What Is A Spec Home?

Building a brand new home involves thinking of every little detail of the plan and design of the house since you are building it from scratch. Once you make a decision, you have to wait for quite a while to see your vision come to life as your house is being built. This is the reason why purchasing a spec home is highly recommended.

A spec home is a house which is built on a speculative basis – meaning that the builder speculates the features of a home that has the potential to attract most buyers and build homes based on that assumption. Buyers usually have the opportunity to select details from a number of options that the buyer provides, for example, there could be four types of floor plans available. By limiting the number of materials and blueprints used, and by using a standard home design, builders are able to make spec homes more quickly and at a smaller cost than a custom-made home. This makes spec homes more affordable to buyers, giving more people the opportunity to buy brand new homes.

The advantages of spec homes are clear when comparing how both spec homes and custom-made homes are made. It is an attractive option for those who would like to buy a new home, but do not want to have to make meticulous designs over every single detail. You are presented with several choices on things like floor plans and house color, and all you must do is select one; whereas if you built your own house, you must determine these things (and more) yourself.

You may find yourself having to do additional research about the quality of the different materials that you can use whereas with a spec home, the options available are assumed to be of good quality or else the builder wouldn’t offer it as an option.  Secondly, since spec homes are based on a standard model, the houses are built faster because the builder is familiar with the blueprint. Additionally, having a standard model makes it easier for contractors to work on the house when it requires repairs as it is easier for them to see where things like electrical and plumbing are located.

Moreover, since spec homes are built faster and with a limited amount of materials, they are less costly to build. These costs are then passed on and used to attract buyers, attractive for those who would like to buy a new home but would not be able to afford one that’s custom-made. Finally, the faster construction time means a home buyer will be able to move in sooner than if he or she builds a custom-made home.

For those who do not have the excess time and money to build a custom-made home, going for spec homes is a great way to own a brand-new home without having to wait a long time and make meticulous decisions.

Crystal Tost

About the Author:

Crystal Tost is a Calgary based residential real estate professional, view MLS Calgary.


Rifle Wildfire Still Burning

According to fire investigators, while the precise cause of the Rifle wildfire that is burning across 991 acres was the result of man.

Wednesday, the Rifle fire department received a call at about 1:30 pm reporting the fire that began next to Highway 13, which is still open.  With the west wind strong, the fire quickly grew.  Due to the ruggedness of the terrain the use of where manpower can be used is limiting.  The east and southeast sides of the fire via helicopter and firefighters are fighting to hold the fire back from burning onto Grand Hogbakc’s east slope.

As of Friday, fire fighters had the fire sixty percent contained.

Rocky Mountain Region’s Great Ski Areas

After a long, hot summer, Denver ski resorts have started the snow making machines.  Our great Rocky Mountain State is one of the most popular ski destinations among the great US. Nationally, Colorado State takes the number six position in its number of ski areas.  With that said, let’s look at the great ski areas that are located not too far from Denver (each is 70 miles or less) that we’ll be enjoying this season.

Echo Mountain

Of all the ski resorts in Colorado State, Echo Mountain is the closest to Denver, and located in Idaho Springs.  The resort is one of two Colorado ski resorts that offers nighttime skiing.  The resort’s  vertical drop is 660 feet and its elevation is 10,500 feet.  Skiers enjoy 15 trails and three lifts.  Annual snowfall is 250 inches.  The resort will be open in middle of December and remain open ‘til the later part of April or early May.

Winter Park

Winter Park is a major ski area and which is located on the west side of Berthoud Pass and the closet to Denver.   Winter Park is popular among intermediates and beginners and offers nicely manicured trails.  Winter Park features 3,060 acres of skiing and 143 trails. The resort’s elevation is 9,000 feet.  Winter Park will likely open in mid-November and remain open ‘til mid-April.


Loveland is located at Loveland Pass and a popular locals resort.  The top lift terrain is 12,700 feet  and its base elevation of the resort is 10,800 feet.  The resort spans over 1,570 acres.  The resort features 10 lifts and 93 trails with a vertical drop of 2,210 feet.  Annual snowfall average is 400 inches. The resort will open in early October and remain open ‘til mid-May.

Cherry Creek Market Report June 2012

In June 2012, 18 residential homes were sold in Cherry Creek subdivision in Denver. The number of homes sold almost doubled from May to June. The average price per square foot in June was $330 and the average days on the market was 163 days. The Sold prices ranged from $378,000 to $1,825,000. The average sold price in June was $719,000. 22% of the homes sold in June of 2012 were cash purchases.


