Vail Board of Realtors celebrates 30 years | VailDaily.com

Vail Board of Realtors celebrates 30 years

EAGLE COUNTY Sue Rychel remembers the Vail Valley real estate business in the 1970s. It was, of course, a lot different.We were all young, Rychel said. We skied hard and had a great time. We loved the industry, and felt so fortunate to live and play in the place where we worked.In 1978, some among that band of young brokers decided to created the Vail Board of Realtors, a small chapter of the state and national groups. The board became a way for brokers to share information and gave them access to the bigger groups educational programs. Rychel, a broker with Slifer, Smith & Frampton, was president of the local board of Realtors in 1984 and has been a member almost since the start.Back then, many, if not most, local real estate brokers had to hold down other jobs at least some of the time. There were only 113 sales in 1978, and only two of those sales topped $200,000. Sure, the local cost of living was a lot lower then, but there still wasnt a whole lot of commission money available.I was raising two kids at the time, Rychel said. I had to take other jobs from time to time. People were practicing real estate and waitressing, cutting hair, bartending.These days, Bill Wilto believes that a moonlighting real estate broker should be a red flag for a buyer.We really encourage people to deal with people who are full-time brokers, said Wilto, the owner and managing broker of the local ReMax office. Theres so much misinformation out there.Wilto, who was president of the Vail Board of Realtors in 1994, said with all the information available on line, customers are far more knowledgeable than they used to be. But, he said, a lot of popular real estate Web sites are peddling misleading information.I tell people to see if someone from Zillow.com will sell your house or buy it at that price, Wilto said. Rychel said the sophistication of customers may be the single biggest change in the local real estate business over the last 30 years or so. Sophisticated customers require sophisticated brokers. And thats where the Vail Board of Realtors can help.The board has really helped with broker education, Rychel said. They offer wonderful classes locally. In the early years, you had to travel to get that kind of education.Current board president Chad Brasington, a broker with Prudential Colorado Properties, said the local board of Realtors is also a way for brokers to share information.Whenever I meet a fellow member, I know theyre committed to the profession, Brasington said. In other places, thats not always the case.Not everyone gets along all the time, of course, and Brasington said the Vail Board of Realtors has conflict resolution services available.The three brokers interviewed for this story all said education, information and other professional services available through the local board can be critically important when times are slow, as they are now.But all three said they continue to be excited about their profession.Wilto said that buyers in this market can find some outstanding values right now.Brasington said the valleys market, while slow at the moment, remains strong relative to the national real estate market.I think we have some savvy investors, he said.Asked what excites her about the next couple of years, Rychel said she loves a challenge.It keeps you on your toes, she said. You dont take anything for granted.Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or smiller@vaildaily.com.

Vail Daily column: Can the Internet replace a Realtor?

Dear Joan, No offense, but I am very savvy with the Internet and feel I can find everything listed for sale myself, without a Realtor. Now, I may need a Realtor to actually help me look at the property, but I can have an attorney write the offer, or I could do it myself. Do you think we are fast approaching a time when the Realtor will not play a prominent role in the sale of real estate? Dear Internet Savvy, I am so glad you asked that question. Actually, the statistics show the opposite trend. According to the National Association of Realtors, you are correct in saying that an ever-growing number of buyers start their home search on the Internet. Actually, 92 percent of home buyers in 2013 started their search on the Internet. However, the percentage of home buyers that purchased their home through a Realtor in 2001 was 69 percent, and in 2013 it increased to 88 percent. It is starting to look like the bombardment of information is actually increasing the need for a Realtor. Wary of Internet I am not sure where to begin explaining why I believe the Internet is a great way to increase your knowledge, but a frightening thought to think that you would actually use the Internet as the sole basis of your real estate decisions. Let's start with: • The information you get on the Internet about any subject is often conflicting, wrong and outdated, as in the case of "for profit" real estate websites. Remember that the pictures always look great because the positives are always emphasized and the negatives are omitted. We know much of the information in not current as we often get calls on properties that have been off the market for weeks or even up to two years, and they are still showing as "available" on the Web. Also, price changes are not always reflected in a timely manner. • Only a local Realtor knows the whole story about what is happening in the community and what plans there are for a particular location and what the changing landscape may do for your resale value in the future. • The history of the property ownership and pricing, local traffic information, neighborhood schools, nearby recreation available, etc. is not all on the Web. • The act of negotiating a deal, which includes carefully constructed offers and counter offers, inspection items that may or may not be taken care of, financing guidance, final walk through, etc., are not able to be done well without the help of an experienced, skilled negotiator — all the qualities of a good Realtor. These are just a few of the reasons I have room to list. Please continue to search and educate yourself on the Web when you start your property search, but please consult your local, experienced, professional Realtor when you are ready to seriously look and purchase your next home or real estate investment. Not only will you save time and frustration, but probably a substantial amount of money, too. Thank you for asking a very important question that affects most every buyer. Joan Harned is an owner-broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at Joan@TeamBlackBear.com, 970-337-7777 or http://www.SkiAndTeeHomes.com.

