All posts for the month April, 2016

Things Every Durango Home Buyer Should Know

Durango Home Buyers Questions

Being a Durango home buyer can be a confusing ordeal, but it doesn’t need to be. Knowledge is power and even more so when out in the real estate market. I’m starting a small list of a few things every Durango home buyer should know, hopefully you’ll find something new that you may not have thought of.

Create a game plan

Durango home buyer game plan

The first thing that needs to occur when you are looking to purchase real estate in Durango is for you to make a plan. You need to look at your finances, lifestyle, and activities and determine what you can afford, what you want, and what you need.

Looking at your finances to see what you are able to comfortably afford as a monthly payment and utilize a mortgage calculator to see what price point you’ll be looking in.

Ask yourself what you want in a new home, is it more room or maybe you want something more secluded and private. Knowing what you want will make the search part of the home buying much easier on yourself.

What you want may not be what you need though, evaluate what it is that your lifestyle and activities need in order to be able to continue. Maybe you want a home with a large deck, but it’s not what you need and possibly not what you are able to afford.

Hire a professional

Real Estate Professional

Even an experienced home buyer understands the need for an experienced real estate professional to guide you through the process, legalese, and the current market conditions.

Finding a good professional isn’t as easy as doing a quick google search, talk with your friends and family and get referrals. Attending open houses may be a great way to meet prospective agents as well. Conduct interviews with the agents you feel are good fits and select the one that you feel matches your requirements and personality. You’re the one that is the driver in this process, your agent will be there to navigate you through the process.

Real estate is an investment

Durango Real Estate Investment

It’s easy to be swept up in the moment while you are purchasing your new home, it’s quite possibly the largest purchase you’ll make in your lifetime. Make certain that you aren’t caught up in the “shiny new object effect” and purchase the home that first catches your eye. Logical thinking is crucial to the home buying process, Think about the local market statistics, sales history of the area and the resale potential of the home. How long do you plan on living in that home, will the home require need renovations or is it in good condition? Keeping to the plan you made and evaluating how the prospective home matches up with your needs with a level head will serve you well.

Obtain loan approval

Determining just how much home you can afford with your own budget is a key step in the home buying process as is getting loan approval. Consult with your real estate agent on who they recommend obtaining a loan from. Getting loan approval is important as it will tell you how much down you’ll need, the interest rate you’ll be looking at, as well as how much home you can truly afford. Clarifying your financial standing when purchasing a home is not only a crucial part of the home buying process but it will give you peace of mind while you are looking at homes. This isn’t always an easy step, be sure to consult with your financial advisor and certified public accountant as well, they’ll give you an insight into the financial aspects of acquiring a home loan.

Look at the tax benefits

Owning a home can have a huge impact on your tax liability, giving you write-offs that come along with home ownership. Mortgage interest, mortgage insurance, real estate property taxes, and discount points are all write-offs that you may be able to use.

  Think location, location, location

Some people know right away where they want to live, others need to preview many neighborhoods before they find one that fits there. Think about your favorite neighborhoods and why you want to live there. Where do you work, is it close to by or would you be doing a long commute in? What amenities would you prefer to have in a neighborhood, trails for walks and hikes, maybe you’d like a park for dogs and or children? Perhaps none fo that is for you and you would prefer to be in a quiet and secluded 3 acre plot. If you are moving to a new city, research the city and find out about the suburbs that exist there. Think about the weather, you may have visited the city before in fall or winter and its was great, but does the city have scorching summers? The internet is a great tool with even remote rural areas having information showing up about them.

At this point you’ll be able to get a pulse on the city you are moving into as well, check and see what if any new construction is planned. Are companies moving in or leaving? These easy to find things can tell you if your home is likely to gain or lose value as time goes on. Check with the city’s chamber of commerce and city building department for this information.

Research the internet

Like it has been mentioned before, the internet is a great tool for finding out information. Delving into the Durango real estate market blind is ill advised, check up on a few recent articles relating to Durango real estate and get a fresh perspective on housing. Check out real estate related terms, peruse different real estate websites. Make notes on things that you come across that you don’t understand and ask your agent to clarify them for you.

