Colorado Real Estate News

IS BUYING A HOUSE WORTH IT IF YOU’RE SINGLE?

When you were growing up, there were probably certain milestones that you imagined you would reach in your adult life that would be momentous and important. Falling in love and getting married are on that list of milestones for most people, as is the dream of one day owning your own home.

As the age at which Americans are getting married slowly creeps up, the question has begun to emerge: Is it better to buy a house after you get married, or should you try to get your foot on the property ladder earlier, in your single life? Like so many questions surrounding real estate decisions, there truly is no single correct answer. The best decision for you will depend on your life circumstances, your career, your plans and dreams — and, yes, your love life, too.

Before you decide to buy a home (or decide not to buy a home) as a single person, think about these things and ask yourself how they apply to your life and situation.

How stable is your career?

Like it or not, your financial picture is going to be absolutely critical in your decision — or ability — to purchase a home. This is true for anybody who’s trying to buy a house, but it’s doubly true for single people seeking to buy because you only have one source of income: yourself. You don’t have a spouse with better credit or a higher-paying job to help you out — or even a spouse with a lower-paying job that’s still contributing to the household. This means that your finances, credit, savings, assets and liabilities, and everything else that you have to put together to apply for a mortgage loan should be in a squeaky-clean condition so you can get the best deal possible on a loan.

This isn’t news to most people who are considering buying a house, but what they often fail to consider is the long-term stability and viability of their career. Or they might not even plan on staying in that career for much longer. If your master plan in life is to buy a house and then become an Instagram influencer while renovating it … well, that’s a lovely dream, but it also means that this most likely is not the best time in your life to be considering a major purchase with a loan that you’ll be paying off for well over ten years.

Objectively assessing your own income and earnings — and the probability that your skills will still be in demand in the years to come — is never easy, but think about the alternative. The worst-case scenario is not that you won’t qualify for a mortgage loan; it’s that you will and will use it to buy a house, then lose your job. If you’re working in an industry where the hiring process is long and convoluted, or if there aren’t a lot of alternative employment opportunities near you, then you’ll want to face this worst-case scenario head-on. What would you do if you were to lose your job while you were paying off a mortgage loan? Do you have other skills you could fall back on if that happened?

It may feel morbid to make a plan for how to handle a career tanking that never actually happens, but it’s so much better to be prepared and not need those plans than for life to catch you flat-footed and annihilate your ability to own a home in the near future.

How happy are you in the area?

Let’s say that your finances are in solid order and you know that you have job stability in your area for many, many years to come. Great! Maybe you’re ready to buy a place to live somewhere — the next question is, do you already live in the market where you’ll eventually want to buy?

You won’t be locked into homeownership forever, of course; you can always sell. But if you want to sell your house before you’ve been living there for two years, you will likely have to pay hefty taxes on any profit you make from the sale. So if you don’t think that you’ll be in the same area in two years, it’s probably best to keep saving up your money and wait to buy a house somewhere else.

That two-year window is far from a guarantee, however. Home prices generally rise over time, but that rise consists of pockets of peaks and valleys. If you happen to buy during a peak, two years later could be the midst of a valley, when you’re more likely to lose money — or at least not make as much as you could have on your home sale. Ideally, you’ll want to stay as long as it makes sense for you and your lifestyle, so if you’ve toyed with the idea of moving to a different metro area or an entirely different state, it might be wise to hold off on your home purchase.

Do you have roots here? How strong are they?

It’s not at all uncommon in the modern world for children to move across the country from their parents, siblings, and hometowns, and it’s also not uncommon for life circumstances to emerge that bring people back together. Think about the support network that you have in place nearby — and the support network available to your loved ones who live away from you. And think about what you would do and which options would be available to you if something were to happen to a parent, sibling, or someone else whose safety and health you’d want to prioritize.

Alternatively, you might want to consider how you’d manage if something were to happen that left you incapacitated for a period of time. This could be as simple and impermanent but inconvenient as breaking a leg, or as serious as a newly diagnosed chronic condition. Of course, you don’t want to make major life decisions on a series of what-ifs, but if you already know that you have a family member in poor health and may need to move nearer to them (or move them nearer to you) sooner or later, then you should definitely take that into consideration as you’re determining whether or not to buy a home today.

What does your ideal living situation look like?

Some people enjoy having roommates while others prefer to live all by themselves. And some only want to cohabit with romantic partners or family members. Think about what you want out of an ideal living situation; it might not be possible to achieve immediately, but if you’re going to buy a house, then you should try to get as close to that ideal situation as you possibly can.

The easiest scenario to navigate in many situations is living alone; you just have to determine how much room you need, where and what you can afford to buy, and move forward from there. If you want roommates, things get a bit more complicated. Do you already have those roommates identified, and if so, how long-term are they? If there’s a chance that you may have to look for new roommates while you’re living in your residence, then you should think about the areas that are most attractive to the types of people you’d most like to have as a roommate and target them for your purchase.

How about your love life?

Even if you’re not married or partnered up yet, that doesn’t mean you won’t be at some point in the future. Do you already have a significant other? How serious are things? If it’s possible that you might be moving in together in the next couple of years, then you might want to consider looping them into the decision-making process in your home purchase so that you’re choosing a place that appeals to both of you. On the flip side, don’t let your partner fully dictate your choice; if you’re the person who’s securing and paying the mortgage, then this house needs to work for you first and foremost.

Buying a house when you’re single can be a smart investment if you think through the decision and make sure you’re choosing a home that will work for you for at least a few years. Once you are ready to partner up, you’ll have equity built in your home and can use your first purchase as a foundation for a family home where you’ll live for years to come.

Colorado Real Estate News

HOW TO GET YOUR FIRST REAL ESTATE EMAIL MARKETING CAMPAIGN OFF THE GROUND

Starting any new marketing strategy as a real estate agent can be daunting, and although it’s one of the most successful ways to reach out to and stay in touch with clients, email marketing can appear to be one of the most challenging. It’s almost infinitely easier to just set up a Facebook business profile, invite all your friends to like it, and start posting left and right on it — even if you never get any viable sales that way. It’s unfortunate because email remains one of the most popular ways to communicate today (well above the telephone, and agents still cold-call leads). And if you can write a compelling email, you can generate a lot of business through email marketing.

Every solid email marketing program had to start somewhere, and if you don’t start yours today, then you’ll never know how successful it could have been in five years. Here’s what you have to do to get it all off the ground.

Get a CRM and an email marketing platform

Do you really need a CRM and an email marketing platform to be able to market to clients via email? Well, no — but your efforts are going to be so much more lucrative and effective if you’re tracking what you’re sending, who’s receiving it, and who’s opening it. You’re not going to get very far just using your email host account and a spreadsheet or contacts list.

A CRM will help you organize all of your clients and prospects, whether or not you plan to communicate with them via email, and an email marketing platform will give you the ability to set up drip campaigns for certain types of clients, to determine how many of your recipients opened the email you sent, how many clicked on the links embedded in the email, and who’s unsubscribed from the future email. Ideally, your CRM and email marketing platform will interact seamlessly with each other; you want to be able to look at contact in your CRM and see which emails they’ve been sent, what they’ve opened, and what they’ve clicked, for example. There are tons of options out there in the marketplace, so talking to your broker and trusted real estate agents whom you know to be tech-savvy is a good place to start.

Track down email addresses for your clients and any leads in your pipeline

If you’re a new agent or if you simply haven’t been keeping track of client and lead email addresses, then you will likely have some work ahead of you to get your database set up to where you can even send an email.

If you can delegate this task to an assistant, an intern, or a niece or nephew you’re paying by the hour, that’s great; if you’re going to have to do this lifting yourself, set aside 15 minutes or half an hour every day to go through and fill in your CRM with all your clients’ information until you’re finished. It might take several weeks of half-hour sessions, but if you’re also documenting new clients in your CRM as you go, then this work can’t last forever; sooner or later, you’ll be finished and your database will be pristine and shiny.

Create a way to capture email addresses

Perhaps you’re looking at your list of clients and email addresses in your CRM and feeling a little sad about it. Don’t worry — one big component of email marketing is email capture, which is just another way of saying that you’ll need to come up with some ways to get email addresses into your database. This might sound utterly daunting, but really it’s as simple as figuring out a document or two that prospective clients might find valuable, putting that document together, then offering it to any takers on your website in exchange for an email address. This strategy is known as creating a lead magnet.

