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:
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.
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.
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!
First 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.”
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 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!
In 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!
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.
Where to Find 4th of July Fireworks Celebrations in 2016
It's that time of year to celebrate our Freedom! Here's a collection of Metro Denver areas that are celebrating. Hope you get to enjoy the fireworks this year.
Please note the following rules with regard to fireworks, we must protect our homes too!
The Law: Under the International Fire Code, Section #33, (Adopted by the City & County of Denver)
If you have to light or ignite, it's illegal!!!
Most Independence Day Celebrations are scheduled for Monday, July 4, 2016 unless otherwise noted.
Arvada's annual Fourth of July celebration of the Spirit of America will continue on Monday, July 4 at the Lutz/Stenger Complex, W. 58th Avenue and Oak St. just west of Kipling, starting at 4:00 p.m. Festivities organized by Arvada Festivals Commission, the City of Arvada, KOOL105 Radio, and Apex Park and Recreation District include live music, kids' amusements, a classic car show, a military display, great food, and a spectacular fireworks display. Admission is Free. Parking will be available on a first come, first served basis (including handicapped parking) beginning at 3:00 P.M. in the Lutz and Stenger parking lots.Call 720-898-7400, or go to Arvada.org for more information.
The 4th of July Spectacular fireworks display, scheduled to begin at 9:00 p.m. All activities, live music and entertainment take place on Aurora’s Great Lawn located on the west side of the Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Parkway, on Monday, July 4. Free activities for kids abound with face painters, balloon twists, a stilt walker and craft making throughout the evening. Don’t forget to tune your radios to Studio 1430 KEZW, our radio partner, where you can hear the fireworks choreographed to classic beats. Limited seating is available on the Aurora Municipal Center lawn. The fireworks also may be viewed from surrounding areas. Best viewing locations include east of Potomac Street, south of Sixth Avenue, north of Mississippi Avenue and west of Buckley Road. Visit AuroraGov.org
Fireworks spectacular at Folsom Field at the University of Colorado with Ralphie's Independence Day Blast. Fireworks, choreographed to live music, begin at 9:30 p.m. Gates open at 8 p.m. and program begins at 8:30 p.m. Admission to the fireworks display is free. For more information about parking and shuttle buses, go to Boulder4thofJuly.com. Call 303-441-3333 to report illegal fireworks in Boulder.
Fireworks at Carmichael Park, 650 E. Southern St., on July 4. We will "Brighten the Brighton" sky at 9:45 p.m. Come at 6 p.m. and enjoy the music, concessions and other activities in the park. For more information, call the event hotline: (720) 685-7339. Learn more at BrightonCo.gov
Call the non-emergency hot line at 303-288-1535 to report illegal fireworks in Brighton, Northglenn and Adams County.
Great American Picnic and Fireworks Extravaganza will be held at Broomfield County Commons, located at 132nd and Sheridan on July 4. We start our celebration at 5:30 p.m. with children's entertainment and carnival games. At 7:15 p.m. enjoy a free concert. Bring your picnic dinner or enjoy a hot dog grilled to perfection for a minimal cost at the park. After the concert, at dusk, the fireworks display begins, approximately 9:15 p.m. at the Broomfield Commons. For additional information, call (303)-464-5530 or visit broomfield.org/events.
Call 303-438-6400 to report illegal fireworks in Broomfield.
A new venue for the 4th of July Fireworks in Castle Rock will be from the Santa Fe Quarry butte above Red Hawk Ridge Golf course, starting at sundown on Monday, July 4. There will not be a designated park for viewing but the fireworks should be seen from most places in Town.
On July 4, the fireworks will start after the Rapids game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Free family festivities kickoff at 5 p.m. with a kid’s circus, karaoke, live 80s band, zip line, mechanical bull, climbing wall and many other activities for all to enjoy. Fireworks begin at 10 p.m. from Dick’s Sporting Good Park. Tune into 92.5 The Wolf to hear music show along with the fireworks! More information available at To learn more go to ColoradoRapids.com or to the official website 4thFestColorado.com or call 303-727-3500.
Denver celebrates the 4th on the 3rd with its annual Independence Eve celebration at Civic Center. There will be first come, first served lawn seating for its free concert, bring your own chairs or a blanket. The City and County Building Light show is a 8 with the Fireworks following.
Glitch Gardens will offer a dusk fireworks display too.
Call 720-913-2000 to report illegal fireworks use in Denver.
Fireworks display will be launched from the baseball fields at Cornerstone Park at 9:30 p.m. on July 4th and can be seen from Belleview, Progress and Cornerstone Parks. There will also be games, entertainment, food and fishing on hand starting at 11 a.m.. To see the full schedule, call (303)762-2680 or go to City of Englewood. As a reminder, all alcohol, glass containers, pets and fireworks are strictly prohibited.
