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Enewsletter, August 30, 2010

by Harry Salzman

August 30, 2010





First time buyers deserted the market in July, according to the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance Monthly Survey of real estate Market Conditions. In March and April, First-Time Buyers accounted for 48.2% of all Homebuyers, whereas in July, they accounted for only 39.1%, the lowest level in at least a year.

Thomas Popik, the research director for Campbell Surveys said that " We expect a further decline in first-time Buyers, perhaps as low as 30-35% by the fall months. The end of the tax credit for first-time Homebuyers clearly had an effect". Interestingly, first-time Homebuyers made up a healthy 46.4% of short sale purchasers last month.

The most frustrating aspect of short sales continues to be the timeframes required between offers and acceptance. Even though lenders have somewhat reduced the time required for acceptance (One major financial institution proudly announced that their timetable is now down to 4 months for approvals - down from 11-12 months), the process still takes too long. Prospective Buyers often tend to get frustrated with the delay and choose to buy elsewhere. This is obviously the reason that, as of July, foreclosed properties (REOs) averaged more offers than short sale properties.



Speaking of short sales, we have been invited back to speak about this topic and about foreclosures on VoiceAmerica. The Host/Interviewer will again be Deborah Hoskins, JD, CFP, on her show, "The Wise and The Wary". The topic will be "The Realtor's Role in Assisting Clients with Foreclosures and Short Sales". Tune in on October 13, 2010 and listen to what promises to be an interesting show. We will give more details as we get closer to the air date. In the meantime, you can learn more about VoiceAmerica by clicking on this link.



In July, existing-home sales were sharply lower, but median home prices continued to rise, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales showed a drop of 27% to the lowest figure in 15 years and represented the largest monthly drop on record, dating back to 1968.

On the other hand, mortgage interest rates also continued to drop. Last week, there were times when we could obtain 30 year, fixed-rate home mortgages for as low as 4.0%.

So, why aren't more people buying homes? One of the big reasons is that there aren't many Buyers out there right now and, the ones that eventually will buy are holding back, thinking that the market hasn't bottomed out yet. That looks like a risky gamble in today's market as statistics indicate median home prices are on the rise.

Unfortunately, inventories are also growing. One reason for that fact is that prospective buyers and realtors are both growing leery of dealing with short sale properties, because of the length of time required to obtain final approval from lenders. This problem has gotten so bad that many Realtors will not even show short sale properties. The result is that, as these properties are dumped into the market by lenders, they simply sit there and, along with new foreclosures, increase the size of the inventory of available homes. This creates even more pressure to lower prices. Conservative estimates indicate that these properties account for 20%-30% of the market.

The bottom line for Buyers is that, with large inventories of homes for sale (which pushes prices down), and with low mortgage rates (which pushes costs down) and with looming federal increases in fees on the horizon, there will probably never be a better time to buy. 

Call us.



The late comedian/actor W.C. Fields was famous for hating Philadelphia, PA. (probably because of the bad reviews he received there). His dislike for "The City of Brotherly Love" was so intense, that he selected the following epitaph for his tombstone. "All things considered, I'd rather be here than in Philadelphia".

Now, we don't share W.C. Field's dislike for Philadelphia, but the latest economic data about Colorado Springs leads us to feel that, "All things considered, we'd rather be here than anywhere else".

In a speech on August 25th, Fred Crowley, PhD, chief economist for the Southern Colorado Economic Forum gave us a preview of the report on our local economy which he and Tom Zwirlein, PhD,, will present at the upcoming Southern Colorado Economic Forum. In a nutshell, Fred's summary of our local economy is that, "We've fared so much better than the national market that it's absolutely mind-boggling".

To cite a few of the encouraging facts from their upcoming presentation: 

  • Our year-to-Date residential home sales are up 8%, compared with a 22% decline nationally
  • Our average home price has increased 3% and the median price is up 5%
  • Our foreclosures are 14%-15% lower than one year ago
  • Our new car registrations have nearly doubled from June-July 2009
  • The Business Condition Index for El Paso County is up in 6 of the 10 indicators

(The BCI is a measure of 10 economic indicators, including emplanements, city sales and use tax collections, local employment rate, etc.)

  • Our BCI bottomed out in February, 2010 and has increased 20% since then
  • Our initial unemployment claims are down 27.3%
  • Taxable retail sales are up 8%

To hear more about this very interesting report and to attend great seminars by other national experts, we encourage you to attend the upcoming 2010-2011 Southern Colorado Economic Forum, on October 1, 2010, at the Antlers Hotel in downtown Colorado Springs. To register, visit the Southern Colorado Economic Forum website. This annual event has become a sellout, so put it on your calendar, today.



Although there are no specific Rules and Regulations currently available from the 2300-page Dodd-Frank Financial Overhaul, we do know that there will be new fees created for federally-insured mortgage borrowers. (i.e. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA and VA mortgages account for about 90% of all new home loans). We do know that, beginning in October, 2010, FHA will raise their annual insurance premiums to as high as .9% of the loan amount (up from .55%). At the same time, the up-front premiums due at closing will drop to 1% from the current 2.25%.

