Attention Fellow SnowHomies!

The past few weeks have been quite dry in Pagosa Springs, but luckily we are able to escape to the mountain where there is always a place for fun!

Our local ski resort has been blessed with 27 inches of fresh snow in the latest storm leaving us 13 inches of fresh pow in the last 24 hours. Blue skies are upon us today, resulting in powder packed and extensively groomed bluebird conditions. Year-to-date snow fall is currently residing at 251″

Wolf Creek Pass is located approximately 24 miles South East of Pagosa Springs in the beautiful San Juan mountains. A 30-40 minute drive from your new potential home! If you are looking to buy a home in Pagosa and start living the mountain life or continue your journey here, Wolf Creek is a perfect place to dip your toes (or edges) into some fun and experience an exciting life here.

If your family is new to skiing/riding and you are looking to have an out of body experience, Wolf Creek offers group or private lessons and rentals at an excellent price. Check out their website wolfcreekski.com to plan a trip.

This Sunday, February 6th Wolf Creek will be hosting a special event: A Fun Race! Race your friends or just challenge your own fastest time. Free and open to skiers and boarders of all ages and abilities. Sign up is from 9:30am to 10:30am in the Raven’s Nest building and the race is from 11am to 1pm on Charisma run.

If you are looking to buy a home in this sweet little town, make sure to check out the properties we have available on our website. Becoming a local has its benefits, such as access to local day rates at both Wolf Creek Pass and the Hot Springs located on the river through town. We have a lot of fun out here, and you could too! Make sure to tie in both of those places to your visit to get the full experience of winter in Pagosa. All four seasons are a blast!

Make sure to check back next week for more events and updates here in beautiful Pagosa.

 

wolf creek

 

 

 

Liven Up Your Lawn

Liven Up Your Lawn

Image Courtesy of: Pexels

Resources to Help You Liven Up Your Lawn

Is your lawn looking shabby or is it the envy of the neighborhood? If it’s more on the shabby side and could use a little TLC, you can create that carpet of green you’re dreaming of without a full-time service. The following resources will guide you through the tools, tips and techniques you need for a luscious lawn and landscape.

Grow Great Grass

A beautiful lawn begins with healthy grass. With the right TLC, your lawn will flourish!

 

Hone in on Hardscaping

Hardscaping provides functionality as well as aesthetically pleasing structure. Make the most of your yard with great hardscaping.

 

 

Reap Big Benefits

A thriving lawn is more than just a beauty to behold. It can benefit your life in many key ways.

 

Are you ready to liven up your lawn? From your pavement to your grass to your toolshed, the resources listed here will help you do just that!

Are you planning a move to the Colorado mountains? Then turn to the expert services of NextHome Rocky Mountain Realty & Rentals. Reach out today to find out more! 970-507-8655

This article was guest written by Tina Martin, Author of Ideaspired. Don’t forget to check her website out here!

How To Pack For Your Move

Packing Tips For Moving

It’s never easy to pick up all of your possessions and take them somewhere else, especially during the stress of buying or selling a home! Luckily for you, we have a comprehensive guide that should make your next move a little easier! From making an initial checklist to driving that uHaul off the lot, we hope this guide helps you during your next move!