As of, July 12th, 2012, there are 110 residential homes and condos for sale in Cherry Creek. The listing prices range from $169,000 to $3,700,000. The average price per square foot is $291.

View homes for sale in Cherry Creek.

Based upon information from Metrolist, Inc.. This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by Metrolist, Inc.. Metrolist Inc. does not guarantee nor is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by Metrolist, Inc. may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.


How to Become a Successful Denver Real Estate Agent

There’s much more to becoming a real estate agent than passing the real estate license exam.  The job requires that you know the market and help your clients to navigate it.  Your people skills must be optimal, your organization grand, and you perseverance unbreakable!

  1. Determine what your goals are as a successful real estate agent.  Set your goals.  If you want to earn $200K a year and your average sale yields $10K then you need to work towards 20 transactions a year.
  2. Learn to sale!  You don’t want to be the shady salesman, but, you do want to be the respected, leader in the niche.  Take classes from the National Association of Realtors, your local real estate associations, and your company’s training program.
  3. Become the specialist in your area.  Know the national trends and how they affect your market.  Know the region.  Track properties and know everything there is to know about the area.  Analyze all data and be the master in your niche.
  4. Let everyone you know, know you are a real estate agent, and provide them with cards to forward to friends and family who may be looking for an agent.
  5. Organize yourself and your work hours.  You will need to be precise with strict schedule to achieve everything you need to achieve.  Don’t waste time. Show properties early in the day, and leave your paperwork for later in the day or evening.
  6. Take advantage of technology.  More and more homeowners first turn to the Internet to do their home shopping.  Set up a company website and profile and let it work in your favor.

Visit www.DenverMetroAgents.com if you would like to learn more about developing your Denver real estate career.

Tour The Four Mile House

The Four Mile House dates back to 1859 and is a historic part of Cherry Creek.  The house is burrowed on the banks of Cherry Creek and in its day was a welcome house and the last place along the Cherokee Trail to Denver for tired pioneers to spend the night, find a home cooked meal, drink cool fresh water or to wash off the trial dirt.

The house was constructed by the Brantner brothers in 1859 and later sold in 1860 to Mary Cawker, a widow with two teenage children. Mary and her two children opened the home to serve as hospitality to traveler.  In 1864 Mary Levi and Mille Booth purchased the property and kept it as a stage stop for weary travelers.  However, the Booths built a thriving farm on the property, as well.

Stage and freight business began to decrease in 1870 with the arrival of the railroads.  Millie Booth, who added greatly to the family income, was considered one of the area’s first female entrepreneurs, producing butter and honey.   The property had grown to 600 acres and in one year alone, Millie had enough hives on the property to make 4,000 lbs. of honey.  The Booth family remained on the property until 1940.  The City of Denver purchased the property in 1975, which consisted of the home and 12 remaining acres of the farm.  In 1978 the property was completely restored and today the property is a Denver City Park and a Denver Landmark that serves a portal into Denver and the pioneering past of the West.

The Park is open to visitors and offers guided tours of the historic home, and for guests to learn about the craftsmanship of the historic outbuildings and barns.  It is the ideal spot to take the children to say hello to chickens, goats and horses and to have a picnic under a shady tree.

The Four Mile House Museum is open year round and offers a variety of events and programs for all ages.
For more information visit http://www.fourmilepark.org.

Developer Targeting Cherry Creek

Earlier this year, Alliance Residential began work on a 151 unit building on South Jackson Street which is named the Broadstone Cherry Creek.

The company recently announced that there may be an expansion of the building. The company placed two parcels under contract- older single family homes at South Jackson. If the purchase goes through this means the company will be expanding the Broadstone to 191 units.

Cherry Creek residents voiced their support for the project at a May 17th meeting of the Cherry Creek East Association.

During an April 19th meeting of the Cherry Creek East Association representatives of Smith / Jones Partners revealed the possibility of a development project bounded by South Garfield streets and South Monroe and East Dakota and East Alameda avenues. The project, if followed through, will be a new apartment building to the community.

The majority of interest in apartment development has been Cherry Creek North retail district and east of the Cherry Creek Shopping center.

Top 10 Celebrity Homes For Sale In 2011

In today’s housing market, it’s not easy to sell real estate. This is even true for celebrities with their multi-million dollar homes. As many celebrity homeowners watch their dream homes stay listed for long periods of time without offers, they too start to get discouraged. Here are ten of the most famous celebrity “for sales” for 2011.

P. Diddy

The former Puff Daddy purchased his Alpine, NJ Center Hall mansion in 2004 for $6 million dollars. It’s now listed for sale at $13.5 million dollars, more than twice what he paid. (In today’s housing market? Good luck with that!) The 7 bedroom, 9 ½ bathroom home includes three master bedroom suites, squash and tennis courts, a gym and of course, a movie theater on its 17,000 square foot lot.

