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A $10 million highway project between Frisco and Breckenridge has been slated for state funding, potentially uncorking a chronic traffic bottleneck near the hospital and establishing four continuous lanes from Interstate 70 to Main Street in Breckenridge.

The Iron Springs project of Highway 9 between Breckenridge and Friso seen a month before it was completed in November. A follow-up project that would finally create four lanes between I-70 and Breckenridge has tentatively received funding.

The project, known colloquially as "the gap," would put a finishing touch on the Iron Springs bypass, a re-route of Colorado Highway 9 between Farmer's Korner and St. Anthony Summit Medical Center that was finished in November. To the frustration of some drivers, the highway still returns to one lane in each direction near Frisco.

Funding for the gap project isn't final yet, but the Colorado Department of Transportation confirmed it is one of 11 slated to receive money from a $1.9 billion funding package passed by the State Legislature in the spring.

The provisional list of projects also includes $80 million of improvements to westbound I-70 in Clear Creek County that would add peak period shoulder lanes. Those have already been built on the east side, where they have eased congestion.

That could also benefit the Summit County economy, but the gap project is the top-ticket item for local transportation officials. Until a couple of weeks ago, it was unclear how it would ever get funding.

"Our highest priority is definitely the Highway 9 gap project," said Summit County public works director Tom Gosiorowski. "CDOT has money to complete the design, and we were all hopeful that money would magically somehow turn up for construction. The good news is that now it looks like it has."

Last month, CDOT placed the gap on its list of projects mandated for completion by the Sustainability of Rural Colorado Act, or Senate Bill 267, a sprawling piece of legislation that included nearly $2 billion in road funding over several years.

State officials are still confirming whether or not the full amount will materialize, because it was secured through lease-purchase agreements on public buildings. If all goes according to plan, the first batch of road money would roll in next July.

"The best case schedule would be if construction funds become available in the first part of 2019, the project could advertise for bids beginning in June of 2020," a CDOT spokeswoman said in an email. "We are expecting two seasons of construction for this final corridor project."

It could still be a while before shovels hit the ground, but the decision eases uncertainty among transportation officials that the project would languish unfunded for years.

"That sounds like a long way out, but that is actually as fast as this possibly could have gone," Gosiorowski said. "Had there not been a source of construction money, it could've gone on for years and years. So everybody's really excited."

Just a month ago, funding for the gap seemed like it might be a long shot. CDOT has roughly $9 billion in unfunded project across the state, and the legislature failed to reach a grand funding bargain during its last session.

Instead, it passed SB 267 as a stopgap, but it wasn't clear until now where the money would actually ago. A combined $450 million is provisionally slated for improvements to I-25 on the Front Range, while the rest of the money is set aside for rural counties.

The money is effectively a loan that CDOT would later have to pay back, unless the legislature finds another funding solution. But for now, local officials are just glad that the gap made the cut in an extremely competitive time for roadwork.

"CDOT had begun working on the design of the gap project before Iron Springs had even completed, so we were kind of taking steps to get the gap teed up for construction," Gosiorowski said. "But until recently, we always had this uncertainty about where the construction money was going to come from."

If the gap project goes through, it would eliminate the bottleneck between the County Commons in Frisco and the intersection at the entrance to SASMC.

It could also include overhauls of the intersections between Highway 9 and the traffic light for the county commons, at Peak One Blvd., and 8th Avenue in Frisco, a tricky turnoff that serves the southern half of town as well as a school and a fire station.

Designs for the project are only about 30 percent complete, Gosiorowski said. But engineers are looking at possibly putting in a traffic light or roundabout at 8th Avenue and Highway 9 and replacing the Peak One Blvd light with a roundabout.

All told, the project would significantly remake the well-travelled route from I-70 to Breckenridge and ease the choke point that slows traffic outside of Frisco to crawl during peak hours.

The project would also include bike, pedestrian, transit and drainage improvements, as well as noise walls near residential areas, the CDOT spokeswoman said. A public meeting will be held in the spring to present the design.

H.R. 1, the Tax Reform bill

by NAR

Today Congress passed H.R. 1, the Tax Reform bill and is awaiting the President’s signature. Below are several of the last minute inclusions in the bill important to the real estate industry.

  • Capital gains exclusion. In a huge win for current and prospective homeowners, current law is left in place on the capital gains exclusion of $250,000 for an individual and $500,000 for married couples on the sale of a home. Both the House and the Senate had sought to make it much harder to qualify for the exclusion.
  • Mortgage interest deduction. The maximum mortgage amount for households deducting their mortgage interest has been decreased to $750,000 from the current $1 million limit. The House bill sought a reduction to $500,000. This also applies to second homes.
  • State and local tax deductions. Both property taxes and state and local income taxes remain deductible, although with a combined limit of $10,000. Both the House and Senate bills sought to eliminate the state and local income tax deduction altogether.
  • Pass-through entities. The bill significantly reduces the effective rate of tax on business income earned by independent contractors and income received from pass-through entities.

Click here full NAR Tax Reform Summary

Before You Make an Offer, Here Are 4 Tips for Success!

by KCM

So, you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home,’ and you finally found it! The price is right, and in such a competitive market, you want to make sure that you make a good offer so that you can guarantee that your dream of making this house yours comes true!

Freddie Mac covered “4 Tips for Making an Offer” in their Executive Perspective. Here are the 4 tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:

1. Understand How Much You Can Afford

“While it’s not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer.”

This ‘tip’ or ‘step’ should really take place before you start your home search process.

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. You will also need to know if you are prepared to make any repairs that may need to be made to the house (ex: new roof, new furnace).

2. Act Fast

“Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country.” 

The inventory of homes listed for sale has remained well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a ‘normal’ market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes.

Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as soon as possible.

3. Make a Solid Offer

Freddie Mac offers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:

“Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford.”

Talk with your agent to find out if there are any ways that you can make your offer stand out in this competitive market!

4. Be Prepared to Negotiate

“It’s likely that you’ll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you’ll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford.

Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met.”

If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to “always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home.” If the inspector uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can discuss any repairs that may need to be made with the seller, or cancel the contract.

Bottom Line 

Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local real estate professional who is an expert in their market on your side is your best bet to make sure the process goes smoothly. Let’s talk about how we can make your dreams of homeownership a reality!

5 Reasons to Sell This Winter!

by KCM


5 Reasons to Sell This Winter!

Here are five reasons listing your home for sale this winter makes sense.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now! More often than not, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy a home.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market. This means that, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market. This is good news for homeowners who have gained equity as their home values have increased. However, additional inventory could be coming to the market soon.

Historically, the average number of years a homeowner stayed in their home was six, but has hovered between nine and ten years since 2011. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until this other inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Today’s competitive environment has forced buyers to do all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and much simpler as buyers know exactly what they can afford before home shopping. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the time to close a loan has dropped to 44 days, after seeing a 12-month high of 48 days in January.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move up! The inventory of homes for sale at these higher price ranges has forced these markets into a buyer’s market. This means that if you are planning on selling a starter or trade-up home, your home will sell quickly, AND you’ll be able to find a premium home to call your own!

Prices are projected to appreciate by 4.7% over the next year according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

5. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

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Summit Real Estate
The Bright Choice
330 Dillon Ridge Way, Suite 10
Dillon CO 80435
Fax: 970-468-2195

Allison Simson, Owner/Broker, is a licensed Colorado Real Estate Broker