Move
Photo Courtesy: BostonMagazine.com
  1. Make a Checklist – There is a lot to do when you decide to move and it can be nearly impossible to remember everything! We recommend you sit down and make a checklist of all the things you need to take care of before moving. Be sure to include things like forwarding your mail and transferring internet service as these are things many people forget to do. Put your checklist in a brightly colored moving binder so it is easy to find and use throughout your move!
  2. Declutter – The first thing you should do when preparing to move is declutter! You don’t want to pack and move things that you don’t plan on keeping do you? We recommend getting rid of as much extra clutter as possible before moving so you can have a fresh start in your new home. If you have a lot of stuff to get rid of, consider having an estate sale! It is a great way to get rid of things and make some money while doing it! Lori Fortney, owner of Memory Lane Antiques in Pagosa, will run an estate sale for you from start to finish for a fee.
  3. Find Boxes – You probably need some boxes to move, right? Investing in good quality boxes can make packing up much easier than it would be with recycled boxes of various condition. Both Walmart & uHaul sell good boxes for fairly cheap! If you would prefer to recycle boxes, try to find boxes in good structural condition. They will save a lot of headaches down the line!
  4. Set Moving Goals – It can be easy to fall behind during your move so we think it’s smart to set specific moving goals to keep you on track! These goals can be as simple as just packing up a couple rooms per week! Just look at your moving timeline to decide what goals you need to set to be fully packed and ready by your moving date! We recommend putting these goals in writing and adding them to your moving binder so you can keep track throughout your move!
  5. Pack Essentials Separately – There is nothing worse than getting everything packed only to realize you boxed up the things you need for the week! We recommend putting all your essentials in a brightly colored plastic tote. This way, you have everything you need in one easy to find spot! Be sure to label this box well so it isn’t accidentally packed away!
  6. Pack According To Room – Moving is almost always a chaotic event. It is easy to get things mixed up and turned around! One thing you can do to help stay organized is to pack room by room. By only packing up one space at a time you decrease the chance of misplacing your things. We recommend breaking up each room into sections. You can pack your closet and dresser items first, then bookshelves, desk items, etc. This will make things much easier to navigate when you get around to unpacking and finding things!
  7. Packing Boxes Correctly – While packing a box seems very straightforward, there are a couple guidelines you should try to follow! The first is simple. Light things go in big boxes and heavy things go in small boxes! You don’t want to be carrying a huge box
  8. Use String To Open Boxes Easily – Unpacking boxes after a move can be very tedious and time consuming. You can cut that time down considerably with this simple trick! When you are taping up boxes, place a piece of wool string along the box seam where you are taping. Be sure to leave enough of a tail on the string exposed outside of the tape to grab and tape it up like normal. Now when you go to open the box you can simply pull the string and it will cut the tape for you!
  9. Label & Take Photos of Furniture Parts – It can be easy to lose parts and pieces of furniture during your move. That’s why it is a good idea to label things as they are taken apart! We recommend putting furniture hardware in plastic bags and taping it to your furniture. This will hopefully prevent any hardware loss during your move!
  10. Have a Game Plan – Your job isn’t over once you have all the boxes packed! Now is the the time to come up with an actual moving plan. It is a good idea to designate one person to oversee loading the moving truck. This way there is less confusion as far as what needs to be loaded and when. Remember to take your time when loading up. If you get into a rush things tend to be forgotten and you will get frustrated! Take your time and things will get done, the right way.

Hopefully this article gave you some direction for your next move! While the moving process can be stressful, it is so worth it in the end! If you are reading this article and thinking it may be time for a move, give us a call at 970.507.8655. We would be more than happy to help with your buying and selling needs! We even offer reduced commissions!

 

Your Next Home

Home
Photo Courtesy: Pexels

A Quick Guide to Buying Your First Home

The home-buying process is complicated; there’s no doubt about that. But it does not have to be stressful. From establishing a budget to what to do for closing, the following guide can get you started. So sit back, relax, and check out these tips.

Start with research.

It is never too early to begin thinking about what you want in a home. Make a list of features that appeal to you. This can help you formulate a budget and will serve as a starting point for your real estate agent. Spend some time looking online at houses that you think meet your needs. This is a great time to research school zones, crime, and property tax rates.

Crunch the numbers.

Money is usually the biggest factor when it comes to what kind of house you can reasonably expect to buy. Take a look at your budget to determine how much you can afford. If you know how much you can spend each month, you can work backward to determine what price range you’ll need to stick with. 

Keep in mind that you will have to put money down—usually anywhere from 3 percent to 20 percent, plus closing costs. You also have the option to pay points on your mortgage, which lowers your interest rate and thereby your monthly payment. Tally some numbers to determine whether or not this is a good option for you, since it depends on things like the type of loan you choose and your personal financial situation.

Start shopping.

Your real estate agent can help you narrow down properties that fit your needs and budget. Then, you can pay a visit to the ones that appeal to you the most. Don’t worry if you do not find a house right off the bat; some buyers look at dozens of homes before making an offer. Do be open-minded, and know that you might have to make some sacrifices to get a home in your price range, even if it doesn’t check all your boxes.

While a certain level of compromise is usually inevitable, Forbes notes you should never cave in when it comes to things like your budget, the location, and the home’s condition.

Check for safety.

When you do find a home that resonates with you, don’t jump to make an offer. Your real estate agent will be happy to take you back for a second or third viewing, where you can think objectively. Look for signs of issues, such as rotting wood, foundation damage and signs of rust or corrosion on pipes. Take a glance around the house so that you know where the electrical system and all points of egress are. 

