The Worst House on the Block

Why the Worst House on the Block may be your Best Bet

As you peruse online listings, check email from your Realtor or drive the streets of your favorite neighborhood, your eye is bound to be drawn to the visual gem of any neighborhood you are seeking; the creme de la creme, cream of the crop, top of the heap.

Curb appeal. Kitchen and bath upgrades. A finished basement. What’s not to love? 

When it comes to the very best house on the block, my advice is to leave that particular cherry to be picked by another buyer; there are several reasons to bypass the best home in the neighborhood and invest elsewhere, and it’s good to familiarize yourself with this line of thinking before you begin your house hunt and fall in love-at-first-sight with a house that might not, after all, be the very best investment for you.

This one's a winner...           or is it?

This one’s a winner… or is it?

The house that helps the rest of the neighborhood to rise now, may seem like a drag when it’s time to sell. 

When you fall in love with a beautiful house, it’s hard not to imagine how happy you’ll be pulling into the driveway of a house you can be proud of – maybe even the very nicest home on the block. Dinner parties, family game nights, cozy holidays… you can really see yourself living in this house. Now imagine further down the road when it’s time to sell your lovely home. Instead of a shooting star in a galaxy of celestial goodness, your home may just be pointing out the flaws next door, across the street and throughout the rest of the neighborhood. Neighborhood gentrification is a wonderful thing, but don’t buy the prettiest belle at the ball assuming the other girls will step up their routine; there is no guarantee things will go that way.

Savvy buyers seek room to build equity.

If the house is already maxed out (upgrades throughout, killer landscaping, energy efficient appliances/windows/etc.), you’ll probably pay top dollar to purchase the property. Long term, this doesn’t give you a chance to make good on your investment. If, on the other hand, you buy the ugliest house in the very best neighborhood you can afford – you really have something to gain. Chances are good the quality of the neighborhood will hold, and if you score a great deal on an ugly house in need of a little TLC, there will be nowhere to go but up.

Maybe don't buy THIS ugly house... But - Go Broncos!

Maybe don’t buy THIS ugly house… Go Broncos!


Not everything on HGTV translates to reality for the rest of us – but the notion that buying a bit of an eyesore in a great neighborhood is a keen investment makes sense. 

Call or drop me a line – I can help you find a diamond in the rough or a gem that’s move in ready, and part of my expertise includes helping you understand what kind of long term investment you are likely to be looking at.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
Twitter: @jackestate


If You Had a Do-Over…

If you’re like a lot of people, you learn by doing. When it comes to buying a home for the first time, a lot of learning takes place in the form of mistakes. Purchasing a home is a major investment, and first time buyers are more educated than ever thanks to the internet and other technology. Still, you don’t know what you don’t know, and first time buyers don’t always know the right questions to ask, sometimes causing home buying newbies to miss out on useful information. Here are a few tips from first time buyers who will do things differently next time.

First Time Buyers

Talk to a mortgage broker long before you are ready to buy. 

If you make great money, have cash in the bank and an excellent credit score, you are probably well on your way to buying that first home. If you aren’t sure of your credit score, whether you have enough credit, or whether your household income is sufficient to help you qualify for the type of home you’d really like to live in, talk to a mortgage pro now, before you need them. If buying a home is out of your grasp for any reason, a qualified, experienced mortgage professional can guide your next steps and help you gear up to qualify for a home loan; this beats finding out by surprise that you can’t buy a home 3 months down the road, even though your lease will be up and you’d really like to buy at that time.

Talking to a mortgage broker will help clarify items like:

  • How much money should you have in the bank?
  • Are your student loans in good standing?
  • Is your debt to income ratio acceptable? If not, how can you fix it?
  • Is your income adequate?
  • Do you have enough/too many lines of credit open?

If you’re on the fence, buy sooner – not later. 

In many cases, renting your home is akin to throwing money away; you are basically paying your landlord’s mortgage, and not getting anything more than shelter out of the deal. If you can buy, do it. Invest wisely, but don’t wait to buy if you know you’ll be in a particular area for 3-5 years or more. Many first time buyers wish they’d pulled the trigger sooner.

Get prequalified for a loan before you shop. 

Even if you are starting your home search online, as many buyers do, you’ll want to be prequalified before you begin searching in earnest for your first home. It is heartbreaking to find the perfect $350,000 home only to learn you qualify for a maximum loan of $275k. A realistic home search is the right home search for you, and you’ll enjoy the process more (and waste less time) when you know you are looking at homes in your price range. The key term is PREQUALIFIED, not preapproved. A preapproval letter is informal and doesn’t offer the official status of prequalification, which means you are qualified by a bank or other lending institution to borrow up to a certain amount.

Work with an experienced Realtor. 

