The Buzz at The Bartic Group

Check out our blog below to catch up on recent developments in Colorado's real estate world and other interesting news.

June 24, 2019

First Time Home Buyer Mistakes!

There's no disputing the fact that home ownership is as accessible as it's ever been. Even following the constricting of the mortgage loan industry in the late '00s, home ownership is an option for more people than it used to be, either because it's seen as a wise investment or because the market is (sometimes) just so darn tempting.

But just because you're able and willing to enter the home-buying market doesn't mean you're READY.

The Huffington Post, in December published a quick and humorous read that outlines some of the mistakes first-time home-buyers make.

Among the pitfalls: Hiring the wrong agent. Just because a Realtor is your friend, or just because your parents have used him or her for years, doesn't necessarily make this person the right Realtor for you. Know your communication style. Ask some tough questions. Even have them pull some listings for you before you commit to paying them that valuable commission.

Buying a home is a big decision, so make sure you trust who's leading the process. "Talk to coworkers, friends and family to get [Realtor] recommendations," Larry Nelson, president and co-owner of Cornerstone Realty, advises. When talking to prospective agents, it's important to ask the right questions. Everything from, "Do you specialize in the areas that I am interested in?" to, "Do you really want to work with me?" are fair game.

Other ripe tips for first-timers: Don't forget closing costs, including commissions. These can raise the amount of money you'll need to pay at closing, and/or finance, considerably. Don't undervalue an appraisal. The entire nature of a purchase can change considerably based on one professional's opinion. Don't marry yourself to any set of numbers before you know how an appraisal affects them. Beware going-it-alone. The article draws an apt analogy: Just because many people, especially Millennials, have eliminated the travel agent when booking vacations DOESN'T mean they can casually dismiss the importance of a Realtor. Buying a home is a complicated legal process and full of complications. "[A Realtor] knows what you DON'T know."

Delving a little deeper into the financial side of things, Bankrate.com offers some common money mistakes that first-timers can make. There is some pretty sound wisdom here, but the one that resonated best with us was that first-time borrowers sometimes automatically borrow the largest amount they are approved for, without thinking of the effects on their budget.

"A lot of first-time buyers are optimistic about the future and excited about buying a home, so they borrow the absolute maximum they can afford instead of allowing themselves wiggle room for a partial loss of income or for future expenses such as children," says Michael Harrison, area director for MetLife Home Loans.

Chances are there's a home you will love at a price point that doesn't completely max out your earnings. After all, what fun is owning a home if you can't afford to have any fun in it?

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
June 17, 2019

Xeriscaping: A New Approach To Landscaping

There is a hot new trend in landscaping that will save you water, reduce the amount of time you spend maintaining your lawn, and make a strong statement about your commitment to the environment. Xeriscaping is a smart and practical way of landscaping and gardening, which will also add color and variety to your landscape. Not all of us have big budgets for landscaping, but if you were to make a change, you might want to give xeriscaping a shot.

In this article we will talk about the benefits of xeriscaping, the cost of xeriscaping, the limitations of xeriscaping and how to get around it, and rebate programs that make implementation of xeriscaping less expensive for you.
 

Water Conservation:


As you must be aware, water is increasingly becoming a limited resource. Research has shown that more than 50% of household water use goes toward landscaping. Over the year the water usage bill does add up considerably. Xeriscaping can use 70% less water if done correctly as it makes full use of the rainfall. This can be done by:

  1. Using native plants species

  2. Smart grouping of plants: the plants with similar water requirements to be grouped together

  3. Use of some drought-resistant plants

  4. Breaking up the landscape by putting in walkways and patios in the areas which get the heaviest foot traffic so that those areas save water (helpful accessory: rainwater collectors; drought-resistant plants).

 

Time Savings:


Xeriscaping leads to time savings as you need to spend significantly less amount of time mowing, weeding and fertilizing the lawn.
 

Increases property value:


For those of you who are looking to sell their property, xeriscaping considerably increases the property value due to its well-maintained look and lushness.
 

Environmental benefits:


For those of you who are looking to go green, what better way than xeriscaping. You will be doing your part in reducing pollutants in the air by eliminating the use of fertilizers and pesticides. You will also be creating awareness for the native plant species.
 

Energy Savings:


Studies have shown that xeriscaping cuts cooling cost by 46% due to its trees and shrubs as compared to the 4% of traditional lawns with no vegetation.
 

Cost and Savings of Xeriscaping


A xeriscaped lawn has an average payback period of 4 to 7 years. This is because of:

  • Elimination of fertilizers

  • Significantly low water usage bills

  • Significantly less maintenance required
     

The cost can range between $1.50 and $2.50 per square foot. When compared with the costs associated with fertilizing, watering, mowing and maintenance of a traditional lawn, you can expect an annual cost savings of $0.36 per square foot. You can save significantly more in the costs if you provide the labor for xeriscaping instead of getting a professional in for all the work.

Another savings which you should consider while xeriscaping is the volumetric savings in water. A 1,000 square foot lawn requires more than 132,000 liters of water each year. If you use native plants and drought-tolerant plants, you will require only around 55,000 liters of water a year. This is significant savings in your water bill and you still get a lawn that is well-maintained and colorful.One study which had looked into a standard Kentucky Bluegrass lawn with trees and shrubs found that it required 79 liters per square foot and the xeriscaped version of the yard only required 13 liters per square foot! Now that is savings.
 

Limitations of Xeriscaping and how to get around it


Like all trends, xeriscaping has its limitations:

  • Initially, it is labor intensive as you will have to prepare your lawn for xeriscaping

  • Choice of plants is limited

  • If you are new to the area you may not be familiar with the climate and native plant species

  • The initial cost of planting vegetation can be high

  • Budget constrictions may not allow you to do all that you want in xeriscaping

  • Periodic maintenance is required like pruning, deadheading.

