5 Classic Home Buying Mistakes Millennials Make

New generation…same old financial mistakes. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Chances are good, your parents didn’t take you and your siblings aside to share the finer details of the sale or purchase of your family home when you were growing up. Hey — I get it! Mortgage terms and price-per-square-foot are details lost on adolescent minds, but now that you are ready for #adulting, it’s time to figure out how this stuff works so you can do your home purchase right. Here are 5 mistakes home buyers often make — but you can avoid!

Starting your home search before pre-qualifying for a mortgage. You check your bank balance before hitting the grocery store, right? Don’t go shopping for a home before you’ve lined up home financing. And not a guesstimate, but an official letter from a mortgage company stating your qualification to purchase a home up to $XX with XYZ terms. Don’t fall in love with a house you can’t afford, or a house you’ll lose out on to another buyer because your financing isn’t in place yet.

Shopping without a list. If you had all the time and money in the world, you could shop and shop (and shop) for your home, and wait until you find the perfect home before making an offer. In the real world, there is probably competition in the marketplace, and you should shop with a top 5 list of non-negotiable wants and needs, including factors like the number of bedrooms and/or bathrooms, square footage, location, lot size, car storage, and possibly amenities like a gourmet kitchen, finished basement or fireplace.

Buying for right now — without thinking about 3-5-7 years from now. When you are ready take your first steps as a homeowner, think beyond your housing needs this month, this year, or even next year. Ideally, you’ll purchase a home you are likely to be happy in for 5+ years. Circumstances may change, and you might move on from this home before 5 or more years have passed, but you want to buy a home to suit your needs long enough that you’ll be able to gain equity over time, and if you buy a home and end up selling it a couple of years down the road, you may miss out on the maximum equity potential of the property.

Overbuying. You might qualify for a $450k mortgage, but does that mean you should buy a house for that amount? Not necessarily. Buy the best house you can afford, that will put you at a monthly payment you are comfortable with. Don’t max out your home purchase just to spend; max out your checklist items and the long term potential of your home purchase, and make sure you leave enough wiggle room in your ongoing budget to make the updates you want to in your new home, too.

Underbuying. By the same token, if you qualify for the same $450k and buy a lackluster 1 bedroom condo in a so-so neighborhood out of fear — you are selling yourself (or is that buying yourself…) short. Run the numbers, and certainly don’t set yourself up for failure a year or two from now if you can’t pay the monthly mortgage, but if you are too conservative in your purchase, the tiny pad you buy now might not meet your needs 2-3 years down the road, and you won’t have had time to build much equity in the property before it’s time to sell and move onward and upward.

Are you looking for a guide to help you find a great deal on the right home for you? I’ve been in the Denver Real Estate game for over 20 years, and I’m here to help. Drop me a line to let me know how I can make your home purchase plans a reality.

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

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7 Ways to Make UR New House a Home

You’ve moved into your new place, unpacked enough stuff to make toast and get dressed for work this week, and the kids’ favorite stuffed animals are in play…

Now what? 

Successfully settling into a new home takes a lot of doing, but not every item on your list should be a chore. Here is a list of 7 easy ways to embrace your new neighborhood, and take steps toward truly making your new house a home.

Fam Restaurant

RESTAURANTS…..Make a game of finding everyone’s favorite restaurant, or style of food, near your home. Let every member of the family choose the restaurant on a special night each week until everyone has had a turn. If your kids are young and moving has been a big transition, take a picture and make a big deal of it. It’ll be a fun memory, and you’ll get to know your new area while enjoying a night out with the fam.

Grocery Shop

GROCERY STORES…..Look up “grocery stores near me” on your phone, and be sure to visit each one before you settle on your go-to destination. You may find the Safeway near your new home has a more convenient layout than the one you used to live near, or that the King Soopers down the road has an amazing deli section. Finding the best store near you for deals and dinner ingredients is a big deal!

