Wednesday, November 13, 2013

7 Pre-Winter Maintenance Tips!

1. Replace your furnace filter.
 You don't want you and your family to be breathing old dust and other bad stuff throughout the Winter. It will also make your furnace more efficient. Also have your heating system serviced by a professional, to make sure it's operating efficiently!
2. Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, to make sure they are actively working & safe. 
3. Consider having a fire extinguisher available in your kitchen. There are many fires during Winter 
4. Want to save 20% on utility bills AND stay warm? Put weather stripping on outside doors, and caulk all windows and frames to cut down on drafts.
5. Roof check: Make sure your roof is in good shape by looking for any missing or loose shingles - you don't want a leak from ice and snow! 

6. Blow out your sprinklers, and drain garden hoses and store them inside. Also shut off outdoor water valves in cold weather. Any water left in exterior pipes and faucets can freeze and expand breaking the pipes.

7. Porches & decks: Check the supports, stairs, and railings. Make sure the handrails can support someone slipping on snow or ice! 
Send me an email for more maintenance tips or handyman referrals in case you don't have the time to do this kind of stuff!

Homes over $500,000 selling like 'hotcakes'

                                                     Home on 2925 4TH St, Boulder,  
                                                       sold for $1.46MM last month

In the last 30 days, 268 homes and 35 luxury condos sold over $500,000 to buyers in the metro Denver and Boulder area. According to MLS data, 
40 of these sales were over $1 million!In the last 30 days, 268 homes and 35 luxury condos sold over $500,000 to buyers in the metro Denver and Boulder area. According to MLS data, 40 of these sales were over $1 million!

What is interesting is that several of these recent sales had buyers walking away with purchases $20,000-$100,000 less than asking prices. Buyers feel that they are getting great deals, and sellers are happy their homes are selling!

When Rent is High, Time to Buy: Renting vs. Buying, Objections & a Case Study

Vacancy rates have never been lower in the history Denver, which simply means that landlords are having a heyday increasing rents on tenants. 

Some people still have fears about home-buying, such as, "What if the roof falls in? What if the furnace breaks? I have to pay for everything!" Or simply, "What if I can't pay my mortgage one month?!" These objections and fears are normal. But to really answer them, we have to get the big picture, and look at renting vs. buying.

1) "What if the roof falls in? What if the furnace breaks?!"
Easy: we get a home inspection. Buyers get a home inspection while they are under contract, which inspects the home from top to bottom--from roof down to the furnace--and everything in between. If anything comes up, we can ask the seller to fix it, or even give you a homebuyer's warranty, which covers everything in the home for the first year (and can be renewed). If we cannot come to an agreement with the seller, we can simply exit the contract and look for another home in better condition. PS - there is also roof insurance!

2) "What if I can't pay my mortgage one month?"
That would mean you can't pay rent for one month either. Believe me, landlords are much stricter than banks. If a tenant is 1 week late on rent, most landlords file for eviction, which can end up on your criminal record. Banks often give 15 days or more grace period for a payment, and charge a relatively small late fee if you are late. But the truth is, renters still have to pay monthly rent, which is more expensive than a mortgage right now.

3) "I don't want more debt!" 
Distinction: There is such thing between good debt and bad debt. Bad debt, like credit cards, only buries you more in the hole. Good debt, like a home loan actually puts you in a situation where you can leverage "other people's money"(bank) to make money for yourself. How? 

Case Study:
Say you rent a house for 5 years at $1200/month. In 5 years you will spend $72,000 in rent paying your landlord's mortgage, and never ever see that money again. 

But say you buy a house for 5 years. If you spend $7,000 on a downpayment (sidenote: 0% downpayment programs for qualified buyers are back!), and say your total payment is also $1200/month. And let's say, to play really conservative, your house goes down in value by $20,000 in 5 years (which is just about impossible if you buy smart!). You can still sell it, get your $7,000 downpayment back, and pay off the mortgage and closing fees. Basically you just saved $72,000 you would have paid in rent. And if your house goes up in value, you make even more money. You can also rent it out and have passive income. The options are endless!

Real estate is one of the easiest ways to financial security and wealth simply because you are ALREADY paying rent, so it is not an extra investment. 

Check out Trulia's Rent vs. Buy Calculator to see how much you would be saving if you bought a home!

Let me run some numbers for your neighborhood! Just email me!