May 6th

Comprehensive Colorado Springs Market Reports

By Kelly Curtis
Click Here for comprehensive, up-to-date housing statistics for the Colorado Springs area and the Pikes Peak MLS region.
May 1st

Google, Apple Settle Charges of Conspiring to Blacklist Workers

By Mike Goldman
Google, Apple Settle Charges of Conspiring to Blacklist Workers
Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe agreed to a settlement this week of charges they conspired to limit employment opportunities of their workers.  The combined settlement of $324 million will be divided up among 64,000 plaintiffs, meaning each will receive a  little over $5,000.  After paying legal fees and other expenses, the amount each plaintiff ends up with will be next to nothing.  The settlement came as a surprise to some observers because the plaintiff group initially asked for $9 billion an amount that would have worked out to just over $140,000 per claimant.  The amount agreed upon in the settlement amounts to less than 4 percent of the reward originally sought.
Apr 23rd

Rising Home Prices Reflect Changing Construction Trends

By Frank Galvano
Rising Home Prices Reflect Changing Construction Trends
The recent upward trend in home prices is somewhat misleading, industry experts suggest, as it not only reflects shortages in supply in many areas but also a change in the type and size of the homes being built.  Since 2010, the average size of a newly constructed home has surged from 2,392 square feet to just under 3,000, an increase of about 9 percent.  At the same time, developers are paying more attention to features such as fireplaces, bathrooms and appliances and are simply building better and bigger homes.  That means, though homebuyers are paying more on average, they are also getting more home for the money in many cases.
 
Apr 15th

Triptykon, feat. Tom G Warrior, Drops New Album

By Kelly Curtis
triptykon-melana-chasmata.jpg

A new album from Triptykon hit stores today, continuing a metal legacy that started with Hellhammer more than 30 years ago.  Frontman Tom G Warrior, also of Celtic Frost and Apollyon Sun, rewards his loyal fans with Melana Chasmata, a beautifully written and engineered neo-gothic slab of extreme metal.  Early reviews of the set have been positive, with many reviewers claiming Melana Chasmata as Warrior's best work since the 2006 Celtic Frost finale, Monotheist.  

Want to learn more about Tom G Warrior?  Click Here for an awesome bio and discography on a true metal pioneer.
Apr 11th

Tricks to Finding Foreclosed Properties for Investment

By Steve C.
Tricks to Finding Foreclosed Properties for Investment

We've all heard the stories. A neighbor finds this unbelievable deal on a foreclosed home and ends up nearly doubling his money. But how do you find those deals? Get some help, most experts say. A good starting point is to try and find a local real estate agent who specializes in foreclosures. These agents have developed relationships with the banks by bringing them buyers quickly, and should be the first to know when a new foreclosure is about to hit the market. It's also a good idea to pay a local information company to supply you with regular updates. Some of these companies cover multiple counties and will send you regular email updates for about $40 to $50 a month. There are a handful of national companies that provide the same information, though the updates typically roll in a little slower, meaning the information you get from them may be dated.
Apr 8th

Earth Day Celebration at Garden of the Gods

By Kelly Curtis
Earth Day - GOG.jpg

Earth Day Celebration at Garden of the Gods


In honor of Earth Day, the Friends of Garden of the Gods are sponsoring several event on Saturday, April 19th at the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center.  There will be exhibitions put on by the Air Force Academy Falconers, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and the American Indian Dancers group.  There will also be a chemical magic show and educational exhibits from the Wolf & Wildlife Center and Nature's Educators organizations.  Visitors will also be treated to free admission that day to the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site.  Festivities will take place from 9 AM to 3 PM at the Visitor & Nature Center, 1805 N 30th St in Colorado Springs.
Apr 3rd

Home Affordability Keeping Buyers Out

By Frank Galvano
The latest stats are showing a slightly different trend.  It's not the low inventory that's news to us, but rather the lack of potential home buyers who can afford to purchase the homes.  

In 2013, we saw the average price for a home sold rise almost 14%.  The trend is expected to continue through 2014, however, analysts suggest those numbers will remain in the single digits.  But cities with solid job growth could see those numbers trend higher. 