Friendly Neighbors

NEIGHBORS…..There is an unspoken deadline for meeting the neighbors that, once you’ve passed it, makes things a bit awkward on trash day or when it’s time to mow the lawn. If you’re an introvert, putting yourself out there to meet the neighbors may be outside your comfort zone, but it’s worth it to get this task out of the way within a couple of weeks of moving in. Take along a notebook and pen to write down names and jot down a few details of those you meet, and if you have kids/pets/a concern for the well-being of those around you — consider exchanging phone numbers in case anything comes up. This is called “community.”

Active Fam

PARKS & REC…..Get to know the green spaces, playgrounds, dog parks, swimming pools and rec centers near you as soon as you have a chance. The Denver Metro area is chock full of delightful parks for people, pooches and sporty-types, and you might be surprised to find jogging trails, a lovely stream or an awesome pool close to home. This kind of information is a great conversation starter with those new neighbors.

Library Guy

LA BIBLIOTECA…..Set your inner book nerd loose on the public library to find out about local events, sign the kids up for free education/entertainment opportunities and (you might have seen this coming) check out books! So many communities in our area host incredible libraries with good things for the entire family, and if you don’t pop in to sign up for your library card, you’ll miss out on a lot. It’s also a nice way to meet people in your new community.

Family Movies

MOVIE THEATERS…..Whether you catch a flick every other year or love to be first in line for new releases, you’ll want to know where the local movie theater(s) are in your area. Make sure to check out theaters in your zip code, but also theaters within 30-60 minutes of home. There are unique theaters across Metro Denver playing hit films, hipster films, classic films and indie flicks you might not see anywhere else. On the South end of town you’ll find a couple of great dinner-and-a-movie options where the tickets are cheap (the movies playing have typically been in theaters for awhile, not new releases) and you can order pizza, burgers, and all sorts of full-on-dinner options to enjoy at a table while you watch the big screen.

Mini Golf

ENTERTAINMENT…..Beyond movies, scope out art galleries, indoor playlands, pottery and canvas painting shops, laser tag, mini and full-size golf and more near your new home. If you have kids, make a list of all the places you’d like to visit during your first year in your new place, and try to check off one or two each month.

Ready to Buy, Sell, Invest or just have questions about Denver Area Real Estate? I’ve been at this game for nearly 23 years, and I’d be happy to help you find you navigate our competitive marketplace.

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

6 Signs it’s Time to Buy (or Buy Up)

There are a variety of signs and signals it’s time to consider buying your first home, or beginning the search for your next one. Sometimes the place you live now can be rearranged a bit to meet your needs — but sometimes, the best solution is a first (or next) home. Read on to learn some of the clearest signs it’s time to consider a move.

  1. You need a home office. If your home was just right for you once upon a time, but now you work from home or have started a business, it may be time for a home search. Your career matters, and whether you are investing in a new business or transitioning your workplace from office to home, you need the practical, functional aspects of an actual office – not just a corner of the kitchen table. businessman in small office working on laptop
  2. Your career is on fire! One of the coolest things about workplace success is the improvement in lifestyle that can come along with it. Living within your means is always a wise choice, but if you’re renting a thrifty apartment or the starter home you bought several years ago and your job (and paycheck) have grown, it’s time to consider an upgrade, or investing in permanent roots if you are renting. Stuffed Closet
  3. Your closet-mountain is threatening an avalanche. If clutter is taking over your life, you may need to pare down a bit — but you may also genuinely need more space. Don’t rent a storage unit — invest in a right-size home. If you’re living in 1200 square feet, 1500-1800 may be a better fit. If you’re around 2,000 square feet, you may need 2,400-2,600 to give yourself a bit of breathing space. Buying a new home provides a brilliant opportunity to take stock of what you have, unload what you no longer need, and start fresh.                                                 Grass
  4. The grass seems so much greener anywhere but your neighborhood. If your daily life, career or social life are in a rut, it may be time for a new scene. Maybe you’re tired of the hubbub downtown, and you’d be happier (and you’ve heard you’ll get more bang for your buck) further out of the city center. Maybe you work in the city and you’d like to shorten your commute and live closer to the action. Maybe your kids are entering school, and the home you bought as a couple before the kids, is not in a great school district. If you find yourself in a scenario like this, it’s definitely time to consider a move.                                                                          crib aby
  5. You need another bedroom for baby or the in-laws. If your family has grown (or Mom is moving in), you can weather a lot of different growing pains, but you can’t create an extra bedroom or bathroom out of thin air. You might be surprised to find the perfect home, in a great neighborhood (or the neighborhood you already live in and love), with an additional bedroom, or finished square footage on a lower level that suits your expanded housing needs. If your need for additional beds/baths is short-term and you can handle a year or less of tight quarters or shared space, your current digs may do. If, however, new arrangements are long-term or even permanent, it’s worth finding a home that will effectively meet everyone’s needs. Adequate personal space = a happier family.                                                              Dinner Party
  6. You would so love to entertain — but not in this place! You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to want to take a turn hosting Thanksgiving, inviting colleagues for drinks (somewhere besides a bar), or throwing together a dinner party once in awhile. Face it — at a certain point, #adulting means more than a meet up at the Olive Garden, and it’s an awesome feeling to know you can gather friends + family, neighbors + colleagues, around a table for a meal, or in the living room for a casual soiree. If your current digs feel more Friday-night-kegger and you’d like to send out more of a cocktails-and-canapes vibe, it’s time to toss out the commemorative shot glasses from your college spring break in Cancun (that one year) and get thee a grown-up house.