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Return on Investment in Durango Real Estate

Durango Return on Investment

If you are looking at Durango real estate as an investment opportunity, return on investment is going to be very important for you. Return on investment, commonly abbreviated as ROI, is the benefit to an investor resulting from an investment of some resource, often used as a measure of profitability of a project or business. In real estate ROI can be determined in several different ways but the two most common way are the cost method and the out of pocket method. I’ll break these two methods down for you here.

Cost Method

Cost Method Return on Investment

The cost method is fairly straightforward and gives an easy to understand outlook on your investment properties. It’s simple to calculate ROI on an investment but it’s harder to find all the factors that you need to plug into the calculations. ROI is determined by taking your total gains from a property and subtracting the total costs and dividing it over the amount you invested times 100.

For example, you purchase a home for 100,000 that needs repairs, the repairs and renovations the home needs run $25,000 and the home then values for $140,000. The home you purchased now has an equity to you of $15,000, which you would divide by your total investment into the home of $125,000 (home cost + renovations) giving you a ROI of 12%.

Often there may be additional expenses that need to be factored in, such as monthly dues to HOAs, utility costs, taxes, etc. Determining all the potential costs that can affect your ROI will give you a much clearer picture of how well your investments are performing.

Out of Pocket Method

Out of Pocket Return on Investment

A popular method for real estate is known as the out of pocket method because it results in a much higher ROI. This method focuses on the amount of money that you directly invest through a down payment or other expenses in a property.

 Take the same property from above, but financed with a $20,000 down payment instead of a cash purchase. It still needs the same repairs and renovations of $25,000, and your out of pocket expenses are now $45,000. The home is valued at $140,000 and your out of pocket ROI is 33.3%.

The method for determining the out of pocket ROI is a little different, you take the total gain ($140,000) subtract the total cost (home cost + repairs, $125,000) and divide it by the total amount invested by yourself ($45,000) so that works out to: ($140,000 – $125,000) / $45,000 * 100 = 33.3%. That is the amount of return on the money you paid out of pocket.

How long should I measure?

Meaaure ROI Time Period

You can use ROI for a set duration such as an annual period, or for total time of the project. The amount of time you measure ROI for depends on the type of investment you are purchasing. The complete duration ROI measurement is perfect for buying homes and “flipping” them. You’ll want to use an annual ROI for properties you plan to lease out, as it will take much longer to get your initial investment out, but you’ll have a passive income source.

Investing in real estate is one of the most secure ways to ensure your financial wealth into retirement. Markets will always have their ups and downs, and with thorough planning and a local expert to guide you through the market you’ll never be more secure with your investments.

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You can see what Durango homes sold for here and check out Durango homes for sale on my real estate website

Give me a call at 970.335.8225 or send me an email at

Preparing a Durango Home for Sale

Preparing a Durango Home for Sale

You’ve made the decision to sell your Durango home, what now?

Selling a home can be a process with the main goal of attracting interested and qualified buyers for your home one of the hardest things for most sellers. Before you list your home you should prepare your Durango home for sale with these tips.


Preparing a Home to Sell, Cleaning

The very first thing that should be done is to clean the home, really clean it, not the quick clean that you do just to get it over with. You’ll want to dust ceiling fan blades and fireplace mantles, clean and polish appliances and faucets, wipe down fixtures and windows. It will be important that you keep your home in showing ready condition the whole time you have it on the market so it is advised that you keep up on the cleaning. Should you have already moved out or just not have the time it may be worth hiring a professional cleaning service to keep the clean.


Declutter your home, both in living areas and in your storage areas. A cluttered home will give potential buyers the feeling that the home is small with no space for their belongings. Often sellers think they that cramming things into the closets is a quick and easy way to clean up a home, but storage space in a home is a key selling point. Having closets accessible and organized will leave a good impression with potential buyers about the home’s storage space.


Preparing a Durango Home to Sell, Lighting

Maybe you like dimly lit places, it gives you a feeling of comfort and security but most potential buyers will think otherwise. Open up curtains and drape to let light in, if a room is still poorly lit with the window open or lacks a window altogether, floor or table lamps can help brighten them up. A bright room feels more cheery, bigger, and inviting to people.


Some potted plants or a few flowers in a vase can liven up a space, fill in empty corners and even draw attention to your favorite features of your home. Keep the plants and flowers in good health though, dead plants and flowers send the wrong signal to buyers.

Purpose your rooms

Preparing a Durango Home to Sell, Exercise Room

Your home’s rooms can be configured in many different ways, don’t leave them empty or a dumping ground for random things. Having your home’s rooms set up for a specific purpose to clearly stage the space and showcase your home.

