Survey: Americans putting financial faith in real estate

June 25th, 2015  |  +The Group Real Estate  |  CommentNo Comments

For the second straight year, more Americans believe that real estate is a better long-term investment for their money than standard investment vehicles such as stocks and mutual funds, precious metals, savings accounts, or bonds.

According to recent results from an annual Gallup poll, 31 percent of respondents said they favored housing as the best option for long-term gains. By comparison, 25 percent preferred stocks and mutual funds. Gold—the top pick in 2011 and 2012—slipped to third, followed by savings accounts/CDs at 15 percent. Bonds were fifth at six percent.

The results show a shift in confidence in the real estate market. In fact, real estate was the top choice among all major gender, age and income groups surveyed by Gallup. According to RISMedia, the results coincide “with a number of recent initiatives set to increase opportunities for a diverse range of buyers,” including a federally backed three-percent down payment program and the reassessment of credit structures that have historically prevented borrowers from obtaining a mortgage.”


The factor: A look at what affects home value

June 22nd, 2015  |  +The Group Real Estate  |  CommentNo Comments

3a950e9If the three most important words in real estate are location, location, location, then where, where, where should you be located? According website, a number of factors can influence the value of a home. Here are three:

• Trees: According to a University of Washington survey, mature trees in a yard can be worth 2 percent of a home’s value; mature trees on the street, 3 percent; trees in the front yard, 3-5 percent; and mature trees in a high-income neighborhood,
10-15 percent.

• Parks/golf courses: A public park near a home can be worth 8-20 percent. A Portland, Ore., study of homes that were within 1,500 feet of a park found that proximity to natural areas were worth $10,648 on average; golf courses, $8,840; specialty parks, $5,657, and urban parks, $1,214.

• Walkability: Being close enough to walk to schools, parks, stores, and restaurants raises values anywhere from $4,000-$34,000, says a 2009 study by CEOs for Cities.



June 5th, 2015  |  +The Group Real Estate  |  CommentNo Comments

With values expected to increase more than 7 percent over the next 12 months, the Fort Collins-Loveland and Greeley real estate markets are both expected to rank among the top 25 for home appreciation.
In its latest market forecast, Veros Real Estate Solutions predicts the Fort Collins-Loveland area will experience an average appreciation of 7.5 percent between March 1, 2015, and March 1, 2016. In the same period, Greeley homes will increase 7.3 percent. Fort Collins-Loveland ties Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, for 15th in the Veros rankings, and Greeley is 19th.

With a projection of 9.3 percent for the Denver- Aurora-Broomfield area, and 8.4 percent for the Boulder area, Colorado’s Front Range represents
four of the top 19 markets, Veros said. Nationally, the average appreciation projected for the 333 markets surveyed by Veros is 3.2 percent.

The Veros prediction comes in the wake of very strong appreciation along the Front Range in recent months. CoreLogic reported that Colorado prices increased 9.1 percent between January 2014 and January 2015, which led the nation over that time period. Locally, average home prices in Greeley increased 10.24 percent in 2014, while Fort Collins prices increased 7.53 percent, according to the FHFA Home Price Index.


Real Estate by the Numbers

June 4th, 2015  |  +The Group Real Estate  |  CommentNo Comments

$1.1 million. Purchase price for the 7-Eleven gas station property at 2803 W. 10th St. in Greeley.

82.8 million. Total barrels of crude oil produced in Colorado during 2014, 27 percent higher than the 2013 total. With 70.2 million barrels, Weld County contributed 85 percent of the state’s total last year.

$3.3 million. The amount paid by investors to acquire the Central Town Apartments in Fort Collins. The apartment complex, at 125 N. Meldrum St., consists of 23 two-bedroom units and one, single-bedroom unit.

1,200. The number of homes proposed for a new development near 65th Avenue and 37th Street in Evans. Developer Jay Stoner said the 240-acre project will be built out over six years and will include a commercial center, park
and trails.

$630,000. Purchase price for 4.03 acres in the HighPointe Business Park in Greeley. Flatiron Steel Inc. bought the land for a new 36,000-
square-foot headquarters and manufacturing facility. The land is at the southeast corner of 21st Street and 115th Avenue.

