Real Estate 2017: What to Expect

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One of the most common questions we get at this time of year is, “What’s going on in the market?” It’s not just potential buyers and sellers who are curious; homeowners always want reassurance their home’s value is going up. The good news is the American real estate market is strong and healthy: home values are up, prices and sales are strong, and millennial first-time buyers are eager to become homeowners.

We often use national real estate numbers to give us a clearer view of our local market. However, real estate is local, and while statistics and predictions help us understand the overall real estate market, our local market may be different. If you’re thinking of buying or selling, or just want to know how much your home is worth, give us a call!

What to Expect in the Real Estate Market in 2017

The American housing market is stronger than ever! Home values, prices and sales had their strongest numbers in 2016, a sure sign the market is healthy and strong. According to the Home Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), property values have increased in 58 of the last 62 months and have increased more than 35 percent nationally. Homeowners continue to build equity in their largest investment—their homes.

First-time buyers are back.

Housing forecasts from the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), the Mortgage Bankers’ Association, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae all predict existing-home sales will surpass 6 million in 2017, higher than anticipated sales for 2016. Who’s driving the surge? According to NAR, millennials who have put off buying a home are ready to buy. While they may have avoided buying a home due to student debt and limited employment, many are entering their 30s, a time when their attention turns to marriage, family and setting roots with homeownership. They’re predicted to be the driving force behind home and condominium sales from now until into 2020. (Source: MarketWatch)

What does this mean to you? If you’re a millennial who’s been on the fence about buying, now is the time to act. Give us a call to answer your questions about the market and the buying process.

Renters are embracing homeownership

Additionally, many renters who’ve resisted buying are starting home searches due to the economic weight of rising rents. This year’s home buyers seek to take advantage of comparatively low interest rates and, in most cases, static payments each month—an advantage of home ownership. Rental costs will only continue to rise; if you’re thinking of buying, now is an ideal time to do so.

What does this mean to you? Every month you pay rent, you lose the opportunity to build equity in a home of your own. Break free from the limits of renting and invest in your financial future. Come in the office and we’ll discuss your options.

Home prices are on the rise.

According to NAR, the median existing-home price not only increased 6.0 percent year-over-year in October, it’s also the 56th consecutive month of year-over-year increases. Prices are approaching the pre-recession peak.

What does this mean to you? Home prices, and subsequently home values, are increasing. If you’ve been waiting to list your home until you know you can sell it for what you think it’s worth, now is a great time to do so. We’ll be happy to give you a comparative market assessment of your home and help you get your home in list-ready shape.

If you’re in the market to buy, be prepared to act.

Homes were on the market for the shortest amount of time recorded since 2009: 52 days. The increase of qualified buyers in the market along with the increasing efficiency of the real estate process means homes are selling faster than ever, and in many cases buyers are engaging in bidding wars and paying over the list price to get the home of their dreams.

What does this mean to you? The home you have your eye on one day may be gone the next. In competitive markets, be prepared to come to the table with a competitive bid.

Looking for a new home?

New-home construction will increase to an average of 1.5 million per year to 2024, according to a report from NAR. However, experts anticipate housing starts will only increase to 1.22 million in 2017, which is less than the 1.5 million new homes required to keep up with growing demand. This inventory shortage of new entry-level homes—typically purchased by first-time buyers—may drive up prices in some areas. Home builders have been focusing on multi-family construction for the last few years, but this type of construction has begun to level off providing hope that builders will once again focus on single-family home construction. However, stricter proposed immigration policies may impact new home construction and tighten inventory.

What does this mean to you? First-time and repeat home buyers agree—there are plenty of advantages of buying a new home. Whether you want a home customized to your family’s needs or you don’t want to bother with age-related maintenance, a new home has much to offer. Give us a call to discuss your options.

Affordability pressures are increasing in many markets

Housing affordability in many of the nation’s largest cities has declined over the past few years, a trend that is expected to continue in 2017. However, there is hope. NAR created the Affordability Index to measure the affordability of homes across the United States. The Affordability Index assesses whether the typical family earning the median family income can qualify for a mortgage on a typical home based on the prevailing mortgage interest rate on loans closed on existing homes from the Federal Housing Finance Board.