The Dodd-Frank recommendations are intended to increase the reserves of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, so that these agencies do not repeat their near-collapse caused by the recent housing crisis. Whatever final regulations are adopted, we can be sure that they will make it cost more to buy your new home after October 1, 2010.

This is just one more reason to buy today!! Call us  



The following two items from Daily real estate News, August 30, 2010, caught our attention.

5 Reasons Homeownership Trumps Renting

The seemingly endless run of bad housing news is discouraging some potential home buyers from considering a purchase. But the truth is that the advantages of homeownership have very little to do with investment gains. The best things about owning a home have a lot more to do with personal comfort and satisfaction. Here are five of them:

Be your own landlord. The bank can only kick you out if you don't pay; a landlord can be much less dependable - deciding to sell the property or choosing to live there themselves.

Paying the principal is forced savings. Yes, it's possible that home prices will fall further. It is also possible that your 401(k) will lose value. But over the long haul, both are likely to enjoy modest gains in value.

Fixed-rate mortgages never rise - and eventually you pay them off. With mortgage rates at record lows, people who buy now are locking in real bargains.

Good schools. Family-sized rentals are harder to come by in areas with excellent public schools.

Spacious properties in pleasant neighborhoods. Sizable homes in attractive communities are almost always owned - not rented.



Administration Undecided about Another Tax Credit

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that the administration would "do everything we can" to stabilize the U.S. housing market.

Whether it will resurrect the first-time home buyer tax credit is up in the air. Donovan said that the drop in home sales in July was worse than the administration expected.

Donovan also said that the Federal Housing Administration will launch an emergency loan program to help unemployed borrowers stay in their homes and a program to help underwater borrowers refinance.



To see the most recent Sales and Listing statistics from the Pikes Peak area, Click here

And, please remember, I would be honored to serve as your Broker for all of your residential real estate needs. I want to help you, my reader, make the most prudent and accurate Real Estate business decision.

Also if you know of anyone who desires to buy or sell local real estate, or, who is moving in or out of the Pikes Peak region, remember that, with over 37 years of providing relocation and Real Estate services to clients throughout the country, I am uniquely qualified to assist them with the relocation process, including buying and/or selling their homes on both ends of their move. Please allow me to implement my negotiating skills on your behalf.

Just click on the icon at the top of this email to listen to my latest podcast. ..And, if you would like to learn more about our Job Loss Protection Program, or, about our CyberHomes Complete Market Analysis of a property, please contact us. 



A small-business operator, a tax accountant and a government economist apply for the same job.

The interviewer calls in the small business operator and asks "What do two plus two equal?" The small business operator replies "Four." The interviewer asks "Four, exactly?" The small business operator looks at the interviewer incredulously and says "Yes, four, exactly."

Then the interviewer calls in the tax accountant and asks the same question "What do two plus two equal?" The accountant says "On average, four - give or take ten percent, but on average, four."

Then the interviewer calls in the government economist and poses the same question "What do two plus two equal?" The economist gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says, "What do you want it to equal"?

Enewsletter, August 23, 2010

by Harry Salzman

August 23, 2010





The following excerpts are taken from an August 18, 2010 article by Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors:

"These past few months saw a "pause" in housing market activity following the rush of Buyers to qualify for the tax credit. This pause was anticipated and is still occurring. Whatever current or former Fed chairmen say, most observers and analysts of the housing market say the same thing: IT DEPENDS ON JOBS.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which measures total production in the economy, decelerated to 2.4% in the second quarter after growing 3.7% and 5% in the prior two quarters. Let's review what we know of each of the GDP components in real dollars above inflation:

  • Consumer spending has been rising at a 2% rate, rather than a 4% growth rate prior to the recession.
  • State and local government spending has been falling by 2% because of the need to balance their budgets.
  • Federal government spending has been increasing by 6%-7% in the past two years.
  • real estate construction spending has not experienced any meaningful growth lately.
  • For a variety of reasons, do not expect any help to GDP growth from foreign trade.
  • Business spending remains 23% below its peak. Businesses are not spending as they should

One thing is clear. Slow business spending will mean slow economic expansion and a slow pace of job creation. (Editors note: The government's response to all of these factors reminds me of the old cartoon's title, "The beatings will stop when productivity improves")

For home sales, the only hope to restart any momentum in the absence of robust job growth is low mortgage rates. Thankfully, we still have that.

Despite the low interest rates (which should encourage and abet borrowing), consumer prices could stop decelerating and start to move up. If that happens, watch out for what happen to interest rates.

The outlook for the economy remains unusually uncertain. However, if business spending comes back where it should be, then GDP could easily grow at a 5% rate. That would correspond to very healthy job gains of possibly 3 million in a single year. As we know, people with jobs, buy homes. That would, indeed, be a good sign for housing.



One of the most difficult tasks that Realtors face today is telling prospective Sellers what their homes are worth in today's market. Most people are not aware of how drastically the economic downturn has affected the market value of their homes, until they decide to put them on the market. When we show them what the local market says their home is worth, they go through the classic steps of grief, i.e. disbelief, anger, negotiation and resignation.

But, keep in mind that "All real estate is local"  and, in some parts of the country, Real Estate values have held up quite well. What's the difference between the "Winners" and the "Losers"? In every case, the thing that makes the difference between sinking and rising Real Estate values is the local job market. Where there are opportunities for good, primary jobs, real estate values are up. Where there is a shortage of good, primary job opportunities, as there is now in Colorado Springs, home values have been strongly affected.