Mary J. Blige

Miss “411’s” 18,250 square foot Saddle River, NJ mansion is situated on four acres of land. This 8 bedroom, 8 bathroom (and 3 partial baths) country French manor is listed for $12.5 million dollars. It’s amenities include a wine tasting room, fitness gym, swimming pool, cabana and a 14-seat theater.

Mark Wahlberg

Good old Marky Mark has listed his 7 bedroom, 10 ½ bathroom Beverly Hills, CA estate for almost $14 million dollars. Originally built with a resort-like style, it’s obviously the hangout for Wahlberg’s “Entourage”, with its abundance of seating in various rooms, including the theater. It also features a full bar and a gym with a basketball court and boxing ring.

Hilary Duff

Our sweetheart, “Lizzie McGuire” and hubby, Mike Comrie have listed their 9,277 square foot Mediterranean-style mansion for $6.25 million dollars. Originally built in 1951, the 5 bedroom, 6 bathroom Toluca Lake, CA home has been recently renovated and decorated with a nontraditional, abstract, retro-modern style. That may have something to do with why it’s been on the market since 2010.

Kate Walsh

McDreamy’s tv-ex-wife has her Spanish-style Los Angeles, CA home listed at almost $4 million dollars. The 4 bedroom, 6 bathroom mansion sits on 5,940 square feet of prime Los Feliz property. Not only does it include fireplaces in the master suite, living room and den, there are two offices, a gymnasium and a Pilates studio. And, let’s not forget the 3 bedroom guesthouse.

Christina Aguilera

Xtina and ex-husband, Jordan Bratman, have their 6 bedroom, 9 bathroom Beverly Hills, CA home listed for $13.5 million dollars. The mansion, which was made famous by former owners, The Osbournes, features the usual gymnasium, pool and pagoda. The 10,000 square foot property also includes a gift wrapping room, beauty salon and a guesthouse with a full recording studio.

Avril Lavigne

The Canadian native and ex-hubby, Deryck Whibley, have listed their Los Angeles, CA mansion for $1 short of $9 million dollars. Even though the 12,184 square foot estate is located in the gated Bel Air Crest, there is no guarantee this 8 bedroom 10 ½ bathroom home will sale for that price in today’s housing market. That may be why it’s been on the market since early 2011.


Our poor, little Rihanna has her Beverly Hills, CA mansion listed as a short sale. Although rumors are flying about her having financial problems, this is not the case. The 8 bedroom, 10 bathroom, 8,520 square foot estate is listed at only $4.5 million dollars. The singer reports defects in the property that allowed extensive flood and moisture damage. The house is basically unlivable (especially to a celebrity superstar), and is listed “as-is.” Because of its fixer upper issues, the singer and the bank have agreed to a short sale hoping to dump the property as soon as possible. It’s listed at $2.4 million dollars cheaper that what she paid for it.

Lauren Conrad

The Hills reality star has her Spanish-style Los Angeles, CA mansion on the market for only $2.25 million dollars. The 4 bedroom, 3 ½ bathroom home located on 3,009 square feet was built in 1922. But, it’s completely up-to-date with recent renovations completed on the house’s foundation, roofing, windows, swimming pool, electrical and HVAC systems.

Britney Spears

The former Mickey Mouse Club star’s Calabasas, CA mansion is now listed at about $4.5 million dollars. This is a drastic price drop from the original asking price of $10.8 million dollars. The 7 bedroom, 7 bathroom estate in situated on 10,300 square feet of real estate. As an almost desperate attempt to unload the property, the unique pop star tried something only a celebrity would do. On 11-11-11, at exactly 11:11 AM, the home went up for auction. Surprisingly enough, it did not sale.

What’s the Hold Up?

Some of these celebrity homes aren’t selling because of their strangely unique décors or outrageously large sizes. Then, there are those that are simply listed too high for the current housing market. Either way, it’s understandable that they don’t want to take a major loss on their homes. But, the current market is a buyer’s market. That means, if they want the mansions to sell anytime soon, they had better find ways to attract buyers who are serious about buying a home.

Article provided by Mitch Ribak. For more information about Mitch, you can check out his Merritt Island real estate website where you can also see all Titusville FL real estate listings.

Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Selecting a real estate agent can be an overwhelming and even confusing process. This is particularly true for those who have never sold or purchased a home in the past. After all, if you have no experience in this field, it is difficult to know what to look for in a real estate agent. By taking a few simple steps, however, you will quickly narrow down your choices and will be sure to have a great real estate agent in your corner.