$2.5 million. The amount investors paid for the three-story, 13,444-square-foot office building at 400 E. Horsetooth Road in Fort Collins. The building was sold by the partners of Realtec Commercial Real Estate Services.

1,400. Lots proposed for a new 490-acre housing development in Timnath. Timnath Landings is to be located at the northeast corner of Harmony Road and Larimer County Road 5.

$1.4 million. Purchase price for a 5,000-square-foot office and warehouse building in Eaton.  Utah-based Brady Trucking Inc. has purchased the building, which sits on five acres, for its Eastern Colorado Division.

7,000. The number of homes that can be powered by a proposed new solar energy facility to be built by Platte River Power Authority, a wholesale power generation company. PRPA will build the project at the Rawhide Energy Station north of Wellington.

$3.3 million. Acquisition price for a 12,382- square-foot office building in Loveland’s Foxtrail Office Park in Centerra. Fort Collins-based Front Range Pain Medicine bought the building to be its primary facility.

$406,000. The price paid by Timberline Real Estate LLC for approximately one acre at 2007 Timberline Road in Fort Collins. The new owners plan to build a Big O Tires store at the site.

8.2. Acreage in the Great Western Industrial Park acquired by Texas-based Crall Products Co. Crall paid about $1.3 million for the ground, where it will build a plant for manufacturing steel and fiberglass for use in the agriculture and oil and gas industries.


We know inventory is low, but why is that so?

May 11th, 2015  |  +The Group Real Estate  |  CommentNo Comments

AA014335Across Northern Colorado, and in many markets across the country, both buyers and sellers are contending with the ramifications of slim housing inventory. But why has it come to this? To find the answer, we need to review a combination of factors–both economic and legislative–that have influenced the shape of today’s market conditions.

A recent analysis that appeared on,  a real estate news service, provided the following set of reasons:

Capital gains exclusion on primary residence. Before 1997, home sellers could only avoid capital gains taxes on the sale by purchasing another house of equal or greater value. In short, sellers were motivated to move up, providing a built-in supply-and-demand dynamic. But with the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, sellers were allowed a capital gains/appreciation exclusion ($250,000 for singles, and $500,000 for married couples).

Sustained environment of low interest rates. Since many homeowners and investors have either purchased or recently refinanced to take advantage of low rates, they find  themselves “locked in” to their favorable rates. Consequently, these owners are unlikely to sell anytime soon.

Value disruption from the recession. In many markets, values plunged from 2007-2010. People and investors who bought homes at a discount are inclined to hold on to the properties and take advantage of their good fortune.

Expectation for values to climb. Much like holding on to a stock, expecting the price will rise, homeowners believe their property values are on the upswing and want to ride the wave. Consequently, more homes are “frozen” out of inventory.

Where would I go? Low inventory begets low inventory. For instance, seniors who might be inclined to sell after retirement are encountering limited options in their communities, and decide to stay put.

Stunted development. Home builders put on the brakes in 2008, and are slowly ramping back up to pre-recession levels.

Developer liability. In Colorado, condominium developers have a greater exposure to lawsuits due to the state’s construction defects law. Consequently, fewer condominiums–often starter homes for first-time buyer–are available in the market.


Ninja Selling-One of the reasons The Group is a Leader in Real Estate

April 25th, 2015  |  +The Group Real Estate  |  CommentNo Comments

When Larry Kendall helped found The Group, 1976, he began with a simple question, “How will they be selling real estate 25 years from now, in the year 2000, and how can we start selling it that way now?”

larry ninjaThis “vision question” undergirds the foundation of The Group and, more specifically, the Ninja Selling System. Using his company, The Group, as a laboratory, Kendall began his search for the system that would bring Real Estate into the next century. Inspired by Lou Tice, Marshall Thurber, Tony Robbins, and the philosophies underpinning aikido, the team at The Group began building a selling system for the future. Ninja Selling emerged as a system “based on a philosophy of building relationships, listening to the customer, and helping them achieve their goals.”

Kendall launched his Real Estate Masters Course in the 1980s. In October of 1994, he led the first official Ninja Selling course at a Real Estate conference, guiding 430 people through the system’s philosophies and tools.