Furniture arrangements

How you position your furniture can influence how a buyer sees your home, group your furniture into arrangements that inspire conversation. Helping them picture themselves relaxing in your home increases the likelihood that they fall in love with your home.

Focal points

Prepare a Durango Home for Sale, Focal Point

Bring attention to your home’s best features with bright colors or accents like plants. Bright colored throw pillows can draw a buyer’s eyes to that comfy window seat. A handsome potted plant sitting on the mantle can showcase your fireplace.

Last and certainly not least, boosting curb appeal

The inside of your home can be immaculate, wide open living room, tall ceilings, and a chef’s kitchen, but if the outside is unkempt you won’t see much buyer traffic. In La Plata County the system realtors use to put homes online (MLS) has a rule which states the first photo has to be of the exterior front of a home. Because of that one rule many a buyer has passed over homes online and driving by looking at a dirty home with an overgrown yard. Clean the sides of your home, mow your lawn, weed your gardens, fix any peeling paint, and keep the walkway clear. Give a buyer a reason to want to take a look at the interior of your home with an excellent looking exterior.

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8 Common Mistakes New Durango Landlords Make

Home in Hands, Durango Landlords

Becoming a property investor can be a great way to build capital and a secure passive income, but only if done properly. Mismanagement of your investment properties can derail your career as a property investor just as soon as it starts. I’d like to share 8 common mistakes that new Durango landlords make when starting out.

Not treating it like a business

Investing is a serious item, your capital and plans for the future rest on it. Should you not treat investing as a business you should expect to make mistakes and lose money. Treating your investments like a business means putting together a plan that you refine and improve on over time and executing it.

Failure to look at ROI

ROI over time

ROI, or R.eturn O.n I.nvestment, is the benefit to an investor resulting from an investment of some resource. The resource in this case is your hard-earned money, the investment being the property you purchase. The benefit is relatively simple to calculate: income from investment (rent) minus all expenses (mortgage, HOA dues, taxes, etc) divided by the resource amount (your down payment)

Getting too close to your tenants

I’m not saying you can’t be friendly and professional to your tenants, but it’s not good business to have a personal relationship with your tenants. Friends may expect things from one another that don’t make to do in a business. Cordial and professional should be your mentality towards tenants.

Becoming attached to your properties emotionally

Attached Durango Landlords

Your properties will always be important to you but they are just properties for you, not a home. While you yourself may not wish to live in the property it can be a golden investment opportunity. Use your head when making purchases, not your heart.

Lack of proper maintenance for a property

Repairs and maintenance expenses are a fact of life for property investors. Trying to save a dollar today can cost you much more farther down the road. Don’t neglect proper maintenance of a home and fix issues with your properties when they arise, not when they become too large to ignore.

Failure to depreciate properties

Keeping properties you own on a depreciation schedule makes a big difference to your cash flow. A couple of bucks a month adds up over 15 years, it’s not wise to leave your income potential un-optimized.

Keep rents at market rates

Durango Landlords Throwing Money Away

It’s always a good idea to keep a finger on the pulse of your local market(s). Keeping your rent in line with market rates will ensure that you don’t leave money on the table, money you can use to increase your portfolio of properties. Speaking of which…

Failure to grow

Growth should be the objective for serious investors, adding properties to your portfolio of investments will grow your equity which allows you to borrow more to expand your portfolio. Increasing your monthly income and securing your future is paramount, don’t let your earning potential slip away.

Becoming a landlord can be a great way to build wealth and secure your retirement. As with all investments there are risks involved and you can mitigate your risks by ensuring you dont fall into these common landlord mistakes.

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Are you looking to buy a home? Let’s have a chat even if right now isn’t the best time. I have decades of experience in the real estate market and can help you with your plans.

You can see what local homes sold for here!

Give me a call at 970.335.8225 or send me an email at

Questions to Ask When Purchasing a Durango Home

Questions to Ask When Purchasing a Durango Home

Purchasing a home can be tricky, having insight into the motivation of a seller can give you an edge when negotiating a price for a home. Asking certain questions can give you the insight you need to make an informed offer on a home. Give these questions a try when communicating to a seller’s agent.

Why is the Owner Selling?

