Drive-thru closings – the new normal?

As we have mentioned, we are working hard to accept this “new normal” we are living in, and continuously needing to adapt to the changing times.  What we know to be true: even in times of crisis, people need to buy or sell their homes.  Today’s post is by our wonderful agent Phil Booth, who completed his first “drive through” closing today in the parking lot of a Land Title office.

Here is his story:

“New terrain”… we are hearing this a lot lately.

Indeed, it was new terrain today for this REALTOR today at Land Title in Longmont, where I was involved in my first ‘Curb-side’ closing with my first time home buyers.

The sellers had closed separately, so it was just my buyers parked in one spot and me alongside, in my own vehicle, but with one parking space between us (social distancing!).

The closer came out with paperwork galore (yes, a loan was involved).

She had done a beautiful job of writing explanations and marking each signature space with lovely sticky, color coded arrows to make things as easy as possible for my buyers.

She left us to it for awhile, and I was able to ‘cheer-lead’ and give explanations from the ‘safety’ of my car.

When it was time to sign the documents requiring a notary, we called the closer up, and she trotted out and provided explanations and witnessed the signing.

Things went really smoothly… the only downsides, it was pretty chilly with the window down, there were not the usual lovely drinks and snacks available, and the bathroom facilities are not very handy!

Phil Booth


What does the “Stay at Home” order mean for Boulder-area real estate?

On the evening of March 23, 2020, the City of Boulder issued emergency “Stay at Home” orders for individuals in the city.

It requires all individuals to stay at their place of residence, and that they are only allowed to leave their residences for specific approved “Essential Activities” (Things like grocery shopping, obtaining medical care or medicine, outdoor activities while practicing social distancing), “Essential Governmental Functions and Infrastructure”, and “Essential Businesses”.

(This is a VERY short summary, here is the link to the full order:

UPDATED 3/25/2020:  Boulder County has followed suit and has also issued a “Stay at Home Order” – the link to that order is here:

Real Estate is listed as an “Essential Business” in Section 6.f.24: “Professional services such as legal, insurance, accounting, real estate and tax preparation services, including ancillary and supporting services.”

Colorado Landmark, Realtors has been diligently working to ensure the safety of our agents, clients and the community by establishing stringent practices for showing homes, and working with our lenders, title partners, inspectors and appraisers to ensure that all health and safety precautions are taken during this challenging time.

We also understand that even in times of uncertainty and crisis, people need to buy or sell their homes, so we are working to ensure that our clients are able to do so – through new marketing technology, virtual tours and virtual open houses, video buyer/seller consultations, and electronic document sharing and signing.

If you have questions about your specific situation, please reach out to your Colorado Landmark agent, or visit us at

Days on Market Impact On Potential Buyers

Written By: Claire Marie, CLR Staff Writer

When buying a home it’s important to know what commonly used real estate terms mean, and more importantly, what they mean for you as a buyer. One of the key factors home buyers look at aside from price and location is the number of days a property has been on the market.

Days on market start when the property is listed and end when an offer is received and the status is changed from ‘active’ to ‘pending’. The total days on market are calculated by taking the last 30 days to six months of sold listings, adding together the days on market (before each listing went pending) and dividing that total by the number of listings.

A low number of days on market could mean that the property was only just listed or re-listed, that there is a smaller inventory of properties for sale in that area, or that the property is located in a high demand area where buyers are motivated to move quickly. Over the last three years in Colorado, the median number of days on the market has remained consistently around 65. This is typical of other high demand areas as well; San Francisco and Chicago have also seen properties sitting on the market for roughly 65 days prior to sale, whereas lower demand areas like Ohio and Kansas had homes on the market anywhere from 60-360 days or more.

A high number of days on the market can correlate to a handful of things, but the usual reason a property will remain on the market for an extended period of time is over-pricing. Over-pricing is incredibly common in the real estate world where it’s understandably hard for a seller to put a material value on their home, something which to them, can be considered priceless.

If a property is priced correctly and still on the market after a long period of time you may want to ask yourself if something could be wrong with it. If this is the case, it’s important to find out as soon as possible before you lock yourself into a contract.

