Millennials Wonder…

Millennials Wonder…Will I Ever be Able to Afford a House? 


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
Twitter: @jackestate



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

Choosing the Best Agent in a Fast Paced Marketplace

Denver is in a snooze-you-lose real estate situation, with homes selling sometimes in hours instead of days and weeks. A fast paced market like this requires an experienced Realtor up to the task of helping you move at lightning speed to snag the right home for you. When seeking the right agent for your home search, look for the following qualifications:

race car


When interviewing agents, pay attention to how quickly he/she responds to your questions. Ask, “How long do you spend searching with a typical buyer? How many homes do most of your buyers see before making an offer? What kinds of stumbling blocks do you see for buyer clients, and how are you working through them?”

Tech Savvy

Technology has changed how business is done in the world of real estate, and you need an agent comfortable and confident with the latest technology including eContracts, mobile search and client communication on the fly. Lightning speed real estate requires more than a laptop. Ask potential agents what types of technology they use in their business. A part time or hobby agent may not have the tech experience you need to succeed.


Don’t be afraid to get very specific about your potential agent’s availability. You will need a focused search experience, and you’ll need someone who can help you pre-search well so the on-the-ground home search process is maximized. Since homes are moving quickly, you need to be prepared to see only the best-fit homes and to move quickly when a home matching your specs enters the market. If your agent is not available on the fly, they may not be the agent for you.


Ask a potential agent, “How long does it take you to respond to email? Do you respond to email on evenings and weekends? Does a text receive the fastest response?” If a home meeting your must-have list pops up, you need to know your agent will help you get in the door and answer your calls or emails quickly.


How long has your potential agent worked in this area? Which suburbs does he consider himself an expert in? Does he have a wide network of experienced pros in areas like inspection, mortgage, landscaping or other contracting? Ask, “How many of your deals fell through over the past year?” If the answer is, “None,” run the other direction. Active, knowledgeable agents in this market have deals falling apart now and then due to the speed and competition of the Denver market; an agent in the mix will have several failed deals to tell you about, and they can also share what happened next and how they helped their client find the next great house after losing a deal.

I have over 21 years of experience in the Metro Denver real estate market and it would be my pleasure to help you navigate this fast paced, sometimes tricky marketplace. Get in touch to let me know what I can do to support your success across this beautiful city, or to help you find a qualified professional to meet your needs across Colorado or out of state.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group 
Twitter: @jackestate

Tiny Budget // Big Ideas

So you are all moved into your new-to-you Metro Denver home and brimming with ideas on how to make this house (or townhome or condo) into a home that speaks your language and will impress your new neighbors, your friends and the in-laws. There’s just one teensy little problem: your budget. The Denver market is booming, and a lot of your available cash went into making a deal on the house of your dreams. Now you’ve got the house and a list of big ideas, but you may not have the budget to match.

Here are 5 affordable ideas to maximize the impact of a limited renovation and decorating budget for your home:

Hanging Curtains.png

“Increase” the size of your windows and the amount of natural light by hanging curtains properly. Drapes should hang at or near the ceiling and the fabric should break at the floor. When open, the inside edge of the curtain should overlap the window by just a few inches, which means you’ll need a curtain rod long enough to extend 6-12″ or even a bit more, depending the width of the window and how much extra fabric you want to include. Skimpy curtains can make your windows and the entire room feel skimpy – max out the visual impact of your windows by going high and wide and if necessary, add an extra band of fabric to the bottom to ensure the drapery reaches the floor.

Focal Wall

Create a feature wall for big budget impact with minimal investment. When you enter your living room, great room, kitchen, master bedroom or any space you are considering for a focal wall, which wall does your eye naturally go to? A wall with a large window, a fireplace or the wall your bed rests against likely tells you which wall to highlight. You can go super cheap with a can of paint (or two – horizontal stripes are fun!), clad the wall in wood or go bold with amazing wallpaper. Since you are only covering a single wall, you can make a lot of impact for a little dough.

Spray Paint Knobs

Jazz up outdated door knobs, hinges and handles for a fraction of the cost of replacement. If your house is sporting brassy accents that haven’t been en vogue since the mid-90’s, pick up a couple of cans of specialized spray paint and in less than a day you can update the feel of your entire home by upgrading the hardware. Don’t forget ceiling fans and lights. This article on Young House Love is insightful.

Gel Stained Banisters

Modernize oak banisters or other dated woodwork with gel stain. Builders love oak for kitchen cabinets, baseboard molding, closet doors and of course – banisters. If you love mid-tone oak, congratulations! Chances are this material is featured somewhere in your home. If it’s not a fave, consider upgrading bland oak finishes with glossy white paint or a deeper, more modern gel stain. Either of these projects require time and effort, but a project of this nature is a super affordable DIY. Read this article from Make It & Love It for more info on the process.

Striped Ceiling

When considering which features of your home will make a significant design impact for just a few bucks, don’t forget the fifth wall: your ceiling. Whether you choose the palest pink, cool blue or a clean bright white, if the ceilings in your home haven’t been painted in awhile, consider giving them a couple of fresh coats. The entire room will feel sparkling and new when ceilings updated. Learn how to paint like a girl here. If you are the adventurous type, think outside the box with a wallpapered or paint-patterned ceiling.

Are you wondering what your Denver-area home would list for in our busy marketplace, or which neighborhoods offer the best deals for your home buying dollar? Call me or drop a line. I’ve been helping people like you buy and sell homes across Denver for more than 21 years, and I’d be happy to serve your personal home buying, selling or investment needs.

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



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