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4 Tips for Effectively Making an Offer

So, you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home,’ and you’re finally making an offer!

4 Tips for Effectively Making an Offer | Keeping Current Matters

The price is right, and in such a competitive market, you want to make sure that you make a good offer.  This will hopefully guarantee that your dream of making this house yours comes true!

Freddie Mac covered “4 Tips for Making an Offer” in their latest Executive Perspective.

Here are the 4 tips to making an offer

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.

As we’ve mentioned before, getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying.  Pre-Approval will also 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.” 

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report, the inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 3.7-month supply. This inventory is 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.

Making the Offer 

Whether you’re buying your first home or your fifth, having a local professional on your side who is an expert in their market is your best bet in making sure the process goes smoothly. Happy House Hunting!

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Do You Know the Cost of NOT Owning Your Home?

Not owning your home has great financial downfalls, yet many continue renting!

Do You Know the Cost of NOT Owning Your Home? | Keeping Current Matters

Today, let’s look at the financial reasons why owning a home of your own has been a part of the American Dream for as long as America has existed.

Zillow recently reported that:

“With Rents continuing to climb and interest rates staying low, many renters find themselves gazing over the homeownership fence and wondering if the grass really is greener. Leaving aside, for the moment, the difficulties of saving for a down payment, let’s focus on the monthly expenses of owning a home: it turns out that renters currently paying the median rent in many markets could afford to buy a higher-quality property than the typical (read: median-valued) home without increasing their monthly expenses.”

 

What proof exists that owning is financially better than NOT owning your home?

1. The latest Rent Vs. Buy Report from Trulia pointed out the top 5 financial benefits of homeownership:

  • Mortgage payments can be fixed while rents go up.
  • Equity in your home can be a financial resource later.
  • You can build wealth without paying capital gain.
  • A mortgage can act as a forced savings account
  • Overall, homeowners can enjoy greater wealth growth than renters.

2. Studies have shown that a homeowner’s net worth is 45x greater than that of a renter.

3. Just a few months ago, we explained that a family buying an average priced home at the beginning of 2017 could build more than $42,000 in family wealth over the next five years.

4. Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of taxes and home repairs, but every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs are already baked into the rent paymentalong with a profit margin!!

Do you Buy or do you stay renting?

Owning a home has always been, and will always be, better from a financial standpoint than renting.

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3 Reasons the Housing Market is NOT in a Bubble

With housing prices appreciating at levels that far exceed historical norms, there is a general fear that the housing market is heading for another bubble. To alleviate that fear, we should just look back at the reasons that caused the bubble ten years ago.

3 Reasons the Housing Market is NOT in a Bubble | Keeping Current Matters

 

Last decade, demand for housing was artificially propped up because mortgage lending standards were way too lenient. People that were not qualified to purchase were able to obtain a mortgage anyway. Prices began to skyrocket. This increase in demand caused homebuilders in many markets to overbuild.

Eventually, the excess in new construction and the flooding of the market with distressed properties (foreclosures & short sales), caused by the lack of appropriate lending standards, led to the housing crash.

The Housing Market and where we are today…

1. If we look at lending standards based on the Mortgage Credit Availability Indexreleased monthly by the Mortgage Bankers Association, we can see that, though standards have become more reasonable over the last few years, they are nowhere near where they were in the early 2000s.

3 Reasons the Housing Market is NOT in a Bubble | Keeping Current Matters

2. If we look at new construction, we can see that builders are not “over building.”Average annual housing starts in the first quarter of this year were not just below numbers recorded in 2002-2006, they are below starts going all the way back to 1980.

3 Reasons the Housing Market is NOT in a Bubble | Keeping Current Matters

3. If we look at home prices, most homes haven’t even returned to prices seen a decade ago. Trulia just released a report that explained:

“When it comes to the value of individual homes, the U.S. housing market has yet to recover. In fact, just 34.2% of homes nationally have seen their value surpass their pre-recession peak.”

What does this mean to you?

Mortgage lending standards are appropriate, new construction is below what is necessary and home prices haven’t even recovered. We think the fears of a housing bubble are over-exaggerated.

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Financial Planning-4 Reasons to Buy a House Today

What it comes to Financial Planning, homeownership will always be a part of the American Dream.

Financial Planning: 4 Reasons to Buy a House Today | Keeping Current Matters

There are advantages to owning your own home (educational, health, social) that far transcend any economic impact. However, we want to look at several of the financial advantages of homeownership in today’s post.

Financial Planning and Home Buying Points

1. Buying is Cheaper Than Renting

The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States. The report reveals that:

“Interest rates have remained low, and even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation…Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1% for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.”

2. Homeownership “Forces” You to Save

According to SavingAdvice.com, homeownership is a great way to save. Their advice is quite simple:

“Homeownership is a “forced” savings account because you own the home, you have no choice – that monthly housing cost has got to be paid no matter what…Homeownership can be an outstanding way to force yourself to be more frugal in the rest of your spending so that you can save and build equity in your home.”

3. Homeownership Offers Several Tax Deductions

According to the Tax Policy Center’s Briefing Book -“A citizen’s guide to the fascinating (though often complex) elements of the federal Tax System” – there are several tax advantages to homeownership. Here are three:

  1. Homeowners who itemize deductions may reduce their taxable income by deducting any interest paid on a home mortgage.
  2. Homeowners who itemize deductions may also reduce their taxable income by deducting property taxes they pay on their homes.
  3. Taxpayers who sell assets must generally pay capital gains tax on any profits made on the sale.

4. Experts Expect Home Price Appreciation to Continue

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment & market strategists about where they believe prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate 3.22% per year on average and to grow by 17.3% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey.

Bottom Line

Some are afraid that home values may have already peaked. However, we believe that purchasing a home now will prove to be a sound financial decision for years to come. As Warren Buffet said, “When others are greedy, be fearful. When others are fearful, be greedy.”

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Real Estate: Best Long-Term Investment

Every year, Gallup surveys Americans to determine their choice for the best long-term investment. Respondents are given a choice between real estate, stocks/mutual funds, gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds.

Gallup: Real Estate is Best Long-Term Investment 4 Years Running | Keeping Current Matters

 

For the fourth year in a row, Real Estate has come out on top as the best long-term investment! This year’s results showed that 34% of Americans chose real estate, followed by stocks at 26%.

The full results are shown in the chart below and clearly, Real Estate is the best Long-Term Investment.

Gallup: Real Estate is Best Long-Term Investment 4 Years Running | Keeping Current Matters

The study makes a point to draw attention to the contrast of the sentiment over the last four years compared to that of 2011-2012.  During 2011-2012,  gold took the top slot with 34% of the votes. Real estate and stocks took second and third place, respectively, while still in recovery from the Great Recession.

The Bottom Line in Real Estate as the Best Long-Term Investment

As the real estate market has recovered, so has the belief of the American people in the stability of housing as a long-term investment.

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When Buying A Home, Do You Know the Lingo?

Buying a Home? Do You Know the Lingo? | Keeping Current Matters

Lingo – Every business has it, but when it comes to buying a home, it can be intimidating if you are not familiar with the terms used during the process. To start you on your path with confidence, we have compiled a list of some of the most common terms (lingo) used when buying a home.

Freddie Mac has compiled a more exhaustive glossary of terms in their “My Home” section of their website.

Know Your Lingo

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – This is a broader measure of your cost for borrowing money. The APR includes the interest rate, points, broker fees and certain other credit charges a borrower is required to pay. Because these costs are rolled in, the APR is usually higher than your interest rate.

Appraisal – A professional analysis used to estimate the value of the property. This includes examples of sales of similar properties. This is a necessary step in getting your financing secured as it validates the home’s worth to you and your lender.

Closing Costs – The costs to complete the real estate transaction. These costs are in addition to the price of the home and are paid at closing. They include points, taxes, title insurance, financing costs, items that must be prepaid or escrowed and other costs. Ask your lender for a complete list of closing cost items.

Credit Score – A number ranging from 300-850, that is based on an analysis of your credit history. Your credit score plays a significant role when securing a mortgage as it helps lenders determine the likelihood that you’ll repay future debts. The higher your score, the better, but many buyers believe they need at least a 780 score to qualify when, in actuality, over 55% of approved loans had a score below 750.

Discount Points – A point equals 1% of your loan (1 point on a $200,000 loan = $2,000). You can pay points to buy down your mortgage interest rate. It’s essentially an upfront interest payment to lock in a lower rate for your mortgage.

Down Payment – This is a portion of the cost of your home that you pay upfront to secure the purchase of the property. Down payments are typically 3 to 20% of the purchase price of the home. There are zero-down programs available through VA loans for Veterans, as well as USDA loans for rural areas of the country. Eighty percent of first-time buyers put less than 20% down last month.

Escrow – The holding of money or documents by a neutral third party before closing. It can also be an account held by the lender (or servicer) into which a homeowner pays money for taxes and insurance.

Fixed-Rate Mortgages – A mortgage with an interest rate that does not change for the entire term of the loan. Fixed-rate mortgages are typically 15 or 30 years.

Home Inspection – A professional inspection of a home to determine the condition of the property. The inspection should include an evaluation of the plumbing, heating and cooling systems, roof, wiring, foundation and pest infestation.

Mortgage Rate – The interest rate you pay to borrow money to buy your house. The lower the rate, the better. Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have hovered between 4 and 4.25% for most of 2017.

Pre-Approval Letter – A letter from a mortgage lender indicating that you qualify for a mortgage of a specific amount. It also shows a home seller that you’re a serious buyer. Having a pre-approval letter in hand while shopping for homes can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.

Primary Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – If you make a down payment lower than 20% on your conventional loan, your lender will require PMI, typically at a rate of .51%. PMI serves as an added insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage and can be cancelled from your payment once you reach 20% equity in your home. For more information on how PMI can impact your monthly housing cost, click here.

Real Estate Professional – An individual who provides services in buying and selling homes. Real estate professionals are there to help you through the confusing paperwork, to help you find your dream home, to negotiate any of the details that come up, and to help make sure that you know exactly what’s going on in the housing market. Real estate professionals can refer you to local lenders or mortgage brokers along with other specialists that you will need throughout the home-buying process.

What’s your best course of action to learn Real Estate Lingo? The best way to ensure that your home-buying process is a confident one is to find a real estate professional who will guide you through every aspect of the transaction with ‘the heart of a teacher,’ and who puts your family’s needs first.

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Buying a Home? Get All the Facts about PMI

Get All the Facts about PMI | Keeping Current Matters

PMI – Do you know your facts?  Do you know what PMI is!?

When it comes to buying a home, whether it is your first time or your fifth, it is always important to know all the facts. With the large number of mortgage programs available that allow buyers to purchase a home with a down payment below 20%, you can never have too much information about Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

What is PMI?

Freddie Mac defines PMI as:

“An insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It’s a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%.

Once you’ve built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your mortgage payment.”

As the borrower, you pay the monthly premiums for the insurance policy, and the lender is the beneficiary. Freddie Mac goes on to explain that:

“The cost of PMI varies based on your loan-to-value ratio – the amount you owe on your mortgage compared to its value – and credit score, but you can expect to pay between $30 and $70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed.” 

According to the National Association of Realtors, the average down payment for all buyers last year was 10%. For first-time buyers, that number dropped to 6%, while repeat buyers put down 14% (no doubt aided by the sale of their home). This just goes to show that for a large number of buyers last year, PMI did not stop them from buying their dream homes.

Here’s an example of the cost of a mortgage on a $200,000 home with a 5% down payment & PMI, compared to a 20% down payment without PMI:

Get All the Facts about PMI | Keeping Current Matters

The larger the down payment you can make, the lower your monthly housing cost will be, but Freddie Mac urges you to remember:

“It’s no doubt an added cost, but it’s enabling you to buy now and begin building equity versus waiting 5 to 10 years to build enough savings for a 20% down payment.”

Bottom Line

If you have questions about whether you should buy now or wait until you’ve saved a larger down payment, meet with a professional in your area who can explain your market’s conditions and help you make the best decision for you and your family.

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How Fast Can You Save for a Down Payment?

How Fast Can You Save for a Down Payment? | Keeping Current Matters

Saving for a down payment is often the biggest hurdle for a first-time homebuyer. Depending on where you live, median income, median rents, and home prices all vary. So, we set out to find out how long it would take you to save for a down payment in each state.

Using data from the United States Census Bureau and Zillow, we determined how long it would take, nationwide, for a first-time buyer to save enough money for a down payment on their dream home. There is a long-standing ‘rule’ that a household should not pay more than 28% of their income on their monthly housing expense.

By determining the percentage of income spent renting a 2-bedroom apartment in each state, and the amount needed for a 10% down payment, we were able to establish how long (in years) it would take for an average resident to save enough money to buy a home of their own.

According to the data, residents in Iowa can save for a down payment the quickest in just under 2 years (1.99). Below is a map created using the data for each state:

How Fast Can You Save for a Down Payment? | Keeping Current Matters

What if you only needed to save 3%?

What if you were able to take advantage of one of Freddie Mac’s or Fannie Mae’s 3% down programs? Suddenly, saving for a down payment no longer takes 5 or 10 years, but becomes attainable in a year or two in many states as shown in the map below.  Your idea of your dream home is so much closer!

How Fast Can You Save for a Down Payment? | Keeping Current Matters

So, how fast CAN you save?

Whether you have just begun to save for a down payment, or have been saving for years, you may be closer to your dream home than you think! Meet with a local real estate professional who can help you evaluate your ability to buy today.

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Why You Should Work with a Local Real Estate Professional

If you’ve entered the real estate market, as a buyer or a seller, you’ve inevitably heard the real estate mantra, “location, location, location” in reference to how identical homes can increase or decrease in value due to where they’re located. Well, a new survey shows that when it comes to choosing a real estate agent, the millennial generation’s mantra is, “local, local, local.”

Why Working with a Local Real Estate Professional Makes All the Difference | Keeping Current Matters

CentSai, a financial wellness online community, recently surveyed over 2,000 millennials (ages 18-34) and found that 75% of respondents would use a local real estate agentover an online agent, and 71% would choose a local lender.

Survey respondents cited many reasons for their choice to go local, “including personal touch & handholding, longstanding relationships, local knowledge, and amount of hassle.”

Doria Lavagnino, Cofounder & President of CentSai had this to say:

“We were surprised to learn that online providers are not yet as big a disruptor in this sector as we first thought, despite purported cost savings. We found that millennials place a high value on the personal touch and knowledge of a local agent. Buying a home for the first time is daunting, and working with a local agent—particularly an agent referred by a parent or friend—could provide peace of mind.”

The findings of the CentSai survey are consistent with the Consumer Housing Trends Study, which found that millennials prefer a more hands-on approach to their real estate experience:

“While older generations rely on real estate agents for information and expertise, Millennials expect real estate agents to become trusted advisers and strategic partners.”

When it comes to choosing an agent, millennials and other generations share their top priority: the sense that an agent is trustworthy and responsive to their needs.

That said, technology still plays a huge role in the real estate process. According to the National Association of Realtors, 95% of home buyers look for prospective homes and neighborhoods online, and 91% also said they would use an online site or mobile app to research homes they might consider purchasing.

Why you should work with a Real Estate Professional

Many wondered if this tech-savvy generation would prefer to work with an online agent or lender, but more and more studies show that when it comes to real estate, millennials want someone they can trust, someone who knows the neighborhood they want to move into, leading them through the entire experience.

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The Connection Between Home Prices & Family Wealth

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate 3.22% per year on average and to grow by 17.3% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey.

home price family wealth

So, what does this mean for homeowners and their equity position?

As an example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home in January. If we look at only the projected increase in the price of that home, how much equity will they earn over the next 5 years?

The Connection Between Home Prices & Family Wealth | Keeping Current Matters

Since the experts predict that home prices will increase by 4.4% this year alone, the young homeowners will have gained $11,000 in equity in just one year.

Over a five-year period, their equity will increase by nearly $43,000! This figure does not even take into account their monthly principal mortgage payments. In many cases, home equity is one of the largest portions of a family’s overall net worth.

So, what is the connection between home prices and family wealth?

Not only is homeownership something to be proud of, but it also offers you and your family the ability to build equity you can borrow against in the future. If you are ready and willing to buy, find out if you are able to today!

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Mortgage Interest Rates Impact on 2017 Home Values

There is no doubt that historically low mortgage interest rates were a major impetus to housing recovery over the last several years. However, many industry experts are showing concern about the possible effect that the rising rates will have moving forward.

mortgage interest rates

The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are all projecting that mortgage interest rates will move upward in 2017. Increasing interest rates will definitely impact purchasers and may stifle demand.

In a recent study of industry experts, “rising mortgage interest rates, and their impact on mortgage affordability” was named by 56% as the force they think will have the most significant impact on U.S. housing in 2017. If rising rates slow demand for housing, home values will be impacted.

To this point, Pulsenomics, recently surveyed a panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. They asked the question “In your opinion, at what level will the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate significantly slow home value appreciation?” The survey revealed the following:

Mortgage Interest Rates

What do experts say about the impact of mortgage interest rates on 2017 home values?

Most experts believe that rates would need to hit 5% or above to have an impact on home prices.