The fact is that real estate values, as well as all other aspects of any economy depend upon the health of the local job market. (In a healthy economy, Real Estate represents approximately 6% of the total economy.)

So, what can a community do to create more job opportunities? To seek an answer to that question, let's look at what some other creative groups have done to create jobs in their cities.

First, let's look at Huntsville, Alabama, a city that has shown remarkable economic growth in recent years. As the August 20, 2010 issue of the Colorado Springs Business Journal points out, the boom in Huntsville was the result of a coordinated effort by local government, jobs-creation groups, influential political allies, a long-standing commitment to building a diverse economy, generous local government incentives and a university that makes technology innovation a top priority. All of the efforts of all of these various groups were spearheaded and overseen by a single economic development force, namely, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce.

Bottom line: They created jobs. Huntsville, Alabama was just named by The Wall Street Journal (Aug. 21, 2010), as one of the best cities in the U.S. for real estate investment. Their housing prices are up. Their unemployment rate is 7% (vs. 8.9% in Colorado Springs and 9.5% nationally). Businesses are hiring and available retail and office space is at a premium.

Another dramatic example of jobs creation was the work done by Jodi Rell, Republican Governor of Connecticut. In a traditionally Democratic state, she organized all levels of state and federal government, together with commercial business leaders, into a dynamic marketing effort to persuade Starwood Hotels to relocate their headquarters from New York into Connecticut. Under her leadership, a new office park was created, anchored by Starwood, with over 800 new, high-level jobs, paying an average of $115,000 annually. Obviously, this type of job spins off many other service-type jobs within the park.

In every other example of successful jobs creation that we have investigated, there is one common denominator. The successful efforts all required strong, local political leadership .Leaders with a vision, with leadership and organizational skills, with the ability to work with local businesses and with a willingness to develop incentives that could attract new businesses into the area.  

Bottom line? The direction of our local economy, our quality of life and the market value of our homes will depend largely upon how many new jobs our elected leadership can create in Colorado Springs. So, we strongly suggest that, in the upcoming elections in April, we should ask every candidate for office, "What is your plan for creating new jobs in Colorado Springs?"  



Realtor Magazine gave us three interesting items, this week:

Americans still want to own a home

More than 72% of American adults say that home ownership is a part of their personal American dream, down from 77% six months ago, according to a survey from

About 23% said their attitude toward home ownership has grown more positive in the last six months, while 19% say theu feel more negatively.

Among those adults who are renting a home, 27% say they never intend to buy.

Of the renters who do plan to purchase eventually, 68% said it would be more than two years before they do.

The factors that would encourage them to buy now are:

  • Able to save a down payment, 47%
  • Land a new job, 28%
  • Interest rates stay low or fall lower, 27%
  • Some other factor that persuades them that buying makes financial sense, 24%
  • Get a raise. 23%
  • Local real estate market stabilizes. 9%

Three reasons to buy a home now

Stocks are up 50% from the March 2009 bottom. Some commodities have risen dramatically. The only asset class left in the cellar is real estate, says Michael Murphy, editor of the New World investor stock newsletter.

As a result, Murphy is advising investors to buy now for these three reasons:

  1. Desperate sellers: Both home owners and lenders are eager to unload a flood of foreclosed and underwater properties. Buyers with the patience to push through these complex deals can save a bundle.
  2. Little competition: Because most people don't have what it takes to negotiate their way through the short sales and REOs, patient investors are winners.
  3. Low rates: Mortgage rates are at their lowest level in 40 years. If you believe inflation is inevitable, lock in now.



Click here to see the latest Sales and Listing statistics for the Pikes Peak region

And, please remember, I would be honored to serve as your Broker for all of your residential real estate needs. I want to help you, my reader, make the most prudent and accurate Real Estate business decision.

Also if you know of anyone who desires to buy or sell local real estate, or, who is moving in or out of the Pikes Peak region, remember that, with over 37 years of providing relocation and Real Estate services to clients throughout the country, I am uniquely qualified to assist them with the relocation process, including buying and/or selling their homes on both ends of their move. Please allow me to implement my negotiating skills on your behalf.

Just click on the icon at the top of this email to listen to my latest podcast. ..And, if you would like to learn more about our Job Loss Protection Program, or, about our CyberHomes Complete Market Analysis of a property, please contact us. 



So, this Realtor dies and goes to Heaven (OK, OK, It's just a joke, for goodness sakes). When he finishes the Grand Tour, he says, "Hey, St Peter, you have a great place here. We could really double your investment if we just built a few condos, did some strategic re-zoning, dedicated a couple of parks and marketed the whole development properly. What do you say?"

St. Peter says, "That sounds like a great idea, but we can't do it".

The Realtor says, "What do you mean, you can't do it. It's a slam dunk. Everybody's home values would go up and we'd all be on Easy Street.

St. Peter says, "You don't understand. It's a financing problem. We don't have any lenders up here".

Just then, there's a knock on the pearly gates. When St. Peter opens the door, the devil is standing there, looking embarrassed. He says, "Is it too late for me to change my mind? I think I would like to come back to Heaven".