The way to get around it is, do xeriscaping in phases. You could start with say, creating a walkway in high foot traffic areas. Instead of putting in a concrete walkway, you could also use large stepping stones which could be discarded pieces from a stone mason.  Do not buy all the plants at once.
 

Rebate programs for Xeriscaping


Many local governments provide rebate programs encouraging water-wise landscaping. Some rebates provide $500 for removing 500 square feet of grass. Through the U.S. Green Building Council, you can earn LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) points which may also get you tax credits.

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
June 10, 2019

Hottest Markets in Metro Denver May 2019

 

Hottest Markets in Metro Denver May 2019:

 

  1. Hampden South & Southmoor Park
  • Median Price: $428,500
  • Change in Median Price: 39.9%
  • Average Days on Market: 32

 

  1. Lowry
  • Median Price: $292,500
  • Change in Median Price: 19.3%
  • Average Days on Market: 20

 

  1. Globeville, River North (RiNo), North Washington
  • Median Price: $290,000
  • Change in Median Price: 19.9%
  • Average Days on Market: 19

 

  1. Heather Gardens, Windsor
  • Median Price: $234,750
  • Change in Median Price: 21.9%
  • Average Days on Market: 26

 

  1. University Park, Observatory Park, Wellshire 
  • Median Price: $680,000
  • Change in Median Price: 13.3%
  • Average Days on Market: 3

 

  1. Roxborough, Chatfield
  • Median Price: $540,000
  • Change in Median Price: 32.5%
  • Average Days on Market: 60

 

High-demand neighborhoods like RiNo, Sloan’s Lake, and Highland are as competitive as ever!

 

Hottest Up & Coming Neighborhoods:

Villa Park

Hampden
Lowry

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
March 25, 2019

Selling The House & 'Tidying Up': What We Learned From Marie Kondo

Unlike an HGTV makeover show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” is less about the shock factor of a total transformation and more intuitively captures the power of how our lives improve when we focus on the things that make us happy.

 

So, it’s no wonder that the popular Netflix series caught the attention of so many Americans who on average hoard 23 items they have zero use for. Her viral catchphrase “Spark Joy” spread like wildfire and had thrift stores overflowing with donations to the point of capacity.

 

After a delightful 8-hour binge of the show, we couldn’t help but notice that many of its takeaways run parallel to the types of challenges that arise when you sell the house. So, we’ve pulled out episode-by-episode gems on the art of how to stay organized, move forward, and show gratitude for every life chapter—from one house to the next.

En-’joy!’

 

Episode 1: “Tidying with Toddlers”

Summary:

In this episode, we meet Kevin and Rachel Friend, who struggle with clutter and communication in their single-family home. They explain their frustrations over time management and chore delegation (laundry was a main point of contention), but as soon as Kondo enters the house, they breathe a sigh of relief.

 

As they go from room to room, Kondo asks the Friend Family a simple question: “Does this spark joy?”

 

This simple method puts their relationship with “stuff” in perspective.

 

Lesson for sellers: Find the joy in decluttering

One of the first steps in preparing a home to sell is decluttering. It’s going through old U-Haul boxes filled with high school yearbooks and old clothes, and figuring out what you want to keep for the new home. The KonMari Method makes the process quick and fun.

When you ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” you force yourself to confront your connection with possessions that you either have or don’t have the space and heart for anymore.

 

But Kondo reinforces to the Friends Family that decluttering isn’t about tossing any old thing away. It’s about focusing on the objects that are important and meaningful to you.

As you sort through the piles of stuff in each room, grasp each item with care. Feel for that punch in your gut or instant excitement when you pick them up.

 

Separate the clutter into two stacks: Joy and No Joy. The first few pairs of pants might take longer to get through, but as you start feeling the rhythm, decluttering becomes a breeze.

 

Apply this strategy to all of your belongings and you might find items you haven’t touched in years that you love (Kevin Friend unearthed sentimental weddings photos stuffed in old garage storage that are now hung on their wall).

 

Remember, you’re decluttering for peace of mind, but also for the buyers who will walk through your home, unimpressed by the unorganized kitchen cabinets and clothing tornado in the bedroom closets.

 

Episode 2: ‘Empty Nesters’

Summary:

Kondo walks into the home of Wendy and Ron Akiyama, a retired couple who want a revamped house for themselves after their adult children have left the nest.

 

Ron has kept every single baseball card he collected with his children and Wendy has enough Christmas ornaments to decorate the entire neighborhood. Their home has become a storage unit filled with three generations of Akiyama belongings.

 

The piles of stuff they have in each room looks discouraging to the average Netflix binger, but the episode isn’t over yet and neither is Kondo’s positivity. She hops around the home and teaches the Akiyamas to categorize.

 

They go from room to room, pile to pile, and separate each action item into manageable chunks.

 

Lesson for sellers: Compartmentalize your home prep

We won’t sugarcoat it for you—selling a home is daunting. With so many steps, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and defeated before you even start the process. But just like how the Akiyamas sorted through pounds of stuff using categorization, you can break down your to-do list into manageable tasks.

 

Start with creating your own home preparation schedule that’s separated by tasks and weeks. In less than a month, you’ll move through decluttering to home maintenance to deep cleaning.

 

Episode 3: ‘The Downsizers’

Summary:

We meet Katrina and Douglas Mersier and their children Kayci and Nolan, who call themselves the Fantastic Four. Immediately, you sense their closeness as a family and bond as a team, but their teamwork was put to the test when they relocated from a four-bedroom house to a two-bedroom apartment. After living in a cramped and cluttered space for over a year, “it still hasn’t felt like home,” says Katrina.

 

Kondo sets the goal for the Mersier family: “Their new challenge is to downsize the thing that they own, so it will fit in their new home.”

 

As they show Kondo around the apartment, the Fantastic Four feel exasperated by their living situation. The kids own up to their faults, explaining that though their mother organizes the space for them, they can’t keep it that way.

 

But, as the episode progresses, each person in the family learns to take responsibility for their own belongings. “We each play a role and we only have a limited amount of space and we all need each other,” says Kondo.