Step #1: Take a Drive Through the Neighborhood

One way to learn more about the real estate agents who work in your area is to drive through the neighborhood to look at signs – an effective method for Denver or Chevy Chase real estate just the same. Not only will this help you learn more about which agents have experience in your particular neighborhood, but it will also allow you to get an idea of how successful these agents are. If it takes months for a SOLD sign to go up on the homes being sold by a particular agent, chances are that this is not a good agent to hire. Visiting open houses and watching the agent interact with the people who come to the open house will also give you a good idea of how the agent operates.

Step #2: Look for References

If you have any friends or family members who have recently bought or sold a home, it is always a good idea to ask them about their experiences with their real estate agents. If you don’t know someone with a recent experience, however, you can still learn from the experiences of others by turning to the Internet. By reading through agent ratings and reviews, you can learn more about the experiences that other people had with a particular agent. After driving through the neighborhood and becoming familiar with a few local agents, you should have plenty of names to research.

Step #3: Interview Several Agents

After narrowing down your choices, it is a good idea to interview at least three agents before deciding which one you will hire. In addition to finding an agent who is knowledgeable about your market and who is an expert in technicalities such as titles and financing, you want to hire someone who you feel comfortable with. To get a better idea of the skills and strategies the real estate agent uses, you should ask questions such as:

– How many homes have you bought or sold over the past year?
– What kind of experience do you have buying and selling homes in my neighborhood?
– What kind of marketing strategies do you plan to use?
– How many homes should I expect to see before finding the right one?
– How are multiple offers handled?

You should also learn more about the agent’s communication methods. If the agent prefers to use email and you are more of a telephone person, your communication methods may not jive. Similarly, if you like to get quick responses to your questions, you may be quite unhappy with someone who typically provides updates on a bi-weekly basis.

By taking these three simple steps, you will be able to easily select the right real estate agent to suit your individual needs.

About The Author – Kevin Koitz is a Washington DC native & Realtor and specializes in Washington DC real estate.

Living the Colorado Lifestyle

Colorado has long been a mecca for ski enthusiasts, naturalists, and even photographers seeking out great shots of the state’s staggering natural beauty. But with Denver’s rise as one of the nation’s most business- and career-friendly cities, Colorado is rapidly becoming known as a cosmopolitan destination for some of the most sophisticated world-travelers and choosiest relocators. Defining luxury as a hearty helping of the best of what life has to offer, it becomes clear that with its active lifestyle, outdoor-oriented culture, and dynamic urban environment, Denver is rapidly becoming a top-shelf choice for residents and vacationers alike.

A taste of sophistication. While New York City and San Francisco may continue to rake in the kudos for their heady foodie choices, Colorado as a whole can claim 40 restaurants in the 2011 version of the famous Zagat national restaurant guide, which focuses only on the cream of the culinary crop. Denver proper is home to 27 of those restaurants, including top-ranked Colorado restaurant Fruition. From “sophisticated comfort food” to sushi, cultural kitsch to classic Italian, Denver offers exceptional fare for even the most jaded of palettes.

A walk on the wild side. What makes Denver unique, of course, is its presence as a bastion of civilization on the edge of the stunning Rocky Mountain Range. With easy access to a number of world-class state and regional parks, Denver residents are able to escape into the wilderness for a day of natural rigor, with enough time to shower and dress for an evening on the town. Boating, hiking, riding, camping, rock climbing, and biking are just some of the activities Colorado residents can luxuriate in—not to mention the premier skiing that’s available throughout the winter months.

A smart career move. Colorado’s business-friendly environment means that businesses are starting and relocating in this state, and Denver is one of their favorite outposts. Denver’s unemployment has consistently remained below the national average, and workers flock to the city to enjoy solid job prospects, lower cost of living, and a sky-high quality of life. Industries from tech to tourism are thriving in Denver, and the prognosis is for solid, consistent growth.

A place to call home. As if great job prospects, a stellar city culture, and exceptional quality of life weren’t enough, the Denver area has seen excellent stabilization in the housing markets, with housing prices as whole on the rise. Popular neighborhoods like Cherry Hills Village have seen median sales prices climb nearly 30 percent from 2010 to 2011, suggesting that the time is ripe to jump into a luxury home in one of Denver’s finest areas.

Truly, Denver is a one-of-a-kind town, and it is clear that all people—whether seeking a job, looking to buy a new home in a world-class city, or just seeking a lifestyle more in touch with the wonders of nature—will find in Denver exactly what they’re searching for.