July 17, 2017

9 Reasons You Should Hire a Realtor When Buying a New Construction Home

1.    In Colorado Builder Sales Representatives Are Not Required to Have a Real Estate License.

The sales rep works for the builder, as an employee, and their job is to look out for the best interest of the builder.  Builders depend on Realtors to bring buyers and sell their homes.  Therefore, they build in the buyer’s agent commission to the base price of the home and they do not discount it if you do not have your own buyer’s agent.

The sales reps are valuable in knowing their product inside and out.  What’s available, what’s the build time, the cost of upgrades, the lot premiums, the building standards of the project and the features and benefits of their particular builder.  They are a great resource and we love working with them.  Remember, they represent and work for the builder, not you.

2. Your Realtor is Your Advocate and Licensed by the State to Uphold Professional Standards and Ethics.

They will help you understand the lengthy builder contracts (60+ pages on average), your rights, the builder’s rights and the building process.  Realtors are required to complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years with mandatory annual classes that keep them up to date on state laws, rules and regulations.

3. Hiring a Realtor Doesn’t Cost You Anything.

Remember the Builder has already factored this fee into the base price of the home and they are not going to discount it.  So why wouldn’t you hire a Realtor to be on your side?  If you hire a Realtor who is experienced selling new homes, they will ultimately save you a lot of time.

4. Your Realtor Will Help You Choose The Right Builder and Neighborhood.

Unless you are a fan of …. driving miles and miles on a Saturday or Sunday, visiting builder after builder, that may or may not be in your price range, just for fun….

 A Realtor will save you a lot of wasted hours and help you zero in on the right neighborhood quickly.  Many builders advertise their prices as “Starting in the low $400,000’s”, which usually means they have one very small home priced around $425,000 and the rest of their models are well into the $480,000 - $520,000 range.

5. Your Realtor Will Help You Make The Right Choices For Your Budget. 

You really want new construction and you had your heart set on a particular neighborhood.  Then you find out that you cannot afford to live there.  Working with an experienced new home Realtor can help you determine if the neighborhood is really out of your budget. Maybe there is another builder that has a smaller product that you were unaware of or maybe you need to make a plan on how you can achieve your goal in a reasonable timeframe.  Do you need to save more for a downpayment, get a better paying job or payoff debt?  This is where a Realtor can counsel you to help you achieve your dreams.

6. Your Realtor Will Help You Pick The Right Lot, The Right Floor Plan and the Right Upgrades. 

This is an important one, if you have the choices.  Some floor plans will re-sell better than others, as well as lots, as well as upgrades and color choices.  An experienced Realtor can guide you in these choices so that you make the smartest choices to protect your investment.

Most model homes are decked out with high end upgrades like flooring and counters, which you might expect.  What you might not expect is that the upstairs laundry room is an option, i.e., more money; the huge island in the kitchen is an option, and so on.  Options and upgrades are not always just in the finishes, it could also include the way the home is built.

Your Realtor will help you understand what is included or not.  Most importantly help you imagine the home within your budget and for the best resale value.

7. Your Realtor Will Help You Negotiate Upgrades, Closing Costs, Lot Premiums and Sometimes Even The Price.

An experienced new home Realtor will often have the knowledge about a particular community or builder that can save you thousands of dollars.  New construction is very different from a resale home, because the builders have no emotional attachment to the home.  They are numbers, bottom line driven.

There are a few key factors that an experienced agent knows to look for that will expose the possibility of negotiating with the builder.

8. Your Realtor Will Guide You Through The Building Process.

Buying new construction is a fun experience!  It’s exciting to see the foundation being poured, then the framing go up, the siding goes on and now it really looks like a home (from the outside).  You walk around the inside and you have no idea how to determine which room is which.  It looks very different in the construction phase.  Sometimes buyers will start to freak out at this point.

Your Realtor can walk you through the property and help you envision the final home.  It is reassuring to have someone who has seen a thousand homes in this condition, help you understand the process.  On top of the visual aspect, there are building permits, inspections and deadlines that the builder is dealing with.  There is quality control to verify that the home is being built to your specific contract.