The Name 

Despite Ninja Selling’s marshal arts roots, the system earned its name in a slightly more roundabout way. Jim Dunlap, an early Group Partner, modeled the high productivity, customer satisfaction, and work-life balance that epitomized the company’s vision. Universally respected for his ability to take care of himself, his family, and his business, Dunlap became known around The Group, Inc. offices as “the ninja,” and the inspiration for the Ninja Selling system and its goals.

The Goal 

Kendall explains that, while Ninja Selling is a system that aims to help Realtors sell more effectively, it’s really about much more. It’s meant to be life changing, and to help graduates strike that elusive balance between a satisfying career and a fulfilling home life.

The mission of Ninja Selling is threefold: 

1. Increase your income per hour.

2. Increase your customer satisfaction.

3. Improve the quality of your life.

To do this, the Ninja Selling trainings are immersive experiences during which students learn to shift their mindsets, develop important skills, and engage in daily action. One ninja seller, Maria Vitale, later called Kendall to share her successes from training. “Well, I owe it to your course” she gushed. “I went from zero to nine closings in 60 days.” Vitale credited the morning ritual of the gratitude journal for her improved emotional energy, business successes, and personal growth.

The Details

How is Ninja Selling different from traditional sales strategies?

Ninja Selling is built around four principles:

Stop selling and start creating value. The Ninja Selling system provides tools for stimulating genuine engagement by learning what customers want and are willing to pay for. Ninjas reposition themselves from unwanted salespeople to trusted advisors. Rather than developing a pitch, Ninjas help their customers solve a problem or feel good.

The flow system. Based on findings that most of us prefer buying from people we know, like, and trust, Ninja Selling encourages a business strategy built around establishing a network of known people rather than strangers. It’s about building relationships.

Customer centric. Rather than telling customers what they have to offer, Ninjas learn to ask questions, listen to customers, and only then offer solutions based on customer-specific wants and needs.

Personal mastery. By managing their own energy states in ways that foster focus and facilitate connection with others, Ninjas improve their business productivity and quality of life.

The Stories

Kendall loves hearing from Ninjas about their business successes, but the personal transformations are the most satisfying. “My favorite letters” he says, “are the ones that say, ‘I came to improve my business and it changed my life.’”

Gina Theriault sent Kendall a Thanksgiving card to share how Ninja Selling changed her life. A wife and mother of five children, the youngest of whom has special needs, Gina had nearly lost her business in 2013, and her family was struggling with debt. Six months after completing the Ninja Selling training, Gina had grossed $147,000 and her life was once again manageable. Working part-time and giving her youngest son the extra care he needs, Gina has found the work-life balance and success that she was looking for.

Ninja Selling offers a variety of educational formats, both in person and online, including webinars, four-day intensive installations, two- to three-day retreats, and numerous specialized classes. Eight Ninja instructors are certified to teach the classes throughout the country. In Fort Collins, approximately eight courses are hosted annually with a capacity of 96 people per class. Today, over 50,000 Ninja Selling graduates grace the U.S., Canada, and Spain and three universities are teaching the system in their business classes. Kendall says of the growth: “Ninja’s not about one person. It’s about all of us. And we have critical mass now. And we have momentum. And we’re making a difference in the world.”




April 23rd, 2015  |  +The Group Real Estate  |  CommentNo Comments

James Hinshaw V Duality

As winter breaks and spring settles in along the Front Range, an itch for community engagement blooms, and we may find ourselves out and about, brimming with curiosity. Year round, Northern Colorado’s art museums bring community together with exciting visual arts exhibits, educational opportunities, and celebratory events.

This spring is no different, as local museums host annual community art projects, showcase diverse student talents, and feature the works of local as well as visiting artists. Below, find a quick tour of what’s in store this spring at museums in Fort Collins, Loveland, and Greeley.

Colorado State University Art Museum 

CSU’s Art Museum encourages the public to engage with and learn about the visual arts, offering free events and exhibitions year-round (excepting university holidays and breaks). The museum is conveniently located on the first floor of the University Center for the Arts at 1400 Remington Street in Fort Collins.

