Benefits for Military Home Buyers
Military Home Buyer Advisor
     We appreciate your service to our country and we understand the decisions and opportunities you face as a military homebuyer.
     There are many benefits to homeownership such as, housing costs, making your house a home, and of course tax benefits.
If you are a renter, you have probably heard: “why are you paying your landlords mortgage?” As a homeowner you know what your house payment will be and you will also be building up equity in your home with every payment you make because you are paying down the principal balance of your loan.
     If you’ve ever been inspired by home design shows, this is your chance to decorate your living space with your tastes. If you’ve been renting, you will have more opportunities to decorate your home to reflect your personality with paint, window coverings, landscaping and more.  “A home is a place to call your own.”

     If you are active military, you are most likely receiving a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), which is meant to provide you with compensation for housing based on the housing costs for the area where you are stationed. Because this allowance is tax free, you have a tremendous opportunity to buy a home and build equity using tax-free funds. As a homeowner, you may also be able to receive a tax deduction for 100% of your mortgage interest, provided you meet the guidelines.  And let’s not forget your property tax deduction as well.
     Now that you know the benefits of homeownership, it’s time to get started.  From house hunting to putting in an offer, there are many things to learn on the road to homeownership.  How much do I qualify for?  Can I get a VA loan?  What are the other expenses associated with home ownership?
     No matter what your income is, it’s important to look at your finances and find out what you can afford before you start your search for a new home. What kind of payment do you feel comfortable making every month?  It’s easy to fall in love with a home that’s out of your reach. Having a total cost in the back of your mind when you start shopping will help you stay on track.
     Talking to a mortgage lender that specializes in VA loans is your next step.  They will discuss in detail how much you qualify for in terms of your income, debt and mortgage payment.  Typically paid in monthly increments, your monthly loan payment will be made up of four parts, commonly referred to as PITI:
P = Principal The amount left on your loan apart from the interest
I = Interest The interest paid in monthly increments for the life of your loan
T = Taxes Your monthly property tax payment (approximately 1/12 of the total property tax for the year)
I = Insurance Referred to as hazard insurance or homeowner’s insurance, this coverage protects your home and certain possessions, and can help protect you from liability claims or lawsuits for accidents on your property
The components of PITI will typically make up your main home expenses each month. 
     When estimating your monthly budget, you will also need to factor in these possible monthly costs: Homeowner Association (HOA) fees A homeowner association is an organization that enforces covenants and rules for the community and maintains shared property, such as open spaces, parks and community pools. If you buy a home in a community with a homeowner association, you will become a member of that HOA, and will be responsible for any HOA fees. Be sure to investigate the cost of membership ahead of time to make sure the added expense is within your budget.
Private Mortgage Insurance Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is a form of insurance typically required for homebuyers who take out a conventional mortgage loan for more than 80% of the total value of the home. This added insurance protects the lender against loss if the borrower defaults on the loan. If you opt for a loan guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), PMI is not required.
Monthly mortgage insurance for Homeowners with a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured loan are required to pay monthly mortgage insurance, even if they make a larger down payment. VA home loans do not require monthly mortgage insurance.
     Many service members choose to take advantage of VA financing because of these main benefits:
• You may purchase a home with no down payment, subject to VA guidelines in your area.
• You may choose a fixed-rate or an adjustable-rate mortgage.
• There are limits to the amount of closing costs you will have to pay.
• You are not required to pay monthly mortgage insurance or PMI.
ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR A VA LOAN? You might be eligible for a VA loan if:
• You currently serve on regular active duty in the military.
• You have served on regular active duty in the military and have since been discharged.
• You have served in the Selected Reserves or National Guard for at least 6 years.
• You are an unmarried spouse of a veteran who died on active duty, or as a result of a service-connected disability.
Other conditions may apply and special documentation may be required as proof of your service. Visit and select Eligibility for complete details.
     Kathy was a mortgage lender for 15 years and has worked with many military buyers and sellers during her 27-year career in real estate.
When you are ready to sell or buy your home, we at Springs LifeStyles Real Estate are here to help you with all of your real estate needs! As your buyer agent, we will strive to give you the best support we can. Call Kathy Stenberg at (719) 963-4867 or you can email her You can also visit us at our website for available listings and additional information.

