Denver Home Specialists Real Estate Blog

 

Jan. 4, 2018

Successful Local Move

Having a successful local move is similar to a cross country move. Except in a local move you are more likely to use some of the same services and you may have to compress the time even more for the move.

Getting Started 

When you decide you are moving, these items immediately:

Sort and remove. It’s never to earlier to start organizing you stuff and getting rid of the things you don’t plan on taking with you.  This can be done in two steps. The first time is to prepare you house to sell.  Having overstuffed house with mismatched items will make selling it harder.  Doing a mini-staging and cleaning it up will be a good start in preparing for the move. Once you have the move date set, a second round will help with the move. Have a garage sale, or since you are short on time donate.

Find a mover.  Having the friends over for pizza and soda may work, assuming that they will show up.  They also are only good for local moves. Finding a reputable mover is very important.  You can start by looking at the Better Business Bureau.. Getting a detail estimate upfront is important.   If a mover is way lower than others, then be careful and check him out again.  Finding a mover is a blog in itself. There are a lot of good movers, and a few bad apples  give them all a bad name

Schools: In a local move you may not change school districts or even schools. But if you do have kids, you need to plan for this to be successful   Notify both schools of the move. Even if you aren’t moving when school is in session, you need to notify asap.  If you have children in high school, the earlier you notify the new school the easier it is for you kids to get the classes they want.  You need to make sure that all of their record are transferred to the new school.  This includes having the immunization records sent over by their doctors.

Planning Stage

 At this point in the move you are in a planning phase. Its important to get the planning done to be successful

Plan you furniture layout.   If it doesn’t fit don’t move it.   If it fits can you get it into the room?  Is a door to sharp,  corner to tight, or stairs to steep?

Start using up consumables.  The freezer full of meat?  Do you want to move it? Despite the best planing things can go wrong so use up what you have. Its not a good time to make you trip to a whole sale store.

Finalize the mover selection.  Get the final bid with written confirmation of costs and date

One Month Out

At one month out is when the real work starts.  There is a lot to do and time starts running short

Start Packing.  Make a packing plan. Pack by room, but items you need will need to be packed last.   Color code labels will help make the move in process easier.  Keep jewelry and other valuables separate to bring with you.  The moving company normally pays $100 per pound for damaged goods. Declare in writing anything that is worth more than that. It is also a good idea to take pictures of these items and of  furniture.

Change of address:  Most of us still get mail. Either go to your local post office and fill out a change-of-address form, or do it online at the United State Postal Service website.

Notify other important parties at both ends: let phone companies, utilities companies etc know of the change. That way everything will be ready at you new house and  you won’t keep on  paying utilities at the old house. In a local move you should be able to keep your land line  number

Final Days

Make sure that you have the day off from work.

Confirm the mover.   Get the final bid with written confirmation of costs and date

Reconfirm the mover.   Get the final bid with written confirmation of costs and date. Yes do it again.

Move Day

Verify mover. Make sure that the mover is the one you thought you were hiring. Theu will normally bring more paper work, make sure it matches the bid.   Take an inventory with the mover of everything  that is moved

Supervise the unpacking of the truck. Be there to verify the unpacking and make sure the big items are in the correct rooms.  But stay out of their way

Following these simple steps will help you move be more successful. Good Luck in your new home

 

Posted in Tips
Dec. 11, 2017

Decision on Purchasing

Rent or Purchase your home

It’s always a tough decision on whether you should keep renting or purchase a home.  The answer is obvious, you should always purchase.  Just kidding.   The decision can be broken into two major areas warm fuzzies and money. In the long term purchasing a home is considered to be one of the best investment you can make.

Warm Fuzzies

These are the emotional part of the decision.  No matter what your finance’s say, you need to be comfortable with buying a home. There is a lot to consider.

  • Are you ready to “settle down”? Once you purchase your own home, you will give up some of your flexibility. You can no longer pick up and move when you feel like.  It’s even harder to go on a vacation.
  • The trade offs: You  don’t have to worry about where to live when your lease is up. You don’t have to worry about the lease going up. When settling down you put down roots, can have a pet, be part of a community, and build your family.
  • Are you ready to deal with maintenance? When you are renting someone else has to deal with the maintenance. Once you purchase a home you have to do the maintenance.
  • The trade offs. You get to decide on how you want things done. What colors to paint the walls, what appliances you want, and all the choices are yours. The plants you want to grow. And you can change your mind when ever you want.

The cost of owning vs the cost of renting

Renting or purchasing both has initial costs. When renting you have a deposit, first and last month rents. When you are buying a home you have down payment, closing costs and various other fees.