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Over Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs

According to a recent survey conducted by ClosingCorp, over half of all homebuyers are surprised by the closing costs required to obtain their mortgage.

closing costs

After surveying 1,000 first-time and repeat homebuyers, the results revealed that 17% of homebuyers were surprised that closing costs were required at all. Another 35% were stunned by how much higher the fees were than expected.

“Homebuyers reported being most surprised by mortgage insurance, followed by bank fees and points, taxes, title insurance and appraisal fees.”

Bankrate.com recently gathered closing cost data from lenders in every state and Washington, D.C. Here they are able to share the average costs in each state. The map below was created using the closing costs on a $200,000 mortgage with a 20% down payment.

Over Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs | Keeping Current Matters

Keep in mind that if you are in the market for a home above this price range, your costs could be significantly more. According to Freddie Mac,

“Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”

Are you surprised by your closing costs?  Here’s what this means to you.

Speak with your mortgage lender and real estate agent early and often to determine how much you’ll be responsible for at closing. Finding out that you’ll need to come up with thousands of dollars right before closing is not a surprise anyone is ever looking forward to.

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How Long Do Most Families Stay in Their Home?

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) keeps historical data on many aspects of homeownership. One of the data points that has changed dramatically is the median tenure of a family in a home.  Ever wonder how long most people stay in their home?

rocker

As the graph below shows, for over twenty years (1985-2008), the median tenure averaged exactly six years. However, since 2008, that average is almost nine years – an increase of almost 50%.

How Long Do Most Families Stay in Their Home? | Keeping Current Matters

Why the dramatic increase?

The reasons for this change are plentiful!

The fall in home prices during the housing crisis left many homeowners in a negative equity situation (where their home was worth less than the mortgage on the property). Also, the uncertainty of the economy made some homeowners much more fiscally conservative about making a move.

With home prices rising dramatically over the last several years, 93.7% of homes with a mortgage are now in a positive equity situation with 79.1% of them having at least 20% equity, according to CoreLogic.

With the economy coming back and wages starting to increase, many homeowners are in a much better financial situation than they were just a few short years ago.

One other reason for the increase was brought to light during a recent presentation by Lawrence Yun, the Chief Economist of NAR, at the Realtor’s Summit in San Diego, CA.Yun pointed to the fact that historically, young homeowners who were either looking for more space to accommodate their growing family or looking for a better school district were more likely to move more often (every 5 years). The homeownership rate among young families, however, has still not caught up to previous generations resulting in the jump we have seen in median tenure!

E70

What does this mean for housing?

Many believe that a large portion of homeowners are not in a house that is best for their current family circumstances. They could be baby boomers living in an empty, four-bedroom colonial, or a millennial couple planning to start a family that currently lives in a one-bedroom condo.

These homeowners are ready to make a move. Since the lack of housing inventory is a major challenge in the current housing market, this could be great news.



 

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Housing Prices and Where they are Heading in the Next 5 Years?

Housing prices today seem to be in the center of many real estate conversations.  Experts have weighed in on the price of homes and where they may be headed. That is why we like the Home Price Expectation Survey.

home prices

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment & market strategists about where they believe prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

The results of their latest survey regarding housing prices:

Home values will appreciate by 4.4% over the course of 2017, 3.4% in 2018, 2.8% in 2019, 2.7% in 2020, and 2.8% in 2021. That means the average annual appreciation will be 3.22% over the next 5 years.

Where Are the Home Prices Heading in the Next 5 Years? | Keeping Current Matters

The prediction for cumulative appreciation fell from 21.4% to 17.3% by 2021. The experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey are projecting a cumulative appreciation of 6.3%.

Where Are the Home Prices Heading in the Next 5 Years? | Keeping Current Matters



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The Impact of Homeownership on Family Health

The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled ‘Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.’

homeownership

The study regarding homeownership confirmed a long-standing belief of most Americans:

“Owning a home embodies the promise of individual autonomy and is the aspiration of most American households. Homeownership allows households to accumulate wealth and social status, and is the basis for a number of positive social, economic, family and civic outcomes.”

Today, we want to cover the section of the report that quoted several studies concentrating on the impact homeownership has on the health of family members. Here are some of the major findings on this issue revealed in the report:

entry-detail

  • There is a strong positive relationship between living in poor housing and a range of health problems, including respiratory conditions such as asthma, exposure to toxic substances, injuries and mental health. Homes of owners are generally in better condition than those of renters.
  • Findings reveal that increases in housing wealth were associated with better health outcomes for homeowners.
  • Low-income people who recently became homeowners reported higher life satisfaction, higher self-esteem, and higher perceived control over their lives.
  • Homeowners report higher self-esteem and happiness than renters. For example, homeowners are more likely to believe that they can do things as well as anyone else, and they report higher self-ratings on their physical health even after controlling for age and socioeconomic factors.
  • Renters who become homeowners not only experience a significant increase in housing satisfaction but also obtain a higher satisfaction even in the same home in which they resided as renters.
  • Social mobility variables, such as the family financial situation and housing tenure during childhood and adulthood, impacted one’s self-rated health.
  • Homeowners have a significant health advantage over renters, on average. Homeowners are 2.5 percent more likely to have good health. When adjusting for an array of demographic, socioeconomic, and housing–related characteristics, the homeowner advantage is even larger at 3.1 percent.

What does homeownership mean to you?

People often talk about the financial benefits of homeownership. As we can see, there are also social benefits of owning your own home.

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Are You 1 of the 59M Considering Buying a Home?

According to a survey conducted by Bankrate.com, one in four Americans are considering buying a home this year. If this statistic proves to be true, that means that 59 million people will be looking to enter the housing market in 2017!

Buying

The survey also revealed 3 key takeaways:

  1. Those most likely to buy are ‘Older Millennials’ (ages 27-36) or ‘Generation X’ (ages 37-52).
  2. Minorities, particularly African-Americans, were twice as likely to respond that they were considering purchasing a home this year than white respondents.
  3. Many potential buyers believe they need to put 20% down and need to have perfect credit to own and are unaware of programs that would allow them to buy now.  It is imperative that buyers seek out a reputable mortgage broker so they can be fully educated on the variety of options out there.

Holden Lewis, a mortgage analyst for Bankrate.com, pointed to one big reason why many Americans are starting to consider homeownership:

“Having kids and raising a family is a primary reason why Americans take the leap into homeownership—many consider it a key component of the American dream.”

Are you thinking of buying a home?

If buying a home is a part of your dream for 2017, meet with a reputable professional who can help you determine if you are able to.  It is equally important that you seek out a Realtor who knows the area in which you are interested in buying.  These professionals are better equipped to know the area and pricing.



 

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US Housing Market Is Moving into ‘Buy Territory’!

According to the Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index, the U.S. housing market has continued to move deeper into buy territory, supporting the belief that housing markets across the country remain a sound investment.

buy rent

 

The BH&J Index is a quarterly report that attempts to answer the question:

In today’s housing market, is it better to rent or buy a home?

The index examines the entire US housing market and then isolates 23 major cities for comparison. The researchers “measure the relationship between purchasing property and building wealth through a buildup in equity versus renting a comparable property and investing in a portfolio of stocks and bonds.” 

While most of the metropolitan markets examined moved further into buy territory (16 of the 23), markets like Dallas, Denver, and Houston are currently deep into rent territory. In these three markets, it is estimated that renting will top homeownership 7 out of 10 times.

Due to a lack of inventory, the home prices in the Dallas, Denver, and Houston areas have increased by 11.6%8.3%, and 6.6% respectively. Home prices in these areas will begin to return to more normal levels once residents realize that renting is not the best option, therefore bringing home affordability back as well.

home prices

Bottom Line

The majority of the country is strongly in buy territory. Buying a home makes sense socially and financially, as rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year. Protect yourself from rising rents by locking in your housing cost with a mortgage payment now.

To Find Out More About the Study: The BH&J Index and other FAU real estate activities are sponsored by Investments Limited of Boca Raton. The BH&J Index is published quarterly and is available online at http://business.fau.edu/buyvsrent.



 

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Attention First-Time Buyers: Here’s the Key Stuff You Don’t Know About Mortgages

When it comes to mortgages, there’s a big gap between what people think they need in order to get one and the reality of what buyers are successfully doing—especially young people.

Mortgages

I know, I know, I’ve written on down payments before (like last month, when I highlighted that putting 20% down isn’t the norm).

But you know what? When it comes to what might be the biggest purchase of your life—one that can be incredibly intimidating for first-time buyers—it’s nice to know real facts. And in the mortgage market, reality is very often different from perception. Or, for that matter, myth.

Last week, the National Association of Realtors® issued its 2017 Aspiring Home Buyers Profile report. The report cites data from surveys taken in the third quarter of 2016 about down payments.

home loan

The report summarized that 39% of nonowners believe they need more than 20% for a down payment on a home, 26% believe they need to put down 15% to 20%, and 22% believe a down payment of 10% to 14% would work.

So on average, those nonowners thought a down payment would need to be about 16%. The reality? The average down payment on purchase mortgages in 2016 was 11%.

In fact, when we drill into the purchase mortgages taken out by people under 35, who represent the majority of first-time buyers, we see the average down payment was even lower, at just under 8%. In other words, aspiring first-time buyers think it takes twice as much to buy a home than it really does.

Perception, meet reality

But averages can be misleading, right? Especially when there is a wide distribution, like we observe with down payments. When we dig into what actually happened in 2016 we find that most young people buy homes with … less than 5% down. That’s less than one-third of what the average nonowner had assumed! 

As with many things in life, the most correct answer to the question of how much you need to put down is “it depends.” There are a slew of important factors like who you are, your financial circumstances, the home’s location, and the price of the home.

It is possible to buy a home with a mortgage with no money down. VA and USDA loans are the most popular loans that offer the ability to put no money down. In 2016, 16% of buyers under 35 put no money down.

rent-vs-buy

The largest share (36%) of loans for buyers under 35 in 2016 was for people putting down something less than 5%. The options there include loans offered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but also 3% down payment programs backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (aka conforming loans). And, of course, this includes the traditional 3.5% FHA mortgage that is primarily targeted to first-time buyers.

More than half of young people who successfully bought a home with a mortgage in 2016 put at most 5% down. The average dollar amount for these buyers was $3,500. That’s right, if you have #FOMO from your friends buying homes, the majority of them are putting down just a few thousand dollars.

How are they doing it? The aforementioned mortgage products (conforming, FHA, VA, and USDA) represent almost 99% of the mortgages to people under 35 in 2016. There is nothing exotic about this.

And it doesn’t require perfect credit, just fair credit. The average FICO was 713, and the floor we observed in FICOs (below which very few mortgages were made) was 639.

Put that all together and you can see that for the millennial dreaming of buying a home this year, you need a FICO score of at least 639 and enough money that you could put down at most 5%. If you live in a typical American town, what you need could be as little as $3,500.

That sounds a lot more attainable than most people think. The truth is out there! Take advantage of it.


Jonathan Smoke is the chief economist of realtor.com, where he analyzes real estate data and trends to develop market insights for the consumer.


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Sales of New Homes Surged in 2016, but Slowed in December

Brand-spankin’ new homes sold like hotcakes last year, as buyers raced to close on the abodes of their dreams. Maybe it was that new-home smell—or the sight of rising mortgage rates.

New Homes

Sales of new homes were up 12.2% in 2016 compared with a year earlier, according to the seasonally adjusted numbers in a joint report by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That means new owners closed on about 563,000 properties last year. (Seasonally adjusted numbers have been smoothed out over 12 months to account for seasonal fluctuations.)

Despite the strong year for new home sales, purchases in December weren’t quite so nice. The number of buyers closing on newly built homes dropped 10.4% from November and 0.4% from the same month a year earlier.

That might be at least partly due to rising mortgage rates, says Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke of realtor.com®. Buyers, who may have normally postponed signing on the dotted line until December, closed on more residences in November to lock in those lower rates.

New Homes

The cold weather in much of the country, as well as the holidays, may have also slowed down sales.

Plus, “builders are just not putting up enough homes,” Smoke says, citing the limited number of lots available for development, a shortage of construction labor, and difficulty in obtaining financing.

A new home also don’t come cheap. In December, the median price of a just-built home, and all the new appliances, finishes, and features that come with it, was $322,500, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the median price of an existing home (i.e., one that has previously been lived in) in December was nearly 38.9% less, at $232,200, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Only about 1,000 of the roughly 38,000 new homes sold were under $150,000. That wasn’t good news for buyers on a tight budget. About 4,000 of those sales were for homes in the range of $150,000 to $199,999.

The bulk of the sales, 20,000, were for homes between $200,000 and $399,999. Five thousand homes were sold in the $400,000 to $499,999 range and another 5,000 purchases were made at price points from $500,000 to $749,999. About 3,000 new luxury homes were sold for $750,000 and up.

Smoke expects that more, and more affordable, homes will go up in regions like the South and Midwest, where land is cheaper and there are fewer regulatory hurdles for builders to jump over.

For example, about 285,000 new homes were for sale or sold in December in the South, according to the report. That was a 12.6% reduction from November, but was the same as in December 2015.

There were 49,000 homes for sale or sold in the Midwest, a 41% drop from November and a 29% decline from the same month the previous year.

“The median-priced home in many affordable markets in the South and Midwest is lower than the average down payment in the most expensive markets” like Silicon Valley, the San Francisco Bay Area, and New York, Smoke says.

Smoke anticipates that going forward, fewer new homes in lower price points will be built in more expensive areas like the Northeast and the West.

There were just 46,000 new homes on the market or closed on in the Northeast in December. That was both a 48.4% boost from November as well as December 2015. Yet, it was the fewest homes built in any region of the country.

There were 156,000 homes sold or for sale in the West in December. That was down 1.3% from November, but up 2% from a year earlier.


Clare Trapasso is the senior news editor of realtor.com and an adjunct journalism professor. She previously wrote for a Financial Times publication and the New York Daily News. Contact her at clare.trapasso@move.com.


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4 Demands on Your Realtor when Buying a Home

Are you thinking of buying a home? Are you dreading having to walk through strangers’ houses? Are you concerned about getting the paperwork correct? Hiring a professional real estate agent can take away most of the challenges of buying. A great agent is always worth more than the commission they charge, just like a great doctor or great accountant.

buying a home

You want to deal with one of the best agents in your marketplace. To do this, you must be able to distinguish an average agent from a great one.

Here are the top 4 demands to make of your real estate agent when buying a home:

1. Tell the Truth About the Price when Buying a Home

When making an offer on the home you want to buy, make sure that your agent walks you through their plan for getting both the seller – and the bank – to accept that price. Too many agents will just take the offer that you suggest and then try to ‘work’ both you and the seller in the negotiating phase later. In a competitive market, you need an agent who is going to help you make the best ‘initial offer’ so that you stand out from the crowd. Every house in today’s market must be sold twice – first to you and then to your bank.

The second sale may be more difficult than the first. When prices are surging, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that closed recently) to defend the selling price when performing the appraisal for the bank. A red flag should be raised if your agent is not discussing this with you at the time of the original offer.

buying a home

2. Understand the Timetable with Which Your Family is Dealing

You will be moving your family into a new home. Whether the move revolves around the start of the new school year or a new job, you will be trying to put the move to a plan.

This can be very emotionally draining. Demand from your agent an appreciation for the timetables you are setting. Your agent cannot pick the exact date of your move, but they should exert any influence they can to make it work.

3. Remove as Many of the Challenges as Possible

It is imperative that your agent knows how to handle the challenges that will arise. An agent’s ability to negotiate is critical in this market.

Remember: If you have an agent who was weak negotiating with you on parts of the purchase offer, don’t expect them to turn into a superhero when they are negotiating with the seller for you and your family.

buying a home

4. Find the Right HOUSE!

There is a reason you are putting yourself and your family through the process of moving.

You are moving on with your life in some way. The reason is important or you wouldn’t be dealing with the headaches and challenges that come along with buying. Do not allow your agent to forget these motivations. Make sure that they don’t worry about your feelings more than they worry about your family; if they discover something needs to be done in order to attain your goal, insist that they have the courage to inform you.

Good agents know how to deliver good news. Great agents know how to deliver tough news. In today’s market, YOU NEED A GREAT AGENT!



 

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Taking Fear out of the Mortgage Process

A considerable number of potential buyers shy away from jumping into the real estate market due to their uncertainty about the buying and mortgage process. A specific cause for concern tends to be mortgage qualification.

mortgage process

For many, the mortgage process can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be!

In order to qualify in today’s market, you’ll need to have saved for a down payment (the average down payment on all loans was 11% last month, with many buyers putting down 3% or less), a stable income and good credit history.

Throughout the entire home buying process, you will interact with many different professionals, all of which perform necessary roles. These professionals are also valuable resources for you.

home loan

Once you’re ready to apply, here are 5 easy steps that Freddie Mac suggests to follow:

  1. Find out your current credit history & score – even if you don’t have perfect credit, you may already qualify for a loan. The average FICO Score of all closed loans in September was 731, according to Ellie Mae.
  2. Start gathering all of your documentation – income verification (such as W-2 forms or tax returns), credit history, and assets (such as bank statements to verify your savings).
  3. Contact a professional – your real estate agent will be able to recommend a loan officer that can help you develop a spending plan, as well as determine how much home you can afford.
  4. Consult with your lender – he or she will review your income, expenses, and financial goals in order to determine the type and amount of mortgage you qualify for.
  5. Talk to your lender about pre-approval – a pre-approval letter provides an estimate of what you might be able to borrow (provided your financial status doesn’t change), and demonstrates to home sellers that you are serious about buying!