Vail Daily column: Viewing your realtor like a financial advisor

Dear Joan, As a senior citizen, I have bought and sold property for decades. My last purchase was a lovely home in the Vail Valley two years ago. My question is a little different from what you normally get. My Realtor that represented me in the last transaction has called, emailed or mailed me something every few months since. I closed the deal. I am not quite sure if I am impressed or irritated that I keep hearing from her. I feel like she is trying to get me to sell, or buy, something else, and I am not in the market for either anytime in the foreseeable future. Should I ask her to stop, or be flattered? Dear Past Client, Be flattered, as long as the conversations, emails and mailings are friendly, informative and continually updated. Let me tell you why. If you think of your Realtor like a financial adviser, then I think the message becomes clearer. Would you like to invest a million dollars in various investments that your adviser recommended and then not hear from him for two years … or ever again? Wouldn't you rather be updated on the market and how your investment was doing, and maybe be made aware of other potential investments that might be equally as good, or even better? Don't you make some of your biggest single investments with the real estate you purchase? Therefore, your Realtor can be as important to your investment portfolio as your financial adviser. Unfortunately, many real estate clients don't look at the process in this professional manner. Actually, some real estate agents fail to look at the process as so important to their clients current and future financial portfolio. A great Realtor feels responsibility to their clients when they are actively working with them and after a transaction is complete. Excellent Realtors keep their current and past clients informed of the market in their community and the valley. It is a task that many agents shun, as they don't like doing busy work, such as continual follow up. Many Realtors are just concerned with their current sellers and/or buyers. It takes time and discipline to stay in touch with past clients. The interesting part of your question is why no other agent has ever done the follow through of keeping you informed. Needless to say, no one is perfect and some tasks fall through the cracks over the years. The best way to keep informed is to give your diligent Realtor (financial adviser) some feedback about the information you would like to have about the real estate market in your area. You also can let your friends and family know about what a great job he/she is doing! Thanks for your great question! Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team of qualified experts. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Joan with your real estate questions at Joan@TeamBlackBear.com, 970-337-7777 or http://www.teamblackbear.com.

Vail Daily column: Find a buyer’s agent

Dear Joan, I have been doing a lot of research on my own, looking for an investment property I want and can afford. I end up calling a lot of brokers and getting a little information from each of them. Many don't know the answers to my questions, but they usually call me back with information on that specific question, but if I ask something else, then they don't know the answer. I have found that if I get a hold of the listing broker, they know the most about the property, which of course they should. My dilemma is, I would like to find just one person that I like and would work hard for me and knows the answers to the questions without a several day delay. Is this possible? Do I need to keep trying to find who the listing broker is and call and talk to each one of them directly? Dear "Scatter Gun Approach," I think you are finally making a little progress because you have figured out that it would be best to work with just one competent Realtor that can gather all the information you need, possibly find you properties you don't know about and then help you process what is the best direction for you to go in today's market. You need a knowledgeable, honest, hard working, local Realtor that will work for you as your "buyer's agent." This contractual relationship will allow your Realtor to not only tell you the facts, but if it is not their listing, then they will be able to tell you anything they know about the history of the property, information about the location, the status (financial, marital, etc) of the seller, all which might give you insight into the level of motivation of the seller. When you sign a buyer agency contract, your Realtor is obligated to present you with everything listed on the market that meets your criteria. Your Realtor is allowed to give you advice on what they know about the direction of the market, past sales, any upcoming listings they know of and, in general, be your advocate … and all of this usually does not cost you anything! The Realtor will ask you to sign that if they are not compensated from the seller (or inadequately compensated) that you will agree, before making the offer, to cover their compensation. Since most of the properties your Realtor will be showing you will be in the MLS, your Realtor will be given compensation from the selling side. Find the best Realtor you know today and ask them to explain how they can facilitate, elevate and expedite your search by representing you as a buyer's agent. This is going to change your world! Best of luck to you. Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions via email at Joan@TeamBlackBear.com, by phone at 970-337-7777 and at http://www.SkiAndTeeHomes.com.

