May 19

Finding Fountain Bank Owned Homes for Sale

Ray of Light Shines on Fountain bank owned homes

Fountain Homeowners Should Track This One


A few weeks ago, Bank of America initiated a pilot program allowing Fountain homeowners facing foreclosure to remain in their homes as renters.   There are important reasons why Colorado Springs  homeowners should be interested in the success or failure of BoA’s approach.


First, a note about the term “Fountain bank owned homes”. It’s not technically correct to say that there has been some huge rise in the number of them, because “Fountain bank owned homes” actually describes every home with a mortgage. The mortgage holder always technically “owns” the property, even when the homeowner retains title. However, what is true is that over the last four years, many homeowners learned the hard way just what it means to face the reality of your home being owned by someone else.  


Enter Bank of America. Their press release quotes Ron Sturzenegger, a Legacy Asset Servicing executive with the Bank: “Our priority is designing a solution that helps our customer.” Although we might be justifiably skeptical of this as BoA’s sole motive, allowing homeowners to remain as renters in bank owned homes is hardly just a PR move.


The program certainly makes bottom-line financial sense for a whole host of parties, including Fountain homeowners who have no difficulty meeting their own mortgage payments.


Under the program, a former homeowner who qualified would be able to continue working and contributing to the economy without the costs, loss of time, and anxiety involved in moving. For all property owners, the ultimate effect is to keep the market from being flooded with distress sales. Every neighborhood would benefit if home values stabilize.


Under the pilot model, Fountain bank owned homes convert to investor ownership in a much smoother transition than the foreclosure/short sale model. Instead of the lender being left with an empty property generating zero revenue in the interim, former homeowners simply become renters, making it easier for them to get back on their feet financially.


In my opinion, any move or policy that helps more people stay in homes is a policy worth discussing.  BoA’s program is only in a limited test stage, but here in Fountain we can hope that it will prove to have multiple beneficiaries: banks, investors, agents, homeowners and neighbors. Everyone benefits when his or her neighborhood’s real estate market is healthy!


Have a question about real estate in Fountain?  Feel free to contact me, Eric Richards, anytime with questions. I represent Fountain buyers and sellers, and am always available to chat about your own plans.

May 19

Falcon Home Listings: I will sell your Falcon Home

You’ve Got 5 Seconds To Sell Your Falcon Home

Your Falcon Home Deserves a Hero Shot!

Falcon Home Listings: Curb Appeal Will “Git ‘er Done!”  


As a whole, we Americans are an interesting group.  We are smart, educated, involved in our community…and, not unlike the rest of America, our attention span is about 5 or 10 seconds.  It follows that when you put your home on the market and your agent places it among the Falcon homes for sale, your home has about that long to grab potential buyers’ attention. 


Time and time again, studies show that Falcon home listings with superior curb appeal get markedly more attention than those with run-of-the-mill photos.  First impressions count. It’s how advertising agencies can charge hundreds of thousands of dollars to get just the right angle with just the right lighting on their perfectly-designed product packages. In ad-speak, that photo with the perfect angle and lighting is called the ‘hero shot’. 


Your home can have its own ‘hero shot’.  Its landscaping, color, the condition of its driveway, walkway, garage and backyard, along with the overall neatness combine to make a true ‘hero shot’ that will stand out from the other Falcon home listings. That same look (over and above the one in the photographer’s viewfinder) can also be counted upon to draw the attention of potential buyers who happen to be just driving by.


It’s not surprising, either, that curb appeal also affects the value and salability of realty listings. A study by the University of Washington found that “mature trees in a well-landscaped yard can increase the value of a house by 7% – 19%.” On the other hand, overgrown trees that obscure the view of the home can delay its sale.


The curb appeal of homes almost defines a neighborhood’s appeal, and vice versa. Any home that is well kept improves the image of the rest of the houses on any street. In the same way, a home with a neglected look can bring down the general appeal of the entire neighborhood. You already know what it’s like to drive by a street lined with houses that are all beautifully maintained. Now that’s the kind of place where you would definitely want to live!


If you are giving serious consideration to selling your Falcon home, call me, a local Real Estate agent in Colorado Springs for a “curb appeal” consultation.  Usually, just a few easy steps are all it takes to improve that vital first impression!

May 08

Property Listings: Homes for sale in Colorado Springs Colorado

Property Listings: Homes for sale in Colorado Springs Colorado

With Spring in the air, notions of “fresh starts” and new horizons have a way of pushing into just about everybody’s consciousness. It’s only natural, whether because of the weather, school schedules, or everything else around us that seems fresh and new. And something else is in the air, too: if past history is any guide, now is also simply the most popular time of year to buy a one of the homes for sale in Colorado Springs Colorado.


