June 25, 2016

Purchase Home with Less Than 20% Down Payment

You Can Buy a Home with Less than 20% Down!  Here’s how…

Denver Real Estate News

Down Payment Assistance ProgramsHome 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.

Homebuyers with 5% or less to put down:

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.

Zero Down Payment Options for Homebuyers

Veterans Administration - VA Loans

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 - Colorado Housing and Finance Authority 

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.

Metro Mortgage Assistance Plus

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.

Denver Home Buyer Orientation BookAs 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.


Posted in Buyer Tips
June 23, 2016

One Look, You're Hooked!

OPEN HOUSE, June 25, Saturday 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
12687 W. Dorado Place, Littleton, Colorado
Get Directions Click Here
Description Photos Maps & Local Schools Walk Score
$ Click for current price
3 BATHROOMS (2 full, 1 half)
2331 Square Feet

This Littleton home is that nice!  Two story with 4-bedrooms upstairs.  It backs to an elementary school so you can either enjoy having no neighbors behind you or the kids can skip to school with minutes to spare!

Bright sunny kitchen with lots of counterspace, all kitchen appliances are included.  The living room has vaulted ceilings to accommodate that huge art piece you've been wanting to get!

There is a custom built entertainment center, that was thoughtfully built to allow access behind it.  No more working with wires you can't see!  The TV, Speakers and Receiver are included with the sale, so after the boxes are unpacked you can unwind in front of the big screen.

The basement is currently a miscellaneous room but can be a recreation room, office, teen get away or want ever you want it to be.  There is also additional storage.

You will enjoy the private backyard. There are mature trees shading one side while the other side gets full sunshine, perfect for creating that garden you've been thinking about.  There is existing flower garden lining the fence and aloneside the home. 

The location is easy to get too. C470 is less than 5 minutes away.  The mountains are within a quick drive for your entertainment.  Shopping is also closeby. 

This home will have you hooked, come see it soon.

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Kristal Kraft

The Berkshire Group



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Posted in My Listings
March 5, 2016

Denver Real Estate and Relocation is in the News

It was a big week for Denver Real Estate!

US News and World Report analyzed 100 of the most populous cities in America and determined Denver to be the #1 Best Place to Live!

So this is news? Of course we all who live here  already know this!

Denver won based on high scores in Desirability, Value, Job Market, Quality of Live and Net Migration.  As I've said for years,

People WANT to live in Denver!

Which cities came in next?

  1. Denver, CO
  2. Austin, TX
  3. Fayetteville, Raleigh-Durham, NC
  4. Raleigh-Durham, NC
  5. Colorado Springs, CO
  6. Boise, ID
  7. Seattle, WA
  8. Washington, DC
  9. San Francisco, CA
  10. San Jose, CA

In the same publication there was another report entitled, "Are You Ready to Move to a New City?"  by Devon Thorsby

This report talks about the process of moving and offers advice. The best part of the report is that I am quoted! Yeah!  Here's the link if you care to check it out!

Are You Ready to Move to a New City?

Posted in Current Events
March 1, 2016

So You Want to Buy a House?

Denver Real Estate Update - How to Buy a House in Today's Market

7-day snapshot taken on March 1, 2016 7-day snapshot taken on March 1, 2016

Buyers and brokers alike are finding the Denver real estate market very challenging right now. Why? There is a shortage of homes for sale and a surplus of buyers.  The buyers are anxious to get out of paying the outrageous rental rates and truly want to own a home of their own.

Home sellers are enjoying being in the driver's seat right now. They are listing with a broker and finding their home appealing to more than one buyer. Often there are multiple buyers creating a bidding war that most buyers prefer to avoid.

The image above is something I just grabbed from our MLS, REColorado.  It is a graph of the market activity over the past 7-days in Denver.  As you can see the Under Contract column far exceeds the New Listing column.  It's no wonder buyers are struggling to find a home!

I Want to Buy a House, what must I do?

Get ready, prepare yourself for competition.

  • Be sure you have an experienced agent who knows how to write a "clean contract."  (More about this later!)
  • Get yourself to a reliable, local lender.
  • Be sure your lender prepared to write you a strong "lender letter" as soon as they can.  You need to be sure your lender is available to write this letter in the evenings or on a weekend.  Real estate sales don't follow 9-5 banker's schedules!
  • Confirm your lender is willing to call the listing agent and sing your praises.
  • Talk to your Buyer Broker and make sure they will communicate with the listing agent. (I can't tell you how many times I've received an offer and not a phone call or an email from the selling agent!)
  • Your buyer's agent should have negotiation skills. By this I'm not talking about price only, there are so many nuances in negotiation that will help you get the house, but not cost you more, your agent should work with you to form a realistic strategy.
  • Do a "flexibility analysis" on yourself.  Can you offer flexible terms to a seller? If so what are they?

What kind of HOPE can the Denver Real Estate Market offer a buyer?

  • One in Five homes that go Under/Contract come back on the market. So continue to watch the ones you lost, they may return.
  • Homes are selling, so some buyers are winning.  Work with your agent to determine how to create that winning offer!