Vail Daily column: Can I change Realtors?

Dear Joan, Can I change Realtors, legally? I called an office to ask about a property ​about three or four months ago and the Realtor that answered the phone said he would show us the property. We were not impressed with the property, or frankly, the Realtor. He did tell us about another house and we looked at it with him the next weekend. We told him we were not interested in the second house either. He called a few times after that, but we said we were not looking currently. We have not heard from him in two months, and now we have found a home we think we might really like. We also have met a Realtor​,​ at a social function​,​ that seemed very bright​ and ​knowledgeable about the market​. She offered to help us, ​and​ was not pushy at all. Do we ow​e​ any obligation to the Realtor that showed us the first two homes, or can we switch and use the new one​ that​ we think we would like to work with? Dear Soon to Have​ a​ New Realtor, This is a great question that much of the public (and a few Realtors) are confused about. When you first meet a Realtor, before you ever look at a property, the​ Realtor must explain how they are working. ​The Realtor needs to disclose (and have you sign a contract) if they are going to be working as your buyer agent.​ The buyer agency contract has a beginning and ending date and if you signed this you might be obligated to use the first broker who had you sign it. On the other hand, if that broker did not contact you for a couple of months, then you may be able to cancel the contract because of the abandonment clause, or it may have expired or the contract could have been filled in to only cover a specific property or area. Read your contract carefully, if you have one, and if you are uncertain, then you can always seek legal advice. If your first Realtor chose to work as a transaction broker or neutral, then you may have just received a broker disclosure form that you were asked to sign to acknowledge that the broker had informed you how they were working, but it is not a binding contract. If you signed nothing, then you definitely need to change Realtors because they are not doing their job. Now, with the second Realtor, I would advise that you do sign a buyer agency agreement, even if it is just for a month. That way the broker can legally tell you everything they know about the property, the sellers, the neighborhood, whatever you ask, since they will be working exclusively for you. There are a few more choices and decisions to be made before signing a buyer agency contract, so ask your new Realtor about how she works and what she is asking you to sign. She should be able to explain it very well. Best of luck in finding the right house and with the right Realtor! Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at Joan@TeamBlackBear.com, 970-337-7777 or http://www.SkiAndTeeHomes.com.

Vail Daily column: What is a ‘luxury’ home?

Dear Joan, I hear a lot about the luxury market in the Vail Valley and would like some clarification on what exactly that means. I presume it mainly refers to the ski resort areas of Vail, Beaver Creek and Arrowhead and applies to multi-million dollar homes. ​Do most agents in the valley primarily sell luxury homes? It seems that most Realtors emphasize that category. I am not poor, but I do not consider myself a luxury buyer. I want the best Realtor I can find, and especially one who is willing to work and help me within my price range. How do I find that person? Dear Non-Luxury, This a great question and there is a lot of confusion about who sells luxury and who doesn't — or which Realtors do both. In my world, it is commonly accepted that any property that is $1 million or more can safely be called luxury. That being said, we all know there are some older, not updated million-dollar condos in Vail that you would not walk in and think, "This is luxury." And, there are some homes further from the resort area in the valley that are gorgeous but may be less than $1 million. So far in 2015, there have been 342 residential properties sold for $1 million or more (sometimes a lot more) and there have been 894 residential properties sold for under $1 million. Since there are just a little over 600 Realtors in our Vail multiple listing service, it is obvious every Realtor is not selling luxury all the time. My suggestion is to call several Realtors and tell them what you are looking for. Ask them to send you some information and homes which fit your parameters. It will not take you long to figure out who is the most knowledgeable and helpful. I think the more important question is, what kind of luxury service you are going to get from the Realtor you choose? Some of us sell everything, in all price ranges, because we think it is important to know the broad spectrum of our market so we can give our clients all of the information they need to make good financial decisions. We often help our clients' children and parents find their first or last properties, and it is a great help to understand the whole market. Our valley is not so big or complicated that one agent could not know, or at least access the resources to find out what their client needs in each area. Do some, or many of us, have more knowledge in one area than another? Yes, but I believe the more important factor to consider is whether or not your Realtor wants to help you find what you want — in the price range where you are comfortable. My suggestion is to call several Realtors and tell them what you are looking for. Ask them to send you some information and homes which fit your parameters. It will not take you long to figure out who is the most knowledgeable and helpful. Have a great holiday and good luck finding that agent that will provide just what you are looking for! Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, a past Realtor of the Year, a past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at Joan@TeamBlackBear.com, 970-337-7777 or http://www.SkiAndTeeHomes.com.

