Archive for Choosing a highlands Ranch Real Estate Agent
Over the past 27 years, I have strived to give the best possible service for my buyers and sellers when they buy real estate in Highlands Ranch and the surrounding cities. With more and more reviews starting to hit the internet, it is nice to see a review from a satisfied client.
Here is the review, along with a section to print out the review.
|Here is what user 1376596 wrote:|
|How likely are you to recommend Michael Garard?
|Rate Michael Garard on specific characteristics|
|Summary of their experience
Michael is efficient and honest. He begins by telling you what to expect, coaches you on features and maintenance issues and patiently selects homes that meet your criteria or facilitates and shows homes you find pointing out potential problems and negotiatin points. I would never use another agent and we reccommend him to anyone wishing a quality and successful house hunt. Michael also follows up after the closing to see how your new home is working for you. A terrific experience all around.
Helped me buy a home or lot/land
S. Washington St, Centennial, CO 80122
To print out a copy of this Zillow review, click on Zillow Review of Michael Garard.
For more information, or to contact Michael, email me at email@example.com, or call 303-888-2488.
There are many choices for Real Estate agents in the south metro Denver market, and here are some reasons to hire Michael Garard, Real Estate Broker and Owner of Garard & Associates.
- 27 years of selling and negotiating real estate prices and terms in Denver
- Can advise you on price ranges to offer on homes
- Works as a buyer broker, he has your interest at heart
- For sellers, he works as a sellers broker, to get the highest price possible, in the shortest time frame, at with the least inconvenience
- Finds homes that meet your specifications, he won’t waste your time showing homes that do not meet your needs
- Knows clauses to add to contracts and how to structure contingencies
- To sell your home he uses his extensive Total Market Overview to analyze aprice ranges
- Works with the MLS and his daily searches sorts through hundreds of new listings that come on the market
- For buyers, he prepares comparative market analysis on the specific home you may want to submit an offer
- Knows inspectors who will thoroughly inspect the home
- Works with the appraisers to achieve your goals
- Works with lenders to make sure loan is completely processed
- Works with the title companies to achieve a closing success
- He is the Real Estate Broker and the Owner, you won’t work with a newbie
- Member of the National Association of Realtors, and adheres to a code of ethics
- He can negotiate for you on New Homes, Resale Homes and Unrepresented Sellers
So when you are looking to hire a real estate agent, contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 303-888-2488.
Prior to the completion of the foreclosure, banks usually do not touch the home or maintain the yard. But some do, if they find out it is abandoned, then they will change the locks, and winterize the plumbing system. In some cities, if the home has been vacant a long time, and the weeds are knee high, the city will mow the yard, and then add that bill to the tax bill. They will at least make the home more attractive.
After the bank has become the owner, via a Public Trustees Deed, we as the REO broker for the bank become the main eyes and ears for the home. We are notified as early as a day after ownership transfer, to go out and check on occupancy to see if it is vacant or occupied.
If Vacant, we do the following:
- change the locks
- change utilities into our names: gas, electric, water, sewer, etc.
- take photos of all the rooms, any damage, and if there are personal belongings
- notify the HOA
- register with the city as a vacant home
- put signs up in the windows with our contact info
- depending on time of year, winterize the plumbing
- access bids to secure the property: pools, doors, windows and trashouts
- determine the value of any personal property, either its trash, or has value. If valuable (furniture) bank will perform a personal property eviction and then we wait 2 more months
- start any seasonal services: summer, we mow every 2 weeks, winter; we use snow plow service of driveway, sidewalks and walkways
If Occupied, we try to contact the occupant for a possible Cash for Keys (CFK). There are new laws for evicting, and based on conversations with the occupant, the attorneys will decide what action to take. CFK’s have been very successful, as cash still talks loudly. If it is a squatter, there will still be an eviction, banks do not negotiate.
Some stories from over the years.