Erie celebrates the 4Th on the 3Rd at Colorado National Golf Club, 2700 Vista Parkway. Activities begin at 5 p.m. Fireworks to follow at dusk
4th At Firestone will be held on July 4th ends with fireworks launched from Saddleback Golf Course at 9:30p.m.The event will feature a parade with over 60 entries, vendor and craft exhibitors. Free live music, prizes, and one of the best fireworks displays in the area by Tri-State Fireworks. For more information call 303-833-3291 or go to http://www.ci.firestone.co.us/.
Fireworks are scheduled for FRIDAY, July 1rd at 8 p.m. As in years past, the fireworks will be launched from Creekside Park at E. Virginia Ave. and S. Clermont St. Best viewing is at Cherry and Exposition. Come early to play in the new park just south of the Infinity Park stadium; and then walk up Cherry Street to snag your favorite viewing location because views of the fireworks will be limited from Infinity Park South. Call 303-759-1513 or go to the city's website for more information.
Fireworks begin around 9:30 p.m. on July 4 at Lions Park, located 10th and Maple Streets. The Golden Lions Club will sponsor the day's activities at Lions Park. Park in the outlying parking lots to avoid the congestion on 10th St. after the fireworks. Entertainment will be provided all day from various bands. Drawings for door prizes, children's rides and food will also carry on throughout the day. For more information go to GoldenLionsClub.org or call the Golden Chamber of Commerce at 303-279-3113.
This wonderful July 4th celebration is free to the public and will take place from 4 pm – 10pm at Waneka Lake; 1600 Caria Dr. in Lafayette. The celebration will include free kid’s activities, live entertainment, food concessions, lawn games and fireworks at dusk. Donations are being accepted for the fireworks show, contributions are trickling in but we have a long way to go. There are many ways that you can donate. Visit LafayetteColorado.com or call at 303-666-9555.
Call 303-665-5571 to report illegal fireworks in Lafayette.
Celebrate Red, White and You on Monday, July 4, 2012 at Clement Park, 7306 W. Bowles Ave. from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
The 20th annual Fourth of July Family Festival and Fireworks Show will be held on Monday, July 4, 2012 at Belleview, Progress and Cornerstone Parks near the intersection of Belleview and Windermere. With an emphasis on a safe night for families, there will be strict enforcement of laws prohibiting alcohol and personal fireworks. Pets are strongly discouraged. Learn more at Littletongov.org.
Lone Tree’s Independence Day Celebration:
The City of Lone Tree’s Independence Day Celebration will continue as planned on July 4th beginning at 3:00 pm with the children’s free bike decorating activity followed by the bike parade at 4:00 pm.
The event officially opens at 4:00 pm at Sweetwater Park and includes musical entertainment from Raising Cain and The Six Million Dollar Band and a large amount of free activities including quad bungee trampolines, climbing walls, face painters, caricature artists, airbrush artists, inflatables, clowns, a petting zoo and the popular Celebration Hat making activity. Food vendors will be onsite to sell refreshments. All activities will conclude in the park at 8:30 pm.
Independence Day Wristbands Required:
Due to safety concerns associated with overcrowding at Sweetwater Park, wristbands are still required to enter the event. Each household in Lone Tree and Acres Green can pick up four (4) wristbands for free and with a $5 contribution to Hearts Across the Miles an additional four (4) wristbands may be purchased. Hearts Across the Miles is a local nonprofit who provides support for American troops overseas.
Wristbands are available for collection and purchase at the Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons Street, Lone Tree during the following dates and times: visit the City's website at www.cityoflonetree.com [http://www.cityoflonetree.com or call 303-708-1818.
Fireworks on July 4 at Coal Creek Golf Course, 545 West Dillon Road. There's no parking at the golf course. Free shuttle from Louisville Recreation Center and Home Depot. Call 303-335-4536 or go to http://www.ci.louisville.co.us for more information.
Fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. over Webster Lake at E.B Rains Jr. Memorial Park, 117th Avenue and Community Center Drive (S.E corner of 120th and I-25.) Scheduled activities include a pancake breakfast, a bake sale, a kids’ fun area with inflatables and a military recognition. Pedal boats will be available for rent throughout the day and during the fireworks show. Call 303-450-8713 for more information or go to Northglenn.org.
Parker’s “Let Freedom Sing!” event takes place 6-10 on July 4, free bounce houses and inflatable activities, local food, live music and the biggest and best fireworks display to date around 9:30 at Salisbury Park, 11920 Motsenbocker Road Visit Parkeronline.org
Fireworks display at Carpenter Park at East 108th Avenue and 11000 Colorado Boulevard at 9:35 p.m. Events prior to fireworks include walk-around entertainers, food and the Longmont Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. and a parachute jump just before fireworks go off. Call 303-255-7800 or CityofThornton.net for more information.
