Should I Sell or Refinance?

Tammy Craig/Owner

Does one sell or refinance?  Interest rates are low.  The market is booming.   How do you decide?  The internet today is designed to grab consumers, but what if you are not ready to be grabbed?  It is tough to find general information today without your click being broadcast far and wide to available lenders and they start calling.  In this post, you will find general rules of thumb to answer this question.

The first, and most important question is the length of time you plan to live in the home.  How long will it take you to re-coup the cost of refinance?  Will the monthly savings make a difference in your comfort level?

Your local lender is the best place to begin.  Lenders are often paid on commission, like realtors, but I have found the majority are in the business to help people.  They are happy to answer questions, no strings, other than the good will created will bring you back when you are ready to turn the page in your life.

Your local Realtor can help you with questions regarding replacement costs, market value for your home, and current real estate market climate.  I went to a listing appointment and after listening to the seller’s concerns the seller found it was in their best interest to pull money out of equity, use that money to pay upgrades and personal credit amounts, and keep the home.  The refinance allowed them to pay off the home sooner, make their payments lower than the previous payment before refinance.

There are many mortgage calculator apps online to play with numbers and test the waters before you make an official appointment.  However, an app doesn’t hold a candle to sitting down with the professionals to get real life answers to meet your personal need.



Seller Sage Part 3-Leaving

.  realtor information in gj co

Fruit & Wine Real Estate

Tammy Craig

This post continues the lessons of a Professional Realtor now in the position of being a seller.  It is a position every Realtor needs to experience to add their toolbox.  The lesson of the moment?  Leaving, also known “Every emotion in the world at once” aka “shoot me now”.  That works.

Tom and I have worked hard all our lives.  You know the story, get married, have kids, plow through your life on coffee, maybe booze, no money, fights, grief, and tons of love.  I am happy to announce one of our kids is interested in our place.  We have worked to make this happen in a fair and equitable way for both parties.  It has been a long summer.

First one must hatch a plan.  Once fully hatched you hire an attorney, of course, because it is family.   The attorney looks for all the possible areas of issue, the zebra’s not the horses so to speak.  This is not a normal real estate contract.  This is complicated.  What if there is divorce, what if we all hate each other in a year and want out, what if we are successful and make money?  Who does the work?  Who pays for repairs?  and on and on.

Enter a wonderful attorney extraordinaire who shall remain nameless.  I love you, man.   Attorney’s get a bad rap, kinda like Realtors.  As a realtor, I have come to love attorneys.  Their whole job is to get two opposing parties on the same page according to the law.  This family transaction is amiable.  It is his job to cover what happens if we decide to rumble.

We all have high hopes.  Two of my three beautiful grandchildren will live in our pipe dream home.  And, the third will get to know the joy of picking peaches with grandpa someday, we hope.  The best-laid plans of Mice and Men, right?  All this remains to be seen. Hope is always good.

Our Spanish Pipe Dream (please see Seller Saga #2) is closing on Friday.  May they be as happy there as we have been.

Tom always said, let’s just sell everything and live in a trailer.  Well, our previous rental is pretty darn close.  But it’s cozy, ya know?  Like our first home in Fruita.  It was 720 sq ft and we had no furniture.  This one is 1180 with giant furniture.  I am literally 30 feet from my office.  We will get through this.

The point of all this?  The process of selling your home is hard.  Seller’s need time to work on their stuff.  At Fruit and Wine Real Estate we have time for you and understand the process is grueling.  I look forward to your call and I will have a blanket and a cup of hot tea.  And you will be fine.  I am just fine.





What’s in a name?

realtor in fruita colorado

Tammy Craig/Owner

The buzz in the Real Estate community is telling your story.

At Fruit & Wine Real Estate we have been telling the story since 2004.

In 2003 I was looking for property in Palisade and my Realtor had a listing in the Palisade area.  I never thought about selling Real Estate but I needed a job.  As often happens when Realtors and clients drive around for days looking at property,  she and I got to talking.  She told me about the Mesa Land Trust and their work to conserve farm ground.  She talked about Palisade’s  “prime and unique” agricultural ground.

She said she wanted to open an office in Palisade.  I knew how to open a business and she knew Real Estate.  She taught me Real Estate and I helped her realize her dream.

I bought Fruit & Wine Real Estate from her in 2007.  80% of my selling activity is right here in Palisade.