1. One home the bank took over the home, changed the locks, inventoried the personal belongings, and took photos of everything. But over the next couple of days the trash out company took all the items out of the home and threw it all away. Turns out an investor had bought the home at the last possible moment during the foreclosure process, and the public trustee misinformed the bank that they had become the owner of the home. What followed is that the banks attorney had to do some monetary negotiation with the investor, to pay them for all the thrown out items. Fortunately it was based on the photos taken of the belongings.
2. Another home that we were notified to check on the status of a home that just came out of redemption. It was February, and as I drove up, noticed all the windows were fogged up. I peeked in thru the windows, and could see waterfalls of water running down the stairs, thru the ceilings, and out the front door. Water had burst in the pipes. We quickly called our locksmith, and also the water department to turn off the water in the street. End result was 225,000 gallons of water ran thru the house. Then the mold began to grow.
3. We had another home, in a tough part of town, where a vagrant kept breaking into the home, sleeping in the living room (or passing out). We called the cops to come over, but he was always gone during the day. Then we would resecure the home, he then broke in the next night, and we called the cops again, no one was home during the day. We secured the home 3 different times, and fortunately we believe he just went down the street to another home.
4. We did a CFK during the month of December, a veteran had owned the home, and he was in the process of moving out when we contacted him, he was about 98% moved out of the home. He was down to about 5 boxes of stuff, a chair and a couch. We got all the paperwork signed, waited for the banks check, and the week before Christmas I was able to give him a $2000 check.
5. We had another incident with vagrants who broke into the home, but this time we were able to have the cops come out at night. I stayed in the car in the street, both cops went in the home, and about 10 minutes later they came out with 2 guys. Funny thing was that the cops knew them both, and then took them both to jail, for a nicer place to sleep. Then we resecured the home, and they never came back to our home.
If you have a bank owned property that needs to be serviced, or are an asset manager for a bank, give us a call direct, as we have successfully sold homes for over 40 different financial institutions since 1988. Call Michael at 303-888-2488, or email him at email@example.com.
Now with the wonders of modern optics technology, you can scan our QR code and be able to get all our info, including our website by scanning with your mobile phone, or other hand held devise. Try it out, almost better than sliced bread.
We will now start to promote the code on all our written documents, but remember to save our code for future reference. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 303-888-2488 to discuss.
One of the few gated communities to be built in Littleton, was the Witkin developement, called Coventry, located off of Bowles Avenue, and just west of Sheridan Blvd, along the west edge of Arapahoe County within the city limits of Littleton.
Witkin paid $455,751 on March 15, 1973 for the tract of land which was about 101.122 acres, and then subdivided the land into 202 lots , and sold their first home to Ken and Anna Wilkes on Sept. 26, 1974 for $83,300. Wouldn’t we all like to pay those prices all over again.
Originally Witkin was to build all 202 homes, and they had 7 tract models to choose from, but in the mid 1970′s times were tough, and they eventually sold off the lots to other builders, creating a very “custom” community. To the full build out there were 34 different builders, and another posting will detail the different builders.
Some features of the gated community are that they have 39.5 acres of greenbelts, their own well and pond system for irrigation, community pool, clubhouse, playground, basketball court and tennis courts, along with the personnel at the main gated entrance.
The neighborhood is within the Littleton School district and the children attend Wilder Elementary, Goddard Middle and Heritage High School, with the school bus conveniently picking up children at various points within Coventry.
Another bit of trivia: Witkin at the same time they were building Coventry, started a sister neighborhood in Aurora, on Smoky Hill Road, called Shenandoah.
I welcome your comments and responses, and you can always reach me at 303-888-2488.
Garard & Associates, LLC
Celebrates 25 Years
Selling Homes in Denver
Garard & Associates, LLC of Highlands Ranch is happy to announce that Michael C. Garard has been selling homes with Buyer’s and Seller’s in the Denver Metropolitan area for the last 25 years. Time has flown by since I started in August of 1985. At that time interest rates were dropping down to 13 1/2%, a maximum FHA loan was $93,450 and the median price of a Denver home was about $104,000. Now 25 years later, interest rates are around 5 1/2%, or as low as 3.95%, with a median price of a Denver home around $272,000.
