy yard.  If they like what they see on the outside, you'll improve your chances of getting them to take a look inside.

3. Plant Flowers:  Seasonal or perennials can bring a splash of color t your home and brighten things up from the street.  Flowers throughout the house will please the senses and make it feel like a home.   

4. Spruce Up Your Walkway:  Dressing up your walkway with bricks or paving stones will lead people to your front door.  Inexpensive solar lighting can enhance your entry even more!  

5. Window Treatments: Keep your home from looking plain or boring with some decorative shutters.  Windows are so important  to the overall appeal of your home.  Take some time to add plant boxes underneath and you'll see an immediate improvement that doesn't cost a lot of money!  

By following these tips, you will be able to capture the hearts and minds of today's buyers, as well as improve your chances for a quick sale at top dollar!

Mortgage Rates

Although much has been made about the condition of the subprime mortgage market, there are a number of outstanding loan programs available for today's buyers.  If you are thinking of buying a home in the near future and would like to know more about available mortgage options, please give us a call and we will be happy to match your needs with some of our area's most reliable mortgage planners.  Having the right loan for your needs can make all of the difference when negotiating an offer on your next dream home!

Mortgage Market Update - May 2007

by Jason Daniels

TALK DERBY TO ME...If you did tune in to watch the biggest horse race of the year, you know that "Street Sense" was the lucky horse who won the "Run for the Roses", the Kentucky Derby. And the news from Wall Street was also galloping in fast and furious last week - so let's make some horse sense out of the major headlines that helped Bonds and home loan rates end up slightly improved for the week overall.

First, the Fed's favorite gauge of consumer inflation, Core Personal Consumption Expenditure Index (PCE), showed a year over year reading of 2.1%, which is very close to the Fed's target zone of 1 - 2%. With inflation moderating, the Fed might start thinking about making a cut to the Fed Funds Rate in the 2nd half of 2007. This tame read on inflation was very good news for Bonds, as the value on their fixed returns get eroded by the impact of inflation.

Then, the Jobs Report arrived, with new jobs created in April being reported at 88,000, below what most analysts expected. Additionally, revisions took 26,000 jobs away from previous months reports, the Unemployment Rate rose slightly to 4.5%, and Average Hourly Earnings were reported slightly lower than expected at 0.2%. Overall, the Job Report suggests the strong labor market is softening a touch and wage based inflation pressure is moderating - more good news for Bonds and home loan rates. Wage-based inflation comes into play when the job market is tight and therefore employers are forced to pay their employees more. This naturally results in more dollars being injected into the economy for spending - as well as the cost of doing business moving higher for employers - all of which can cause prices on goods and services to rise.


Forecast for the Week

Benny and the Fed will take center stage this week, as they release their Interest Rate Decision and Policy Statement on Wednesday afternoon. It is highly unlikely that the Fed will make a change to the Fed Funds Rate at the meeting, but it will be especially interesting to hear the tone of the Policy Statement in light of softer Employment Report and moderating inflation.

Speaking of inflation, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has to be smiling, as the latest data suggests the Fed is doing a great job in handling the economy. Recent reports have shown moderate, stable economic growth and inflation pressures easing.

The chart below shows that Bonds and home loan rates may be making a move soon. The ceiling and the floor of the current technical range are putting pressure on Bonds, squeezing prices from both above and they'll have to make a breakout soon. And the tone of the Fed's Policy Statement on Wednesday might just be the catalyst for a move. If it suggests that inflation is controlled, Bonds and home loan rates will like this news, and see some improvement - but if the Fed still sounds overly concerned about inflation, Bond prices and home loan rates will worsen.

Chart: Fannie Mae 5.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday May 04, 2007)
Japanese Candlestick Chart
The Mortgage Market View...

What do these slogans remind you of? "You're in good hands with..." "Like a good neighbor..." "Own a piece of the rock."

That's right, insurance. And premiums are costing us more and more every year. But there may be some savvy steps you can take to trim the bill and still have your valuables in good hands.

Items that push premiums higher include a pool with a slide or diving board, having a trampoline, or even a dog that has a record of biting others. These factors could be part of higher premium costs, so contact your insurance agent and see if changes can reduce your premium payments.