Smart Home-Buying Questions - Part One

If you are looking to buy a home, whether it is your first one, or it’s time for a change, you will have a lot of questions to ask, and that is a good thing. As a homebuyer, you want to know what you are getting into by purchasing property. Questions begin as soon as you start your home search.
How much of a mortgage can I qualify for, and afford? How much of a down payment should I have? Are there homebuyer programs available to help? What are the Realtor® commissions and closing costs and fees? These are great questions to ask, but there are also important questions to ask when you come across a home you want to make an offer on. In this two-part blog, you can learn what these questions are and how they can help find the right home for you.
What are the average monthly maintenance and utility costs?  Starting with an idea of the average monthly costs for utilities can help you better plan your household costs. If a home you are interested in is part of an HOA (Home Owners Association), for example, you will want to know what membership fees are as well.
What are your parking options? If you love to entertain, be sure you know how much parking is available for guests, both on and off your property. If you have a recreational vehicle, in Colorado Springs, these cannot be parked on a street, but must be kept either in a driveway, or garage/storage space, or in a yard area that is at least 10 feet away from the road.
Have there been any pest infestations? This is not a pleasant question to ask, but ask you must. Knowing the history of any issues with pests will help you better prepare for the possibility they may return. Be sure to know what type of pests have been found, how long ago there was an issue, and how the infestation was treated. A good rule of thumb is to have the property inspected and treated for pests before you move in, as treatments are easier with an empty house.
Have there been any pipe or sewer problems? This is another not-so-pleasant question to ask, but one to be aware of. According to a recent article published by Insurance Journal, claims related to broken or damaged pipes are one of the most common type of claim for homeowners. If there have been problems in the past, having repairs inspected is worth the effort.
What are the current property taxes? While property taxes are based on current home value assessments, knowing the history of property taxes on a home will give you some insight into how the property has held up as an investment. It is also good to know if property taxes are due near the time of purchase. You may be able to split the taxes with the seller if they are. You also don’t want to end up with an extra debt you were not anticipating so soon after moving in.
Check back next week for more Smart Questions for homebuyers to ask. When you are ready to sell or buy your home, we at Springs LifeStyles Real Estate are here to help you with all of your real estate needs! As your buyer agent, we will strive to give you the best support we can. Call Kathy Stenberg at (719) 963-4867 or you can email her at You can also visit us at our website for available listings and additional information.

Experience Colorado Springs Historic Architecture

Colorado Springs is a place deeply connected with its past. In particular, we keep connected through the architecture of Old Colorado City and Colorado Springs throughout the earlier part of the 20th Century, and earlier. With many historical buildings constructed 100 years ago or more, the determination and craftsmanship of the early residents in Colorado Springs have survived the test of time. Today, we can still enjoy the architectural beauty and inspired designs of historical buildings throughout the region. Listed below are some of the historical buildings you can visit yourself.
Brianhurst Manor Located in Manitou Springs and built in 1876, this Victorian-style manor was built by Dr. William Bell, the founder of the Manitou Springs. Today Brianhurst Manor is a favored restaurant in the region, highlighting the beauty of Victorian style and gardens, while giving visitors a spectacular view of Pike’s Peak.
Broadmoor Hotel Built in 1918, the Broadmoor Hotel has was built in the style of European resorts which were popular meccas during the Victorian era. Harkening back to days gone by, visiting the Broadmoor is like taking a step back through time.
Carnegie Library Named a contributing building to the Old Colorado City Historic District, this library was built in 1904 through a grant and agreement with Philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. Today you can visit this piece of our history and check out a book or two.
Cliff House This hotel/resort is older than the state of Colorado, having been built originally as a stage coach stop in 1873. After the days of the gold rush subsided, the health benefits of Manitou Springs were discovered, and this Victorian era hotel has been a fixture in the area ever since. Today Cliff House is not just a hotel, but a popular venue for outdoor concerts as well.
Glen Eyrie Castle There is no need to go to Europe to tour a castle; you can do so at the Glen Eyrie Castle. Built in 1903 by the founder of Colorado Springs, General William Jackson Palmer, this Tudor-style estate is surrounded by the natural beauty of our region. Today the Castle is a hotel, event and conference center, or you can simply visit for tea or a tour.
Miramont Castle You can’t say we don’t like our big, historic estates around Colorado Springs. Another castle in the area that is worth a visit is the Miramont Castle. Construction of this sprawling early estate began in 1895, bringing to the region with it many modern amenities such as electricity and indoor plumbing. Today you can visit the garden or museum, which is dedicated to preserving the past of the natural and human history of Manitou Springs.
McAlister House Another museum worth checking out is the McAlister House, a grand, if not smaller, Victorian cottage listed on the National Register for Historic Places. Built in 1873, this museum is perfect for history buffs, antique lovers and field trips.
Rockledge Ranch Connect with the wild west at this living-history ranch. This property was one of the first homesteads in the region, in the mid-1800s, but also rich in Native American history. At Rockledge Ranch you can experience a taste of what life was like for not only the first settlers but also the native tribes who were here before. A true step back in time and quality fun for the whole family.
While their purposes may not have remained the same, that these buildings are still here and are an integral part of the our region’s “skyline”, says a lot toward the character of Colorado Springs as a community. We care about our past and we care about our present. When you are ready to sell or buy your home, we at Springs LifeStyles Real Estate are here to help you with all of your real estate needs! As your buyer agent, we will strive to give you the best support we can. Call Kathy Stenberg at (719) 963-4867 or you can email her at You can also visit us at our website for available listings and additional information.