Fort Collins Real Estate & Community News

Dec. 19, 2022

First Steps in Buying!

✔️ Get on Google or Zillow 

✔️ Find Agent with solid reviews 

✔️ Ask them questions that are important to you 

Of course, there are more steps, but this will be a good start. 

Charles Sparks  eXp Realty LLC

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 13, 2020

Easy Projects That Will Make Your Home Sell More Quickly



A lot of sellers make the mistake of going overboard on upgrades before putting their homes on the market. If you know your home has issues, it might be tempting to fix them all now so you can “wow” prospective buyers. However, as explains, it’s crucial to consider your return on investment before you delve into any major projects. It’s generally a good idea to fix major issues that may come up in a home inspection report, but aside from that, where do you start? Below, you can learn about a few easy projects that you can do to sell your home faster without sinking too much money into repairs. 

Replace Hardware

Is your home filled with outdated brass light switch covers and cabinet hardware? If so, one of the easiest ways to give your home a fresh look is to swap out old hardware for something more modern. Door handles, switch plate covers, and other hardware can all make your home look dated, especially if none of these fixtures have been upgraded since the 80s or 90s. 

Some real estate experts recommend switching to brushed nickel or bronze finishes, while others say that gold has its merits. When choosing new hardware, think about what looks best with your home’s color palette, and keep in mind that trends like these come and go. What seems timeless today might look severely dated tomorrow.    

Upgrade the Bathroom

Aside from the kitchen, few rooms leave a bigger impression than the bathroom. It might be tempting to completely gut the bathroom and give it a huge makeover. However, focusing on just one aspect of the room might be your best bet. Retiling a bathroom floor or shower with ceramic or porcelain, for instance, can make a huge difference. On average, homeowners spend around $1,774 to install ceramic or tile flooring. Ceramic is more affordable, ranging from $0.50 to $35 per square foot; however, keep in mind that ceramic is cheaper because it’s less durable. Porcelain tiles start at $3 and can go up to $35 per square foot.

Replace Worn Carpeting

If any rooms in your house show major signs of wear and tear, it might be time to replace the carpeting. You may choose to lay down new carpeting yourself or revamp a room with a different type of flooring altogether. Upgrading to hardwood floors can be expensive, but there are several alternatives that look just as attractive without breaking your budget. 

Address Odors

It’s easy to get focused on the visual appeal of your home when doing projects. However, you should never forget about your home’s impression on the other senses. Strong odors, whether they’re from pets, smoking, cooking or something else, can instantly turn buyers off. 


Keep in mind that smells can infiltrate fabric and other materials in your home. That means you may want to professionally clean the carpets, wash the drapes, freshen your furniture, and take stock of any other fabrics that might be holding odors. If you have pets, it’s crucial to clean up any messes they may have made. When you’re dealing with stubborn odors that won’t go away, Popular Science offers these proven methods for getting rid of smells at the source. 


Before a showing, you might consider putting out air fresheners. However, don’t go overboard; if buyers suspect you’re trying to mask underlying odors, your efforts might backfire. 

Freshen Up the Exterior

While it’s important that the interior of your home impresses buyers, you can’t forget about your curb appeal. One of the best ways to make your home stand out is simply to clean your siding. Remember that not all siding is created equally, and you can actually damage your exterior if you take the wrong approach. Houzz explains how to choose the right tools for the job. 


When trying to sell your home faster, you could easily spend thousands of dollars on upgrades. However, you don’t want to sink money into your home just to get a quick sale. There are many smaller projects you can complete for a lower cost that will still leave your home looking its best. 


Blog post by

 Suzie  ⎸Happier Home



Jan. 4, 2019

Want Beautiful Green Grass This Summer? Follow These 5 Tips!

Want Beautiful Green Grass This Summer? Follow These 5 Tips!

A healthy and luscious lawn is often a point of pride for homeowners. Make your neighbors green with envy (literally!). And make your lawn the talk of the neighborhood (in a good way).

Here are our top 5 tips to achieving (and maintaining) a beautiful green lawn this summer:

1. Learn About Fertilizer

Fertilizer is something that many people expect to show results almost right away. However, it often - especially for slow fertilizers - takes time and many treatments to notice an obvious difference. And making sure you use the correct fertilizer for your grass is also important. Do your research or ask the experts - what makes a fertilizer high quality? 

Many experts agree that a slow-release fertilizer with nitrogen is best for sustainability. It releases nitrogen slowly. But has lasting and longer effects. Fertilize in the spring, and then use it about every 6-8 weeks throughout the season. 

2. Mow Your Lawn the Right Way

Mowing too low can kill your grass roots - meaning your lawn may look less than desirable down the road. How can you prevent this? Don’t mow too low. You should technically only be removing the top third of the grass blades. Aim to cut when the grass is above 3 ½ inches. It will get you the best results - and the best looking lawn around! 

3. Don’t Forget About Aerating 

Aerating your lawn in the fall and early spring can help your lawn breathe. It allows air, nutrients, and water to get right to the root and in the soil. Consider also adding new seeds to these aerating holes. 

4. Don’t Overwater or Underwater

Generally, experts say to water your lawn an inch to an inch a half down every week. In cooler temperatures, you can probably ease off. And in warmer temperatures, you can water a little more. Be careful though - a lot of people make the mistake of overwatering. Sometimes the best way to regular this is through a built-in irrigation system (you can learn more about irrigation here). Many of them run on automatic timers and have sensors so they know the amount your lawn needs and when. 

