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: 

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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

How Color Can Help (or Hurt) Your Sale

You don’t have to paint yourself into a bland corner or build a beige box to appeal to potential buyers, but there are good, better and best choices to make in paint colors, decor and accessories when preparing your home for sale. Read on for tips on revising the colors in your home to appeal to the most buyers, and choices to avoid if you’re planning a sale in the next 18-24 months.

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In a Better Homes and Gardens survey, 58% of those polled listed orange, black and violet as the colors they’d be least likely to decorate with, in that order. One of the biggest fears shared by future homeowners is they’ll grow sick of the colors in their home. Cracking open a can of paint to try a new wall color may be easy for you (or not), but for some people, picking out a new shade, taping off and painting walls, trim and ceilings can be overwhelming. For some buyers, the move-in ready home they seek is a home that won’t require painting projects.

The BHG poll listed the living room, kitchen and bathroom as the most desirable spaces to feature color, with a preference for neutral, less saturated color in the foyer, dining room and master bedroom. If you’re going to leave a slightly “riskier” color in place when you list your home, pops of color in public spaces are safer bets; consider neutralizing high impact colors in the master bedroom or your home’s entryway. Even if your mantra is “nope to taupe,” you may want to choose a friendly shade of neutral beige, with pleasant accent colors or patterns, for your on-the-market bedroom.

Accent colors, rather than maximum color use on walls and in furniture, will please the most buyers. A heather gray sofa with pale gray walls can handle funky orange pillows, if that’s your speed. Buyers will be able to envision their own furniture in a neutral space like this, because even the least imaginative shoppers know your pillows will go when you do. Pumpkin orange walls though…that’s a tough sell for the majority of shoppers, and if they’re not willing to pick up a paint brush, they may cross your home off the list.

blue-paint

The survey revealed favorite colors (in order) are blue, green and neutral. Consider packing up your more colorful decor and weaving blue or green accents throughout your home for a cohesive design that will appeal to the most buyers. This can be done through pillows, picture frames, towels, dishware, area rugs and bedding. If your walls are already a neutral shade, adding accessories in the same color family will help your home feel like a show home rather than a disarray of mis-matchy-ness – a winning strategy for any listing.

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One place to consider a bolder color choice is the front door. Check with your HOA for a list of approved paint color options and consider a classic red, hunter green or ochre (a deep yellow) as an accent shade on your door. A tasteful statement color on your front door (and a brand new door mat) can add to your home’s curb appeal for minimal investment, and enchant buyers from the moment they park the car.

The key to successful on-the-market interior design is to tone down any bold personal choices to make room for your buyer’s style. If your dream sofa is hot pink velvet with black and white striped pillows against a funky accent wall, go for it! In your next house. Take yourself out of the picture so buyers can picture life in “their” home, and you’ll help your sale happen in a timely fashion and for top dollar. At the end of the day, the color you’ll love most when your home sells is green; help your home’s top dollar potential by toning down bold colors and setting the stage for a successful sale.

Jack Meyers

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

Itty Bitty Houses

An RV park in Loveland is launching Phase 1 of what it hopes will be a successful tiny house movement within the community, and this is a trend that has captured the imagination of many Colorado residents.

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It is hard to deny the whimsical charm of these miniature abodes; tiny home builders consider every detail, working storage and convenience into closet-sized spaces. Like a gypsy wagon, many tiny homes can be hitched to a vehicle and roll right on out of town – although they can also be laid on a tiny foundation with demure landscaping put in place to make home-sweet-tiny-home a more permanent location.

Some tiny home owners are drawn to the idea of “living large” thanks to a smaller house payment, or the ability to pay off a smaller loan on a tiny home in a shorter period of time than a traditional 30 year mortgage. Some look to tiny homes as ideal guest houses, or second homes in another state or in the mountains – a bit like a modern day RV, but with the solid feel of real architecture. Others like the idea of customizing a home – minus the lofty price tag of a custom built traditional home.

Living small – really small – is an interesting proposition. It’s definitely not for everyone; Census Bureau data puts the size of newly constructed single family homes at 2,467 square feet on average, while a typical tiny home clocks in at 120 square feet, with tiny mansions maxing out at 500 square feet.

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A few things to consider if you’re thinking small:

  • Where will you park it? Do you have a large yard? Can you rent space or buy a plot of land?
  • How will you insure your tiny home? This will take a bit of research on your part, as insurability and costs depend on size, mobility, location, etc.
  • What features do you want and need in a tiny home?
  • What is your tiny home budget?
  • What if it turns out you are a bit claustrophobic, after all? What is the resale value of tiny homes, and how will this affect you financially?

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Have you or anyone you know been bitten by the tiny house bug? Tell me about it – share a picture if you’ve got one. Let me know what your journey to tiny home ownership was like.