For those with a home to sell, this is traditionally the most active time to be in the real estate market. Homes entered in Briargate property listings during springtime can be expected to attract buyers more quickly, and they stand a better chance of fetching a good price. With 60% of moves in America taking place during the summer months (most likely a reflection of the school year schedule), it stands to reason that spring is a great time to get your Briargate property onto the market.

 Property Listings: Homes for sale in Colorado Springs Colorado

 For potential homebuyers expecting to shop for a new home sometime this year, there is ample reason to swing into action sooner rather than later. Briargate property listings can be expected to conform to the national trend: at a rapidly rising rate, Realtors® expect constant or higher residential prices in the coming year (73% vs. 62% just three months ago, according to the NAR).


Following the past few years of price declines, it won’t be surprising if the market’s recovery brings a rapid rise in prices. Then the bargains people have begun to take for granted could quickly become tomorrow’s regretful “I could have bought that house for only $—” stories…that happens again and again. Those who know they are going to be in the market this year should seriously consider getting into one of the Homes for sale in Colorado Springs Colorado!


For both buyers and sellers, spring is the most popular season for a number of reasons. Especially for families with kids in school, or anyone whose business is geared to encourage summer vacations, it’s also the most sensible time to act.

Whether you will be Selling your home in Colorado Springs, or beginning to comb those property listings to zero in on a new home, do get in touch with me, Eric Richards, to help make this spring the one that makes 2012 your Year of the Big Move!

May 08

About Stealing That Luxury Foreclosure Home

Second Houses Begin to Make Sense Again Investment & Vacation Home Markets Waking Up!


The investment- and vacation-home markets have been among the first to show signs of real estate resurgence, according to the people who keep track of such things (as usual, the National Association of Realtors® is one). It might seem unlikely, given the general view that the housing sector continues to post mixed signs of recovery. But when you think about it, there are reasons why it could make perfect sense. A few that come to mind:


* The price is right. If the overall real estate market is in fact in the process of rebounding, it’s still so early that no one can be certain it will be strong — or even that it will continue. You couldn’t describe a more appealing situation for small investors who have been biding their time, waiting for the right bargain to pounce upon. Investment home prices rose 6.4% last year (of course, because rents were rising), yet the median vacation-home price was down over 19%! Talk about vacation bargains! All of a sudden, the daydream of affordable beach houses for sale seems to have become a reality.


* The market is open. Right now, there are also strong inventories of vacation and beach houses for sale – many of them located in attractive settings. Many of those settings also happen to be the very places were the real estate market is still digging out from under the foreclosure mess. This makes it easy for people to find investment-home opportunities that previously would have been out of their price range.

 About Stealing That Luxury Foreclosure Home

* Interest rates are low. Low interest rates make a second mortgage even more affordable for those seeking a luxury Foreclosure home.  Today’s interest rates signal savings throughout the term of the loan, which is even more appealing for those seeking a second home. Combined with the sheer volume of Foreclosure houses for sale, this makes it the ideal time to purchase a dream vacation or retirement home.


*Optimism on the rise. When the wolf is at the door, few of us are tempted to make luxury purchases. And for years, it seemed like the only news about the economy was bad. But declining unemployment numbers, soaring stock markets, and the resulting good news for retirement accounts can change attitudes…the same attitudes that underlie investment decisions of every kind.


A second home can be a vehicle to generate investment income. Or it might be the fulfillment of a long-held dream. For those fortunate enough to have put aside some disposable cash, today any one of those mountain or Prairie houses for sale could wind up representing both!

May 03

Newly remodeled home for sale in Stetson Hills Colorado Springs district 49

Remodeled home in Stetson Hills 80922


Virtual tour


Single Family Home
Main Features
4 Bedrooms
2 Bathrooms
1 Partial Bathroom
Interior: 2,079 sqft
Lot: 0.23 acre(s)
5263 Prairie Grass ln
Colorado Springs, CO 80922
To get updates on open home dates and other property events, please click the “Like” button below:

Eric Richards

Eric Richards

Synergy Realty Group
(719) 321-4727

Listed by: Eric Richards

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Apr 27

Briargate open houses

Once you decide that the time has come to sell your house, Briargate open houses are one of the most promising ways for you to show off its fine points. And early spring has long proved to be one of real estate’s peak selling seasons. Despite the fact that April can bring unpredictable weather to Colorado Springs, it’s undeniably prime time to use an open house to market your home.

Open houses are popular for the simple reason that they provide maximum exposure to house-hunters searching for Briargate Homes for sale.   Whether they are casual or more highly motivated, they are in the market! Particularly when a home is occupied, open houses invite easy access to a property, side-stepping all the normal hurdles of appointment making, phone tag, calendar syncing, etc.  Since vacant homes are easy to show any time, they tend to get more exposure (especially since prospective buyers frequently phone at the last minute to request a tour).

