Have you heard of "pocket listings" in Fort Collins?

Home in Ridgewood Hills subdivision in Fort Collins, CO.

Home in Ridgewood Hills subdivision in Fort Collins, CO.

In your Fort Collins home search you are likely to hear the term “pocket listings” from your Realtor®.  So what exactly is a pocket listing?

In short, a pocket listing is a home or property that a real estate agent will be listing for sale in the near future but that has not been advertised in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  Real estate brokers are often able to network within their brokerage to pitch upcoming listings to other agents.  When housing inventory is low (as it has been in Fort Collins, CO for the last 12 months) it is important that you establish a relationship with a trustworthy Realtor® who can expose you to pocket listings.

Over 90% of home buyers search for real estate online.  Sure, retail websites like Trulia and Zillow make it very easy and convenient for online users to search for homes, preview pictures, and learn more about schools and neighborhoods.  But are you really seeing all of the homes for sale?

If you are only relying on your websites for listing updates then you are likely missing out on homes for sale that don’t even hit the market.  Large real estate brokerages like Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage with over 100 agents in Northern Colorado and over 16 real estate offices throughout Colorado are able to sell homes quickly (and often internally) because of the massive networking and advertising exposure listing agents can provide.  Think about it.  A home on the Internet is not going to sell itself.  Serious home buyers know this, which is why they choose to have a real estate agent on their side.

If you are still waiting for the right home to appear online it may be time to meet with a real estate agent to discuss your property criteria, build a relationship, and let your Realtor® help you gain some exposure to pocket listings.

For more information about the real estate market in Fort Collins, CO please give me a call or send me an email


Should you offer full price for your Fort Collins dream home?

When I meet with a new client and discuss the home-buying process, I generally give the client an overview of the real estate market.  If you haven’t been following the real estate market in Fort Collins, CO for the past year, let me sum it up for you: it’s a seller’s market.  The Months Supply of Inventory (M SI) is about 3.7 and 6.0 is considered a balanced market.  Right now the market will absorb the current inventory in 3.7 months, meaning there are more buyers in Fort Collins, CO then there are homes for sale.

The May Housing Report published by the Fort Collins Board of Realtors® (FCBR) shows that homes sold within 99.0% of the list price in April 2013, and for the 2013 calendar year homes have sold within 98.6% of list price.  So should you offer full price for your dream home?

It amazes me that there are buyers in today’s real estate market who still operate under the “I’ll offer 10% less than list price and see if they take it” philosophy.  Sure, you can offer less than list price, but keep in mind that sellers are receiving multiple offers, so do you really want to lose out on your dream home?

Obviously there are checks and balances to make sure you are not paying too much for a home.  When a professional real estate agent lists a home he or she should be doing a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to evaluate recent sales and help the seller to determine a realistic list price.  Your buyer’s agent should also be preparing a CMA for you so that you can see recent comparable sales before you even make your offer.  Finally, if you are obtaining traditional financing, your lender will hire an appraiser to determine the value of the home, ensuring that the lender does not lend too much against the property.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “The numbers don’t lie?”  Well the percentage of sale price to list price for homes in Fort Collins speaks for itself.  If you would like more information about buying or selling a home in Fort Collins, reach out to me and we’ll chat more about it.

Percentage of Sale Price to List Price April 2013

Percentage of Sale Price to List Price April 2013


Is Your Real Estate "Agent" Really Your Agent?

The function of the Colorado Real Estate Commission is to protect the general public in real estate transactions. One of the most important requirements of a licensed broker is to disclose to a client how the licensee is working on behalf of the client. The term “agent” is used for a licensee who is an advocate for the best interests of the client. This type of “agency” relationship requires a written contract between the client and the licensee. On the other hand, a “transaction broker” requires no written contract and the licensee merely helps facilitate a real estate transaction between a buyer and seller, without advocating the best interests of either party. So is your real estate “agent” really your agent?

It’s important to understand the basic difference of how your real estate licensee can work for you in Colorado. In some states such as California, dual agency exists so a real estate broker can be an advocate for both a buyer and a seller. Dual agency is illegal in Colorado, meaning that if a licensee is an “agent” for one side of the transaction he or she cannot be an “agent” for the other side of the transaction. A licensee working with both a buyer and a seller must generally operate as a “transaction broker” and must remain neutral to both parties.