The NAR Affordability Index is 170.2 (composite) and 169.8 (fixed), meaning a family earning the median family income has 170.2 percent of the income necessary to buy a median-priced, single-family home. Nationally, the qualifying income is $41,616, but it varies by region. In the Northeast, the qualifying income is $45,024. In the Midwest, it’s $32,640. In the South, it’s $36,960. In the West, it’s $61,824.

What does this mean to you? If you’ve had your eye on a new home, but weren’t sure if you could afford it, you may be pleasantly surprised. We may have homes in our area that meet your needs and budget. Give us a call today to discuss your home search.

3 Things to Do Now if You Plan to Buy This Year

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you’re like most buyers who plan to finance part of the home purchase, getting pre-approved for a mortgage will allow you to put in an offer on a home and may give you an advantage over other buyers. The added bonus: you can see how much home you can afford and budget accordingly.
  2. Start looking. While most buyers start their searches online, be sure to look at homes in neighborhoods you’d like to live in as well. Keep a notebook to write down what you like and dislike about each home you view in person or online. This will help you narrow down where to look and what to look for in your next home.
  3. Come to our office. The buying process can be tricky. We’d love to guide you through it. We can help you find a home that fits your needs and budget. Give us a call to make an appointment today!

3 Things to Do Now if You Plan to Sell This Year

  1. Make repairs. Most buyers want a home they can move into right away, without having to make extensive repairs. While the repairs may or may not add value, making them will give your home a competitive advantage over other similar homes on the market.
  2. Get a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). A CMA not only gives you the current market value of your home, it’ll also show how your home compares to others in the area. This will help us price your home to sell in our market. Call us for your free CMA!
  3. Start packing. Help your buyers see themselves in your home by packing up items you don’t use regularly and storing them in an attic or a storage space. This will make your home easier to stage as well as make it easier to move later on.

Are you thinking of buying or selling?

Whether you’d like to buy or sell a home this year, want to know how much your home is worth, or have general questions about our local market, give us a call! We’d love to discuss the market with you.

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National Real Estate Market Primed for Expansion in 2016

January 2016 Housing reportStrengthening Economy 

Despite existing-home sales dropping last November, the National Real Estate Market is primed for expansion in 2016. Here’s why. Better weather in many parts of the country resulted in an increase in single-family and multifamily home construction. Also, the population of millennial homebuyers is expected to grow in 2016. This means increased demand to help the housing market see positive gains. With unemployment steadily decreasing, orders for new durable goods increasing 3 percent, inflation staying level, and income beginning to grow, the Fed decided to raise interest rates. The rate increase signals that our economy is getting stronger. So, don’t let the drop in existing-home sales in November fool you, with a stronger economy home sellers can expect eager home buyers in 2016.

Millennial Home Buyers

The low demand in November meant that first-time home buyers had only a 30 percent share in demand, which is slightly down from 31 percent in October and last year. However, in 2016 home sellers saw an increase of first-time home buyers enter the housing market  because of the growing segment of millennials between 25 and 34 years of age. The Census Bureau projects that the population of millennials aged 25 to 34 will increase by an average of nearly 500,000 per year in the second part of the decade. Also, NAR’s inaugural quarterly Housing Opportunities and Market Experience survey reported that a large majority of millennials between 25 and 34 years of age who rent want to own a home in the future.

Interest Rates

The Federal Reserve raised short-term interests this month. Freddie Mac reported that the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed rate mortgage stayed below 4 percent, but rose from 3.80 percent to 3.94 percent in November. Mortgage rates are expected to rise to 4.50 percent by the end of 2016, but this rate is still historically low; a full percentage point below the rate during the recession of 2008. The low fixed mortgage rate should help spurn demand and encourage first-time home buyers to enter the market.  But while the rate is at its current level, potential home buyers should keep an eye out for rate increases so that they’re not caught by surprise when the spring buying season comes around. Early 2016 would be a good time for home buyers to start looking to purchase a home.

