Millennials Wonder…

Millennials Wonder…Will I Ever be Able to Afford a House? 

millennials-save-america

The FED’s recent rate hike, tight housing market and other factors leave many Millennials wondering – will I ever be able to afford a home of my own?

This rising generation is waiting longer than ever to marry and have children, and having fewer children once they do start a family. More of them are continuing their education past high school, which means they’re saddled with hefty student loan debt right about the time they’re settling into careers and considering a home purchase. Rental rates – in the Greater Denver area and across the country – have skyrocketed as the housing market has gotten tighter, so renters are able to put less money into emergency funds, retirement accounts and a piggy bank designated for the future down payment on a home.

Other than sharing the sturm und drang of this situation on social media, what can this group do to rise above the challenges preventing them from entering the housing market? Read on for tips on how the Millennial in your basement (or renting the apartment next door or bunking on campus) can pick herself up, dust herself off and prepare for home ownership.

Clean up that Credit. The thing about youth is, it lacks experience. If you went out and got yourself a couple of credit cards, a car, a personal loan and maybe bounced a few checks for good measure as a poor broke college student, quit doing that and start digging yourself out of the hole. There’s no shame in admitting you don’t know how to clean up your credit. Ask a trusted friend, colleague or mentor for advice or referrals to a service that can help, then take action. And if you have no credit, research what you need to do to build a positive credit history from scratch – before you start house hunting.

Scrounge up a Down Payment. Traditional financing will require a 20% down payment to avoid the additional expense of PMI (private mortgage insurance.) One good way to plan your extra savings is to use an online mortgage calculator to figure out what you can afford, tally other likely costs of home ownership like HOA + utlities, and start “paying your mortgage” now. If your rent + utilities is $1500 per month and the mortgage you can afford + other housing expenses = $2000, begin putting $500 per month away as soon as possible. This will help you save up toward the down payment, and when you do purchase a home, you’ll already be used to the monthly expense.

Educate Yourself about Home Ownership. Home ownership is not “renting with different paperwork.” The expenses, challenges and responsibilities of home ownership vary greatly from those of a rental property, and you should know the ins and outs of home mortgages, homeowners insurance, how an HOA works, how owning a home will affect the rest of your financial life, and have a plan in place for what to do if you lost your job, became ill or needed to move suddenly. Life happens – whether you own a home or not. Before you make the largest financial investment of your life, know your stuff.

Consider Your Lifestyle. Buying a home in your 20s is different than buying a home in your 30s, 40s or beyond. Are you single now? What will you gain or lose if you meet someone and decide to sell the home in three years. Are you entrenched in a career with a particular company, or are you on the lookout for the next great thing? A mortgage company will want to see steady job history, so don’t change jobs close to when you’ll apply. In addition, consider whether the size, price and location (location, location) of your home search will be a fit for the next five years. If you aren’t a millionaire investor, you might not be financially prepared to sell and move in a year or two. Purchase a home when you are reasonably certain you’ll be happy for a few years time.

Be Realistic. Owning a home is still the American dream for many people, regardless of age, level of education, religion, cultural heritage – owning a home of one’s own is a big deal. Dream big – but plan realistically. You may have grown up in a five bedroom McMansion with a spacious yard and professional landscaping, but your first house might not fit that ideal. Know which five or so items are non-negotiable on your list, and don’t begin the search for your home until you are pre-qualified for a home loan and have selected a Realtor to work with. If you fall in love with an out-of-reach home, the home you end up with will feel like settling. If you wait to begin your search until you know what you qualify for and have done some soul-and-pocketbook searching to know what you want, you’ll fall for the right home – a house you can afford that meets your needs for the next 3-5+ years.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

 

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How Long Does That Last?

How Long Does That Last: Home Edition

Most home buyers purchase a property intending to live there for awhile. Ideally, the accessories that keep life in our homes running smoothly will last, too. But nothing lasts forever, and the major systems and appliances we use every day (and sometimes take for granted) – will eventually wear out.

Read on for a guide to how long you can expect most of the systems in your home to last, and what you can expect to pay for replacement.

Microwave. This small appliance sees a lot of use in most homes, and not surprisingly it’s one of the first to go. A quality microwave will last 9 years on average, and a professional model will run in the $300 neighborhood, depending on functions, features, mounting and whether your kitchen features a built-in microwave/ventilation system.

Dishwasher. Washing dishes by hand is so 1965! Chances are good you could work a kitchen sponge and a bottle of dish soap every day if you had to, but busy lives demand conveniences like dishwashers. You can expect yours to last about 9 years and cost $568 on average to replace.

Electrical. Internal wiring, lighting, outlets – these things are easy to ignore, but over the course of 10 years on average, the electrical system in your home will begin to show its age. Average upgrade/replacement cost around that time is between $1300-1400.

Garage Door Opener. Your garage door itself may require minor repairs from time to time, but the garage door opener should last 10-15 years. At that point, replacement costs $319 on average.

Toilet. Your loo should provide excellent service for about 10 years, at which point you’ll shell out $350 bucks or so for a new model.

Water Heater. A traditional tank system water heater will wear out after 10-15 years. A new one will set you back close to $900. Tankless water heaters cost $1500 + on average and last about 20 years, but with 30% of a home’s energy bills spent warming the water in your traditional tank system, the initial investment may pay off over time.

Garbage Disposal. With normal use, your garbage disposal will last about 12 years. A replacement costs $400. These tips will help you keep your disposal ship shape for as long as possible.

repair

Oven. The heart of your kitchen, you can expect your oven to bake your cookies, cakes, lasagnas and meat loaf to perfection for 13-15 years. Average replacement cost is $1000, but if you have caviar and champagne tastes, you can certainly spend more.

Washer & Dryer. A new set will last 10-13 years. Replacement for a pair, top or front load washer, averages $1000.