An experienced Realtor will provide helpful tips on the search process, aides in negotiating the deal, and handles all the details of your transaction. Especially in a fast-moving marketplace, it is vital to have a professional representing your interests in the transaction. Even if you are planning a purchase a year or two from now, it doesn’t hurt to interview Realtors in your area to find the right professional to assist in your home search. Most Realtors can keep an eye out for homes that match your specifications and email you property matches on a regular basis so you can keep an eye on the marketplace as you prepare for your future purchase.

Conduct a home inspection – and ask a lot of questions. 

The home inspection is a chance to test drive your future home. Bring a notebook and a pen and don’t be afraid to ask the inspector questions or clarify anything he/she says during your inspection. Before the inspection, confirm whether the inspector will get up on the roof or go into the attic. Hire an experienced inspector, not a newbie and not the cheapest guy you can find. Home inspection is imperative for first time or 10th time buyers. Even if the seller is unlikely to make repairs, I wouldn’t recommend any buyer purchase a home (even new construction) without a detailed home inspection. Make notes about items you need to learn more about and improvements or repairs the inspector recommends, then follow through. You should receive a detailed report afterward; ask the inspector to include notes about recommendations he/she has made about systems within the home, landscaping concerns (such as improper soil grade away from the home for drainage), condition of electrical or plumbing, etc.

Purchasing a home is the most significant investment most people will make in a lifetime, and buying your first home is sure to be a meaningful transaction. Prepare thoughtfully for success and your diligence will pay off.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group 
Twitter: @jackestate

The 5 Year Plan

When shopping for your next home, it’s important to know what really matters to you and to look beyond the surface of a listing. As a seller, your home will appeal to more buyers and likely net a higher price now (or for a down-the-road listing under different market conditions) if you know how to best highlight the features that make your home shine. Whether you are buying or selling, think beyond square footage and the number of bedrooms in a home. Here is a list of features to point out to buyers if your home is for sale, and this is a great start on your “shopping list” as a buyer.

couple home shops

Floor Plan

Savvy homeowners know a thoughtful floor plan can easily trump square footage. An open floor plan offering 1800 square feet lives larger than a 2200 square foot home with a choppy floor plan. A home’s specs on paper do not always play out the way you expect in reality. Resist the urge to buy the most square footage and shop for a home with the best square footage instead. 

open floor plan

Master Suite

Depending on your family portrait and how often you host visitors, you may want to look beyond the total number of bedrooms to consider whether homes on your list have a master suite. A master suite is a bedroom with a bathroom attached; not just “a bathroom nearby and down the hall,” but a bathroom en suite as part of the master bedroom. This level of privacy is a luxury for many, and in a seller’s market you may have to forego this option in favor of getting the location or number of bedrooms you require. If you can snag a home with a master suite, do it; you’ll enjoy the benefits of higher resale value and you’ll love having a bathroom you don’t have to share with company. 

Master Bath

Landscaped Yard

For gardening hobbyists, a yard that is a blank slate offers fun future projects. If, however, you have a brown thumb or lack the time or know-how to create a beautiful outdoor space, it is worth spending a little more on a house with professional landscaping in place. When you choose a home with curb appeal, you will be thrilled with your choice every time you pull into the driveway. 

Home Landscaping

Updated/Upgraded Appliances

If you are selling a home with dated or dingy appliances in a seller’s market, the buyer will simply have to live with these castoffs. In a buyer’s market, new or upgraded appliances can help any home shine. As a buyer, you don’t want to be stuck in a house with a fridge that goes south 3 months in, or an oven circa 1973 that kicks kicks in on alternate Thursdays. If you are maxing out your finances to purchase a home, make sure you are investing in a home with appliances that will last and are in good working order. 

Upgraded Appliances

Spacious Garage

Consider your long term parking and storage needs when purchasing a home. Many newer homes feature two or even three car garages, but older homes may have a single car, a carport or no covered vehicle storage to speak of. If you actively anticipate needing a garage or additional storage in the next 3-5 years, hold out for a home with this amenity in place. 

Car in Garage

“What will we need in our home in the next 3-5 years?” is a great question to ask before and during your house hunt. Most people won’t live in the same home for a lifetime; you may move for a relationship, a job, for more space or for fun. It is wise, though, to invest in a home likely to suit your needs for more than a year or two. Other features to consider in your 3-5 year home needs plan are: home office, storage space, finished basement, flooring (floors can be replaced, but if you loathe carpet or have kids or pets, replacing flooring in an entirely carpeted home can be costly), location, proximity to good schools.

If you need an expert guide to help you buy or sell your home in Metro Denver, drop me a line. I’ve been working with individuals and families across Denver for 22 years, and I’d be happy to help you with all your residential real estate needs.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
Twitter: @jackestate


What Second Time Buyers Know Now

Home Dreaming

Buying your first home is an exciting adventure! It can also be a lesson in hard knocks as real estate newbies figure out how it all works on the journey toward buying the right home in the right neighborhood at the right price. In hindsight, there are typically a few things first time buyers would do differently if they had a handy dandy time machine to take them back to the beginning of the home buying process.

