Thursday, August 30, 2012

How do I Know This House is "The One"?

With so many homes to choose from, how do you know if this house is "the one?"

Sounds like a dating question. And, coincidentally, using some of the same criteria used to determine if you're marrying the right person may also help you decide which home is the best for your needs. 

The last thing you want is analysis paralysis: a common disease caused by overthinking a decision, which then causes inactivity. It's horrible!

So, how can you be confident that the home you're buying will meet your needs? Start with some basic guidelines. Make a list of your must-haves, needs, and wants. These are truly three different categories. Yes, some things you list may overlap but after your list is started, you'll begin to see what really matters to you. Sometimes buyers will be shopping for a home with a pool, but when they finally make a list they realize that money is very tight and the added cost of heating a pool will be too much of a drain. So they revise their home-buying desires and start house-hunting all over again. It would've been far more effective to have considered this from the start.

Next, study the home or apartment that you're currently living in. What are the positive aspects of it? Are there things about the place you live in now that you absolutely can't stand? Taking stock of what is working and what isn't in your current home provides a good blueprint for the things you should consider when searching for your next home. Remember to be honest. Sometimes we tend to forget the bad things about a home due to its sentimental value. If you look at your current home with a critical eye, you'll know which areas caused a big headache and then you can be sure you don't buy another with the same problem.

For instance, maybe the home needs a lot of fixing up and you and your spouse barely survived the remodel without tearing each other apart. You might then want to search for homes in much better condition to limit the fixing up. Our minds have a wonderful way of forgetting the bad, once the bad is over. But, trust me, you'll remember once you're back in the same scenario again.
Do your homework and get everyone's feedback. Unless you're buying a home alone, you should spend time meeting with those who will be living in the home to discuss what's important. Sounds obvious...yes, but guess what? A lot of times Buyer One and Buyer Two don't even talk about what's really important to each other until they start searching for homes. Then they realize how truly different their views and expectations are and see the necessity to compromise a little. Time is better spent reviewing and discussing first. That way, an agent can make sure the properties being shown are in line with everyone's desires.

Finally, plan ahead. Especially if you're moving a family or you're moving in with someone else. Use a synchronized calendar, like Google, to help map out all the meetings and showings. There will be lots of important meetings to attend and if you can't get the necessary buyers there, the process will be stalled. Without the necessary buyers present, you can't be confident the home will satisfy. Plan. Schedule. Commit. This will assure that the home-buying process will be a success.

Survey Says: Generation Y Aspires to Homeownership

ERA Real Estate's survey of millennials, born from 1978 to 1995, found that 32 percent have already achieved homeownership — a purchase more than 90 percent of them made because they either wanted their own place or viewed ownership as a symbol of achievement.
Homeownership is a future goal of 64 percent of non-owners polled, and 53 percent of millennials who do not yet own houses view them as good investments. Given that 67 percent cited the importance of affordability and nearly 80 percent deem low real estate taxes to be very important, the survey indicates that the recession has played a role in Gen Y's thoughts on home buying.
The survey also reveals that 83 percent consider proximity to work important; while proximity to family and friends was cited by 67 percent and 65 percent, respectively.
Sixty-two percent of the millennials queried view living space as important, and Gen Y buyers are seen as being more practical because almost 70 percent cited the importance of built-in amenities but only 26 percent consider style to be important.
ERA Real Estate President and CEO Charlie Young notes that "Gen Y clearly understands the long-term value of homeownership from a financial standpoint" and they "view a home as a cornerstone in building a family and spending time with friends, not just a place to eat and sleep."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Case-Shiller: Home prices rose in June in 13 major cities, including Denver

Case-Shiller reported that home prices rose in June for 13 major cities across the U.S. from the same month last year, the first year-over-year increase since the summer of 2010.

In Denver home prices increased 4%, which is not a small number. This and the fact that vehicle sales are up 36.2% in Colorado are continued signs indicating growing consumer confidence in the economy. 