Finally, it’s also possible that there is an entirely innocent reason the property is still on the market. Maybe the owner just isn’t that motivated to sell, or there is a tenant living there currently which makes scheduling showings difficult. Whatever the reason, if the home you’re interested in has been on the market for longer than the average amount of time in your area, it’s important to do the full research to find out why- who knows, you may even be able to negotiate a lower price!


2015: A Banner Year for CLR!

2015 was a banner year for luxury real estate at Colorado Landmark, Realtors!

Our agents closed on both the highest residential sale and the highest price per square foot sale in Boulder, proving that we are true “market makers”.

Updated Luxury Chart 12-21-15 light blue-page-001


Our clients appreciate Colorado Landmark’s one-on-one approach, designed to market each unique property skillfully for a seamless experience from beginning to end. That’s what luxury service is all about: establishing trust, matching qualified buyers with sellers, and removing the barriers to a successful transaction.

We are proud to be members of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and Luxury Portfolio International, and look forward to another successful year in 2016 representing the best clients and most distinctive properties in Boulder.

Best wishes to all for a fantastic 2016!

Colorado Landmark Quarterly: 4th Quarter Update

We are excited to announce that the 4th Quarter issue of the Colorado Landmark Quarterly Newsletter has finally been released!

Check out what is happening in the Boulder Real Estate Market, along with upcoming events across Boulder County and a special note from Joel Ripmaster.  Make sure to check back on our blog for the newest  Colorado Landmark Quarterly issue. Click here to download your own copy of the newsletter!
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Are Professional Real Estate Photos Worth The Hassle And Expense?

Today’s Blog Post is brought to you by Catherine Burgess. Below Catherine shares insights on how professional photos can greatly improve home sales and entice buyers.

Friends, how many seconds do you spend looking at the initial photo on your favorite real estate website?  Time it and see.  5 seconds? Maybe 10?

Great Room with Sun Room Partition

In today’s digital age, seconds are all you can expect.  If your real estate agent doesn’t bring the best possible photos to the launch of your media campaign, how is your sale impacted?

Compare these three photos.  The client wanted their property on the market as soon as possible, not wanting to wait for professional photos.  So, the initial non-professional photos went up; four days later the professional set was loaded.  After 4 more days, the virtually-staged photos were completed and  uploaded into the MLS and marketing data.


Sellers, when thinking through timing, it is important to keep in mind who the most serious buyers are and when they come to the market place. During the first week after listing: qualified buyers who have been working with an agent will see your property, if it overlaps with their search criteria.    They’ve been waiting for the right property and are poised to make an offer.



During the second and third weeks on market more causal buyers will see the listing.  They may not be monitoring listings every day, but are loosely keeping track of potential homes.  Beyond the third week, we get into a combination of people just coming to the market and hobbyists.

Statistically, exposure to the greatest quantity of  qualified, poised-to-offer buyers happens within the first week and  the best offers are made during the first three weeks of listing.  (This  is also why sellers need to be priced right from day one.  See blog Home Overpriced? 6 Crucial Signs.)

So.  Is it worth bringing your photographic A game to your starting day?  You bet.  You have one chance to make a superlative impression on buyers. Wait one week to put your property on the market, if that means that you could attract (or not repel) more buyers through the use of professional photos.

Stage A Home, sm

Staged properties sell more quickly and for more money than non-staged or empty homes. (Virtual staging, as in our third picture, is a digital low cost alternative to give buyers a feeling for how space can be used.  It is a viable option for lower-priced, vacant properties.)  Read through our blog  Set The Stage For A Quick Home Sale to understand if staging is something you should consider.

Ready for a laugh?  Check out this website of terrible real estate photos:


thumb.phpCatherine Burgess

Colorado Landmark, Realtors


Office : 303.443.3377

Mobile : 303.506.5669



How Will the Boulder Flood Impact our Real Estate Market?


Today’s post is by our superstar top producing agent, Steve Remmert.  Below Steve shares his thoughts about the Boulder Flood and how he thinks property values will be affected.