St. Peter asks, "Why the change of heart?"

The devil replies, "I don't have anywhere else to live. My banker just foreclosed on Hell and evicted me".


Enewsletter, August 16, 2010

by Harry Salzman

August 16, 2010





We received a lot of positive feedback from our 50-minute interview on On the show, Deborah Hoskins, JD, CFP, the host of "The Wise and The Wary", asked me about some innovative, aggressive and creative marketing ideas for closing real estate deals in today's market.

The VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network is the single largest producer of original Internet talk radio programming in the world. If you didn't hear the live interview and would like to hear it, please click here.  

Give us a call and let us know how you liked the interview.



The latest statistics from the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors confirm that the federal tax credit for Homebuyers was an inducement for some prospective Homebuyers to make their move by April 30, 2010, in order to qualify for the tax credit. Unfortunately, however, while the tax credit did create some Buyers and persuaded other prospective Buyers to buy in the Spring, rather than in the Summer, the bottom line was that the buying "spree" died along with the tax credit. As a result, July sales were slightly down.

As the July statistics also show, total residential sales in July, 2010 decreased to 713, a decrease of 21.9% from June, 2010 and a decrease of 24.6% from July, 2009.

The good news is that, although the median sales price in July, 2010 ($237,029) remained basically the same as June, 2010, it did show an increase of 5.1% over July, 2009.

Note that the total active listings amounted to 5955, which is .6% above June, 2010, and 16% above July, 2009.   

All of these figures demonstrate that we are in a Buyers' market. Prospective Buyers have their choice of houses at very competitive prices and Sellers are really in a squeeze. They must be willing to spend whatever is necessary to make their homes visually attractive and must be willing to price aggressively, to make their homes economically attractive.

The result of this "squeeze" on Sellers is that we meet prospective Sellers every day who are holding their homes off the market "until the market improves". Normally, that decision makes sense. However, considering the current large inventory of available homes (which will delay any significant increase in home prices in the immediate future) and the availability of extremely low interest rates (which will not last forever), we are encouraging prospective Buyers to consider listing their homes at a competitive price RIGHT NOW.

Consider these scenarios:

  • Seller #1 has to reduce his selling price, in order to make the sale. He then becomes a prospective Buyer. Thus, the money he "loses" when he sells, he makes up for by buying his next home at the low prices and low interest rates that are now available. He has, essentially, taken money out of one pocket and put it back into another

.and he ends up with very low mortgage payments for the next 30 years.


  • Seller #2 holds his home off the market until the market "comes back". When prices eventually go up, he will get a higher price for his house, but will pay more for his next house when he buys. The money he has "made" by waiting, he "loses" when he buys his next home. He has simply put money into one pocket and taken it out of another.

.and he ends up with higher mortgage payments for the next 30 years.  

 Bottom line ?  Let us help you sell your home right now. Call us.



Sales tax collections in July rose 8% from July 2009, according to the Gazette (August 11, 2010). That makes 9 months in a row that sales tax collections have increased, compared to a year earlier. Much of the increase was because of the increase in auto sales. (Just one more reason we should thank our returning troops).

Fred Crowley, Chief Economist at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, explained, "We're at that re-buying stage right now. It's a classic inventory-recovery, post-recession period"



On August 11, 2010, the National Association of Realtors released its quarterly performance report on the 155 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the nation (MSAs). The survey includes all MLS sales. The report shows that, compared with the same period in 2009, the second quarter of 2010 showed higher median prices for existing family homes in 100 of the 155 MSAs.

(Note: "Median Price" represents the exact middle of the price range i.e. half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less than the median price). The median price is considered to be the most accurate housing price index.

At the end of June, the national median price for existing, single-family homes was $176,900, up 1.5% from the same period one year ago. In Colorado Springs, however, the median price went up 4.1%. That's almost three times more than the national median price increase. Hooray for us !!

In spite of that piece of good news, it's still apparent that sales are lagging both nationally and locally and Realtors nationwide report that the federal tax credit was just a temporary fix for the problem.  



We are one of the original supporters of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, the AAA Affiliate of the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club. So, as part of the Sky Sox Sponsor-Appreciation Nights, we have been given 50 free tickets to the Sky Sox games on Tuesday, August 24 (featuring the always-popular $2 Coors and $2 parking), Wednesday, August 25 (featuring the annual Bark in the Park. All dogs admitted free) and Thursday, August 26 (with live entertainment and Wing Fest 2010. Sample the Best Wings in Colorado Springs for free). Game times are 6:05pm. These are reserved-seat tickets and we will give them out to our enewsletter subscribers on a first-come, first-served basis (Maximum 4 tickets per person).

If you would like to see some exciting baseball, just drop by our office and pick up your free tickets. .and we won't even ask you to buy us some peanuts and CrackerJacks.  

And, please remember, I would be honored to serve as your Broker for all of your residential real estate needs. I want to help you, my reader, make the most prudent and accurate Real Estate business decision.

Also if you know of anyone who desires to buy or sell local real estate, or, who is moving in or out of the Pikes Peak region, remember that, with over 37 years of providing relocation and Real Estate services to clients throughout the country, I am uniquely qualified to assist them with the relocation process, including buying and/or selling their homes on both ends of their move. Please allow me to implement my negotiating skills on your behalf.