So, what’s stopping you? I’ve helped both newbies to the market and old-hat buyers upsize, downsize and right-size their homes for over 30 years, and I love what I do! It would be my pleasure to introduce you to your first (or next) new home. Drop me a line to let me know how I can help you in the busy Greater Metro Denver housing market.

Jack Meyers
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

 

 

Maintain Thy House

Any time the season changes, it’s time to go through a seasonal maintenance checklist. Keeping up with regular maintenance tasks in and around your home saves money and provides peace of mind. Avoiding basic home maintenance can end up costing you big time – and come back to haunt you as “deferred maintenance issues” when it’s time to sell your home. #justdoit

The 10 Commandments of Springtime Home Maintenance

  1. Inspect thy roof. Conduct a visual inspection of the roof, using binoculars or the zoom feature on your phone to get a closer look. If you see missing shingles or anything suspicious, call in a roofing pro for an inspection.
  2. Beware regional pests. Examine the exterior of your home as well as attic and basement for pest issues. Get a jump on concerns before the weather really heats up, and call in an expert if you don’t know what kind of creepy crawly you’re dealing with or how to get rid of it.
  3. Reseal thine exterior woodwork. Wood decking, fencing, trellises, shutters, etc. will hold up longer and stay looking great with a fresh coat of stain or sealant every 12-14 months. This is also a great time to repair or replace damaged exterior woodwork.
  4. Clean thy gutters and downspouts. It’s not a fun job, but it’s a necessary one. Ignore this task at your home’s peril. Backed up gutters can cause the eaves to rot, allowing critters in and leading to further damage. Downspouts lead water away from the house; if they’re not flowing freely and in the right direction, your home’s foundation could be compromised. If you aren’t up to the task, hire someone to get the job done for you.
  5. Thou shalt inspect your driveway. Freezing moisture and temperature extremes can cause driveway damage, and damage that starts small can grow over time. If you notice widening cracks or crumbling sections of your driveway, talk to an asphalt or concrete pro about repair or replacement options.
  6. Thou shalt give thy sprinkler and irrigation system a run through. Before summer weather hits, turn your sprinkler and/or irrigation system on and check all zones. Make sure all of the sprinkler heads are in good shape, and adjust spray to hit the appropriate targets in your yard – not the house or street.
  7. Thou shalt deny mosquitoes free breeding grounds. As weather warms, standing water in your yard, in bird feeders or even pooled in natural low spots provides ideal conditions for mosquito larvae. Mosquitoes can carry diseases and they’re just plain gross – don’t give them free rent in your yard! Fill in low spots in your landscaping where water collects, and consider dry landscape features or those with moving water, which discourages mosquito growth.
  8. Thou shalt inspect all windows, patio doors and screens. Before bugs are rampant, replace or repair damaged screens. Check window glass, sealant, and tracks. Now is a great time to have windows professionally cleaned as well, allowing more sunlight in and making your home sparkle from the street.
  9. Thou shalt schedule AC service. Central air conditioning can be expensive to run, and it is definitely expensive to replace. You’ll get more life out of your system if you have it inspected and maintained once a year. Don’t assume it’s in great shape just because it makes cold air. It may not be operating at peak performance, which means money down the drain and less life out of the system.
  10. Thou shalt invest in thy lawn.  Depending on the current condition and make-up of your lawn and landscaping, springtime calls for various treatments to set your lawn and plants up for success throughout the growing season of spring, the heat of summer and the cooler temps of autumn.

