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Month: July 2015

Things to See in Colorado: Dowdy Lake

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A misty morning at Dowdy Lake in the Red Feather Lakes Area.  The area hosts places for camping, fishing, hunting, hiking and horseback riding.  Located about 48 miles northwest of Fort Collins, it is another great reason to visit or move to Colorado!

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Longmont and Greeley Top Ranked Cities for First Time Home Buyers

According to research conducted by WalletHub, several Colorado cities were ranked in the top 20 best suited for first time home buyers.  The study evaluated 300 cities in the U.S. based on housing affordability, status of the local real estate market and the living environment.

Based on these criteria, several Colorado cities along the front range ranked in the top 20 in the nation.  See cities by rank order below:

2.   Centennial

7.   Longmont

8.   Thornton

10. Arvada

12. Westminster

13. Greeley

18. Fort Collins

Another good reason to move to Colorado!  It’s a great place to live!

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Giordano’s Deep Dish Pizza is Coming to Denver?!

 

Good news for Chicago natives in Colorado, Giordano’s is coming to Denver!  According to several articles and word of mouth, those of us that have moved from Chicago to Colorado will finally have authentic Chicago-style pizza!

Upon moving here I have sought a good pizza and have tried more than a few restaurants.  While some are good in their own right, none compare to my favorites from Chicago, one of which is Giordano’s.  While the Giordano’s website does not show Denver in their Coming Soon list, the news of a franchise coming to Denver is enough to confirm it for me.

It only makes sense, as there are plenty of Chicago natives here in Colorado.  I went to a Cubs-Rockies game here in Denver several years ago and there appeared to be more Cubs fans in the stadium than Rockies fans.  Now all we need is a Portillo’s 🙂

What impact will this have on the real estate market here?  Likely property values will skyrocket 😉  But seriously, it will at least make a lot of Chicago natives happy.

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Should You Use a Real Estate Broker or Try For Sale by Owner?

Buying and selling a home is an emotional process.  You need someone with objectivity and expertise to support you through the process.  You can get some relief in those stressful moments from a real estate broker that understands your situation and can help give you perspective with factual information and experience.

Real estate brokers tend to get more money for the sale of your home than for sale by owner (FSBO’s).  This is because they have access to the tools to do a proper market analysis.  Brokers also understand the process from the initial listing of your property all the way through closing.  Further, brokers have the tools to market your property so that more buyers will see it.   Being a RE/MAX Alliance broker commands a large market audience due to international branding via the internet, media and local advertising.   This means more eyes will see your property.

According to NAR’s 2014 Profile of Buyers and Sellers (http://www.realtor.org/presentations/presentation-2014-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers), 88% of sellers used real estate brokers because they wanted assistance in marketing their property, they wanted to sell their home within a specific time frame and they wanted to be able to price their home competitively.

The 2013 edition of the same report indicated that on average, FSBO’s sell their homes for $40,000 less than sellers that use real estate brokers.  Working with an broker will get you more for your property and will get it sold quicker.  This will likely cover the cost of any commission you pay out and may put more money in your pocket than if you tried to sell by yourself.

A real estate broker can represent you in the process from listing to closing and handle things that the average seller isn’t knowledgeable of, and quite frankly can be very stressful if one doesn’t know how to navigate the process.  Things like handling inspection objections or appraisal issues are best negotiated through a broker.  Information is a commodity, especially in real estate.  Not having the proper information or representation can be costly.

If you do FSBO, know that any buyer represented by a broker will be trying to get the best deal for their client.  This means they may take advantage of your lack of knowledge and experience when negotiating.  They have no obligation to educate you or advocate for you.

Let me if you have further questions or need a real estate broker to represent you.  I would be glad to represent you as your broker.

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Open House Sunday, 7/19 from 12-2 at 318 Widgeon Lane in Longmont!

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Beautiful 3 Bed 3 Bath Ranch in desirable Golden Pond Estates! Great corner lot w/ landscaped yard, mature trees & 2 Car garage. Ample kitchen with island, great for entertaining. Large living room with gas fireplace and vaulted ceilings. Master Bed with big closet & soak tub! Full  1900 sf. unfinished basement with high ceilings & large windows, great potential to be finished. Easy access to everywhere. Picture perfect!

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Open House Saturday, 7/18 from 11-1 at 500 Allen Drive in Longmont!