Flatirons Shot w- copyright

It has been over a month since the flood of September 12th hit Boulder, and though we are now dry there are many who are still struggling to reassemble their lives. Many clients have asked me how I thought the real estate market would be impacted as a result of the floods.  I thought that I would take a moment and share my expectations.

I have done some research into how natural disasters affect real estate. The closest relevant comparisons are hurricane Sandy or, more locally, the 2010 Four Mile Canyon fire. With regards to the Four Mile Fire, prior to the floods, the mountain market, outside of the “burn zone”, was on its way to a recovery with much of the lost equity returned. We did see a notable decline in sales immediately following the fire but over time, sales volume increased and property values stabilized.

I site hurricane Sandy because much of the impacted areas were roughly the same socioeconomic background and housing price points as the Boulder market. As in New York, within the designated floodplains, the cost of homeownership is likely to slightly increase. This is due to the potential increase in the cost of flood and other related insurance premiums. It is also likely that until prospective buyer’s memory of the recent events fade, the perceived value of those impacted homes will decrease as the demand weakens.  In the wake of hurricane Sandy the immediate effect was a dramatic decline in home sales, but by the end of the Q2 of this year 2013 the effects of Sandy had decreased and the market had also begun to stabilize. Property values have not returned to their previous high but as they re-build and as time elapses, I expect that most or all of the lost equity will return to the market.

As a result of the floods, I think we have all re-evaluated the potential consequences of living in a flood prone area. Consequently, I expect to see a decrease in sales and a decline in value within the designated floodplains. I expect this to last for about 18 months depending on the severity of the impacted area. Inversely, we should see a slight increase in sales of homes outside of the designated floodplain. Any buyer should have confidence that if a home withstood the impact of last month’s rains, it is a pretty safe bet and that flooding is not a concern.

Rest assured, that with the exception of some truly devastated areas, the real estate market will not be dramatically impacted and it will shortly return to its normal pace. In the short term, it may feel worse than it is because we are also moving into our slowest time of the market. A typical seasonal slowdown is already expected but after the holidays, we should be back to our previous sales levels.  Boulder is still one of the greatest places to live and that will never change.

I also want to point out that I see a notable distinction between homes that were damaged by flood waters and those damaged by oversaturation of the soils surrounding the homes. Yes, they both got wet and they are both considered flood damage, but the damage as a result of oversaturation of the soil is largely preventable and will not deter many buyers from buying that house in the future. That being said, for both categories, I suggest taking measures to protect against a recurrence. The potential remedies can be as simple as proper gutter systems and site grading to move moisture away from the foundation. Also I strongly suggest that if your house was impacted, document all damage and all communication with insurance and the various contractors (include pictures). A future buyer is going to want to know the source of the water problem and how it was repaired. Your repair and documentation will be critical to their becoming comfortable with purchasing your property.

For those whose insurance is not covering losses, my accountant informed me that house repairs due to natural disaster damage are tax deductible. There are certain limitations, as with all deductibles, but if you have had damage that is more than 10% of your annual income than it is likely then you will receive a deduction from the IRS. Here is a link detailing how to compute the deductions. Though it appears simple, I still recommend going over this with your accountant before submitting your taxes.


My heart goes out to those of you that have been impacted and I hope for a quick recovery. If there is anything I can do or advice I can provide, please let me know.



Steve Remmert

Colorado Landmark, Realtors

(720) 339-5033

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Flatirons Photo Credit:  Bob Carmichael Productions

Got Kids? Need to Show Your Home?

I recently asked a client how the showing went and she enthusiastically replied, “Great! But…my kids think I am ‘Crazy Mommy.’ I yelled at them to ‘finish the snack!’ ‘Clean up the mess!’ “Put the dog in the car!'” Her kids wanted to know what happened to Mommy? Let’s take a moment to understand that while it is important to sell the house, we don’t need to throw the kids under the bus to get it done! Here are some tips for managing showings in a household with kids:

Morning Routine: Add a 10-15 minutes clean-up routine after breakfast; this way if you get a call to show the home anytime throughout the day, the house is already relatively clean. make sure surfaces are picked up, beds are made, breakfast is put away and toys are in their rightful bin/closet/chest, etc.