With a seasonal checklist in hand, you can knock out quarterly home maintenance over the course of a week, or in a single afternoon. Tackling these chores helps keep your single largest tangible investment – your home – in excellent shape and can help you avoid the complicated problems and higher costs that sometimes accompany deferred maintenance.

Do you need a referral to a qualified service pro, or advice on which issues to tackle before putting your home on the market? Give me a call or drop a line, I’m happy to help.

Jack Meyers

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

Lowest Inventory in the History of Ever

According to statistics compiled by the Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR), the inventory of available homes in Metro Denver hit an all-time record low since the numbers have been tracked. 

This is great news for Sellers! People want to live in and around Denver, they’re willing to pay a premium to do so, and there aren’t enough houses, townhomes or condos to go around. It’s called a Sellers Market for a reason: the odds are in your favor, and this is an excellent time to maximize your homes potential and gain a return on your investment by selling your property, if you are in a position to do so.

The hot market we’re in right now is challenging for Buyers. Prices are strong. Inventory is low. Interest rates are on the rise. Factors like rising interest rates will eventually put a dent in the insane level of demand in our area because as financing becomes more expensive, fewer buyers will enter the marketplace. In the meantime though, if you are a buyer in the Metro Denver housing market, you need to do everything in your power to give yourself an edge.

Here are a few tips savvy Metro Denver Buyers can use to win at the game: 

crossed

Secure financing first. Don’t begin the hunt until you are fully approved for a loan, and don’t wait to apply. If you want to move in 6-12 months, apply for financing now.

Know your timeline. If you want to move in a year, don’t assume you can wait 10 months to begin your home search. Even if the market cools a bit as the Fed raises rates, Denver will likely still be hopping in a year. Plan for the possibility you’ll be searching for a home for several months, and don’t put off the process until the moment you want or need to move.

Don’t go it alone. Unless you are an expert negotiator and familiar with the ins and outs of real estate contract law, seek expert representation to secure a legal, smooth-as-possible transaction. Things move quickly in a market like this, and if you aren’t prepared, you’ll lose out and possibly hit legal snafus along the way. Work with an experienced real estate professional to avoid pitfalls.

Whittle down your must-haves. Wouldn’t it be nice if your next house had freshly painted walls, beautiful hardwood floors, newer appliances (included, of course) and stylish high end draperies in every room? In a Sellers Market, you may have to give up on some of your wishes and hopes in order to snag a deal. You can paint, upgrade the flooring or appliances and install fancy curtains later; if you aren’t able to successfully close on a house, none of those details will matter. Choose 5 absolute must-haves and mentally prepare yourself to look past minor imperfections.

Steel yourself – there will be disappointment along the way. The reality of a competitive real estate marketplace is this: you will likely make offers (notice I said offers – plural) that are ignored completely or rejected. You may come back with a higher/better offer on a house you love and be rejected a second time. It will probably bum you out every single time – at least a little. The key is not to let yourself fall in love on the first date. Not even once you are under contract – because sometimes contracts fall through. The time to really let loose with a victorious hoot-holler-we-did-it victory dance is the moment you walk away from the closing table with keys in hand. That’s when the house is really yours, and that’s when to breathe a sigh of relief and start dreaming big dreams about your new digs.

Are you thinking about selling, and wondering if it’s worth your while? Thinking about moving closer to work, into the city, or further out into Suburbia?

Call me or drop me a line in email. I’ve been helping people buy and sell homes across Denver for over 20 years, and I’d love to help you make your next move.

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