Ask a Realtor: Is the Vail real estate market cooling?

Dear Joan: I am always looking at the real estate market to judge when I should invest more or bail out before there is a big price drop. I have been feeling really good about the strength of the market until the last couple of months. Are we seeing a cooling now of what I have considered a hot market? It seems properties remain on the market longer, from the ads in the paper, and it seems like there are not as many new listings showing up. Also, from the few statistics I see, it seems like the high-dollar volume of sales is only because some hotels or a very few super expensive homes have sold, skewing the data. I would very much like to have your professional opinion of what is happening now, to see if I am imagining things or if there really is a shift a foot. Thanks. Market Watcher Dear Market Watcher: Although I don't necessarily agree with your terminology and exact conclusions, you are not imagining things. There is talk of "shifts," "adjustments" and "corrections" in the real estate business world. Here is my interpretation. First of all, when the market is good, as it has been, sellers will enter the market with higher and higher prices. Eventually, sellers price themselves out of what is considered reasonable market value, and then the sales appear to slow down because the free market will not pay what is considered above "market value." So, in this case, the market did not really slow down, as sales at "market value" are still continuing, as long as there is "reasonably priced" inventory. This, in turn, makes it appear that properties are staying on the market longer — because they are. They are not selling when they are too aggressively priced and therefore are out of line with the sales in the area for similar properties. This produces the syndrome where you are seeing the properties just sit until there is a price reduction or the listing expires and goes off the market. As far as new inventory goes, there is new inventory all the time, but not as much as what appears spring and early summer. As far as a few large sales skewing the market, that is always the case in our luxury market — and we like it that way. In my opinion, the only thing the large sales skew is the average sales price, but using the median sales price instead of average sales price easily rectifies that. In summary, I would say we are having a bit of a minor correction, which I consider a good thing, instead of spiraling up until the only option is a huge, painful drop. All is well in the real estate market, in my view. Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at joan@teamblackbear.com, 970-337-7777 or http://www.skiandteehomes.com.

Colorado real estate markets improving

Improvements in the local real estate market reflect state trends. The Colorado Division of Housing said foreclosures dove 50 percent in May, while home loan payoffs surged. At the same time, the Vail Board of Realtors May monthly indicators report shows a tightening local market. The number of new listings coming to market is down 13 percent from last year, and active inventory is down over 34 percent from last year. "While this report provides great insight into Eagle County as a whole, each neighborhood has its own unique characteristics and trends which are best navigated through the use of a local Realtor," said Julie Retzlaff who chairs the Vail Board of Realtors. The time that a local property spent on the market dropped 3 percent to 159 days, down from 185 days in 2011, the Vail Board of Realtors May report said. Retzlaff said concerns about interest rates are popping up again, after Fed chief Ben Bernanke told Congress the Federal Reserve Bank is considering tapering the $85 billion it's spending each month to buy mortgage-backed securities and other debt. Payoffs are up The number of home loans paid off in Colorado was up 31.4 percent from the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013, the Colorado Division of Housing reported. Public trustees in Colorado released a total of 98,321 deeds of trust during the first quarter of 2013, the highest quarterly total recorded in any quarter since the Division began collecting quarterly totals in 2008. That's up from 74,809 deeds released during the first quarter of last year. Eagle County saw the smallest increase of the 21 Colorado counties surveyed at 3.7 percent. Jefferson County showed the next smallest increase at 12.5 percent. A release of a deed of trust occurs when a real estate loan is paid off, whether it be through refinance, sale of property or because the owner has made the final payment on the loan, McMaken said. Increases in release activity occur as refinance and home-sale activity increases, and rising release totals typically indicate increases in the demand for home loans and real estate. "From early 2011 to late 2012, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell for seven quarters in a row," McMaken said. "We're not surprised to see refinancing and purchase activity increase sharply as a result." Foreclosures are down In Colorado's metro counties, foreclosure filings were down 50.5 percent during May 2013, falling to the lowest level recorded during May in any year since the Division of Housing began collecting monthly totals in 2007. Foreclosure auction sales in metro areas were down 25.4 percent in May this year compared to May of last year, falling from 965 to 720. During the same period, foreclosure filings dropped from 2,249 to 1,113. For the first five months of the year combined, from January through May, foreclosure filings were down 43.4 percent in 2013 when compared to the same period last year. Foreclosure auction sales were down 29.4 percent across the same period. "And a downward trend is likely to continue as long as employment is stable and we continue to see low mortgage rates," said Ryan McMaken, an economist for the Colorado Division of Housing. Foreclosure filings are the initial filing that begins the foreclosure process, and foreclosure auction sales totals are the total number of foreclosures that have been sold at auction, ending the foreclosure process. Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935, and rwyrick@vaildaily.com