Just click on the icon at the top of this email to listen to my latest podcast. ..And, if you would like to learn more about our Job Loss Protection Program, or, about our CyberHomes Complete Market Analysis of a property, please contact us. 



Please choose whichever one of the following statements makes more sense to you:

a. The government will give $3 billion to unemployed homeowners who are delinquent in their mortgage payments, so they can delay eventual foreclosure.


b. The government will spend $3 billion to assist small businesses which will hire unemployed homeowners, thus helping them catch up on their delinquent mortgage payments.

Maybe it's just us, but it seems to be an example of the ancient saying, "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, but, teach a man to fish and he will be able to feed himself for the rest of his life".

Duh !!!



Short real estate Jokes

My buyer told me that he lived in the same house for 10 years. When I checked, I found out he'd still be there today if the Governor hadn't pardoned him.

The sellers told me their house was near the water. It was in the basement.

How much are they asking for your rent now? Oh, about twice a day.

I have a temporary mortgage. What do you mean temporary? Until they foreclose.

Realtor: first you folks tell me what you can afford, then we'll have a good laugh and go on from there.

The dream of the older generation was to pay off a mortgage. The dream of today's young families is to get one.

There is no longer a need for the neutron bomb. We already have something that destroys people and leaves buildings intact. It's called a mortgage.

If you think no one cares you're alive, miss a couple of house payments.

My buyers went through debt consolidation. Now they have only one bill they won't pay.

I listed a maintenance free house. In the last 25 years there hasn't been any maintenance.

Did you hear about Robin Hood's house? It has a little John.

If you want to know exactly where the property line is, just watch the neighbor cut the grass.

Houses today don't have enough closet space. Sure they do. They're just called guest bedrooms.

"A lot of homes have been spoiled by inferior desecrators".--Frank Lloyd Wright

The house is only 5 minutes from shopping . . .if you've got an airplane.

This country is great. It's the only place where you can borrow money for a down payment, get a 1st and 2nd mortgage.. and call yourself a homeowner.

A man's home is his castle. That's how it seems when he pays taxes on it.

The trouble with owning a home is that no matter where you sit, you're looking at something you should be doing.

This house has an all-electric home. Everything in it is charged.

My buyers want a new home on the outskirts---of their income, that is.

By the time you pay for a home in the suburbs, it isn't.

Enewsletter, August 9, 2010

by Harry Salzman

August 10, 2010




No matter where you are in the nation, if you listen to this Wednesday at 2pm MST, you can hear my interview with Deborah L. Hoskins, JD, CFP. Deborah is host of the show, "The Wise and The Wary". She has been an attorney for 26 years, specializing in estate planning, disability planning and elder law. In addition to her duties as Talkshow host, she is a public speaker and writer on elder law issues and financial planning for women and retirees.

Deborah's press release describes our upcoming interview as follows:

"How to Close a real estate Deal

In today's real estate market, traditional Realtor strategies simply aren't good enough. You need the right people and the right tools to get you to the closing table. Your agent needs to be creative and aggressive, and needs to have the expertise to negotiate the best deal for you. Listen in as Deb interviews Harry Salzman, CRS, CRP, a national expert on innovative negotiation strategies for the real estate market, as he explains common seller mistakes and suggests effective remedies. "

VoiceAmerica is the single largest producer of original Internet talk radio programming in the world. Since 1999, the VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network has been streaming live Internet talk radio programs, featuring more than 200 hosts broadcasting on seven genre-based channels:

  • VoiceAmericaT Variety Channel,
  • VoiceAmericaT Health & Wellness Channel,
  • VoiceAmericaT Business Channel,
  • VoiceAmerica Sports,
  • 7th Wave Network,
  • The Green Talk Network
  • Power Up Motorsports Channel.

We are honored to have been asked to address Deborah's listeners. Give us a call and let us know how you liked the interview.




Colorado Springs MSA ranked 51 of 366 metros in surplus of highly skilled workers relative to demand according to Chmura Economics & Analytics. More Information


Why are California companies fleeing to Colorado? Joseph Vranich, The Business relocation Coach, says high taxes, undue regulation, excessive fines and fees, high workers' comp costs, a legal environment stacked against businesses, and lengthy permitting requirements are why companies are relocating out of California.  More Information

Did You Know:  

  • Colorado ranked 3rd best state in the country for doing business, according to CNBC. (07/10). They cite the strength, health and diversity of the state's economy More Information
  • Colorado Springs ranked 7th "Best Mid-Size City" by The study was ranked on healthy economies, moderate living costs, light traffic and strong educational systems. compared 109 medium-sized markets with populations between 250,000 and 750,000. More Information
  • Colorado continues to have the lowest percentage of obese adults at 18.9 percent according to Trust for America's Health. More Information
  • Colorado Springs ranked 19th "Best City for Families" according to Cities were ranked based on health, safety, education, economy and recreation.
    More Information
  • Colorado Springs has 5 high schools listed on Newsweek's annual America's Best High Schools list. The ranking is based on how hard their staffs work to challenge students with advanced-placement courses and tests.
    More Information
  • Colorado Springs was listed in's "Top 100 Places to Live in America for 2010". The list focused on communities poised for recovery and future growth. The editorial team discovered communities with strong local leadership, employment opportunities, thriving community commitment, improving real estate markets, growing green initiatives, plentiful recreational options and an overall high quality of life. More Information