When renting you have your rent, renters insurance, utilities to pay on a monthly basis. Your rent will go up year to year.

When you own a home you have your house payment, insurance, taxes, may have an HOA fee, and maintenance costs. The bulk of your expenses with a home is the payment, which is constant throughout the time you own the home. When you sell your house your plan is to get money back.

What is the housing market doing?

If you look at the Denver housing market from 2012 to 2016 the average price of a house went up from $282,000 to $394,000.  A 40% increase.   Scare Factor: With the way houses are going up could you afford one if you wait.  

Colorado has a strong housing market and robust economy, which makes it a safer place to purchase a house. 

 

What is is the rental market doing? 

The rental prices in Denver have leveled off, but are forecasted to rise more. Even with that, May 2015 to May 2016 still had a 4.8% increase.  the average price to rent varies in the different community’s

  • Denver     1895
  • Parker      1998
  • Lone Tree 3024
  • Aurora      1625

How well do you budget?

When you own a home you need to plan for your expense. If you can’t set some money aside each month to cover the unexpected house repairs, owning a house will be a challenge for you.

Can you afford to purchase a house? 

You will have to come up with a down payment of up to 20%.  It’s likely that the initial payment (before getting money back on taxes) will be more than your rent. Even if the bank says this is affordable, can you do it without changing your lifestyle?

Which brings us to the other side of the question can you afford not to purchase a home?

Which one is a better financial choice? 

If you are only planning on staying for a few years, it may be cheaper to rent. The break-even point is normally between three and five years.  When renting you have your rent, renters insurance, utilities to pay on a monthly basis. Your rent will go up year to year.

When you own a home you have your house payment, insurance, taxes, may have an HOA fee, and maintenance costs. The bulk of your expenses with a home is the payment, which gets offset by tax savings. When you sell your house your plan is to make money.

Final Thoughts

Renting or purchasing is a very personal choice with a lot to consider. While getting a home is considered an investment, you should treat it as a purchase. Make sure that you want to own a home. And then find the right one. If you are not sure that it is the right time, then hold off. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look at homes.

If you decide you want to purchase a house, we can help you. We can put you in touch with one of our partner’s to help you with what payments you can afford. Once you know that we can help find you a house that you can afford and will be enjoy for years.

 

 

Posted in Buyer Blog
Nov. 27, 2017

Understanding Your Credit Score

Understanding your credit score is the first step toward managing and improving it. It doesn't matter if you are in Denver or New York, a good credit score helps you get a loan faster and at a better rate.

Credit Score

  • PAYMENT HISTORY: The record of your on-time and late payments. This is used to determine the likelihood of your payments being made on time. This is  35% of your credit score. 
  • AMOUNTS OWED: Your credit limit minus the amount you owe for each account. The amounts owed affects both how much money a bank will loan you, but also makes up 30% of your credit score. When getting a home, it is a good idea to pay down your outstanding loans
  • LENGTH OF HISTORY: The average length of time of all open accounts.
  • NEW CREDIT: Records of inquiries, new account openings. Opening new accounts right before  trying to get a loan can loaner your credit rating
  • TYPE OF CREDIT: Mortgages, installment loans, revolving accounts, etc.

If you hope to one day finance the purchase of a home, the sooner you establish a good payment history, the better. To help maintain a healthy credit score, always remember the following:

  • Have a system to assure your bills are always paid on time.
  • Avoid late payments or the excessive use of credit by maintaining a cash “cushion” to pay for unexpected expenses. Don’t “max out” your credit cards. It’s better to have a high credit limit with a low balance.
  • Automate. If you’re prone to forgetting or don’t have a scheduled time to sit down and pay bills, set up automatic payments through your checking account or put a perpetual reminder on your calendar.

 

Posted in Buyer Blog, Loans
Nov. 20, 2017

Job Based Loans

We can argue what jobs are more important than others.  CEO, president of a company, mayor,  all are important jobs. But there are people who have dedicated their life's to the community.  The housing industry repays them for the job they did. Who are these people? Veterans, teachers, EMT, firefighters, doctors to name a few.

VA Programs

We have all heard that  there are housing programs for veterans. These housing programs include loan guaranty benefit, no mortgage insurance, cash out programs, rate reduction programs to name a few. For the service they have done for the country these are well earned benefits

You can  see more details at the VA website

Good Neighbor Program 

What you may not have known is that there are programs for other jobs.  Housing and Urban Development(HUD) has a Good Neighbor Next Door program.  This program allows  Teachers, Firefighters, Police, EMT to purchase HUD houses in specific neighborhoods at 50% of the asking price and a down payment of $100. This program helps  these community builders get into house . 