Since 2006 Fruit & Wine Real Estate has been #1 either in a number of units sold or volume sold, and we consistently have the #1 and 2 in agent ranking for the Palisade area.  That says something when you consider F&W is 2 to 3 agents at any given time.  The big boys are 50 to 60.  We focus here and it shows, in our work and in our name.

I have a choice any given day; move my license to Grand Junction or stay in Palisade and be small, local, and focused.  I choose Palisade every day.





Seller Saga Part 2-The Pause

palisade realty colorado

Fruit & Wine Real Estate

Tammy Craig

This post continues the lessons of a Professional Realtor now in the position of being a seller.  It is a position every Realtor needs to experience to add their toolbox.  The lesson of the moment?  The pause once the decision is made.  I know it takes the seller’s about a year from the time they start thinking about selling until the home goes on the market.  Logically, I know this.  But in reality, it is a gut-wrenching thing.

We both know we are selling, we are moving toward getting ready.  I rented the storage unit, and we have passed down the family treasures (more about family treasures later).  We hired a professional cleaner to help with light fixtures and baseboards.  We are working on the little chores one puts off for another time.  But, I find we are on the great pause.

We love this house.  It is the pinnacle of a life of dreams.  Tom was an older man of 23 years when we met, I was a woman of the world at 20.  He introduced me to John Prine, I introduced him to stability.  He and I listened to our favorite John Prine song on a record player sitting on cinder blocks while playing spades on a card table in our rented trailer house.  We laughed a lot and drank Squirt and Vodka.  We sang along with “blow up your tv, move to the country, eat a lot of peaches”.  Our family has fulfilled that dream and have indeed consumed copious amounts of peaches.  I see now I totally missed the song title “Spanish Pipedream”.

This morning I watched the Purple Robe tree we planted sway in the breeze from a window we replaced.

Because I am a professional Realtor, I must disclose there is no sign on our home at the seller’s request (my husband), the price decided upon is $449000, and I will work with coop agents.  Feel free to call me if you have someone looking for 4 bed 3 baths 3 acres Spanish Pipedream.

I also took pictures and will start the documents today with the plan to be ready soon, real soon.  But we are in a bittersweet pause for now.




Seller Saga Part 1-The decision

colorado realtor palisade

Tammy Craig/Owner

Fruit & Wine Real Estate

As an agent, I know what turns buyers away and what gives the green light to buy.  Until, of course, I planned the sale of our personal home.  I quickly become emotional asbestos (leave me alone and all is well, start moving me and little deadly pieces fly everywhere).

As a Realtor, I prepared a detailed market analysis for my home using high and low for the right comps.  My packet for my new seller, my husband, was lovely.  He reviewed my material with a raised eyebrow.  Then he started adding up the cost of our updates.  He jumped from we need to fix everything to let’s just sell “as is”.   He used a neighbor’s thoughts on price to quiz me on my findings. Then he bumped market analysis price up by $15000 to allow for “negotiating room” and to help cover coop “realtor fees”.   You know what amazes me?  I thought the same thing in my secret seller heart; The Real Estate Professional vs Tammy crazy seller lady having it out in my head as he spoke.

After days of tears, cups of coffee, and sad realization that one will never know if you “could get more” if you just hang on, we agreed on list price.  Then late night conversations, more coffee, tears, stronger conversation moving to higher and higher decibels until he said every Realtors favorite seller phrase “We don’t have to sell!”

He must love me after 37 years because he got an ear full.  We don’t have to sell translates in Professional Realtor language as “We are not ready to sell.  We will go through 3 realtors, turn down great offers, and end up taking less than the first offer 2 years down the road.  At dinner parties, we will blame the first Realtor for not working hard enough to sell our home.”  Being the first Realtor to list our home… get the picture.

We get excited then change our mind.  We get mad then come to terms.  It is a real old fashion stomach drop over rolling hills.

During my 14 years in real estate, I had 3 sellers that actually lived live Better Homes and Garden style.   Each of these unusual seller’s were a dream to work with and the homes flew off the market. Back in the real world people’s homes range from gently lived into downright scary.  What all have in common, from perfect sellers to scary sellers, is not being able to see what buyers will see.  It is a tightrope walk to decide what to focus on to get the home ready to sell.