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

 

Loving thy Neighbor

There is an old adage you’ve probably heard:

Grumpy Cat Fence

Great fences make for great neighbors. 

Until you run into a less-than-pleasant situation with one of your own neighbor’s, you may not really know what that means. You can scrapbook and Pinterest and cruise around town for months searching for your dream home – even have a home built from scratch to your exact specifications – and still end up feeling like you lost the neighbor lottery. That’s the thing about people – we are an unpredictable lot, and when you put all kinds of us in a blender and pour us out into a neighborhood, a few of the personalities in the mix may not work well together.

So what do you do when you run up against a neighbor who eyeballs you daily from across the street or next door, but you just can’t see eye-to-eye with them? Here are a few tips on how to make a peace treaty (even if you are the only one who knows about it) with the curmudgeons or party animals down the block, across the street or on the other side of the wall.

  1. Before taking action of any kind, embrace the Golden Rule. Consider how you might feel, and how you would want to be approached, if you were the perpetrator of a neighborhood annoyance. (And consider as well that many “annoying neighbors” have no idea they are offending the rest of us.) If your barking dog woke up your neighbor’s newborn at midnight, would you want a visit from your neighbor with a polite request to control your pup overnight, or a visit from the police? Neither answer is the right choice – but proceed with the choice you’d most appreciate if the shoe was on the other foot.
  2. Kill ’em with kindness. This is good advice from the moment you move into a neighborhood or any living situation. Before anything unpleasant can mar your neighborly relationship, be the neighbor who stops by to introduce yourself and offer a plate of cookies, or at least your contact information. Invite new neighbors over for coffee or lemonade. If you have pets or children, share about them. If you are established and welcoming a newcomer, let them know what you love best about the neighborhood. Having an established relationship – even a very casual one – can help smooth out wrinkles that pop up later on.
  3. Communicate often; seek first to understand. If your dog bit a neighbor’s child or you heard through the grapevine that so-and-so was annoyed with the noisy late-night barbecue you hosted last weekend, don’t wait for your neighbor to complain. Address the issue with them as soon as you are aware there is a problem, be open and honest and resist the urge to go on the defensive. This will send a clear message that you are aware of your neighbor’s grievance, and are willing to address the situation.
  4. Take notes. If you do run into an ongoing situation with your neighbors – whether they have instigated a problem or they see you as the nuisance – record the dates and details of your discussions. Chances are you’ll be able to work out your differences amicably, but if there is a legal complaint filed against you, you’ll want to have a running tally of the incident(s) that have taken place. *Note that I am not a lawyer. If you are in need of legal advice, consult an attorney.
  5. If necessary, bring in a third party. Contact your Home Owner’s Association (HOA), condo board or a professional mediator if need be. Some issues, like property lines, are straightforward and defined by legal documents such as property surveys. Sometimes the lines surrounding neighborly issues can be blurred, though, and it is wise to mediate an issue through an objective source.

A sense of community is a valuable, fun aspect of owning a home – whether that home is a condo, townhome, or single family home. Practicing the art of neighboring can help ensure you are happy in your new digs for a long time. And when it comes time to borrow an egg, a cup of sugar, or a babysitter for your cat – you’ll be glad you’ve invested in developing these bonds.

Are you searching for the ideal neighborhood to call home? I’m a Colorado native with over 21 years of experience in the Real Estate industry, and I’d love to help.

Jack Meyers

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

Rentals are Scarce – is it Time to Buy?

Metro Denver apartment vacancies dropped to 3.9 percent in the third quarter, the second-lowest recorded rate.

Source: Denver Post

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What does this mean for you, if you happen to be a renter or potential renter? Rents are rising, and chances are good that even in a seller’s market, with current interest rates *the monthly payment you make on a mortgage for your own home could be less than what you would pay for a comparable rental home.

Winter is coming, and the colder months offer benefits you might not expect as a home buyer:

  • Experience has taught me that Sellers who list their home over the winter are serious about it. They’re not willing to wait until the busy spring season, and their state of motivation can absolutely work in the Buyer’s favor.
  • Even in the hottest market, home prices tend to cool a bit with winter temperatures. Buying a home in the winter could get you more bang for your buck, or allow you to get into a neighborhood you didn’t think you could afford.
  • Sellers love a bidding war – but this scenario is generally not in the Buyer’s favor. With fewer Buyers searching the marketplace during the winter selling season, you’ll have less competition for your purchase.

If you’ve been on the fence about making a home purchase, pick up the phone. I’m happy to chat with you about the market in your desired neighborhood and what your options are in the Denver marketplace.

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

 

 

 

*Mortgage terms vary, consult a licensed mortgage professional for specific information.