Your lead magnet is going to depend heavily on your own niche and the types of clients you’re hoping to pull in. Let’s say that you’d like to land some more listing clients, for example. That’s a good start, but if you can also determine the price range of the homes you’d like to be listing and the neighborhoods where you want to operate, that’s even better. It won’t be very useful for you to create an incredibly popular lead magnet for listing clients all over the country, after all, when what you really want are clients in one very specific market.

For example, instead of creating a guide for how to sell a house fast, create a guide for selling a house fast in your specific market. Or selling a vacation home fast, or an entry-level home, or a condo — you get the idea. Make the guide as valuable as you possibly can. (In fact, for this particular example, making a “how to sell” guide as comprehensive as possible can actually work strongly in your favor … if a would-be FSBO is looking at the guide and thinking that it seems like a ton of work, that’s a good thing for you.)

Place the guide on your website and offer to send it to anybody who provides a valid email address. You can assess whether the address is valid by delivering the guide to the recipient via an emailed link.

If you don’t want to or don’t have the time to go to the trouble of creating a lead magnet, a simple pop-up on your site offering email updates for clients can serve a similar purpose.

Segment your clients

When you have the email addresses, it’s time to figure out which clients are. Your buyer clients aren’t going to appreciate content that you’re sending to homeowners or sellers, and vice versa, so it’s up to you to figure out who’s who and keep track of everybody in your segments. A buyer who successfully purchases a home with you as their agent is going to be a homeowner, so you’ll need to be able to move clients from one segment to another.

It’s quite possible that as your career grows, you may have multiple segments beyond the basics. Single buyers, family homeowners, empty-nester sellers, and so on — you’ll know better than anyone who your clients are and how to craft and deploy solid, useful information that will keep them connected to you.

Research, research, research

Another reason why many agents hesitate to implement an email marketing strategy is that it seems like a lot of work. Someone has to write those emails, and they have to actually be good if you want people to continue subscribing to your missives. Who has time for that?

One of the most successful email formats is an aggregate newsletter, where the sender is pulling together all of the best information on a given topic and delivering it directly to the people who want it most. This means that you don’t necessarily have to be the best, most creative writer or email wizard in the history of the universe — you simply have to be able to read, to research, and to identify stories that would be interested in the different people in your segment groups.

And to be able to do this well, you have to know what’s out there. So spend some time poking around online to see what resources and assets are available for you to share with your clients (with attribution, of course). Don’t forget about social media and platforms like YouTube, which can have a ton of valuable information on them.

This is another task that can be delegated, although many agents who have successful email marketing programs often want to curate the stories they’re sending themselves. You may have a better eye for the types of stories and details that will be the most interesting to your clients, and if the personal touch really helps set your emails aside, it can be well worth the time spent.

Decide what you’re sending to whom — and when

Now that you’ve got a good sense of what’s out there and what might be a good fit for your clients, it’s time to start figuring out the details in your strategy. What do you have to send to buyers? In what order would it make the most sense for them to receive that information? In some ways, the buyer’s journey can be one of the easiest to map out because the stages tend to be fairly similar, and you can adjust and tweak your email campaign to fit what each buyer or group of buyers is doing now or has already done.

Sellers can be a bit trickier, and many agents keep them in the loop by providing up-to-date market statistics and details, guides for cleaning and staging, emailing case studies about pricing and marketing strategies as they pertain to sellers, and more. And homeowners will almost always be interested in new and useful information about the community in which they live, whether it’s a piece about the new park planning happening down at the city council or a rundown of all the summer events happening while the kids are out of school.

Craft your first campaign

You’ve got all the pieces together to create your first email campaign — now all that’s left is to do it! Figure out which campaign you’re going to create first, and then get to work. Remember, this is a process; nobody expects your emails to look exactly the same in three years as they do today. The important thing is to get them out the door so you can start assessing what’s working and what isn’t, then iterating on what works best.

As far as the actual writing goes, be as engaging and conversational as possible, but remember that you’re talking to clients, not your friends on Facebook. A subject line that tells your buyer, seller, or owner clients what’s in it for them if they open the email, a warm greeting, and diving right into the topic can almost never hurt. Don’t forget to sign your name and give your recipients the option to unsubscribe if they’d prefer.

Look at the numbers

Some marketers like to look at email open rate and click-through numbers almost as soon as the email is sent, while others prefer to wait a day or two before giving those numbers their attention. There is no single wrong answer, but if you’re in the group that likes to look immediately, make sure you’re taking time to come back at least 12 to 24 hours later to see how those numbers play out over time.

Tweak and redeploy

The biggest gains in email marketing often come from small tweaks that you can make, and once you’ve got your feet under you in terms of the logistics of curating and sending these emails, you can start to pay attention to those nuances, too. What happens if you send an email in the morning instead of in the afternoon? How about at 10 a.m. or 11 instead of 9 a.m.? Most email marketing platforms will also allow you to A/B test subject lines, which means you can send out the same email with two different subject lines and see which ones get the best open rate. Over time, A/B testing can give you insights into what your clients like and don’t like, so you can align your efforts with their preferences.

Colorado Real Estate News

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SELLING A HOUSE WITH TENANTS

It’s stressful being a landlord at the best of times, but when the time comes for you to sell your investment property and move on, the stress can feel palpable. You’ve probably spent time getting to know your tenants and have built a relationship with them, and most humans don’t deal with change all that well.

Springing the “guess what, I’m selling your residence out from under you” conversation can feel like a big deal, even if everyone involved knows that isn’t really what’s happening. If you own a home with tenants in it that you want to sell, what do you need to know and address?

You can still sell your house even if there are tenants living in it …

The good news is this: You have the legal right to sell your property, even if there are tenants living there. It’s your house and your decision to make, and if you want to sell it, that is well within your purview.

That said, there’s a good way to go about selling your home with tenants, and there are a lot of ways that generate resentment and a lack of cooperation and that generally are not pleasant or fun for anyone involved. You do have the right to sell your house; your tenants have rights, too. To make this a tolerable process for them — and, frankly, to get the place sold faster and for more money — you’ll need to solicit your tenants’ cooperation.

… But in most states, they can stay through the end of their lease

One of the rights that your tenants have is to stay in the property until the end of their lease. This applies to both month-to-month leases and fixed-term leases for longer periods of time, such as six months or one year.

Selling a rental house with a month-to-month lease is relatively easy; refresh your memory as to the terms of your lease agreement and give your tenants the appropriate notice that you will not be renewing the lease when it ends. This could be anywhere from 30 to 60 days, depending on how your lease is written and what state the property is in.

Selling a rental with a fixed-term lease can be a bit more complicated. It’s possible that your tenants’ lease might not be up for several months, and if you really can’t wait for them to vacate before buying, then you’ll need to work with them throughout the sales process, and they will stay on in their residence after it’s sold.

Would the tenant be interested in buying?

One easy solution to the issue of selling a home with tenants is to ask the tenants if they’d be interested in buying. Not everyone is going to be able to afford to do this, of course, but it’s very possible that your tenants love where they live enough to consider securing a mortgage loan and making you an offer.

If this happens, it’s really a best-case scenario for everybody. You don’t have to go through the hassle of preparing a home for sale, putting it on the market, and handling buyer bids; buyers don’t have to go through the pain of finding a home that works well for them in their price range. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can take this step without professional help, though; it’s still a good idea to hire an agent to make sure your interests are being represented and protected.

Can you wait until the lease is up?

Depending on how long is left on the lease, you might be able to just wait until it’s up, gives your tenant the appropriate amount of notice that you won’t be renewing the lease and need them to vacate, and then put the home up for sale. Simple! Unfortunately, in some circumstances, the tenant may have more than six months left on the lease, and you may truly need the house to sell as quickly as possible.

If you can’t wait until the lease is up, you’ll need to have a conversation with your tenants about the sale. This should probably be an in-person conversation, followed by a formal letter — but the in-person conversation will give you an idea of what you’ll need to do to incentivize your tenants to be cooperative, which could mean the difference between an immediate sale or a listing that lingers and lingers.

