Real estate author offering seminar

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— When Ken Otterman bought his first home in Steamboat almost 30 years ago, there were a few things he wished he knew.

At the time Otterman closed on his house, he didn't know about supplement fees and said he almost could not finish the deal because he did not budget the extra $5,000. He lucked out when the owners were gracious enough to sell the property anyway, but that doesn't happen very often, he said.

Five real estate books and hundreds of seminars later, Otterman is wiser.

On Thursday, Otterman is offering a 90-minute seminar on how to build and purchase a home.

"I really wished it was the kind of thing I had available to me," Otterman said. "The Realtor is not going to go through the entire education process."

Otterman's seminar will cover where to start in the home-buying process; the legal responsibilities involved; following the yes, no and maybe signs; facts about buying a home; how the bank integrates into the project; how to choose a lot, a house plan, a builder or Realtor; how to unlock and tap into equities; and the step-by-step process of building or purchasing a home.

"First things first, find out where you are and what you can do," Otterman said.

Otterman came to Steamboat in 1971 and bought his first house in 1975. He later moved to Pennsylvania and got into the property management business, but continued to keep a residence in Steamboat.

When Otterman lived in Steamboat in the 1970s, he worked for UPS and owned a ski rental shop in what is now the bathroom of the Mediterranean Grill.

In the past 25 years, Otterman has published five books, written for more than 30 newsletters, magazines and trade publications, and taught seminars in 42 states. He has always written about real estate and covered subjects such as real estate investing, management, tax shelters, home purchasing, construction, negotiation and finance.

Otterman began consulting first-time homebuyers in Pennsylvania 18 years ago, while he was writing books on real estate.

The consulting business eventually merged into a home-building business, when the people he helped would come back to him because they were having trouble finding a builder. So, 12 years ago, Otterman began building single-family homes and his company, Classic Homes, was born.

Otterman is expanding his company into Steamboat, where he has built two homes and has two more under way. The seminar is one way to get the company's name on homebuyers' radar screens.

Otterman said the majority of people who come to his seminars do not build homes through his business. But, Otterman said they do walk away with the knowledge of what it takes to build a home and a better sense of what they can financially afford.

One of Otterman's specialties is finding equity. He said that he had helped 250 people who had no visible equity get into new homes.

In brochures given to attendees at Steamboat's Annual Wedding Fair in March, Otterman said his company explained to the soon-to-be-married how a wedding, reception and honeymoon would be used as the downpayment for a house.

Joy Rasmussen, a representative from Classic Homes, attended Steamboat's bridal fair as a way to spark interest in the seminar and business.

Otterman's seminar is 7 p.m. Thursday at 27660 Winchester Trail in the Silver Spur subdivision. To reserve, call 879-5979 by Wednesday.

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