Increase the Value of Your Home on a Shoestring

You can add a wing to the manse to add value, but if you’re short on butlers (or bucks), there are minor improvements you can make to increase the value of your home. These tips are great for staging to sell, a spring home refresher, or any time minor  home improvements.

  • Purchase new shades for lamps, and do a bit of research on the right bulb for healthy + happy lighting in each particular room. Some spaces benefit from bright, cool light, some are better with warm pools of light. A lampshade switcharoo and the right bulb in lamps or overhead lighting can make a big difference.
  • Add sparkle to cabinets and cupboards with new hardware. Cabinet pulls and drawer pulls are the jewelry of your kitchen and bathroom cabinets and can upgrade the look of the room for just a few bucks.
  • Paint is one of the fastest, cheapest, easiest ways to add value to your home. If you’re planning to sell in the near future, go neutral. If you’re staying put for awhile, go as bold as you want!
  • Plant a tree, shrub or flower bed. Just as good? Trim overgrown bushes or invest a little time in your lawn.
  • Purchase a new kitchen faucet. You can modernize the look of the entire room with this small change.
  • Buy a new rug for your living room, dining room or master bedroom. Make sure you purchase the right size rug for your furniture layout and the space available.
  • Re-caulk sinks and tubs. This boosts the cleanliness factor and can make the room feel newer.

Need advice on which projects to tackle before you list your home, or which projects are the best long term investment? Give me a call – I’m happy to help.

Jack Meyers

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

Cosmetic Issues = Buyer Savings

In a high demand real estate market like Denver, Sellers have the advantage. When Buyer demand outpaces available inventory, the Seller is king, and they have the upper hand at the negotiating table. Don’t abandon all hope, Buyers! In any market, there are things you can do to educate yourself so as to gain an edge in the process.

One area Buyers should pay particular attention to is the cosmetic condition of properties they view. In a Buyers’ Market, Sellers have to work harder to appeal to Buyers, including staging and taking care of deferred maintenance. Sellers can get away with minor deferred maintenance or cosmetic issues when the market is in their favor. BUT – these issues can still give the Buyer a little wiggle room at the negotiating table.

The following is a list of items you can use to your advantage when trying to negotiate concessions or a lower price as a Buyer in a Sellers’ Market (or any market):

  • Overly colorful paint, or paint in poor condition. If the basement is hot pink or the exterior paint is flaking off, it is worth asking for a minor break in the price, or a “paint allowance,” to help cover the cost of updating the home. You might not get what you ask for, and you may have to offer full price with a “paint allowance” stipulation, but the answer to a question you don’t ask is always NO.
  • Damaged carpet or other flooring. I once helped clients buy a house that sounds terrible – but was really a hidden gem: listed under FMV (fair market value), but the house needed all new paint, there were no window treatments of any kind, the main level smelled like dog and the finished basement smelled like cat. UGH – right? They bought this home in a desirable suburb for about $20,000 less than it was worth, and by painting and replacing flooring themselves and purchasing quality blinds on sale, they were able to make this house shine and gain instant equity. Don’t pass up an opportunity like this because the house is a little rough around the edges.
  • Fence in disrepair. Wood fencing is a common source of deferred maintenance. I don’t know many homeowners who enjoy staining or painting the fence every year or two. Use this to your advantage. If the Seller has left the fence alone for a few years, or it has obvious damage, ask for a break in price, or ask whether the Seller will meet you in the middle on repair or replacement costs. If you’ve made a fair offer and the Seller is motivated to close the deal in a timely manner, you may be able to pick up a few bucks on an item like this.
  • Road construction or other pesky projects – current or future. Even in a Sellers’ Market, major road construction, noisy building sites, even nearby home construction can be a pain. Noise. Pollution. Ugly views. Extra traffic. None of these things are pleasant to put up with. As a Buyer, do your homework! If there is a new road going in half a block away, the Seller should disclose this information if they have it – but they don’t always do that. Learn everything you can about a city or neighborhood, and if there are projects underway or planned for the near future, use this information to your advantage. A motivated Seller with a smart Realtor on their side knows major construction projects near the home will not improve the market value in the short run, and they will likely want to sell the house before the dust begins to rise. Use this information to negotiate a better price, or possibly concessions on the home.

Buying a house is a big deal, and there are a lot of moving pieces. When you work with an experienced Realtor, you’ll reap the benefits of someone who’s got your back – and knows every in and out that could save you money and give you an edge. In a market like Denver, Buyers need all the help they can get to score a great deal. If you’ll be in the market soon, I’d love to help you find the right home and maximize your potential at the negotiating table.

Jack Meyers

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

 

 

The Sky is Falling! Wait a Second – it’s just INTEREST RATES!

Falling Interest Rates

According to a recent Denver Post article, “U.S. mortgage rates declined for a second week, sending costs for 30-year loans to the lowest in more than a month as the busiest homebuying season gets underway.”