Decide how you’re going to market the property

Most sellers who are trying to offload a rental property have a couple of different options for how to market the home. They can sell it as an investment property — in which case, an established tenant is a distinct plus — or they could sell it as an owner-occupied home. Investors won’t mind at all that the property has a tenant; in fact, they might consider it a reason to buy in and of itself.

You can market the home as both; that’s also an option. There are some traditional buyers who won’t be moving immediately and won’t mind waiting out a lease, so limiting yourself exclusively to investors isn’t necessarily your only possible path forward.

Work with your tenant on appropriate showing times

It’s important to remember that you are the person in this relationship who desires the sale. Your tenants probably have a lot of feelings about it, few of them positive; they are likely anxious about the future, unsure of where they will move or whether they will have to, sad about the loss of their residence, and more. So if you want them to cooperate to the best of their abilities, you will need to make this process as easy as possible for them.

The first thing to do — and possibly the most important — is to ask your tenant about their schedule. When would it be convenient for them to open their residence for showings, and when are the incredibly inconvenient times? Do what you can to limit showings only to the times that tenants have indicated are convenient for them. Buyers who are motivated will be willing to clear their schedules to see a house that might be a fit, so you can feel free to give your tenants some control over the scheduling.

Offer to pay for cleaning, lawn maintenance, or both

Another big pain point for your tenants is going to be keeping their residence looking showing-worthy just in case a buyer wants to stop by. This is difficult enough for sellers who are motivated to offload their own residence, but when you’re a tenant who doesn’t have a choice in the matter and you’re not going to see any financial benefit from your behavior, why would you be inspired to spend almost all your time outside of work keeping up with your house?

One way you can show your tenants that you care about their experience in this process is to help them out by hiring cleaning or lawn maintenance help — or both — to help them keep up with the showings and alleviate some stress. Yes, it’s going to cost you some money, as will a few of these suggestions. But is it better to spend some money upfront and sell the place more quickly, or to pinch your pennies and allow the home to languish on the market for months? At that point, you may as well wait for your tenants to vacate if you’re not willing to do anything to hasten the process.

Provide 24 hours’ notice for showings

Different states have different requirements for how much notice you need to give tenants about showings, but a good rule of thumb that’s acceptable in all states is to provide them at least 24 hours’ notice. Make sure that all buyer’s agents know this is the case, and don’t acquiesce to pleas to squeeze someone in at the last minute. It could be illegal, it will very likely leave a bad taste in your tenant’s mouth, and you could wind up with an uncooperative tenant on your hands as a result.

Arrange for the tenant to leave during showings

Tenants might not be intrusive when possible buyers are walking through the house, but it’s still pretty awkward to try to look at a place with the current occupant present. Talk to your tenants about options for things they can do while buyers come by to look, and do what you can to make those options easy for them. Maybe spending some gift cards to a local coffee shop or brewpub would be welcome ways for them to spend the hour or so they have to vacate the premises?

Send them on a mini-holiday for the open house

Planning on having an open house over the weekend? What will your tenants do during that time? Maybe you can offer them a night or a weekend away in a nice hotel while you host the open house. This is an opportunity for you to get a bunch of buyers in the house at once, especially if the open house is a significant part of the marketing campaign you’ve established with your agent. Do whatever you can to make it as good as you can make it — and as comfortable as possible for your tenants.

Help the tenant find a new place to live

As a landlord, it’s possible that you have more than one property in the area, and it’s also possible that you may have an opening in a residence that would suit your tenant perfectly. If that’s the case, you can absolutely present that offer to your tenant. Ask if they’d like to see the new residence, make time to show them around, and if they agree that it would be a good fit, maybe offer to help them move, too. If there’s a price difference between their current place and the new one, you might be able to do some negotiating or use it as a bargaining chip.

Even if you don’t have any other homes that might be suitable for your tenant, you might know other landlords or property managers in town through your own business. Reach out to them and mine your network to see how you can best situate your tenants. They’ll thank you for it later!

What if the tenant is behind in rent?

In an ideal world, you could ask your tenant for the rent owed, collect it, then sell your property with no further issues. But the world we live in is not ideal, and a tenant who owes rent already isn’t exactly a selling point when you’re trying to offload a rental property. In fact, it’s a liability!

There are a few ways you can tackle this problem. You could tell the tenant you will forgive their outstanding rent if they agree to move out immediately. You could try to put them on a payment plan that will help them get current by the time the sale happens. Or, depending on how far behind they are, you could start the eviction process — which isn’t fast or easy, but if there are no other options, it may be your best one.

Consider ‘cash for keys’

This term refers to a practice of giving tenants money to move out early. Sometimes landlords do this when the tenant is a problem — for example, not paying rent, or antagonizing other neighbors. It’s essentially exactly what it sounds like: You approach the tenant and offer to pay them to leave.

Your tenant doesn’t have to be a problem tenant to use this strategy when you know you want to sell. If you’re pretty sure that your tenants would cause problems in the sale, and you can’t wait for their lease to end, ask if you could pay them one month’s rent and their security deposit, or whatever seems reasonable to you, if they would break their lease and vacate early. You can also offer additional incentives, like paying for a moving company to help them make the move. This might seem counter-intuitive, but if you really need the place sold and you’re out of other options, it can be the best solution to your problem.

Colorado Real Estate News

CLIENT RED FLAGS: HOW YOU KNOW THE SELLER WILL BE A NIGHTMARE

When your job is heavily tilted toward customer service, you know that you have to deal with all kinds of people – and you aren’t going to like all of them. That’s just part of life! But there’s a difference between having a slight personality clash with a client or rubbing each other the wrong way every now and then, and a client-agent relationship that is downright toxic.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether a client is going to be a difficult fit or a downright nightmare for you. If you’re new to the business or just need a refresher, here are some big red flags that your seller client, in particular, is probably going to be the latter.

They don’t understand the market

Let’s be clear: By itself, this is not an enormous scarlet flag that should send you running for the hills. However, it’s usually one of the first indications that a seller doesn’t have the best judgment, doesn’t like to let facts get in the way of their opinion, has an ego problem, or some other more serious issue that could be a dealbreaker.

On the other hand, it could just be an indication that they haven’t been paying attention to the market and don’t know what to expect in terms of pricing or timing. So take this one with a grain of salt, unless it’s accompanied by several other questionable behaviors.

They think quirky renovations increase the home’s value

Every once in a while, a listing comes to market that’s so weird and out-there that the photos go viral on social media. It could be something as relatively innocuous as an, um, intimate dungeon in one room, or some rather unusual choices of color or decoration or what-have-you. And you know what, who should anybody be to judge? The whole point of homeownership is to have a place to call your own and shape into exactly what you want.

The problem arises when sellers insist that their interesting and not very common taste enhances the value of the house. Not only will some sellers refuse to shape their homes a little more closely to buyers’ tastes, but they might also decide to price their home well above neighborhood comps because “it has something none of the neighbors’ homes has!” That’s true, but so is the fact that not every buyer wants a house with a creepy mermaid mural in the bathroom or a stripper pole in the corner of the bedroom.

A job well done is a reason to complain

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to identify this seller until after you’ve done something amazing — sold their home quickly, and possibly above asking price. Even though they made the decision to accept the offer, they might decide later on that you advised them poorly and they could have made even more money if they’d decided to leave it on the market for long. Who knows where people get these ideas?

They can’t agree — with each other

Hopefully, none of your clients will be real-life incarnates of George and Martha from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, but it’s possible that you might run into a handful who clearly aren’t used to agreeing with one another and expect you to mediate their differences. Maybe one wants to sell quickly while the other is content to wait. Or one likes the idea of reducing the price and the other thinks it’d be better to just take the house off the market. You may have a lot of skills as an agent, but you’re not expected to be a marriage counselor for basic decision-making.

They look for reasons to personally dislike people they don’t know

If your seller suddenly starts to develop animosity toward the buyer before they ever meet face-to-face at the closing table, watch out. Unless the buyers are being the nightmare — it happens! — you may find yourself having to placate the seller and soothe ruffled feathers, or even convince the seller not to drop a nuke on the deal because they got an idea that they couldn’t work with the buyer. You need to be especially careful if sellers begin espousing ideologies and opinions about the buyers that could get you into Fair Housing trouble.