RISMEDIA, August 4, 2010--As the U.S. housing market struggles to rebound, many homeowners are stuck with hard-to-sell properties longer than expected. Some frustrated home sellers who must relocate for a new job opportunity, want to downsize or simply want to buy a new place have left homes empty. Vacant or unoccupied homes can leave the homeowner exposed to loss and liability that may not be covered by their insurance, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

The Pending Home Sales Index, released today by the National Association of Realtors, dropped 2.6 percent to 75.7 based on contracts signed in June from 77.7 in May, and is 18.6 percent below June 2009 - another sign of the stagnant housing market.

"In many cases, people who have been trying to sell their homes for awhile have moved forward with their plans regardless, leaving a vacant home on the market," said NAIC President and West Virginia Insurance Commissioner Jane L. Cline. "Having an unoccupied home can create several insurance implications that typically are not covered under a standard homeowners policy."

The Added Risks of Vacant Homes

Homeowners policies are meant to insure homes that are occupied, so they generally include exclusions for neglect or property abandonment on a home left vacant or unoccupied for a specified number of consecutive days.

In insurance terms, a vacant home is one the resident has moved out of and taken his/her belongings with him/her. An unoccupied home is one where the resident is not staying at the home, but the furniture and other belongings remain.

Because vacant and unoccupied homes pose a higher risk for damage than occupied homes, insurance companies insure these properties differently and usually at a higher price. These risks include:

-- Break-ins: When a home has been unoccupied for awhile, it can show signs that nobody is around - unkempt lawn, full mailbox, no lights on - that can tip off burglars to an easy target.

-- No emergency response: Without anyone home to call 911 or respond to emergencies, a manageable problem - such as a small electrical fire - can turn into a much larger, more costly disaster.

-- Property liability: There is no one present to prevent others from entering the property or to supervise activity, which could increase the likeliness of an accident on the premises or property damage when the owner is not there.

Keeping A Vacant Home Properly Insured

The definition of vacancy and unoccupancy can vary from policy to policy. Some insurers may not pay claims if a home is vacant for 60 days or more. Some policies might automatically shift to a different amount of coverage (e.g. liability insurance only) after a specific number of days unoccupied.

Many homeowners policies have a "vacancy clause" that can be triggered if the homeowner is gone for an extended period of time. If this happens, the homeowner could violate the terms of their contract and some or all of their coverage may not apply in the event of a loss.

"Before you decide to leave a home vacant or unoccupied for a long period of time, talk to your insurance agent or company to learn how they define vacancy and unoccupancy, and whether the company will pay claims if a house is unoccupied," said Cline. "Be honest about your situation, because while an extra policy might cost more, it could save you money down the road should there be an accident or damage to the home."

Many insurance companies offer an endorsement that will provide coverage for a dwelling that is unoccupied for an extended period of time. Vacancy policies can also be purchased for different term lengths to cover a few months to a year, depending on the need.

The cost of vacancy coverage depends on the company and state in which the property is located, but costs usually are higher than a typical homeowners policy due to the overall increase in risk.

Better talk with your insurance agent today !!!



If you're not sure this is the time to buy, consider the following:

Mortgage interest rates are at an all-time record low. (This past week, we found 30-year, fixed rate mortgages for 4.25% - 4.375%, without loan origination fees or discount points).

The good news is that foreclosures are down, down, down. New foreclosure filings in Colorado are at their lowest point in over a year. (2010 second quarter filings were down 15.7% from 2009. Locally, El Paso County filings were down 12.5%.)

Bloomberg News reports that service industries expanded faster than forecasted in July, and might even increase employment in the second half of 2010. They report, "Record low mortgage rates may prevent housing from slumping much more. July's rebound in stock prices, the biggest in a year, will probably help underpin consumer confidence".

The Non-Manufacturing Employment Gauge of The Institute for Supply Management (ISM), climbed to the highest level since the recession began in December, 2007. The survey covers such services as utilities, retailing, health care, housing and finance.

Locally, single-family homebuilding permits for the first seven months of 2010 were 43% over the same period in 2009.

All of these factors indicate a great opportunity for Buyers to make their move. Call us.



In "The Old Days", Sellers could list their house at their "hoped-for" price, engage in some price dickering with the prospective Buyer, offer some minor price reductions for deferred maintenance issues, and then close the deal. However, in today's competitive market, Sellers should be aware that their house must be aggressively priced right from the start, or, they won't even see any prospective Buyers. That's why it's important to engage the services of an experienced Realtor for advice about a proper listing price. There are also incentives that your Realtor can explain to you that will serve as an inducement for prospective Buyers. Call us.

Furthermore, considering that many of the homes on today's market are in "like-new" condition, it is extremely important that, in order to be competitive, the Seller's house must be in terrific condition. Make those needed repairs before you list.

Finally, be sure to discuss the house's appearance with your Realtor. You may have to do some landscaping and painting on the outside and some 'staging' on the inside. Gone are the days when Buyers would overlook overgrown yards, peeling paint, toys on the floor, family pictures on the wall and rooms full of moving boxes.