Think of what the next 25 years will bring. The median price could easily be in the 400′s, with interest rates comfortably around 9%. What would you have as an investment if you bought one extra home during that time?
Is a real estate rental or investment property in your portfolio now? Whether we are still in a “housing bubble” or “not”, with the capabilities of real estate leverage, you could position your equity to ride the financial serge that could rise in value over the next 25 years.
Year after year I look forward to providing excellent service to my clients, their families and friends. Thank you for allowing me to help each of you achieve your goals and dreams, with your help Garard & Associates, LLC plans to continue to provide excellent quality service to home buyers and home sellers in Littleton and Highlands Ranch for many years to come.
Give me a call at 303-888-2488 to discuss your real estate needs.
Here is the partial list of home builders who built Condominiums, Townhomes, Patio Homes or Paired Homes within Highlands Ranch.
- Mission Viejo, they started the community
- Shea Homes, continuing to build out the community
- Storck Development
- Richmond Homes
- Oakwood Homes
- Torino Development
- Tri-Cor, also the Feld Company
- Century Communities
- Fairfield Homes, a story for another article
If there are any other builders that I am missing, I would welcome the comments.
Here is a quick list of the homebuilders who have built homes within Highlands Ranch. Mission Viejo built their first home for Phil and Kaye Scott in September of 1981. The home is located near Broadway and C470. In the 2nd part of our blog, I will list the homebuilders who built the condos and townhome communities. The following is a list, in no particular order, neither by size of the builder or by how many homes they built within Highlands Ranch.
- Mission Viejo, they were the first, until they decided to just work the land
- Shea Homes, took over from Mission Viejo, still building
- Richmond Homes
- David Weekley
- Sanford, then Beazer Homes
- Highview Homes, like Sanford
- Village Homes
- Joyce Homes
- Trammel Crow
- Falcon Homes
- US Homes
- KB Homes, also known as Kaufman & Broad
- Wood Brothers
- Larson Homes
- Virden Homes
- Forest Glen
- Various Custom builders in Falcon Hills, Highwoods, and now BackCountry
I know I am missing one builder who built on Forrest Street, that went bankrupt, but the name eludes me, but I know I will remember it.
Highlands Ranch is now divided into 4 sub areas, Northridge, Westridge, Southridge and Eastridge. But back when these builders were building, there were the smaller subdivision names like: Pembrooke, Mansion Pointe, Gallery, Etc, which will be a discussion for another time.
For a list of the top 15 things to watch out for when building a home, click here.
I always welcome comments and responses. You can always call me directly at 303-888-2488.
In todays financial real estate market in Highlands Ranch, if you purchased in the last 3 years, or just recently refinanced, and you have a loan that has a balance above the current market value, there may be solutions for you. When you go to sell your home, and there is no equity, after expenses, and you want to move on with your life, but don’t have the money to pay the deficit.
This is where a short sale comes into play.
The key thing to remember is that this will take time, several months, and it won’t be completed within our normal 30 day closings; which the customary timeframe in the Denver real estate market.
Keeping the lender, or lenders informed is critical. There will be lots of paperwork, and lots of followup phone calls. Fortunately most of the numbers to your lenders are 800 numbers.
- You will need to prepare a hardship letter as to why you cannot pay the full balance
- You will need to fill out financial forms, to show you have no money
- You will need to fill out authorization forms for your “people” to contact the lenders
- You will need to show several months of bank statements, to show limited money
- You will need a listing contract to prove you tried to sell at market value
- You will need the accepted real estate contract to show the price the buyer will pay
- You will need Title company information, as they will forward the money
- You will need a prepared preliminary HUD
- You will need to provide anything else the lender needs
- If there is a different Junior lienholder, you will need to provide 1-8 above, yes, again
- You will need an experienced real estate agent to guide you through more conract verbage
We have advised and consulted with many homeowners like yourselves, and our office is located in Highlands Ranch to set up a meeting.
I always welcome comments and responses. You can always call me directly at 303-888-2488.
In part 1, we discussed having an inspection on a resale home in Littleton or Highlands Ranch. Now what about a decision when you bought a brand new home, should you have it inspected?