 

Lesson for sellers: Involve your family and make projects a team effort

If you’re selling a house with your family, it shouldn’t be your single responsibility to get through it. Every family member should pitch in, and together you’ll finish the job faster.

One of the Mersier family’s biggest takeaways is that organization and cleaning are now values instilled in their family and children. “We didn’t know how to declutter, how to tidy. Now we have the ability to continue to help the kids to learn it, and they’ve learned it at this early age.”

 

Get your kids involved with tasks, such as decluttering. Have them apply the same method of asking, “does this spark joy?” for their toys, clothes, and other keepsakes. They have ownership over their rooms, so there aren’t any surprises at the new home when they can’t find their favorite stuffed animal you forgot to pack up.

 

Episode 4: ‘Sparking Joy After a Loss’

Summary:

This episode introduces us to Margie Hodges, a widow who loves her home filled with memories, mementos, photographs, and reminders of her late husband. More specifically, she is struck with the challenge of tidying up all of his belongings that she hasn’t touched since he passed 9 months ago.

 

Margie has left every jacket, shirt, magnet, and mug that he owned in its exact place; she’s afraid of disturbing the last tangible reminders of who he was. His presence is so strong throughout the house, but Margie knows she has to move on. “I have to make room going forward, I can’t just live in the past,” she says to Kondo.

 

Margie is emotional from start to finish, but through Kondo’s process, her sadness evolved to catharsis, as she worked on accepting this loss, starting fresh, and reflecting on her own life.

 

Lesson for sellers: Infuse mindfulness into the selling process

Detaching from your house is essential to preparing your home for sale. If you’re emotionally charged and feel gutted every time you move things around or pack up, the process becomes grueling and will take too much time.

 

To begin letting go, first acknowledge that your emotions over the house exist and are valid. Kondo reinforces to Margie that she values how she feels about her past and her memories. And throughout the episode, she helps Margie gently confront the passing of her husband by tidying up at a slower pace.

 

Next, put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and depersonalize the house. If you were a buyer, would you want to see all of the previous owners bowling trophies on display or children’s art projects plastered across the fridge?

 

You’re preparing your house for other people now. And, as harsh as it sounds, this is no longer your home. Understand that this house has served its purpose in your life, and it’s time to pass it on to another family starting theirs.

 

“My head is full of 40 years of memories. So, I have that and no one can take that,” Margie says as she donates her husband’s clothes.

 

Episode 5: ‘From Students to Improvements’

Kondo helps lovebirds Matt and Frank transition from young adulthood to maturity through their home, in which they’ve lived in for 3 years. They want their parents to see their progress and ability to live as adults with each other to demonstrate growth.

But from disorganization to hoarding personal items, the couple struggles to find the perfect balance of what to keep and what to toss.

 

So, before they start tidying, Kondo asks them to picture their visions for the home. Immediately, Frank responds with a vision of joy as people and his parents walk through this home, and him and Matt feeling content with their home.

 

And, though hit a few emotional roadblocks, they keep this image in mind to raise their spirits and commit to their goals as they tidy the house.

 

Lesson for sellers: Visualize what you want for this house and the future

One of Kondo’s key lessons is about peering into the future. “Before you start, visualize your destination,” she advises.

 

The concept of visualization and mental imagery is a method supported by sports psychologists and athletes, who use it as a way to picture their success. It helps with performance and allows them to calm down and focus before a big game.

If it can help professional sports players, visualization can also help you sell your home. What do you want to accomplish with your home sale and how do you want to see it carried out?

 

“It’s very important to have a vision and communicate the vision to your home. It allows the rest of the process to go much more smoothly,” says Kondo.

 

If your vision is to have a successful home sale, think about what emotions and feelings you want to feel at the end of the process. Picture the success of a home sale as motivation.

 

To achieve that ultimate goal of selling a house, you’ll need to get through every step with ease. Communicate your vision to your real estate agent—they can help you figure out how to achieve it with the right tools and skills.

 

Episode 6: ‘Breaking Free from a Mountain of Stuff’

“Daddy, can we go to Toys R Us?” “No, Ashton. We’re getting rid of things not going out and getting more.”

 

College sweethearts Aaron and Sehnita Mattison have been married for 17 years. They moved to their home to start a new chapter in their life and to start a family. With two kids and hopes to add a third, they realized that they need to revamp their cluttered house jam-packed with belongings and junk.

 

The couple plans on staying in this home and must declutter to welcome a new family member, but what’s keeping them from accomplishing their goal is stuff. That’s it—they have too much stuff and aren’t able to let go of them due to emotional and sentimental attachment.

 

Kondo appears in their lives not to bestow tidying “magic,” but to teach them a lifestyle change of recognizing what is most important to them in their lives. Through this process, the Mattson’s learn to respect their belongings and what they have.

“This process of looking at what’s in our life makes it so that we’re not gonna take the items we have for granted, that we’re not going to just bring more things into the household,” says Aaron.

 

Lesson for the seller: Recognize whether your belongings have purpose

Throughout the season, Kondo teaches her clients that every item deserves a home and serves a purpose. She preaches to treat the tidying process as a way to respect what you have, while making sure that each of your belongings has a role to play.

So , when it comes to showing the house to buyers, check that whatever you decide to use as decor has a reason to be there. This cuts down on clutter and makes your home look and feel inviting.

 

For example, add spice racks and cookie jars to the kitchen for a homey atmosphere, but take away the dirty pots and pans that clutter up the sink.

 

In the bedroom, place a floor length mirror in the corner to make the space feel bigger and switch out the floral bedspreads for a crisp, and gender-neutral white.

 

Create a focal point for the living room, one of the main places buyers will want to look at. Hang up a three-piece wall art that ties the colors of the room together.

This process makes you realize what needs to be there for staging and what will help you sell your home.

 

Episode 7: ‘Making Room for a Baby’

“Tidying is not just about cleaning, it’s also about creating a space that sparks joy. By doing this, you get one step closer to your ideal life.”