But there are just so many reasons not to buy a home…

  • Hey – you are already paying a mortgage. For your Landlord.
  • It’s fun to hear your upstairs neighbor listen to loud music. At 3 a.m. It’s almost like you’re invited to the party!
  • Tax deductible mortgage interest? Nah. Your tax dollars matter. Somebody has to keep the IRS running. Why not you?
  • You like white walls. Like, a lot. If you owned your own home you might want to paint them, and change is scary.
  • Equity Shmequity. Your Nascar memorabilia collection is someday going to be worth big bucks.
  • You don’t have a yard for the dog you also don’t have, but your goldfish Spot is a close second.
  •  If you buy a home, you’ll lose gym privileges. And you really liked that gym when you went last year. Once. 
  • But *gasp* what *gasp* if *gasp* the shower drain *gasp* gets clogged??? There are no plumbers around here.

If these are the issues keeping you up at night – congratulations! Renting (and paying somebody else’s mortgage) is the right choice for you. Stay put – and start saving for the rising cost of rent across Metro Denver.

If you are the kind of person who likes to pick out paint, isn’t afraid to tackle a leaking faucet (or call a plumber) and the idea of building financial equity through the increasing value of your own home appeals to you – well – it’s time to take the leap!

Interest rates are on your side, friend, and so am I. Drop a line or give me a call to talk about your home ownership goals and dreams. Ready to buy? Ready to move? Wondering what your next steps are? Let’s talk. 

I look forward to hearing from you,

Jack Meyers
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate 

The 5 Best Ways to Blow Off Your Future Down Payment

WHATEVER

You know that saying, “Good things come to those who wait?” 

Write that down. Crumple it up. Throw it away. Then burn the contents of your trash can. 

Whether you are dreaming of a white picket fence in a small town, a condo in the city or a McMansion in the suburbs, you’ll need a Down Payment to make your dream a reality. And if you already had a Down Payment waiting in the bank? Well… then we’d be out looking at houses and you probably wouldn’t be reading this, right?

Let’s talk about the very best ways to sweep your dreams under the rug and ignore the need to save up for your big move, shall we?

  1. Spend freely on little things, because nothing under $5 bucks really matters. Whether it’s your latte habit, weekly manicures, your baseball card collection or lunch out every day, keep up the good work! At $5 a day (by the way – tell me where you’re getting lunch that cheap!), lunch is only costing you $1,300 a year. (Or $2,600 if you spend ten bucks a pop). Don’t worry about cutting back – just cut loose!
  2. Live on Credit Cards. Interest charges don’t exist if you ignore them, and your high balances will look great when you apply for a mortgage down the road. Besides, that big high def tv needs to live on your wall – like – now.
  3. Don’t take advantage of Automatic Savings through your bank. Save your spare change, save your kid’s artwork, and save the earth – but whatever you do, don’t make saving money too easy! Imagine what would happen if you automatically transferred money into a savings account earmarked “Our Future Home.” Can you handle a risk like that?
  4. Ignore your untapped earning potential. So you have bar tending skills? Used to be a hairdresser? File taxes like nobody’s business? Why capitalize on these valuable skills when you could catch another rerun of Friends, instead? Sure, you’re practically leaving money on the ground, but do you really have time to mention your mad skills to people you know at work or church or next door? Oh wait – I think Friends is on again! 
  5. Consulting a Professional is for wimps. And while you’re at it – don’t bother to research until you think you’re ready to buy a home. Oh sure – you could talk to a Realtor or a Mortgage pro now to problem solve, take a peek at your credit and plan ahead for your future home – but you won’t be buying for another year or two or three – why start the process now?

It turns out that after all, good things come to those you plan. Chinese wisdom says the best time to plant a tree is ten years ago. The second best time is today.

If you are ready to chat about your future home purchase or you need a referral to a qualified mortgage professional, give me a buzz. I can’t set you up with a money tree, but I can share my perspective on when you may be ready to purchase your next home, and give you practical tips on how to get there. And that latte? It’ll be on me. 

Jack Meyers
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate 

Home Ownership – What’s in it for You?

Owning a home is likely the biggest investment you’ll make in your lifetime (unless Junior heads to Harvard, but I can’t help you there, folks), and it isn’t without risks. If you are a longtime renter, a recent fledgling renting after leaving the nest, or maybe you’ve returned to renting after selling a property, it’s worth taking a look at the benefits of buying a home. Sometimes renting makes sense, but it pays to know what you are missing before you sign or extend your lease. 