There are also interior items that can impact the cost of insurance. The coziness of the wood-burning stove may be appealing to the homeowner, but to the insurance agent it could look like a fire hazard, and result in a higher premium.

If you have not done so already, investing in a good alarm system may enable you to shave some of the cost of insurance, while giving you some added protection. And be sure to ask your insurance agent about combining auto and home policies, this could help trim the overall cost of your insurance bill too.

Often times, once the insurance policy is purchased it sits in a drawer until the need arises to file a claim. But taking the time to review your personal insurance policy, just once a year, provides the opportunity to lower the overall annual premium and make sure your valuables are adequately protected. It is also the perfect time to make any additions for personal possessions that may have been purchased or acquired during the year, like art, home furnishings, and jewelry. Additionally, if the home has been remodeled discuss the upgrades that have been made with your insurance agent to insure that all upgrades are covered in the policy. And most importantly, if you need a recommendation to a great insurance agent - just give me a call!

The Week's Economic Indicator Calendar

Remember, as a general rule, weaker than expected economic data is good for rates, while positive data causes rates to rise.

Economic Calendar for the Week of May 07 – May 11

Economic Report
Wed. May 09
Crude Inventories
Thu. May 10
Jobless Claims (Initial)
Thu. May 10
Balance of Trade
Fri. May 11
Core Producer Price Index (PPI)
Fri. May 11
Producer Price Index (PPI)
Fri. May 11
Retail Sales
Fri. May 11
Retail Sales ex-auto

The material contained in this newsletter has been prepared by an independent third-party provider. The content is provided for use by real estate, financial services and other professionals only and is not intended for consumer distribution. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, there is no guarantee it is not without errors.

As your trusted advisor, I am sending you the MMG WEEKLY because I am committed to keeping you updated on the economic events that impact interest rates and how they may affect you.

Time To Appeal Property Tax Bills?

by Jason Daniels

I recently received a notice from the El Paso County assessor's office notifying me that my property value has gone up in the past year and I will owe more in property taxes for 2007.  I found this great article about property taxes. 

Pay close attention to your next property tax bill.

Your home may be worth less than the local tax assessor or taxing agency believes and that could mean a smaller property tax bill.

However, unless the assessor takes it upon himself or herself to perform a wholesale property tax reduction for all properties -- rare, but possible -- it's up to you to appeal your tax bill.

"An overvalued, over assessed property is one of the most common and successful grounds for challenging your tax bill," says Eric Cunliffe, a senior vice president with

Generally, when home prices rise, so do property taxes which are tied to a home's value. Conversely, when home values fall, so do those same property taxes.

The problem is, many taxing agencies simply wait until the property is sold or the home owner performs a major value enhancing alteration before reassessing the property.

In the current market, however, the increased incidence of foreclosures would indicate, in some cases, there's not enough value in some properties to cover the mortgage. Some owners, wisely or not, are allowing their homes to go back to the bank.

The housing boom frenzy caused many buyers to bid up the price of the property and artificially inflate the value. In some markets, sellers who purchased homes at the height of the boom and must now sell, are finding they have to price their home to move. That means a price, and possibly, value reduction.

The National Taxpayers Union (NTU) says as many as 60 percent of all homes are over-assessed and not in line with their actual value.

Many errors are clerical mistakes according to the American Homeowners Association (AHA).

The vast majority of homeowners who find errors and contest their bill enjoy a lower property tax, says the AHA, which offers a quiz that points to signals your home could be over assessed.

Tell-tale signs include:


  • Errors in the description of your property on the tax bill.


  • Compatible homes in the area that have sold for less than your appraised value.


  • Neighbors with lower assessments on similar houses. (Keep in mind some homes retain the same assessed value for years and assessed values often don't rise in step with market values or home sale prices.)


  • Value reducers in your home or area, including drainage problems, easements, re-zoning, heavy traffic, nearby railroad tracks, freeways, industry or toxic waste.


  • Depreciation factors, including the quality of materials, inefficient heating, structural cracks, deterioration, or chronic defects.

    The AHA, NTU and others offer property tax reduction kits for a fee and while they may be useful tools to help walk you through the process, appealing your property tax is a right you typically can exercise for free.