5. Select the Right Grass Type

Your climate and where you live will determine the type of grass you put down. Not all types will flourish in specific climates. In fact, they might do the opposite. Again, doing your research here is a good idea! Be aware of what works and what doesn’t in your region.

Get working! A green and beautiful lawn doesn’t have to be complicated. You too can have the lawn you’ve always dreamed of. Use our above 5 tips to guide you!

This blog has been brought to you by Blue Jay Irrigation, a professional lawn irrigation company. 


Posted in Real Estate News
Sept. 24, 2018

Purchase a home with 3.5% Down

Today we talked with Cole Simmons with Edge Home Finance the process of and FHA Loan. Coles Info: Cole Simmons Sr Loan Officer NMLS 1127011 C: (660) 229-0219

Sept. 24, 2018

Cole Simmons talks VA Loans.

Today we talked with Cole Simmons with Edge Home Finance the process of and VA Loan. Coles Info: Cole Simmons Sr Loan Officer NMLS 1127011 C: (660) 229-0219

Sept. 24, 2018

Wire Fraud with Keri Roark

Today we talked with Keri Roark at Fidelity National Title regarding the importance of keeping a secure file and not becoming the victim of Wire Fraud.

Sept. 14, 2018

CHFA Loan Program talk with Charles Sparks & Kris Hocum

Today we talked about CHFA loans with Kris Hocum. If you are thinking about purchasing a home and would like to find out more about this loan program you can reach out to Kris or call Charles at RE/MAX.

To reach Kris Kris Hocum MegaStar Financial Corp Office: 970-266-9111, Ext 241 Cell: 970-222-7441 Email: NMLS: 669530 MegaStar’s NMLS # 3043. Colorado License: LMB100042875

Aug. 1, 2018

Title Insurance

In this video we talk about Title Insurance and why you need it if your selling or purchasing a home. 

Thank You Lorri at Heritage Title for you input! 

#video #titleinsurance #purchasers #fortcollins #FOCO #CharlesSparks

July 27, 2018

Home Inspections

Today we interviewed Nick at Home Team Inspections to talk about the importance of a inspection.  Nick services the Northern Colorado area. 

HomeTeam Inspection Service



June 29, 2018

Finding an Affordable Vacation Home in Retirement

Finding an Affordable Vacation Home in Retirement


You know you want to commit to purchasing a vacation home in retirement, but you’re not quite sure about a few aspects. What can you afford, and where can you afford? Can you rent out the space? What about taxes? All of these considerationsare helpful in ensuring you find an affordable vacation home in retirement. Reflecting on these questions and looking at all of your options can help guarantee you find something you can afford and enjoy.


What Can You Afford?


Figuring out a budgetfor your vacation home is an important first step. Don’t just look at the price of the home though. For starters, if you finance the home, be aware that mortgage companies may charge higher interest rates and/or require higher down payments for second homes. Seeking aid from an experienced mortgage broker instead of dealing directly with a single lender is advisable.


Also consider the cost of insurance. While you’ll need it regardless of where you live, areas with a higher risk of natural hazards, like hurricanes, floods, or forest fires, require additional insurance. Insurance for a beach location is likely to cost you more than a spot further inland. Before making an offer, obtain several insurance quotes so you’re not shocked during escrow.


Maintenance can also be a costly part of homeownership. From roof repairs to painting touchups to costly plumbing leaks, you don’t want to underestimate the cost of maintaining a second home. Factor in about two percent of the home's value each year for maintenance.


Where Will You Buy?


When deciding where you’ll buy a vacation home, you want to find a location that’s affordable and practical. Think about the vacation spot’s proximity to your primary home. Is it affordable or practical to have to get on a plane every time you want to make a trip? Some retirees choose to rent out the property when they’re not using it. If you go this route, be sure to choose a desirable location, which is usually a city or town near an ocean, lake, river, or mountain recreation area.


Consider that some vacation spots are moreexpensivethan others. While Islamorada, Florida is definitely pricey with median home prices around $775,000, Carmel, California’s median price sits at a cool $1.65 million, and Southampton, New York comes in at a staggering $1.95 million. If you’re on a tighter budget, there are plenty of viableoptionsacross the U.S., including Lake Arrowhead, California; Amelia Island, Florida; and Catskill Region, New York.  


You should also think about how the home and location fit your future lifestyle. Are there plenty of recreational and social activities and events? Is the structure and location senior-friendly? Climbing stairs to reach the master bedroom of your beach cottage or driving a steep and windy road to get to your mountain cabin may get more difficult as you age.


What About Taxes?


Primary homes and vacation homes alike are likely to have a major impact on your finances during tax season. Mortgage interest and property taxes on both types of homes can be claimed as deductions. Homes rented out for less than 15 days are considered personal-use property. However, renting out your second home for 15 days or more allows you to deduct operating expenses such as utilities, repairs, insurance, and management fees.


Of course, if you rent out your vacation home, you must report the income, which means a slew of monthly and annual paperwork. Additionally, unlike your primary residence, all profits from the sale of the second home are taxed as a capital gain. Moving into your vacation home and treating it as your primary residence for at least two years before selling may allow you to circumvent the capital gains tax.


When you reach the decision to purchase a vacation home in retirement, you must calculate all the costs, including insurance and maintenance. This will play a vital role in setting your budget. Other than the budget, choosing a location is the most crucial part of the process, and many factors play into the decision. Lastly, you’ll need to determine whether you'll rent out the home. Carefully making these decisions will ensure you find an affordable vacation home to experience additional flexibility and enjoyment in your retirement.


Written by:

Jim McKinley

Guest Blog Writer