Sky Is Blue

According to a 2013 survey conducted by Realtor.com:

  • 88% of homeowners report that owning a home has been a positive experience.
  • A homeowner’s net worth is 34 times that of a renter, on average. 
  • Most homeowners (95%) and a majority of renters (72%) believe that over a period of years, it makes more sense to own a home than to rent. 
  • 77% of homeowners say owning a home helps them achieve long-term financial goals. (Maybe Junior really can go to Harvard, after all!)
  • Median list prices in Metro Denver were up 21.3% year over year from October 2013 through October 2014.  
  • Home owners are pretty cool people. They are: 
    • 16% more likely to belong to parent-teacher organizations.
    • 1.3 x more likely to read a newspaper
    • 28% more likely to repair and improve their home
    • 28% more likely to vote (after they finish up those repairs, that is)
    • 11% more likely to know who represents them in Congress
  • In addition to personal benefits, home ownership benefits the nation:
    • For every two homes purchased, the economy gains a job.
    • Housing accounts for more than 15% of the US GDP, and is a key economic driver in the US.
    • For each home purchase worth $173k, approximately $60,000 in direct and indirect spending occurs in the economy.

According to this survey, 78% of homeowners consider now a good time to buy a home, as do 58% of renters. But what about you? Drop a line or pick up the phone to let me know what you think. Whether you’re ready to make a move, or just want to ponder your potential as a homeowner, I’m here to talk.

Jack Meyers
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

Happy Tax Day!

It’s that time of year again. For those of you feeling blind sided, just think – after tomorrow at midnight you’ll have another whole year before you have to deal with this again.

Congratulations to the homeowners among you! Whether you own a manse or a one bedroom apartment, a rental property or a vacation home – you are reaping one of the many benefits of home ownership: namely, tax benefits!

WAIT FOR IT>>>>>>

One of my favorite benefits for homeowners happens right up front. When you purchase a home, your loan discount points and loan origination fees, commonly known as “closing costs,” are tax deductible – NO MATTER WHO PAYS THESE FEES. You read that right – if your awesome Realtor negotiated that the seller paid closing fees, you still get to deduct them on your taxes. So pull out that three-foot-pile of paperwork from your closing and look for lines 801 and 802 of your settlement statement. Today, my friends, could be your lucky day!

The most basic deduction – Mortgage Interest – benefits anyone who owns property and paid either:
1. interest on the mortgage of the property or
2. interest on a loan of up to 100,000 against your property (a home equity loan.)

This last one is going to feel too good to be true, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t know about this. In fact, you might call me RIGHT AWAY to find out how to get in on this. If you have owned a property and occupied it as your principle residence for two of the last five years, and you sell the property, you are in for a sweet benefit:
Married couples can earn up to $500k on the sale of their home without incurring income tax liability.
Singletons can earn up to $250k on the sale of their home without incurring income tax liability.
*So basically – you can make serious dough fixing up a house and living in it for at least a couple of years, and ALL OF THAT MONEY – every red cent up to half a mil for married couples, 1/4 mil for singles, is YOURS ALL YOURS.

And you thought you hated tax day!!

If you want to keep more of your own money and you are thinking about buying/selling/investing – drop a line. I’m here to help.

Jack Meyers
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

Home Energy Education – Getcha Some Before it gets Cold!

If the blazing days of summer have left you feeling cold {pun intended} in terms of your electric bill, take back your power {yup – there’s another one!} and learn how to impact your home energy bills before winter hits. By restructuring your habits {and paying attention to heat loss} you can save money on utility bills every month.

energy-smarts

  • Weather strip and caulk leaks around windows and doors. That will keep the cool air from escaping in the summer and prevent drafts in the winter. You should also check around electrical sockets or baseboards.
  • Adding extra insulation to your attic will keep a home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. The garage door is a classically overlooked spot in the home as far as insulation goes and you might be losing precious energy. Also, check the duct-work in the attic for any leaks or to make sure that no insulation is blocking a vent.
  • Make sure to schedule a check up for your air conditioner at the start of the cooling season and periodic check-ups throughout the season. The same goes for your heating unit in the winter. If your heating and cooling units are not running properly, you are wasting energy and throwing away your money.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, which use 75 percent less energy and last longer. Review the wattage on bulbs around your house to determine whether or not the room is using too much. Sometimes, a 60 or 70 watt bulb would work just as well as a 100 watt bulb.
  • If you are installing a mounted air conditioning unit, its location could be costing you money. Place any window air conditioning units on the north or shady side of the home. This will help keep it from running on overtime.
  • Unplug any appliances or machinery that you don’t use often, as those use energy when plugged in.

{Source: http://www.electricitytexas.com}

One of my favorite tips for savings savvy homeowners? Save time and personal energy in snowy weather by purchasing a South or East facing home. The sun will do a good portion, or even all, of the snow removal for you on many days. In addition, you’ll benefit from more warm sunshine and potentially lower energy bills on cold days.

Call me – you could be keeping your feet warm in front of your new fireplace before the snow flies.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com  
303.263.3050

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Twitter: @jackestate