Easily the first and most important question to ask a seller’s agent is why is the seller selling their home? The seller’s agent doesn’t have to answer although they may allude to the seller’s motivation. You may find out the the seller is desperate to sell due to life changes or job change and would accept a lower price then they are asking.

Is there anything I should know about this home and surrounding neighborhood?

Buying any home brings along risks of things going wrong, faulty plumbing, mold, high levels of radon. Most of these problems can be found by a good home inspector for when you have already put in an offer on the home and are in the objection period of a contract. There are other factors which can greatly affect your home’s value as well. Are any major improvements planned for the area, is there a sewage plant being planned for nearby, is a local public transport hub closing? When you are looking for a home it’s not just the home you are purchasing, you are buying into a neighborhood. Make sure that your investment in that neighborhood is secure for the foreseeable future.

What are the inclusions, both exterior and interior?


The home you are looking at is perfect! It has a shed for storing, brand new washer and dryer, beautiful drapes that really pop with the walls. One itty bitty problem though, none of these things come with the home. Always ask what comes with the home, seller’s aren’t required to leave personal property with the home to sell it.

Has the home been on the market for a while?

The market can be fickle for sellers and buyers. The amount of time a home has been on the market could be an indication of a larger issue. The issue may be as simple as the home being overpriced, but it could be a serious issue that arose from a home inspection from a previous deal.

The longer a home is on the market the more likely a seller will be willing to take a lower price.

How long have the current owners lived there?

Homeowners have many reasons for moving, from life changes to job changes, but a homeowner  living in a home for a very short amount of time may be a red flag that there are serious issues with the home or neighborhood.

Has the property been sold repeatedly?

Home Offer

Ask your real estate agent to look up the sale history of a home. Should the property have a history of being sold many times in a short span you should be wary of the home. See if your agent is able to find out the reasons previous owners have moved.

How did the home’s asking price come to be?

Any agent worth their commission should be able to tell you their justifications for the home’s asking price. Your agent should be able to discern whether or not those reasons justify the home’s price. Sometimes an agent may let slip that they feel the home is overvalued, always ask if the price is set ins tone or if the seller may be willing to accept a lower price. Either way you should consult with your agent about what homes similar to the one you are looking at sold for in that area.

Has the home had any offers?

More likely than not the seller’s agent will tell you if the home has gotten any offers in but they will omit the amounts the offers were for. It’s always worth asking though as an agent may give subtle hints as to the amounts the offers were for and if they were close to the bottom line the seller wanted. The more you can find out about previous offers the easier it is for you to make one that is likely to be accepted.  

When do the Sellers Have to Move Out?


More often than naught, sellers are planning to move into another home and are selling their current home to facilitate that move. If the seller has already found their next home they will be more motivated to sell their current home as soon as possible. Conversely, if they have yet to determine where they would like to move to you may end up in deal with many contingencies that can fall through.

Which way does the property face?

Watching sunsets on the home’s terrace can be a bit of a challenge if the terrace faces north. In Durango, especially in the winter, the direction a home’s features face can affect your quality of living. Driveway facing North? The sun won’t shine on it long enough in winter to clear the snow and ice. Like waking up to the sun in the morning? West facing bedrooms aren’t for you. Determine which rooms you use the most and the directions they face.

Have any additions and improvements been done to the home?

Having extra space in a home is always welcome, unless you need to tear it down shortly after you purchase the home. Always ask for the building or land improvement permits for additions or improvements to a home and property. Not everyone goes through the proper channels to get things done and it would be heartbreaking (and costly) to have to tear down part of your new home.

Is there an HOA and if so, what are the dues, what’s the Average Utility cost?

Utility Costs

You’ve set a monthly amount that a new home can cost you mortgage wise, but often Home Owner Associations (HOAs) can add a not insignificant amount to your monthly expenses. Adding to the expense of owning a home. older homes may not be well insulated and cost you more than expected in utility charges. Ask the seller’s agent for the HOA amounts and the average monthly utility bill for the home. Most utility companies will give the yearly high and low as well as the average monthly bill, if they don’t the seller’s agent can ask the homeowner for you.

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Are you looking to buy a home? Let’s have a chat even if right now isn’t the best time. I have decades of experience in the real estate market and can help you achieve your real estate goals.

You can see what local homes sold for here!

Give me a call at 970.335.8225 or send me an email at