However, the 'up' side of this market for Sellers is that, although you might have to take less for your home than you wished, your replacement home will cost much less than it would have three years ago and your new mortgage will be a big improvement over your present mortgage.

It's a whole new ball game out there and we can help you win it. 



How's this for a novel idea to improve customer service? On August 4, 2010, Sears announced Kenmore Connect, a technology developed with LG Electronics to speed up appliance repairs. The way it works is that the owner of the ailing Kenmore appliance calls customer service and holds his cellphone up to the machine. The company representative identifies the problem by reviewing screens of data generated by the washing machine via a toll-free phone line.

This new technology is expected to streamline repair service to customers, and the savings to Sears could be staggering. Kenmore presently maintains the nation's largest repair fleet of more than 10,000 trucks and handles 12 million service calls annually. This new program will be able to identify problems that could be resolved with a minor adjustment, thus eliminating the need for a visit from the repairman. (This type of problem accounts for about 60% of present repair calls) Betsy Owens, Vice-President of Kenmore, estimates that Kenmore could eventually reduce its truck runs by half.

Kenmore Connect will come with appliances priced from $799 to $1,499.

By the way, we can guarantee you that, if your home has one of these appliances, it will make it much easier for us to sell.



Last week,we had the opportunity to get a Realtors' preview of the 2010 Parade of Homes and it was very exciting. There are 23 beautiful homes on display at locations from Meridian Ranch in the northern part of the town, to Gold Hills Mesa in the south. The Homebuilders Association has done itself proud with these attractive homes. If you want more details about this annual event, check out the Gazette for directions and details, or, give us a call.



At press time, the statistics for July were not yet available, but, Click here to see the real estate sales and listing statistics for the Pikes Peak area for June, 2010.

And, please remember, I would be honored to serve as your Broker for all of your residential real estate needs. I want to help you, my reader, make the most prudent and accurate Real Estate business decision.

Also if you know of anyone who desires to buy or sell local real estate, or, who is moving in or out of the Pikes Peak region, remember that, with over 37 years of providing relocation and Real Estate services to clients throughout the country, I am uniquely qualified to assist them with the relocation process, including buying and/or selling their homes on both ends of their move. Please allow me to implement my negotiating skills on your behalf.

Just click on the icon at the top of this email to listen to my latest podcast. ..And, if you would like to learn more about our Job Loss Protection Program, or, about our CyberHomes Complete Market Analysis of a property, please contact us. 



Part of rebuilding New Orleans caused residents often to be challenged with the task of tracing home titles back potentially hundreds of years. With a community rich with history stretching back over two centuries, houses have been passed along through generations of family, sometimes making it quite difficult to establish ownership. Here's a great letter an attorney wrote to the FHA on behalf of a client: 

You have to love this lawyer........

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the lawyer three months to track down. After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply.

(Actual reply from FHA):

"Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin." 

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows: 
(Actual response):

"Your letter regarding title in Case No.189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 206 years covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased by the United States from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application. For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France, which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain.

The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Queen Isabella. The good Queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus 's expedition. 

Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it, and the FHA. I hope you find God's original claim to be satisfactory. Now, may we have our damn loan?"

The loan was immediately approved.

(These are the same geniuses charged with the Government mortgage bailout.)

Enewsletter August 2, 2010

by Harry Salzman

August 2, 2010 




In our 38 years of experience, we have never seen mortgage interest rates as low as they are today.  As an example, last Friday we placed a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 4.25%, with no origination fees or discount points. (This rate required that the loan close within 30 days. A 60 day closing would increase the rate slightly and a 15 year mortgage would result in a slight decrease to 3.875% - 4%.). Today, in the Wall Street Journal, we were shocked to see that wholesale rates had gone down even further.

We don't see how it can get much better than this.

Better buy now !!


As a part of their efforts to protect the private property rights of Homeowners, the National Association of Realtors recently joined forces with the American Land Title Association to ask U.S.Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner to use the consumer-protection agency created by the recent financial-reform legislation to outlaw "capital recovery fees".

These proposed fees, also known as "re-conveyance fees" and "transfer taxes" are inserted by developers into covenants governing newly-built subdivisions and commercial real estate developments. They require Sellers of a property to pay a percentage, often 1% of the selling price, to the developer of the property every time it changes hands, for up to 99 years.

Thanks to the efforts of the NAR-led coalition, these fees have been outlawed and the "Wall Street Home Resale Fees" are now a thing of the past.

We can't help but imagine the fade-out to this story: The Homeowner watches as the man on the white horse rides away. "Who was that masked man who just saved my home?" he murmers. The announcer replies, "That was NAR, the loan arranger".

Thanks, NAR.


A good friend of ours ran the following article in Keeping Current Matters. We thought was an excellent summary of what we have been telling our clients for the past several months and we are reprinting it here:

This might be the best time to buy a home in American real estate history.

Owning a home makes more sense than not owning a home for the vast majority of families in this country. Let me give you five reasons why.

1. real estate is a Great Long Term Investment

Don't take my word on this. This is what Mike Mandel, former chief economist at BusinessWeek and current Senior Fellow at Wharton's Mack Center for Technological Innovation, had to say

"We've just had the biggest boom and bust in real estate in recent history. Nevertheless, real estate has still greatly outperformed the stock market over the past ten years."