 

To go along with HUDs programs, private mortgage lenders offer further incentives for the people working these jobs to get into a home.    When purchasing a home the down payment with a FHA loan can be as low as 3.5%. And these housing programs can have special interest rates.

Doctor and Professional Loan Program

 Banks have started giving out special loans for a new doctors first house. These programs are usually limited to the first seven years after graduating.   The loan programs can  have significant benefits over a standard loan.  The benefits  will very by lender.

The required down payment can be  between  0 and 5%.

PMI may not be required.

Unlike most  loans, a contract  may be the only proof of income.  A Doctor can qualify for this program  before he starts his first job

Jumbo loans have the same rate as conventional loan

One thing to watch out for, this program may have a slightly higher interest rate. But not having PMI  can easily make you for the higher rate

Some lenders have extended these programs to other first time professional buyers like veterinarians, optometrists, podiatrists, and even attorneys.

 Disclaimer:  Loan Programs can vary from lender to lender. The conditions and benefits may also change at any time

 

Posted in Buyer Blog, Loans
Sept. 29, 2017

Castlewood Canyon

Castlewood Canyon

Castlewood Canyon

Looking for a day trip or great place to go hiking? A great choice is Castlewood Canyon.

Located at 2989 South State Highway 83, Franktown, CO 80116.

It is a short trip from Franktown, Parker and Castle Rock

Open Sunrise to Sunset. Office hours 9am to 5pm

Fees: $7.00 daily pass. $70 annual pass. Aspen leaf annual pass 64 + $60.

Call for pricing for groups or reservations: 303-668-5242

No overnight camping.

It is an an expansive park with over 14 miles of hiking trails, rock climbing walls, wildlife viewing opportunities & more.

It is a hiking park, make sure to wear shoes with tread.

 Hiking Trails

Park Highlights

  • Four ecosystems within walking distance of one another–Grasslands, Montane Shrub lands, Montane Forest and Riparian (living near water).
  • The canyon itself is relatively young, maybe only about 100,000 years old.
  • A wide variety of birds, ?owers, grasses, shrubs and trees. Watch for mountain bluebirds arriving in March and black turkey vultures soaring over the canyons from April through September. Sniff the thick, scaly, yellow-brown bark of the ponderosa pine to reveal the scent of butterscotch.
  • 12 miles of trails, each with their own “personality”, including the calm, cool Inner Canyon Trail and the exciting warm Rim Rock Trail.
  • Ruins of an 1890 dam that burst in 1933, sending a wall of water that ?oods downtown Denver.
  • Castle Rock Conglomerate–the signature rock of the canyon walls. Look for the rocks embedded in the conglomerate, like chocolate chips in cookie dough. Why are some of those rocks smooth and round while others are rough and angular?
  • An 1894 homestead with walls still standing from the family’s concrete home built in the 1920s. What clues about their life can you discover as you walk around the site? Did they have livestock?
  •  A Visitor Center with a video presentation about the park and a gift shop with nature-themed books, apparel, postcards and other items for adults and children.

The park has continued to expand into the 21st Century. The most recent land acquisition completes the circle of the park’s story to date. The original Lucas Homestead site totaled 160 acres. The First land donation for the park in 1961 was just over half of these acres. Castlewood Canyon was established in 1964. In 2002, the remaining 73 acres were purchased and the park now owns the total site–and an important piece of its human history. The park currently preserves 2,303 acres of this unique landscape.

Pets on a leash are welcome on most trails except the new East Canyon Preservation area trail.

amphitheater bridge

The amphitheater & the bridge canyon overlooks the gazebo perched on the edge of the canyon are unique places for weddings & other outdoor ceremonies. The Amphitheater provides an expansive scenic view of Pikes Peak & is often used for weddings or special ceremonies. The amphitheater will accommodate up to 120 people & is accessible from the east entrance.

Conference rooms are available for meetings and business functions the room accommodates 20 people and has a video/PC display system.

There are picnics areas at both entrances.

Castlewood Canyon has three covered shelters perfect for picnics, wedding receptions, company picnics, family reunions.   The shelter accommodates 66 people each. They have sinks, grills and electoral outlets. Also included are horseshoe pits, volleyball court, playground. I have been here many times with my family my friends, and with the school as a chaperon.

This is a Beautiful Park, and is one of my favorite places to take my kids and dogs that is close to Parker.

fall

 

July 31, 2017

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We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates