All posts for the month May, 2016

Five Don’ts of Mortgage Funding

Don'ts of Mortgage Funding

1: Don’t change your employment status

Changing your job while applying for a mortgage can be a huge mistake. While it doesn’t necessarily automatically disqualify you from obtaining a loan, lenders see it as a large red flag.

Lenders on a loan look at a vast assortment of items to see if you qualify for a loan, among them are aspects of your income: the amount, the history, and the stability. Jumping from job to job will cause reason for concern for a lender as they may decide your income isn’t stable enough for a loan. On the other side of the coin should you be changing jobs in the same field with similar pay it won’t be that big of an issue.   

2: Don’t make any major purchases (cars, furniture, home theater, etc,)

Jeep Wrangler

You’ll want to hold off on getting a new car until after you have secured your home loan. Lenders will be looking at your debt to income ratio to see how much they can safely loan you. Increasing you debt, even by a small amount could be the difference in getting approved for a loan. Just because you’ve been pre-approved doesn’t mean you’re safe to go on a spending spree either. Lenders will recheck your financials when you go for final approval.

3: Don’t increase you credit card debt (or miss payments)

Similarly to not getting a car loan, you’ll also want to keep your credit card debts lower as well. Your debt to income ratio includes credit card balances, the higher the debt, the less home you’ll be able to be approved for.

4: Don’t change bank accounts or make undisclosed large deposits

Lenders will be taking a close look at your most recent bank statement as part of the loan approval process, and then they’ll look again during the underwriting process. You’ll want to explain any large deposits or withdrawals to your lender. This means a having a clear paper trail and documentation for gift funds to make the lender happy.

5: Don’t apply for a credit card, co-sign a loan or make a credit inquiry

Credit Trap - Don’ts of Mortgage Funding

Adding new lines of credit to your credit history right before you apply for a home loan won’t be doing you any favors. Similarly co-signing on a loan for someone else is going to increase your personal debt to income ratio as you become legally liable for the debt you are cosigning for should the person who initiated the loan default on the payments. Even if the person you are co-signing for is the most trustworthy person on the planet lenders will still count the debt against you as well.

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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.

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Radon in Durango

Radon in Durango

You may have heard about radon in the news, that it is dangerous and quite pervasive in La Plata County. Should you be concerned about radon, and what can you do to protect yourself and family from radon in Durango?

What is Radon?

Magnifying Glass

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, radioactive noble gas that occurs naturally from radium decaying. Radon has the atomic number of 86, atomic mass of 222, and the most common isotope of radon has a halflife of 3.8 days. As a noble gas, radon isn’t very reactive with other elements. Because of its radioactivity and the fact that it is a gas, it is considered a health hazard in large concentrations.

Where Does it Come From?

Radon Entering Home

Image Courtesy of Natural Resources Canada

Radon is produced by the decay of radium-226 which is found in uranium ores, shales, granite, gneiss, phosphate rocks, and to a smaller extent, common rocks like limestone. All soil in the world contains trace amounts of radium which slowly releases radon into the atmosphere in minuscule amounts. For those living in La Plata County the fact that radium is found in uranium, itself being a product of uranium’s natural decay, is a reason for the abnormal levels or radon found in the county. Durango was once home to a uranium mill used to produce uranium ore for the Manhattan Project. This mill continued to operate in one form or another, producing vanadium as well as uranium ore up to 1963. The uranium tailings from this mining operation were left out in exposed piles for years until the start of the cleanup process in the 60’s. Uranium tailings were removed from 1960-1989, with most of the actual moving of the tailings from 1978-1989. As there is still uranium ore in the hills surrounding Durango which raises the natural levels of radon above the national average.

How Dangerous is it?

Durango, Colorado Emergency Numbers

The threat radon poses to your health depends on its concentration in your environment and home. On average the levels of radon outdoors is 0.4 pCi/L and is almost completely harmless. However the average, and low, level of radon in a home of 1.3 pCi/L has been estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency to cause 2 people in 1000 (0.2%), and as the concentration of radon increases so to does the risk of lung cancer.

Non Smoking Radon Cancer Risk

The risk of lung cancer is greatly exacerbated by being a current or even a former smoker:

Smokers Radon Cancer Risk

What Can be Done?

Radon Mitigation Design Idea

Obviously you don’t want to deal with higher than normal levels of radon in your home, radon is a heavy gas that tends to collect in buildings and there are ways to reduce your exposure to radon. The City of Durango adopted regulations at the start of 2016 requiring that builders place radon resistant and abatement measures in place for all new constructions while La Plata County is working towards adopting the same regulations as well. Radon mitigation is a common procedure down in durango by specialists, the cost varies depending on the amount of work that must be done to retrofit a system into a home. Some homes like the townhomes found in Three Springs have the infrastructure in place and only the hardware needs to be installed by a homeowner. Opening windows and letting in some fresh air is another way to lessen one’s exposure to radon.