Bottom line, there are hundreds of things that must happen from the time  you sign the contract until you open the front door to your new home.  An experienced Realtor will help you understand the process.

9. What Happens If You Have a House to Sell?

This last one can throw a wrench into your plan of buying new construction.  It doesn’t have to.  Your Realtor can help you strategize and create the perfect plan for your family to make this difficult transaction a little easier.  Every builder, in every community will have a different set of regulations when it comes to selling your home.

By choosing to work with a Realtor you will know what those regulations are before you go and fall in love with your new home.  Meeting with a Realtor first will save you hours or time and frustration.

There are so many people involved in the building of your new home.  You can rest assured that you have someone looking out for you and your family when you hire a Realtor.

As you have read, hiring a Realtor to represent you when you purchase new construction provides many benefits to you.  You have an advocate to help you navigate the lengthy process.  And it’s FREE! 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Should you decide to hire a Realtor to help you find your new home, many builders require that the Realtor is with you on your first visit.  So unless you like driving around for fun, save yourself some time and call a Realtor today.

Andy and Josie Apodaca offer over 42 years combined experience as Realtors. They have sold hundreds of new construction homes throughout all of the Denver Metro area.  Andy and Josie have personally owned 39 properties, a hand full of new construction homes and many fix and flips.  They have the experience in construction that most Realtors do not.  Call 303-880-1167 to schedule a complimentary strategy session with Andy and Josie today.

 

 

July 13, 2017

The 5 Greatest Benefits of Homeownership

Recently, Freddie Mac reported on the benefits of homeownership. According to their report, here are the five benefits that “should be at the top of everyone’s list.”

  1. Homeownership can help you build equity over time.
  2. Your monthly payments will remain stable.
  3. You may have some tax benefits.
  4. You can take pride in ownership.
  5. Homeownership improves your community.

Let’s expand on each of Freddie Mac’s points:

Homeownership can help you build equity over time.

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400).

In a Forbes article, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Chief EconomistLawrence Yun reported that now the net worth gap is 45 times greater.

Your monthly payments will remain stable.

When you purchase a home with a fixed rate mortgage, the majority of the payment (principle and interest) remain constant. On the other hand, rents continue to skyrocket. Your housing expense is much more stable if you own instead of rent.

You may have some tax benefits.

According to the Tax Policy Center’s Briefing Book -“A citizen’s guide to the fascinating (though often complex) elements of the federal Tax System” – there are several tax advantages to homeownership.

Here are four items from the Briefing Book:

  • Mortgage Interest Deduction
  • Property Tax Deduction
  • Imputed Rent
  • Profits from Home Sale

You can take pride in ownership.

Most surveys show that a major factor in purchasing a home is the freedom you have to design the home the way you want. From paint colors to yard accessories, you don’t need a landlord’s permission to make the house feel like a home.

Homeownership improves your community.

The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled ‘Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.’ The study explained:

“Homeownership does create social capital and provide residents with a platform from which to connect and interact with neighbors…Owning a home means owning part of a neighborhood, and a homeowner’s feelings of commitment to the home can arouse feelings of commitment to the neighborhood, which, in turn, can produce interactions with neighbors.”

Bottom Line

There are many benefits to homeownership. That is why it is still a critical piece of the American Dream.

July 13, 2017

Highlands Ranch Pool Schedule

It summertime!

Here is the 2017 summer outdoor pool schedule for Highlands Ranch.

 

Northridge

Monday - Friday 9:00 am - 8:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday: 6:00 am - 5:45 pm

*The Northridge Tot Pool is closed for the summer of 2017 for renovation.

