Saturday, February 17, 2018

NEW LISTING COMING SOON!




COMING SOON! Trilevel in Broomfield. Text 1058 to 720-358-2460 for more details!
  

I would love to help you with your real estate journey. 
Please contact me at 303-917-7143 or robbin@stauferteam.com

Friday, February 9, 2018

Don't Skimp When it Comes to the Sewer

I made it grayscale because it was
grossing me out in color
Of all the homeowner headaches there can be, sewer backups top them all. Not only do you have to get rid of the disgusting water and waste but anything that was submerged, including flooring and drywall. Because the sewer line is hidden and not exciting it's often neglected by owners and buyers alike. 

I always recommend to buyers that they add a sewer scope to their home inspection. Often inspectors will offer package discounts that make this additional work quite affordable. Spending a hundred or two now to diagnose a problem that could cost $10,000 - $20,000 down the line is well worth it.

Digging down to the sewer line
Try to find a company that only does inspections and not repairs, otherwise you might find that the company pushes you toward unnecessary replacements. In certain houses, where the sewer line may be under the home's concrete slab, it's important to really understand if an issue can be addressed with maintenance alone or if jackhammering is in order.

If the line has a crack, water can be seeping into the ground under the pipe which may cause settling. The settling can then cause the sewer line to sink or even break. If the line becomes offset, the problem can get pretty serious and expensive, requiring the area be dug up and the portion replaced. If your line is still in good shape, you may consider a liner. These can be blown into the line at one end and, with the help of a chemical soaking, become impermeable to roots.

Sewer cleaning blade
If the line just needs a good cleaning, many companies offer a high-pressure water cleaning. I recently had an industry expert tell me that this method is inadequate because most will use the water to push debris down the line when it is designed to pull. He recommended a 4" flexible knife blade to fit into the line and scrape the build-up off of the pipe walls. I've noticed now that some agents will even specifically request this method on their Inspection Objection.

Sewer line liners
It's also important to maintain these lines and avoid flushing any materials besides toilet paper. I've also been cautioned not to treat my garbage disposal like a food processor - it may chop the food into little bits, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to make it all the way down the sewer line. The best practice is to scrape any food that you can into the garbage before washing off your plate. I know, it's kind of like washing your dishes before you put them into the dishwasher, but it'll be worth it in the long run.

It's also a good idea to check your insurance coverage for water-related disasters. Depending on where the water comes from and what caused the leak or back-up, most regular policies don't cover the damage. Ask your agent specifically for what is currently covered under your policy and if you can purchase riders for additional issues.

If you need the names of a few good inspectors, sewer scopers or cleaners, let me know!
  

I would love to help you with your real estate journey. 
Please contact me at 303-917-7143 or robbin@stauferteam.com

Friday, December 29, 2017

My Word for 2018

Our office is big on setting goals, and we review them a couple of times a year as a group. Even though a few of our agents literally hide when these meetings come up, I actually enjoy them. Statistically, people are more likely to follow through and achieve their objectives when they write them down. I find it even more helpful to set smaller milestones on the way to the big goals. It can be motivating to achieve some successes along the way to what can sometimes be a daunting ambition.

Another part of this process that has become a custom is setting our "Word" for the new year. One Word That Will Change Your Life is the book we trade around the office, seeking inspiration. Even though I've read it a couple of times already, I find it helps focus me on what I really want for the upcoming year. This year I picked it up and my Word came to me after about 10 minutes of flipping through the pages.

It is "Courage."

Some of my Words in the past have been directly related to my job. When I received my GREEN designation I chose "Sustainability," vowing to improve my business practices and educate my clients on green choices. Others, like "Support," were intended to remind me of my commitment of service to others in both my professional and personal choices. The Words helped me re-center when I got so busy (or so NOT busy) that I lost sight of my purpose.

I resisted "Courage" when it first popped into my awareness. We've joked in the office about how, in hindsight, our Words really did shape our year and not always in the way we would've liked. Did I want to tempt the universe to test my fortitude? Still, I had to acknowledge that there were events coming up that were going to require me to pull up my big girl panties and get on with it. Some of them I have initiated and believe they will be beneficial, and yet there is a lot of anxiety associated with them. For example, members of my family and I are going to try to purchase our first investment property. While I am excited about this new project it's hard to forget about the risk involved, even though it's a venture within my area of expertise.

Other things are passing-of-time inevitabilities. My youngest daughter is finishing high school in the spring and her interest lies in international studies of some sort. My oldest daughter is talking about an internship on the east coast but also has aspirations to travel. Dennis and I will be empty nesters, and I'll be lucky if one of the kids stays in the country. While I am excited to see them experience the world, it will be quite an adjustment to only see them once or twice a year. People have reminded me that I will have great places to visit them, but I'm not ready to trade a 15-minute drive for a 15-hour flight just yet.

Heraclitus said that the only thing constant is change. Sometimes change is fun and sometimes it sucks, and sometimes you don't know which one it will be until you are knee-deep in it. In 2018, I will strive to remember that I have control over my response to the changes in my life, and that being afraid is an opportunity to be brave. 

Heraclitus also believed in the everlasting Word, that in some sense we are all one and can recognize a unity of experience. My wish for you in the New Year is that you feel that unity as life brings you change, that you realize all that you have come through already through strength and determination, and that you never forget your extraordinary capacity for courage.
  

