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Riding out real estate

Jody Heffner is a real estate agent with 15 years experience serving homeowners and buyers in the Falcon and Peyton areas. When he first opened shop, he set out to provide extraordinary customer service, which has attributed to the success of his business.”I want to make sure my clients have the service they deserve – really good communication and knowing that people are looking out for you. My clients and customers are my friends and family for life,” Heffner said. “I want them to know they can count on me for answers.”Real estate is selling, he said. The best months to sell a home run from October to May. And the key to selling is that houses must be “priced competitively” and “show very well.”Heffner said he encourages his clients to stage their homes for a competitive edge. “If you have 15 houses a buyer is looking at and your house is warm and inviting and is priced where it needs to be in this marketplace, it will sell.”He is optimistic about the market’s direction. “This year is far better than it was last year. I truly believe that it is going to be better next year,” Heffner said. “Probably by the end of next year we’ll have a better idea where the true market value is. It will be better than now, but not back up to the peak.”The Falcon area is poised to become the next big growth area in the county, he said. More people are escaping the bigger cities and want the lower taxes, cleaner air and the more relaxed lifestyle that Falcon offers. “I find when people come out this way, they tend to be a little more relaxed because it’s a break and a little oasis from the craziness of the work week,” Heffner said.The commercial amenities are making the area more attractive and business development will increase after the market rebounds, bringing more job opportunities for people who want to live and work in the area, he said.”When it turns around, it’s really going to turn and everybody better brace themselves.”Location is another advantage in Falcon’s court. “Its’ a great area for someone who wanted to set up a distribution center – like a Cisco, because literally you are the same distance from all parts of town,” Heffner said. Within the next 30 years, he said he can imagine a Colorado Springs Tech Center in the area.Heffner said signs of recovery in the housing market include the mortgage industry. “This is a cleaning out process that’s going on. Bad lenders, bad agents that were not above board ethically or professionally,” he said. “When it comes back, they will not make the same mistakes.”The market adjustment is also fine tuning the types of buyers getting loans, Heffner said. “It was getting out of hand, pretty much anybody could buy a house – people whose history showed they were not good at paying their bills; of course, that was going to spill over into their house payment.”Lower home values and low interest rates are great buyer incentives right now, but Heffner said as the market recovers, the inventory of homes in the $100,000 to $150,000 range is drying up; however, there are still good deals available. “It’s an excellent time to buy,” Heffner said. “Once this is over and done with, people are going to wish they had.”Interest rates could soon increase. Heffner said Congress is toying with the idea of a new first time homebuyer tax credit, increasing the value to $15,000. If they do, Heffner said he expects interest rates will rise. Some of his clients are using real estate to save for their children’s college funds. Instead of investing in mutual funds, Heffner said buyers can purchase a home, rent it out and when the child is ready to go to college, they can sell the property or borrow on the equity.”It’s a low market now, but it will come back,” he said.Although Heffner is passionate about helping people reach their real estate dreams, his life has taken him along a few different paths. When he’s off the clock, he enjoys living on 10 acres in Peyton with his family and a slew of animals, including horses, dogs, cats, birds and donkeys. “We like to rescue animals,” Heffner said. “We would ideally like to find a home for them, but then we get attached and it’s hard to let them go. It’s a lot of work, but you get into a system; you learn what you need to do.”They have lived in Peyton since 1992, when they moved back from Los Angeles.Another off-duty activity is singing. Heffner and three of his siblings formed a group and have performed on TV. They are currently working on a Christmas album.

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