What does this mean to you?

Do your research, reach out to professionals, stick to your budget, and be sure that you are ready to take on the financial responsibilities of becoming a homeowner.



 

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Tax Write-Off & Benefits of Home Ownership

The joys of homeownership are many: Your own house is a place to make sweet memories, build a financial nest egg, and whittle down your tax bill. Wait, what? Yep, it’s true: Your home can save you a bundle on April 15.

tax write-off

We’ve rounded up every last way to take advantage of the tax benefits of owning a home. Read on for the full rundown just to make sure you aren’t missing any, then pat yourself on the back for all the moolah you’ll save!

Tax write-off No. 1: Your mortgage interest

This is the biggie tax benefit of owning a home: the ability to deduct the mortgage interest you pay over the course of a year. And the more recent your mortgage, the greater your tax savings.

“The way mortgage payments are amortized, the first payments are almost all interest—so that’s why the mortgage interest deduction is worth the most in the first few years of the loan,” says Wendy Connick, owner of Connick Financial Solutions. (See how your loan amortizes and how much you’re paying in interest with this mortgage calculator.)

Here’s how this deduction looks for a married couple in the 28% tax bracket (that means a joint annual income between $151,201 and $230,450) who bought a home with a $300,000, 30-year mortgage at a 4% interest rate. They will pay $11,904 in mortgage interest their first year. Once you add in the other itemized federal deductions below, these homeowners can expect to save at least $3,333 in taxes during their initial year of ownership.

Tax write-off No. 2: Your property taxes

Generally, your property taxes are deductible on your tax return, says Brian Ashcraft, director of compliance at Liberty Tax Service. And that could be a hefty savings. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average household property tax is $2,127. If you have a mortgage, your taxes are built into your monthly payment.

You can also pay property taxes early and write off the entire expense if you’re staring down a large tax bill for any given year. Just note that you must claim the deduction in the year you wrote the check. For example, if you paid your 2017 property tax in 2016, claim that tax benefit on your 2016 return. Here’s more info on how to calculate property taxes.

tax write-off

Tax write-off No. 3: Private mortgage insurance

If you put less than 20% down on your home, odds are you’re paying private mortgage insurance, or PMI, which costs from 0.3% to 1.15% of your home loan. But Uncle Sam’s willing to give you a tax break here by allowing you to deduct this amount from your income, too.

How much you’ll save: If you make $100,000 and put down 5% on a $200,000 house, you’ll pay about $1,500 in annual PMI premiums and thus cut taxable income by $1,500.

Note: The deduction is due to expire this year, says Connick. “Unless Congress renews it, the deduction will not be available for the 2017 tax year.”

Tax write-off No. 4: Energy-efficiency upgrades

Don’t miss out on tax credits for any “green” updates you’ve done to your home in the past year, says Michael Banks, founder of FortunateInvestor.com. The Renewable Energy Efficiency Property Credit allows you to claim a credit for up to 30% of the cost of equipment you purchased that uses renewable energy sources (e.g., solar panels and wind turbines).

Other home upgrades like new HVAC systems, energy-efficient windows, and storm doors can also earn a tax credit of up to $500. For example, if you installed central air conditioning, you can claim a $300 credit. This credit for residential energy-efficiency improvements expired at the end of 2016, so hopefully you made these improvements last year. If not, there’s still time for solar panels, since this credit runs through 2019.

Lower Office

Tax write-off No. 5: A home office

If you work from home, your office space and expenses can be deducted from your income, too. According to Vincenzo Villamena, managing partner of Online Taxman, you can take a $5-per-square-foot deduction for up to 300 square feet of office space, which amounts to a maximum deduction of $1,500. Understand, however, that there are strict rules on what constitutes a dedicated, fully deductible home office space. Your accountant can lead you through it.

Tax write-off No. 6: Home improvements to age in place

Many older homeowners plan to stay put and age in place—and if that entails renovations such as wheelchair ramps or grab bars in slippery bathrooms, the cost of these improvements for you, a spouse, or dependent results in a nice tax break, says Jayson Mullin, owner of Top Tax Defenders.

“You can deduct the amount by which the cost of the improvements exceeds the increase in your home’s value,” says Mullin. To break that down, let’s say the cost of installing a ramp totals $10,000 and increases your home’s value by $7,000. Then the allowable deduction would equal $3,000.

Just remember, these “aging in place” deductions must cost more than 10% of your adjusted gross income. So if your AGI is $60,000, there’s no deduction for the first $6,000 of medical home improvement expenses. But if you’re 65 and older, the expense must exceed only 7.5% of your AGI.

remodeling

Tax write-off No. 7: Interest on a home equity line of credit

If you’ve tapped into your home equity by taking out a home equity line of credit, or HELOC, the interest you pay on the loan is also deductible provided you use this money to pay for home improvements or repairs.

How much you’ll save depends on the amount borrowed, but let’s crunch some sample numbers: If you take out a four-year $20,000 HELOC at 4%, you’ll have an $800 deductible that will save you about $205 in the first year of your loan. Use this calculator to see how much you’ll save.


Article is being shared from realtor.com.  Margaret Heidenry is a writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, and Boston Magazine.


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The Role Access Plays in Getting Your House SOLD!

So you’ve decided to sell your house and you want that house sold, easily!  You’ve hired a real estate professional to help you with the entire process and they have asked you what level of access you want to provide to potential buyers.

house sold

There are four elements to a quality listing. At the top of the list is Access, followed by Condition, Financing and Price. There are many levels of access that you could provide to your agent to be able to show your home.

Here are five levels of access that you could give a buyer with a brief description:

  1. Lockbox On the Door – this allows buyers the ability to see the home as soon as they are aware of the listing, or at their convenience.
  2. Providing a Key to the Home – although the buyer’s agent may need to stop by an office to pick up the key, there is little delay in being able to show the home.
  3. Open Access with a Phone Call – the seller allows showing with just a phone call’s notice.
  4. By Appointment Only (example: 48 Hour Notice) – Many out-of-town/state buyers and relocation buyers visit an area they would like to move to and only have the weekend to view homes. They may not be able to plan that far in advance, or may be unable to wait the 48 hours to be shown the house.
  5. Limited Access (example: the home is only available on Mondays or Tuesdays at 2pm or for only a couple of hours a day) – This is the most difficult way to be able to show your house to potential buyers.

In a competitive marketplace, access can make or break your ability to get the price you are looking for, or even sell your house at all.



 

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Changes To Make In Your New Home Now

You are finally in your new home now. What’s the first thing you should do?

The moving frenzy never ends: Even after you close, the to-do lists drag on and on—endless pages of bullet points that keep you up at night when all you want is to begin your new life. Some of them are fun, like redecorating and buying new furniture.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Others, not so much.

“When you move into a new house, you’re more concerned with decorating and taking stuff out you don’t like,” says Kevin Minto, president of Signet Home Inspections in Grass Valley, CA. “But let’s not forget about the less romantic things that are mundane—but more important in the long run.”

Once you’ve got the keys, feel free to give yourself a break. You deserve it! But don’t rest on your laurels too long—and make sure to do these eight things right away.

1. Change the locks on your new home now!

Before moving even one tiny piece of furniture into your new home, change the locks—or at least have them rekeyed. It’s not that you don’t trust the sellers (who are, we’re sure, perfectly respectable and upstanding citizens). It’s that you shouldn’t trust everyone who’s had contact with those keys over the years, any of whom could have copied the keys for some unsavory purpose.

home-security

2. Change the alarm batteries

Making sure your fire and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries may not seem like a pressing issue while you’re in the middle of a stressful move (and aren’t they all), but it’s the kind of thing that gets ignored and then forgotten. Better to deal with it now, when the home is empty and you can make a quick sweep of the house—without lugging a ladder around furniture.

3. Review your home inspector’s report

Can’t find your inspector’s report? Minto says reports are often filed with the escrow papers—but don’t wait until something goes wrong to pull them out. A good home inspector will outline the most important issues in their report, so use their expertise as a guide for your first few days of ownership. If they’ve marked anything as particularly pressing, make sure to handle it before moving in.

4. Find the circuit breaker

If you were there during inspection, you should know where your junction box is, but if you don’t, finding it “should be the first and foremost thing that should be attended to,” Minto says. During a move, when you’re plugging all sorts of electrical doodads into the wall, you don’t want to be lost in the dark hunting for that elusive metal box. (While you’re there, find the water shut-off, too.)

Then, get familiar: If it’s not already well-marked, have your spouse or another family member stand in different parts of the house while you flip different switches, and make a note of which ones handle different rooms.

water fix

5. Deal with any water problems

Looking at that inspector’s report? Deal with water-related issuesimmediately, says Minto. These tend to be troublesome because they’re so easily ignored—”out of sight, out of mind,” he says. A leaky toilet might seem minor, but the steady drip can damage internal structural components.

Check your roof, too: If the rubber vent boots on your roof are leaking, you might not know it for a while.

“By the time they see it in a ceiling, there’s been a fair amount of water,” Minto says.

6. Caulk everything

This one isn’t mandatory, but caulking is a whole lot easier if you do it when the house is empty, letting you see all the nooks and crannies that might need a little sealing—and don’t forget the exterior. Minto says he sees caulking issues on “every home,” and while they might seem minor, it doesn’t take long before cracking gives way to leaks and even more water issues.

7. Plan your emergency exits

Before you begin bringing in furniture, walk through every room and decide how you would escape in an emergency. This can help you spot problem areas or rooms that need some adjustments—say, removing bars or adding egress windows to a basement.

gutter clean

8. Clean your gutters

BO-RING. Right? You can put this off until Day 2 of your big move, but don’t let the dullness of the task push you to procrastination: If the previous homeowners didn’t clean the gutters, you need to do so in your new home NOW!

“I see gutters that are filled with organic materials start to rot and start to rust through,” Minto says. Take 30 minutes to clear them out, and you’ll be rewarded come the rainy season.

Article written by Jamie Wiebe. Jamie writes about home design and real estate for realtor.com. She has previously written for House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Real Simple, Veranda, and more.


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Ready to Find your Dream Home?

Are you ready to find your next dream home? As we bring in the New Year, families across the country will be deciding if this is the year that they will sell their current house.

dream home

Many will decide that it is smarter to wait until the spring “buyer’s market” to list their house. In the past, that might have made sense. However, this winter is not like recent years.

The recent jump in mortgage rates has forced buyers off the fence and into the market, resulting in incredibly strong demand RIGHT NOW!! At the same time, inventory levels of homes for sale have dropped dramatically as compared to this time last year, making finding your dream home more of a search.

Here is a chart showing the decrease in inventory levels by category:

dream home

List your home & find your dream home!

Demand for your home is very strong right now while your competition (other homes for sale) is at a historically low level. If you are thinking of selling in 2017 and want to find your dream home, now may be the time.

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Buying: 37.7% Less Than Renting in the US

The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

renting

Speaking of renting, the updated numbers actually show that the range is an average of 17.4% less expensive in Honolulu (HI), all the way up to 53.2% less expensive in Miami & West Palm Beach (FL), and 37.7% nationwide!  That’s a huge savings in buying a home rather than renting.  As they say, either way you’re paying someone’s mortgage….may as well be your own!

Other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Interest rates have remained low, and even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation.
  • Home prices would have to appreciate by a range of over 23% in Honolulu (HI), up to over 45% in Ventura County (CA), to reach the tipping point of renting being less expensive than buying.
  • Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1%, a 145% increase over today’s average of 3.7%, for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.

rent-vs-buy

So, do you buy or stay renting?

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, meet with a local real estate professional who can help you find your dream home.

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Empty Nest to Full House Multigenerational Families Are Back!

From Empty Nest to Full House, multigenerational homes are coming back in a big way!

Empty Nest

In the 1950s, about 21%, or 32.2 million Americans shared a roof with their grown children or parents. According to a recent Pew Research Center report, the number of multigenerational homes dropped to as low as 12% in 1980 but has shot back up to 19%, roughly 60.6 million people, as recently as 2014.

Multigenerational households typically occur when adult children (over the age of 25) either choose to, or need to, remain living in their parent’s home, and then have children of their own. These households also occur when grandparents join their adult children and grandchildren in their home.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 11% of home buyers purchased multigenerational homes last year. The top 3 reasons for purchasing this type of home were:

  • To take care of aging parents (19%)
  • Cost savings (18%, up from 15% last year)
  • Children over the age of 18 moving back home (14%, up from 11% last year)

narDonna Butts, Executive Director of Generations United, points out that,

“As the face of America is changing, so are family structures. It shouldn’t be a taboo or looked down upon if grown children are living with their families or older adults are living with their grown children.”

For a long time, nuclear families (a couple and their dependent children) became the accepted norm, but John Graham, co-author of “Together Again: A Creative Guide to Successful Multigenerational Living,” says, “We’re getting back to the way human beings have always lived in – extended families.”

Empty Nest

This shift from an empty nest to a full house can be attributed to several social changes over the decades. Growing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. population helps explain some of the rise in multigenerational living. The Asian and Hispanic populations are more likely to live in multigenerational family households and these two groups are growing rapidly.

Additionally, women are a bit more likely to live in multigenerational conditions than are their male counterparts (20% vs. 18%, respectively). Last but not least, basic economics.

Carmen Multhauf, co-author of the book “Generational Housing: Myth or Mastery for Real Estate,” brings to light the fact that rents and home prices have been skyrocketing in recent years. She says that, “The younger generations have not been able to save,” and often struggle to get good-paying jobs.

Empty Nest to Full House

Multigenerational households are making a comeback. While it is a shift from the more common nuclear home, these households might be the answer that many families are looking for as home prices continue to rise in response to a lack of housing inventory.

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Past, Present & Future of Home Prices

Are you looking to relocate to a new home or purchase a new home?  We think it’s best to understand the past, present and future of home prices.   CoreLogic released their most current Home Price Index last week. In the report, they revealed home prices appreciation in three categories.  The categories ranged from percentage appreciation over the last year, over the last month and projected over the next twelve months.

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Here are state maps for each category.

The Past – home appreciation over the last 12 months

The Past, Present & Future of Home Prices | Keeping Current Matters

The Present – home appreciation over the last month

The Past, Present & Future of Home Prices | Keeping Current Matters

The Future – home appreciation projected over the next 12 months

The Past, Present & Future of Home Prices | Keeping Current Matters

The Past, Present & Future of Home Prices

Homes Prices across the country are appreciating at different rates. Maybe you’re planning on relocating to another state.  Perhaps you are waiting for your home to appreciate more.  You could also be thinking of purchasing a home in the future.  Whatever the case,  you need to know that the home you will buy in another state may be appreciating even faster.

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NAR Reports Show Now Is a Great Time to Sell!

The last two major reports issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR Reports) revealed information that suggests that now continues to be a great time to sell your house. We all realize that the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and the supply of that item is limited.

NAR Reports

Let’s look at the data covered by the latest Pending Home Sales Report and Existing Home Sales Report.

THE PENDING HOME SALES REPORT

The report announced that pending home sales (homes going into contract) are up 2.4% over last year, and have increased year-over-year now for 22 of the last 25 consecutive months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, had this to say:

“The one major predicament in the housing market is without a doubt the painfully low levels of housing inventory in much of the country. It’s leading to home prices outpacing wages, properties selling a lot quicker than a year ago and the home search for many prospective buyers being highly competitive and drawn out because of a shortage of listings at affordable prices.”

Takeaway: Demand for housing will continue throughout the end of 2016 and into 2017. The seasonal slowdown often felt in the winter months did not occur last winter and shows no signs of returning this year.

National Association of Realtors logo (PRNewsFoto/National Association of Realtors)

National Association of Realtors logo (PRNewsFoto/National Association of Realtors)

THE EXISTING HOME SALES REPORT

The most important data point revealed in the report was not sales, but was instead the inventory of homes for sale (supply). The report explained:

  • Total housing inventory rose 1.5% to 2.04 million homes available for sale
  • That represents a 4.5-month supply at the current sales pace
  • Unsold inventory is 6.8% lower than a year ago, marking the 16th consecutive month with year-over-year declines

There were two more interesting comments made by Yun in the report:

“Inventory has been extremely tight all year and is unlikely to improve now that the seasonal decline in listings is about to kick in. Unfortunately, there won’t be much relief from new home construction, which continues to be grossly inadequate in relation to demand.”

In real estate, there is a guideline that often applies; when there is less than a 6-month supply of inventory available, we are in a seller’s market and we will see appreciation. Between 6-7 months is a neutral market, where prices will increase at the rate of inflation. More than a 7-month supply means we are in a buyer’s market and should expect depreciation in home values. As Yun notes, we are, and will remain, in a seller’s market with prices still increasing unless more listings come to the market. 

“There’s hope the leap in sales to first-time buyers can stick through the rest of the year and into next spring. The market fundamentals — primarily consistent job gains and affordable mortgage rates — are there for the steady rise in first-timers needed to finally reverse the decline in the homeownership rate.”

Takeaway: Inventory of homes for sale is still well below the 6-month supply needed for a normal market. Prices will continue to rise if a ‘sizable’ supply does not enter the market.