They think they know better than you do

There’s nothing new under the sun, including home sellers who seem to have an idea that they could do your job better than you, in fact, are doing your job. The attitude itself is common enough that you might not want to make it a hill to die on, sad to say — where it becomes a real issue is when your clients completely disregard your advice because they’re confident that they know more than you do. Why? Because that’s when you find yourself in a situation where a client is blaming you for an action they took against your advice.

They micromanage

Just about everybody has had a bad experience with a micromanaging boss who won’t let them do their job, and it’s more than probable you might end up with one of those clients eventually. Maybe they think the listing photos or marketing materials could be better and want to adjust the typeface or ask you to retake the photos. Perhaps they’re nitpicking a word choice in the listing description. Those things are more tolerable than clients who want to micromanage the contract or negotiations, areas where they really should be leaning on your guidance.

They don’t want to compromise

Whether it’s refusing to budge on the price, not wanting to work with buyers who ask about repair credits or other concessions after the inspection, or throwing a temper tantrum if the appraisal comes in below their contract price, a seller who won’t compromise doesn’t give you a lot of room to maneuver as the agent. Maybe you’re really good at getting deals done without wiggle room, but for some agents, this can very reasonably be a reason they don’t want to work with a client again.

They don’t want to spruce up … at all

This one is another flag that might mean the seller is a nightmare, but it could just mean that they aren’t in a financial situation to do much around the house. Usually, though, you can tell the difference between someone who has pride in their home but can’t afford the latest upgrades, and someone who simply doesn’t care that the walls are practically falling down around them. If the seller has the financial means to make necessary repairs but refuses to do it, or won’t negotiate on price even though the place is below the standards for most of the market, then you’re most likely working with someone unreasonable.

They find fault with everything you do

Selling a home can be a very emotional time, and when a seller nitpicks at you or berates you, it’s not something you ever have to put up with — but it’s also at least somewhat understandable sometimes. When a seller can’t help but pick apart everything you do to find fault with it, though, that’s a good sign that this relationship is probably going to be a lot more trouble and stress than it will be worth for you, financially and otherwise.

You aren’t comfortable

We don’t always pay enough attention to the alarm bells that sound in our head when someone dangerous or predatory is around, and hopefully, you’ll never encounter a seller who could fit that description. But … but. Real estate can be a dangerous business, and you won’t do yourself any favors by ignoring your gut instinct and hanging around a client who makes you uncomfortable. If alarm bells start ringing in your head and you get that “get out” feeling, you know what to do — get out.

Colorado Real Estate News

THE BEST ICE CREAM SHOPS TO BEAT THE HEAT IN DENVER

Summer Isn’t Over Yet! Stay Cool Denver.

The Best Ice Cream Shops to Beat the Heat in Denver

Is there anything better on a blistering hot summer day than stopping at your favorite ice cream shop for a cold treat? Aw, the memories of frantically finding enough change to buy something when you heard the sound of the ice cream truck and lazy summer evenings spent with the family in front of the local shop licking your cone before it melted all over your hands. Fortunately, you can still experience that thrill for a few dollars by stopping by some of Denver’s best ice cream shops. These spots range from old school neighborhood staples to innovative shops with exotic flavors, but they share a dedication to crafting excellent frozen treats. Has anyone ever regretted stopping to get some ice cream? Here are six of our favorites.

Bonnie Brae Ice Cream { 799 S University Blvd, Denver, CO 80209, bonniebraeicecream.com }

This might be the quintessential Denver ice cream shop. On any given night, you’ll see a mix of families from the Wash Park, and Bonnie Brae neighborhoods and DU students patiently lined up for homemade concoctions. This family-owned shop has been serving Denver for over 30 years. Even though the shop has a classic vibe, they aren’t afraid to experiment with unique flavors along with classic staples. They also have some excellent shakes and malts.

Must-Try Flavors:  Peppermint, Blueberry, Sinfully Cinnamon, Caramel Apple

Dang Soft Serve { 2211 Oneida St, Denver, CO 80207 dangsoftserve.com }

One of Denver’s newest ice cream shops showcases a unique twist by only serving soft serve. While opinions are sure to be mixed about soft serve, if you like that style, you will love this spot. Imagine if your favorite fast-food ice cream was homemade and delicious, and you get a sense of what they’re going for. It’s hard to beat the vanilla and chocolate swirl, but they have a rotating selection of flavors that try to push the envelope with options like matcha and lemon zest. They can all be ordered with a dipped cone if you would like. They also serve delicious french fries, which needless to say pair wonderfully with the ice cream.

Must-Try Flavors: Chocolate Vanilla Swirl, Banana Puddin’

Sweet Action Ice Cream { 52 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203 sweetaction.com }

This unassuming shop nestled on south Broadway looks like any other spot you’d find across the country. Don’t let that fool you. This shop has a serious pedigree after being featured in publications like Zagat and the Wall Street Journal. Everything is hand made, and they even locally source most of their ingredients. It’s hard to find a Denver resident who doesn’t have great memories of this local institution. They also make sure to have several vegan options. This shop has some unique flavors, along with quite a few sorbets.

Must-Try Flavors: Stranahan’s Whiskey Brittle, Goat Cheese Marmalade, Tiramisu, Thai Iced Tea, Colorado White Russian

Little Man Ice Cream { 2620 16th St, Denver, CO 80211 littlemanicecream.com }

If you’ve been to LoHi, you’re bound to have witnessed the insane lines and distinctive 28-foot tall cream can building of this Denver ice cream staple. The shop gets its name from the founder Peter Tamburello’s father, whose nickname was ‘little man.’ It was inspired by the Coney Island ice cream stands of his youth. The smell of fresh waffle cones is sure to entice any passerby, and their homemade ice cream always delivers. They also have a variety of shakes, malts, and splits that will please anyone with a sweet tooth.

Must-Try Flavors: Salted Oreo, Purple Cow, French Toast, Mexican Chocolate

Smith+Canon Ice Cream co. { 2260 E Colfax Ave #102, Denver, CO 80206 smithcanon.com }

This Colfax hot spot boasts insane reviews, homemade ice cream, and excellent coffee. We can’t think of a better combo. The owner has a passion for bringing outstanding coffee and ice cream to the city, and we’re fortunate to have it.

Must-Try Flavors: Strawberry Habanero, Black Coffee, Chocolate, and Foxy Brown

Inside Scoop Creamery { 1535 Platte St, Denver, CO 80202, and 5654 S Prince Street, Littleton, CO 80120 insidescoopdenver.com }

This tiny gem of the spot offers soup and sandwiches, but the real treat is frozen here. They have a variety of vegan and non-dairy options to accommodate those with food intolerances. With a host of homemade options and fresh waffle cones, this spot is gaining popularity.

Must-Try Flavors: Key Lime Pie, Cookie Dough, Frozen Hot Chocolate

Colorado Real Estate News

4 UNDERRATED DENVER NEIGHBORHOODS

Denver Neighborhood Apartment Tower Looking Across

4 Underrated Denver Neighborhoods

‘Tis A privilege to live in Colorado. The Denver Post has proudly proclaimed this quote on the front of every paper it has published since the 1800s, and it’s hard to argue with it. We are blessed to wake up every day experiencing sunshine and elevation in a vibrant and growing city, all nestled at the base of the majestic Rocky Mountains. It’s very easy to complain about traffic, yet you can always check out and head up for some of the best hiking and skiing in the entire world.

In terms of the city itself, there are so many fun restaurants, spots, and stores that you can spend a lifetime exploring it all.From sports to hiking to dining to skiing, Denver is the complete package. There are so many great neighborhoods in the city, but we feel these gems don’t get the love theydeserve.

Golden Triangle

Why It’s Great

Location. Location. Location. This area makes up for being small and pricey by being the cultural hub of the entire city. It’s walking distance to the Cherry Creek Bike Trail and Downtown, but it has a unique feel that is fun and engaging. From concerts to festivals to happy hour it’s a vibrant area that continues to surprise.

What To Do

There is a never-ending range of options, all within walking distance. You can swing by Dazzle, Denver’s best Jazz club for a boozy brunch, and then work it off by biking

around and finish with a coffee and people watching on an outdoor patio. In the evening, you can grab dinner at one of the dozens of local restaurants and then stop by an art gallery opening and finish up at a dance club. Make sure to check out the Denver Art Museum, which curates a superb collection that runs the gamut from Renaissance masters, to priceless Native American pieces, to impressionism, to abstract and everything in between.