One word answer. YES!!
Don’t believe the talk from the nice onsite salesperson, that says the builder “always builds the home to perfection, and with the county or city inspectors overseeing the home, there is no need for a home inspection, you are just throwing money away”. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Yes, the builder has all their permit inspections, but this is just to get the temporary C.O. (Certificate of Occupancy), or a permanent C.O. Once the builder has that C.O., their contract usually says it is time to close, and they want their money.
The key to inspections is all dependent upon the timing with the stage the home is being built. If this is dirt start, you will want to do several inspections.
- Reviewing the Soils Report and Foundation recommendations
- After the foundations are poured
- Prior to sealing up the walls with the drywall
- Prior to your walkthru with the builders superintendent
- After you have received the builders punch list
If the home is fully completed, then you will want to review the permit card, and complete your inspection prior to your walkthru.
Since the home you are purchasing has had many “subs” building the home, and many different county/city inspectors, it will pay to have a professional set of eyes to look at the home in a way that will satisfy your concern, prior to you moving in.
We offer buyer brokerage in helping buyers buy either resale or new homes. I work for you, the buyer. I never work for the New Home Builder. Use our experience. We know inspectors to use.
You have been searching for the perfect home, you have successfully found the home, you have just put it under contract, and now it is time to do your inspection. And you have to do this within the timeframe specified in the contract. What do you do?For your inspection here are some items to review:
- You will want to get a sample copy of the inspectors previous work.
- You will want to question about their education.
- You will want to question about their experience.
- Do they take photos?
- Do they have certifications?
- Will he miss things as to not “kill the deal?”
Normally we would have an inspector on call, based on how your search is going. In purchasing a home in Denver, the normal acceptable timeframe is 10 days for you to do the inspection.
After we coordinate the time so the seller is not present, the inspection is performed over 2-3 plus hours, followed up with a written report issued to the buyer. We then consult with you over your concerns about the findings, and prepare up an inspection notice to the seller outlining those items. This will need to be presented to the seller within the inspection time frame. Whether serious, or trivial, you need to have in writing your thoughts.
Then it is back to negotiations, as the seller may think your serious items are trivial, and we see what becomes of the inspection notice. Usually there is a meeting of the minds, and you can move forward with completing the purchase.
Call me, as we know inspectors to use.
New Homes? See Part 2
Should I go with “Uncle Bob” who has an inactive real estate license or use a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR)? In Denver’s real estate market, you will literally save thousands, by using a REALTOR.
REALTOR’s adhere to NAR’s strict Code of Ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection to the public. You should look for the REALTOR logo when choosing an agent. We are members within the local and national levels, which all are part of the largest professional association in the country. Here are a few things we can provide.
- We can give up to date information about the Denver real estate market, prices, and conditions of competing properties
- We will market your property to other agents, and to the public
- We know when, where and how to best market your property
- We can help close the sale of your home
- We have many resources to assist you in your search for a home
- We can help you negotiate
- We can provide objective information about each property
- We can help you determine your buying power
- We can provide guidance during the evaluation of a property
Not all agents are equal, and not all agents are Brokers, and not all agents are the Broker/Owner and manager of their own real estate company. My company: Garard & Associates, LLC has been in business since 1990, and I have been selling the Denver real estate market for almost 25 years. Go with experience and give me a call to discuss your needs, whether you are buying or selling.
Wood Brothers builders started this development of 470 homes in the middle of 1978, when it was still in unincorporated Arapahoe county around the same time that Medema builders was building the Oakbrook development within the city limits of Littleton.
Wood Brothers had their models located near Dry Creek and Clarkson at 1331, 1351, 1371, and 1391 E. Dry Creek Place as the 4 original models. They built traditional homes, with basements, good size lots and yards, and originally were priced around $62,000 to $70,000, (should have bought 2 at those prices). As with all Wood Brothers communities in metro Denver, they named it after their last name: ”Wood” and then added “ridge”.