How to write a "Clean Offer"

Buyer's take a step to the other side of the transaction.  Think like a seller.  As a seller what sort of offer would you most like to accept?

  • Good offers are written well, all the blanks are filled in, the dates make sense.
  • Clean offers come from buyers whose broker took the time to connect with the listing agent to see what terms the seller would like. By terms I mean 1) closing date 2) possession date
  • Clean offers arrive to the listing agent all together in one email. An offer will include the contract to  purchase, lender letter, disclosures (yes you can get them ahead of time to review), lead based paint disclosure is required by law to be signed prior to signing an offer and must be included with the offer, plus any other docs. In the good old days when all we had is one offer to work with, it was ok to not be as organized. But today when there are 14 offers on a property do you think it is realistic to expect the listing agent to cull through all of them to organize them per buyer?  They may try, but multiple offers mean a stressful time for the agent and the seller. So insist your broker do what they can to bring convenience to the listing agent & owner's life.
  • A clean offer gives the seller enough time to decide.  Yes it would be cool to "force" the seller into responding ASAP. The reality is the seller doesn't have to respond to you at all, much less ASAP!  As seller most likely find an offer with time to think refreshing.  Yes, it would stand out.

All these suggestions might seem silly because anyone with common sense would be performing them properly.  So not true!

As a buyer in today's market it is possible to purchase a home.  One must be ready, flexible and have the patience and you will find a home.


Posted in Buyer Tips
Feb. 27, 2016

Open House Evergreen Mountain Home with Endless Views!

3192 Gold Yarrow Lane, Evergreen, CO

February 28, Sunday 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

$ Click for current price
4+ BEDROOMS | 4 (3 full, 1 half ) BATHROOMS |



Enjoy luxury mountain living in this outstanding custom home with unobstructed views from every window!  Located close-in (20-minute drive to Morrison or 7 minutes to Evergreen) this home is on city water/sewer so there are no hassles with a well!  The HOA maintains the paved roads in winter so you have all the convenences of living in the city while living in the mountains!

The home features log accents on the front porch and entry, with lovely wood flooring throughout the main level.  The main floor has an open floor plan with kitchen, eating space, gas fireplace with log mantel, large deck with views of Mt. Evans (the mountain with the highest paved road in North America!). If you are looking for flexiblity this home has it, the owners are currently using the main floor study/den as a formal dining room and the dining room is a music room with a baby grand!

The master suite is delightfully large!  You will enjoy mornings here in the sitting room with a coffee/wet bar, cabinets and yet another gas fireplace.  Open the door to the upstairs deck to breathe in the fresh mountain air and peak at the mountains before you begin the day.

There are two other bedrooms upstairs as well as a bonus room. The bonus room offers even more flexiblity.  Currently it is used as an office for 2 at home workers, it is convenient yet can be closed off when the day it done.  There is plenty of room for 2 large desk with returns, plus a couch and filing cabinets!

The walk-out basement will delight the movie goer in you.  There is a Theater room designed for comfort and watching movies in style.  8- recliners stacked on 2-levels will ensure your viewing pleasure no matter where you sit.  All the equipment for the theater conveys with the home; projector, speakers, control, DVD player, Roku (to download movies) and the big screen.

The walk-out basement offers great light to the 4th bedroom with walk-in closet, large family room, kitchenette with refrigerator, dishwasher, built-in wine rack and 3 (yes 3!) storage areas.  Two of the storage areas have sturdy built-in shelving because we never have too much storage area!

All handymen (and women!) will enjoy the garage!  Beginning with the easy to clean composite floor, to the wall-lined pegboard for efficient storage, the workshop with very nice cabinets and a stool, ending with the custom created attic for storage there's not much else you and want for here!

The interior has is CAT-5 wiring throughout the home. There are 6-panel raised wood doors and wood trim throughout.  The yard is professionally landscaped, partial sprinkler system (where there is sod) and a delightful water feature adjacent to the charming front porch.

The owners are the original owners who have meticulously cared for this home making it a delightful find for the buyer who wants a quality, well-cared for, close-in mountain home on city water with outstanding VIEWS!

Additional features are listed on a separate feature sheet as well as a floor plan drawing can be emailed to you. Or you may download it from the following links:


 Download Feature Sheet      Download Floor Plan

Please call your agent or Kristal Kraft (303-589-2022) for a showing of this home.

Posted in My Listings
Feb. 25, 2016

New Low Down Financing Alternative for Home Buyers

Denver Real Estate Financial News

It wasn't very long ago that low down payments were a thing of the past, or so we thought.  Well as the pendulum swings here were are again!  Banks have decided they are in the business of lending money's and well I guess they are right!

Bank of America announced to today a new program that requires only 3% down for a mortgage with a FICO credit score of 660.  The best part is they aren't requiring private mortgage insurance which typically goes along with any mortgage financing that isn't 20% down or more!  (Here's the Bank of America article on Housing Wire)

FHA makes you pay and pay and pay...

