5 Classic Home Buying Mistakes Millennials Make

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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7 Ways to Make UR New House a Home

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

Now what? 

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

Fam Restaurant

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

Grocery Shop

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

Friendly Neighbors

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

Active Fam

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

Library Guy

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

Family Movies

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

Mini Golf

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

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

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

6 Signs it’s Time to Buy (or Buy Up)

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

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

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

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

Buyers Love Bragging Rights

As a seller, no matter the state of the market – Buyer’s Market, Seller’s Market or Balanced Market, paying attention to your property’s pluses will pay dividends at the closing table. Let’s talk about some of the features and benefits of your home you’ll want to make sure to mention to your pool of buyers.

STORAGE

If you’ve got storage to spare, whether in closets, the basement, your garage or a nifty shed in the backyard, MENTION IT! Current renters and anyone upsizing will be in need of additional storage and “not enough storage” may be one of their chief complaints. “We’ve got way too much storage space in this home!” Said no one, ever! If you’ve got it, flaunt it, and mention it in the listing description.

COMMUTABILITY

Few people enjoy a lengthy or traffic-riddled commute, and traffic in the Denver area has increased over the past several years. If your property is convenient to bus stops, Light Rail service, or convenient routes to downtown or other saturated work areas, shout it from the rooftops. Potential buyers will be more likely to keep you on the list, and to pay asking price or more, if you help paint the picture of all the extra time they’ll have in the home with commuter friendly benefits nearby.

ROOM FOR GRANNY & GRAMPS

If your home has comfortable space to accommodate aging relatives long term, or even just for the weekend, share this information clearly. With an aging Baby Boomer population choosing to move in with family instead of into long term care, having the right space for older loved ones is a priority for many families. Don’t miss the opportunity to appeal to buyers with this need.

GREEN & EFFICIENT LIVING

Highlighting features in this category will appeal not only to the Eco chic, but to budget savvy buyers as well. If you have energy efficient windows, solar panels, water saving toilets/shower heads/sprinkler system, make these details known. Everybody wants to save money. Even noting the savings on heat or AC based on shade trees or the direction your home faces, ie. lots of natural sunlight and lower heating bills for an East or South facing home. And if you can mention exactly how much your efficient features allowed you to cut utility bills, even better! Buyers will eat this stuff up. To attract the Green Scene, make sure you mention built in green features like a compost or recycling bin, organic garden in your backyard or items like a rain water barrel. If you have cleaned and maintained your home using natural substances only, mention this as well.

As a seller, what kind of return can you expect on your investment right now? As a buyer, which features beyond location, number of bedrooms, square footage and such are the best investment for your real estate dollar? I’m happy to help you understand what’s happening in the Denver market, and help you maximize your home buying dollar or make the most of your real estate sale.

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

Your June Home Maintenance Checklist

With the first day of Summer nearly here, it’s time to get started on your June home maintenance checklist. Many of these tasks are DIY-able with a little help from the interwebs, but if you’d like a referral to a trustworthy pro, I’m happy to provide a reference.

  1. Clean the dryer vent pipe.
  2. Prune shrubs around your Central Air unit; ensure it is level.
  3. Replace AC filter. 
  4. Clean and inspect AC condensation drain line. 
  5. Spray or leave traps for Summertime pests.
  6. Test and adjust sprinkler system.
  7. Wash exterior windows. 
  8. Inspect/clean/repair window screens. 
  9. Pressure wash exterior surfaces/sidewalk/driveway.
  10. Clean and maintain the grill. 

grill

Are you considering Buying or Selling a home in the Denver area this Summer, or this year? Give me a ring – I’d love to represent you in our fast-paced marketplace.

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.

paint-splash

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.

red-door

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

How Long Does That Last?

How Long Does That Last: Home Edition

Most home buyers purchase a property intending to live there for awhile. Ideally, the accessories that keep life in our homes running smoothly will last, too. But nothing lasts forever, and the major systems and appliances we use every day (and sometimes take for granted) – will eventually wear out.

Read on for a guide to how long you can expect most of the systems in your home to last, and what you can expect to pay for replacement.

Microwave. This small appliance sees a lot of use in most homes, and not surprisingly it’s one of the first to go. A quality microwave will last 9 years on average, and a professional model will run in the $300 neighborhood, depending on functions, features, mounting and whether your kitchen features a built-in microwave/ventilation system.

Dishwasher. Washing dishes by hand is so 1965! Chances are good you could work a kitchen sponge and a bottle of dish soap every day if you had to, but busy lives demand conveniences like dishwashers. You can expect yours to last about 9 years and cost $568 on average to replace.

Electrical. Internal wiring, lighting, outlets – these things are easy to ignore, but over the course of 10 years on average, the electrical system in your home will begin to show its age. Average upgrade/replacement cost around that time is between $1300-1400.

Garage Door Opener. Your garage door itself may require minor repairs from time to time, but the garage door opener should last 10-15 years. At that point, replacement costs $319 on average.

Toilet. Your loo should provide excellent service for about 10 years, at which point you’ll shell out $350 bucks or so for a new model.

Water Heater. A traditional tank system water heater will wear out after 10-15 years. A new one will set you back close to $900. Tankless water heaters cost $1500 + on average and last about 20 years, but with 30% of a home’s energy bills spent warming the water in your traditional tank system, the initial investment may pay off over time.

Garbage Disposal. With normal use, your garbage disposal will last about 12 years. A replacement costs $400. These tips will help you keep your disposal ship shape for as long as possible.

repair

Oven. The heart of your kitchen, you can expect your oven to bake your cookies, cakes, lasagnas and meat loaf to perfection for 13-15 years. Average replacement cost is $1000, but if you have caviar and champagne tastes, you can certainly spend more.

Washer & Dryer. A new set will last 10-13 years. Replacement for a pair, top or front load washer, averages $1000.

Fridge. There are several simple ways to extend the life of your refrigerator. Without extenuating measures, the average fridge will last 13 years. Replacement cost is $1500.

Air Conditioner. 10-15 years is a typical lifespan for an air conditioning unit; replacing this system will cost between $5,000-5,500. If your central air goes out and your are short of funds, consider these alternatives.

Furnace. Surprisingly, the average furnace lasts longer and costs significantly less to replace than the air conditioning system. Modern furnaces live 15-20 years and replacing this system will cost an average of $3880.

Roof. The average roof will last 20-30 years, a figure largely impacted by the region in which you live, which determines factors like weather and pests. Replacement costs hover around an average of $6,600 and change nationally. If you live in an area known for termites or challenging weather, periodic inspections by a qualified roofing pro can help you head off costlier issues at the pass.

Pipes. The record for system in your home most likely to outlive all the rest is, of course, pipes. With an impressive lifespan of 75-100 years, the pipes in the floor, ceilings and walls of your home will likely last a very long time – especially if your home was constructed in the last 10-20 years. Replacement cost averages $1,193 nationally.

Whether you are wondering which items to service or repair in advance of selling your home, considering investing in upgrades or you need a qualified professional in your neck of the woods, drop me a line. I’m here to advise in any way I can, and with many years in Denver real estate, chances are I know someone in the right line of work to assist on your next home project.

Jack Meyers

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