Below is a chart showing home price increases 

June home price index

June index
Change from May
Chg. from June 2011
Las Vegas
Los Angeles
New York
San Diego
San Francisco
The indexes have a base value of 100 in January 2000; so an index value of 150 translates to 50% appreciation for a typical home in the market.
Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices and Fiserv

Monday, August 13, 2012

4 Strong Reasons to Buy a Home Now

“It’s hard to argue against buying a house now, assuming you can get a loan,” writes John Waggoner, a columnist with USA Today. Sure, Waggoner says that getting a credit check for approval of a mortgage can be a “only slightly less intrusive than a CIA background check,” but for those who are able to qualify, a lot of analysts say that now can be a good time to purchase a home.

1. The price is right. The median single-family home price hit its lowest in more than a decade when it reached $154,600 in January, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. That was the lowest since October 2001. During the height of the housing market in July 2006, the median home price for a single-family home was $230,900.
2. It’s cheaper to buy than rent. In nearly every major metro market, it is cheaper to buy a home than rent. Rents have been on the rise the last few years and are predicted to continue to rise. Meanwhile, home affordability is at record highs, which means that buying a home is more within reach to the median income family.
3. Inventories of for-sale homes are shrinking. Ned Davis Research estimates that excess inventories of homes to be eliminated by the end of next year. “When excess supply dries up, people start building more new houses, which has the virtuous effect of reducing the unemployment rate and increasing the economy generally,” according to the USA Today article.
4. Mortgage rates are at record lows. Mortgage rates have hovered near record lows for weeks, which has helped pushing housing affordability higher. For example, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which is the most popular among home buyers, is 3.59 percent, according to Freddie Mac—just above its record low set on July 26 of 3.49 percent average. “It’s conceivable that at some point in the next 30 years, your interest rate would be less than the rate of inflation,” writes Waggoner for USA Today.
Source: “If You Can Pull it Off, a House is a Smart Investment,” USA Today (Aug. 9, 2012) 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

NBC: Denver #2 fastest selling real estate market in the country

Denver just keeps doing it. It is the 2nd fastest selling real estate market in the country, at lightning speed of 33 days! Sellers, it is a SELLERS MARKET in Denver! Price your house right, and it WILL SELL!

2. Denver, Colo.
  •  Average number of days on market: 33
  •  Median home price: $269,000 (27th highest)
  •  Population: 2,543,482 (27th highest)
  •  Unemployment: 7.51 percent (67th lowest)
The 33 days to sell a house in the Denver area is actually up by 10%, one of the very few metro areas to see an increase in the time it takes to sell a home. Denver was not as hard hit by the housing bust as many other metropolitan areas. Home prices from their peak in the first quarter of 2006 to the fourth quarter of 2011 dropped just 11.1%, well below the national average of 34.2%. A median family income of $75,000 and an unemployment rate of 7.5%, both well below national averages, are positive signals for a housing market likely to remain on stable footing. The only bad news is that housing prices are not expected to jump anytime soon. Home prices are projected to rise 0.6 percent in the Denver area from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to 4.2% in the U.S. in general.
Here are the other top 4 fastest housing markets in the country. Notice the unemployment rates on each are very high:
1. Oakland, Calif.
  •  Average number of days on market: 24
  •  Median home price: $379,000 (12th highest)
  •  Population: 4,335,391 (16th highest)
  •  Unemployment: 9.56 percent (20th highest)

3. Anchorage, Alaska
  •  Average number of days on market: 43
  •  Median home price: $289,500 (23rd highest)
  •  Population: 380,821 (20th lowest)
  •  Unemployment: 6.13 percent (22nd lowest)
4. Fresno, Calif.
  •  Average number of days on market: 43
  •  Median home price: $174,900 (58th lowest)
  •  Population: 930,450 (62nd highest)
  •  Unemployment: 15.54 percent (2nd highest)
5. Bakersfield, Calif.
  •  Average number of days on market: 44
  •  Median home price: $149,500 (23rd lowest)
  •  Population: 839,631 (60th lowest)
  •  Unemployment: 14.14 percent (4th highest)