Find your dream house property in the Colorado Springs real estate area of the Black Forest. This part of the Colorado Springs real estate area is located in northern El Paso County. The Black Forest is a rural area that is situated on approximately 200,000 acres of land. The area is heavily wooded with mostly Ponderosa Pine trees. Black Forest is a mix of older homes and newer homes. The northwestern Black Forest real estate area includes: High Forest Ranch established 2001-2004, Walden established 1965-2002, Hawk Ridge established 1994-2000, Wissler Ranch established 1996-1999, and Elk Creek Ranch established 1980-1993.Home Prices & DescriptionsMany of the homes for sale in the Black Forest real estate area are 5 acre house properties. There are mostly ranch style homes and 2 story homes. Some of the homes are custom homes and reflect “country style” living and some of the homes resemble houses that blend into “city living”. Many of these Colorado Springs real estate subdivisions include features such as: multiple decks and fireplaces, slate floors, barns and garages, granite counters, and theater rooms.The minimum sales price for homes in 2008 in the Black Forest is $375,000. The minimum size Black Forest home for sale is 3,408 finished square feet. The minimum home for sale is 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, and a 3 car garage. The average sales price in 2008 is $650,000 and is 4,527 finished square feet. The average size home for sale is 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, and a 4 car garage. The maximum sales price in this Colorado Springs real estate area is $925,000 and is 5,646 finished square feet. The maximum size home for sale is 5 bedrooms, 5 baths, and a 5 car garage.One of the newer communities in the Black Forest real estate area is the prestigious High Forest Ranch. The Ranch has rustic custom homes for sale. There are close to 20 different custom builders to choose from. Some of the homes in this Colorado Springs real estate area are situated on 2.5-5 acres of land. Residents in the High Forest Ranch area have community lodge at their disposal for those special occasions. The custom homes for sale in this Colorado Springs real estate area range from $499,900-$3.5 million. Amenities for some of the homes include: multiple fireplaces, slab granite counter tops, vaulted ceilings, great rooms, family room, master retreats, theater rooms, billiard rooms, wine rooms, travertine flooring, outdoor covered decks, and wet bars. Many of the Colorado Springs homes for sale in this area have extensive timber and stone features.The Walden real estate area has beautiful custom ranch style homes with lots between approximately 1/2 acre and 1 acre in size. Many of the homes have stucco exteriors and resemble more of a “city look.” Some of these Colorado Springs real estate neighborhoods include: custom cabinets, molding and trim, granite slab kitchen counter tops, hardwood floors, multiple fireplaces, 5 piece master baths, vaulted great room, stucco exteriors, perennial gardens, offices, recreation rooms, game area, formal dining rooms, wood decks with hot tub, walk-out rancher, and gourmet kitchens. Homes for sale in this Colorado Springs real estate area range from the high $200,000s to just under $600,000.In the privacy of the pines is the prominent Hawk Ridge real estate area. Hawk Ridge has homes for sale on approximately 2.5 acres or less. Many of the homes are custom homes with features like: hardwood floors, walls of windows, multiple fireplaces, French doors, granite kitchen islands, custom cabinets, hand crafted banisters, ponds, walk-out dining area, and large decks. The homes for sale in the Hawk Ridge community range from the approximately the mid $500,000s to 1.3 million dollars. This part of the Colorado Springs real estate area borders the Black Forest area.The Wissler Ranch homes for sale range from the mid $400,000s to $900,000. Some of the homes have luxurious living and family rooms, huge open kitchens, spacious master suites, home theaters, wine cellars, exercise rooms, recreation rooms, and 5 piece master baths. Many of the homes are on approximate 3 acre lots. Some of the homes are gorgeous cottage style houses with old world charm. The homes for sale in this Colorado Springs real estate area range from the mid $450,000s to the mid $800,000s. The Wissler Ranch community also borders the Black Forest area.There are some homes for sale in the Elk Creek community in the low $200,000s. The homes are located in meadows and in the woods. Most of the homes are on five acre lots and are zoned for horses. Some of the homes have beautiful mountain views and some are located in the meadows and have natural streams running through the properties. Many of the homes include barns, storage sheds, fences for horses, RV parking. There are custom homes in this community. Find your perfect dream horse property in this Colorado Springs real estate area. Amenities include: vaulted/beamed ceilings, large kitchens, fireplaces, skylights, multiple decks, oversized garages, and covered stalls.Schools.The schools of attendance are: Lewis Palmer Elementary School, Ray E. Kilmer Elementary School, Lewis Palmer Middle School, Creekside Middle School, and Lewis Palmer High School. The schools are part of the Lewis Palmer School District 38 boundary area.Neighboring Communities.The Southwestern portion of the Black Forest is located to the south and contains the Black Forest Regional Park. The Black Forest extends to the east. The Kings Deer, Canterbury, Fox Run, and Cherry Creek Crossing subdivisions are situated to the west.Commuting.The northwestern Colorado Springs real estate area of Black Forest is located near Highway 83 and County Line Road. It is convenient for commuting to Colorado Springs and Denver. This part of the Air Force Academy real estate area is located approximately 30 minutes or 22 miles from the USAFA main gate and is a possible Colorado Springs military relocation choice.Recreation.The High Forest Ranch community has miles of hiking trails and open space. It is close to the Tri-lakes real estate area. Three lakes and multiple golf courses are located in the Tri-lakes area. Shopping is close by in Monument, Castle Rock, Denver and Colorado Springs real estate locations.