What the NAR Reports say

If you are going to sell, now may be the time to take advantage of the ready, willing, and able buyers that are still out looking for your house.

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Starting a Home Search? Know What You WANT vs. What You NEED

In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.

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If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or Pinterest,and start looking at the countless homes listed for sale with rose-colored glasses.

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Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen in order to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the man cave of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make or break now?

The first step in your home buying process should be to get pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a home that is way outside of it.

The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:

  • ‘Must Haves’ – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered. (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms)
  • ‘Should Haves’ – if the property hits all of the must haves and some of the should haves, it stays in contention, but does not need to have all of these features.
  • ‘Absolute Wish List’ – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must haves,’ most of the ‘should haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!

Know your “Needs” vs “Wants” before starting your home search.

Having this list flushed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration, while also letting your agent know what features are most important to you before starting to show you houses in your desired area.

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What to Expect When Having Your Home Inspection

So you made an offer, it was accepted, and now your next task is to schedule the home inspection prior to closing. More often than not, your agent may have made your offer contingent on a clean home inspection.

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This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price paid for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or even, in some cases, walk away. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.

How to Choose an Inspector

Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors that they have worked with in the past that they can recommend to you. Realtor.com suggests that you consider the following 5 areas when choosing the right home inspector for you:

  1. Qualifications – find out what’s included in your inspection & if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.
  2. Sample Reports – ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. The more detailed the report the better in most cases.
  3. References – do your homework – ask for phone numbers and names of past clients that you can call to ask about their experience.
  4. Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Often membership in one of these organizations means that there is continued training and education provided.
  5. Errors & Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human after all, and it is possible that they might miss something they should have seen.

Ask your inspector if it’s ok for you to tag along during the inspection. That way they can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed.

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Don’t be surprised to see your inspector climbing on the roof, crawling around in the attic, and on the floors. The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating & air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, the fireplace & chimney, the foundation and so much more!

Your due diligence pays off with a Home Inspection

They say ‘ignorance is bliss,’ but not when investing your hard-earned money in a home of your own. Work with a professional you can trust to give you the most information possible about your new home so that you can make the most educated decision about your purchase.

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Qualify for a Mortgage and have a FICO Score Under 750?

The results of countless studies have shown that potential home buyers, and even current homeowners, have an inflated view of what is really required to qualify for a mortgage in today’s market.

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One such study by the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, revealed that many Millennials have not yet considered purchasing a home, simply because they don’t believe they can qualify for a mortgage.

The article quoted Jessica Lautz, the National Association of Realtors’ Managing Director of Survey Research, as saying that there is a significant population that does not think they will be approved for a mortgage and doesn’t even try. The article also quoted Fannie Mae CEO Tim Mayopoulos: 

“I do think that there’s a sense out there in the marketplace among borrowers that credit may not be available, especially for people with lower credit scores.”

 

Ellie Mae’s Vice President, Jonas Moe recently encouraged buyers to know their options before assuming that they do not qualify for a mortgage:

“Many potential home buyers are ‘disqualifying’ themselves. You don’t need a 750 FICO Score and a 20% down payment to buy.”

So you want to qualify for a mortgage –  what credit score is necessary?

Below is a breakdown of the FICO Score Distribution of all closed (approved) loans in August from Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Report.

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Over 50% of all approved loans had a FICO Score under 750. Many potential home buyers believe that they need a score over 780 to qualify.

Want to qualify for a mortgage?

If owning a home of your own has always been a dream of yours and you are ready and willing to buy, find out if you are able to! Meet with a local real estate professional who can help you determine if your dreams can become a reality sooner than you thought!

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Listing Your Home? Don’t Overlook the Kitchen!

If you are planning on listing your home for sale, make sure that you don’t overlook the condition of your kitchen.

Listing Your Home

A recent article on realtor.com listed “7 Signs Your Kitchen Is Way Overdue for a Renovation,” in which they warned:

“Dated kitchens—just like bathrooms—are a major barrier for resale. Buyers want modern amenities and styling, and most aren’t interested in renovating post-purchase.”

Kitchen remodels can be pricey, with many complete remodels costing $20,000 or more. But not every kitchen needs a full remodel. There are many smaller projects that will help buyers see themselves trying their favorite Pinterest recipe in your home!

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Here are a couple of project ideas that, if you’re handy or know someone who is, could end up boosting your home’s value without breaking the bank:

  • Are the cabinets in good shape but need an update? A new coat of paint and some updated hardware will instantly freshen up the space and drastically change the feel of the room all for under $300.
  • A new backsplash to match the freshly painted cabinets updates the space and adds some style while staying under $200, depending on the size of the room.
  • If the kitchen seems dark, consider adding LED under cabinet lighting for around $40.
  • If replacing the countertops in the kitchen isn’t within your budget, consider using a top coat to cover the current countertops.

If you decide to complete a full remodel of your outdated kitchen, you can expect a 67% return on a $30,000 upgrade (the national median cost). The benefits of a kitchen remodel aren’t purely financial, according to Houselogic:

“Eighty-two percent of homeowners said their updated kitchen gave them a greater desire to be at home, and 95% were happy or satisfied with the result.”

What does this mean when listing your home?

Kitchens and bathrooms are often make or break for buyers when touring a home or searching through photo galleries online. Consult a local real estate professional who can help you identify which small projects could pay off big!

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1544 North Street-In the Core of Boulder

This contemporary home, located at 1544 North Street, showcases great views of Boulder’s Flatirons and Foothills without sacrificing privacy or comfort.

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Located in the coveted Boulder neighborhood of Sunset Hill, just two blocks from Ideal Marketplace – with it’s shopping, restaurants, coffee shops and more and a short six blocks from Boulder’s historic Pearl Street Mall, it’s located is highly sought after and a rare find.

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In 2006, the 2,880 square foot property was given a complete remodel. Some of the upgrades that you will see inside the home will be features such as an open-concept living with high end kitchen including a large island, granite countertops, Viking dual fuel stove/oven, ample custom cabinets & a stone-hearth fireplace.

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The spacious and inviting private front deck, with a double gas line for simultaneous gas grill and fire pit, plus the roof-top deck with uninterrupted views – are both perfect for entertaining and relaxing – enjoying the amazing Colorado sunshine.

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Attached to the property is an oversized two car garage, featuring a 200 square foot open space that can be used for an office, studio or simply extra storage space.

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Inside the Master Bedroom Suite, you’ll find a 5-piece master en-suite featuring Travertine tile and three walk in bedroom closets.  The huge open windows let the natural light in while the mature landscaping keep it private.

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1544 North Street is truly a rare gem of a property in the core of  beautiful and historic Boulder, Colorado!

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1544 North Street in Boulder is exclusively offered by Tim Goodacre, Goodacre & Company, at $1,550,000

For a private showing or more information contact Tim at 303-817-9300 or email him here.

For Floor Plans, click here

For more information on this listing, click here

To read more about Goodacre & Company

To read more about Tim Goodacre

 

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Two Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers

Fannie Mae’s “What do consumers know about the Mortgage Qualification Criteria?” Study revealed that Americans are misinformed about what is required to qualify for a mortgage when purchasing a home and these two myths may be holding buyers back.

two myths

Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”

The first of two myths is Fannie Mae’s survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 76% of Americans either don’t know (40%) or are misinformed (36%) about the minimum down payment required.

Many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home. New programs actually let buyers put down as little as 3%.

Below are the results of a Digital Risk survey of Millennials who recently purchased a home.

2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers | Keeping Current Matters

As you can see, 64.2% were able to purchase their home by putting down less than 20%, with 43.8% putting down less than 10%!

Myth #2: “I need a 780 FICO Score or Higher to Buy”

The survey revealed that 59% of Americans either don’t know (54%) or are misinformed (5%) about what FICO score is necessary to qualify.

Many Americans believe a ‘good’ credit score is 780 or higher.

To help debunk this myth, let’s take a look at the latest Ellie Mae Origination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans. As you can see below, 54.1% of approved mortgages had a credit score of 600-749.

2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers | Keeping Current Matters

What this means to a Home Buyer

Whether buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, knowing your options will definitely make the mortgage process easier. Your dream home may already be within your reach.

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Ready to Make an Offer? 4 Tips for Success

So you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home’, you finally found one and now you’re ready to make an offer!  We’ve got 4 tips to help you make your offer a success.

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The price is right, and in such a competitive market you want to make sure you make a good offer so that you can guarantee your dream of making this house yours comes true!

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

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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’ really should take place before you start your home search process, and certainly before you make an offer!

As we’ve mentioned before, 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).

make-offer

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.”

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report, the inventory of homes for sale is currently at a 4.7-month supply. This is 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 home.

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.

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3. Make an Offer – A Solid One!

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.” 

Consider ways of making your offer stand out! Many buyers write a personal letter to the seller letting them know how much they would love to be the new homeowners. Your agent will be able to help you figure out if there are any other ways your offer could stand above the rest.

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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 inspection uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can typically re-negotiate the terms or cancel the contract.”

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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. Happy House Hunting!



 

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The Cost of NOT Owning Your Home

You’re aware that owning your home has great financial benefits but do you know the real cost of not owning your home?

owning your home

Because of this, more and more experts are growing concerned about the ramifications of a falling homeownership rate. Today, let’s look at the financial reasons why owning a home of your own has been a part of the American Dream for as long as America has existed.

Child holding house in hands outdoors

The outcomes of a falling homeownership rate can be devastating. As explained by ApartmentList.com:

“Our research indicates that not owning a home has a sizable financial cost, as renters miss out on low mortgage rates and are hit by higher rents. 

This phenomenon may exacerbate inequality in our society, as those wealthy enough to invest in real estate benefit from lower interest rates, whereas minorities and younger Americans, hit by rising rents and student debt, risk being locked out of homeownership.”

What proof exists that owning your home is financially better than renting?

1. A study published by the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University shows the financial benefits of homeownershipThe study mentions five major financial benefits:

House XXL

  • Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available
  • You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent
  • Owning is usually a form of “forced savings”
  • There are substantial tax benefits to owning
  • Owning is a hedge against inflation

2. Studies have shown that homeowners have a net worth that is 45X greater than that of a renter.

3. Just last month, we explained that a family buying an average priced home this past January could build more than $46,000 in family wealth over the next five years. 

Owning a home has always been, and will always be better from a financial standpoint than renting.



 

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10649 E Goose Haven Drive in Lafayette

Welcome to the luxurious lake-front estate at 10649 E Goose Haven Drive in Lafayette’s coveted Goose Haven Estates neighborhood.

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Colorado’s amazing back range views are enjoyed from the lake front beach area to the stone covered back patio with fireplace as well as throughout the inside of the estate from many of the rooms.

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Goose Haven hosts a beautiful private neighborhood lake where you and your guests will enjoy swimming, fishing, paddle boarding and fires with amazing views of Long’s Peak and Colorado’s Front Range.

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Hosting four bedrooms and four bathrooms all within just under 5,200 square feet, this estate features enough room for 4-car parking, upgraded counters, whole house vacuum, security system and more all with a sophisticated style throughout.

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In the large, open, gourmet kitchen you’ll find high-end appliances and solid counters with a beautiful view outside the large windows.  The bright and open floor plan boasts dramatic lake and mountain views from many rooms.

 

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The home at 10649 E Goose Haven Drive is a beautiful, private location on a 40,946 square foot lot just minutes from Gunbarrel, Boulder, great schools, and easy access to I-25, E-470.

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Listed by Bill and Tim Goodacre for $1,298,000

For more Listing Information, click here

For Floor Plans of the property, click here



 

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4260 Wild Horse Drive, Broomfield, Colorado

At 4260 Wild Horse Drive in Broomfield you live where you play!

4260 Wild Horse Drive

This luxurious Montana model is located in the 55+ Anthem Ranch Community in Broomfield, Colorado.  Built in 2015 on a premier lot, this property backs to open space with outstanding and upobstructed mountain views.

4260 Wild Horse Drive

A customized home offering upgrades throughout.  A few upgrades at 4260 Wild Horse Drive are hardwood floors throughout, gourmet kitchen with center island divided with a 2-sided fireplace to the light filled formal dining room.  The kitchen overlooks the expansive great room with triple sliding glass door opening to the covered deck.

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You will enjoy a private study and luxurious master suite with en-suite and walk-in closet.  There is an additional junior suite for guests.  The layout of the home is perfect for entertaining with it’s open floor plan and surround sound system.

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4260 Wild Horse Drive features a 3-car attached garage and the landscaping is and easy care yard. You’ll enjoy the outdoor spacious feeling backing to trails, parks and natural landscaping.

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The walk-out basement, that is fully heated and air conditioned, is ready for your finishes or leave it as is for plenty of storage, additional entertaining space and more.

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At 4260Wild Horse Drive you will have access to the Aspen Lodge Community Center.  So many amenities at the Center such as two pools, one indoor and one outdoor, hot tub, library, meeting rooms, state of the art exercise facility and equipment, many clubs and activities to join if you so desire there is always something to do at the Anthem Ranch.

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Now is your turn to enjoy this beautiful property with it’s over 49 miles of open space trails and beautiful mountain views throughout the community.  Please call our office for your private showing of this amazing property.

 

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Offered by Firuzeh Saidi

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5 Stats-The Housing Market Is Getting Stronger

Whenever there is talk about an improving housing market, some begin to show concern that we may be headed toward another housing bubble that will be followed by a crash similar to the one we saw last decade.

5225 Niwot Road

Here are five data points that show the housing market will continue to recover, and that a new housing crisis is not about to take shape.

1) Mortgage availability is increasing, but is nowhere near the levels we saw in 2004-2006.

A buyer’s chances of being approved for a mortgage have increased over the last three years; That’s good news for the housing market. This is not a precursor to another challenge, as many experts maintain that it is still too difficult for many buyers to attain house financing.

As Jonathan Smoke, the Chief Economist of realtor.com, recently explained:

“The havoc during the last cycle was the result…of speculation fueled by loose credit. That’s the exact opposite of what we have today.”

 

House XXL

House XXL

2) The Housing Affordability Index, which measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home, based on the most recent price and income data. The current index shows that it is more affordable to buy a home today than at any other time between 1990 and 2008. With median incomes finally beginning to rise, houses should continue to remain affordable and housing demand should remain strong.

3) Home prices are well within historic norms. Prices have increased substantially over the last several years; However, those increases followed the housing market crash of 2008 and national prices are still not back to 2006 levels. If there were no bubble (and subsequent bust), today’s prices would actually be lower than if they were measured by historic appreciation levels from 1987-1999.

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4) Demand for housing, as measured by new household formations, is growing. The Urban Land Institute projects that 5.95 million new households will be formed over the next three years. Even if the homeownership rate drops to 60%, that would be over 3.5 million new homeowners entering the market.

5) New home starts are finally beginning to increase. This helps eliminate the number one challenge in the industry – lack of inventory. And it does so in two ways:

  1. Some first time buyers will, in fact, purchase a newly constructed home.
  2. Many current homeowners will move-up (or move-down) to a new construction and then put their current home on the market.

This means that there will be an increase in both new construction and existing home inventories.



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4551 Prado Drive in Boulder, CO

Welcome to 4551 Prado Drive in beautiful Boulder, Colorado.

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This amazing estate was completely rebuilt .  With sweeping views of Boulder’s own Flatirons and located on a premier lot in Eldorado Springs, this property boasts 400 feet of South Boulder Creek frontage.

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4551 Prado Drive is a custom home takes advantage from all angles of the most creek footage in the neighborhood.

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With a quiet picnic “beach” to a hidden away hammock, it’s serenity becomes your oasis day in and day out.

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The landscaping has been redesigned with custom retaining walls, sturdy rock walls, berms and stone steps.

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The patios are flagstone and patterned.

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At 4551 Prado Drive, you’ll enjoy the lighted outside spaces with numerous patios and a fire pit to use year around

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The property features over 300 trees, shrubs and perennial flowers and unobstructed views and mature landscaping surrounding the property.

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Detached from the main house 4551 Prado Drive also houses an oversized garage with 393 square foot office/guest suite and a full bath.

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They’ve thought of everything with this rebuild, down to the new septic and well cistern.

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Inside you’ll find custom finishes throughout the over 3,100 square feet main house with solid stone counters, tiled and wood flooring.

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Listed by Tim Goodacre

For your private showing, please call the office at 303-449-3434 or Tim directly at 303-817-9300



 

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To-Dos: Your October Home Checklist

Your October Home Checklist is full of things for you to do to get your home ready for more time spent indoors

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The leaves are falling, the farmer’s markets are bustling and the cozy comforts of home beckon — it must be October. Make the most of this month’s bountiful harvest, get some exercise raking leaves in the brisk air and button down your house in preparation for winter. Then sit back, relax and warm your hands around a mug of hot apple cider. Fall is here and so is your October Home Checklist!

1. Rake leaves. To make quicker work of collecting leaves from a large lawn, rake the fallen foliage onto a large plastic tarp. Then bag it or add it to your compost pile.

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2. Trim dead tree limbs. Dead limbs are more likely to fall during winter storms, making them a potential safety hazard. Have an arborist inspect and trim large trees.