 

Mario and Clarissa, who have been together for six years, hold up an ultrasound picture to the camera. With excitement in their voices, they reveal that they’re expecting a baby boy in the coming months and want this opportunity to clear up space for their kids to grow without chaos.

 

It was a difficult process at first—Mario’s sentimentality gets the better of him, as he struggles to throw away prom invitations from high school and shoes from his 165-pair sneaker collection. Kondo teaches him and Clarissa to show appreciation toward their belongings, helping them to detach and learn how to create their ideal life.

 

She asks them, “Is this something you’d like to keep as part of your life going forward?” If you answer no, say thank you, and put it aside.

 

Lesson for the seller: Show gratitude

To Kondo, gratitude is a crucial part of tidying up and the main lesson she hopes that her clients take from the process is to have an appreciation for the items that they decide to keep and “confirm how you feel about each and every item that you possess.”

Here’s your opportunity to rethink what’s essential for you to bring to your next home. And, in that process show gratitude to the things that don’t make it to the next stage of your life.

 

This is why Kondo asks every client to place all of their clothes or all of their shoes in a pile at the center of their bed. They see everything they have, which puts how they feel about their belongings into perspective.

 

If you find yourself attached to many things during the tidying process, ask if these items are important for the next chapter of your life in your new home, then express gratitude. “Many people may feel guilty when letting go of items. By expressing gratitude towards the items you let go, it will lessen the feeling of guilt,” says Kondo.

 

Additionally, for things that you’ve never worn or used, it’s even more important to say thanks, because they taught you that you don’t like these kinds of shirts or use this kind of item.

 

Episode 8: ‘When Two Messes Become One’

We’re introduced to Angela, a flight attendant and Alishia, a veterinarian, newlyweds and new homeowners, who had their meet-cute on one of Angela’s flights. Though they’ve lived with each other before, this new space brings the challenge of figuring out what they should share and what they should keep separate.

 

The tidying process becomes a roadblock in their relationship, causing tension and bickering. But, after each visit and lesson from Kondo, they start to meet in the middle, clean with the same mindset, and develop clearer communication.

 

Much of their issues with tidying comes with getting used to their new house. When Kondo visited, they only lived there for 3 weeks. Throughout the process, they started to understand the intention for each room in their new home and who should be responsible for what space.

 

Lesson for the seller: Be kind to your house—old and new

Before she imparts her clients with any cleaning wisdom, Kondo asks to greet their home. For this ritual, she kneels on the floor, closes her eyes, clasps her hands on her lap, and expresses her goals to the home.

 

“[Home] is the place where we appreciate all the things that support us. It is where we review and rethink about ourselves,” she says. From her experience in a Shinto shrine, she believes that every object contains life—she taps on books to wake them up and yelps when her clients throws a shirt on the ground.

 

A home is one of the most important transactions and belongings in your life, so be kind to it! In your old house, leave it in good condition as a way of showing appreciation for what it has done for you. Maintain it with home updates that not only add value to your home, but also help close the deal faster.

 

Even a simple paint job in the kitchen with a neutral color revamps the entire room and keeps the home clean. Use this chance to thank your house for bringing so much joy and for protecting for so many years.

 

Then, like the newlyweds in this episode, apply the same process for your new home. Keep it tidy with the KonMari Method and maintain it regularly, so that it’s in tip-top shape for years to come.

 

 ‘The KonMari method is a means to realize your ideal life’

Marie Kondo heralds the importance of tidying your home, but the main takeaway of her show isn’t just about throwing away old T-shirts and papers. We learn about how meaningful improvements in our life help us appreciate what we have and achieve happiness.

 

Selling the house comes with loads of stress but a joyful mindset can help you see the big picture, run on the fumes of gratitude, and do more with less stuff weighing you down—physically, and emotionally.

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
March 22, 2019

Your House Is Perfect For Families! Here's How To Sell It

How To Market Your “Family Friendly House” To Parents, Without Violating Fair Housing!

 

You’ve loved raising your kids in this home and now that it’s time to sell it, you think the fastest way to find a buyer is to market the house as “family friendly.” Seems harmless, right?

 

Not so fast…Even if you have absolutely no intention to discriminate against any type of prospective buyer in the sale of your home, stating that your house is “family friendly” in your property listing or to potential buyers could violate fair housing laws.

 

This applies to not just “family friendly” language but any marketing that could be perceived as excluding a certain class of buyers in your marketing, and a fair housing violation could result in a complaint filed against you. In 2017, there were 28,843 housing discrimination complaints filed with agencies and organizations at the local, state, and national level.

 

To get clarity on this legal area in real estate we spoke to a top-selling agent who’s sold over 600 single-family homes and a fair housing attorney. With their insights, we’ll cover how to market a house that’s perfect for families without violating fair housing plus tips for crafting a listing description that focuses on the house itself rather than who you think might buy it.

 

What are the general fair housing rules around property descriptions?

The Fair Housing Act is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, color, religion, sex or gender, disability, national origin, or familial status. According to Amy Glassman, fair housing attorney and coauthor of Beginner’s Guide to the Fair Housing Act, if you name one protected class in your home’s listing, you may be excluding others. She adds that you shouldn’t say your house is “family friendly” because it refers to the familial status of prospective buyers, which violates the federal fair housing law. “The basic rule is that you want to focus on the property and the amenities in the property and not the type of buyer that you want. You don’t want to use language that triggers reference to any of these protected classes,” she says. Glassman adds, “Anyone who is looking to sell a house or hire a real estate agent should be aware that there are authentic state and local fair housing laws in their jurisdiction that are often more expansive than the federal law.” Language such as “perfect for retirees,” “not suited for small children”, or “walking distance to churches” (which could be seen as excluding buyers with a disability or the nonreligious) appear harmless but are still a violation of fair housing laws. State and local fair housing laws may protect more classes than federal housing laws which may or may not include income, veteran or military status, age, and more. You can find which protected classes are regulated by your state laws using The Policy Surveillance Program’s website.