Investing in Real Estate has become urban legend the myths abound about how much you can increase your wealth by investing in real estate and in particular residential real estate, so much so that the average Joe believes that making money and creating wealth when it comes to real estate is a given and in alienable right so to speak.Average mums and dads are jumping onto the real estate bandwagon with no knowledge or training in the fundamentals of investing. These folks are fed the myth that using their equity from their family home will miraculously make them into real estate tycoons, all to often these poor misguided souls end up losing the home and everything else in their pursuit of real estate’s Eldorado.To perpetuate the myth these naive investors are advised to hold on to their real estate investments for ten years or longer, this is great in theory if you are in your twenties and do not need the profits in the immediate sh rt term to help fund a decent retirement, unfortunately when you look at the demographics of these investors they are in their fifties with plenty of equity in their family homes most usually own their family home and have neglected doing any thing for their retirement till now and in horror discover that they will not be able to have their current lifestyle on the pension.Little wonder real estate investment seminars are packed with these late bloomers all hoping to make a fortune by investing in residential real estate, the seminar presenters ensure that is all these folks here, after all this is a valuable gravy train.Try this little trick next time a telemarketer calls and asks you to attend a real estate investment seminar, and the telemarketer asks you if you own your own home and how much equity you have in it, reply by saying that you have none, I will guarantee that before the word none leaves your mouth they have hung up on you, interesting isn’t it?Tragically no one is told when a real estate investment has gone bad or failed to perform as happens on a daily basis with the stock market, why is this so? One of the major reasons are the volumes of money that Governments, Banks and marketers make from selling the residential investment myth, that is also the reason why Governments have been loathe to legislate that investors under go an investment training program before they can invest, as once the myth is busted the gravy train will not be as plentiful and the flow on effect into allied industries would be catastrophic.This myth is well and truly busted as you can loose everything from a failed real estate investment and there are no such things as guaranteed growth with out doing some work for it.Here are 7 simple ways to maximize your money from real estate investment1. Know your profit before you buyDo your due diligence and find out if the price you are paying is below market value, a simple rule is can you resell this property today for a profit and if so how much.2. Type of Neighborhood?The community surrounding the property can change in a variety of ways that can adversely affect your real estate income property. Increasing vacancy, for instance, can lead to reduced rents, which in turn means reduced maintenance causing building deterioration, This can cause a roll on effect if more properties start to decline in the whole neighborhood,compounding the problem.The nearby construction of facilities such as prisons, sewer treatment plants, and airports will also likely have an adverse effect on the area. Also, perhaps more subtle and slower in coming, is a decline due to increased crime, perhaps resulting from an adjoining neighborhood spill over. If you still want to invest here find out what it is that makes it special that everyone else has over seen, often gems are discovered with a little digging,3. Impact of poor or neglected InfrastructureThe impact of being directly under the flight path of airplanes, construction of a major highway or intersection can limit access to the property, cause noise and dirt by the construction and all this can have a negative impact on the property’s ability to attract and keep tenants. The end result may be an increase in your investment real estate value, but construction and major works can take up to a year or more and during that time you could expect your real estate investment value to drop. Or worse still the infrastructure is neglected and the local authority does not have the Tax base to start remedial works to bring it up to standard,4.ControlsGovernmental controls and regulatory changes to zoning can adversely impact real estate investment properties. Real Estate investors that purchase raw land for development, for instance, can see their plans grind to a halt because of a building moratorium or anti-development sentiment. All of which results in downturn in value.5. FinanceDifficulty obtaining finance or the lenders require more of your capital to top up your borrowings,yers for your rental property if you decide to sell, This type of condition is prevalent at the moment as lenders are devaluing the amount that they are willing to lend against real estate, in most instances I have seen lenders valuations or real estate down by up to 30% to 40% of the contract price depending on the region this could be higher again, this trend should alert the investor that the deal they think is great may not be so great after all, unfortunately marketers have this covered as they are dealing with naive and unsophisticated investors by saying that the lenders always value the property for less, if that is what some one lending you money says about your intended investment wouldn’t it be prudent to listen and renegotiate or if that is not possible walk away from the deal.6. Lack of or no maintenance.If your property is the run down, get it brought back up to a good condition. This will make it more appealing to prospective tenants7. Pressure to sellHighly motivated sellers may reduce a property to a bargain basement price and smart investors watch for property owners who must sell to take advantage of the owner’s strong motivation to quit the property. Always try to avoid ever reaching the moment when you are forced to sell.These are just of many tips I use to maximize my profits from my real estate investments and so can you.