    Beware of official-looking mailings and email come-ons due out any day now offering to do the work for you -- for a fee. Some are scams designed to appeal to nothing more than your sense of dread at going it alone. They want only your money, but not to appeal your property tax assessment.

    The Federation of Tax Administrators can point you to your property tax assessor or administrator where you can get all the details you need for appealing your property tax.

    Cunliffe says, "The first thing you should do is examine your tax records in the local assessor's office to make sure the information is complete and accurate. To do this, ask yourself the following questions:"


  • Did you buy your home in a bidding war? An overvalued property is an over assessed property.


  • Are there errors in your tax records? Look closely at your records and make sure there aren't reporting errors. A condo listed as a single-family home, an incorrect age, square footage that's off, too many rooms and other descriptive factors could falsely boost assessed value.


  • Do the math. Many states put a cap on how much above the market value an assessment can be and how much it can rise each year.

    To appeal the assessed value and related property tax, prepare yourself for a tough process that could require you to appeal an initial rejection.

    Also pay close attention to your local rules' period of time when you must complete the complete appeals process.

    Cunliffe says, while the process is free if you go it alone, you may need the help of a real estate agent, realty attorney or other licensed professional to assist you gathering some of the information you'll need to make your case.

    You'll have to look at comparable homes in your community to determine how much the owners are paying for property taxes. The information is largely public and available from your tax assessor's office.

    Cunliffe says you'll typically have to find at least three other comparable homes in your neighborhood that have lower assessments. Obviously, the lower, the better.

    A real estate agent or other professional who has access to the multiple listing service can do a comparable market analysis of homes recently sold and in escrow to hone in on your home's true value.

    An appraiser with multiple listing service access can do the same, as well as perform an appraisal of your home.

    In either case, you could be out a few hundred dollars. Don't make a case if you don't think it's worth the cost to appeal.

    The AARP also says some states have programs for property tax deferrals and other programs that let certain home owners postpone payment of some or all property taxes. There are also some tax rebates and exemptions.

    Don't forget, property taxes are also one of many home ownership related expenses that qualify for a deduction on your income tax returns. The smaller the tax, the smaller the deduction.

    Written by Broderick Perkins

    Contatact me if you need help appealing the county's evaluation of your home.

    Jason Daniels - RE/MAX Advantage - 719-268-8086 or

  • Putting Zeal In Your Curb Appeal

    by Jason Daniels

    Curb appeal, the first impression your home conveys to prospective buyers, should create an emotional desire to own the home and enjoy the lifestyle and status it represents.

    Putting the best face on your home also should give a lasting impression that motivates buyers to cross the threshold and take that first step toward closing the deal.

    Experts advise, more like a home improvement or exterior staging job than a cosmetic makeover, curb appeal that sings is particularly crucial now that more and more buyers are calling the shots.

    Give your house model home level curb appeal for that "new" look and feel and buyers will beat a path to your door. That's because there's nothing like moving into a home that's ready to go, free of the need for initial touch ups and free of the ghosts of owners past.

    So how do you put a new face on your old home? With lots of attention to detail, in not one, but all the components that make your home stand out on the block.

    New paint. There's nothing like a fresh coat of paint to begin to give your home that "newly built" look, provided you don't rush the job. Choose a contemporary color scheme that doesn't clash with the neighborhood, but sets your home apart. Don't just slather on a new coat over the old. Remove built up layers of paint before applying a new one. If you don't need to remove existing paint, you do need to prepare the surface.

    Exterior surfaces attract dirt and grime from dust and pollutants in the air and that will prevent new layers from adhering properly and cause peeling.

    New landscaping. Well-manicured landscaping is the frame for your home's curb appeal. The approach should be tidy, simple, healthy landscaping that's proportional to your home. Know how your landscaping will appear once it's matured.

    From a practical sense, the plants and trees provide shade and passive cooling as they control erosion and pollution. They also provide privacy, especially if it's a single-level home adjacent to two-story houses.

    New roof. Some real estate agents advise against adding a new roof when sales are brisk, but topping off a complete curb appeal remodeling job, mandates a new roof, gutters and downspouts.

    Today's roofs can add contrasting color and textures to your home's look. Affordability comes with multi-dimensional composition asphalt shingles in decorator colors. For something cheaper than the real thing, but just as unique, try simulated slate shingles to turn a bland tract home into a more appealing abode.