3. If you haven’t already, clean gutters and downspouts. Wait until most of the leaves have fallen to schedule a rain gutter cleaning. Inspect gutters and downspouts for cracks and loose parts and make repairs as needed. It’s Time to Clean Your Gutters — Here’s How

4. Neaten up the mudroom. The back-to-school (and work) flurry can leave the mudroom looking as if a hurricane hit it. Take some time to regain sanity — sort through papers and put away stray summer items and extra coats. Clean the floors and invest in a new doormat if needed. Keep a recycling basket near the entrance to make sorting mail and school papers easier, and dedicate a tote or bin for items that need to be returned (like library books).

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5. Keep seasonal decorating low-key with natural finds. Pumpkins and gourds, fresh heirloom apples, quinces, pomegranates, figs and fall foliage all make wonderfully simple decor.

Bring in cut branches from your yard, stop by a pick-your-own farm or scoop up fall’s bounty at a farm stand.

6. Maintain your wood stove or fireplace. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, it’s essential for safety that you have it serviced before lighting the first fire of the season. If you haven’t done so already, schedule an appointment to have your chimney inspected and, if necessary, cleaned.

7. Check safety devices. Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the house and replace batteries as needed. Check the expiration date on the kitchen fire extinguisher and replace it if needed.

8. Start a gift list. It may seem like the holidays are a long way off – and for your October Home Checklist, this might sound off — but that’s why it pays to start getting organized now. Start a list of everyone you plan to give gifts to this year. Then, as ideas strike, jot them down on your list. You can also use your list to keep track of a holiday gifting budget. And if you want to make any gifts by hand, October is a great time to get started — handmade gifts always seem to take longer to make than expected.

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9. Cover or store outdoor furniture and grills. If you plan to leave your patio furniture or grill outside through the fall and winter, cover them well and stow them beneath an overhang that will protect them from rain and snow. Even if you live in a mild climate, covering your grill between uses is a good idea to protect the finish.

10. Shut off exterior faucets and store hoses for winter.   An important item on your October Home Checklist is to disonnect, drain and roll hoses before storing them for the winter. Shut off the water supply to exterior faucets to prevent frozen pipes.

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shared from an article written by Laura Gaskell – Houzz Contributor

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Contemporary Farmhouse-5225 Niwot Road

Welcome to 5225 Niwot Road in Boulder County.  This contemporary farmhouse sits atop  20 lush acres, backs to Left Hand Creek and boasts an array of amenities you may not of even thought possible.

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From each angle of the property you will enjoy amazing views of Haystack Mountain and the Flatirons.  This home is truly a one of a kind masterpiece. A modern estate that has been completely rebuilt and located just minutes from Boulder.

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Spacious bright design, main level master suite, pool, pool house, tennis court, lighted hockey/sport court, amongst other amenities are waiting your arrival at 5225 Niwot Road in Boulder County.

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Reclaimed Wyoming Snow fence siding, reclaimed beams, mixed hardwood flooring, soaring ceilings, 2+car attached garage, carport studio, barn and so much more!

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A gorgeous property with every amenity imaginable.

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10 acre sub irrigated grass hay and alfalfa pasture, post-tensioned outdoor lighted recreation court/ice skating rink,

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Lee Renner designed tennis court, flower and vegetable gardens, extensive mature landscaping, flatiron views, seasonal stream runs through property, abuts Haystack Mountain private open space.

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The home itself houses 4 bedrooms and 5 baths all within 5,661 square feet.

The property as a whole is 19.94 acres.

Contact Tim Goodacre for your private showing today

303-817-9300

tim@goodacreproperties.com



 

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What Paint Colors Make a Room Look Bigger?

 

Most people crave spacious homes with amazing paint colors. But, sadly, the reality is often quite different.

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The good news: If your bedroom or office feels cramped, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to start knocking down walls or building additions to create a more open, airy ambiance. We have some answers!

A room’s size, after all, is as much a matter of perception as it is the nitty-gritty square footage. One easy way to create the illusion of space is to carefully choose the paint colors you slap on those walls.

Read on to learn what colors make a room look bigger, and get to it!

White Paint Colors

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Designers love covering a tiny room in white paint colors, which promises to make even the smallest spaces feel a bit more grand. Because white reflects light, the room will feel brighter and more open. Plus, white walls give homeowners unlimited freedom to decorate (or even pick a fun, bright accent wall).

“White will make any room appear bigger and complement the natural lighting,” says Than Merrill, a real estate investor and host of A&E’s “Flip This House.”

Yellow Paint Colors

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White isn’t the only color that reflects light: Yellow paint colors can have the same space-enhancing effect. In fact, neutral yellow creates a softer alternative to white. Just make sure you’re not going too yellow. Consider combining your citrus shade with white accents, like beadboard or trim, to add dimension to the room. Just keep the yellow creamy and soft—think banana or dandelion, not neon. Oversaturation is a real concern.

Cool blue and green paint colors

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Blue and green paint colors can also impart brightness and depth. Our brains perceive these “cool” colors as receding, or being further away, creating the illusion of distance. Consider a sea-foam green or a soft, calming teal. Painting the molding and baseboards white will add clarity and dimension to your colorful space.

Gray Paint Colors

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If white doesn’t strike your fancy but you still want a neutral palette (which, in addition to helping impart the perception of size, is also recommended for home staging), consider covering your walls in gray. Look for a gentle, calming shade that reminds you of soft summer clouds. Like white and yellow, it bounces light around the room to expand the space. But, unlike white, there’s no glare.

Deep jewel tones

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While it might seem counterintuitive, dark, jewel-toned walls don’t have to feel confining. Consider rich, dynamic colors such as sapphire, emerald, or amethyst. Deep colors give the room a cavernous feel, softening sharp corners and blending the walls. This is especially effective in making extra-small rooms, like bathrooms, feel private and secluded. Just keep in mind that going dark can be a risky proposition: The wrong undertone or sheen could send your room wildly off balance (terms such as “cavelike” or “forbidding” come to mind). Consult a paint expert to help you choose the right color.

Monochromatic schemes

Front Room

If you choose a lighter, softer color (like white, gray, or yellow), consider using a monochromatic scheme throughout the entire space. Choose rugs, furniture, and accents in similar shades—like a patterned rug in white and light gray. This creates a minimalist, clean look that makes the entire space feel larger. And that was the whole point, right?


Jamie Wiebe has written about home design and real estate for House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Veranda, and more. She loves vintage furniture, collecting fluffy blankets, and DIY-ing everything.  Follow @jamiewiebe



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Moving? Here’s How to Downsize Your Stuff Without Losing Your Mind

Buying and moving into a new home is stressful enough. When you start thinking about how to transport all of your endless stuff, it’s no wonder you might fall into anxiety overload. But there is one tried-and-true way to make your move less miserable: downsizing.

Front Room

 

Granted, sorting things to toss or donate can be a headache in itself. But trust us: It is so worth it. After all, there’s a bit of the hoarder in everyone (sometimes more than a bit), and moving is the perfect opportunity to pare down your possessions. Plus, when you’re paying movers by the hour, fewer boxes means a smaller bill.

Sound good? OK, here’s your seven-step guide to purging before you pack.

1. When moving consider your new space

Whether you’re downsizing or upgrading your square footage, keep in mind what will and won’t fit in your new pad—and we’re talking style as well as size. Don’t keep all of your ratty den furniture if you’ll have only a formal living room, and consider ditching the china cabinet if you’re losing dining space.

And don’t just plan to put oversized pieces in storage until the day you have a bigger home. Unless they’re heirlooms or antiques, or have sentimental value, you’ll probably never think of them again.

“Ask yourself if you are willing to pay to store” anything that won’t fit, says Michelle Hale, the co-owner of New York City‘s home organization service Henry & Higby. “If not, it’s probably best to cut ties.”

2. Dig through the closets before moving

No one will be surprised if future scientists discover that every closet hides a secret wormhole to another dimension. Somehow, it absorbs all your secret junk—and still has enough room for more and more stuff to be thrown in it. Step No.1 for a pre-move downsizing: Sort through that terrifying mess.

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“Take a long, hard look at your clothing and closets to see what you can throw out or donate,” Hale says.

She recommends following the “two-season rule” and ditching any clothing item you haven’t worn in two seasons (six months) or more (“with some sentimental exceptions”).

3. Ditch old kids’ clothes

Go through your children’s closets with the same discerning eye. In fact—because kids grow so darn-tootin’ fast—take an even more critical look.

“Make sure to only move clothing that fits,” Hale says. Donate anything that’s gently used, or give the items to friends or relatives who might need them, because babies=expensive, y’all.

If your kid happens to hit a growth spurt right before you move, consider that a blessing and pare down his closet to the barest of essentials. You’ll be buying new clothes, anyway. Save yourself a box.

4. Sift through old electronics

We all have a few skeletons in the closet. For most of us, those skeletons are broken electronics. Whether they’re old laptops, cracked cellphones, or numerous micro-USB chargers, those suckers need to head to the slaughterhouse. (Don’t just toss these guys in the dumpster, though; there are electronics recycling programs you can use instead.)

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There’s one exception, Hale says: Unique chargers or cables whose pair you can’t identify. Maybe they’re for your kid’s 3DS game console or that old digital camera.

“Put it in a box for the duration of the packing process,” Hale says. “Better [to be] safe than sorry should you find a match for it in another part of the house.”

5. Sort, sort, sort

Go through each room of your house, from least-used to most-trafficked, and sort each and every item you see. Divide them into three piles: keepdonate, and toss.

Having trouble choosing the correct designation? Take a cue from Marie Kondo and ask yourself, “Does it bring me joy?” If the answer is a true, honest-to-God yes, add it to the keep pile. Otherwise, it’s time to say goodbye.

“We would never recommend throwing out everything unless you have the means to completely outfit your new home, but getting rid of those items will make your new house a happier space,” Hale says.

Once you have the donate and toss piles in order, deal with them immediately. The longer they sit, the more likely you are to put junk into your moving boxes. You’ve already said adios once—don’t force yourself to say it again.

6. Ditch the duplicates

Unless you’re holding onto something for sentimental reasons, now’s the time to get rid of doubles. Two wine holders? Multiple printers? Six table lamps when you need only three? Choose your favorites and say sayonara to the rest.

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7. Create an ‘open first box’ for after all the moving is over

Hale’s last rule of downsizing keeps things smooth when it comes time to unpack: Create an “open first box,” complete with toilet paper, lightbulbs, toiletries, basic cleaning supplies, and bed sheets. This genius idea keeps you from having to dig through every box to fill your basic needs on your first night in your new place—just open, kick back, and relax. Just make sure to label it clearly and instruct your movers to leave it somewhere obvious.

“It will help you get through that first night with a little less stress,” Hale says.


Jamie Wiebe has written about home design and real estate for House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Veranda, and more. She loves vintage furniture, collecting fluffy blankets, and DIY-ing everything.  Follow @jamiewiebe



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9 Home Buying Myths You Need to Stop Believing Immediately

So you think you’re finally ready to make the jump from renter to homeowner? Awesome! In this exciting but admittedly scary time, you might be inclined to turn to friends and family for advice—especially if they own homes. Just make sure you’re not scared in the these 9 home buying myths!

Dusk Patio

But beware, dear home buyer of the future: Those close to you might not be the experts you think they are. You could be heeding bad (albeit well-intentioned) advice without even knowing it.

So we’re here to bust the most common home buying myths so you can do this thing the right way. Because this is what we do.

Home Buying Myth No. 1: The first step is looking for a house

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Perhaps you just want to get a feel for the area. You know, have something in mind before you sit down with a Realtor®. I mean, you’re not really looking yet, right?

Stop right there. Even if you think you’re just browsing, you run the risk of setting your heart on something, only to have it broken.

“A buyer might be viewing homes that are in a higher or lower price range than what they are qualified for,” says Connie Antoniou, a broker associate in Barrington, IL.

Browsing is always fun, but when it comes to serious home-buying work, you need to make sure your credit is in top-notch shape before you get started for real. Also, don’t forget to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you embark on your home-buying journey. This will determine what your budget is.

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Home Buying Myth No. 2: A 30-year mortgage is the best option

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If you think that the longer you agree to invest in your home, the cheaper the mortgage payments will be, think again.

Most people opt for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and for valid reason: Monthly payments for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage are lower than its 15-year counterpart.

But consider this: You could end up paying more during the life of the loan if you pick the 30-year option instead of the 15-year mortgage. That’s because essentially, with a 30-year loan, you’re borrowing the same amount of money for twice as long—at a higher interest rate.

“If you have $1,000, would you rather put that toward your monthly payment for your house or is there a better place for your money?” asks Samantha DeBianchi, Realtor and founder of DeBianchi Realty in Florida. “If you’re more focused on paying down the house versus the interest, a 15-year option is great.”

No, we’re not saying the 30-year option is a bad one. But keep an open mind toward other loan plans, including an adjustable-rate mortgage. If you aren’t set on staying in your home for the long haul, this could be an ideal mortgage for you.

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Home Buying Myth No. 3: Your down payment must be 20%

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Sure, a 20% down payment is ideal if you want to avoid that pesky private mortgage insurance otherwise known as PMI. But many lenders will be glad to offer up home loans with 10% or 5% down—as long as you’re willing to foot the monthly bill for PMI. Or you can skip the conventional loan and head to the Federal Housing Administration for a government-backed loan with only 3.5% down, if you qualify.

In fact, there are thousands of options for down payment assistance. And while many programs are geared toward low-income home buyers, you don’t have to be destitute. There are lots of different ways you can qualify for help on the local or federal level.

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Home Buying Myth No. 4: The only up-front cost is a down payment

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As if! For one thing, the seller might determine you’re responsible for closing costs, which can be anywhere from 3% to 6% of the purchase price—and those costs can change drastically depending on your state. And don’t forget the slew of fees, taxes, and other costs for inspections, credit reports, insurance, among others.

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Home Buying Myth No. 5: You can’t buy with bad credit

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If you’re looking to get a conventional loan, having bad credit might give you a full stop. But FHA loans require only a 3.5% down payment and borrowers with low credit scores—even under 600—can qualify. Keep in mind, though, that FHA loans may look great at first, but they definitely aren’t for everyone.

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Home Buying Myth No. 6: You don’t need a home inspection

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You might be tempted to believe this tall tale, especially if your housing market is hot and you’re worried your dream home could be sold in a split second to someone else who waives the home inspection.

But beware: Sellers are banking on your skipping this crucial step. It means you’ll get the home as is, including any and all problems that come with it. And sometimes those problems aren’t exactly visible.

“Just spend the money for a really thorough inspection, because in the long run it can save you a lot of money and time,” DeBianchi says.

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Home Buying Myth No. 7: The asking price is set in stone

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Much like buying a car, the offer you make on a house does not need to be the asking price. If you have stellar credit, pre-approval, and a down payment ready to go, sellers might be more willing to negotiate than to wait for another, possibly less awesome, buyer to come around.

Plus, if your home inspection (you know—the one you got because you’re smart) turns up issues, you can use those to your advantage in your negotiations.

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Home Buying Myth No. 8: You don’t need an agent

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You might think you can do this home-buying thing solo. After all, isn’t that what the internet is for?

This is where we tell you to resist the urge to DIY your first home purchase and call a Realtor instead. They’re pros who bring expertise to the table—everything from negotiating chops to turbocharged searching power (yes, they have tools to see stuff you can’t). Trust us: They know more than you do.

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Home Buying Myth No. 9: Schools don’t matter if you don’t have kids

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We get it: You love the house, it’s in your price range, and you want to move fast. But there’s more to it than that.

The neighborhood you choose matters—both now and later when you might consider selling. Even if you don’t have children, good schools are a sign of a good neighborhood. Also, check out the area’s walkability, your commute to work, and any other features that would make the hood a good fit for your lifestyle—now and a decade from now.


Dori Zinn writes about home buying, selling, and finance for realtor.com. Her work has also appeared in Money Talks News, Debt.com, and Quartz.  Follow @dorizinn



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1175 Linden Avenue-Lovely North Boulder

Welcome to 1175 Linden Avenue.  Beautiful North Boulder remodel with Flatirons and Foothills views on a private third acre with mature landscaping.

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1175 Linden Avenue – Goodacre & Company

In the back yard you will find the handsomely landscaped yard complete with spacious patio covered with redwood pergola and hot tub set to the side.  In addition to all the entertaining and relaxing space, there are lovely terraced garden beds.

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The home has been completely remodeled to create the ideal open and spacious floor plan – ideal for family enjoyment and entertaining alike.

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A gourmet’s kitchen overlooks the backyard with wood flooring, solid grant countertops and stainless steel appliances.

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Master bedroom with modern ceiling fan, wood flooring and large, bright windows to let the sun shine in!

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Master bedroom ensuite with designer tub, 2 shower head glass enclosed shower and solid stone counters – plus separated double sinks.

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Huge basement with daylight windows and laundry space with room to expand to your liking

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The location of 1175 Linden Avenue is perfect for those staying local and commuting.  Easily accessible to downtown Boulder, US36, I-25 and 119.  You will also enjoy Boulder’s amazing trail system within walking distance.  Sainitas north trail access is just up the street as is Wonderland Lake.  Schools are nearby, as are shops, grocery and restaurants.

Take an interactive tour here or give us a call for your own private showing.

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Real Estate Titles Explained: Agent, Broker, REALTOR®

If you’re entering the real estate market for the first time, you may find Real Estate Titles a little confusing and vary a lot. Sometimes consumers use these titles interchangeably, but there are some important differences between the roles of the various professionals, as well as different requirements for using particular titles.  