 

Fair housing violations could result in a complaint

If someone believes that fair housing laws were violated, they can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “They would investigate it, they would determine if they think it has merit, and they would seek what’s called conciliation,” says Glassman. “So, they would essentially seek a settlement.” A settlement of the violation could be the withdrawal of the offending ad, required training, or monetary damages. “Assuming something settled, it’s whatever the party has decided is fair and reasonable and what both sides can agree to. If it doesn’t settle, it ultimately would find its way to court,” she says. The best way to abide by fair housing laws is to work with an experienced real estate agent who is familiar with state and federal housing laws.

 

Market the family-friendly qualities of your home appropriately

Although you can’t say that your home is family-friendly, you can point out the amenities that buyers with families might often search for. “If it’s close to schools and shopping and there are walking trails, it might be perfect for the family or the stay at home mom or whoever, but that’s not our place to make those decisions,” says a real estate agent who’s sold 66% more properties than the average agent.

 

Here are some qualities that you can share about your home that might adhere to families:

The house is located in a top school district.

           Parents want to put roots down where their kids will thrive, so an above-average school district is often a must-have for families shopping for their next home. Moreso, a school district that doesn’t meet expectations could be the deal-breaker for a family.
The quality of the school district was the most important factor to 35% of home buyers between the ages of 37 and 51, while 31% cited the distance to schools as the most important factor. 
Redfin and Zillow allow home buyers to search for homes based on school zones and the GreatSchool rating. 
Check the quality of elementary, middle, and high schools in your area. If the schools are, in fact, great schools, you can include this information in your property’s listing without violating fair housing laws, according to Glassman. It is illegal, however, for buyers agents to “steer” buyers based on his or her own views about certain communities or schools.

           The house is positioned on a calm street or cul de sac.


              Some parents may move from city life to the suburbs to raise their kids. They might dream of living where their kids can play in the street and sleep to the sounds of crickets instead of traffic and sirens. A peaceful street could be an important feature for buyers looking for a family-friendly house.
The fact that your house is located in a low-traffic area is appealing for many buyers, not just those with families. So, this information is OK to share, but be careful with your phrasing. A “quiet” street excludes hearing-impaired buyers and therefore should be used with caution.

           The house is close to shops, restaurants, and parks.


              Michelin star restaurants, natural hiking trails, and one-stop-shops for daily necessities are features you should include in your home’s listing. But, phrases such as “walking distance” can bump up against fair housing laws because they exclude buyers with disabilities. To stay on the safe side, simply state that the property is “close to” or “near” certain amenities.

           “Low crime rate.”

           Neighborhood safety is comforting for every new homeowner, especially those with kids. Crime statistics are safe to state in your home’s listing—just remember to stick to the data rather than neighborhood stigmas. So, instead of saying “safe neighborhood for kids”, share that the property is located in a neighborhood with a low crime rate.
Type your home’s address into CrimeReports or AreaVibes to see the crime data in your neighborhood.

           The house has a backyard and outdoor space.


              A big backyard, with trees to climb and grass to roll in is a sought-after feature for many families. Fenced-in backyards are particularly appealing to parents with kids and pets. 
“If you’re describing the backyard and the fencing—maybe you have a fenced-in pool—those are all elements of the property, so that’s fine,” says Glassman. Feel free to describe the elements of your backyard to their full extent to help you sell your home.

           Convenient entrances with extra storage.

           Backpacks, sports gear, coats, and shoes clutter the doorway of family homes. Buyers of family-friendly homes dream of an out-of-sight mudroom for kids to drop their stuff so guests don’t trip as they come through the door.
An adjoining back door and mudroom make coming and going easy for every homeowner, especially those with little ones. Highlight the convenient entrances and storage to appeal to every buyer.

           The house is equipped with smart home technology that adds security, safety, and comfort.

           Smart home systems are making it easier to control the temperature in your house, lock doors, turn off lights, and even access security cameras via microphone.
For a family with kids, this new home technology provides priceless peace of mind. If you’ve recently installed a new smart home system in your house, make sure to mention it to buyers. Include the details of your house that would make everyone feel more at ease.

           Ample square footage and bedrooms

           Families often look for houses they can grow into. More space means more family buyers, so finished basements and attics or spare rooms that can be turned into a playroom or a teen space are hot-ticket features amongst families.
“You can describe features that you think are family friendly, but you shouldn’t say they’re family friendly,” says Glassman. Rather than advertising your finished basement as a playroom for kids, simply state that it’s a finished basement and let buyers decide what they’ll use it for.

           Use keywords in your listing description to target buyers hunting for certain features.


             “Everybody’s online,” says Glassman. “These buyers know exactly what they’re looking for and they’re typing it in. I’ve seen many careless listing agents forget to put things like a finished basement or forget to fill in the square footage.”
When you give buyers what they’re looking for, your house will sell itself. Work with your real estate agent to include every feature of your home in your listing. Buyers with or without families will be able to find your home based on the must-have features they search for.

 

Avoid fair-housing violations while selling your home

You raised your family in your house, so you know it’s family friendly. You might even find yourself daydreaming about the next family that moves into it. However, when you list your home for sale, you cannot specify who your buyer preference is.

 

Fair housing laws prohibit discrimination of race, color, religion, sex or gender, disability, national origin, or familial status. Marketing your home towards families specifically could violate this federal law. So, instead of marketing your home as “family friendly,” simply state the facts of your home to appeal to every buyer.

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
March 14, 2019

Spring Is In The Air, Almost!

Happy March!

 

Don’t let yesterday’s blizzard fool you, sunny days are coming soon! Read our 10 Tips On How To Get Your Home in tip top shape in time to enjoy the warm weather.

 

1.Get houseplants ready for spring.