 

Southridge

Monday - Friday 10:00 am - 8:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday 10:00 am - 7:45 pm

 

Eastridge

Monday - Thursday 10:30 am - 8:00 pm

Friday 9:00 am - 8:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday 9:00 am - 7:45 pm

 

Westridge

Monday - Thursday 10:30 am - 8:00 pm

Friday 9:00 am - 8:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday 9:00 am - 7:45 pm

 

You can find the most current information on the pool schedules on the HRCA website: 

https://hrcaonline.org/classes-camps-activities/recreation-center-amenities/pools/pool-schedule

 

 

 

Posted in Highlands Ranch
July 12, 2017

Homeowners: Your Home Must Be Sold TWICE

In today’s housing market, where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values are increasing rapidly. Many experts are projecting that home values could appreciate by another 5%+ over the next twelve months. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal.

If prices are surging, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that recently closed) to defend the selling price when performing the appraisal for the bank.

Every month in their Home Price Perception Index (HPPI), Quicken Loans measures the disparity between what a homeowner who is seeking to refinance their home believes their house is worth, as compared to an appraiser’s evaluation of that same home.

Bill Banfield, VP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans urges anyone looking to buy or sell in today’s market to remember the impact of this challenge: 

“While a 1 or 2 percent difference in home value opinions may not seem like a lot, it could be enough to derail a mortgage.

A homeowner [or a buyer] could be forced to bring more cash to closing in order to make a mortgage work if the appraisal is lower than expected. On the other hand, if an appraisal comes in higher, they could be surprised with more equity than they had planned. Either way, if owners are aware of their local markets it will lead to smoother mortgage transactions.”

The chart below illustrates the changes in home price estimates over the last 12 months.

Homeowners: Your Home Must Be Sold TWICE | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Every house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. If you are planning on entering the housing market this year, let’s get together to discuss this and any other obstacle that may arise.

July 11, 2017

The High Impact of Low Interest Rates on Your Purchasing Power

According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at 3.96%, which is still near record lows in comparison to recent history!

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows what impact rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a home within the national median price range, and planned to keep your principal and interest payments between $1,850-$1,900 a month.

The High Impact of Low Interest Rates on Your Purchasing Power | MyKCM

With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 5% by this time next year.

Act now to get the most house for your hard-earned money.

July 10, 2017

5 Reasons Why You Should Not For Sale By Owner!

In today’s market, with home prices rising and a lack of inventory, some homeowners may consider trying to sell their homes on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons why this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.

Here are the top five reasons:

1. Exposure to Prospective Buyers 

Recent studies have shown that 94% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 16% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

2. Results Come from the Internet

Where did buyers find the homes they actually purchased?

  • 51% on the internet
  • 34% from a Real Estate Agent
  • 8% from a yard sign
  • 1% from newspapers

The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.

3. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With 

Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale by Owner:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value

4. FSBOing Has Become More And More Difficult

The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years. 

The 8% share represents the lowest recorded figure since NAR began collecting data in 1981.

5. You Net More Money When Using an Agent 

Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $185,000, while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $245,000. This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $60,000 more for your home, as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.

Bottom Line

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, let’s get together and discuss the options available in your market today.

July 7, 2017

NAR Data Shows Now Is a Great Time to Sell!

We all realize that the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and the supply of that item is limited. Two major reports issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed information that suggests that now continues to be a great time to sell your house.

Let’s look at the data covered in the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index and Existing Home Sales Report.

REALTORS® CONFIDENCE INDEX

Every month, NAR surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.” This month, the index showed (again) that home-buying demand continued to outpace supply in May.

The map below illustrates buyer demand broken down by state (the darker your state, the stronger the demand is there).

NAR Data Shows Now Is a Great Time to Sell! | Simplifying The Market

In addition to revealing high demand, the index also mentioned that “compared to conditions in the same month last year, seller traffic conditions were ‘weak’ in 24 states, ‘stable’ in 25 states, and ‘strong’ in D.C and West Virginia. 

Takeaway: Demand for housing continues to be strong throughout 2017, but supply is struggling to keep up, and this trend is likely to continue into 2018.