April 17 – May 18, 2015 – Master of Fine Arts Exhibition 

The Master of Fine Arts Exhibition is an annual event showcasing the talented students completing CSU’s three-year degree program in the visual arts. The 2015 exhibition will feature the work of: Adriane Byrd, Allison Conley, Matthew French, Aaron Frondorf, Krirsten Gunderson, Anthony Guntren, Benjamin Isaiah, Sara LaBarre, Cei Lambert, and Silvia Minguzzi.

Fort Collins Museum of Art 

The Fort Collins Museum of Art strives to raise community awareness of and appreciation for the visual arts. Located in Old Town Fort Collins (at 201 South College Ave.), the non-profit museum features rotating exhibitions and hosts community events and educational programs.

Masks Exhibition, April 3 – May 1, 2015 

This spring, the FCMOA will host their signature annual exhibition – Masks – for the eleventh year in a row. Nearly 200 artists have decorated masks for this year’s extraordinary community art project. The collection of masks will be on display at the museum from April 3 through May 1, 2015.

Banner Health – Kaiser Permanente Masks 2015 Gala: April 25, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

To celebrate this special community event and raise funds for the FCMOA, consider attending the Banner Health – Kaiser Permanente Masks Gala on April 25. The event will include a champagne greeting, both silent and live auctions, games, and a gourmet dinner.

Loveland Museum/Gallery 

Loveland, famed for its about-town array of sculpture art, also invites residents and visitors to whet their visual art palates at The Loveland Museum/Gallery. The Loveland Museum/Gallery (at 503 N. Lincoln Ave.) houses three art galleries with exciting and regularly rotating exhibits.

Dunning’s World View, January 29 – May 2, 2015 

Dunning’s World View, hosted in the Foote Gallery, features personal photographs taken during Loveland Museum/Gallery founder, Harold Dunning’s, many trips up Longs Peak and throughout Rocky Mountain National Park.

Art, Science, Nature: Thompson School District Art Show, March 28 – May 10, 2015 

Held in the museum’s Main Gallery, ArtScienceNature gives community members the chance to truly support Loveland and Berthoud’s youth artists. Celebrating National Youth Art Month, this annual art show features works of art from students in grades K through 12, including photography, jewelry, ceramics, sculpture, collage, painting, and drawing.

Remembrance: Paintings by Andrew J. Svedlow, April 11 – July 12, 2015 

In honor of the 70th anniversary recognition of the end of the Holocaust, this exhibit, to be displayed in the Green Room, features paintings that inspire remembrance, through metaphor, of those who have suffered. The series, Svedlow says, represents “my personal struggle with my remembrance of things lost, of lost love, of lost lives, and of lost innocence.”

University of Northern Colorado School of Art & Design, Mariani and Oak Room Galleries 

The Mariani Gallery and Oak Room Gallery provide inspiration and education to art and design students and showcase undergraduate and student works on rotating exhibition schedules. The Mariani Gallery, which has served Northern Colorado and Weld County since 1972, is located in UNC’s Guggenheim Hall. The Oak Room Gallery is in Crabbe hall.

Art in Public Places 

In addition to the array of museums, Northern Colorado’s cities have taken public art to a whole new level. In Loveland, in addition to spectacular sculpture gardens, you’ll find public works transformed into works of art and beautiful murals. In Fort Collins, artists have been commissioned to paint murals on electric boxes, downtown walls, and “Pianos About Town.” The City of Greeley highlights its enthusiasm for public art from multiple angles, partnering with local galleries to showcase student art and commissioning artists for projects from designing manhole covers to creating interpretive sculptural trees for the “Uptown Tree Program.”


Real Estate by the Numbers

April 16th, 2015  |  +The Group Real Estate  |  CommentNo Comments

Real Estate by the Numbers

10.24. Average percentage increase in home prices in the Greeley metro area during 2014, which ranked No. 23 nationally on the FHFA Home Price Index. Fort Collins-Loveland, at 7.53 percent, ranked No. 63.

415.  The number of homes that luxury-home builder Toll Brothers Inc. plans to build in the 166-acre Kechter Farm development in southeast Fort Collins, with prices expected to range from $500,000 to more than $1 million.