Open houses are a way to even the competition. Held on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, they provide the easiest way for potential buyers to browse. Prospects can casually pursue their search without having to commit to a day full of appointments. For them and for the seller, it’s a handy tradition.

But what if it turns out to be one of those Briargate rainy days?

Ideally, everyone plans their open houses with a bright, sunny day in mind. But when the clouds gather, you don’t need to let a little inclement weather wreck the opportunity.  When it turns gloomy outside, think of it as the perfect opportunity to make your home shine on the inside.  Open all the blinds, turn on the lights, throw some upbeat jazz on the stereo, and crank the heat up!  Another nice touch (especially if you want to come home to a clean house) will be to place towels or mats by the front door so that attendees can wipe their feet.

Looking to go the extra mile?  Provide hot chocolate or hot tea in disposable cups for your agent to offer browsers.  At the very least, they’ll be sure to remember your open house!

If you are considering listing your Briargate home and are looking for solid marketing support and exposure, today is the day to call me to schedule your consultation…rain or shine!   Or why not stop by and meet me in person?  I keep regular office hours at Synergy Realty Group.  Call me to set an appointment 719-321-4727.

Apr 27

It’s 9 O’Clock: Do You Know Where Your Listing Is?

In an age where technology is king, the concept of free and widespread listing syndication at first sounded promising to agents and consumers alike. “Listing Syndication” is the term used when third parties – including big Internet outfits like Zillow and Trulia – take Brairgate real estate agents’ listings and put them up on their humongous national websites.


Most Brairgate real estate agents thought to themselves ‘Great! – now everyone in the country can see my clients’ home listing; we will get the word out nationally.’ And they were right about that, up to a point. But now some serious scrapping has broken out, and the details are something I think readers will find useful to think about. They affect what happens whenever you look for a Brairgate Home for Sale, or put your house up for sale.


For Colorado Springs house-hunters, the biggest issue with syndicators is information that is either out of date or inaccurate. To any would-be homebuyer, sites like Zillow or Trulia hit them first: they’re always smack dab at the top of the Google or Bing pages when you look on the web. What isn’t apparent is that such websites don’t always offer all of the homes or data that might be available through a Brairgate real estate agent.


Rather than using feeds that offer each viewer the freshest information possible, syndicators lead those searching for a new home through a dizzy trail of listings. Moreover, if you have ever used them, you probably know that some of those have usually expired. In addition, syndicators are real search engine hogs; Brairgate real estate agents have to battle against their Google-engineered pages to get a top spot. As a result, house-hunters may be unable to find what the very local housing market and its most active agents have to offer.


As well as failing to deliver accuracy to consumers, syndicators may lead consumers in the wrong direction when they do find a house that interests them. If a listing agent is not willing to pay Zillow a monthly fee for the privilege of having listings accurately placed at the top of the search results, a consumer may find a different agent’s contact information displayed. It’s easy to see why some agents are fuming about this, but more importantly, it may do damage to the client’s experience. Just because an agent is at the top of a search result does not mean that he or she can answer important questions a buyer may have about that listing. 


Finally, it is not uncommon for consumers to experience confusion when it comes to listing prices. Syndication has in the past led to inaccurate information about prices to be published online, even duplicates with different prices. Yikes. 


However, those slowly evolving issues don’t totally cancel the early promise of wide syndication. Personally, I love the wealth of information syndication provides consumers.  Technology and free access to information are boons to us all.  However, when it comes to buying a house in Colorado Springs, sometimes there’s no replacement for the human touch.  Call me, Eric Richards, anytime for the personal service only a Brairgate real estate agent can give you!  719-321-4727 cell.

Apr 27

Moving From a Nightmare to a Dream Briargate home

Remember when moving was fun?


If you share the sentiments of just about everyone in Colorado Springs, your answer to that is a definite “NO!” Picking up and moving a household has never been fun or easy — and long distance moving can be even worse. When you need to relocate from another state to Colorado and buy a home for sale in Briargate, you can’t just hop back across town to take care of a few last minute details: likely as not, you’re a jet plane ride away!


The logistical concerns of moving your belongings, coupled with the expenses and the stress of locating a new home, can combine to be close to overwhelming. Thankfully, there are specialists to help with the situation. With focused training and years of experience, relocation specialists help save time and money (not to mention mental stability). With assistance from a relocation expert, you can move ‘moving’ out of its traditional nightmare category. 