If something doesn’t feel right, you might need to look elsewhere. Either way, it’s in your best interest to hire a home inspector before you sign on the dotted line.

Make an offer and negotiate.

When you buy a home, you can expect some back and forth. The asking price is a good starting point, but, depending on the market and how long that particular home has been listed, there may be some wiggle room. Talk to your agent about making a reasonable offer. 

What to do before closing day.

Now that you’ve chosen a house, made an offer, and had it accepted, it might be a month or more before closing day. During this time, there’ll be lots of moving parts, including a title search, the home inspection, and appraisal. There are often some negotiations involved, which Realty Biz News notes your inspection can provide leverage. If everything goes well, you’ll be moving in no time. If not, there may be some delays, but try not to stress and remember that your real estate agent has experience.

Purchasing a home is an involved process. Lean on your real estate agent for guidance and information, and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. These professionals know that you may only buy a handful of houses in your lifetime, and they travel this path every day.

Are you ready to take the plunge into homeownership? Let NextHome Rocky Mountain Realty & Rentals help! Whether you’re looking for a savvy foreclosure or a prime piece of land to build upon, their expertise can guide you towards the best decisions, every step of the way. Get in touch by calling (970) 507-8655 today!

A special thank you to Tina Martin for writing this week’s blog post! Be sure to check her blog out for more great articles!

 

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

 

  • What is the First Step in the Home Buying Process? 

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is the first step in the home buying process. This will allow you to know how much you can spend, and much you need to save for a down-payment. Many realtors require pre-approval before showing homes.

  • How Long Does it Take to Buy a Home? 

From start to finish, buying a home takes roughly 10-12 weeks. This number may change depending on several different factors. In hot markets, it may take longer to close than when the market is slow.

  • What is a Seller’s Market?

In a seller’s market, there is more demand than supply. This means multiple people are competing for the same homes, driving home prices up. This benefits the seller as more people want to buy their home.

  • What is a Buyer’s Market?

In a buyer’s market, there is more supply than demand. This means buyer’s have more property to choose from, and will probably pay less for a home because there isn’t much competition. This benefits the buyer because they can take their time and possibly find a better deal on the perfect home.

  • What is a Stratified Market?

A stratified market happens when market characteristics change based on price point. It may be a seller’s market for homes over $500k but a buyer’s market for everything under that $500k mark. This often happens when international investors decide to park their money in the U.S. by purchasing high-end real estate.

  • How Much Do I Have to Pay an Agent to Help Me Buy a House?

Home shoppers pay very little, if anything. For most sales, there are two real estate agents; a listing agent and a buyer’s agent. The listing agent represents the seller and is in charge of listing and marketing the property. When a home is sold, a percentage of the sale that is negotiated in the contract, is paid to the listing broker. The broker then pays the buyer’s agent their cut from that money. So buyer’s usually don’t have to pay the commission.

  • What Kind of Credit Score Do I Need to Buy a Home?

Most lenders require a FICO score of at least 620 to be eligible for a mortgage. Borrowers with higher FICO scores pose less of a risk to the lender; these borrowers will probably secure a lower interest rate. If you have a lower credit score you may need to bring more money for a down payment, or accept a higher interest rate to offset the lenders risk.

  • How Much Do I Need for a Down Payment?

The national average down payment is 11% of the purchase price, this number may fluctuate however. Several first-time home buyer programs allow a down-payment as small as 3-5%. An FHA loan only requires 3.5% down. If you are former or active US Military, you may be eligible for a VA loan that doesn’t require a down-payment at all! It is smart to shop around and look into different lending options to see which works best for you.

  • What is Earnest Money?

When you are ready to make an offer on a property your agent will ask for a check or cash to go with the offer. This check, called an earnest money check, demonstrates to the seller that you are serious about your offer and you are ready to continue with the deal. The money is kept in a trust account and is applied to the down-payment or closing costs at closing. If the deal falls through, the buyer receives the money. Earnest money essentially takes the property off the market and reserves it for you.

  • Should I Sell My Current Home Before Buying a New One?

If you plan on using the equity you have built in your current home as the down-payment for your new home, you will need to sell the current one first. If you plan on using your current home as an investment property, your loan advisor will need to confirm your ability to purchase a new home before doing so. If you are relocating to take a job with your current employer, reach out to see if relocation assistance is available!