Where To Eat

Cuba Cuba cafe & bar { 1173 Delaware St, Denver, CO 80204 } serves divinely crafted Cuban fare in a charming spot that exudes both elegance and cool. This family-owned spot serves up extraordinary mojitos and Cubanos along with beautiful sunset views on the back patio.

Dazzle { 1512 Curtis Street, Denver, CO 80202 } is a supper club known for inventive eats and one of the best brunches in the city. While enjoying your meal you also get to listen to the best jazz musicians in town. You can’t beat that!

Jive Kitchen and Bar { 1055 N Broadway, Denver, CO 80203 } offers casual dining and small plates that are perfect for sharing. The service and salads set this place apart from other locations that go for this relaxed, sophisticated vibe, but end up falling short.

Lo Stella Ristorante { 1135 Bannock St, Denver, CO 80204 } is one of those low key, family-owned Italian spots that every neighborhood needs. It’s reasonably priced food made with love. From the homemade pasta to the burrata, it’s hard to go wrong in this Denver favorite.

Park Hill

Why It’s Great

It’s one Denver’s most historic neighborhoods, and it’s every bit the charming and beautiful spot it’s always been. It’s a diverse and lovely neighborhood filled with wide streets, parks, and summer concerts. It’s a desirable neighborhood to raise a family in because of it’s proximity to the rest of the city while maintaining a laid back, family-friendly feel.

What To Do

The large amounts of cafes and local watering holes make exploring this Denver locale a treat. However, if you have a bicycle, this neighborhood becomes a true delight. It has some of the widest most picturesque streets in the entire city, ensuring biking around is a breeze.

Where To Eat

The Cherry Tomato { 4645 East 23rd Avenue, Denver, CO 80207 } is celebrating over two decades of serving family-friendly Italian on tablecloths the kids are welcome to draw on. They pride themselves on excellent service and being a city fixture for dinner and a glass wine.

Tables { 2267 Kearney St, Denver, CO 80207 } is helmed by a husband and wife team who serve up new American cuisine that genuinely outside the box. The dishes are unlike most things you’ve ever tasted, but the attention to detail elevates the styles they like to play with in their cooking.

Phoenician Kabob { 5709 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80220 } is a fusion of belly dancing, and Greek and Lebanese cuisine that is a perfect match. Gyros and grape leaves compete with hummus and baba ganoush and kebabs. Take our advice and order everything and share it.

Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant { 7225 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80220 } is Ethiopian cuisine perfected. If you’ve never tried this glorious cuisine before, you’re missing out. It’s spicy and unique and comes with bread that works perfectly to soak up the plethora of sauces.

Regis

Why It’s Great

The secret has started to get out, but the Regis neighborhood of Denver remains one of the city’s most unique and diverse areas, filled with parks and restaurants that will delight everyone from families to young professionals. Although it’s known for Regis University, it doesn’t have a college town vibe because a large percentage of the students are in grad school and commute, giving it a very relaxed, family-friendly feel.

What To Do

One of the strong selling points is how easy it is to jump on the highway and head up to the mountains from this area. On the weekend, you grab some brunch and then bike over to one of the many antique shops. In the summer, you can head over to the historic Lakeside amusement park to ride a vintage roller coaster.

Where To Eat

The Noshery { 4994 Lowell Blvd, Denver, CO 80221 } is the go-to spot in the neighborhood for homemade baked goods, sandwiches, and delectable brunch fare. Make sure to try the scones. Dubbel Dutch { 4974 Lowell Blvd, Denver, CO 80221 } is a beautiful little shop that sells traditional European sandwiches at a great price. The owner is from the Netherlands, and the shop is filled with unusual Dutch souvenirs and food products you won’t find anywhere else.

Brooklyn’s Finest Pizza { 5007 Lowell Blvd, Denver, CO 80221 } is a throwback to old school pizza places in New York the owners grew up eating at. The thin-crust pizzas are the star of the show but don’t sleep on the excellent strombolis and calzones.

Denver Biscuit Company-Tennyson { 4275 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212 } continues DBC’s takeover of the Mile High City by serving some of the flakiest, tastiest, and downright gargantuan biscuits you will ever see. The fried chicken biscuit is a must-try.

Rocky Top Tavern { 4907 Lowell Blvd, Denver, CO 80221 } is a two-fisted drinking bar that has some solid food and is a great spot to watch a game. Locals rave about the smothered burrito.

Uptown

Why It’s Great

Uptown is a beautiful neighborhood that is infinitely walkable as well as being extremely close to downtown. It’s in the heart of the city, and the transformation that the area has achieved has been breathtaking. A cornucopia of shops, consignment stores, and cafes ensure residents can explore and get an authentic taste for city living.

What To Do

You can bar hop down 17th to The Thin Man { 2015 E 17th Ave} and try their various vodka infusions or head over to Vine Street Pub { 1700 Vine St } for craft beer. If you’re in a curious mood, you can head over to The Denver Museum of Nature and Science or check out the antics of the animals at the wondrous Denver Zoo. On the weekends, be sure and enjoy City Park, the largest park in Denver.

Where To Eat

Steuben’s Uptown { 523 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80203 } is a Denver institution created by super chef Josh Wolkon that has been serving some of the best comfort food the city has to offer for years. It’s an entirely original take on what a diner can be with homemade variations on classics. There isn’t a bad thing on the menu.

D Bar Denver { 494 E 19th Ave, Denver, CO 80203 } is the spot for anyone with a sweet tooth. They have an extensive menu of absolutely scrumptious desserts exceptionally well executed. The comprehensive wines list makes this Uptown favorite an excellent date spot. 

Hamburger Mary’s Denver { 1336 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80218 } is an iconic LGBT restaurant in Denver that specializes in delicious hamburgers. With live entertainment every night and potent cocktails, there’s a reason this place is beloved by locals.

Ace Eat Serve { 501 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80203 } is an Asian fusion spot that specializes in fun. The food is outstanding, but the real draw in the spacious restaurant is the large ping pong floor. After grabbing a beer and a bite, you can challenge your friends over who has the top table tennis skills.

Colorado Real Estate News

HOW TO FIND A MENTOR AS A REAL ESTATE AGENT

One thing that can make an enormous difference in your career success as an agent is whether or not you have a high-quality mentor who can help you navigate the ins and outs of real estate. In fact, many agents discover that they operate very well if they have more than one mentor to tap for questions and advice.

Your real estate broker may be one of your first mentors, and if you really want to hone your skills and become the very best agent you can be, then you should also seek out other mentors who can help round out your experience and education. But how do you find a mentor? Here are the steps you should be taken consistently in order to keep a good number of mentors in your world as an agent.

Network, network, network

This is very standard advice for real estate agents; you have to network to find clients, after all. Networking with other agents can be beneficial for many reasons besides seeking out a mentor — you’ll meet people who can refer clients to you, for example, or who might know good resources for title and escrow, inspections and appraisals, or mortgage loan issues.

You should also network to keep your eyes open for potential mentors in your area. A good mentor will not only have more experience in real estate than you have; they’ll also understand the market and be able to give you advice on how to read it and share what they’ve learned.

Don’t walk up to a possible mentor and simply ask them to be your mentor, all that said. In a perfect world, you’ll be able to form a relationship with your mentor or mentors where they can help teach you about real estate and you can help them in some other way.

Start forming relationships

The best mentors are good not because they necessarily know better than everyone else; they’re the best because they understand your situation, your needs, your career goals and aspirations — and they know how to help you achieve those goals. This means that they’re going to have to get to know you as a person in addition to as an agent, and you’re going to have to be able to talk to them very frankly to get the best advice.

In other words, you’re going to have to form a real relationship with your mentor in order to truly benefit from your encounters and discussions. While you’re networking, make sure you’re spending a good portion of your time just getting to know people on a personal level. If your mentor can understand some of your life situations because they’ve been there before — and you can trust that they understand it because you know their history — then you can both cut through a lot of the explanations around why you think and feel the way you do and get straight to how you are going to strategize and operate around your challenges.