Here is my Realtor lesson for my practice titled  “To Sell, or not to Sell”.    Deciding to move is a big decision and the hardest moves contain one, and please God not all, of the dread 3 D’s;   death, downsizing, divorce.

We are downsizing but there could be divorce and maybe death due to the stress level.  There will be more to come.  so much more…………..


Beautiful Palisade

My home, beautiful Palisade.

80% of the peaches and grapes grown in Colorado are grown in Palisade.  How about that the Palisade Historical Society has oral histories of some of the early fruit growing pioneers.  Many farming tools used in everyday fruit production were invented right here in Palisade.

Peach Fest is not just a peach Celebration.   It is a week-end of educational events, and tours, free ice cream, dancing, parades, fine dining opportunities, and pancakes.  Fruit & Wine Real Estate will be right there, hands on, doing what we do best, loving our end of the valley.

This ground has the best water rights in the valley and is prime and unique agricultural ground.  This ground is locally owned by local farmers and their families.  Here is a quote from Bob Bleiberg of the Mesa County Land Trust.

“When coming home from out East, as you round the corner on I-70, and see the orchards and vineyards of Palisade, it tells me I am home.”  All I can add is, amen.

See these links for more information. and

Palisade’s Boutique Office, Fruit & Wine Real Estate, and Real Estate Trends

Tammy Craig Managing Broker/Owner

Tammy Craig
Managing Broker/Owner

Boutique Offices and National Trends

Owning a small Real Estate firm is challenging.  We fight the larger is better battle.  I usually put my head down and do the work, and sometimes I wonder if I am kidding myself.  That is until recently.

I attended the National Association of Realtors Managing Broker’s conference held in Denver.  It was something to see.  What is new in Real Estate Brokerage on the National Stage.  I had many take away’s from the speakers; Adam Savage from Myth Busters, and Mary Lou Retton, Olympic Gold Medal Winner.  Here are a few:

  • Bypass the limits of your material
  • We all suffer from fear of failure
  • The end result is never what we set out to do.   Be awake to what is good but may not be what you thought you wanted.
  • I know my opinion and don’t care about that.  I would love to know yours.
  • Enthusiasm kills doubt
  • Be able to perform outside your comfort zone
  • Preparation makes you ready

We heard from industry leaders from, Boom Town, General Counsel for the National Association of Realtors, and several Owner/Brokers with associate brokers/agents numbering 30000 to 1.  There was a lot of information.  I found these gems to bring home to my small brokerage of 4 agents here in Peach Town central, Palisade Colorado.

The tide is turning.  While large Corporate office models (Remax, Coldwell, KW…..) are going well, small boutique brokerages just like Fruit & Wine Real Estate are coming on strong.  Why?

  • With us it is personal.
  • We are small enough to be flexible with the market
  • Our Realtors know the area better than anyone
  • It is all about our local culture and we are enthusiastic about it
  • When the market changes, we can change quickly

With the changing climate in business from water bottles to Real Estate,  it is wonderful to learn you are doing things right.   Fruit & Wine Real Estate is in the right place at the right time.  Anything the big offices can do, we can do with a little more flair.




Zillow? Or not to Zillow?

Tammy Craig Managing Broker/Owner

Tammy Craig
Managing Broker/Owner

Zillow?  The issue with Syndication

When I bought my first home, my realtor was the key to available properties.  Her book and I mean an actual book, was issued every month and it held “the information”.  No acceptations.  The Realtor picked several homes and you went to see what the Realtor picked.  You got copies once you have narrowed it down to a couple.  No Realtor gave you the book, ever.


Today, even in the little town of Palisade Colorado, you can get apps that support apps that supply information about homes for sale, homes that might be for sale, homes that are foreclosed, homes that may foreclose, you will see every listing from every office, and you will see listings that are not even for sale!  The Real Estate community works hard to keep the most recent information supplied to our local MLS.  This information is then funneled out to millions of third-party sites, which is how home purchasing is done today.  Understand there are thousands of local Realtors feeding these sites the information, for free.  These sites then sell the local agents their listing back if the agent wants to let the buyer know who to call.  Without local agents, the syndicated companies would not exist.

While these third-party sites are standard practice now, and the best way to get a property in front of the most qualified buyers, understand there are some drawbacks.