Learn from these common mistakes and wish-I-wouldas of first time buyers before you sign on the dotted line. 

  • I wish we would have gotten to know the neighborhood better before we bought the house. Without actually living in the home and neighborhood, you can’t know every single nuance of life in that location. But you can do a little side research to increase the odds of landing in a place you’ll love to call home. Take your dog on a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood. Drive by in the morning, afternoon and evening. Stop by a few neighbor’s homes to introduce yourself and ask them about pet peeves and favorite aspects of the neighborhood. Beyond crime statistics, school districts and nearby amenities, a little detective work can go a long way in helping you get to know a potential neighborhood before you buy.
  • I wish we would have paid more attention to the other costs associated with home ownership. Beyond PITI (principle, interest, taxes and property insurance), there are additional costs to home ownership you need to include in budgetary planning. These may include home owner’s association (HOA) dues, private mortgage insurance, utility expenses, home repairs and maintenance, and other potential costs like a home security system.
  • We made several offers on homes we liked before we landed our house. I wish we had been better prepared for disappointment along the way. The Metro Denver real estate market is fast paced and seller-oriented right now, and not every accepted offer makes it to the closing table. It is tempting to fall in love with a house and begin to envision your life there, but with as many as 1 in 5 deals falling through, don’t mentally “move in” until the ink is dry on the closing docs. It’s okay to be optimistic, but that bright-eyed optimism should be tempered with reality, too.
  • Our house was perfect for two years. Five years in and this is tight quarters for our growing family! There is nothing wrong with settling into a cozy starter home, and buying is almost always a financially savvier choice than renting. If possible, it makes good fiscal sense to buy for long term livability, not just the now. Don’t overbuy – if you and your partner have a cat, you may not need a five bedroom McMansion in the suburbs. If you know you’ll have a family or maybe host your aging parents as roomies in the next five or ten years, think past a one or two bedroom place and consider how your needs may change in the future.
  • Our Realtor wasn’t as experienced as we thought. We wish we would have asked more questions. Read more about finding the best professional to represent you in a real estate transaction here. It’s important to ask thoughtful questions. Not all Realtors have the same level of experience, neighborhood knowledge or negotiating skill. Choosing an experienced Realtor is up to you, and there is more than likability to consider. I’ve learned a lot in my 22 years in the Denver real estate market. As a home buyer in this marketplace, you need savvy representation – not a newbie still figuring things out or a part time Realtor who closes a deal or two a year.

If you are seeking a knowledgeable guide in the hot Metro Denver real estate market, I’d be happy to lend a hand. I’ve been helping people buy and sell homes in the greater Denver area for 22 years, and it would be my pleasure to put my experience to work for you.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
Twitter: @jackestate

New to Real Estate? Know these Terms.


Metro Denver is experiencing one of the hottest Real Estate markets in the country right now, and entering the marketplace for the first time as a buyer can be intimidating under any market conditions. Sellers have the edge in this market, which means it is especially important to be an informed, educated buyer as you approach the home search process.

When you stumble upon a word or phrase you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions. Even the savviest Realtor started off as a newbie with lots of questions. Your agent and your mortgage rep both want you to be comfortable and confident with the process, and asking questions (and doing a bit of research when necessary) is the way to get there.

Here is a list of common Home Lending terms you should familiarize yourself with:

Mortgage… the home loan – it’s as simple as that. There are a variety of mortgage types.

Prequalification… the process of qualifying for an approximate loan amount. Serious buyers should prequalify for a mortgage before the search begins.

FICO score… FICO stands for Fair Isaac Corporation, the largest and best known software provider for calculating credit scores. Your lender will check your credit score – probably from multiple sources, in order to qualify you for a loan and set your interest rate. Some lenders take an average of 3 scores, some take your mid score (the middle out of 3).

Debt to Income Ratio… in order to qualify for a home loan, your monthly debt payments cannot exceed 43% of your monthly income. For lending purposes, the debt-to-income calculation is always based on gross income. To determine your Debt to Income Ratio (DIR), take your gross income (all incoming paychecks in a month, before taxes come out) and take them times .43. If your outgoing debt payments are at or under this amount, you’re in the clear. If not, you’ll need to increase income or eliminate debt before you can secure a mortgage. Household expenses like food, gas, entertainment don’t count in this ratio, but all recurring debt payments (credit cards, child support, car loans) do.