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Professional Real Estate Titles

The real estate profession is regulated by state governments, which have different requirements for earning a license. In general, though, the titles you may come across include:

  • Real estate agent: Anyone who earns a real estate license can be called a real estate agent, whether that license is as a sales professional, an associate broker or a broker. State requirements vary, but in all states you must take a minimum number of classes and pass a test to earn your license.
  • REALTOR®: A real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, which means that he or she must uphold the standards of the association and its code of ethics.
  • Real estate broker: A person who has taken education beyond the agent level as required by state laws and has passed a broker’s license exam. Brokers can work alone or they can hire agents to work for them.
  • Real estate salesperson: Another name for a real estate agent.
  • Real estate associate broker: Someone who has taken additional education classes and earned a broker’s license but chooses to work under the management of a broker.

Working With a Real Estate Professional

While you are more likely to work directly with a real estate salesperson or an associate broker, some brokers provide services for buyers and sellers themselves. If you have hired a real estate agent to help you buy or sell a home, that agent typically reports to a broker. The broker handles the earnest money deposit and establishes the escrow account.

In addition, the broker bears responsibility for the actions of the real estate agents under his or her supervision. While the majority of real estate transactions go through without any glitches, a broker will step in if there are any problems with your home purchase or sale.

If you are unhappy with your real estate agent and cannot resolve the issues directly, your next step should be to talk with the broker to ask for help and perhaps another agent for you to consult.  Knowing the differences in Real Estate titles will go a long way.

Experience and Education

Real estate brokers not only have higher education requirements than real estate salespersons, they also must have experience working as an agent. For example, in Virginia the license requirements are as follows:

  • A salesperson must take 60 hours of classes and pass an exam with both state and national sections.
  • A broker must take 180 hours of broker-specific classes, pass an exam with both state and national sections, and have actively worked as a real estate salesperson for 36 of the previous 48 months.

When you are looking for a real estate professional, it is wise to work with a member of the National Association of REALTORS® who is committed to maintaining the professionalism of the real estate business. You can choose to work with a salesperson or a broker, but in any case you should take the time to interview your agent and ask for references.

If you want to work with someone new to the profession, you may want to ask to meet the broker as well so you can feel comfortable that someone with experience will be representing your interests and be certain you understand the various Real Estate Titles in the business.


Michele Lerner writes about real estate, personal finance, and business news. She is the author of two books about home buying. She also enjoys writing fiction, visiting art museums, and tutoring kids.  Follow @mvlerner



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Turn a Boring Kitchen Into a Gourmet Fantasy

If you had $45,000 and the help of an expert designer, exactly how dreamy could your kitchen be?

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That’s what realtor.com® set out to discover when we offered a lucky homeowner the opportunity to make over the room of their choice with our “Get This Look” Dream Room Giveaway (co-sponsored by Bankrate.com). The contest drew more than 100,000 entries from across the country, and Lillian and Kerry Lightner of Greenville, SC, were selected at random as the winners.

Get This Look: A Dream Kitchen Makeover

At first blush, the Lightners’ “new traditionalist” home is lovely and functional. But there was one room that was bugging Lillian and Kerry ever since they’d moved in: the kitchen. It was just … white. White melamine cabinets, white formica countertops, white dated appliances—even white cabinet knobs. Although white can be fresh and modern in a kitchen, there wasn’t anything that felt fresh about this space.

It was bland. And it certainly didn’t meet the needs of Lillian, who’s an avid cook and entertainer.

That’s where I came in. As a nationally renowned interior designer responsible for hundreds of home makeovers across the country (and on TV!), I know what it takes to transform a bland room into a dramatic yet cozy space to create inspired living. And this kitchen needed that flair—something with a touch of color, something that’s modern but with a nod to tradition, and a floor plan for maximum entertaining, storage and cooking.

The Lightners' kitchen before the makeover.
The Lightners’ kitchen before our “Get This Look” makeover

Kitchen remodels are never cheap. But they do provide one of the most valuable returns on investment of any home improvement project. And even if you don’t have the budget for a total makeover, you could take a few cues from what we did—changing up your lighting, adding some colorful accents, or just switching out your appliances can make things feel fresher.

Yes, we spent 45 grand ($9 less, actually!). But you don’t have to. Here’s how to get the look of our dream kitchen.

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Floor plan

When you first look at the Lightners’ kitchen, it’s hard not to notice the big, bulky built-in desk unit that went unused and took up valuable floor space. My first step was to get rid of it altogether. By leaving that wall open, I now had more room to build a huge island that would provide cooking, serving, and seating space. This jumbo island would now be large enough for a slide-in stainless-steel range with pop-up hood for “downdraft ventilation.”

On the sink wall, I removed the unnecessary soffit above the sink, which made the head space feel cramped. That change would make the ceiling feel taller, and offer an opportunity for a great lighting feature directly above the sink.

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Appliances

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This combo appliance unit offered a great deal, and way more cooking power for Lillian.

Other Vision Studios, Inc.

To make room for new appliances, we did away with the counter space on the rear wall of the kitchen (the jumbo island satisfied that need, anyway) and added a stainless-steel wall oven/microwave combo unit. These double units can be upward of $5,000, but I got an awesome combo for under $2,000 from Build.com. On the same wall, I added a new counter-depth stainless-steel french door refrigerator, which wouldn’t cramp the floor space the way the old standard-depth refrigerator did.

A high-end gourmet range with a built-in ventilation system can cost a small fortune, but I found a great deal on a perfect one from Kitchen Aid.

And finally, we put in a new granite composite sink. Before, the cramped sink and discount faucet made cleanup a challenge.  Now, the new sink offers much more space and stain resistance. Although a pro-quality faucet can easily cost over $800, I got this great one from Delta for around $200.

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Cabinetry

One of the biggest changes was the cabinetry. I suggested building Shaker-style cabinetsin a two-tone finish: a bright white-painted finish on the tall and upper cabinets, then a rich gray on the base and island cabinets. I found the perfect gray paint in “Anonymous” by Behr. I also selected crown molding at the top of the cabinets and furniture feet for the base cabinets. Furniture feet are an elegant custom touch that are easy to add to existing cabinetry—and they start at only $8 each.

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Lighting

These unique chandeliers gave the room the "wow" factor that the Lightners craved.
These unique chandeliers gave the room the modern elegance that the Lightners craved.

There were a few touches that I knew would provide that “wow” factor Lillian wanted, like these oversize chandeliers above the island. A chandelier can be quite costly, but I found these dramatic fixtures for under $400 at Wayfair.com. (The team also added recessed LED ceiling lights for some extra glow.)

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Flooring

New wood flooring can cost $10 to $20 per square foot installed, but sanding and re-staining the floors a rich walnut hue cost only about $1 per square foot and made the old wood look new.

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Backsplash and counters

This teal backsplash provides a necessary pop of color.
This teal backsplash provides a necessary pop of color.

One of my favorite design tips is to add an unexpected pop of color to give a custom feel to a space. Lillian is passionate about teal—it was the color of her bridesmaids’ dresses, it’s featured in other areas of her home, and I knew it would make the perfect accent hue for her backsplash. Walker Zanger has a gorgeous peacock crackle subway tile that was just what Lillian was dreaming of.

For the counters, I chose a quartz composite; it has the look of marble, but the durability and stain/heat resistance of a solid surface. A counter like Silestone’s “Lyra” is definitely one of the pricier items at around $60 per square foot installed, but worth the investment as it can last a lifetime.

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Of course, I didn’t do all of this alone. I enlisted the help of Daniel Jachens and his company Daniel Builders, a South Carolina construction outfit that has extensive experience with kitchen remodels. After they ripped out the old kitchen, they installed the new appliances and plumbing fixtures, and painted the walls a light silver to offset our gray and white cabinets. Construction had a few minor hiccups along the way (as all projects do), but the team stayed on time and on budget.

Finally, it was time for a few finishing touches: a window bench, side table, artwork, and accessories. These pieces are vital to making a space feel complete, but they don’t have to be expensive. I found everything at Home Goods for under $400.

In the end, we came in under budget, and created a dramatic but timeless look for Lillian and Kerry which they can enjoy for years to come.

The Lightners' brand new kitchen.
The Lightners’ brand-new kitchen

Interior designer and TV host Jennifer Farrell has starred in “Home Made Simple” on OWN; “My Celebrity Home” on Style Network; “Find & Design” and “The Big Fix” on A&E; “Renovate My Family” on Fox; and “Merge” on Lifetime. Her work has appeared in Entertainment Weekly, House & Garden, and Redbook. The Jennifer Farrell Collection has been in 1,400 stores nationwide.  Follow @jfarrelldesigns



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1035 5th Street – The Glass House

This striking contemporary home, located in Boulder, Colorado at 1035 5th Street, was designed by award-winning New York Architect, Thomas Phifer.

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Flatiron views from 1025 5th Street, Boulder, CO

The Glass House has a stunning 3 levels of pure luxury and offers the absolute best that Boulder has to offer.

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Stunning City Views at 1035 5th Street, Boulder, CO

With it’s 360 degree view from all angles of the home to it’s completely private setting overlooking the City of Boulder, you’ll find to your amazement just why we love our coveted Open Space.

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Views overlooking Boulder’s Open Space at 1035 5th Street

Inside you will be engulfed with natural light throughout in over 5,000 square feet of living spaces.

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Operational skylight above kitchen at 103 5th Street

The 11 foot ceilings allow the natural beauty of it’s surroundings to come indoors.

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With the 15 x 12 foot operable skylight on the top floor to the translucent etched glass walls, you can’t escape the comfort and luxury that is 1035 5th Street.

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On the ground floor you will find an specifically designed art gallery, complete with a 35 foot open space spanning from the ground to the top third floor.

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Enjoy radiant heat floors, passive solar, custom built-in throughout, a dramatic staircase and more

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see the Listing Details here

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see the Floor Plans here

1035-5th-LR view night

see a List of Features here

Contact Goodacre & Company for your private showing today.



 

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2056 Mapleton Avenue, Boulder-Just Sold

Welcome to Historic Downtown Boulder, Colorado, home to 2056 Mapleton Avenue.

2056 Mapleton-front

2056 Mapleton Avenue, Historic Downtown Boulder

This stunning Victorian was built green and is within walking distance to Boulder’s BEST attractions. From Pearl Street Mall with it’s restaurants, outdoor entertainment, live shows, music, shopping and more to Boulder’s famous hiking trails, outdoor spaces and shopping, this home’s location is perfect!

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Spacious sitting room with cozy 2-sided fireplace

The home features five bright and open bedrooms and four bathrooms featuring the latest in innovation and technology – you’ll see that no expense was spared in the finishes.

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Welcoming kitchen with direct patio access.

Aside from it’s located, the property boasts many features, one of which is it’s large and welcoming, open gourmet kitchen with high-end appliances, Ceaserstone countertops, a breakfast bar and direct patio access

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Front sitting room is cozy and full of natural light.

The minute you enter the home, you’ll feel the comfort and ease of everyday living.  It’s open floor plan, wood floors, abundant windows and high ceilings are perfect for entertaining and relaxing alike.

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Architecturally pleasing master suite.

The master suite features a luxurious ensuite complete with 3.2 kilowatt Photovoltaic system, in-floor radiant heat and a whole lot more!  Architecturally appealing with large windows to flood the home with light.

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Natural light infuses the lower level recreation room.

Downstairs you will find a large, open Recreation Room, Laundry with refrigerated wine storage, extra sleeping space and bathroom.

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Laundry with lots of storage and refrigerator wine storage.

Again, you will notice the amount of natural light that surrounds the space.

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Quaint and spacious patio overlooking yard.

2056 Mapleton Avenue has it all!



 

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Buying Remains 36% Cheaper Than Renting!

In the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia, they explained that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

Front Porch 3

The updated numbers actually show that the range between homeownership and renting a home is an average of 5% less expensive in Orange County (CA) all the way up to 46% in Houston (TX), and 36% Nationwide! 

A recent study by GoBankingRates looked at the cost of renting a home vs. owing a home at the state level and concluded that in 36 states it is actually ‘a little’ or ‘a lot’ cheaper to own your own home than to be in a rental property, represented by the two shades of blue in the map below.

Buying Remains 36% Cheaper than Renting! | Keeping Current Matters

One of the main reasons that owning a home has remained significantly cheaper than renting is the fact that interest rates have remained at or near historic lows. Freddie Mac reports that rates fell again just recently to 3.43%.

Nationally, rates would have to rise to 10.6% for renting to be cheaper than buying – and rates haven’t been that high since 1989.  

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, make sure to meet with a local real estate professional who can help you find your dream home.



 

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Real Estate Home Values Today Compared to Pre-2008 Peak

This housing market has many people talking about home values; where they are and where they are headed.

500 Mohawk Dr Boulder CO 80303-large-026-28-South Boulder Rec Center-1000x662-72dpi

It’s also interesting to look back and see how home prices compare to values prior to the housing crisis.

Every quarter, Freddie Mac releases their House Price Index. The index usually provides monthly home values for:

  • the nation as a whole
  • each of the 50 states
  • 367 metropolitan statistical areas

This quarter, the report also included a look at today’s home prices as compared to Pre-2008 values.

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The following is a graphic where you will see the breakdown of the numbers on a state-by-state basis:

Real Estate Values Today Compared to Pre-2008 Peak | Keeping Current Matters



 

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Americans Believe Real Estate is Best Long-Term Investment

Americans Believe Real Estate is Best Long-Term Investment

Pool and South Elevation

According to Bankrate’s latest Financial Security Index Poll, Americans who have money to set aside for the next ten years would rather invest in real estate than any other type of investment.  It’s the general consensus that Americans do believe that real estate is the best long-term investment.

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Today’s housing market shows it’s strength throughout history even with all of the changes surrounding it, both the good and the not-so-good.

Bankrate asked Americans to answer the following question:

“Which would be the best way to invest money you did not need for more than 10 years?” 

Investing in Real Estate – both long term and short term – came in as the top choice with 25% of all respondents answering.  Next in line were cash investments (such as savings accounts and CD’s) with 23% of all respondents choosing cash over investing in long-term or short-term Real Estate.

The chart below shows the full results:

Americans Believe Real Estate is Best Long-Term Investment | Keeping Current Matters

Sterling White, co-founder of Holdfolio, gave one reason as to why real estate may have ranked so high.

“Houses are tangible. You can physically see and feel the product. So you know where your money is going.” 

July’s poll also found that for the “26th consecutive month, Americans’ sense of financial well-being improved when taking into account debt, savings, net worth, job security, and overall financial situation.”

We have often written, and often  about the financial and non-financial reason homeownership makes sense. It is nice to see that Americans have returned to a belief in Real Estate and homeownership as the best long-term investment.  In addition to Mr. White’s reason as to why Americans believe Real Estate is the best long-term investment, we believe that history has proven itself with the market holding it’s own through it’s ups and downs.

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1505 Mapleton Avenue – Historic Downtown Boulder

Welcome to 1505 Mapleton Avenue in Boulder.

1505-Mapleton-1 This stunning historic Victorian was built in 1952 right in the heart of Downtown Boulder.  A rare, historic beauty with spectacular views of Boulder’s Flatirons and outstanding city views to be enjoyed from it’s south-facing covered, traditional front porch and covered upper porch off of the master bedroom suite.

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The home has been meticulously restored to it’s traditional period style and updated throughout.  You’ll find 3-bedrooms and 2-baths.  Come and witness this home as it forges into the 21st Century with no expense spared.

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From 1505 Mapleton Avenue, you’ll be happy to walk to the best Boulder has to offer.  Pearl Street walking mall with it’s restaurants, night life, shopping, hotels and more to 29th Street with a movie theatre, shopping and more restaurants.   This is your opportunity to own a piece of Boulder History!

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Inside you will find the original woodwork throughout complete with an updated kitchen and even room to expand in the large unfinished basement – ready for your own touches.

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Schedule your private showing for 1505 Mapleton Avenue, today.



 

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Your Home Concept

What Does Home Mean to You? | Keeping Current Matters

No matter what shape or size your living space is, your home concept and feeling can mean different things to different people. What is your concept of home?  Whether it’s a certain scent or a favorite chair, the emotional reasons why we choose to buy our own home are, more often than not, the more powerful or compelling ones.

Every year, The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University conducts a survey to find driving factors behind why Americans decide to buy a home.

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The top 4 reasons to own a home cited by participants of the survey were not financial. 

1. Home concept means having a good place to raise children & provide them with a good education

From the best neighborhoods to the best school districts, even those without children at the time of purchase may have this in the back of their mind as a major reason for choosing the location of the home that they purchase.

2. You have a physical structure where you & your family feel safe

It is no surprise that having a place to call home with the means for comfort and security is the number two reason.

3. It allows you to have more space for your family

Whether your family is expanding, or an older family member is moving in, having a home that fits your needs is a close third on the list. Family can have a huge affect on your home concept.

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4. It gives you control over what you do with your living space, like renovations and updates

Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments that you saw on Pinterest? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building, or do you want to finally adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve seen online 100 times? Who’s to say that you can’t in your own home?

The 5th reason on the list, is the #1 financial reason to buy a home as seen by respondents:

5. Owning a home is a good way to build up wealth that can be passed along to my family and clarify your home concept.

Either way you are paying a mortgage. Why not lock in your housing expense now with an investment that will build equity that you can borrow against in the future?