So, you’ve reached a point in your life where you think that you’ve learned a little about business, finance, contract negotiating, real estate, etc. and have at least a layman’s knowledge of law pertaining to each. Being that savvy, you might also be aware of the incredible retirement locations and values south of the border; furthermore, you might even be considering Mexico as your retirement destination. If so, you might as well forget everything you’ve learned and leave your law degree at home!Mexico, as beautiful as it is, has a somewhat different way of doing business and a completely different set of laws. Additionally, all legal transactions, including real estate transactions, are done in Spanish. Therefore, for those of you that may be considering locations in Mexico as possible retirement destinations, the following information should give you some insight as to how the Mexican real estate industry works, list some of the possible pitfalls, and most importantly, give you the guidance required to assure a pleasant and safe experience.In 1984, we made our first real estate purchase in Puerto Vallarta; a condominium in Mismaloya, about seven miles south of town. Our second purchase, two years later, was the adjacent condo. A year later, we removed the wall between the two condos and remodeled them into one very spacious three bedroom condo. For thirteen years, while still working in Houston, we thoroughly enjoyed visiting Vallarta two or three times a year.At some time after the purchases of the two condos, we noticed that our original escrituras (legal property documentation similar to a title or deed that is held in a fidecomiso or bank trust) showed the property values to be about one third of what we actually paid for them. When we inquired about the discrepancy, we were told that the lower values were used in order to reduce our annual property taxes.It wasn’t until many years later, when we decided to sell the condo, that we learned that capital gains taxes were due on the huge difference between the selling price and the documented purchase price. Ouch, we owed substantial taxes on a paper gain; when in fact, there was very little real gain! We then learned that the condo developer entered the extremely low sales prices on all the escrituras in the condo complex in order to evade paying substantial capital gains taxes. As we later learned, the developer could have entered the selling price, the appraised value, his cost of construction, or just about anything imaginable into the escritura, and we, being the naïve Americans that we were, were at his mercy!Upon the sale of the condo, we bought a beautiful new mountainside villa with a panoramic view of Banderas Bay, El Centro, and the Sierra Madres. We saw the new villa advertised in one of the local magazines and asked our realtor friend to show us the property. He showed us what seemed to be every property in town, before reluctantly taking us to see the villa in the magazine. Some time after buying the villa, we learned that our realtor friend received only 10% of the commission on the sale because that was all the listing agent was willing to pay. The listing agent ran the ad in the magazine and didn’t feel that an agent representing a buyer was necessary in order to sell this beautiful new villa. Therefore, our agent spent a couple days showing us nothing but properties listed by his agency before caving in to our demands and taking us to the villa of our dreams; one that we have thoroughly enjoyed for more than a decade.These experiences revealed the tip of the real estate iceberg and after living in Vallarta for ten years, we’ve finally been able to expose the entire iceberg and share some of the details below.To begin with, there are no licensed real estate brokers or agents in Puerto Vallarta! In fact, there is no mandatory licensing for real estate agents in all of Mexico because the Federal legislation process has yet to accomplish it and therefore such legislation remains in limbo. In Puerto Vallarta, where there are in excess of 80 real estate agencies, there are probably more than 500 real estate agents with minimal qualifications. With the booming real estate market and economy that exists today, it’s quite obvious why we have such a diverse group of agents and brokers in Vallarta.In order to have some degree of continuity from agent to agent, a voluntary association for real estate personnel exists in various areas of Mexico. The Asociacion Mexicana de Profesionales Inmobiliarios A.C., known as AMPI, is quite active in Vallarta with the membership of approximately 50 of the 80 real estate agencies in Vallarta. Although membership in AMPI is not compulsory and has no bearing on the capabilities of the agents representing the buyers or sellers, it is considered to be the standard bearer for listing agents in the area.A second real estate association, mainly consisting of Mexican agencies based in the Vallarta area, is Asociacion de Profesionales Inmobiliarios