A lot happens between a contract and closing

Dear Joan: We finally have our house under contract and the buyers have delivered the earnest money to the title company. I am so excited that we are going to finally move. Do I have much else to worry about? The buyers are a nice couple who are locals who own their own business. They are very nice and seem ​as excited​ as I am about buy​ing​ our home. My Realtor says we have only begun the process and it is much too soon to start celebrating. I am not sure if she is a worrier or if I am very na​ive. ​What problems or issues should I be anticipating? Our Realtor said she will take care of everything and keep us informed, but she has not said what the problems can be. Any clues? ​ Dear ​Excited​: Your most critical decision in your sale process was made when ​you listed your home. Choosing a great Realtor is the most important factor in having a successful sale accomplished. Did you know there ​are more than 30 different dates and contingencies in your contract that need to be met and satisfied to have your contract make it to the closing table? Unless you have a very unusual property, most of those deadlines that the sellers have to meet, can usually be met pretty easily when you get an acceptable offer. In fact, your Realtor probably has already had you fill out the disclosures and gather the information you need for the buyer at the time of listing your home. It is also your Realtor's job to monitor the buyer's side of deadlines. The buyer's dates are very important and in order to have them all met and satisfied, it can take prodding and expert negotiations to make them go smoothly. Presuming you have a great Realtor, all of the dates and requirements written into your sales contract should be orderly and lead to a successful closing. This should have been done when your Realtor was helping you negotiate an acceptable contract with realistic dates. Then, your Realtor's knowledge and skills will get you through the three biggest potential pitfalls. The first is the inspection objection that will be sent to you once the buyers have had a professional inspector come through your home. The buyer may write up items that may take thousands of dollars to repair or replace. And then, your Realtor will remind the buyer's agent that the intent of the inspection is to discover any unknown health and safety issues, not to cosmetically make it a new home. Good negotiating skills are critical at this juncture. The appraisal also can be an interesting phase that can be made easier by a knowledgeable Realtor for many diverse reasons. Finally, there is getting the financing for the buyer and the home approved. In your case, I hope your Realtor asked for a pre-approval letter since you said your buyer was self-employed. Your Realtor can help stay on top of the progress of the loan approval so that there will not be surprises later in the process. It usually comes down to communication. Your broker needs to be skilled in keeping all the parties informed and on time with their dates and be able to rise to the occasion to solve problems as they surface. When your Realtor handles all of these issues, it will not be long before you will be packing. Best of luck to you. Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at Joan@TeamBlackBear.com, 970-337-7777 and http://www.SkiAndTeeHomes.com.

Above and beyond – benefits of using a REALTOR®

The usual perception of being represented by a real estate broker in the sale or purchase of property is limited to how much and how long. But the benefits of using a REALTOR® go far beyond the real estate transaction itself. All Colorado REALTORS® are licensed real estate brokers, but not all licensed real estate brokers are REALTORS®. Being represented by a REALTOR® gives you access to one of the strongest trade associations in the country, 1.2 million strong. And it is this access that brings you closer to issues that affect real estate values and your personal property rights. This was made clear last week when representatives of the local board of REALTORS sat before members of the Colorado legislature. Questions and concerns brought to the attention of the legislators concerned HB1185 on surface property rights when oil and gas rights are exercised; Eminent domain bills currently being considered in the upcoming session and the delineation of appropriate use by local governments; and the consideration of the licensing of mortgage brokers in the State of Colorado. The National Association of REALTORS® continues to monitor congressional bills that ensure economic vitality; provide jobs and housing opportunities; preserve the environment; and, again, protect private property rights while building better communities. To bring this home to you, an especially poignant issue has been the Administration Tax Reform Study recommendations, which if enacted, could eliminate the deduction for mortgage interest. Your REALTOR® has made a purposeful decision in choosing to become a member of the local, state, and national REALTOR® associations; and, in doing so, is committed to your best interests as a property owner. So not only ask your broker, “Are you a licensed real estate broker?” but also ask, “Are you a REALTOR® ?”