The good news is lenders seem to be easing their standards, which will allow more 'qualified' buyers to enter the market. 

Mar 20th

NAR Joins Move, Inc. Lawsuit Against Zillow

By Kelly Curtis

NAR Joins Move, Inc. Lawsuit Against Zillow

The National Association of Realtors this week joined in a lawsuit filed by Move, Inc. against Zillow and its new Chief Strategy Officer, Errol Samuelson. Filed in the Superior Court of King County, WA, the suit accuses Zillow and Samuelson of breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets and other actions. NAR subsidiary Realtors Information Network, Inc. and Move divisions RealSelect and Top Producer Systems are also listed as plaintiffs in official court documents. Samuelson previously spent years working for Move, and the company believes he is sharing sensitive industry secrets with his new employer since he was hired less than two weeks ago. Samuelson and Zillow have so far declined to comment on the lawsuit, while spokesmen for Move and the NAR expressed confidence that the judicial system will back their claims.

Mar 11th

Preparing to Pre-Qualify for a Home Loan

By Kelly Curtis
Preparing to Pre-Qualify for a Home Loan
Buying a home can be a confusing, drawn-out process that drives us crazy.  The confusion we feel is especially frustrating because most Americans will only go through it once in their lives, so few consumers are familiar with it.  While it's impossible to prevent all types of delays to the process, some steps can be taken to curb delays, especially with regards to securing a loan.  If you're in the market to buy a home, the first step is to review you're credit score, reporting any errors and taking steps to clear them up.  Next, documents should be secured to prove income, rent or mortgage payments, and assets.  Keep these documents handy throughout the process so they are handy when the bank asks to see them.

Feb 19th

Diverse Solutions Reviews - 'Don't Waste Your Time'

By Frank Galvano
Several years ago Diverse Solutions was one of the better idx options available.  Loaded with extra bells & whistles and an easy interface, the company produced an innovative search tool - but that was then.  Zillow purchased Diverse Solutions in 2011 for $7.8 million.  

In a 2011 interview, the founder of Diverse Solutions,  Justin LaJoie, said

"They (Zillow) did not acquire Diverse Solutions to slowly kill it and the products that we have developed over the years."

"with the added resources from Zillow, we will be able to more quickly develop new enhancements"

He went on to say how Zillow and Diverse Solutions hoped to prove the "naysayers wrong."

Now, pause a moment and take that in.  Zillow owns Diverse Solutions

Soon Zillow branded and put their links on every website that used Diverse Solutions as their idx provider.  In a moment, a massive flood of organically-ranked realtor websites linked to Zillow.  I didn't judge it too much when it happened but over time you couldn't help but notice how Zillow's search continued to make huge advancements.  Does Diverse Solutions get that same level of attention?  Even after a series of recent changes in 2014, it's still, for the most part, the same as it was.  As of the day I'm writing this review, Diverse Solutions is still having trouble figuring out how to put a menu on the mobile site.  If a visitor is on your site and chooses to search, it will automatically convert the site to a mobile version (if the visitor is on a mobile device).  Once the search is done, the visitor has no way of returning to your website.  So if you have spent a lot of time creating custom searches for your website, the visitor is out of luck because there is no return unless they retype the domain again. 

Page Load Times
Diverse Solutions runs at a snail's pace - I have seen normal load times of up to 15-20 seconds - In fact, I have seen it take more than 30 seconds on countless occasions (Let's not even get into the times when it doesn't load at all).  Meanwhile, Zillow's site is hosted on different servers, coupled with a better design it moves at greater speeds enabling pages to load much faster. 
 
Lead Generation
In my experience, people don't seem to like it very much and if they do sign up, they rarely return.  I have overseen Diverse Solutions accounts in three completely different real estate markets around the country and the one common thread?  Diverse Solutions produced less leads than any other idx we ever used.  After being accustomed to generating 3 to 20 leads per DAY on the same website, Diverse Solutions only generated 1 to 7 leads per WEEK on average.  Sometimes we would go a week or two without 1 lead.  Up to that point I never even knew that was possible.  

My conclusion:  Diverse Solutions is a slow, outdated dinosaur that will continue to guide realtors directly into the tar pit.  Tread lightly my friends.

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