Houseplants put out new growth when the days grow longer, so now is a good time to pinch back leaves so that foliage thickens. Experts recommend fertilizing with a diluted solution of plant food during the spring. 



Tip: Here's a good article from The Garden Helper website about how to grow and care for (a.k.a. not kill) a houseplant. 




 

2.Replace smoke and CO alarm batteries.

Time flies... do you remember when your smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries were last replaced? The start of Daylight Saving Time, which happened on March 10, is a good milestone to use as a reminder. 




 

3.Take a peek into the attic. (Yes, really!) 





Sure, it's no one's favorite place, but checking the attic even just once a year helps prevent unpleasant surprises such as mold or pests.

Look for: Detached ductwork sending moist air into the attic space instead of outside.

Signs of rodents, such as stained insulation.

Access points for pests, such as torn vent screens.

Tip: Attics need good ventilation, which is why keeping vent openings unblocked by insulation is very important. Home inspectors often say they actually like to feel a slight breeze up there. 




 

4.Get ready to plant summer-blooming bulbs and tubers.

It's probably safe to plant bulbs such as gladiolus and Tiger Lilies two weeks before the last frost. (Granted, this year it's especially hard to be sure of that date!)  Get a head start with dahlias and other more cold-sensitive plants by growing them inside until any frost danger has passed. 




 

5.Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.

Make sure downspouts channel water away from the home via a drainage system or splash blocks. (Downspouts should never deposit water directly next to the foundation).

 

6.Clean the dryer vent.

Check to make sure your dryer vent is made of non-corrugated metal, rather than Mylar (a shiny material that looks like metal) or plastic. Even straight PVC pipe can create problems because it allows a static charge to build up.





7.Prune (cautiously) some flowering trees and shrubs. 





The rule is that some perennials need to be pruned before they flower in the spring, and... some don't. :) Here's a helpful article that explains exactly which plants to prune now versus later in the spring.






8.Give the roof a once-over.

No need to scale the heights! You can use binoculars to scan for any damage that may have occurred over the winter. 




 

9.Inspect water supply hoses.

Take a quick look at hoses and fittings for your washer, sinks, and toilets to make sure they're not cracked or loose. Replace any plastic lines with more reliable steel-braided hose. 



10.Do something "for the birds".

Birds have had a rough year so far because of extreme weather in many places. A food mixture that's heavy on Black Oil Sunflower Seeds gives migrators and residents a welcome energy boost and appeals to a wide variety of species.

 

Everything about your home should make the buyer feel like they can immediately move in. If you are considering selling your home this season and aren’t really sure where to get started in prepping, give us a call at 720-208-7200 and we’d be happy to schedule a time to chat!  

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
Feb. 25, 2019

Thinking About Moving To Colorado?

Why We Love Colorado!

There are about a million reasons. Colorado is an amazing state full of… well, everything. Here are a few reasons why we made Colorado our Valentine this year, and every year for the rest of our lives.

THE WEATHER!

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… it doesn’t matter, all seasons are our favorite here in Colorado!

Spring brings an abundance of wildlife to Colorado, which you can experience at one of our world-class state parks.

Although 300+ days of sunshine is more myth than fact, it definitely doesn’t feel like it! The summer season still helps our state rack up an average of  245+ days with sun a year. This makes summer the perfect time to enjoy all of the outdoor activities that Colorado has to offer, including camping, hiking, fishing, biking, and other classic outdoor summer activities!

Fall brings apple picking, pumpkin patch visits, and some of the most beautiful fall sights in the country.

Winter, of course, is one of our most beloved seasons. Coloradans and other people from all over the world wait patiently all year to enjoy wiling away the winter hours at one of Colorado’s 28 ski resorts.

For those who do not harbor a particular affinity for hurdling down a mountain on a long piece of plastic, fear not! There is so much more to do in Colorado during the winter – we have something for everyone!

THE SCENERY!

When you think “Colorado”, you likely think “mountains”. You are definitely not wrong.

The beautiful Rocky Mountains are the crown jewels of Colorado. Yes, that really is what our view looks like basically all of the time. One of Colorado’s biggest claims to fame — literally — is its 58 fourteeners (peaks exceeding 14,000 feet) (Colorado). This is the most of any state in the U.S.

Our state’s most famous peaks hold a beauty that is unmatched, but there is a lot more to Colorado’s good looks than just her peaks. Denver itself has a fun, colorful skyline complete with a theme park and a Ferris Wheel! Denver locals begin their mornings driving towards the city while the bright Colorado sun rises above the silhouette of the Rockies and glistens off of the newly renovated downtown high rises.

Yes, that really is what our view looks like basically all of the time.

THE ENTERTAINMENT!

The local entertainment industry in huge in Colorado! We are lucky to have a multitude of professional sports teams to root for, including professional sports such as basketball, hockey, soccer, lacrosse, and rugby.

Coloradans love to rally around our local teams, and that becomes most obvious during fall and summer! During football season in the fall, our Broncos play at the Sports Authority field at Mile High stadium. The city is littered with people boasting the team’s signature orange, white, and blue colors.

You can tell who is going to a Rockies baseball game in the summer as Coloradans of all ages sport our team’s purple, black, and white colors. Locals love watching our team play at Coors Field on warm summer days! During the 4th of July and a few other scheduled games, Coors Field hosts a post-game fireworks show for free!

Aside from sports, Colorado also has a really awesome music scene. We have venues and artists for everyone! The Pepsi Center hosts large shows for big names ranging from Ariana Grande to Bob Seger to Kenny Chesney.

We also have a large handful of small but popular theaters that pull in local acts and underground artists. A few favorites are Ophelia’sThe Fillmore Auditorium, and Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

Our outdoor amphitheaters attract music lovers from far and wide during the summer, and for good reason! Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater  is the biggest amphitheater in the Denver metro area. Our most notorious concert spot is Red Rocks Amphitheater, one of the most rad concert areas in the world! We’re not sure if we can claim that factually, but it is definitely a widely held belief.

THE BEER!