Mortgage Lenders & Home Buyers

Fannie Mae’s fourth quarter 2015 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey™ shows that lenders expect to ease mortgage credit standards for GSE-eligible loans and government loans over the next three months. This should reduce the affordability problem for first-time home buyers. As a result, this will help young adult homeownership. Although home prices will be high, all of this is good news for home sellers because they should expect an increase in demand for their home.

In 2016, the first-time home buyer will have mortgage credit options available that were not available during the housing down-turn. First-time home buyers will have low-and no-down-payment mortgage loans available to them. Some loan options available include FHA loans and the conventional 97 percent program offered by Fannie Mae. Qualifying first-time home buyers need only to put 3 percent down on a home.

Homeowners

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly survey, the Refinance Index increased 11 percent compared to the previous week. So it appears homeowners have anticipated the Federal Reserve’s increase in interest rates. If you’re a homeowner with an adjustable-rate mortgage or a variable home equity line of credit, you should expect your rates to rise in 2016. The first part of 2016 will be a good time to refinance. Home equity lines of credit (HELOC) are both fixed and variable. Variable HELOCs are tied to the Federal Reserve prime rate. Whereas fixed HELOCs are not. By refinancing early in 2016, you’ll afford any major life events that may occur such as daughter’s wedding, high college tuition, or home renovation.

Wrap-up

The National Real Estate Market is on its way to expanding. The Federal Reserve raising interest rates indicates optimism in the housing market and the economy as a whole. The 2016 housing market will remain a sellers market that should see an increase in first-time home buyers entering the market because of the strong desire of homeownership by millennials 25 to 34 years of age, and easing credit standards and increases in wages. Homeowners with variable mortgage rates should expect their rates to rise in 2016, but early 2016 will be a good time to refinance so that you’re that you won’t fill the brunt of further interest rate increases.

While every real estate market is local, national stats often give insight into predicting local trends. If you have any questions about our local market to help you make any real estate-related decisions, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Call or Text: 720-849-6101

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Homeowner Tax Deductions

Homeowner Tax DeductionsAbout this time every year we are reminded that taxes are coming due.  We recently received most of our W2’s, 1099’s, etc…now it is time to either send it all to the accountant or do it ourselves.  Of course, the CPA’s are typically well versed in deductions and most of the software to do it ourselves is programmed to find deductions.  However, just as a reminder lets take a look at some of the important homeowner tax deductions not to miss.

Mortgage Interest – This is almost a can’t miss for most homeowners.  It may likely be your biggest deduction when it comes to your home.  You may be able to deduct all the interest if you are married and filing jointly if you have a mortgage up to $1 million!

Points – If you purchased a home you can deduct the points, if you paid any, in acquiring the mortgage.  If you refinanced, you can deduct them as well, only not all at once but rather over the life of the loan.

Property Taxes – If you paid property taxes then that amount can be fully deductible.  Most people may have taxes paid out from the mortgage company which collects towards paying each month.  Make sure the taxes were fully paid from that account before deducting.

Moving Costs – If you moved due to a new job then as long as you meet some criteria such as the new job being at least 50 miles further away from the old home than the old job was, then many of the costs in the move may be deducted.

Selling Costs – If you sold your home then you may have deductions.  If you had a taxable gain, then many of the selling costs, including broker fees, may be deducted.

There may be many homeowner tax deductions not mentioned here.  Many of these points can be found at  the IRS website where you can search the publications for further details.  Remember that owning a home has many benefits and some of those are the tax benefits!  If you would like help with your next move, please get in touch and I would be happy to help.  You can begin that search by clicking the button below.

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The following article provides general information and is not to be construed as specific tax advice.  You should seek tax advice from a qualified tax professional as this information may not pertain to your specific situation.

Year End Real Estate Data in Highlands Ranch 2013

The Numbers – How Highlands Ranch Homes Sales Fared in 2013

Happy New Year!

Now that we have a couple weeks of 2014 under our belt let’s take a look at how the Denver area real estate market performed last year.  There is a lot of positive speculation out there regarding the economy and especially the real estate market here in Highlands Ranch, it’s always a good idea to take a look back at the year end real estate data for 2013 to get a sense of the activity and where it may lead us this year.