de Vallarta A.C., known as APIVAC.These associations schedule periodic conferences, conduct educational programs, and hold various meetings where they attempt to keep their members and the public current on activities in the area as well as changes in the Mexican law as it pertains to real estate. They have codes of ethics and they do attempt to establish uniform sets of operating policies and procedures, some of which are in writing, others understood but not documented. They bring real estate personnel together where their members voluntarily agree to abide by their organizations´ statutes and codes of ethics while attempting to operate with some degree of continuity and professionalism. For sure, these associations are better than nothing but still not to be confused with associations such as the National Association of Realtors or NAR in the US. Dual agency disclosure, designated agency, full disclosure, confidentiality, imputed knowledge and notice, implied knowledge, fiduciary duty, loyalty, and vicarious liability are foreign concepts to the majority of real estate agents in Mexico. Consequently, misleading or inaccurate statements often made by many of the agents can put both the buyer and seller in intolerable predicaments in Mexico.Although AMPI and NAR do have a working relationship, one example of the differences between AMPI and NAR is that NAR provides its member agencies with standard statewide listing forms, pre-qualification forms, escrow account and earnest money forms, standard purchase agreement forms, letters of intent, etc. In Vallarta, there are no such forms provided by AMPI or APIVAC. Each real estate agency has its own listing form or uses a form provided by an outside privately owned publisher, which clearly depicts the listing agent as receiving 100% of the commission upon sale of the property. Also, NAR has written and enforceable guidelines regarding the handling of commissions and the sharing of commissions between the selling and buying agents. Although there are guidelines in Mexico for real estate commissions, they are still flexible, and to some degree negotiable with the seller. The listing agent can then negotiate commission sharing with the buyer’s agent.All other forms vary from agent to agent and are not necessarily written in the best interest of the buyer. Also, most forms and contracts for North Americans are in English; however the Spanish version is the only document that has any legal standing in Mexico. Therefore, regardless of what you read in English, a Spanish speaking attorney should always represent you along with your agent.Another major difference between the Mexican based associations and NAR has to do with the Multiple Listing Service or MLS. In the States, the MLS is controlled and monitored by NAR and is available to all NAR agents. In certain Mexican cities, including Vallarta, there is an MLS; however it is not controlled by AMPI or APIVAC. Instead, it is privately owned and operated by a local publisher and is available for property searching to the public at no charge. AMPI members are able to list their properties on the Vallarta MLS, with the general public as well as the other AMPI and APIVAC members having access to the listings.Once you understand the inner workings of the real estate industry in PV, you need to learn a little about Mexican real estate law. It can be quite complex regarding trusts, escrows, mortgages, treatment of taxes, etc. and is often open to interpretation by a state appointed attorney, known as a notario. A small percentage of the realtors in Vallarta have a fair understanding of Mexican law as it pertains to real estate transactions; however the vast majority of them are sorely lacking in this field. Even with little or no knowledge of the law, they will be anxious to advise you, right or wrong; therefore, the best law to follow is caveat emptor, or buyer beware!Because of the many pitfalls that a buyer can encounter while purchasing real estate in PV, we learned over twenty years ago that it is wise to interview realtors with scrutiny, keeping in mind that most all will be promoting their own listings first and meeting your needs second. It’s just human nature and with virtually no control in Mexico, it’s pretty much assured. Also, because almost 100% of them have listing agreements with the sellers, they are legally bound to act in the best interest of the sellers, and not necessarily in the buyer’s best interest. Because the buyer usually has no contractual agreement with the realtor, he will in all probability get the “short end of the stick” in this conflict of interest.Of all places, in Mexico you should select an agent that is 100% dedicated to helping you find the property that meets your needs and satisfies your requirements; preferably, a contractual agreement with an agent with no listings, no axe to grind, no ulterior motive, and is exclusively representing buyers and their best interests.A true buyer´s agent in PV should have no property listings, should have complete access to the Vallarta MLS, should know the areas and growth trends in and around Vallarta, should be able to professionally negotiate on the buyer’s behalf, should have a decent understanding of Mexican real estate law, should have a working relationship with the local notarios, real estate attorneys, escrow and title agents, mortgage bankers, insurance agents, inspectors, appraisers, and lastly, your representative must have a thorough working knowledge of the local real estate industry and understand the idiosyncrasies associated with it.Buying your dream home or condo in Vallarta should be one of your best experiences, however without due diligence, it can be a nightmare. Obtaining an exclusive buyer´s agent with 100% dedication to you is a prerequisite for assuring a pleasant beginning of your retirement in Paradise.