Decide who’s mentor material

You may really click with some people who you meet in a networking environment, but you know that for whatever reason, they aren’t going to work out as a mentor for you. That’s fine! You’re allowed to make friends and acquaintances, too. And on the flip side, you may meet people who you think would make excellent mentors, but for whatever reason, they aren’t going to be able to fill that role for you. These are all reasons why it’s smart to try to make more than one mentor connection if you can — there is no rule that says you can only have one mentor at the time, after all.

Think about the people you’ve met and consider their levels of experience and areas of expertise. Do you think any of them might have some information or skills that you could also use? Do any of those people who do seem like they could help you also seem interested in spending more time with you or forming a deeper relationship?

Hopefully, by this point you’ll have a shortlist of possible mentors, and you can start thinking more deeply about where you need help and where they might be able to assist you.

Assess your skills and ask for help …

Even though humans do have a tendency to overestimate their skills at just about everything, we also tend to be pretty good at knowing where we are strongest and where we could probably use a little bit of remedial assistance. It isn’t a mark of failure to understand that your financial planning could be better, or that you aren’t very familiar with marketing tactics in real estate, or that thinking about negotiating makes you feel a little bit nervous.

When you know where you need the most education and training, it’ll give you a better idea of whom in your mentor network to approach. You’ll know who’s best-suited to answer which questions and who might not be an expert in certain areas, and you can ask them for advice accordingly.

… While taking stock of how you can help, too

Most people tend to think of mentorship as a bit of a one-way street between the mentor and the mentee, but that absolutely does not have to be the case. There might be a lot you can do to help your mentor, both to thank them for the ways in which they’ve helped you and also to signal to them that you yourself are a resource and an asset to their business.

Perhaps one of your mentors keeps talking about learning the ins and outs of the latest social media platform but hasn’t had time to do it, and you could sit down with them and offer an hour-long hands-on tutorial. Maybe they need a landing page or listing description written, or someone to look over their website for typos. Your skills are likely just as varied as the mentors you’ve encountered, so think about what you can offer them — then offer it.

Talk about your challenges

Even the best mentor in the world can’t be expected to help a mentee solve a problem that they don’t know the mentee is currently juggling. It’s almost never the easiest thing in the world to be vulnerable with someone, especially someone you respect and whose respect you crave in exchange, but don’t lose sight of the end goal, which is to be the very best real estate agent that you’re capable of becoming. You can’t do that if your mentors don’t know about the problem client who’s been giving you headaches and exactly why the client is upset with you.

When you’ve reached a point in your relationship with your mentor where there’s been some reciprocal exchange of education and resources, it’s acceptable to approach them and ask them for their advice with a specific challenge that’s bothering you.

Take feedback to heart

Look, nobody likes to hear that they messed up; it’s human nature to shun that kind of feedback. Nonetheless, we have to hear it if we want to improve. One of the most valuable things any mentor can do for you is to provide straightforward, unbiased feedback about how you’re doing and where you could be better. And one of the smartest things you can do when you’re put in the position of listening to this feedback is to really listen, ask questions, refuse to get defensive and apply it when and where you can.

Believe that your mentors will notice how coachable you are. It will make them more inclined to share more wisdom with you in the future if they know that you take their experience and advice seriously.

Consider coaching

Some agents might dismiss coaching as an unnecessary expense, but smart agents think of it as an investment in their own future. Even if you have the most amazing network of mentors that has ever been seen in the history of real estate, you could still benefit from a coach — someone whose entire job and career is to make you better at yours, to call you on any excuses you’re making, and to hold you accountable to your goals. Many mentors can do some of these things some of the time, but almost no mentor will do all of them for you consistently, and when you reach a point in your career when you’re finding that you need deeper evaluation and fine-tuning of your strategies and efforts, a coach might be the next logical step for you.

Colorado Real Estate News

HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT VACATION RENTAL

Planning to stay in a hotel for your vacation is so ’90s. The emergence of the internet and websites like Airbnb, VRBO, TripAdvisor and more have made it possible for travelers to feel right at home in a new city … because they’re staying in someone else’s home and renting it for vacation.

Vacation rentals are a great way to get to know an area like the locals do. They’re often more spacious than hotel rooms, and unless you’re booking a hotel suite, you’ll also typically have access to amenities like a full kitchen.

Of course, there’s always a risk to using a vacation rental instead of a hotel — for example, some rentals might not have internet access, some might be inconveniently located for what you want to do, and there are people posting homes that aren’t really theirs and taking money as part of a scam. (This is much more popular on open websites like Craigslist than targeted ones like Airbnb, for what it’s worth.)

How do you make sure that you’re choosing the right spot for your vacation experience? Here’s a quick guide to how to find the right vacation rental for your visit.

Decide where you’re going

Maybe you want to ski in Tahoe or sun yourself on Miami Beach. Before you can start seriously looking at vacation homes to rent, it’s smart to decide where you want to go for a vacation and what you want to see and do while you’re there.

This seems easy, but most of us have several places we’d like to go given enough time and money. The key is in prioritization — and consulting your fellow vacationers, of course. Make a list of any places you wanted to go that didn’t make the cut and save it for the next vacation.

Decide what you want in a rental

Sometimes you can find a great deal on a vacation rental that will save you hundreds of dollars on your vacation … but that rental might be located miles and miles from any major attractions, meaning you’ll either have to rent a car, take public transportation (if available), or take on another expense to get where you want to go.

By contrast, a place right on the slopes (or the shore) might be more expensive than the other options, but you’re paying in part for convenience. Is that something you’re willing to do?

Make another list of the features you must have in your vacation rental, from location to a number of beds to whether you need an internet connection. Think about how much cooking (or not) you’ll want to do, whether you want to be close to restaurants or public transportation — in other words, make a list of your ideal vacation rental for this trip.

One nice thing about platforms like Airbnb and VRBO.com is the filter application; you can include your must-haves and the search results will only generate vacation rentals that meet your exact criteria. So it pays to decide what those criteria are before you jump into the search.

Plan ahead

If you haven’t already selected dates for your trip, start checking to see what the busy and slow times of year (or season) are for the area where you want to vacation.

Maybe you want to hit a big event that’s going to be insanely popular. In that case, start planning as early as possible, and book your rental as early as you can, too — the rates will only get higher if you wait.

If it doesn’t really matter when you go, try to plan around any big events that could boost prices while you’re in town to find the best deal possible.

Google Map it

Once you start looking at actual homes, do yourself a favor and check out the neighborhoods and streets where those homes are located.

You might find something that’s lovely and impeccable on the inside, but if the general feel of the area doesn’t seem safe or polished to you, then maybe you should pass. Pay attention to major thoroughfares and attractions, too, so that you know there’s a highway behind the home that might keep you up at night or a concert hall that might be a little loud down the street.

The maps can also show you quickly which retail stores and restaurants are nearby, where the vacation rental is in regard to public transportation, whether the sidewalks are clean and well-maintained or trash-ridden and cracking — you can learn a lot from this step, so don’t skip it.

Read the reviews

Airbnb, VRBO.com, and other reputable vacation rental sites will have a review section — don’t ignore it.

Those reviews are written by other vacationers who stayed in the home. They often report on things like cleanliness, noise levels, whether the photos were representative of the home — all things you’ll absolutely want to know before you fork over money for a week in the place.

You can also see (to an extent) who left the reviews, how often they travel, how highly their own hosts rate them (a bad review from a poorly rated guest can probably be safely ignored), and then decide from there how valid you think their opinion is (or is not).

Ask about amenities

Is there wifi in the vacation rental? That might be something you can filter out with search results, but other questions might not have handy answers — like, “do you make towels available for beach use,” “can I park in the garage,” and “is there a Nespresso machine in the kitchen.”

Look at your list of must-have criteria and ask yourself if you can confirm that the vacation rental has (or does not have) the items on that list. If there are any missing, ask the host about them. It’s possible that accommodations could be made, but you’ll never know unless you ask!

Ask about fees

Will your host charge for additional guests, and what’s the standard nightly cleaning fee? Can you access the vacation rental’s pool, or does that cost extra? When you’re close to deciding that this is the right place for you, contact the host (if you haven’t already) and ask about any additional fees or costs associated with staying there.