Loan to Value Ratio… the Loan to Value ratio, sometimes referred to as LTV, is the amount of loan you are requesting compared to the appraised value of the home. This figure helps a lender determine the loan’s risk. For example, if you are buying a $300,000 house and requesting a $295,000 loan and your credit score is low, the perceived risk is high for the lender. If you are buying the same home with a $30k down payment and a mid to high credit score, the perceived risk to the lender is lower.

Good Faith Estimate… sometimes referred to as the GFE, the Good Faith Estimate is a document provided to you by the lender outlining all fees associated with your home loan transaction.

PITI… this term is the abbreviation for Principle, Interest, Taxes, Insurance – or the various payments that role into your monthly mortgage payment. It is important to understand each factor that will affect your monthly payment, and also how much money each month is chipping away at the principle amount of your loan and building your home equity.

PMI… on a conventional home loan with less than 20% down, the buyer will generally pay Private Mortgage Insurance as a premium to offset the risk the lender takes in providing the loan. The purpose is to protect the lender in the case of a buyer defaulting on the loan.

Escrow… the Escrow account or fund is where the lender will hold closing costs until the transaction closes. This ensures the security of the funds while the lender processes your deal.

Appraisal… A property Appraisal is an estimate of a property’s value based on factors including location, amenities, structural condition and recent sales of similar local properties. A licensed home appraiser conducts the process upon the request of the lender, and the buyer pays for the Appraisal in most cases. The cost is typically a few hundred dollars and can be paid up front or rolled into closing costs.

Are you seeking an expert guide to help you navigate the Metro Denver Real Estate market? Give me a call or drop a line for experienced, reliable service.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group 
Twitter: @jackestate



A Pre-Search Checklist for Home Buyers

The Denver real estate market is fast-paced and competitive, and it is important for buyers to be prepared to act quickly once their search begins. If you find a house you love, you won’t have a week (or even a few days!) to mull it over. You’ll need to act quickly if you are serious about the property.

House Hunt

Ask yourself these questions before you begin your search:

  1. How much of your pre-approved mortgage amount are you willing to spend?
  2. Can you afford home repairs/renovations? (This includes updating flooring or appliances, finishing a basement, replacing hot water heater, etc.)
  3. What suburb(s) or neighborhood(s) are you willing to consider?
  4. Do you need to be close to public transit or specific routes? (E470, I-25, etc.)
  5.  Does traffic noise matter to you?
  6. Is the school district important? (Research schools before your home search.)
  7. Ranch // Two Story // Townhouse // Condo?
  8. How many bedrooms?
  9. How many bathrooms?
  10. What do you require in a garage or parking situation?

A seller’s market requires buyers to be flexible, quick on their feet and ready to make timely decisions. Before you get in the car, you should have a clear idea of the answers to each of these questions. A prepared buyer who knows what they want (and don’t want) is a successful buyer. Maximize the potential of your home search by thinking through these details before you start your hunt to improve your odds in the game.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group 
Twitter: @jackestate

Thoughtful Questions Buyers should Ask

Ask Good Questions

Buying a home is a big deal, and whether it’s your first time or your 14th, you’ll likely have loads of questions about a home you may purchase. What year was it built? What’s the square footage? How many bedrooms? Read on for outside-the-box questions you should ask about a house you want to buy.

  • What direction does the home face? When the snow flies and it’s time to dig yourself out, you’ll be glad you asked. To maximize the sun’s potential in helping you get the job done, buy a home facing east or south. If you shop for a home in winter, you’ll notice the yards facing north or west tend to stay covered in snow for days and days longer than those facing east or south.
  • Does the yard slope properly? A properly sloping yard will help you avoid home moisture issues and protect your home’s foundation. You can determine ground slope by walking around the exterior and determining visually whether the ground slopes away from the house for the first 5-10 feet immediately surrounding the house. Pay attention to the homes on each side of your potential purchase. Do surrounding yards slope toward your yard, causing potential moisture build up? If so, adequate ground slope is even more important.
  • What are noise levels like in the neighborhood? If you’re buying a house with plans to live in it long term, you’ll want to know if the semi-busy road nearby stays that way until midnight every evening. Are there noisy neighbors who whoop it up every Saturday night? Drive by the home a few evenings and on weekends at varying times to get a feel for the noise level.
  • What will your commute be like? Giving your potential new commute a try out may mean driving a few extra miles, but “going the extra mile” can help you make a major decision about buying the house. Some suburban commutes in Denver turn 15 miles into 50 minutes – or more. Do your research to make sure you’ll be happy with time spent on the road from your new neighborhood.
  • How do nearby schools rank? This question is important for any buyer, whether or not you have kids in school. Great schools in the area can help a house sell, and a home in a popular school district is often a wise investment.

If you’re thinking about real estate, you’ve probably got questions. I’ve been answering questions about Denver area real estate for over 21 years, and I’d be happy to help you find the answers you seek.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group 
Twitter: @jackestate