One way to think of the broker-client relationship is to imagine yourself playing a soccer game, basketball game, or any competition that involves your coach and a referee. Think of the game as a real estate transaction. Your “agent” or coach is there to guide you, encourage you, motivate you, instruct you, and advocate your level of play to help you do your best in the game, hopefully resulting in an outcome or final score that you deserve. The “transaction broker” or referee is there to make sure both parties or teams are playing by the rules, protecting each party from illegal activities, and remaining neutral to the final score but making sure that game was played correctly. A real estate licensee can be either a coach for one team or a referee for both teams, but he or she cannot be a coach for both teams.

The term “real estate agent” has been used so much in common language that the word “agent” almost becomes synonymous with licensed broker or licensee, but keep in mind that just because you are working with a licensee does not necessarily mean you are working with an “agent.” Most importantly, you should ask yourself how you would want your licensed broker to work for you!

For more information about agency relationships or real estate in Colorado, contact Richard Jensen with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage at (970) 818-6161 or Richard@NoCoLifestyle.com. Clipper Way Listing

Waiting Periods for a Prior Foreclosure by Richard Jensen

If you are among the millions of Americans affected by job loss and foreclosure during the worst recession of the century, there is still hope for you to buy a home again.  I am often asked by previous home owners who had a foreclosure, "What can I do and how long do I have to wait before I can buy a home again?"  Well, it depends.

Waiting periods for buyers who experienced a foreclosure can vary depending on the type of loan approval they are seeking.  If you have had a foreclosure and would like to buy a home again, you can expect the following waiting periods:

  • For a conventional Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan, the typical waiting period after a foreclosure before you can qualify for a new loan is seven (7) years.  However, a lender may make exceptions to the waiting period after three (3) years if you can show that the foreclosure was a result of "extenuating circumstances," such as a job loss or death of a wage earner.

  • For a VA loan (Department of Veteran Affairs), you must have paid VA for the loss due to the foreclosure before you can qualify for a new VA loan.  The waiting period is two (2) years.

  • For an FHA loan (Federal Housing Administration), the waiting period is three (3) years; however, FHA also grants exceptions for "extenuating circumstances" that resulted in the previous foreclosure, and you must have re-estabilished good credit before you can qualify for a new loan.

Source: RealtorMag.Realtor.org

If you are considering a home purchase within the next six months, it is always a good idea to talk to a qualified lending professional to discuss your financing options and, if necessary, a credit repair program.  There are several lenders I can recommend, so feel free to contact me anytime for lender recommendations.  And as always, let me know if you have any questions about the real estate market in Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, or anywhere else in Northern Colorado.

Thanks for reading our Northern Colorado Real Estate and Lifestyle Blog.

Estes Park Vacation Home Review by Ryan Levander

"Keep close to Nature's heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." – John Muir


I don't think any quote better describes how I felt after spending a weekend in Richard's cabin. Emphasis on the last sentence and "washing your spirit clean."


Each time I travel to Estes Park it's an amazement within itself. The town sits at 7,522 feet above sea level, is nestled in the heart of the Front Range and Eastern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). People go up to Estes Park for a lot of different reasons. I think one underlying case is always simplicty and beauty; there's no escaping it.


For a weekend in the woods and literally a stone's throw from the RMNP entrance sign, this cabin is everything you need and nothing you don't. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a spacious kitchen and dining area leading into a VERY cozy living room. The fireplace and windows are the best parts about this cabin.


The first night I lit the fire and sat doing absolutely nothing on the couch right by it. Almost as if I was carrying on a conversation with it. As if the stars on a full moon night wouldn't be enough, I had the pleasure of staying there on a new moon weekend. WOW. It was as if all the constellations were boarding Noah's Arc and two of each were out. It was truly amazing to see such a clear, concise, and beautiful sky from a warm, relaxing living room.


Breakfast each morning was in good company. Elk, rabbits, foxes, deer, countless birds; kinda of upset I already used a Noah's Arc reference…Nevertheless, the very large windows made staying inside an option on a fairly cold January weekend. There was one instance where I finished my fruit and bagels while a group of deer starting inching closer and closer from the mountains north of me. I was truly amazed at how close they got as I peeled my oranges and finished my bagel. It was a surreal moment and I was able to snap photos of these beautiful creatures in the process:

Coldwell Banker Acquires Keller Williams in Fort Collins by Richard Jensen

Well, it’s official.  Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage owned and operated by NRT, LLC has purchased what was formerly Keller Williams Realty of Northern Colorado.  All real estate agents, including me, were notified on Thursday, January 10, 2013 of the new acquisition.  A press release has been published in The Coloradoan if you would like more information.