Not only will this help you budget, but getting an answer in writing can also protect you from any unknown charges if the host is an unscrupulous sort. Better safe than sorry.

Solicit suggestions for things to do

Most good hosts will do this without asking, but it’s always nice to ask the people who own the home (and have presumably lived in it) for tips on things to do and how to make the most of your time in the area.

Some good questions to ask hosts if you can’t think of any yourself:

What’s your favorite place to eat in the area?

What route do you talk about when you want to take a walk?

Where do you go when you want some quiet time outside of the house? Where do you go when you want to meet new people?

Where can you find the best live music in the neighborhood?

What’s the parking situation like? (If you have a car.)

What activities for kids or families are available?

Is there anything I should know about the neighbors?

When you take the time to plan ahead, finding (and renting) a vacation home, even if for the first time, is both easy and rewarding.

Colorado Real Estate News

AVOIDING BURNOUT AS A REAL ESTATE AGENT

Every industry contains a danger of job burnout. Although it’s not an actual medical disease, the Mayo Clinic defines burnout as “a special type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” (https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/burnout/art-20046642)

It sounds like fun, right? No, not at all. Real estate agents can be especially prone to burnout because of the unique nature of their job. As independent contractors, agents can feel isolated even if they’re part of a thriving brokerage. Dealing with people, in general, is stressful and can lead to burnout; dealing with people who are in the middle of one of the biggest transactions of their lives is exponentially more stressful than dealing with people sitting down for a meal or buying a pair of jeans. And the sheer complexity of the transaction itself can be overwhelming for agents.

But burnout is far from a sure thing. There’s a lot you can do to protect yourself from feeling that state of physical and emotional exhaustion.

How do you know it’s burnout?

First, you have to be able to identify what you’re experiencing as burnout. It affects everyone a little bit differently, but there are some typical symptoms that people with burnout tend to have that can help you pinpoint if it’s happening to you.

Think about your recent sleep patterns. If you have burnout, you may also have insomnia; either you have trouble falling asleep at night, or you wake up way too early and can’t get back to sleep, or both. This could be paired with chronic fatigue: Because you aren’t getting enough rest at night, you might feel tired all the time at work, listless, with no energy.

Your food consumption can also alert you to burnout if you pay attention. Some people lose their appetite, while others overeat out of stress — so if the number on the scale has been creeping up or down from its normal spot, and you’re not intending to gain or lose any weight, that could be a sign that your job is starting to affect how and what you eat.

If you’ve been diagnosed before with anxiety or depression, or you know someone who has, then some of this may sound familiar. In fact, anxiety and depression often coexist with job burnout; job depression can incite anxiety and depression in people who have never had either before, and it can also make pre-existing conditions worse.

Another strong emotion that can be a warning sign of burnout is anger. Are you on a hair-trigger these days, finding your blood pressure soaring when you encounter certain situations at work? Do you notice yourself snapping at people much more than you ever did?

You may find that you’re forgetting things more often, or have serious trouble focusing or paying attention during your workday. And burnout can come with physical symptoms, too, including shortness of breath, heart palpitations, a propensity to get sick more often, and other body troubles that indicate all is not well in your world.

Does any or all of this sound familiar? It’s quite possible you have burnout. So what can you do to resolve it?

How do you fight burnout?

Burnout is quite common in real estate, but it’s far from inevitable! There is a lot you can do to improve your situation if you do think you have burnout, and prioritizing yourself will help you deal with your current burnout as well as prevent it from coming back in the future.

1. Set boundaries

The reason why burnout is so common in this industry is that it can feel like a 24/7 business. It’s a stressful time of life for your clients, who don’t buy or sell a house every day, and they are thinking about the obstacles to the closing table around the clock … but that truly does not mean that you have to do the same. The first thing you have to do to protect your psyche and manage your time more wisely is to set boundaries with your clients.

This can feel very uncomfortable for some agents, but with some practice, even the most bend-over-backward types will learn that the vast majority of clients are happy to respect your boundaries. So during your first meeting, tell them, “These are the hours during the day where I will be available via phone or text message to answer any questions you have. If you ask me a question before 6 p.m., I promise I will get back to you the same day. If you need something after 6, you can email me, leave me a voicemail, or text me, and I’ll reply as soon as I can the following day.”

If you’re working with sellers (who are more likely to have an after-hours emergency that might affect your business), it might behoove you to set up an answering service that can help connect your sellers with emergency plumbers, electricians, and contractors so that you don’t have to.

2. Take care of your body

One of the first things to go when we’re feeling stressed out is our self-care, which is absolutely the worst possible move to make, yet we do it all the time. You’ve heard it before and it’s nothing new, but taking care of your body through diet, exercise, and an appropriate amount of sleep will alleviate stress, give you more energy, and even extend your life. That’s why even in the peak of the busiest time of year for real estate agents, it’s critical that you’re planning your day so that you can eat nourishing, healthy food instead of pulling up in drive-through after drive-through.

It is quite common for agents to cut corners on sleep in particular as their business ramps up and they feel stretched thinner. This is one of the worst things you can do for your body. Sacrificing your sleep for work should be an absolute last resort and something you do extremely infrequently. Exercise can help if you have insomnia; spending 30 minutes sweating every day can wear you out enough to send you to bed when you’re supposed to go and keep you there all night.

3. Get some assistance

One of the best things about being a real estate agent is that the work that goes into your day is incredibly varied. You have to find and work with clients, market your listings and your business, negotiate deals, tie up loose ends, manage your own business finances, and generally be a person of all trades to the best of your ability.

That’s an amazing experience on its best days, but when things start going sideways, every agent will admit that there are some tasks they enjoy more than others. Some thrive on building social media following into the tens of thousands while others would rather file taxes than post to Instagram. Some are marketing-savvy while others enjoy the numbers and economic interplays in real estate.

Think about the things you have to do every day in your business, and then take some time to identify the tasks that you have grown to dislike — or maybe you just don’t enjoy them as much as you do everything else. Make a list and review it to determine what you can delegate. As soon as you can afford to, consider hiring an assistant or subscribing to a service that will handle that task for you.

You may find a little stigma in the real estate industry around not doing everything yourself. But so what? If you’re happy in your job and an assistant helps you achieve more work-life balance, it is a sign of the maturity and opportunities in your business that you have enough work to handoff. Savor it.

4. Give yourself something to anticipate

Maybe it’s a vacation planned to a destination you always wanted to visit but haven’t yet, or perhaps you can set up a standing Friday night date for you and your closest friends to bond over tapas and wine and commiserate about the past five days. Even though it seems counterintuitive, some agents fight burnout by working on next year’s business plan and strategy. It doesn’t matter what it is, but if you have something to look forward to, you can summon its presence whenever burnout rears its head and you feel like throwing your laptop at the wall.

Another way to build anticipation into your world is to give yourself a creative outlet that you indulge on a regular basis, whether daily or weekly. Channel all of those awful experiences into the novel you’re writing or the metal song you’re composing. If you can do this consistently, you might even catch yourself smiling when things get crazy at work because you know it’s all grist for the mill of your art.

5. Establish a support system

A mentor can be an immense help for new agents who are struggling to juggle all of the nuance and detail that goes into a real estate transaction. If you don’t already have someone you consider your mentor, think about making it a priority to find one.

You can also build a network of people who can be trusted to support you when you need it. That could be your mom, your partner, your neighbor, your best friend, your book group, a therapist — anybody you trust to help you handle some of the emotions and experiences that emerge when you’re working in real estate. Coworkers can be a huge source of help: They’ve been there before and they understand what it’s like. If you don’t feel like there’s anybody at your brokerage who can provide that support system for you, look online. There are a ton of social media groups for real estate agents to support each other, and one of them is probably a good fit for you.

6. Rearrange your day

How different would work feel if you remembered to take regular short breaks to refresh and revive yourself every day? Well, the great thing about being in real estate is that you are your own boss. Too often, that means that you drive yourself into the ground trying to impress yourself — but if you give your boss-self permission to be a nice, indulgent boss (on occasion) to your employee-self, you’ll probably discover that you begin to enjoy your workplace incrementally more.