    New paving. New sidewalks, driveways and other non-landscaped surfaces help pave the way to curb appeal. The choices are endless and inexpensive -- concrete stamped with the impressions of cobblestones, interlocking concrete paving bricks, and more.

    New doors, windows. Purposeful portals should make visitors feel welcome. New double doors, new energy-efficient windows framed with shutters, sectional garage doors with half moon or other interesting windows, all add the final curb appeal touches.

    Written by Broderick Perkins - Realty Times


    Consumers Want Digitally Tricked-Out Kitchens

    by Jason Daniels

    A new study reveals home owners want their kitchen, not the home office or the game room, to be the digital nerve center of the home, as well as a social hub.

    The finding was discovered after the Internet Home Alliance commissioned research and consulting firm Zanthus to determine how home owners wanted to customize their kitchens.

    The pollster put a host of questions to 602 home owners responsible for making household purchasing decisions about kitchen appliances and consumer electronics and the answers surprised the alliance.

    "While we expected to learn that the kitchen continues to serve as the hub of the home, we were surprised to find that bigger kitchens aren't necessarily a priority for most U.S. homeowners," said Tim Woods, vice president of the alliance.

    "For example, we thought that a desk or workstation would be a popular addition but, in fact, most homeowners told us that a computer on a counter worked just as well. Eighty-two percent of our respondents told us that they had no interest in creating a separate space to do work assignments in the kitchen, though they did suggest that a more innovative kitchen design that freed up counter space would be useful," he said.

    The alliance is a consortium of Continental Automated Buildings Association members (including Hewlett Packard, Intel, Microsoft and the National Association of Home Builders) who comprise a network of companies engaged in advancing the connected home space. It will release the full study during the 2007 Kitchen/Bath Industry Show & Conference (KBIS) in Las Vegas, May 7-10, where the alliance will display an "Ideal Digital Kitchen" model created based on the survey results.

    Preliminary findings reveal the ideal digital kitchen includes:


  • A digital calendar. The primary kitchen user, typically is also the primary schedule keeper and preferred a digital calendar over 22 other concepts. The calendar should be on a large screen used to add appointments and post notes all household members can access in the kitchen or remotely via the Internet.


  • A recipe projection system. Lose those food-stained recipe cards and books. Eighty percent of those surveyed want some sort of wireless, voice-activated recipe projection system that would display recipes onto a kitchen surface.


  • An energy monitor and control. Home owners want to monitor energy consumption by room and appliance to chart peak energy usage times, to diagnose areas of wasted energy, and to calculate energy costs.


  • A home control station. Perhaps the appointment screen could also double as a monitor for the HVAC and security systems. Home owners requested a screen where they can view the temperature inside and outside of their home, adjust the thermostat on a touch pad and view live video of both the front and back of their house.


  • A universal charging station. What better place than the social kitchen to juice up cell phones, personal digital assistants, iPods and the like. One-third of households reported that they currently keep their cell phones on the kitchen counter and one-half said they keep their phone chargers there as well.


  • Wireless Internet access. Twenty-nine percent of all homeowners and 43 percent of those remodeling their homes want the Internet served up in the kitchen for Web surfing and email but not for offline applications.

    The survey also revealed what could be a changing trend in how the kitchen is used.


  • The kitchen is a control center, more than an entertainment center. The vast majority of home owners, 85 percent, said they don’t see themselves watching videos or movies in the kitchen.

    "That's likely because those are activities that need time and attention, two things in short supply when making dinner," the alliance reported.

    Likewise, video games have no place in the kitchen for 93 percent of those polled. Most say just stick to a television and wireless broadband.


  • Most parents, 59 percent, would rather kids not do home work in the kitchen. However, 48 percent said their kids do crack the books while the household chef is cracking eggs.

    Likewise, 69 percent would prefer their kids not do arts and crafts in the kitchen, while 43 percent allow their kids to get creative on paper in the kitchen.

    Written by Broderick Perkins


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    Photo of Jason Daniels & Associates Real Estate
    Jason Daniels & Associates
    Jason Daniels & Associates at RE/MAX Millennium
    9362 Grand Cordera Pkwy Suite 100
    Colorado Springs CO 80924
    (719) 966-1500
    (888) 351-1099