  • How Long Does the Seller Have to Respond to My Offer?

Written offers have an expiration date filled in. Typically, you will hear back within 24-48 hours of sending the offer.

  • Should I Order a Home Inspection?

Definitely! Purchasing a home is one of the biggest investments most people will make in their life. Getting a home inspection will insure you are not buying a home with major structural damage or other issues. If you are using a VA or FHA loan, you will be required to get your home inspected prior to purchase.

  • Do I Need a Radon Test?

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that emits from decaying uranium in the ground. It can seep into a home many different ways; from the basement, crack in the foundation, electrical outlets, etc. Radon can cause lung damage and may increase the risk of lung cancer. The EPA recommends that all homes be tested for radon at the point of sale. This test can usually be rolled in with your inspection. If the test shows higher-than-safe levels of radon, there are several techniques to adequately ventilate the area to bring the levels down. Consult your local radon experts on the best method for your home. This remediation costs roughly $1200, which isn’t too bad when you consider a new furnace can cost triple that!

  • Where Can I Get Pre-Approved?

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you will need five things.. First is proof of income. Usually, you will need to provide W2 wage statements from the last two years, as well as recent pay stubs, proof of any additional income, and tax statements from the previous two years. Next, you will need proof of assets. These include current bank statements and investment account statements to show that you have cash reserves available to fund your down-payment. Third is good credit. As we stated above, you will usually need a FICO score of at least 620 to be pre-approved for a mortgage. The higher your credit score, the lower your loan interest rate will be. Next up is employment verification. Your lender will need to verify your current employment to ensure you have a steady income. If you have changed jobs recently, the lender may need to call your previous employer. Stable work history is important to obtain a loan. Lastly is other documentation. Lenders will require other documentation such as the borrowers driver’s license, social security number, and signature in order to pull a credit score.

  • Should I Do a Final Walkthrough?

While not required, a final walk-through is a great idea! Walk-throughs give you a chance to look over the home one last time to make sure nothing has changed before you close. This is also the time to confirm any repairs that were requested have been completed.

  • When Should I Sell My Home?

This questions has many different answers. When you should sell your home depends on the market in your area, your home, and how much you want to make. Most agents will agree that Spring is the best time to sell, however in some areas Winter or Fall may blow spring out of the water for house sales. Talk to your agent about when the best time to sell YOUR home is!

  • How Do I Get My Home Ready to Sell?

By the time the first potential buyer enters your home, it should be sale ready! The first thing you should do to prepare your home is clean it! No one wants to buy a dirty home. Once your home is clean, you should go through and repair everything you can; broken door handles, blinds, paint touch-up, etc. Anything that is obviously broken should be repaired. Next you will want to stage your home for pictures. See our Home Staging Post for more info on how to do that! Lastly, you need great photos! Many real estate agents (including NextHome’s NextHomies) will have a professional photographer take photos of your home. Great photos will draw buyers in that may not have given your home a second look otherwise. In this day and age, visual media reigns supreme!

  • Zillow Says My Home Is Worth “X” Is This Accurate?

Absolutely Not! Many real estate listing websites provide an estimated list price for the listed homes. This price only accounts for square footage and bedroom/bathroom count! It does not take into account your area, home features, current market, comparable properties in the area, or area of land. Your real estate agent should be able to give you a comparable market analysis that shows you what your home is worth in the current market, as compared to other similar properties near yours! You cannot rely on a “Zestimate” or any other online estimator for accurate results.

  • How Is My List Price Determined?

As stated above, your real estate agent will perform a comparative market analysis to determine the value of your home. This compares homes, active and sold, based on several criteria to determine how much your home is currently worth in your area.

  • Should I Price My Home Higher to Facilitate Negotiations?

While it may be tempting to price your home higher than suggested, it could actually deter buyers who would otherwise pay the price you really want for your home! If your price is too high, you won’t have as much interest in your home. This means it will sit for longer, which could scare even more buyers off! We recommend staying as close to your CMA (comparative market analysis) value as you can to ensure a quick sale!

  • How Much Do I Pay For Commission?

If you are on the buying side of the transaction, you probably won’t have to pay any commission! If you are on the selling side, the commission you pay is negotiated in your listing contract. The national average real estate commission is 6%, but this is negotiable! It is smart to stick with the average commission rates, as buying agents will be less likely to want to show your home if their commission is smaller!