1,077. The number of parking spaces that Colorado State University plans to build in a new lot located near the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

150,000. Square footage for a new hotel and convention center in downtown Greeley, based on a request for proposal issued by the city of Greeley. The request calls for 150-200 rooms and at least 5,000 square feet of conference space.

$449,000. The price paid for a commercial building at 401 S. Mason Street in downtown Fort Collins. The building was acquired by the owners of the Armstrong Hotel in Fort Collins.

$41 million. The price that Unico recently paid for 507,005 square feet of office-industrial space in the Prospect East Business Park in Fort Collins. Unico then sold the property to Prospect Development Partners LLC.

452. The number of homes proposed for the Heritage Ridge development in Berthoud. Real estate developer Megary Group LLC purchased 69 acres for the project.

28,500. Square footage for proposed office building for the Colorado State University Research Foundation, to be located south of the main CSU campus near the intersection of Centre Avenue and Rolland Moore Drive.

300. The number of rooms that would be included in a $100 million hotel and convention center in Windsor, according to the plans announced by a Tennessee developer. As proposed, the project would be built by 2018.

276. Units that will be constructed for the Milestone Apartments complex in southeast Fort Collins.

$59 million. Estimated cost for Colorado State University’s proposed on-campus medical center, planned for the northwest corner of College Avenue and Prospect Road.

$3.3 million. Price paid for the 12,382 square foot Foxtrail Office Park in Loveland. Front Range Medical Holdings LLC acquired the building for doctors’ offices.

8. Where Fort Collins ranks among the best low-cost cities for people in their 20s, according to a report by the lifestyle blog Daily Dish. Detroit topped the rankings. Other cities in the top 10 included Dallas, Houston, Milwaukee and Phoenix.



March 29th, 2015  |  +The Group Real Estate  |  CommentNo Comments

Fueled by steady job growth, Greeley and Fort Collins-Loveland continue to rank highly among the nation’s top-performing local economies.

The Milken Institute, in its annual report titled “Best-Performing Cities 2014: Where America’s Jobs are Created and Sustained,” ranked the Greeley metro area No. 14 among the 200 largest metros, down slightly from its No. 10 ranking in 2013. Greeley’s position was supported by its lofty ranking for five-year job growth (No. 2), and one-year job growth (No. 2.), Fort Collins-Loveland ranked No. 17, inching up from No. 20 in 2013. Fort Collins-Loveland was 16th in five-year job growth, and 25th in one-year growth. Fort Collins-Loveland also scored well – No. 34 – for its productivity in the high-technology sector. San Francisco ranked No. 1. Denver was the top-ranking Colorado city at No. 12, followed by Boulder at No. 13. Colorado Springs was No. 90. In a related report, Fort Collins ranked No. 6 among U.S. cities for innovation.



March 28th, 2015  |  +The Group Real Estate  |  CommentNo Comments

The clock appears to be ticking on opportunities to build a new home within the Fort Collins city limits.

Based on the current rate of housing growth, measured against the existing amount of development land in the city, Fort Collins could exhaust its supply of housing lots within 17 years. That’s the timeline calculated by Fort Collins city planners in a “Community Buildout Analysis” recently provided to the City Council.

For would-be homebuyers and investors, the news should be a call to action: If you want to build a new single-family home in Fort Collins, you’ll need to get cracking.

According to the city’s report, the latest population estimate for Fort Collins is 155,400 – and 169,000 for the larger Fort Collins Growth Management Area (GMA). Officials believe the GMA is large enough to accommodate up to 255,000 people. Consequently, with a population growth rate of 2.371 percent (the average annual growth rate over the past 20 years), Fort Collins could run out of residential development ground by 2032.

Such a real estate scenario could generate the following ramifications:

  • First, expect more competition for fewer available homes, which means rising prices.
  • Second, investors will have greater incentive to redevelop existing home sites with denser and taller housing, such as condominiums.
  • Third, a larger share of the Fort Collins workforce will be compelled to live outside the city to find more affordable housing, resulting greater traffic volumes.

In each case, the impact of a dwindling land supply brings to mind the housing experience in the city of Boulder, where housing prices have been forcing Boulder workers to live in neighboring towns for the past three decades. Today, approximately 67 percent of Boulder workers commute from outside the city – compared to 45 percent of Fort Collins workers.