Denver On Speed

According to the Denver Business Journal, last month Denver was the fastest selling housing market in the nation, with nearly half of homes on the market going under contract in just 6 days, down from an average of 11 days from Listing to Under Contract at the same time last year.

If you are listing your home for sale and staying in the Denver Metro Area, you may want to consider putting the cart before the horse, and pursuing your next home before you sell your current home.

Things to consider as a Seller in a fast-paced market:

  • Talk to your Realtor about including a contingency clause in your Contract to Buy & Sell; the Closing Date on the sale of your home will be determined by the forthcoming Closing Date on your next home.
  • Even if you aren’t comfortable making an offer before your home is Under Contract, begin searching for your next home (if you’re staying in the area) as soon as you begin preparing to list.
  • Have a Plan B — and maybe a Plan C for good measure.
    • If your home sells before you secure your next residence, can you stay in a residential hotel, or crash with a friend for a bit?
    • If you need to rent while you continue your search, what will this cost?
    • Where will you store your stuff if it takes time to land your next home?
    • Will temporary housing affect your commute?
    • Will you be able to rent within your current school district, if it takes time to find your next house?

As a Seller, the Denver housing market is highly in your favor, and it’s an exciting (and potentially profitable) time to sell your home. If you’re staying in the area and looking to upsize, downsize or transfer to another area of the city, you’ll want to work with your Realtor to plan the details of your “next” so every aspect of your sale, and the transition that follows, is as close to ideal as possible.

Thinking about making a move? In this marketplace, you’ll need an expert guide! Let me know how I can help.

Jack Meyers

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

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A Denver Real Estate Health Check

According to a recent Denver Business Journal article, a report by New York-based financial services firm SmartAsset ranks Denver 9th in the nation among the healthiest urban housing markets. Factors analyzed for the study include stability, risk, fluidity (ease of sale), and affordability.

This is awesome news for local homeowners and those considering investing in the Denver Metro housing market. A couple of nifty highlights accompanying the report:

  • Homes in Denver are selling faster than anywhere else in the country at an average of 8 days from Listing to Contract.
  • The report found only 3.1 percent of Denver homes were decreasing in value, against a national average of 12.5 percent.

The market is hot, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to rest on your laurels. Maximizing your home’s potential as a Listing still matters, and experienced representation is vital for Buyers, who are up against a lot of competition in a market favoring the Seller.

If you are seeking a guide in our fast-paced marketplace or know someone who could use a hand, I’m happy to help. Give me a buzz or drop a line to find out what your house is worth in today’s market, or to plan the next move in your home search.

Jack Meyers

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

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

 

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

Help Wanted: Denver Construction Workers

Unemployment rates are a quirky thing…     construction-dude

Too high a rate of unemployment and the economy suffers as those without jobs are unable to make purchases; when unemployment rates are high, the real estate market and many other markets can slump, affecting the entire economy and even those blessed with stable, adequate or better employment.

Industries can also suffer when unemployment rates are too low; employment can fall so low it is difficult to find qualified help.

Such is the case in the construction industry in Colorado. While an ultra-low unemployment level in the industry nationwide is something to celebrate, Colorado’s level of construction unemployment is less than half that of the national level. Add this factor to the ever-increasing demand for housing across Metro Denver, and the result is an industry bottleneck. Homes continue to be in demand in our area, there is not enough supply, and there aren’t enough tradesmen available to add to existing inventory.

According to recent Denver Post coverage of the topic, the lack of a qualified construction workforce threatens to slow the state’s incredible economic momentum. It’s a catch 22 for construction workers outside the state who might consider relocating to Colorado. The likelihood of landing work in the field is high, but in part because of the trickle of new construction, so are housing prices – and availability remains scare.

And so – we wait. Wait for new construction projects including apartments and homes, hotels and business infrastructure, to carry forward inch by inch. Wait for a new generation of able-bodied construction workers to rise – choosing valuable, meaningful work in the trades over a “traditional” college education.

Interested in talking shop – about the building industry, the Denver real estate market or your next home purchase or sale? I’m here to help in any way I can.

Jack Meyers

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

Should you Sell Your Own Home?

In a fast moving market like we’ve got in Denver, it can be tempting to skip the “middle man” and sell your own home. As a longtime agent in Metro Denver (21 years and counting) I get it: commission cuts into your bottom line, and when you know the house will probably sell, why pay someone else to assist the process? There are many good reasons to consult a licensed Realtor to ensure a successful sale, and most of them have to do with your bottom line, too.

FSBO sign

According to statistics compiled by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the national median sales price for homes For Sale By Owner is $210,000. The national median sales price for homes sold with the assistance of an agent is $249,000 – nearly $40,000 more. (NAR, 2015 national home sales data)

If you are avoiding representation in a bid to save on commission, consider how much you are likely giving up in terms of sales price. An experienced Realtor is more than a paper pusher; I work hard to market each individual property // seller I represent, and statistics show having a pro by your side makes a big difference in the closing price.

Eighty-nine percent of all homes sold in 2015 were listed with the assistance of a professional. (NAR, 2015 national home sales data). 

If you are among the 11% of sellers flying solo in this challenging real estate market, your competition is more than the other homes on the block – it is the other homes on the block + the savvy professionals representing those listings. You owe it to yourself (and your home equity) to invest in quality, professional service in the sale of your home. 89% of the sellers in your community will tell you the same thing.

Beyond the statistics, I have seen increasing challenges from sign-to-sale in this marketplace. 

The paperwork and legal details surrounding a real estate transaction can be daunting, and when a deal moves forward only to crash and burn – well, disappointment hardly begins to cover it. Starting again from square one takes resilience, knowledge, and an ability to move forward quickly in order to regain positive momentum and (hopefully) close the next one. It is my job to handle challenges of this nature on behalf of clients and carry the deal forward – sometimes through more than one roadblock of this nature.

The truth? You can definitely sell your own home. You can download the necessary forms, put a sign in the yard, post your info several places for free and a few places for cheap and hold your own showings. But do you really want to? And when push comes to shove, do you want to pick up the pieces by yourself if a deal goes south?

If not, I’m here to help. No pressure – just call or email to chat and get answers to your questions, and if you aren’t ready to list or you still choose to go it alone, I wish you the very best of luck. If, however, you have visions of $40,000 going down the drain and you’d like to enlist my help, I’m here, ready to answer your call.

Jack Meyers

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