  • When Does the Listing Contract Expire?

The length of the listing contract varies from agency to agency, and realtor to realtor. Typically, they last between three months to a year! These contracts will always have an expiration date.

  • How Will You Market My Home?

This is something we are asked quite a bit. NextHome takes pride in being one of the most technologically advanced real estate companies. We distribute all of our listings nationally across hundreds of websites, so your property gets the exposure it needs for a quick sale! We also advertise listings on multiple social media platforms, print ads, virtual open houses, and in the windows of our offices! Every listing is sure to get tons of exposure on many different platforms.

  • What Happens During a Home Inspection?

Once a home is under contract, a buyer has the right to order a home inspection to determine the condition of the home and any repairs that may need to be made. The inspector will go room to room throughout the house, looking for any damage or hazardous issues that need to be addressed in the home. The inspector will go around the outside of the house and even the crawlspace if you have one. In many cases, the inspector will leave a radon test behind, to be picked up 24-48 hours later.

  • How Much Do I Need To Disclose To Buyers?

When selling your home, honesty is always the best plan. Some states require a property disclosure form to be filled out; outlining every issue known to the buyers regarding the home. As long as you disclose material facts about the property, you should be fine!

 

Common Real Estate Questions

Real Estate Questions Answered

In this post we cover a few of the common real estate questions that we get asked!

Real Estate Questions
Staged Home

Buyer’s Market or Seller’s Market – You’ve probably heard the terms “buyer’s market” and “sellers market” at least once when discussing real estate. While these may sound confusing, they are actually pretty basic terms! A Buyer’s Market is when the inventory of property exceeds the demand for property. This puts the buyer at an advantage because there are a lot of properties to choose from at competitive prices. A Seller’s Market is when the inventory of properties is low but the demand is up. This puts sellers at an advantage because there is less competition, so they can ask more for their property!

Build vs Buy – This question is a common one, especially in areas with many lots for sale, such as Pagosa Springs. Building a home can be a great option for a few reasons. You can choose where you want to build, how big you want your home, and exactly how you want it to look and function! New builds may have unexpected costs or complications that you must consider in the initial build cost. Buying a home already built may be a better route for many buyers. These homes are usually ready to move in much sooner, the prices are typically negotiable, and you don’t have the same upfront costs that come with a new build. The cons of buying a built home include older appliances and other things that may need maintenance sooner. You are also more likely to compromise on features you may want when purchasing a pre-built home. There are many pros and cons between building and buying a home; it really comes down to what you think will work best for you and your lifestyle!

Buying a Foreclosure – A foreclosure is a home that’s seized and put up for sale by the bank that gave the original owner a loan. When you see a home listed as “foreclosed,” it means that it’s owned by the bank. Foreclosures are usually less expensive, have fewer title concerns, and often have a great renovation potential. Foreclosures are usually sold “as-is” so there are maintenance concerns that you as the buyer would be responsible for fixing. There are many ways to get a loan for a foreclosure, and if you have a licensed agent helping you throughout the process, a foreclosure can be a great investment!

Should I Get Pre-Approved First? – The answer is YES! Pre-Approval should be the first step you take when preparing to buy a home. This is how you know how much you can afford, if you can afford a home. You don’t want to shop until you find the perfect home, only to realize you can’t quite afford it! If you have any questions on how to start this process, give us a call at (970) 507-8655.

Who Pays The Realtor Fees? – This question is pretty easy to answer! Typically in a home sale, the seller pays the realtor fees, as they are the ones making money on the transaction. The amount the seller pays is negotiable and may vary from deal to deal.

Common Closing Expenses – Typically, the home buyer will pay 2-5% of the purchase price of the home in closing fees. These fees will cover the cost of things like insurance, inspections, taxes, attorney fees if applicable, credit checks, etc. The average total closing cost in the United States is $3,700.

How To Prepare For Showings – Showing your home to strangers can be strange, especially when you are only getting little notice beforehand. You should be ready to show at all times; staying flexible is important as everyone has different schedules. That last minute-showing could be the one that sells your home! It is best to leave the property for showings as prospective buyers will be more comfortable talking about the property. If you have pets, be sure they are picked up after and make a plan of where to take them during showings! To see our post on home staging, click here!

If you have any further real estate questions, please feel free to give us a call at (970) 507-8655. You can see the homes we currently have listed for sale on our featured page. Let us help you find your Next Home!