Colorado has so many beer options, we are not even sure where to begin. This Colorado Craft Beer Map is pretty cool, though. We also have this comprehensive Colorado Brewery List, which covers the 300+ breweries Colorado has to offer. With nearly 100 new breweries set to open across the state in the new future, it’s no wonder Denver has been crowned the “Napa Valley of Beers”.

THE PEOPLE!

Last, but farthest from the least, Colorado has given us lifelong friends and family! We always receive comments from visitors about how nice everyone here seems to be. With so much sunshine, endless sites to see and activities to keep us busy, it’s hard to not be in a good mood while you are living in the Centennial State!

Have we convinced you to make that move? Call The Bartic Group today so we can find the perfect home for you!

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
Feb. 15, 2019

Instant Offer Program

Net Even More Money With Our NEW Instant Offer Program

Our Instant Offer Program is to help homeowners just like YOU sell your home quickly and for a fair price. Our main focus is to help you, by guaranteeing the highest cash offer for your house while being flexible with your situation. We take pride in making the home selling process as easy as possible, we are committed to providing you with great service and respect. Not only can we get you cash for your house, but you won’t need to worry about repairs, showings, or financing falling through.

 

Visit us online at www.TheBarticGroup.com or call us at 720-208-7200 to learn more today!

Jan. 31, 2019

The Bartic Group Partners With Barbara Corcoran

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Jan. 7, 2019

December 2018 Real Estate Recap

The Bartic Group's December 2018 Real Estate Recap

With a blink of an eye, December has come to a close. We’re counting down the 12 days of Christmas into the New Year, but not without another Real Estate Recap!

Every month, The Bartic Group scours the internet for the latest real estate stories to create an informative monthly digest so that you’re up to date with the goings-on in housing.

Let’s take a look at what happened last month:

1. FED UP

 

+ On December 18, The Federal Fund raised interest rates by a quarter-point to 2.25-2.5 percent. What does this mean for you as homebuyer or seller? Well, higher interest rates mean higher mortgage rates—fewer people are able to afford the hike in interest when buying a home.

+ CNBC, Here’s how that Fed rate hike will impact you: “The economy, the Fed and inflation all have some influence over long-term fixed mortgage rates, which generally are pegged to yields on U.S. Treasury notes, so there’s already been a spike since the Fed started raising rates.

Between increasing home prices and higher mortgage rates, homes are about 10 percent less affordable this year than they were last year, according to Tendayi Kapfidze, the Chief Economist at LendingTree. ‘Next year, we could see another 10 percent to 15 percent decrease in affordability,’ he said.”

If you’re thinking about selling a house, get your listing up sooner rather than later. With mortgage rates still at a historical low, buyers won’t be entirely affected just yet and still have full wallets as we enter the new year. Homebuyers will want to lock down on a rate before its late.

 

2. OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS FOR OPPORTUNITY ZONES


In 2017, Congress established the Opportunity Zones program as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as an approach to encourage private sector investments in low-income communities in the U.S. In other words, another way for people to avoid capital gains taxes.

+ CNBCHeard the buzz about opportunity zone funds? Here’s the skinny.

Just last week on December 12, President Trump signed an executive order “to create a new White House council for promoting private investment in ‘opportunity zones’ in more than 8,700 distressed communities across the U.S., aiming to expand prosperity to neglected zip codes” (The Washington Times).

Pretty similar to the 1031 exchange, but with different rules and mission statement. With Opportunity Zones, investors don’t have to die to eliminate the capital gains tax burden. After 10 years, the entire basis automatically steps up. And investors don’t have to jump through hoops to get it.

This includes saving taxes on any depreciation of the asset, unlike the 1031, where an investor may have to pay “depreciation recapture.” In essence, an investor can use depreciation to offset income in the rest of the portfolio” (wealthmanagement.com, Opportunity zones explained).

Sounds good, huh? You can read more about it on the IRS’s FAQ page, which highlights how investors can benefit from the proposed tax breaks.

 

3. FIRES CONTAINED. NOW, WHAT?


California fire claims have reached $9 billion and is expected to rise even more. Following the aftermath, California wildfire victims face new challenges finding housing (Market Watch):“For the thousands of Californians who now find themselves homeless, matters may only get worse thanks to the state’s extremely competitive, pricey real-estate market. ‘These market conditions that require would-be home buyers to make quick decisions are not easy for buyers,’ said Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com.

“Views per property in Butte County, which was the location of the Camp Fire, are nearly double what they were last year. Listings under contract have spiked 86% in Butte County compared to the week before the fire. The number of homes on the market is 23% lower than pre-fire inventory projections.”

With thousands picking up the charred pieces from the aftermath, unable to find housing, and facing unaffordable insurance rates, victims are taking their families elsewhere. More than 1 million have already left between 2006 and 2016, due to the housing crisis, and the fires are only making that number go up.

+ Buzzfeed News: California Already Had A Housing Crisis. The Wildfires Are Making It Worse.

+ The Mercury News: Deadly Camp Fire fuels California’s raging housing shortage.

 

4. LIKE COLLEGE, BUT FOREVER: “CO-LIVING” OR GROWN-UP DORMS?


Co-living is “where residents buy into furnished, semi-serviced apartments, either by the unit or by the bedroom. These are sort of communes for digital nomads with pop design, Casper mattresses, Nest thermostats, and other covetable accoutrements of the startup set.

Critics have called them ‘dorms for adults,’ while more evangelical residents praise them for the instant community they create” (Bloomberg, Hotel Icon Ian Schrager Thinks Communal Living Is the Future).

In Europe, Bloomberg, Co-Living Firm Wins $1.1 Billion Investment for Europe Expansion: “Medici Living Group, a Berlin-based provider of communal housing for millennials, won a commitment from Corestate Capital Holding SA to invest 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion) over the next five years to fuel European expansion.” Medici has plans to expand to states in 2019 with properties already in New York and Chicago.