A merger between two real estate offices has a tremendous impact on the real estate agents operating their unique businesses within the guidelines and systems provided by the corporate entity.  Agents have been faced with a tough decision of whether to transition to Coldwell Banker under new ownership, hang their licenses with another Keller Williams brokerage along the Front Range, or move to a different real estate brokerage all together.  As the former Keller Williams office location will be the new home of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Fort Collins – and for various other reasons – I have chosen to operate my business under the Coldwell Banker national brand.

This leads me to another important aspect of the Northern Colorado real estate business.  I have found that people do business with real estate professionals based on their character, knowledge, integrity, and unique skill set.  My clients continue to do business with me because they find value in what I bring to their real estate endeavors.  And while it isn’t always about a brand name, it will be nice to have the brand recognition of a company that has been in business for over 100 years.


Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage operates more than 16 offices in Colorado and brokered over 9000 real estate transactions last year.  With office locations throughout Fort Collins, Loveland, and Estes Park, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is highly visible and positioned to assist mobile real estate agents in Northern Colorado.


For more information about the Northern Colorado real estate market, or for assistance buying or selling your home in Fort Collins, Loveland, or Estes Park, contact local real estate agent Richard Jensen with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.


Thanks for reading our Northern Colorado Real Estate and Lifestyle Blog!

Buying a Home in 2013? by Richard Jensen

(source: Richard Jensen)

There is something very consistent about New Year's resolutions – they seem to change every year.  We have new dreams, new goals, and a flurry of new gym memberships throughout Northern Colorado.  One of my New Year's resolutions is to buy my son a new toy for each closing I have in 2013.  You can bet he's been asking me every day, "Dad, did you sell a house today?"

And of course there are always changes to the Colorado real estate contracts approved by the Colorado Real Estate Commission.  So what should you know about buying a home in Northern Colorado in 2013?  Let me start by sharing some of the basics.

1.  The Colorado Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate has changed as of January 1, 2013.  To learn more about these changes and buying a home in Northern Colorado contact Richard Jensen with Keller Williams Realty of Northern Colorado.


2. Historically low interest rates may continue into the new year, but 2012 housing inventory in Northern Colorado was down nearly 50% compared to 2011.  It is a seller's market in Northern Colorado for homes priced under $250,000.  Be prepared for competition.

3. Standard build time for new construction is 60-90 days, so if you are considering moving into a new home in the Spring of 2013 you should act now.  New construction in Northern Colorado will continue to  rise in 2013 as more home buyers and investors take advantage of the profitable real estate market.

4. Rental rates in Larimer County are among the highest in the entire State of Colorado.  Chances are if you can afford to pay rent you can likely afford to pay a mortgage.

5. According to the National Association of Realtors®, 92% of home buyers choose to work with a professional buyer's agent to help them buy a home!  If you have not already committed to working with a Realtor® now is the perfect time to contact Richard Jensen with Keller Williams Realty of Northern Colorado.

Now if you haven't already spoken with a lender to discuss financing options and programs available for first time home buyers, add that to your list of New Year's resolutions.  And if you haven't already met with me to discuss your real estate goals for 2013, give me a call as soon as possible so we can schedule a brief meeting. 

As a Realtor® I spend much of my time studying the real estate market and, more importantly, previewing homes so that I have a better understanding of the features and benefits available to home buyers.  If you are serious about home ownership in 2013, now is the time to buy!

Thanks for reading our Northern Colorado Real Estate and Lifestyle Blog!


Estes Park Vacation Home Review January 2013

Thank you Heidi for your kind review of our vacation cabin in Estes Park, CO.  After her recent stay for New Year's Eve she shared the following review:

"We would definitely recommend staying at this quaint cabin right near Rocky Mountain National Park.  The first morning of our stay, we saw a herd of at least 200 elk right outside the front window.  It was truly amazing to see such beautiful wildlife, while drinking our morning coffee.  The interior of the property is totally updated and almost brand new, yet very comfortable and relaxing.  It’s such a convenient location near the Park, but also less than a 5 minute drive into town to check out some great restaurants, wineries and attractions.  We are already planning our next stay in this awesome vacation get-away!"  – Heidi M.

This 2BD 2BA (no tubs-showers only) home is conveniently located near the south entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park in the High Drive area of Estes Park, CO. Let the smell of pine trees surrounding the home invigorate your senses and watch elk, deer, and local wildlife from the deck or pack patio. Some of the 1960s charm remains but much of the home was refurbished in 2012. The beautiful kitchen includes new fixtures, appliances, cabinets, and Silestone counters. New carpet, hardwood, and tile flooring. The master bedroom with queen bed and guest bedroom with two twin beds make this a perfect vacation rental for four guests. Washer/dryer included. High-speed wireless Internet and basic cable included. Sorry, no phone or dishwasher.