Whether you are a first time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in your life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that make a house a home.



 

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Luxury Home Sales & the Impact of the Stock Market

We’ve been thinking about how the stock market is affected by luxury home sales.  It’s interesting to read this article from CoreLogic.  What are your thoughts?

In a recent post, CoreLogic looked at the correlation between the impact on the stock market and the luxury home sales of upper-end properties ($1 Million+ sales price).

Luxury Home Sales & the Impact of the Stock Market | Keeping Current Matters

The report revealed:

 “The powerful ‘wealth effects’ generated by the rapid rise in equities between 2009 and 2015 drove a large rise in the luxury home sales that sold for $1 million or more.

Historically, luxury home sales priced $1 million or more averaged 1.2 percent of all home sales. The spread between high-end sales and equities widened during the housing bubble but then moved more closely in unison. By the time the equity markets had peaked in May 2015, the $1 million or more share of the market had nearly doubled, averaging 2.2 percent for the remainder of the year.”

This makes sense. As people see their wealth increasing, they feel more confident in their purchasing power. And, of course, that would also impact their decisions regarding their involvement in the real estate. The stock market dipped earlier this year and there was quite a bit of anecdotal evidence that the luxury home upper-end market was beginning to soften.

As we can see in the chart below, the market is again flourishing. That may rejuvenate the luxury home sales market as we move through the rest of the year.

Luxury Home Sales & the Impact of the Stock Market | Keeping Current Matters

As we proceed through 2016 and enter 2017, the strength of the stock market will be a key factor in the strength of the luxury home sales market. If the stock market falters, look for high-end luxury home sales to slow. If the market advances, as it has shown signs of doing most recently, the luxury home high-end market will advance.



 

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1590 Linden Avenue-North Boulder Beauty

Welcome to 1590 Linden Avenue in the Melody Heights neighborhood in North Boulder.

A home that has been recognized by National Association of Home Builders.

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With it’s awesome North Boulder location backing to Melody Park, you’ll first notice it’s sweeping views of Boulder and our awe inspiring Flatirons.

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Organic, open and modern remodeled home, with custom details throughout, will make you feel right at home from the moment you step on to the property.

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The home at 1590 Linden Avenue features wood flooring, newer windows, vaulted ceilings, solar pv and 3 tankless water heaters, installed for energy efficiency and personal comfort.

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The master bedroom suite is on own level with a relaxing deck with more outstanding views of the Flatirons, huge walk-in closet, separate HVAC system for comfort.

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In addition to the main home, you will notice the attached bike garage plus an additional detached 2 car garage.

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Above the garage is a bonus 315 sq. ft. studio and 3/4 bath, great for guests, a separate office.

You’ll be sure to enjoy the fenced backyard with mature, deciduous and private landscaping, completed with a modern, horizontal planked fence and step down back porch with partial coverage.

The perfect space for relaxing, entertaining and living the Boulder lifestyle.1590 Linden - backyard and porch

4 bedrooms

4 baths

3,295 square feet



 

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530 Juniper Avenue

Just west of Broadway in North Boulder, on of the town’s most coveted streets, you will find the newly constructed home at 530 Juniper Avenue.  This amazing 6,802 square foot home features 5 bedrooms and 7 baths and sits on .6 acres of maturely landscaped property.

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This contemporary farmhouse boasts top of the line materials throughout.

With it’s oversized windows and doors, plus top-end materials, oversize windows & doors with an open layout all contribute to the easy, airy feel of this elegant home.

530 Juniper Avenue -front

530 Juniper’s glass entryway opens to 2 story gallery with open steel stairway and bridge.

Walls are Kansas limestone in an ashlar pattern, stained vertical cedar siding and painted horizontal siding. Porches and decking are Colorado buff sandstone in a running bond pattern.
Roof is Drexel, Slate Grey, standing seam metal.

530 Juniper Avenue - Basement Floor Plan

Main level living opens to south facing covered porch and spacious yard providing a connection to the outdoors-a tranquil space complete with pool, pool house, fireplace and outdoor kitchen.

Rift sawn white oak floors throughout most of the house. Natural stone floors in mud room and laundry.
Wainscoting in gallery, dining, family, and upper and lower hallways is painted horizontal siding to match the exterior siding and enhance the open concept.
Custom cabinetry and built ins throughout.
Cabinetry in the kitchen, family, master and powder will be rift white oak.

 

530 Juniper Avenue - 2nd Floor Plan

Interior doors to be white oak with glass lites.
Countertops in the kitchen, pantry, powder room and master bath to be Calacatta Borghini marble.

Lighting features Italian glass fixtures.
Tile features Ann Sacks products.

530 Juniper Avenue - 1st floor plan

Home boasts large open floor plan with high ceilings and oversized windows and doors throughout.
Main living areas of the house open to the pool deck and the south facing views.

Centrally located kitchen has Wolf cooktop, microwave and double oven and Subzero refrigerator, freezer and wine refrigerator. Smart automation system is provided for data, audio visual, mechanical systems and pool controls.

High energy efficiency is achieved with highly rated windows, doors, insulation, appliances and mechanical systems.

The property holds water rights to the Silver Lake Ditch.



 

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New Home Sales Up 25.4% Last Month!

According to the latest Census Bureau Report, sales of newly constructed homes soared to new heights in June to a seasonally adjusted rate of 592,000. This marks the highest annual rate in 8 years on new home sales.

New Home

Trulia’s Chief Economist, Ralph McLaughlin had this to say:

“New home sales jumped sharply in June, and marked the best month since February 2008. This is a continued sign that demand for homes remains solid and aptly reflects increasing homebuilder confidence.” 

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New Home Sales have been climbing consistently over the last six months as shown in the graph below.

New Home Sales Up 25.4% Last Month! | Keeping Current Matters

One of the many reasons why many homeowners turn to the new homes market to find their dream home is due to the lack of existing homes for sale. As we have mentioned before, buyer demand is outpacing the supply of homes for sale at record rates.

Bottom Line on New Home Sales

If you are a homeowner who is debating listing your home for sale this year, now may be the time. Meet with a local real estate professional who can help you take advantage of the buyers that are ready, willing and able to buy in your area.



 

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2 Tips For Getting The Most Money When Selling Your House

Every homeowner wants to make sure they get the best price when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensuring you get the highest price possible.

selling your home

1. Price it a LITTLE LOW for selling on your terms

This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).

2 tips pyramid

Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. In that way, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price, but instead will have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

Realtor.com, gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

2. Use a Real Estate Professional

This too may seem counterintuitive. The seller may think they would net more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. With this being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

Research posted by the Economists’ Outlook Blog revealed that:

“The median selling price for all FSBO homes was $210,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number sinks to the median selling price of $151,900. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $249,000 – nearly $40,000 more for the typical home sale.”

2 tips chart

Bottom Line

Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. That will guarantee you maximize the price you get for your house.



 

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5 Things Your Mortgage Broker Wishes You Knew

The financial side of home buying can sometimes feel like a nightmare. You’re stuck in a calculus final that never ends—and you’ve forgotten the meaning of everything. Here are the 5 things your mortgage broker wishes you knew.

mortgage broker

PITI (or principal, interest, taxes, insurance)? Prepayment penalties? Contingencies? “Confusing” is an understatement. We’re the first to admit that looking for a house is lots of fun—but paying for one? Not so much.

But if you have a solid mortgage broker to help tutor you through the process, you’re guaranteed to bring your A-game to the home-buying table. In addition to helping you find the best deal, a mortgage broker is also an invaluable resource for newbie buyers trying to understand how this complex, and often tortuous, undertaking works.mortgage

Here’s what your mortgage broker wishes you knew from the start:

1. Your broker should be the first one you call

When it comes to financial matters, your mortgage broker should be your first call—and you’re probably going to want to keep him on speed dial. He’s not there just to find you a loan; alongside your Realtor, he’s eager to guide you through the home-buying process.

“I want buyers to utilize me as their go-to person on all aspects of the transaction,” says mortgage consultant Joe Petrowsky of Manchester, CT.

When you’re navigating the murky, turbulent waters of homeownership (especially if it’s your first go-round), your mortgage broker will be able to provide personalized advice geared toward getting you to shore—safely, happily, and without leaking cash.

2. Have a team in place ga team

Part of preparing to purchase a home is “putting a team together so when [buyers] start the process, they’re already locked and loaded,” Petrowsky says.

So who do you need on your side? A Realtor®, of course, but also a home inspector and attorney, all of which will be handy once closing time rolls around. When you’re already panicked about your budget, rising expenses, and just plain moving, not having to worry about finding a reputable attorney or home inspector gives you some peace of mind.

“Wouldn’t it be better to already know who you’re going to use?” Petrowsky asks. “People without a clear plan tend to have buyer’s remorse—they panic, they’re nervous versus ‘I’ve got my team in place.’”

3. Understand the rules about down payments

You can’t borrow money from a friend, and underwriters will review any large deposits to ensure they’re gifts—not loans.

A mortgage broker can help you figure out the best legal way to fund your down payment, but when it comes to financial regulations, things have to stay fully above-board.

“First-time home buyers short of cash think they can take money from their friend and use it and pay their friend back,” says Shashank Shekhar, the founder and CEO of Arcus Lending in San Jose, CA. Let’s be crystal-clear on this: “You can’t borrow a down payment—it’s just not allowed.”

If you’re using gift money to cover any part of your deposit, make sure it’s thoroughly documented.

4. Keep your mortgage broker in the loop

Speaking of documentation: Have a lot of it, and share it all with your mortgage broker.

“My favorite clients are the ones who ask me before they do anything,” Shekhar says. “Even if they think something is right, it might turn out not to be.”

Your broker will be intimately familiar with the financial regulations involved in buying a home, and thus will be better able to liaise between you and the underwriter when issues arise.

That goes for credit problems, too. If you’re having difficulty getting approved for a bank loan, try working with a mortgage broker first—and have all your papers in order.

“I don’t mind these kinds of challenges,” says Petrowsky. “I see it as an opportunity to prepare to be a homeowner. I go through every single item on a credit report and address what needs to be done.”

5. Don’t make any sudden changes

Once you’ve started the loan process, don’t make any major changes or purchases without speaking to your mortgage maven. And chances are good he’ll advise you to wait.

Any large expenditure or financial upheaval can delay your closing—or even result in a decline from the bank. Want to buy a new car? Dying for a spiffy new boat? Or maybe some fancy furniture for your new digs? Buying any of these big-ticket items could put your home loan at risk.

“Be sure your closing has gone through, and only then can you go ahead and make any major new purchases,” Shekhar says.

The same applies to new jobs: Even if you get an offer with a significant pay increase, you still shouldn’t start a new job during closing. Or even accept it. Try to put it off until after the close.

Many lenders require recent pay stubs (from the past 30 days), so taking on a new role during the home-buying process will mean pushing back the closing date, according to Shekhar.

Think you can hide this stuff from your bank? Many lenders do a verbal employment confirmation before funding your loan, and if they find any discrepancies, it can wreak havoc on your loan.

“Don’t change anything from the time you check with your [lender],” Shekhar says. “Don’t make any changes to your employment. Don’t even put in notice to your current employer.”


Jamie Wiebe has written about home design and real estate for House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Veranda, and more. She loves vintage furniture, collecting fluffy blankets, and DIY-ing everything.  Follow @jamiewiebe



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How to Buy a Second Home (Hint: It Won’t Be Like Your First!)

So you’re thinking of a second home? You’ve braved the home buying circus before, and have a great place to show for it. You’ve trudged through the open houses, experienced exactly how stressful closing can be, and dealt with legions of moving trucks. And still, a part of you wants something more: an escape in the mountains, a beach cottage, or a pied-à-terre in the city – a second home.

second home

With current mortgage rates at a historic low, you might be wondering how to buy a second home. But beware; it won’t be like your first. Here are some differences and advice to keep in mind.

First things first: Can you afford a second home?

If you scored a sweet deal on a mortgage for your primary residence, don’t expect the same offer twice.

“Second-home loans generally require more money down and a better credit score than owner-occupied home loans,” says John Lazenby, president of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association. Expect more scrutiny into your finances than before: “Lenders look carefully to ensure that second-home buyers are financially capable of paying two mortgages.”

Make sure to review your budget with a second mortgage in mind—a healthy emergency fund and cash reserves are essential if an accident or job loss forces you to float two mortgages at once.

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Evaluate your goals

Understand exactly how you plan to use the property before you sign on the dotted line.

“Buyers should consider their stage of life and that of their children to ensure they are going to actually use the home for the amount of time that they’re envisioning,” Lazenby says. “A family with young children may find that their use of a second home declines as the kids grow older and become immersed in sports.”

If you’re certain you’ll get enough use and enjoyment out of your new purchase, go for it—but make sure to carefully consider the market. For most buyers, a second home shouldn’t be a fixer-upper. Look for homes in high-value areas that will appreciate over time without having to sacrifice every “relaxing” weekend to laborious renovations.

Buying in an unfamiliar area? Take a few weekend trips to make sure it’s the right spot for you. Pay close attention to travel times and restaurant and recreation availability, otherwise you might spend more time grousing than skiing and sipping wine. And make sure to choose a knowledgeable local Realtor®, who will know the local comps and any area idiosyncrasies.

Homeowner Tax Concept

Understand your taxes

You may be familiar with a bevy of home credits and tax breaks for your first home, but not all of them apply to your second.

For instance: You might be planning on using your new home as a vacation rental when you’re out of the area. If that’s the case, you need to calculate the return on investment you can expect over the course of a year. How much can you charge per night or per week? How many weeks will you rent out the property? And what expenses will you incur?

“Property tax rules and possible deductions for second homes are complicated and vary widely, depending on both the number of days per year that the owner occupies the home and the owner’s personal income level,” says Lazenby.

vacation home offers more flexibility to buy based on your potential tax burden—for instance, if you’re looking to buy in a high-tax area, consider widening your search to another county, which can save you thousands of dollars.

Lazenby recommends consulting with a tax professional, especially if you’re planning on renting out the house. A vacation home may be considered an investment property, introducing a whole headache of new deductions—which hopefully can decrease your tax burden.


Jamie Wiebe has written about home design and real estate for House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Veranda, and more. She loves vintage furniture, collecting fluffy blankets, and DIY-ing everything.  Follow @jamiewiebe


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5 Most Common Questions About Mortgages—Answered

Not exactly sure how a mortgage works? Don’t feel bad—the average home buyer doesn’t either. The whole process is filled with head-scratching questions, from how big a down payment has to be to why your interest rate isn’t as great as you’d hoped.

mortgage question

To help clear up some of your confusion, here are some of the most common questions home buyers ask about mortgages, as well as some expert answers.

Q: Do I really need a 20% down payment?

A: The gold standard for a down payment is 20%, but if you don’t have the cash, there are plenty of ways to put down less and still get a house. Topping the list: A Federal Housing Administration loan lets borrowers put down as little as 3.5%, but you’ll need to meet certain qualifications, including a minimum credit score of 500 and steady employment for at least two years.

And if you’re active or retired military (or a surviving spouse of a veteran), a Veteran Affairs loan allows you to put 0% down, says Todd Sheinin, mortgage lender and chief operating officer at New America Financial in Gaithersburg, MD. And those aren’t the only workarounds; some counties and states offer loan programs that enable borrowers with low income to receive a down payment subsidy.

Q: Why is my mortgage’s interest rate offer higher than the one I saw advertised?

A: If you see an ad for a remarkably low rate, take a closer look and you’ll notice a disclaimer (typically an asterisk) saying this is the best possible rate. To nab it, you’ll need a high credit score (750 or above) and a low loan-to-value ratio, which essentially means you’re making a sizable down payment of at least 40% of the home’s price, says Richard Redmond, a mortgage broker at All California Mortgage in Larkspur and author of “Mortgages: The Insider’s Guide.”

But if your borrowing scenario is not that spectacular, you’re considered more of a risk—and your interest rate will rise to reflect that. In addition to your credit score and loan-to-value ratio, it will depend on your loan size, the type of property you’re buying (e.g., condo versus single-family house). Bottom line: Read the fine print when evaluating your loan options.

Q: Is a 30-year fixed-rate loan the best option?

A: While the 30-year loan with a fixed interest rate may be the first mortgage most home buyers think of getting, “there’s no one-size-fits-all loan option,” says Redmond. For instance, although adjustable-rate mortgages have a bad rap, ARMs do make sense in certain circumstances—like if you plan to move soon, before the rates adjust. They may also make sense if you can’t afford a home with a fixed-rate mortgage, since those interest rates are slightly higher.

Meanwhile, a 15-year loan might make more sense than one for 30 years if you have enough cash to cover the bigger monthly bills. Why? Because you’ll end up paying far less in interest. For instance, if you get a 30-year mortgage on a $250,000 loan at 3.58% (the current interest rate), you’ll pay $1,134 per month and $168,628 in interest by the time those 30 years are up. Buy that same home with a 15-year loan at today’s 2.86% (the shorter time you borrow the money, the lower the rate), and your monthly payments balloon to $1,710—but you’ll pay only $43,306 in interest by the time you’re done. (Use realtor.com®’s mortgage calculator to get a rough idea of the numbers before meeting with a lender.)

