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The Q Ball Express




Real Estate Questions Answered Here
by Art Santellen, REALTOR®

Notice: Before I answer the questions at the end of this column, I'd like to share some important information with my readers. You will recall that last week I spent some time discussing why home ownership automatically encourages people to become politically active in their communities. Well, here's a real-life example. 

Next month, on November 2nd, you will have the opportunity to vote. Among several issues and candidates are a couple bond issues that will affect how much you pay for your mortgage payment .... and ultimately, how much you pay for rent. That's because a couple of those bond issues directly affect the amount you pay for housing. They're called School bonds and I believe just about every school district in Colorado Springs is affected. In addition to these bond issues, several candidates are running for offices on school boards. These are the people who we elect to oversee such things as school budgets and the education programs offered our children.

School District 11 is asking you to approve a bond issue which will de two things: first, it'll put money into the school district bank account and the second thing is that it'll increase your mortgage payment. Of course, the exact amount of your house payment increase will depend in part on the funding level of your escrow account. For those of you who rent, your landlord will be also looking at a mortgage payment increase for exactly the same reasons as a home owner. Enough tax increases, with or without a mortgage loan, will eventually result in a rent increase being passed on to you.

So here's the bottom line: you have almost absolute control on whether your house payment or rent payment goes up or stays the same. Please hold the School District superintendent and Board Members accountable for this money. The last bond issue was passed with the promise that student test scores would go up...they didn't. This bond issue has the same promise. I urge you to vote your conscience and recommend that you vote "NO" to the School District 11 Bond.

Q: Why should I pay a Realtor to help me buy a home?

A: About a month ago, I gave you some reasons to use the services of a real estate professional to sell your home. The truth is most of us have no ( or limited) experience either buying or selling our home. Luckily, a competent real estate agent or REALTOR® will be used as an advisor and counselor rather than a mere salesperson. Let me give you an example:

Not long ago a young couple came to me to help them buy their first home. They had excellent credit, a good-paying job and sufficient money saved for the down payment and closing costs. Here's the hitch: they wanted to buy a "Victorian" home. You know, one of those homes that were built around the turn of the century. I searched the real estate computer data base and found several that met their needs. We looked at several and submitted an offer on a nice looking home. The ceilings were high...just like the husband wanted. The kitchen was bright and spacious...just like the wife wanted. The yard was beautifully landscaped with mature trees and flower beds...just like the young couple wanted. A few days later, we called in a home inspector to give us a report on the physical condition of the home. Bad news. The foundation had significant cracks that would eventually require expensive repairs. O.K., stop right there.

Why did we stop? Because I want you to tell me at what point was my advice and counsel crucial to this young couple. Go ahead, take a guess.

If you said I earned my commission when the inspector identified the cracks in the foundation, you'd be wrong. The fact is that I warned this young couple on our very first meeting at my office that buying a "Victorian" house could result in expensive repairs. REALTORS®, the really good ones, give professional advice to people who want to buy a home. The best news is that we do that at every step of the home buying process.

We really are worth our commission.

Q: I just heard there are government programs out there to help finance a home. Have you heard of any HUD or FHA programs that would help me?

Q: My friends tell me that now that I'm going to buy a home. I should start thinking about refinancing. What do you recommend?

Q: What's an Improvement Location Certificate (ILC) and why should I care?

The answers to these, and other fascinating real estate questions will be answered here, in Hispania News, next week.

When you're ready to buy or sell a home, see a REALTOR® Art is a REALTOR® with Heritage Realtors in Colorado Springs.

If you have a real estate question you’d like answered, please send them to

Art Santellen, care of Hispania News,
PO Box 15116,
Colorado Springs, CO 80935

Art Santellen via e-mail






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