Fridge. There are several simple ways to extend the life of your refrigerator. Without extenuating measures, the average fridge will last 13 years. Replacement cost is $1500.

Air Conditioner. 10-15 years is a typical lifespan for an air conditioning unit; replacing this system will cost between $5,000-5,500. If your central air goes out and your are short of funds, consider these alternatives.

Furnace. Surprisingly, the average furnace lasts longer and costs significantly less to replace than the air conditioning system. Modern furnaces live 15-20 years and replacing this system will cost an average of $3880.

Roof. The average roof will last 20-30 years, a figure largely impacted by the region in which you live, which determines factors like weather and pests. Replacement costs hover around an average of $6,600 and change nationally. If you live in an area known for termites or challenging weather, periodic inspections by a qualified roofing pro can help you head off costlier issues at the pass.

Pipes. The record for system in your home most likely to outlive all the rest is, of course, pipes. With an impressive lifespan of 75-100 years, the pipes in the floor, ceilings and walls of your home will likely last a very long time – especially if your home was constructed in the last 10-20 years. Replacement cost averages $1,193 nationally.

Whether you are wondering which items to service or repair in advance of selling your home, considering investing in upgrades or you need a qualified professional in your neck of the woods, drop me a line. I’m here to advise in any way I can, and with many years in Denver real estate, chances are I know someone in the right line of work to assist on your next home project.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

Top Home Selling Mistakes

Top Home Selling Mistakes

and How to Avoid Them

Even in a seller’s market, there are things you can and should do to accommodate potential buyers. It can be challenging to set your personal beliefs about your home aside in order to see things from a buyer’s point of view, but that’s exactly the kind of thinking it takes to successfully sell your home. Read on for common seller mistakes that can cost you $$$ – and how to avoid these issues during the sale of your property.

The most common mistakes sellers make, according to Real Estate experts:

  1. Overpricing the Home
  2. Lack of Showing Availability
  3. Clutter
  4. Unpleasant Odors
  5. Deferred Maintenance

PRICE IT RIGHT

price

Ultimately, the price your home will be listed at is up to you. When you choose to work with an experienced Realtor, choose someone you can trust – and trust their ability to research an accurate Current Market Analysis (CMA) on your behalf. Even in a strong market, it is possible to overprice a home – making your property less attractive to buyers, causing the sale of your home to take longer, and probably costing you money in the end.

SHOW IT TO SELL IT

No matter what the market is like, every single showing could be the one that got away. Your Realtor’s job is to help you sell your time in a timely fashion, for the highest price possible. The more showings your property has, the faster it will sell. If your home lingers on the market because your big scary dog couldn’t be moved for showing appointments, or you didn’t feel like taking showings on a Saturday, the final price of your sale could take a hit; buyers will wonder why your home lingered in a hot marketplace, and adjust their offer accordingly.

SCALE BACK YOUR STUFF

Clutter

If all buyers see upon entering your home is a parade of collectibles, family portraits going back 25 years or piles-upon-piles of any kind of stuff, they won’t be able to picture themselves in your home. You don’t have to stage your home to sell it (although staging can positively impact the sales price of your home), but you should box up obvious clutter, tone down any taste-specific decor, and remove all but a bare minimum of family portraits. Buyers aren’t looking for your home – they’re looking for their home – and you need to get out of the way so they can picture themselves living there.

UNPLEASANT ODORS 

The sense of smell is one of our most powerful connections to memory, and there is nothing pleasant about stinky litter boxes, wet dog, indoor smoking or even certain strong cooking odors. Yuck! You don’t have to banish Fido or stop using your kitchen, but you should do everything in your power to minimize or eliminate odors. Consider having your carpets and furniture cleaned, hire professional cleaners to freshen the place up, use natural deodorizers like lemon, vinegar and baking soda, and give your house a good airing out on a nice day. Don’t spray gallons of noxious scented air freshener or burn flowery candles in every room; these are dead giveaways of an odor problem. Do buy a few bottles of unscented Febreze and lightly spray in affected areas of your home before work or a few minutes before a scheduled showing, if you are home. Ultimately, flooring and other surfaces affected by pets, etc., are likely to come up in sales negotiation. If you have furry family members and they make messes, you may pay a bit of a premium at the negotiating table. Don’t let your pets (or smoking or cooking) stink out potential buyers, and do be prepared for it to cost you a few bucks when you sell.

PROJECTS LEFT UNDONE

honey-do

Some homeowners keep meticulous files on every major appliance and system in their home, conducting maintenance at regular intervals and noting exactly what happened when, from furnace filter replacement to blowing out the dryer vent. The rest of us… well – not everybody is so on top of it. You may not change your furnace filter quite as often as you should, or fix a leaking faucet the day you spot the drip-drip-drip, but you should take care of minor maintenance issues before listing your home for sale. When buyers come across non-working appliances, broken sprinkler heads, cracked windows, etc. – they wonder what else you haven’t kept up with. Don’t give buyers a reason to cross your home off their list or lower their offer over home maintenance fears. Either tackle the honey-do list yourself, or hire a handyman to do it. Don’t assume the buyer will be happy to overlook minor issues with your home because you have. Would you buy a car with a flat tire or cracked rear view mirror? Probably not – and buyers won’t want the bother of completing chores you’ve been avoiding for months or more, either.

The cool thing about selling your home is – it isn’t rocket science! But it does help you net more for your home to work with an experienced professional who knows the market where you live, knows how to help you prepare for a sale, and can negotiate a deal that benefits both your timeline and your bottom line. It also makes a difference to check items like this off your list before you invite buyers through the door.

Call me or drop a line – I’m happy to give you the information you need to successfully buy, sell or invest in the greater Denver home marketplace.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate