The internet is not a Real Estate Agent – By: Catherine Wood

The Internet Can’t Replace Your Agent We live in the information age; the Internet offers advice on every topic and real estate is no exception. With more and more home buyers starting their home search online, they are bombarded with advice and information – it can be easy to think that you can learn everything you need to know just by reading articles online.

The truth is your real estate agent does much more than answer your questions and open doors with a special key. A professional real estate agent will be there every step of the way. They have the experience necessary to navigate the complicated home buying process and solve common hiccups that present themselves in every real estate transactions. Your real estate agent is a local professional. They will start by presenting themselves to the buyer’s agent as someone who will work with them to see the transaction through to a successful conclusion. They have a network of professionals who will work as a team to help you through the process. These include such professionals as: lenders, title reps, escrow officers, transaction coordinators, home inspectors, contractors and handymen, among others.

Most importantly, your agent is your ally in the home buying process. They negotiate on your behalf – armed with experience and understanding of customary charges, costs and terms. They will ensure that the price you pay for the home is fair for the condition and neighborhood. They will negotiate repairs, if needed and make sure you are protected with the proper contingencies. The Internet offers lots of great information, but the most important step you can take when buying a new home, is hiring a local professional real estate agent. Their knowledge and expertise can’t be found by reading an article or two online.













Proudly serving the Front Range since 1989 Catherine Wood – Re/Max Nexus 303.931.9746

Property Value Assessments will arrive soon – by Kristel Acre

Every two years the counties in Colorado reassess property values. With the strong sales prices and fast pace of sales we have recently experienced, it is anticipated that most property values will increase. Here are some tips if you feel your valuation is incorrect and you decide to protest.

A property tax appeal letter should be sent if a homeowner believes the assessment of his or her property for tax purposes is not correct. This appeal should be done in writing and copies kept as a record of the appeal process. This will ensure that the case cannot be ignored, and no one can claim that they didn’t receive notification. It will also ensure that when the reassessment is completed, the results cannot be contested.

Some steps to take before sending a property tax appeal letter are:
• The information and description of the property that is on the property tax bill should be correct including lot size, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, garage and basement details, and date of construction.
• If a tax exemption is sought, the listed tax exemption needs to be mentioned. In Colorado tax exemptions are available to qualifying seniors and disabled veterans.
• The property values from recent sales in the area should be researched. (Also known as comparable sales or “comps” which I am happy to help you research.)
• The sales figures should be compared with the homeowner’s assessment and if there is a sizeable difference, it should be noted when requesting a reassessment.
• Some people contest if the difference is a few thousand dollars because over time these small differences can add up in tax savings.

For those who decide to protest their property tax bill, the next thing to do is send the letter and request an informal or formal review depending on what is allowed in your jurisdiction. Hundreds of homeowners contest their property tax assessment every year and there is no reason for the homeowner to feel intimidated or embarrassed by this process. Mistakes are made all the time, and even though the homeowner would like to pay their fair share of property taxes, there is no reason why they should pay more than required
The assessment should be challenged immediately because there is usually a 30-day time limit to respond. Each state is different, but there is usually an outline of procedures for challenging the assessment printed on the back of the tax assessment bill sent by the government. The appeal letter should be sent by certified mail, so the homeowner has proof of the time and date it was sent and received. Be sure to keep copies of all communications in this matter. At some point, they may need to face someone to present their case in person, and these records will help support their case. Here is a sample property tax appeal letter.

Sample Property Tax Appeal Letter

Use this sample property tax appeal letter as a template for your formal appeal letter. The tax values are an example only as these values will vary widely from one area to another. If you need assistance with estimating the value of a discrepancy, please let me know.

Homeowner’s Name
Homeowner’s Address
City, State, Zip Code


To the Board of Review or Tax Board or County Assessor:

I am sending this letter as notice that I would like to appeal my property tax assessment. The details as to why my home is over assessed are given below.

1. There are three main discrepancies between the property record that was filed and what is actually in my home.

• I have a two-car garage, not a three-car garage as indicated. Tax value – $2,000
• I have 1,000 square feet of living space not 1,800 square feet as indicated – Tax value $7,000
• I do not have a wooden deck. Tax value – $1,500

Kindly deduct $10,500 from my assessment.

2. There is structural damage to my home that reduces its resale value.

• An exterior wall and the corresponding foundation are severely cracked, which is not mentioned in the assessment. Tax value – $5,000
• The roof leaks in the kitchen. Tax value – $3,000

Kindly deduct $8,000 from my assessment.

3. In comparison to two homes that have recently sold on my street, I am requesting a reevaluation of the value of my home. Both of these houses have similar square feet, age and upgrades.

• The house at ADDRESS sold for $250,000
• The house at ADDRESS sold for $225,000

Kindly change the assessment of my home to $250,000.

The information given in this letter clearly shows that my property taxes have been incorrectly assessed. The assessment shows improvements and upgrades that do not exist in my home. Also, the value of my home should not be more than $250,000. I am requesting that my tax assessment be adjusted according to the provided information. I would be happy to meet you informally to discuss the situation or will submit a formal request. I can be reached at 555-123-4567 or at


Homeowner’s signature
Homeowner’s Name printed
List of enclosures

As your local real estate expert, I’m here to help you

Should you need assistance in finding suitable comps or recent sales data for neighboring homes, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I will send you a written data sheet that shows the details of these properties, so you can compare and contrast what is different about your home in your written protest. Knowledge is power, and I want you to be armed with solid information!


Remax Nexus - image of Kristel Acre Real Estate Agent





Kristel Acre – ABR, GRI, CNE, CPE, AWREP, QSC
Broker Associate
RE/MAX Nexus 


Down Payment – How Much Do You Need? By – Catherine Wood

Down Payment – How Much Do You Need?

Gone are the days when anyone could buy a home with just a promise and signature. No documentation loans allowed virtually anyone to buy a house with no money down with just a simple credit check. After the mortgage meltdown, this all changed. Lenders tightened guidelines and down payments were back.

But how much do you actually need? Must you always find 20% down?

The answer might surprise you; there are many ways to buy a home with less than 20% down payment.
• 0% Down – There are still two loan programs which allow one to buy a home for no down payment; the VA loan and the USDA loan. The VA loan requires the borrower to be a qualified service person or veteran and the USDA loan is for certain areas under the Department of Agriculture.

• 5% Down – Conventional loans with loan limits can allow one to buy a home with as little as 5% down. These loans do have PMI (Private mortgage insurance) which can be eliminated when the loan amount falls below the 20% threshold.

• 3 ½ % Down – FHA offers first time home buyers a good home loan for only 3.5% down payment. Again these loans have loan limits and PMI but offer a faster entry into the housing market.
Buying a home doesn’t always mean 20% loan. If you’re considering buying a new home, talk to your lender about your options.


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