When a Brairgate agent lists ‘Relocation’ among their qualifications, it means more than just first-hand knowledge of Briargate schools, shopping, commute times and home values. Its what I do!  While people tend to be more or less familiar with the real estate market in their current neighborhood, it’s challenging to get up to speed with an unfamiliar real estate market. Agents qualified in relocation are particularly aware of the need to familiarize their clients with local values — especially since they often have a small window of time in which to secure their new home.

For anyone planning relocation to Briargate, there are a few steps you can take to find the right agent for you. First, put all potential agents through a telephone test. Call several agents during the day and leave a brief message, stating your needs. Then sit back and wait for return calls. Avoid any agent who doesn’t call back within 24 hours. Relocating to a new area is stressful enough without having a real estate agent you cannot rely on.

Next, ask the remaining candidates a lot of questions. Find out how much experience he or she has in relocating clients to Briargate. Determine how much the agent knows about the neighborhoods that fit your baseline criteria – have they successfully relocated clients there? Finally, ask for references – the names and phone numbers of past relocation clients. And don’t skip calling those references! The most reliable referral is one obtained from someone who can report from experience.

For a long distance or logistically complicated move – the kind that happens when you need to simultaneously sell one home and buy another – being able to rely on an agent who lists ‘relocation’ as a specialty may be the key to success. If you are considering a move to Colorado Springs, give me a call anytime to discuss your timeline and needs.

Apr 20

What are Colorado Mortgage Brokers saying? Rates Are Rising!

When mortgage rates began to rise in January, it caught the attention of a lot Colorado Mortgage Brokers of future Briargate homebuyers. If they had been enticed by the record-breaking low mortgage rates that had been headline news for so long, many of them began to reconsider their leisurely home-hunting pace.  Now we have an interesting turnaround: on the 10th of April, 2012, the FHFA reported yet another reversal. They say that rates fell again: either nine or ten basis points, or –depending on how it’s reported– five.


It may seem a little difficult to sort that one out.  The difference between five basis points and ten basis points is, after all, 100%. But mortgage rate reporting can be like that. As the FHFA (it’s the outfit that regulates Fannie Mae) points out in the fine print, interest rates are typically determined 30 to 45 days before a loan is closed. So even when you have last week’s report in hand, the apparent trend might be misleading. Even if it were clear what the exact size of the rate dip was — and it isn’t.


All this is an indicator of a basic residential real estate truism: in addition to using a great Briargate real estate agent, today’s house-hunter will be well served to enlist the help of a great Brairgate mortgage broker, too. Your Colorado Springs mortgage broker will be on top of what Colorado lenders are doing, what they are looking for, and what the latest timing realities are. Your mortgage broker will paint a clear picture of what to expect based on your individual financial picture, and will work with you to shape a loan package that works for you, the seller, and the lender alike. 


It’s worth noting that mortgage brokers are no longer allowed to pay referral fees to any Realtor. That tends to work in your favor, since it solidifies the fact that at the end of the day it’s solely by doing a great job for you that a Briargate mortgage broker stands to earn repeat business.


If you are considering buying a Briargate home, please don’t hesitate to call me for a complimentary buyer’s consultation.   If you like, I can introduce you to a great mortgage broker, and you can decide if now is the time to make your new home a reality!

Apr 10

Just How Valuable are “Property Values”?

  It’s a little bit like real estate’s Rite of Spring: ‘for sale’ signs sprouting on Briargate lawns like new flowers finding the area’s April sun. And since we are used to hearing how “property values” are still battling to rebound, this April the ‘Sale’ part of those signs is likely to be taken more literally than usual. But since “property values” seems to be such an important measure, what is really behind the term? Who determines Colorado Springs “property values” – and how?


Property Values

Briargate home

We aren’t just talking about some abstract Econ 101 textbook definition of economic principals. We are dealing with a family’s major investment – their current or future home. So it’s valuable to make a mental distinction between that notion of ‘property value’ and other, less abstract terms. Like “price”.


In a nutshell, “property value” can mean different things to different people — and even different things to the same person! To a homeowner, for instance, it can be the amount of money he or she can sell it for (its “market value”), or the value it has if he or she don’t sell but continue to use it as a place to live (its “use value”). To a lender, it usually means current market value; to a pure investor, property value might be its future value or its liquidation value, — which would also vary depending on whether they are thinking of some possible future forced liquidation or an orderly liquidation. In other words, “property value” is a term that can mean so many different things that it is not terribly useful.


So the next time you hear a commentator talking about “rising property values” or “sinking property values,” be ready to take what they are saying with a grain of salt…or possibly a shaker-full. Property values are not anything like “price”, “asking price,” or “selling price.” Those terms can have real numbers attached!


In case you have been thinking about buying or selling a Briargate or any home in Colorado Springs, give me a call.  719-3221-4727

I’m here at the office — and the market’s ready!

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