Requesting Time: Request a 2-hour prior notice to showing. 2 hours gives your family time to straighten up and exit the home.

Ready…Set…GO: Pack a “field trip” bag. It may contain excursion essentials such as snacks, diapers, wipes, sippy’s and sweatshirts. Having it ready by the front door or in the car means you can grab and go just before a showing.

Excursion List: Prior to placing your home on the market, develop a list of places to go and things to do. In good weather, you can head to the park, creeks, farmer’s markets, trailheads, Pearl Street, the reservoir and the lake. In bad weather, you can easily spend time at Moe’s Bagels, the libraries, Barnes & Noble, BMOCA (Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art), Boulder Book Store, The Parenting Place, Logan’s or Vic’s, Amante or Laughing Goat, 29th Street Mall, Into The Wind, recreation center pools, the movies, etc.

Your Village: Noting beats having a friend who will open their doors to you and the little ones during a showing. Be sure to ask for help and let friends know prior to listing your home that you might need a place to lay low during showings.

Sports Pit Stop: Keep a bin of basketballs, mitts, tennis rackets, Frisbees, kites, and the like in the car. A quick jaunt to the courts or parks gives your little ones an opportunity to expend energy and have fun during a showing.

Teamwork: Give your little ones age-appropriate tasks to help the household get ready for a showing. A two year old may like to use a dust pan and sweeper to clean up the floors. A three year old may like to clean surfaces with a duster. A four year old may want to make their own bed. Giving children a chore teaches teamwork, jump starts the learning of some important life skills, and keep them out of trouble while you get the house ready.

Containing Messes: From art to popsicles, explain to little ones that certain items must be used or eaten in rooms where messes clean up easily. I can tell you from experience, a red magic marker + master bedroom curtains = disastrous mess!

Donate It: Your family may have an opportunity to clean out closets, playrooms, and the like when selling a house. Cleaning out the home prior to placing a house on the market helps make the home feel organized and roomy. Groups such as Saver’s, The Salvation Army,, There With Care, Lupus Foundation, etcc, appreciate the donations, offer tax write-offs and may pick up donations at your front door.

You Are Not Alone: If you are struggling with showing, contact your listing agent. He or she is your ally and may be able to adjust the showing instruction, giving you more time to get ready, conduct fewer open houses, etc. In the end, your house will sell and the whole family can say they helped make it happen!

Home Staging Tips

It is no secret that home sellers can dramatically improve their chances of making a sale by devoting attention to an often-overlooked corner of real estate marketing: home staging. The goal of this marketing technique is to get the buyer to ―mentally move into the home. This technique is especially critical in a sluggish real estate market where sellers need every advantage to make their home more desirable to potential buyers.
On the other hand, it is easy to go overboard on the staging which can make a home look almost uncomfortable or a setting contrived. Home buyers don’t want to feel like they are getting the hard sell. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts of staging your home:

Staging Do’s:

Get potential buyers inside. The first thing a prospective buyer notices about a home is the front yard. Cut the grass, trim the hedges, rake those leaves, sweep the sidewalks, and power-wash the driveway. Too many potted plants scattered around the property will make it look cluttered and messy. And get rid of any plants that are dead, or even look dead!
Pretend you’re camping – minimize and declutter! A cluttered room can appear too small to buyers. Go through each room and divide belongings into two piles: 1) keep and 2)give up. Items in the keep pile will be used to stage the room, while those in the give up pile should be stored elsewhere, or better yet given away. One home stager says “Pretend you are camping. When you go camping, you are not taking all those books, right?” A decluttered room might appear bare to the seller (who’s used to seeing more of their things there), but a buyer probably won’t think so. You are not selling your things or trying to impress anyone with them. You are selling your space and buyers can’t visualize themselves or their own things there when there is too much of your stuff in the room. Don’t forget about the outdoor spaces too – declutter potted plants, kids’ toys, gardening items, outdoor furniture and accessories, etc…as well.
Balance hard and soft surfaces. When staging a room, it’s essential to have a good balance of hard surfaces, such as a coffee-table top, and soft surfaces, like a carpet or pillows. For example, a room with a cushy, 7-foot-long sofa, a love seat, and four La-Z-Boy recliners has too many soft surfaces and not enough hard surfaces. Instead, consider getting rid of the La-Z-Boys and the love seat, replacing them with two wingback chairs and an accent table. If you have hardwood floors but no rugs add more softness by adding a coordinating area rug.

Your home is not an ark – arrange in ones or threes. Arrange items on top of hard surfaces in ones or threes. Odd number grouping is one of the most fail safe techniques to decorate an interior especially when arranging home accessories. It is even more than just a rule of thumb but a standard to follow. Place three items—say, a lamp, a plant,
and a book—on top of a larger hard surface, like an end table. Two items would appear too bare but 10 things on the table out be overdone. The three items should be closely grouped together in a triangle shape. For hard surfaces with less area, however, a single item will do.
Decide from the doorway. Would-be buyers will get their first impression of each room from the doorway, so homeowners should use that perspective to assess their staging work. Do some staging, go back to the doorway. Do some more, go back to the doorway. Have your real estate professional bring some of their associates through the house for a tour to make additional staging recommendations.
Make your place “Q-Tip clean.” A properly staged home should be immaculate, or “Q-Tip clean.” This could mean using Q-Tips to clean dead flies out of a windowsill or going around the bottom of the toilet on the floor. The purpose of an immaculate house is more than just making it presentable. If a home is messy or dirty, a buyer may wonder what else about this property hasn’t been cared for, like major and minor maintenance items.
Toasty and cozy, cool and breezy. In winter a warm home is always more inviting than one that has people reaching for their coats. On a hot summer day a cool home can be a welcome oasis to weary home buyers. Be sure to have the heat or air conditioning set at a comfortable temperature for the entire day; oftentimes homeowners pre-set their thermostats low in winter and high in summer during the day when no one is at home. This is fine if your house is not for sale, but if it is on the market an agent might want to show it to potential buyers on a moment’s notice. If possible, in winter turn the lights on and have fireplaces and candles lit to create a cozy environment, even during daylight hours, especially for open houses. In warmer weather have windows open for fresh air if it’s not hot outside.

Staging Don’ts:

“Fake” is OK, but it has its limits. Staging is, to an extent, the portrayal of an artificial existence — it probably doesn’t represent the way residents actually live in a home, but rather an idealization. Some staging gestures strain credibility, like leaving the reading glasses across the open book, champagne glasses next to the bed, lit candles next to the bathtub. That can be just as bad as fake fruit in the decorative bowl or fake bread in the basket. Any single thing that would attract a buyer’s curiosity is not good – you want them to look at your house, not the item. “When the stuff is the star of the house, it’s over-staged.”

Use restraint with the artificial plants. Fake plants can date themselves. Tulips in the spring and summer are fine as long as they are not from LAST spring and summer, and replace them with something more seasonally appropriate in fall and winter. You don’t want to give any indication that your home has been on the market for too long, even if it has.

Don’t blow your budget. A home seller who watches enough real estate programs on HGTV might start to wonder if any kitchen that doesn’t have stainless-steel appliances and granite countertops will ever sell. A major kitchen renovation is not mandatory. If your budget won’t cover at least new countertops, make sure the existing ones are as clean and uncluttered as possible, and approach the “updated look” via accessorizing and paint. If competition in your individual neighborhood market might dictate biting the bullet and doing that pricey renovation but you can’t afford it, then price your house accordingly or offer a buyer credit at closing for a portion of the cost of a new kitchen.

Go ahead, do Christmas. Some professional home stagers advise homeowners to banish all hints of the season for the fear of offending potential buyers. Feel free to decorate according to your heritage, however if it’s Christmas don’t do it like Santa Claus threw up in the place. A tree would be quite appropriate, or a centerpiece on a table –just a few things.

Exercise restraint with landscaping. Landscaping matters a lot, but when a house is for sale is not the time to go crazy with expensive trees and flowerbeds. A little can go a long way with landscaping. You don’t need to complete the dream or vision of the house — you only need to do enough to get it sold.