By most accounts, last year was a tremendous success when it comes to the Highlands Ranch housing market!  Days on market averaged only around a month while the average months of inventory remained just about 2 months.  If we compare the activity in Highlands Ranch for 2013, year over year to 2012 we see these very positive results:  Overall number of sales in 2013 were up by 314 homes. (Keep reading below my year end graphic.)

Highlands Ranch Market Stats 2013

Overall days on market to sell those homes was down by an average of 25 days. Almost a month! And the overall average sales price INCREASE was $22,318,000.  So more homes sold, for more money and took a lot less time to sell.  Is there any downside to that? Actually, if there is a downside to the year end real estate data in Highlands Ranch it is the inventory levels.  Low, low, low housing inventory throughout much of the Denver metro area but this is especially true in Highlands Ranch.  This creates a great market for sellers who want a faster sale and near asking price on their home – if of course it is priced right in the first place.  But for home buyers, this increases the likelihood of needing to overbid on homes, feeling rushed a bit in making a decision and of course, the disappointment of losing out on the home, or homes, of your dream.  It can be rough.  Most of the sellers become buyers and feel both ends of the home low inventory issue.

However, the year end real estate data for Highlands Ranch for 2013 is still a very positive result. It is always good to have home prices increasing and demand high.  This is a great situation to be in.  With interest rates remaining low for the time being, I would suspect demand for Highlands Ranch homes to stay red hot and why not, Highlands Ranch is a wonderful place to live and an excellent place to own a home.

I live and work in Highlands Ranch and have for nearly 20 years.  If you are considering a move in Highlands Ranch, you’ll want an agent with experience to help navigate the details in a fast moving market with competing offers.  If I can help you with your next move, please get in touch and let’s start the conversation.

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Spring Outdoor Home Maintenance Tips

Green GrassLiving in Denver – Home Maintenance

We are almost there! Spring.  The weather outside already is beginning to feel like it, and I can see new growth starting in the flower beds.  This is a great time of year to begin to shake off the winter and get active outside at our homes.  Maybe you like to garden and enjoy the outdoors or maybe you want someone else to take care of things.  Either way, I’ve put together a short list of Spring outdoor home maintenance tips that can get you started towards a beautiful home and yard this season!

Paint

Look around your house.  Does it need to be painted?  Maybe just touched up?  If you have kids that like sports like I do, maybe just the garage door needs some attention.  All those balls and pucks hitting it all the time. Yikes. In any case, exterior paint can make a world of difference in the appearance of your home and the joy you get every time you come home.  Spring is a perfect time to get this project done and enjoy the results for the rest of the season!

Aeration

These spring outdoor home maintenance tips wouldn’t be complete without mentioning an aeration. We live in Colorado and the soil just needs it! Aeration early in the spring can make a huge positive difference in the health and appearance of your lawn.  Not to mention, we may be on water restrictions this year so all the more reason to get this done.  If you’re like me, you are already getting those ads hung on the door. Call and make the appointment.

Mulch

Putting down fresh mulch can always make an immediate and dramatic difference in the look and feel of your landscape. If you have old mulch that looks weathered and just dirty, then it is time to freshen that up.  Mulch comes in a variety of colors and textures and will definitely enhance the look of your yard this spring.  Don’t forget to prep the ground before adding the mulch.  Make sure to put a good weed barrier down before so you don’t have the ugly mulch with weeds in a few weeks!

Trimming

Your spring outdoor home maintenance tips need to include trimming for sure.  By trimming, I mean beginning to prepare the bushes, ornamentals, trees and such by pruning them back so they have a better chance to grow and blossom fully this season.  Also, as you prepare your lawn, make a point to trim the edge along the sidewalk and driveways for a clean, tidy look.

