May 5, 2017

The Cost of Waiting to Buy a Home

Posted in Buyer Tips
May 4, 2017

Real Estate Market Update - April 2017

April 21, 2017

Real Estate Report - March 2017

Denver real estate market report for 3-2017

Feb. 27, 2017

10 Things to Consider When Buying A Home

Denver Real Estate Tips

Denver real estate

Most people receive all sorts of advice from friends and family when they decide to purchase a home.  The amount of information available on the web is astounding!  

I've been selling real estate for many years now.  I field questions from buyers and observe common mistakes quite frequently.  Typically I try to educate my clients on the things they should be concerned with, particularly when it comes to buying a property they may regret.  

Here are 10 things to consider when buying a home:

  1. Your Exit Strategy.  You may be in the buying mode right now, but one day you will be in the selling mode.  Make sure what you are buying will sell.  By that I mean if you are in a family neighborhood where all the homes have 4+ bedrooms, don't be a maverick and buy a 2-bedroom house. Well don't do so unless you can live with the idea it will take longer to sell or don't fool yourself!
  2. How long do you plan to stay? Recently I sold a home where the owners made over a 50% profit in less than 2 years.  This is an exception to the rule, certainly not the norm.  The real estate market goes up and down.  Generally if you have a secure job and plan to stay in the house 3 years or longer you should be fine.  If your job is iffy and you're in a field that might require a relocation, I'd advise to buy with caution.  You can buy, but be prepared that leaving might cost you.
  3. Buy with your head and not your heart. Buying a home in an emotional process.  Sometimes buyers "fall in love" with a home that is priced well above their means.  Yes, there maybe a way to get the sale done, but will you be happy if you have to forego furnishing the home and eating beans for a decade or two?  
  4. Review the neighborhood demographics.  Once when my kids were little we bought a home in a neighborhood where there were NO kids. None. Nada.  Lucky for us after a few months the empty nesters started selling their homes and the neighborhood started turning over.  So if you want playmates for your tykes, cruise the neighborhood for clues; swing sets, basketball hoops and bikes are good signs.  Conversely if you are a young single looking for a neighborhood of the same, you can cruise with a different intend.  Or ask me for the demographics of the area. I have access to all that!
  5. Look beyond the staging.  When a homeowner moves out, so does all that pretty furniture and art work.  You get plain vanilla. Visualize the home without the decor. Does the house still work for you?
  6. Consider ALL the costs.  The house  payment consists of Principle, Interest, Taxes and Insurance.  You will also have utilities and maybe HOA fees.  Additionally you need to plan to budget for those other expenses, exterior maintenance like paint, roof, windows, landscaping, fencing which might need repair or replacing.  It happens to every house.  If you don't keep it up it will deteriorate and your home value will go down. Homes where these things have just been replaced should be recognized for the value they bring to the table.  Today we see so many Fix 'n Flip where all they have done is  put a pretty dress on the house and ignore the expensive (to replace) components that aren't as romantic.  It is called putting "lipstick on a pig."
  7. Cost of Exterior Maintenance. Some homes are easier to maintain than others.  For example, a brick home will only need to have the trim painted where a frame home will need painting/stain all over.  The difference in that can mean thousands of dollars.  So yes, you will pay a little more for a brick home but over time you will gain that back plus some.  In Colorado we see many 40-year tile roofs which are a better value than a regular asphalt roof.  Once again there's value that's not exciting, until you consider the savings.
  8. Cost of a new home vs resale.  Many people turn their noses up at resale homes because they prefer a new home. That's fine, just remember few new homes are completely finished.  Oh I so learned that once when I had to dig deeper into my checkbook to pay for window coverings, sprinklers/landscaping and fencing!  After that I looked at resales with a new appreciation!  
  9. View, view, view!  Colorado is known for its views, some are permanent and some are temporary.  Just because a home has a view today doesn't mean it will be there tomorrow.  No the mountains aren't sinking but subdivisions are growing and open space unless it's "dedicated open space" may have a bunch of big old house blocking that million dollar view next year!
  10. Open your mind! If you are looking for a deal don't pass over those homes with crappy pictures. Because the photos are crappy means the agent is a crappy photographer and the home may (or may not) be awesome.  I can't tell you how many deals I've found for my clients where the agent didn't take the time to post good images of the house.  It's a disservice we LOVE to find!

Please note, this simple list is not complete!  A real estate purchase brings with it many individual needs.  If you want to discuss your goals and how to properly align them, call/text/email me!  I look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in Buyer Tips
Feb. 15, 2017

4864 E Kentucky Ave. #C Denver

4864 E Kentucky Ave #C, Denver, CO

Get Directions Click Here

 
Description Photos Maps & Local Schools Walk Score
 
$ Click for current price

2 BEDROOMS

1 BATHROOMS (1 full)

614 Square Feet

 

Desirable Penthouse unit with vaulted ceilings, south-facing complex greenbelt offers peaceful view and lots of sunlight. Second bedroom is used as study, washer/dryer in unit, updated bathroom and kitchen w/pantry, lives LARGE!  Pet friendly complex with its own dog park!  Conveniently close to Cherry Creek Bike Trail, Infinity Park Complex, restaurants and shopping. 

SHOWINGS BEGIN SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18.

 
Denver Homes For Sale

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Kristal Kraft

The Berkshire Group

303-589-2022

kristal.kraft@gmail.com

L2L
 
303-350-5838 Office
Posted in My Listings
Jan. 9, 2017

Tips for Buying a Home Infograph

Tips to buy a home

Posted in Buyer Tips
Jan. 9, 2017

FHA Lowers MIP Saves Borrowers Money!

Homeowners thinking of using FHA for financing their next home will be happy to learn the mortgage insurance premium will be decreased by .25% starting on January 27, 2017.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) said this reduction will allow more "responsible borrowers" to purchase a home. On average the savings will be $500/annually for borrowers.  