Wendy Rice with the CSU extension office has test kits available for free and she recommends that you test your home for radon every 5 years. Wendy is located at 2500 Main Street and can be reached at 382-6461 for more information on radon and radon test kits.

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Real estate mistakes can cost you big time in a truly short time. Having an experienced real estate agent at your side who can guide you through the real estate process is indispensable. I’m always happy to help with any questions you may have in real estate.

Give me a call (970) 335-8225 or you can email me at

You can browse homes for sale in the Durango area here, and you can see what your home is valued at here

If you are out and about looking at real estate, my real estate companion app can help!

Text “kwgallantrealestate” to 87778 or scan this QR code:

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What Makes a Bedroom in Durango?

Durango Home Buyers Questions

What makes a bedroom in Durango a legally valid bedroom? Code regulations on Egress and minimal square footage, and ceiling height are the legal factors and are what should be used to list the bedroom count when a home is put up for sale.

What constitutes an egress window?

An egress window is determined by several factors such as height of the window off the floor and minimum width, height, and overall surface area of the window. La Plata County list these requirements when determining if a window meets the requirements for an egressable window:

Egress Window Measurements

The maximum sill height for an egress window is 44 inches above the floor.

The window must have a net clear openable area of at least 5.7 square feet.

Exception: Windows at grade may have a 5.0 square foot opening

The window must have an opening at least 20 inches in width

The window must have an opening at least 24 inches in height.

The opening must be operable from inside without the use of keys or tools.

Where windows are below grade a window well meeting certain specifications is required*

Room Dimensions

Durango Bedrooms come in all sizes from grandiose to minuscule, but how small can they be before they are no longer legally defined as a habitable room?

Room Dimensions Durango

Minimum habitable room size is 70 square feet

Minimum width of a habitable room is 7 feet

Ceilings with a sloped area lower than 5 feet in height do not contribute to the required room area

Habitable rooms require windows equal to 8% of floor area of the room, ½ of which must be operable

Habitable rooms … must have a ceiling height not less than 7 feet, measured to the lowest projection from the ceiling.

Ceiling Heights Durango

Exceptions: 1: Beams spaced more than 4 feet apart, may project 6 inches below the required height

2.: Ceilings in basements without habitable space may project to within 6 feet, 8 inches off the floor

3: Not more than ½ of a room with a sloped ceiling may have a ceiling height of less than 7 feet. (Space with a sloped ceiling less than 5 feet in height do not contribute to the area of the room)

4: Bathrooms may have a ceiling height of 6 feet 8 inches over the fixture and at front clearances

To recap: A bedroom must be at least 70 square feet, have an egress window and have ceilings 7 feet high (and if the ceiling is sloped no more then half of the sloping ceiling be under 7 feet and none of it under 5 feet). I hope that you’ve found this information useful!

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Buying real estate can be a confusing and frustrating ordeal. Having an experienced real estate agent at your side who can guide you through the real estate process is indispensable. I’m always happy to help with any questions you may have in real estate.

Give me a call (970) 335-8225 or you can email me at

You can browse homes for sale in the Durango area here, and you can see what your home is valued at here

If you are out and about looking at real estate, my real estate companion app can help!

Text “kwgallantrealestate” to 87778 or scan this QR code

Gallant Network App QR code

Durango, Colorado Emergency Numbers

Durango, Colorado Emergency Numbers

If you are in Durango, it’s a good idea to know or at least have a list of Durango emergency numbers at hand. First and foremost if you are having a medical, fire, or are in danger you should dial 911 right away. For all other needs you can use these numbers:

Durango Dispatch (Fire, Medical, Police): (970) 385-2900

La Plata County Animal Control: (970) 385-2900

American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1 (800) 222-1222

Suicide Hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255

LPEA: (970) 259-5786

Durango Utility Commission (Water & Sewer) : (970) 375-4801

Hospitals & Medical Services:

Mercy Regional Medical Center:

(970) 247-4311

1010 Three Springs Blvd

24/7 Emergency Room

La Plata Family Medicine:

(970) 259-3110

316 Sawyer Drive

Open till 7

Durango Urgent Care:

(970) 247-8382

2577 Main Ave

Open till 7

Durango Towing Services:

Bo Dean’s Towing: (970) 375-6221

Basin Towing & Repair: (970) 247-2444