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Wonderful SW Location, desirable Golden Ponds Estates,enjoy miles of bike paths nearby at St. Vrain Greenway. 4 bedrooms 3 baths. New Furnace & Carpet. Hardwood floors on main level. Sunlit kitchen with plenty of counter space. Double sided fireplace in study and living room. Room to expand in unfinished basement.New Furnace & Hot Water Heater installed. Right around the corner from the house in the bus stop to Longmont Estates, Westview & Silver Creek.  New furnace and hot water heater installed!

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Will the Colorado Real Estate Market Continue to Grow?

Ever wondered how the Colorado real estate market is looking or the local economy as a whole?  Is it still a good time to buy or sell property?  There’s good news, the market continues to look favorable according to the following data:

A recent study by Area Development assessed 373 cities in the United States for their potential as leading locations for business leaders to choose for expansion or location of their businesses.  They evaluated each city for its “prime work force, economic strength, year-over-year growth, and “recession-busting” attributes”.  The results put four Colorado areas in the top twenty ranking:

1.    Denver/Aurora/Broomfield

4.   Greeley

9.    Boulder

20. Fort Collins/Loveland

The Denver area is considered the hottest real estate market nationwide due to buyer activity, home value appreciation and a growing economy, according to a report posted by Realtor.com in May of this year.

According to the National Association of Realtors® 2014 Profile of Buyers and Sellers, Realtors® interviewed estimated that the housing prices in Colorado will increase by 5.2% over the next 12 months in 2015 compared to 3.5% for the entire United States.

What does this mean for the real estate market?  It means the value of our homes is likely to increase over time as there will continue to be an influx of people into Colorado, which increases demand and thus increases the value of our properties.   It means that people who recently bought a home can expect to see increased valuation in their property.  Also, it’s a great time for homeowners to sell as they will cash in on the equity they have built up in their home and will likely see increased valuation on their newly purchased home.  Further, due to high demand from low inventory, sellers can likely get a higher price for their home (sometimes with offers coming in above the list price) in a shorter amount of time.

 

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Things to See in Colorado: Rocky Mountain National Park

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A view of Hallett Peak (12,713 ft) from Dream Lake.  You can find this view by taking the trail from Bear Lake to Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.  Along the way you’ll come across Dream Lake and will have excellent views of Hallett Peak as well as Flattop Mountain (12,324 ft) which is just to the right of the frame of this photo.  It’s about a 1.8 mile hike from Bear Lake to Emerald Lake and is a nicely groomed trail.  A nice hike for the whole family!

Rocky Mountain National Park is a scenic destination for locals and tourists.  It is about 1 hour from Longmont, Colorado and about 1.5 hours from downtown Denver.

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Need a Loan to Buy a House? Should You Get Pre-Qualified or Pre-Approved?

So you’re getting ready to buy a house, exciting!  What do you need to do to get ready to enter the market if you need a loan?  You’ll need to talk to a lender to determine if you are creditworthy for a loan first.  With that, you’ll have to consider whether to get pre-qualified or pre-approved.  I’ll briefly explain the difference and give you some pointers on which one is preferable.

 

To start, a pre-qualification is simple and only requires a phone call or can even be done online at various lenders’ websites.  You simply offer basic information on your income and other financial variables and you will be notified as to how much you will likely be approved for if the lender were to verify all of the information you provided.  There is no application to fill out and thus no application fee but also there is no guarantee that the lender will give you a loan.  It is merely an estimate of what you might be approved for.  This option doesn’t give you a whole lot of confidence that you are eligible for a loan.   Consequently, a seller may have the same lack of confidence when they receive your offer on their property.  However, it can be useful if you are not looking to buy a home soon but at least want to know a ballpark figure of what you might qualify for so you can plan ahead.  Ultimately though, when you are ready to get serious about buying a home you will want to get pre-approved.

 

A pre-approval, then, requires that a mortgage application be filled out.  The lender or bank will need documents that confirm your income and financial history.  They will do a thorough investigation as to your creditworthiness.  In the end, you will get a pre-approval letter that indicates if the lender approves you for a loan and for how much.  Essentially, the lender is saying that they will write you a loan today for the amount determined.   This gives great confidence to sellers when they receive your offer with this pre-approval letter.  It lets them know that you can make good on your offer.  This can give you an advantage over other offers when the seller is reviewing them.

 

Clearly the best option is to get pre-approved.  Especially in a market like Denver where homes often go under contract within the first day, you have to be ready to write an offer immediately!  If you are pre-approved, you won’t miss out on any opportunities.

 

Want to get pre-approved?  Please let me know and I can give you the names of a couple of good lenders in this area.

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