Q: What is private mortgage insurance, and why do I need it?

A: If you’re using conventional nongovernment financing and can’t afford to make a 20% down payment, you’ll have to pay private mortgage insurance. PMI kicks in if you end up unable to pay your mortgage. Since your lender loses money in this scenario, PMI pays it benefits to offset that loss. You can expect to pay about 0.3% to 1.15% of your home loan in PMI. This can be a sizable sum, but it may make sense if you want to buy a home now rather than wait until you can amass a bigger down payment.

“PMI has a negative connotation, but it’s not the worst thing in the world,” says Sheinin. Another option? Have your lender cover the mortgage insurance. You’ll pay a higher interest rate, but “it’s often cheaper than paying PMI yourself each month,” says Sheinin.

Q: What happens if I can’t pay my mortgage?

A: Depending on the lender, you may have a grace period of a week or more to make the payment, says Craig Jaffe, a financial planner at United Capital in Boca Raton, FL. Miss the deadline and your account becomes “delinquent,” which can immediately hurt your credit score. Know you’re going to miss a payment? Notify the lender in advance to find out your options.

“You might be able to qualify for a forbearance, which provides a period of relief from making the full payment,”  says Jaffe.


Daniel Bortz is a Realtor in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Daniel is also a writer with a background in financial reporting and editing. His work has appeared in Money magazine and National Geographic Traveler and on CNNMoney.com, Entrepreneur.com, TheFiscalTimes.com, USnews.com, and HuffingtonPost.com.


 

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7 Outdoor Kitchens That Will Make Your Mouth Water

The outdoors are calling. Loudly. After all, no one wants to be inside when the weather outside is so welcoming. Consider the fate of the indoor chef—closed off and cooped up, chopping, mincing, and broiling away while everyone else is outdoor enjoying a frosty beverage.

kitchen main

But it doesn’t have to be this way! Hence, the booming popularity of outdoor kitchens. Whether your backyard setup is a humble hibachi accompanied by a rolling countertop or you have top-of-the-line outdoor appliances surrounding a ginormous grill, the joy of cooking alfresco can’t be denied.

With the aim of stoking your coals into constructing a dreamy outdoor kitchen space, we looked for the coolest outdoor kitchens on the market. What we found will please even the most discriminating gourmand.

So fire up the barbecue, make yourself a margarita (on the rocks, salt optional, fresh mint mandatory), and join us on our journey into backyard nirvana.

5914 E Lafayette Blvd, Phoenix, AZ

Price: $3,095,000
Appetizing amenities: When you’re in the desert, figuring out the best time of day to use your outdoor kitchen is high priority. For summer days (and nights) when the temperature doesn’t dip below 100 degrees, you may want to bite the bullet and roast your wild boar indoors. But for cooler mornings and late-nights meals, nothing will beat this thoroughly modern showpiece outfitted with abundant counter space, grill, refrigerator, and sink. (Consider investing in a strategically placed misting machine to keep things chill.) Oh, and did we mention the built-in beer tap? Bottoms up!

phoenix

191 El Caminito Ave, Campbell, CA

Price: $2,395,000
Appetizing amenities: In the San Francisco Bay Area, great restaurants are easier to find than absurdly superstar-laden NBA teams. However, this spectacular outdoor space may make you think twice if you don’t feeling like staying home and cooking. Boasting a grill, stainless-steel drawers, and amazing brick work, the true highlight is the outdoor wood-burning pizza oven.

campbel

18717 Woody Creek Dr, Edmond, OK

Price: $1,400,000
Appetizing amenities: With lovely lake views from the backyard kitchen, there’s no way a buyer wouldn’t swoon over this open-air cooking space. Granite countertops feature a built-in fire pit. Of course, there’s a gorgeous grill, but we’re most intrigued by the built-in Kegerator. (Notice a trend here?)

edmond

2324 N Bay Rd, Miami Beach, FL

Price: $16,900,000
Appetizing amenities: This thoroughly modern outdoor kitchen backs up onto Biscayne Bay. After a day of boating (or partying), retreat to this covered oasis, belly up to the bar, and let someone else fire up the two grills.

miami

5856 Lago Lindo, Rancho Santa Fe, CA

Price: $5,995,000
Appetizing amenities: We love the Spanish-style tiles that surround this miniature kitchen featuring a wood-burning Mugnaini pizza oven. The main debate of the day should always be whether mushrooms belong on a combo pizza.

rancho santa fe

4013 Cornwallis Camp Dr, Charlotte, NC

Price: $985,000
Appetizing amenities: Priced below a million bucks, this home is the bargain of our high-end bunch. It features an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven and grill. We’d sure love to spend time under the trellis and dig into a meal by the fireplace.

charlotte

1594 W Buffalo Rd, Galien, MI

Price: $2,450,000
Appetizing amenities: This Michigan spread on nearly 38 acres doesn’t have an ordinary outdoor kitchen. No, the word kitchen doesn’t begin to cover it. This place features a “fully-equipped cooking pavilion” with rotisserie oven, pizza oven, grill, and self-cooking oven. Whatever you call it, just don’t call us late for dinner at this place.

galien


Erik Gunther covers celebrity and unique homes at realtor.com. He loves writing about unique homes and is interested in real estate, pop culture, baseball, tacos, thrifting, and vintage and Mid-Century design.


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4 Great Reasons to Buy This Summer

Summer is here! The temperature isn’t the only thing heating up right now, so too is the housing market in many areas of the country!  Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

4 reasons

Here are 4 reasons to buy a home right now.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 5.9% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.3% over the next year. The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects home values to appreciate by more than 3.2% a year for the next 5 years.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense and is our first reason to buy this summer!

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase 

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have remained around 4%. Most experts predict that they will begin to rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers AssociationFreddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home. With mortgage rates where they are, it only makes sense to make this another reason to buy now.

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

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9018 Jason Court in White Hawk Ranch

9018 Jason Court is an awe inspiring White Hawk Ranch home set on 1.44 acres in beautiful Boulder County, Colorado.

9018 Jason - aerial

With it’s sweeping views of Boulder’s most sought after views, you will enjoy the entire back range from Boulder’s own Flatirons to it’s famed Long’s Peak.  The White Hawk Ranch neighborhood is a private enclave of mature landscaping and views.

9018 Jason - master sitting

With a transitional blend of architecture, you will first notice the distinctive exterior and it’s curb-stopping appeal.  Appealing and mature landscape surrounds the property and offers privacy without obstructing it’s view.

9018 Jason - Front Mid

Built to the highest of 21st century standards, you will find quality materials and workmanship thought the property.  Open and bright, the home boasts high ceilings, built-ins, stone fireplaces and curved entryways.

9018 Jason - LR to Kitchen

9018 Jason - DR

Some of the features you will enjoy are cherry cabinets and cherry hardwood floors.  Windows are adorned with wood shutters.  The eat-in kitchen features a breakfast bar, solid countertops, high-end appliances, such as a Viking range and SubZero refrigerators.

9018 Jason - LR FP

9018 Jason - breakfast table

The spacious Master Bedroom is a retreat in itself featuring it’s own fireplace and private sitting area, as well as luxury 5-piece ensuite

9018 Jason - master

9018 Jason - master bath

Additional features are a full basement with large open entertaining space, a wet bar and wine closet.  The spacious Family Room features a home theater.

9018 Jason - patio

This White Hawk Ranch property is listed for $1,995,000.  It has 5 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, over 7,000 square feet of living space and a 3-car garage and sits on just under 1.5 acres of land. It is located in the Boulder Valley RE2 School District.

Click here for Floor Plans  or Listing Details of this amazing property


 

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How to Use a Home Decor Theme In a Room

By Tori Toth

Not sure how to use a home decor theme in a room? No worries, it’s easy to use a theme to add personality into a space…the hardest part is deciding what theme to show off.

home decor

 

Home owners have so many themes to choose from. Whether you take a cue from a location, design style, season, or even a beloved kid’s character there are five tips you should follow when working a theme into your home decor.

Home Decor Theme Rule #1: Work with color.

One of the easiest ways to bring a theme’s feeling into your home is through color. Take a beach theme for example, the palette echoes the colors of nature: big sky blues, earthy browns, sea kelp greens and turquoise waters. Through the simple use of paint, you can set the stage for other beach touches throughout the home.

Home Decor Theme Rule #2: Use artwork.

Displaying artwork is an excellent way to set a mood in a home based on a theme. The artwork can be literal or even abstract to add personality into the room. You can find originals, as well as more affordable prints and posters to grab a buyer or guests eye. Just check out the two images being used in this lemonade inspired dining room used below. You can use artwork that describes a lemon tree or a painting that uses the colors to inspire the mind.

ToriToth_themes

Lemonade Inspired Dining Room by tori-toth-arena

Home Decor Theme Rule #3: Have a focal point.

A theme should be developed around one specific piece you love or that represents the home’s lifestyle. Think about the pieces in the room and how they will adapt to your theme. Start with one thing then grow the theme from that if you want to add a travel theme start with a map and find weathered, authentic pieces that support the theme. Take your time and check out various outlets including furniture stores, yard sales and antique stores to spot that special piece that will bring your theme to life.

Home Decor Theme Rule #4: Use small pieces for a big impact.

You don’t need a lot of space or a huge budget to pull off a theme. You can change out throw pillows, table accessories, rugs or even knobs to add to your theme’s personality. Sometimes little touches can have a bigger impact than an overall transformation.

interior

Home Decor Theme Rule #5: Add decor that’s natural and authentic to the theme.

Keep your eye out for materials that are natural to your theme and use pieces that are authentic. By using natural elements in a home it will create a warm and welcoming feel into the space. For generations humans love the natural and organic appeal of elements that make them feel calm, at peace, and above all, welcomed home.

What home decor themes have you used in a home?

Author PhotoABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tori Toth is an Amazon best-selling author who wrote Feel At Home: Home Staging Secrets for a Quick and Easy Sell.” She is also the founder of The Stage 2 Sell Strategy, the world’s first online home staging video course for home sellers. Toth opened her staging company, Stylish Stagers, Inc. in New York City back in 2009. Her book, how-to videos, newsletters, products and appearances now inspire hundreds of thousands of home owners and real estate experts worldwide. Meet Tori by visiting her website or Facebook Fan page.

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92% of Mortgaged Properties Have Equity 

 More home owners now have equity.

mortgaged properties

About 46.7 million residential properties with a mortgage had equity at the end of the first quarter of 2016, according to data from CoreLogic. Home equity rose year-over-year by $762 billion.

In the first quarter alone, 268,000 home owners regained equity, which boosted the percentage to 92 percent of all mortgaged properties with equity.

“In just the last four years, equity for home owners with a mortgage has nearly doubled to $6.9 trillion,” says Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “The rapid increase in home equity reflects the improvement in home prices, dwindling distressed borrowers and increased principal repayment. These are all positive factors that will provide support to both household balance sheets and the overall economy.”

More than 1 million home owners have escaped the negative equity trap over the past year, adds Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic.

mortgage

“We expect this positive trend to continue over the balance of 2016 and into next year as home prices continue to rise,” says Nallathambi. “If home values rise another 5 percent uniformly across the U.S., the number of underwater borrowers will fall by another one million during the next year.”

Still, 4 million — or 8 percent of all homes with a mortgage — remain in negative equity territory. But the number of negative equity properties has been steadily dropping. In comparison to the fourth quarter of 2015, negative equity properties dropped 21.5 percent year-over-year.

Read more1 Million Borrowers Regained Equity Last Year 

Five states accounted for 30.2 percent of negative equity in the U.S. The states with the highest percentage of homes in negative equity are: Nevada (17.5%); Florida (15%); Illinois (14.4%), Rhode Island (13.3%); and Maryland (12.9%).

On the other hand, the states with the highest percentage of homes with positive equity in the first quarter are: Texas (98.1%); Alaska (97.8%); Hawaii (97.8%), Colorado (97.5%); and Washington (97.2%).

Source: CoreLogic

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33730 Haystack Lane – Soda Creek-Evergreen

             Architecturally stunning home with open floor plan.  This elegant home is located in Evergreen, Colorado’s Soda Creek.SE Elevation Close

Floor to ceiling windows showcasing awe-inspiring views.  The home sits on 7 private, lush acres.

Kitchen 1

You’ll find a chef’s kitchen with an indoor gas grill, steaming drawer, 2 dishwashers, double oven, walk-in pantry, wet bar and breakfast counter.

Master Bedroom

Main floor houses the master suite.  On the lower level you will find 2 bedroom suites and a comfortable and open exercise room,

Wine Cellar

Family room  has a wet bar and an 800 bottle, climate controlled wine room.

Study

A guest suite with wet bar, personal refrigerator, 5-piece luxury bath and private deck is located on the Upper Level of this mountain getaway home.

Outdoor Patio

Offered at $1,775,000

5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms

4-car attached garage

Over 7,300 square feet

Contact us today for your private showing

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2850 Links Drive – Historic Boulder Home

2850 Links Drive - view out kitchenBoulder Country Club No. 1 –

This exquisite and historic home was built in 1920 in establishing the first Boulder Country Club.

Front Elevation

 

Historic Plack

Living 4

In 1935, this historic stone home was reimagined to a private residence, while keeping with it’s original grand feel.

Porch

Exquisite, classic stone home, nestled amongst the trees.

The property sits on over 1/3 acre and features a 600+ sq ft of roof top deck.

Kitchen

Kitchen 2

Kitchen Bar

 

 

 

 

 

In 1949 it was awarded Distinctive Homes of Boulder.

Untitled1

This historic Boulder home was originally used by the country club members to sun and socialize following their rounds of golf.

Rear Elevation

Huge concrete back porch running the length of home, offers private relaxation in a shady setting.

Offered at $1,695,000

Just under 5,000 square feet home

4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms

Call today for your private showing

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Unparalleled Trust Necessary Before Listing Your House

Unparalleled Trust Necessary Before Listing Your House | Keeping Current Matters

You and your family have decided to sell your house. It is now time to choose a real estate professional to help with the process. One of the major attributes this agent must possess is trustworthiness. To what degree do you need to trust them?

You must have enough trust in them that you feel comfortable they will accomplish all four things below: 

1. Sell possibly the largest asset your family owns

In many cases, a home is the largest asset a family has. Studies have shown that the equity many families have in their home is the largest percentage of that family’s overall wealth. 

2. Set the correct market value on that asset

Pricing is crucial even in the best of markets. You want to get the best price for your home without putting your house at a value that buyers will have little interest in.

3. Set the time schedule for the liquidation of that asset

Your family probably has a certain timetable for the sale of your house and the move into your next home. Coordinating the home selling process to meet certain schedules can be tricky.

4. Set a fair fee for the services required to liquidate that asset

You will need to pay a commission to an agent for selling the home and coordinating all elements of the selling transaction, including possible future negotiations (ex. with a home inspector or appraiser).

That’s a lot of trust. Make sure you pick a true professional to help with the sale of your home.

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How Does Housing Help Build Family Wealth?

How Does Housing Help Build Family Wealth? | Keeping Current Matters

As the economy continues to improve, more and more Americans are seeing their personal financial situations also improving. Instead of just getting by, many are now beginning to save and find other ways to build their net worth. One way to dramatically increase their family wealth is through the acquisition of real estate.

For example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home in January. What will that home be worth five years down the road? 

Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists every quarter. They ask them to project how residential prices will appreciate over the next five years. According to their latest survey, here is how much value that $250,000 house will gain in the coming years.

How Does Housing Help Build Family Wealth? | Keeping Current Matters

 

 

Over a five-year period, that homeowner can build their home equity to over $40,000. And, in many cases, home equity is large portion of a family’s overall net worth.

What does this mean to you?

If you are looking to better your family’s long-term financial situation, buying your dream home might be a great option.  Give Goodacre & Company a call and let us help you find your home.

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First Time Homebuyer Savings Account Act Passes Legislature

 First Time Homebuyer Savings Account Act passed the Legislature

CAR

 

CAR (Colorado Association of Realtors) is very pleased to announce that the First Time Homebuyer Savings Account Act passed the Legislature Tuesday morning after the State Senate gave the bill it’s final approval.  CAR extends its deepest gratitude to House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran, Representative Joe Salazar, Senate Majority Leader Mark Scheffel and Senator Beth Martinez-Humenik for their sponsorship of HB-1467, and for their leadership and dedication on this issue.

 

SE Elevation-Yard

Prospective Colorado first time homebuyers, and the State, will benefit by their great work.

house keychain

 

 

A First-time Homebuyer Savings Account (FHSA) allows any Coloradan to set aside up to $50,000 toward the costs of purchasing a new home. The earnings on those funds — interest and capital gains — are free from Colorado state taxes forever. FHSAs are a great way for future homeowners to start saving early for the costs of buying a home.

 

 

house with hand

These accounts will be simple and easy to set up. Not only can you open a new one, you can also transfer money from one existing savings account to a FHSA. To create an FHSA, you simply include a form (promulgated by the Department of Revenue) when you file your state taxes designating the qualified beneficiary. A qualified beneficiary can be a child or grandchild, or the account holder may designate himself or herself as the qualified beneficiary.

To learn more about the First-time Homebuyer Savings Account,

visit  http://firsttimehomebuyerco.com/  or contact us a call at the office.

 

(article shared from the CAR website)