Breaks are just one way to reorganize your working day to facilitate feelings of equilibrium and stability at work. Maybe you can do something with your workspace or car, adding personal touches that make you feel happy and soothed when you’re in that environment. A plant or candle on your desk (with a clean workspace) can do wonders for your mood, and if you have a home office, painting at least one wall your favorite color, or hanging an image you love where you can see it, can be a good way to spruce up your work area.

Surrounding yourself with things that make you happy can be supplemented by building small treats into your day. Do you love to sit on your porch with a cup of tea in the afternoon? Is stopping at home to eat lunch one of your favorite parts of your day when you can make it happen? Well, guess what: You got into real estate so you could have a lot of flexibility around your work. If tea time or a lunch break is something that rejuvenates you and helps you be more present during the rest of your day, you can be your own boss and add it to your schedule.

7. Shift your mindset

The best thing about anything shiny and new is its shiny newness. It is very common for humans to start something new, feel thrilled at the fact that they’re allowed to do what they’re doing … and then, gradually, become dulled and inured to the awesomeness of your life. Can you remember how exciting it was to start a new career in real estate? How much freedom you felt when you realized that the sky was the limit in terms of earning potential and that you could craft your business to suit your needs as an independent business owner?

When you’re feeling especially terrible, if you can, stop and try to think about the first time you felt really excited about being a real estate agent. Maybe it was the feeling you got when you passed the exam, or when the brokerage you wanted to work with most told you that you were also their top choice. Perhaps it was a time when a client heaped praise on you for the effort you put in on their behalf. Stash up as many of those memories as you can, and revisit them when things are feeling bleak to give you a little extra boost for the day.

Sometimes, this can be as simple (or as incredibly difficult, depending on your perspective) as changing how you talk about work in your head. When your phone rings, instead of thinking “What now?!,” maybe you can train yourself to think, “Someone needs my help!” or even “What kind of problem will I be solving?”

8. Avoid toxic clients

This is often easier said than done, and although we all have the best intentions about who we will and won’t work with professionally, it’s often difficult to stick to those convictions when you know you need to close another deal this month and the toxic client is your best option. But think about the repercussions for you personally. Working with toxic clients affects your health and your energy; it can literally drain years from your life, and contribute to issues you might already have at home — or generate new ones.

Make a pact with yourself to treat yourself as well as you would treat your clients — which means you don’t want you to work with people who don’t appreciate you! You know more than anyone else what you can (and truly can’t) put up with, so create a personal list of dealbreakers and then enforce it liberally when it comes to work. Life is too short to collaborate with people who make us miserable, and if doing that actually makes life shorter (it does!), then avoiding them entirely is a perfectly intelligent decision.

Colorado Real Estate News

HOW TO BUY A FORECLOSURE

Many buyers are understandably nervous about buying a foreclosed home, also known as a distressed sale. There are horror stories galore about people purchasing a foreclosure and regretting it, but buying a foreclosure isn’t necessarily the nightmare that some people portray it to be.

However, there are some things you need to understand about foreclosures before you think about purchasing one as either a primary residence or an investment property. Learn what to expect and prepare yourself before you consider spending large amounts of money on a distressed property.

Understand what a foreclosure is

A foreclosed home is actually a specific term that refers to a certain stage in the distressed sale process. The different types of distressed homes are simply at different points along the continuum of distressed sales.

In a pre-foreclosure, the homeowner is in default on the home loan and the property is heading toward foreclosure, but the lender has not yet foreclosed on the home. Some aspects of pre-foreclosures make them comparable to distressed sales in the rest of the process, such as the typical inability of the homeowner to negotiate on things like repairs, or the fact that the owner might have been under financial strain for some time and there could be some significant issues with the home.

So what’s a foreclosure property? A foreclosure is a home that has been repossessed by the lender and is going to sell at an auction. These auctions are cash-only and sight-unseen — they’re a great way for investors with cash on hand to find new properties to buy and hold or fix and flip, but not necessarily the most realistic way for an average buyer to get their foot in the door on the property ladder.

Then there are REO (real-estate-owned) homes or bank-owned homes. These are houses at the far end of the continuum: the former owner has foreclosed and left the property, but it didn’t sell at auction; now it’s going to sit on the bank’s balance sheet for some time until someone buys it.

Tips for buying a distressed home

You don’t need to be an investor to consider purchasing a distressed home. There are some excellent deals available for the right buyer, but you need to know what you’re getting into before you dive too deep.

Cash is king

Many investors buy their properties with cash, which is a tough thing to compete with as a buyer who needs to get mortgage financing in order to be able to afford a home. You can get a mortgage loan to buy a distressed property — more on that later — but even so, you’ll need to make sure that you have plenty of cash on hand readily available if you want to buy a distressed property.

This is to cover the assorted hidden costs associated with buying a distressed property. That includes not just the normal costs of a home sale transaction, like closing costs, but also the cost of repairs that need to be made to the house, as you might not be able to get those financed. And if the house isn’t move-in-ready, you’ll also need to make sure you can afford to continue to pay for your current residence until it’s available for you to occupy, so don’t forget about the carrying costs of owning two residences.

Get preapproved

Preapproval is important for any buyer in any home sale process, but it’s especially critical for buyers looking at distressed properties. You won’t be able to add contingencies to the loan in many cases, and if you’ve ever bought or sold a home with another human, you already know that the home sale process can be tedious and drawn-out — now imagine if instead of a human on the other side of the deal, you were working with a bank.

The more red tape you can eliminate for yourself on the front end, the more successful you will be in your home shopping experience, so do yourself a favor and get preapproved before you start seriously looking at distressed homes.

Research, research, research

If we assume you’re getting financing for your home purchase, that means you’re either buying a home as a pre-foreclosure or an REO property (remember, auctions are cash only). This can be an advantage because you can’t do the same level of due diligence on an auction property as you can at the other stages of distressed property sales, and as you can imagine, due diligence is absolutely vital when buying a distressed home.

Before you make an offer on any distressed home, do your best to investigate as much as you can about the property. If it’s an REO home, find out how long it’s been unoccupied — homes left vacant often have compounding issues and will require more repair work than homes that have been consistently occupied.

Hire a home inspector and ask the inspector to include a repair estimate in the inspection. Then remember that repair estimates often stretch beyond their boundaries; use that information to decide whether to make an offer and how much to offer on the home. This is also no time to shirk on what are sometimes considered frivolities in home sales, like title insurance. A title search is typically included as part of a home sale, but in this case, it’s particularly critical because there might be liens on the house that you don’t know about and that you’ll have to get cleared up as the sale moves forward.

If it’s possible, visit the house. At least walk around outside and get a sense of what it will look like when everything is all spruced up — and just how bad any damage truly is. It will also help give you an idea of how long the previous homeowner might have been financially struggling before foreclosure (and therefore how many long-term problems might be lurking inside).

Watch the market

Buyers interested in distressed properties are competing against experienced investors in many cases, so just like those investors, it’s going to pay to watch the market and make sure you understand what’s going on. If foreclosures in your area are almost all selling at auction, then you know there’s a high demand for them, and you might want to bid higher for the pre-foreclosure that you’re discussing with a seller. If there are a lot of REO properties that aren’t really moving, you can probably take your time selecting a house and making an offer to a bank. But either way, you have to understand what’s going on in the real estate market around you and adapt your strategy accordingly.

Make an airtight offer

Remember that contingencies aren’t the norm, and banks also aren’t known for their ability to speed through, well, anything. The closer you can get your offer to “final” in the very first go-round, the better it will be for everybody. Talk to your real estate agent if you’re unclear about what should go in the offer and the contract. By now, you should have done plenty of investigation into the home and should feel pretty confident about your decision; if you don’t, you can always ask for another more specialized inspection.

Closing, repairs, and move-in

Very few distressed homes are going to be move-in-ready for their buyers. Depending on the level of work that needs to be done, some buyers might elect to work on the house while living elsewhere and move in only when it’s ready, and others might feel it’s doable to live in the house while working on it. That’s going to be up to you, your lifestyle and household, and the amount of repair that your newly acquired, formerly distressed home requires.

If you do the work on the front end, you’ll find that buying a foreclosure — or a distressed property — can be an option for owner-occupiers, too, not just investors. But make sure you’re not skimping on the due diligence. Learn everything you can about the home you’re going to buy and you’ll be much less likely to encounter an unpleasant surprise as a homeowner.