  1. The information may be inaccurate. The third party site pulls information from everywhere, and they may miss important changes like the property sold last year.
  2. At the end of the day, the local Realtor is the one that knows the area. Third party sites have no idea about local home pricing.  So much that goes into pricing has to do with touring the home in person, seeing the neighborhood up close, talking with the locals.
  3. The marketing engine that promotes these sites makes it appear they are a large Real Estate office with every agent working for them. Not so.

There is no replacement for the peace of mind, the local knowledge, and the expertise of a local Real Estate Agent.




Fruit and Wine Country and the Market Anaylsis

Tammy Craig
Managing Broker/Owner

Why you need a CMA from a real estate professional

Each area demographic is different. Palisade, Colorado is no exception. What is a CMA exactly? Real Estate professionals pull together a report with active listings, under contract listings, and sold listings, usually based over the course of 6 months. In the Palisade area it may be required to go back 1 year to get enough data to provide value information for your property. It is easy to get an idea of value in a subdivision, but once the subject property steps in the world of “unique” property it requires a strong sense of the local market.
Getting a market analysis from a local Real Estate professionals allows you to interview different agents as well so once you are ready to list you already have your realtor in mind. The trick to any CMA is the Real Estate professional’s knowledge of the area.
Understand these “comps” will have realtor fees built into the price. The following information is directly from the National Association of realtors “89 percent of sellers sold with the assistance of a real estate agent, up slightly from 88 percent the last three years, and only 8 percent (down from 9 percent) were FSBO sales”.
Remember, when your Realtor gives you a CMA report the numbers have realtor fees built into the price. Try to resist the urge to price your home at CMA price + Realtor fees. And remember, consider your time frame when pricing. Do you want your property to sit? Or, do you want it to sell? Less time on the market means fewer monthly bills on the property which means more money for you.

Why does my Realtor make so much money?


Managing Broker/Owner

Tammy Craig

Admit it, this thought runs through your mind sometimes.  “What do Realtors do?”  I was one of them before entering the real estate profession.  Like most jobs it is eye opening once you actually do the job.  The Realtor pay supports the Realtor, but also the many businesses that support the real estate industry.

There is a huge job market behind the check paid to a real estate company for a percentage of the purchase price.  Your commission cost pay to employee real estate office staff, pay rent and/or office mortgage, and photographers.  We support office equipment businesses, newspapers, marketing people, print magizines for real estate, realtor boards and regulatory agencies, non-profit organizations, web site providers, sign people, car dealships and sales people, insurance providers, gas stations, fast food, fine dining, and taxes.  All these support businesses get paid before your realtor gets their take home pay.

Each real estate company sets their own fee structure.  There is not a set rate.  I can charge by the hour, by the deal, or by a commission percentage.  I can charge $75 per hour, or 1% or 100% of the purchase price.  The market dictactes the pay rate,  just like the price you pay for a jug of milk or a gallon of gas.

For talking purpose let’s say a commission check of $10,000 is paid to the listing office from the proceeds of your home for brokerage services.

$10,000 paid to the listing office

30% approx off the top for listing office support (This rates is a little different in each office but no matter how you slice it the average is about 30%) =$7000 paid to the sub-contractor agent for services to the listing office.

$7000-25% taxes=$5250

$5250-20% operating costs for the sub-contractor agent =$4200

Final net take home for your agent is $4200 out of the $10000 commission check. 

Realtors can’t think about hourly wage or a monthly salary.  We think in terms of pay per year and hope for the best.

$4200 x 12 months (if we are lucky) in a year=$50400 a year

Stats show most Realtors average $40,000 per year which means the average Realtor may get paid once every two months.  A Realtor may get paid 4 times in one month than have to wait two or three more months for the next closing.

The job can pay very well if you are willing to give up week-ends, births, graduation, funerals, and vacation, just like any other career.  The top selling agents that are able to have a personal life also employee several people to keep everything on track.  The money helps keep the local economy running.

If you get nothing else from this post understand this: the majority of Realtors receive $0 pay until they close on properties.  All services they give until closing are done for free.  These services can take hours of computer and commuting time.  We tour, preview, talk on the phone, learn the market, buy endless tanks of gas.  We counsel, buy meals, and are a friend until the buyer or seller is ready to make the move.   

Bottom line is the sales commission paid for services provided are not just for your Realtor service but for the many people they work for and employee to get the job done.