Click here to see his chart which shows the actual difference between historical real estate growth and the stock market history.

2. A Home Is a Better Place to Raise a Family

Don't take my word on this. When Fannie Mae asked current renters for the major reason to buy a house in their  National Housing Survey 2010, these were the answers renters gave (they could pick multiple answers):

  • 78% said it was a good place to raise children
  • 75% said because they would feel safe
  • 70% said because you have control of your own space

3. A Home Creates a Sense of Community

Don't take my word on this. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York just published a paper The Homeownership Gap. The paper explained:

Because owners have a financial interest in their property, they have incentives to take measures that will maintain or increase the value of that property. Some of these measures-such as fixing a leaky roof-are closely related to the house itself. Others, such as investing resources in the betterment of the neighborhood and the community, have broader beneficial effects on the local area, creating what economists call "positive externalities."

4. It's Cheaper to Own Than Rent in Many Parts of the Country

Don't take my word on this. Housing Wire just reported on a Credit Suisse study:

While a segment of the renting population continues to rent, many are looking to dip their toes in the homeownership waters. Credit Suisse said the percentage of median household income needed to pay the mortgage on a median priced home is at a 30-year low. Low mortgage rates and property values makes homeownership more attractive than renting for many. In many markets - including Washington DC, California's Inland Empire, Las Vegas and Phoenix - paying for a mortgage is less expensive than renting.

5. The People Who Do Buy a Home Don't Regret It

Don't take my word on this. Probably the best people to ask if buying a home makes sense are the people who currently own homes. A recent national poll commissioned by found:

Ninety percent of homeowners say they don't regret buying their home despite a nationwide tsunami of foreclosures, short sales and loan modifications.

It's a great long term investment. It's a great place to raise a family. It gives you a greater sense of community. It's less expensive than renting. People who currently own have no regrets.

Buying a home seems like a "no brainer to me".


The expiration of the federal tax credit for Homebuyers has motivated Sellers to re-examine their strategy for selling their homes. We are advising our clients that there is no "One-size-fits-all" strategy that will be the most effective. In general, we have found that the price of the listing is a great indicator of which strategy will be most effective.  

Buyers of homes under $200,000 are most interested in price. They are usually in jobs which are highly dependent on the local economy and can best be motivated to buy with a very competitive price and "reassuring" incentives, such as our Job Loss Protection Program. Call us to learn more about this very effective incentive.

Buyers of homes over $300,000 often have very specific requirements for their homes and, although competitive pricing is essential, they can also be influenced by such incentives as home warranties, life insurance and "discounts with deadlines", which are, essentially, price reductions.

The bottom line, however, is that there are some 'tried and true' incentives which are still the best methods for triggering sales

Here's what works best:

-Price it right. Buyers have access to lots of data, and they'll know if your house is too expensive.

-Offer to pay some of the buyer's closing costs.

-Maximize exposure. Saturate the Internet and all forms of social media with your listing.

-Use great photos, not just good ones. Make sure your house makes a great first impression.

-Make it sing. Listing information must be complete and well-written.

-Curb appeal matters. Spend a little money on flowers, new plants and fresh paint.

-Inside, your house should look fresh
, so make sure the paint, carpeting, light fixtures and appliances are updated and clean. Get rid of the family pictures.

-De-clutter. Eliminate one-third to two-thirds of your stuff; hire a stager.

-Network. Sales come together because brains understand homes better than computers.

-Be patient. Statistics say that it takes 21 showings, not including open-house traffic, to sell a house.

And, please remember, I would be honored to serve as your Broker for all of your residential real estate needs. I want to help you, my reader, make the most prudent and accurate Real Estate business decision.

Also if you know of anyone who desires to buy or sell local real estate, or, who is moving in or out of the Pikes Peak region, remember that, with over 37 years of providing relocation and Real Estate services to clients throughout the country, I am uniquely qualified to assist them with the relocation process, including buying and/or selling their homes on both ends of their move. Please allow me to implement my negotiating skills on your behalf.

Just click on the icon at the top of this email to listen to my latest podcast. ..And, if you would like to learn more about our Job Loss Protection Program, or, about our CyberHomes Complete Market Analysis of a property, please contact us. 


The North Carolina Department of Labor claimed a small Monroe, NC farmer was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent out to investigate him.

 Department of Labor employee:  I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them.

Farmer:  Well, there's my farm hand who's been with me for 3 years.  I pay him $200 a week plus free room and board.  

Then there's the mentally challenged worker.  He works about 18 hours every day and does about 90% of all the work around here.  He makes about $10 per week, pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every Saturday night so he can cope with life.  He also sleeps with my wife occasionally.

NCDL employee:  That's the guy I want to talk to...the mentally challenged one.

Farmer:  That would be me.

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5




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Photo of Harry A Salzman Real Estate
Harry A Salzman
ERA Shields / Salzman Real Estate Services
5475 Tech Center Drive, Suite 300
Colorado Springs CO 80919
719-593-1000 or Toll Free: 800-677-MOVE(6683)
Cell: 719-231-1285
Fax: 719-548-9357

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