Fertilization

What an important part of any spring outdoor home maintenance tips list. Don’t forget or neglect to do this.  Your lawn will thank you for it soon, and you’ll be happy as well when it turns up lush, green and weed free.  Especially if you did an aeration then fertilizing will really help the lawn.  Again, if there are water restrictions, you’ll be happy that you took care of this in the spring.  Make sure to fertilize your trees and bushes some as well.  It makes a big difference.

Approval

If you live in a covenant controlled community like I do in Highlands Ranch, it would be a very smart idea to seek approval of your plans for painting and other larger projects before you start.  The last thing you want is a surprise after you’ve invested time and money to find out the Home Owners Association doesn’t agree with your taste and makes you change it. Ouch!

So there you have it.  A very short list of spring outdoor home maintenance tips that may help inspire you to get busy and spruce up your home for you to enjoy.  Look around while you are out there in the yard, I’m sure you can spot other tasks to take care of that will add to the beauty of your home.  Of course, if you are considering selling your home there are certain tips you may want to follow to help make the house attractive to buyers.  If you or someone you know may need professional help with the sale, please get in touch.  I would love to talk and see if we would be a good fit to work together.

 

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5 Tips For Showing Your Home In Bad Weather

Bad weather snow shovelingHere in Denver the weather has not been all that messy so far this winter.  Yes, there has been some snow fall, not too much but it doesn’t take much snow or rain to make a mess of your shoes.  This can be a real problem when you are trying to sell your home and lot’s of folks are walking in.  You need a plan for this.  You need 5 tips for showing your home in bad weather!

So here is a brief list of 5 common sense tips that may help you with a lot of clean up or even permanent damage. These tips may seem obvious but you would be surprised how many homes I go into and the sellers have made no provisions for messy shoes and tracking in dirt, mud and water from the messy weather outside.

  1. Remind visitors to remove their shoes.  This starts with the instructions given to the showing service or broker office that sets up the showings.  Have them give instruction to the agent that will be showing to remove shoes when entering the home.  This may easily be forgotten or overlooked, so a best practice would be to also post a reminder note in an obvious place, like on the front door, to remind visitors again to remove shoes.
  2. Provide a place to put shoes at the home’s entry.  Once inside, your visitors will be expected to remove their shoes and they should have an obvious place to put the shoes before continuing through the house.  Place an indoor mat just inside the entry for this purpose and keep it clean.
  3. Provide booties to cover shoes.  These are the cloth type covers you would find in hospitals and such that slip over shoes.  This is an alternative for those that may not want to remove their shoes.  Not everyone does.  Caution! They can either come off inside the house or can provide the visitor extra courage to venture into areas such as the garage or out on the deck that they may not have in their own socks.  Also, if you provide booties at the entry then also provide a place to sit and put them on, like a chair or a convenient step.  Nothing like trying to stand on one foot while stretching the bootie over your shoe that seems too big at the moment.
  4. Pay attention to the indoor environment.  You should always do this anyway, however with bad weather outside it is likely you will have a closed environment inside.  So keep the temperature comfortable and keep the home smelling nice.  Since the windows likely won’t be open you will want to keep trash empty, pet areas clean and generally avoid any unpleasant odors.  Don’t make the mistake of over doing any air fresher or other scent.  This can be as obnoxious to many people as bad odor.
  5. Clear and clean a path.  This is another obvious thing to do, but can get overlooked.  If it is snowing and you can clear a path to the door, then do it.  I know this is not always feasible.  You may actually need to leave home and go to work while it is snowing. 🙂 But if you can then don’t forget it.  Also, don’t forget to clear the deck or patio as well.  Remember that people do like to go out there to check it out.  In rainy or other messy weather, cleaning the path is as important.  Make sure there is not dirt and mud to walk through on the way inside.

 

I hope these 5 tips for showing your home in bad weather is helpful.  I know it seems like simple and obvious things to do.  For some, maybe this gave you an idea you didn’t consider.  Bad weather can’t be controlled here in Denver or anywhere else, a seller needs to deal with it while trying to sell their home.  However, you don’t need to have your floors all messed up or ruined in the process.  If you are considering selling your home and would like some honest, professional and experienced help please get in touch with me.  I would love to talk with you to see if we would be a good business match.

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