Home buyers in the Metro Denver real estate market will be happy to know they do not need to have a 20% down payment to purchase a home anymore. There are several alternatives to consider. Let me explain.
FHA is the most common low down payment method for homebuyers. Using an FHA mortgage you can have a little as 3.5% down payment (plus closing costs) to qualify for a mortgage. Another interesting option, if you have a Rich Uncle or a very kind Mom and Dad, FHA will allow for “gift funds” to make that down payment on your behalf. You still have to have a good credit score and a means to continue making the payments, but this is an easy way to obtain a loan with little down.
VA Loans offer zero downpayment options for Veterans who have served our country. In general, active duty and honorably discharged service personnel are eligible for the VA program. In addition, home buyers who have spent at least six years in the Reserves or National Guard are eligible, as are spouses of service members killed in the line of duty. If you qualify you have the ability to purchase a Primary Residence (meaning a home you personally occupy) without paying a downpayment.
VA mortgage rates are often low compared to conventional financing. VA loans are a viable choice for military buyers putting down less than 20 percent.
NOTE: Many people are "fooled" into thinking you must go to a VA Lender to get a VA Loan. This is merely a "marketing technique. While there may be lenders to say they only do VA Loans, most lenders are fully aware and capable of doing a VA loan. So if you are eligible for a VA Loan, shop around for the best lender just like you would for a Conventional loan.
CHFA offers financing to qualified buyers with only $1000 down. Once again this is only for your Primary Residence. CHFA borrowers can have a debt-to-income ratio up to 50%, even if the credit score is below 660.
CHFA also has a program to benefit those needing help with the closing costs. They will provide assistance to qualified buyers of up to 5% of the purchase price of the home. The good news is, this assistance is in the form of a Grant and does not need to be paid back. But their is a catch! The interest rate will be higher than the normal interest at the time. This premium isn’t huge and it will enable buyers to get out of the Rent Paying Trap! So in the end it is very much worth the effort!
Provides down-payment assistance to the borrow in the form of a Second Loan. The first loan is 80% and the CHAC 2nd is up to 20%. The borrower needs to put $1000 ($750 for disability program) of his own funds to obtain this financing for costing costs and downpayment. CHAC offers this program throughout Colorado.
The Metro Mortgage Assistance Plus Program is a grant program designed to assist low and moderate income individuals and families (income not exceeding $95,880(couple)/$111,860(family or 3 or more). This program is available to buyers who qualify, it is not necessary to be a first time home buyer. A FICO Score of 640 or more is required and a debt to income ration of 45. Buyers must attend a HUD-approved homebuyer education class.
Borrowers for the Metro Mortgage Assistance Plus program must contribute at lease 1/2% of the mortgage amount on their own (no gifts allowed).
This time the only communities offering the Metro Mortgage Assistance Plus program are: Denver, Arvada, Aurora, Bennett, Boulder, Brighton, Broomfield, Castle Rock, Centennial, Commerce City, Dacono, Edgewater, Englewood, Firestone, Golden, Lakewood, Littleton, Parker, Sheridan, Thornton, Westminster, or Wheat Ridge. In addition, Arapahoe County, Jefferson County and Boulder county participate in the program within unincorporated areas. These areas are subject to change throughout the year, with a potential of other areas joining the Metro Mayors Caucus jurisdictions, so check with your approved lender for changes.
Localized Assistance Programs within Colorado
Various Counties within the State of Colorado offer mortgage assistance programs. Individual programs have various requirements. Most follow the standardized qualifying requirements as defined by HUD. Usually the borrower is required to buy within the city/county limits, attend a home buyer orientation/education class, submit a copy of the inspection report to the agency, occupy the property as their main residence, purchase price may not exceed a set-forth amount, and funds for the program must be available to for borrower to close. Yes, funding occasionally runs out so program availability may change.
Colorado Counties/City Programs in Metro Denver Area
Arapahoe County - partners with CHAC, CHFA and - Maximum Purchase Price 95% of the Area Median Purchase Price ($224,675 in 2013)
Aurora - Home Ownership Assistance Program (HOAP) - Maximum Purchase Price $228,000
Douglas County - Douglas County Housing Partnership - Maximum Purchase Price $300,000
Denver City and County
Downpayment assistance programs are plentiful and can be a boon to those serious home buyers who are lacking sufficient down payment to purchase a home. However the reality is in TODAY'S Real Estate Market FINDING a home is a different issue.
As a buyer's agent I am having to pull out every strategy in the book to find affordable homes and win the negotiation. My team is constantly training and learning how to find home for those Loyal Buyers who want to become home owners.
If this is you and you are committed to another agent, perhaps you should pick up the phone and give me a call! 303-589-2022
We believe an informed buyer makes the home buying process easier and understands the importance of taking care of all the details. That's why we offer a FREE BUYER CONSULTATION and Buyer Orientation Book to all of our Home Buyers.