Don’t let it snow. We do have to endure seasons here in Colorado so you may have to deal with snow during showings. Snow can look beautiful on trees, but driveways and walkways should ALWAYS be cleared as soon as the fluffy stuff falls. Don’t forget your back patio or deck and walkways around the sides of the house. Buyers should be able to move freely to all parts of the property. Keep an eye out for icicles on the roof, as they can indicate that your home has inadequate

Home smelly home. What appeals to you and your family may leave an odor in your home that others may not appreciate. Some cultures regularly use specific spices in their cooking that can linger, and linger, and linger in carpeting, drapes and upholstery. Hold off on any extra fragrant cooking as much as possible, especially if you know that a showing or open house is scheduled. Give yourself permission to take some time off from cooking – treat yourself to meals out at a restaurant, grill outside, or dine with family and friends! If anyone in your family is a smoker and regularly smokes inside, be warned that this will be readily apparent to anyone who visits your home and will likely be a
major turn-off. Consider banning all smoking inside your home, and consult a professional cleaning company that specializes in removing these types of odors

Prepare your house for a Home Inspection

Today’s Blog Post is brought to you by George Scott, owner of Scott Home Inspection.

As the seller of the home, or a listing agent helping a seller, properly preparing a home for an inspection is important, to help things go smoothly with the inspection process.

Preparing a home:

  1. Clean the house and straighten up. Buyers often attend the inspection to review the inspection results, and to take one more look around to feel good about their purchase decision. A clean house helps the whole process go smoother.
  2. Make sure all utilities are on, especially if the house is vacant. The electric, gas, and water should all be on. Pilots should be lit on water heaters, furnaces and gas fireplaces.
  3. Clear access to Attic and Crawlspace entries. Ensure that the inspector has clear access to get into the upper attic and any lower crawlspace areas. Many older homes have access openings in a closet and the inspector needs clear access. Remove items around the access areas as needed.
  4. Clear away storage in front ofthe furnace and water heater. Ensure that the inspector can gain clear access to inspect the furnace and water heater. It is a good idea to put a clean filter in the furnace as well.
  5. Leave keys for any locked areas, such as outside sheds, garages, fence gates, electric panel cover, etc.
  6. Prepare the exterior of the home. Clear a path around the home, trim back overgrown bushes, trim any tree branches rubbing on the house or roof, and clean the gutters if needed.
  7. Replace any burned out light bulbs. The inspector won’t know if the bulb is burned out, or if the switch or fixture is bad. A fresh bulb where needed will eliminate this question and help the inspection go smoother.
  8. Ensure smoke detectors and CO detectors are installed and working. The state of Colorado requires CO detectors outside of bedroom areas when selling a home. If any smoke detectors are missing or inoperable, repair or replace them.
  9. Empty the dishwasher and washer-dryer (if included in the sale). The inspector will need to run these appliances and test for basic operation, but can’t do so properly if they are full of dishes and clothes.
  10. Leave out any repair documents. If any recent repairs or maintenance has been performed, it’s a good idea to leave these documents out on the counter along with a note. This shows the inspector and buyer that you are attentive to home maintenance and care about the condition of your home.
  11. Consider removing any dogs in the home, and leave a note about any other pets present. Don’t assume that the inspector or buyer will be ok with your dog. Consider taking them with you during the inspection or placing them in a kennel or secured area of the home. If cats or other pets are present, ensure the inspector knows this so they are not let out of the home.
  12. Be ready at the scheduled time and plan to be out of the home for 3 hours minimum. Most buyers attend the home inspection and walk around with the inspector. It is very awkward for the buyers when the seller of the home is present. Give everyone the chance to perform the inspection and talk through the results privately. Turn off any alarm system present.
  13. Consider having a pre-listing inspection. If you have further concerns about the condition of the home and the major systems, consider having a pre-listing inspection done. The inspector can point out any repair concerns, providing you with the opportunity to repair items in advance, and further prepare your home for a buyer’s inspection.

With over 15 years of experience, as well as our many qualifications and certifications, the staff at Scott Home Inspection, LLC will provide the expertise that you need and the excellent customer service that you expect.  They were also just awarded the “Angie’s List Super Service Award” for 2012. For more information, call 970-532-2424 or visit