FHA Mortgage payments consist of interest, principal and MIP.  Mortgage Insurance Premiums are used to insure the lender against the borrower's default.  FHA allows borrowers to finance a home with as little as 3.5% down payments.  Since the borrower doesn't have a lot of "skin in the game" the lender off-balances that with mortgage insurance.

While lowering the MIP payment is a good thing, interest rates are rising so the effect might not stimulate many new buyers as the savings will be a wash.

As with any financing, the best advice I can give is to work with a good lender, one who is consultative and will provide you with options to fit your situation.

 

Posted in Buyer Tips
July 19, 2016

Should I Wait Until Next Year or Buy Now?

Denver Real Estate News

It is not news that the Denver real estate market is on fire!  Everyday I speak with potential buyers who are wanting to become homeowners.  Sadly they are finding that each month they can afford less and less of a home, because prices are going up at a steady pace.

Some homebuyers are giving up, but others recognize the importance of hanging in there. This infographic tells the story of why!  Waiting to purchase means becoming a homeowner will cost you more.

If you are a homebuyer wanting to find your home, please call me.  Me and my team will assist you until we get the job done!  

Buy a home now or wait

 

Posted in Buyer Tips
July 4, 2016

First Time Buyers Dominate

Buy a Home in DenverFirst time home buyers may often feel they are alone in the Denver real estate market. But the reality is they aren’t!

 “In May, first-time buyers accounted for 59.1% of primary owner-occupied home purchase mortgages with a government guarantee, according to the International Center on Housing Risk. This share was up measurably from a year ago.”

Home Buyers have Assistance

Buying a home has become easier for those first time buyers.  Lower down payments, down payment assistance programs, 100% gifting allowed from parents, historically low interest rates and lots of employment opportunities in Metro Denver are all reasons making it easier for first time buyers to buy a home.

The Challenge is in Finding and Negotiating

The biggest challenge is finding the home!  The inventory of homes for sale is not very large, but it is consistent.  The biggest change here than from in the past, home buyers must be patient and diligent. It takes time to find a home, bid on it and have your offer accepted.  I’ve written about how to do this previously in “How to write a Clean Offer.”

 

So if you are a first time buyer don’t give up.  Research the best methods for obtaining your home and give me a call.  I’m happy to assist you!

Posted in Buyer Tips
June 28, 2016

All Lenders Are Not Equal

Denver Real Estate News

U S Bank Staff Person Had Years of Experience but Still Couldn't Get Job Done!

US Bank FailIn the trenches of my business life, I spend a lot of time fighting for my clients. It’s been a wild and crazy year selling real estate.  I’ve had several buyers who were employed with good income and credit scores basically get TAKEN by mortgage lenders.  Let me tell you about it.

Toward the end of 2015 I started working with a nice gentleman who had read up on buying a home and visited his local lender to get prequalified. He did this all before he consulted with me.  I was naturally impressed that he took the initiative and so we went off to find him a home.  

It didn’t take long before we were under-contract with a nice home in N. Denver.  Then the horror began.  The lending institution was U.S. Bank.  Their staff person was the horror.  To make a very long story short I will synopsize.  My buyer kept getting the run around from the lender.  She kept asking for “inspections.”  We normally do an inspection but then she wanted the inspection items reinspected, despite the fact the seller had the issues fixed and provided proof in the form of receipts.  Re-inspections were not only expensive and unnecessary but not customary!

Additionally, she at U.S. Bank failed to tell my client he had to make an appointment with another institution to submit an application for the 2nd mortgage (assistance program) she had placed him in.  By failing to do this she set the loan approval date back by over a month.  This delay brought my client very close to being homeless! He had spent all his additional funds on non-customary inspections and engineer reports, he had given notice to his landlord and now he had no place to live.

At this point the failure of the U.S. Bank staff person to meet the contractual deadlines cost not just the buyer additional funds, but the seller as well. The seller was an estate and failing to close in the calendar year meant the estate got dragged out for another year!

Lucky for us the listing agent suggested we move the loan (Lucky also because they didn’t throw us overboard and let us extend the closing date!).  We were delighted to do so because by this point we had ZERO confidence in the U.S. Bank staff person.  I had gone “over-her-head” to see if we could get a solution, but her superior officer was just as inefficient.

So we moved the loan and started the process over.

The new lender put us in her “HERO LOAN.” Why? Because she got it done in less than 3 Weeks!  My client ended up having a better loan package with a grant for his down payment and not a 2nd loan!

Now for the IRONIC part. The loan was brokered thru U.S. Bank! Only the players had changed!

Not all lenders are equal, that's for sure!

Part II - Online Convenience Comes with a Price!

Another client came to me. We found a home for him within a day!  I suggested he consult with one of my preferred lenders, but instead he decided to use a big online lender.  The big online lender who’s name starts with a “Q” did a good, timely job to get the buyer approved.  No kidding he was putting over 20% down!  

But at closing the shock came.  

The loan costs were excessive by $6000!  Holy cow, that’s a year’s worth of car payments on a pretty nice car!

Every story has a moral to it.  Here’s the moral to this story, consult a Realtor before making a decision on your loan.

There’s more to evaluating a loan than just the interest rate.  There’s the reputation of the lender, the closing costs comparisons, can they get the job done?  If it’s their first rodeo do you really want to risk it? 

As a buyer you spend money when you start your loan, inspection costs are not fees you will ever see again if you don’t get that financing.  Who wants to risk that?  I certainly don’t!

Take the time to interview a lender or two.  Ask for references from a Realtor. We work with these folks all the time, we know who is competent and who isn’t.  That’s what we do.

 

 

 

Posted in Buyer Tips