+ PR Newswire: Starcity announces major ground-up developments in San Francisco and San Jose, bringing more than 1,000 new coliving units to key urban centers in the Bay Area
  

5. CLIMATE CHANGE IS AFTER THE HOUSING MARKET, OH AND YOUR LIFE


The federal government released a climate assessment following the UN’s climate report, with not so great news:

“Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century. Without adaptation, climate change will continue to degrade infrastructure performance over the rest of the century, with the potential for cascading impacts that threaten our economy, national security, essential services, and health and well-being” (NCA, Fourth National Climate Assessment).

We’ve witnessed the wrath of climate change all year, from fires to hurricanes. Housing Wire, Natural disasters hasten housing market slow down: “Mortgage Bankers AssociationChief Economist Mike Fratantoni cites California’s recent wildfires as cause for concern. ‘The hurricanes in the South and wildfires in the West likely impacted both month’s numbers and continue to cloud the picture of the housing market’s overall strength,’ Fratantoni said.”

Cities are implementing their own bills to curb pollution, while some people are taking it upon themselves to buy property in less affected areas as preparation for climate change-related disasters and evacuation. NYTimes, Climate Change Insurance: Buy Land Somewhere Else: “A small number of young professionals who are preparing homes away from the places where climate change is expected to strike the hardest. They believe they are making sound real estate decisions by buying land on high ground that will appreciate in value, while at the same time developing a Plan B.”

 

6. WHERE DID EVERYONE GO?


According to people looking for new places to live, the west coast is the best coast. The US Census Bureau released a report that shows which areas have increased or decreased in population. Idaho and Nevada are the biggest winners. Between July 2017 and July 2018, each state increased more than 2% in population.

+ Realtor.com, The states that grew the most this year: “Texas saw 379,128 new residents over the past year, followed by Florida with an increase of 322,513 new residents. California hit third with 157,696, and Arizona got fourth with 122,720.

Overall, the most populated state is California with more than 39.5 million residents. Texas ranked second, but with 10 million less. On the other hand, the least populated state is Wyoming with 577,737 residents.

The state that lost the most residents over the past year is New York, whose population fell by 47,510 over the past year. Other states that saw population declines in the past year were Illinois, West Virginia, Louisiana, Hawaii, Mississippi, Alaska, Connecticut, and Wyoming.”

 

7.  ALASKAN EARTHQUAKE


On November 30, Anchorage, Alaska was hit with a 7.0 earthquake that split highways in half and has caused more than 5,000 aftershock since then. But, within days, Alaskans dusted off their shoulders and repaired their city.

+ The Verge, How Alaska fixed its earthquake-shattered roads in just days: “‘We have more quakes than any other state in the Union,’ says Shannon McCarthy, a spokesperson with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. As a result, Alaska takes its earthquake preparation very seriously."

+ NYTimes, The Anchorage Earthquake Was Terrifying. But the Damage Could’ve Been Much Worse: “Experts said that while the quake was significantly less intense than the one in 1964, which was magnitude 9.2, its limited destruction was the result of the region’s growing smarter and much more resilient in the years since. Anchorage was much better prepared for a major earthquake; other cities may not have fared so well.”

As a homeowner or homebuyer, make sure your insurance and protection are updated. Depending on where you live, this might be a call for flood, earthquake, or fire insurance and inspection. In earthquake-prone areas like Alaska and California, double check what your homeowner’s insurance covers to stay protected in case of an emergency.
  

8. ANALYSTS SEE 2020 RECESSION WITH 2020 VISION


+ USA Today, Worst December for stocks since 1931 gets worse as rate hikes spook investors:  “The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 464 points, or 2 percent, to a 14-month low of 22,860. The technology-packed Nasdaq composite briefly slipped into bear market territory after dipping more than 20 percent from its late August peak.

And the broad Standard & Poor's 500 stock index, which tumbled 1.6 percent, is now down 10.6 percent from the end of September, which marks its worst start to December since the Great Depression, according to Bespoke Investment Group. The large-company stock index fell 14.53 percent in December 1931, according to data from S&P Dow Jones Indices.”

As we head into 2019 with this stock market, home sellers beware. Fortune, Most Chief Financial Officers Expect a Recession by 2020 at the Latest: “The latest survey of chief financial officers shows that 82% of U.S. CFOs expect a recession to have started by 2020. Almost half (48.6%) of the CFOs thought the downturn would happen by next year, according to the Duke CFO Global Business Outlook poll.”

Our advice? Sell your home in 2019 before the market drops further. A slowing economy and lower consumer confidence are signals for you to cash out on now.

  

9. AND THE COLOR OF THE YEAR GOES TO….


+ Pantone, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral: “Sociable and spirited, the engaging nature of PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity. Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression."

Living Coral doesn’t have to just be an Instagram aesthetic. If you’re feeling inspired, sprinkle this color around your home for a cozy, yet lively atmosphere.

+ House BeautifulWarning: These Coral Rooms Will Make You Want To Redecorate Your Home Immediately

+ Elle Decor, Pantone just released their color of the year 2019: “Some years, we choose a color and we see it more as an accent, especially in the home space. It's the kind of color you could paint a whole room. It would be great in an entryway or a bathroom. You could see someone with a great coral couch. It's a shade people want to live with, which is exactly why we chose it.”

  

10. 'TIS THE SEASON

With holiday decorations, most families go for the usual—a tree, basic lights, and maybe a reindeer on the lawn. These families, on the other hand, aren’t here to play. TIME, ‘People Think We’re Crazy.’ Families Who Spend Thousands of Dollars a Year on Christmas Light Displays Explain Their Obsession.

“MONEY spoke with five dedicated light show creators who have decorated their homes for anywhere from five years to four decades, all while adapting to new technology, managing electricity bill costs, dabbling in programming, creating fresh designs, curating the perfect playlist, and balancing a regular job on top of all of it."

+ Realtor.com, When holiday decor goes too far.

That's it for your December, 2018 recap!