The floor plans built were mainly:
The Madison, mainly a 3 bedroom 4 level home, 1850 sq feet
The Adams, mainly a 4 bedroom 4 level home, 2100 sq feet
The Franklin, mainly a 3 bedroom 2 story, 1970 sq feet
The Washington, the largest 2 story with a study, 2300 sq feet
The Jefferson, 4 bedroom 2 story, 2100 sq feet
The Monroe, the ranch, 2100 sq feet
and at the tail end of building out the development, they built 2 contemporary homes.
All these homes were built when mountain views could still be seen, and Puma Park was the centerpiece of the development. Good real estate in Denver can be found by the school district and these homes all feed into the Littleton school district. The area of Woodridge is designated to be between Dry Creek Road to the North, Phillips Avenue to the South, Oakbrook neighborhood to the West, and mostly Clarkson Street to the East, within the zip code of 80122.
Most residents and old time realtors know this as Woodridge, but the newbie agents keep calling it by its legal name of “The Highlands 1st filing”, and this further confuses the MLS search’s. There is a voluntary HOA.
When times were tough in the middle 1980′s, Wood Brothers in an effort to stay financially sound, sold the models to an investment group called EPIC Realty. This outfit would buy builders models, then resell, at an inflated price to investors who then would rent the homes out. Unfortunately this was during one of Denver’s real estate downturns, and eventually the partnerships ended, and the homes were then sold onto regular owners.
Call me to discuss further the current values in Woodridge.
Home buyers in Denver and its suburbs are now thinking of taking advantage of both low interest rates, and a good supply of homes to upgrade, change or move up to another home. This is great, and a few buyers who do NOT need to first sell their home, are thinking of becoming a landlord, keeping the old homestead, renting it out, keeping the income, and selling in the future. There maybe a big financial windfall in the future, as we all know real estate in Denver will go up again.
But some things to think of first. Do you still have the financial capabilities to pay on the old homes loan, as of May 10, 2009, underwriters may not consider any rental income, unless: yes there is fine print,1) this move was a relocation with a current or new employer, over a considerable distance. Then they will need a copy of a real lease, even needing a copy of the security deposit. or 2) you the borrower have a loan to value ratio of 75% or less in the old home, determined by a current appraisal, or comparing the unpaid principle balance to the original sales price when you first bought.
Then the IRS needs to be considered, as you now will change a personal residence into a income property, and what most people forget is that the potential tax free exchange, the non 1031 exchange, may be lost. More thoughts:
1. Do you plan to be a landlord for over 3 of the next 5 years?
2. Do you need the equity you have built up in the current home?
3. Are you going to have positive monthly cash flow?
4. Will you be a long distance landlord?
5. Will you mind having a tenant potentially damage your home, and not have the security deposit to cover expenses?
6. Do you love depreciation deductions?
7. Do you love having someone else pay the mortgage?
It can be very easy to go over general numbers to see what works with you, your home, and your finances. Give me a call, at 303-888-2488.
In todays Denver real estate market, a home must be staged properly in order to stand out in the crowd. Remember your home is competing with other homes for sale, and also the new home construction. If it looks and is decorated exactly as you currently live in the home, the buyers looking will pass you by, and buy the competition.
If you are in direct competition with the new home builders, remember they have all the tools at their disposal, they have a professional home designer staging all their model homes, room by room. They do this 7 days a week, from 10-6, and they know it works.
My company works with Star Interior Solutions, an award winning firm that transforms rooms and homes through accessorizing and redesigning into saleable homes that get them sold faster than non staged homes.
The owner, Erica Starich, has 5 quick staging strategies just for the kitchen.
1. Clean everything, this is the most important room in the home. Seems simple.
2. Hide the trash can, rugs, and pet dishes, especially those that may have unwanted smells.
3. Countertops need to be cleared off. You need to show off the amount of counterspace you have, no one has too much.
4. Refrigerators; remove all art and magnets, you are selling your home, not presenting an art show.
5. Cabinets; replace or update the hardware, and or paint the cabinets if they are beyond “dated”.
In the Denver real estate market, buyers buy what they can see, not what you promise.