THE EXISTING HOME SALES REPORT

The most important data revealed in the report was not sales, but was instead the inventory of homes for sale (supply). The report explained:

  • Total housing inventory rose 2.1% to 1.96 million homes available for sale
  • That represents a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace
  • Unsold inventory is 8.4% lower than a year ago, marking the 24th consecutive month with year-over-year declines

According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR:

“Current demand levels indicate sales should be stronger, but it’s clear some would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search because low supply is leading to worsening affordability conditions.”

In real estate, there is a guideline that often applies; when there is less than a 6-month supply of inventory available, we are in a seller’s market and we will see appreciation. Between 6-7 months is a neutral market, where prices will increase at the rate of inflation. More than a 7-month supply means we are in a buyer’s market and should expect depreciation in home values.

As we mentioned before, there is currently a 4.2- month supply, and houses are going under contract fast. The Confidence Index shows that 55% of properties were on the market for less than a month when sold.

In May, properties sold nationally were typically on the market for 27 days. As Yun notes, this will continue, unless more listings come to the market.

“With new and existing supply failing to catch up with demand, several markets this summer will continue to see homes going under contract at this remarkably fast pace of under a month.”

Takeaway: Inventory of homes for sale is still well below the 6-month supply needed for a normal market. And the supply will continue to ‘fail to catch up with demand’ if a ‘sizable’ supply does not enter the market.

Bottom Line

If you are going to sell, now may be the time to take advantage of the ready, willing, and able buyers that are still out searching for your house.

July 7, 2017

Median Days on the Market Drops to 27!

Some Highlights:

Some Highlights:

  • The National Association of REALTORS® surveyed their members for their monthly Confidence Index.
  • The REALTORS® Confidence Index is a key indicator of housing market strength based on a monthly survey sent to over 50,000 real estate practitioners. Practitioners are asked about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.
  • Homes sold in less than a month in 24 out of 50 states, and Washington D.C.
  • Homes typically went under contract in 27 days in May!
July 6, 2017

5 Reasons You Should Sell This Summer

Here are five reasons listing your home for sale this summer makes sense.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now! More often than not, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy a home.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory is currently at a 4.2-month supply, well under the 6-months needed for a normal housing market. This means, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory could be coming to the market soon.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market this summer.

Also, builder’s confidence in the market has hit its highest mark in over 11 years. Experts are predicting that new construction of single-family homes will ramp up this summer.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Fannie Mae anticipates an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007’s pace. As the market continues to strengthen, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing-time lines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler. According to Ellie Mae’s latestOrigination Insights Report, the time to close a loan has dropped to a new low of 42 days, after seeing a 12-month high of 48 days in January.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 4.9% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

You can also lock in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate around 4% right now. Rates are projected to increase in the next 12 months.

5. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

July 6, 2017

Your Opportunity to Achieve the American Dream Keeps Getting Better!

Forbes.com recently released the latest results of their American Dream Index, in which they measure “the prosperity of the middle class, and…examine which states best support the American Dream.”

The monthly index measures several different economic factors, including goods-producing employment, personal and commercial bankruptcies, building permits, startup activity, unemployment insurance claims, labor force participation, and layoffs.

The national index score was rounded out to 100.0 in January as a baseline for comparison and it rose the fourth straight month in a row to 101.8.

Alaska, coming in at 89.4, represented the lowest score on the index due in part to the recent collapse in oil prices. In contrast, Wyoming came in with the highest score at 115.1. The full results can be seen in the map below.

Your Opportunity to Achieve the American Dream Keeps Getting Better! | Simplifying The Market

Forbes Senior Editor Kurt Badenhausen explained why many states saw a boost in the index last month:

“The American Dream Index rose for the fourth straight month to 101.8 propelled by gains in goods-producing jobs and building permits, as well as declines in unemployment claims and mass layoffs.

Goods-producing jobs (manufacturing, mining, construction and agriculture) were up for the ninth straight month in May…Building permits rose for the fourth straight month compared to the prior year.”

Bottom Line

The American Dream, for many, includes being able to own a home of one’s own. With the economy improving in many areas of the country, that dream can finally become a reality.