I would love to help you with your real estate journey. 
Please contact me at 303-917-7143 or robbin@stauferteam.com

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Effect on Real Estate

Questions about the new tax plan have been swirling for months. As of this writing, the bill has not been signed by the President but there seems to be no reason why it won't be shortly. If you're a homeowner, or have been thinking about becoming one, here are a few points that might be of interest to you:
  • The new bill limits the deduction for the total of state and local property taxes and income or sales taxes to $10,000 for either individual or married couples filing jointly. It also precludes the deduction of 2018 state and local income taxes prepaid in 2017.
  • Up until now, homeowners were allowed to deduct the interest paid on their mortgage loans up to $1,000,000. Going forward, the new limit will be $750,000. This probably won't affect the majority of homeowners, though, since existing loans will be grandfathered in at the old levels. Additionally, the median sales price nationally is about one-third of the new limit so only those that purchase in more expensive zip codes will notice a difference. 
  • The standard deduction is being doubled to $12,000 for individual filers and $24,000 for joint filers. This is likely to reduce the amount of people who itemize, which could also reduce the impact of the lower mortgage interest deduction limit.
  • In the past, the IRS has allowed a deduction for uncompensated casualty and theft losses related to your home or vehicle. Now the deduction can be taken only if the loss is related to a presidentially-declared disaster.
  • A deduction was also allowed for moving expenses, should the relocation be job related. That deduction has been eliminated for everyone except for members of the military.
  • For developers, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit has been retained, which allows qualified agencies to issue tax credits for the development of affordable housing around the country. However, a lower corporate rate will devalue the credits in the future and likely contribute to a decrease in low-income housing being developed. 
  • The Historic Tax Credit, which provides for the rehabilitation and preservation of aging structures has been retained but modified. Gone is the 10% credit for buildings older than 1936; now the building must be a certified historic structure to receive a 20% credit.
  • The final bill increases the amount of eligible qualified property that commercial real estate owners can immediately expense from $500,000 to $1,000,000. While land and buildings do not qualify, improvements to non-residential property do, such as HVAC systems, roofs and security systems. 
  • The final bill retains the current law on the capital gains exclusion, Mortgage Credit Certificates, and carried interest compensation and 1031 Exchanges for investors. Homeowners may still deduct interest on their home equity loans as long as the funds are used to substantially improve their property.
I've seen a lot of difference scenarios run and tax liability calculated so far and I have to say that I'm having a hard time keeping the effects of the various changes in my head all at once. This might be a good year to talk to a financial professional to determine how buying a home or investment property will affect your specific situation. If you need a good resource, let me know - between myself and the cooperating agents in my office I've got a great team of experts that can advise you.


I would love to help you with your real estate journey. 
Please contact me at 303-917-7143 or robbin@stauferteam.com

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Renovation Series - Canyon Cosmetic

"Welcome to our new home! Got any food?"
Anyone who is paying even a little bit of attention to the real estate market lately knows there is a dearth of inventory, forcing buyers to consider options that they may not have in the past. Obsessive HGTV watchers pride themselves on being able to see past wallpaper and tiny closets to a vision of what their dream home could look like. Still, some properties can be challenging to embrace.



Enter Erica and Rob, into this 1970 bilevel with a tiny master bath and dog pee soaked carpet. If ever there was a need for strategically placed eucalyptus air fresheners this was it. But these two potential buyers focused on the positive features of the property - hardwood floors, a great room that offered killer views, a few acres with deer roaming about, and a location that felt like a mountain getaway but was actually only minutes from amenities. Almost everything else could be changed with a little imagination and some creative financial strategies.


Happy Thanksgiving! Here's a hammer; you can have some pie after you take down that wall. 


Renovating an entire house can be daunting - you definitely need to be organized and connected to some real professionals. Contractors should be licensed and insured and know which permits need to be pulled for your area. There's even a new loan product that allows you to roll renovation costs into your conventional mortgage. Build yourself a good team - starting with a Realtor who has renovated four houses top to bottom, personally and professionally, and has a huge directory of tested service providers. I also have a knack for mentally removing walls to see the potential of a floor plan (and then ACTUALLY removing walls; your fault for buying me a reciprocating saw for Christmas, Honey). 

Check in periodically to see the progress on this promising home. In the meantime, give me a call to find your diamond in the rough - I'll even buy you a tool belt as a closing gift.
 

I would love to help you with your real estate journey. 
Please contact me at 303-917-7143 or robbin@stauferteam.com

Friday, November 17, 2017

Adding Indoor/Outdoor Living Space

Friends of mine recently decided to convert their deck into a back porch to extend their enjoyment of the Colorado seasons. They swapped out the traditional French doors leading to the deck with glass accordian doors. The decking is composite so they don't have to stain or paint it regularly. They closed in the space underneath the deck, even though it is still just dirt with weed cover and gravel, to keep the air there warmer. Heaters mounted high up on a couple of walls do the rest of the job in the coldest months. 

The space is complete with bar, counter lighting, barbecue grill and hood, sink, built in cooler, wine refrigerator, margarita machines, beer and nitrogen taps, popcorn machine, fireplace and two flat-screen TVs. I'm sure I've forgotten something but you get the idea!

Some cities will restrict whether you can completely enclose the space with doors and windows or have to leave it open. Be sure to check your local restrictions and apply for the correct building permits. It may seem like a bit of a pain, but you'll want to make sure the job is done correctly and safely and the city inspectors can give you that peace of mind. Also, if you eventually sell, buyers will be wary of improvements made without permits and you could lose money or even the sale if you haven't followed the proper processes. If you'd like the name of the fantastic contractor that pulled all of this together, let me know!



I would love to help you with your real estate journey. 
Please contact me at 303-917-7143 or robbin@stauferteam.com

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Start Saving Now


Buying a home is a considerable expense. If you're trying to save up, make sure that you're not accidentally wasting money in the process. Check to see if you're guilty of some of these habits that could be setting you back.
  

I would love to help you with your real estate journey. 
Please contact me at 303-917-7143 or robbin@stauferteam.com