By comparison the only product low down payment options is the Government backed FHA loans which allow a low down of 3.5% but requires an additional MIP (Mortgage Insurance Premium) which is much like private mortgage insurance, but these loans have a LIFETIME requirement of paying that MIP.  Once upon a time FHA mortgage holders could get rid of their MIP once they acquired equity in their home of at least 20%, but those days are gone.

The other big difference with FHA is the possibility of borrowers to get an FHA loan with a much lower FICO credit score.

In a nutshell, FHA Loans cost more. Only buyers who have a low credit score should get an FHA loan. But do so with a plan! Take the loan, improve your score then refinance into a Conventional loan where you aren't paying MIP for the term of the loan!

If you are a borrower, you may be thinking it is wise to have insurance on a home for the lifetime of the loan.  Well that is true if you are talking homeowner's insurance as in hazard insurance. Homeowner/hazard insurance is NOT the same as Mortgage Insurance (MIP/PMI).  Mortgage Insurance Premium and Private Mortgage Insurance only insure the bank against your default.  That means YOU get to PAY for the MIP/PMI on the banks behalf.

The only way you benefit from paying MIP/PMI is if you need a home and cannot come up with the 20% down or you have a low FICO Credit score (minimum of 640 to 660), then a FHA loan will be the answer to your prayers.

On the other hand if your FICO score is above 660 and you have a 5% downpayment, a Conventional loan will save you money over the long run.

I have 5% or more to put down, what do I do?

Give me a call.  I can provide you with lender contacts who know how to counsel you and help you save money in your home purchase.  The financial industry has an vast assortment of home loan options, some are better than others. It helps to have a knowledgable professional assist you in finding the right option for you.



Posted in Current Events
Dec. 4, 2015

What Price Range is Selling in Metro Denver?

% Residential Properties - Price Range - November 2015

Sold Homes by Price - Denver 11-2015

November sales statistics for Metro Denver real estate indicate how low the inventory is in Metro Denver.  We aren't selling as many homes in the lower price ranges, because there aren't enough to sell!

Note how the $300,000 - $499,999 price range is on fire! There are a greater number of homes for sale in the higher price range, so more are selling.

If you are a homeowner looking to sell your home, this is really good news!  The simple rules of "supply and demand" put you in the driver's seat!

If you are looking to sell your home now or in the future, call me. Let's talk about your home's value and how you can get the most out of your equity. I welcome your call.

April 21, 2015

My Most Memorable Listing

1010 S. Elizabeth St. Denver CoIt is a sad story, the owner who was an elderly man went to visit his daughter in Texas for the Thanksgiving holiday. He got sick and had to go to the hospital, He passed away. This daughter was so distraught she couldn't deal with the property. So it just stood there.

Years later the daughter became ill and she too passed away, without a will. The house stood vacant still.

The local newspaper did an article about vacant homes in Denver. The article attracted an unscrupulous person who forged a handwritten will, claiming rights to the property. She even fooled a judge into giving her a PR letter. It was through this person I became involved. She called me to sell it.

I won't go into the details because I prefer not to educate another crook. Bottom line we soon discovered the discrepancy in her story. I immediately ended my agency with her.

That was nearly two years ago. Since then I have connected with the rightful heir who has been working diligently to clear the title of the property so he can sell the estate.

The home is located on a million dollar plus street in a very desirable Denver neighborhood, Bonnie Brae.

No one has lived in the home for 26 years! The interior was left the way it was when the Dad left for Texas, all except for the 3 foot high stack of mail (mostly junk) that continued to be delivered through the mail slot.

After 26+ years we believe that most of the home's systems are beyond their useful life. The home most likely will be scraped from the lot and another bigger, beautiful home will replace it. That's what happens in this neighborhood.

I hope the neighbors will be happy, soon this lot will be developed into something that is worthy of the area. A chapter will end and a new one will begin.

Price: $475,000
MLS #2746542
Showings begin and end Sunday, March 29, 2015
Offers accepted up until March 31, 2015. Response on April 1, 2015 (no exceptions)
Home is sold "as is."
Call your broker or call me for more information. smile emoticon

Moral of the story....Don't die without a Will.

UPDATE:  We sold the house for $100,000 over asking price!  It was an exciting day with multiple offers thanks to the extensive marketing and promotion on the property.  I wish I had 15 more just like it, I could sell them all and no one would be disappointed!

Posted in Selling Your Home
Feb. 9, 2015

Real Estate Market Update for January 2015

Denver Real Estate Infographic

Posted in Current Events
Feb. 9, 2015

Net Worth: A Homeowner’s is 36x Greater Than A Renter!


Over the last six years, homeownership has lost some of its allure as a financial investment. As homeowners suffered through the housing bust, more and more began to question whether owning a home was truly a good way to build wealth.

Every three years the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups.

Some of the findings revealed in their report:

  • The average American family has a net worth of $81,200
  • Of that net worth, 61.4% ($49,856) of it is in home equity
  • A homeowner’s net worth is over 36 times greater than that of a renter
  • The average homeowner has a net worth of $194,500 while the average net worth of a renter is $5,400

Bottom Line

There are many reasons why owning a home makes sense, the Fed study shows that owning is still a great way for families to build wealth in America.

source: Keeping Current Matters


Posted in Current Events