Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Survey: Real Estate is the Best Investment

Americans ranked real estate as the best long-term investment, even over stocks and gold, according to a recent Gallup Poll of about 1,000 U.S. adults. Real estate has been the top investment choice for the past two years, and it's lead is increasing over four other popular investment choices.

Thirty-five percent of Americans selected real estate as their top investment choice compared to 22 percent for stocks and mutual funds; 17 percent for gold; 15 percent for savings accounts/CDs; and 7 percent for bonds. By comparison, 34 percent of Americans said gold was their top long-term investment choice in 2011 while 19 percent said real estate.

"As the average sale price of new homes in the U.S. increased from $259,300 in August 2011 to $348,900 in February of this year, the percentage of Americans picking real estate as the best long-term investment almost doubled," according to Gallup. "During approximately the same time span-from August 2011 to April of this year-gold prices plunged from $1,910 to $1,254 per ounce, and the percentage thinking gold would be the best investment was cut in half."

The poll also revealed the following:
  • Men are more likely than women to say gold is the best long-term investment. Women tend to favor savings accounts more so than men.
  • Those surveyed who are younger than 30 years old were the least likely age group, at 26 percent, to think real estate is the top investing choice. They are most likely to choose savings as the top long-term investment choice.
  • Renters (32%) and home owners (34%) are about equally as likely to choose real estate as their top long-term investment choice.
Source: RealtorMag
Home Improvements that Really Increase Your ROI

Now, most of us know that there are plenty of things we can do in a home to bring an improvement, as far as our preferences go. But how many of these improvements actually bring in a return on investment (ROI) if or when an actual selling time approaches?

As our likes may not be the likes of others, improving according to our preferences doesn't necessarily give us more bang for our bucks, as some commonly say.

That said, our article below centers on what are some of the areas of improvement that stand a better chance of a high ROI once they get done. Let's start with the two most important and used rooms in average homes: the bathroom and kitchen area.

Small or Larger Bathroom Remodel or Renovation Project
Now, we're speaking about an upgrade or remodel job and not a full bathroom addition. Even small changes such as replacing or tearing down old, mildew stained wallpaper and using a fresh coat of paint will go a long way.

Replacing older lighting with a system that you can actually see better with, usually can be done without emptying your checking account. Adding a new vanity, a new tile floor and even something as minor as changing the hardware or fixtures can all be done today for less than $700.

Converting a walk-in closet into a powder-room with toilet and sink can really bring in about 15 percent for an updated bathroom area--not including plumbing expenses.

Concerning kitchens, you don't need to start by a massive overhaul-simply do one item at a time. For instance, removing a stained sink or old microwave or refrigerator for newer, energy-efficient models add big value to your home at selling time. Later, if needed, move on to new cabinets, back splashes or counter-tops. Generally speaking, you can expect to get back about 25 percent of a home's value for a new kitchen or a remodel project.

Floor Coverings
After a bathroom and kitchen remodel, nothing makes or breaks the ROI more than miserable looking flooring. Smelly, stained or torn carpets being the worst offenders.

Laminated floors, simulated wood flooring or even a tile job may do the trick. If you have budget constraints, then consider replacing the carpet and re-doing the floor covering--one room at a time, whichever is worse.

"Going Green" and Curb Appeal
Nothing is as attractive as a carefully sculpted shrub and colorful plants to present a certain curb appeal to buyers. However, if you're not thinking in terms of "green" or sustainable plantings, you've defeated your purpose in these green-oriented times.

Planning for the future is vitally important as you really don't know when or if you'll be selling in the foreseeable future. Planting shade trees can actually reduce your overall cooling expense by up to 30 percent, so be sure to buy greenery suitable to your region soil or weather requirements.

Replacing A Garage Door or Front Door
Replacing an older, two-car, steel garage door may give you a healthy ROI of 87 percent on a $2,500 investment. That being said, if you convert your garage into in-law living quarters or even an efficiency, expect an even higher ROI. Without having to add a ceiling, floor or walls, you'll be gaining valuable space that can further result in both a higher ROI and additional income--barring zoning regulations of course.

Your front door, especially if it has factory-finish colors, wood-look embossed steel and etched glass windows, will further blend well with your curb appeal and ROI as well.
Which Brings In The Highest Returns?
  • Front door replacement: 96.6 percent
  • Wood deck additions: 87.4 percent
  • Attic bedroom or efficiency garage conversion: 84.3 percent
  • Garage door replacement: 83.7 percent
  • Minor kitchen remodel: 82.7 percent
Which Brings In The Lowest Returns?
  • Home office remodel: 48.9 percent
  • Sun-room addition: 51.7 percent
  • Bathroom addition: 60.1 to 85 percent
  • Backup power generation: 67.5 percent
  • Master suite addition: 67.5 percent
The list of high ROI renovation options is almost limitless. Moreover, if you make the upgrades intentionally, and don't allow yourself to do them on impulse or under coercion, you can expect rewarding returns every time. That said, choose wisely.

Source: RealtyTimes
Buyer Cheat Sheet for a Seller's Market

In a seller's market, home buyers need to be willing and able to act fast to snag the home they want. This spring, areas across the country are facing a limited number of homes for sale.® offers up a cheat sheet for surviving a seller's market.
  • Be on call. "If you're only looking now and then when it's convenient, you're probably wasting your time," says James Malmberg, a real estate professional in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He suggests treating house hunting like job hunting. If someone calls with a lead, follow up promptly to gauge whether it could be a good fit and don't linger.
  • Bring the paperwork. To be taken seriously, buyers would be wise to get a mortgage pre-approval letter as well as a "proof of funds" form from their bank to show they have enough to cover a down payment. They'll be able to act quicker when they do find the right house.
  • Limit the contingencies. In a seller's market, buyers may need to drop some of the contingencies to score the house. Sellers prefer the fewest number of hurdles to closing as possible. If your buyers come in with several contingencies - such as "if" they secure financing - the sellers are more inclined to bypass their offer and take another with less hassle. Also, "don't waste your time lowballing a seller," advises Sean Kelley, a real estate professional with Howard Hannah in Pittsburgh, Pa. "Always put in an aggressive offer."
  • Cast a wide net. Search for homes outside prime locations if faced with limited or high-priced choices. Buyers need to carefully consider what they're willing to compromise on. "Sometimes properties sit, even in a seller's market, because of a problem that is scaring other buyers away," such as some renovation work that may need to be done, Malmberg says. Those "flaws," however, might not be a big deal to your buyers. "Finding a house this way can also cut down on the amount of competition you will face," Malmberg adds.
Source: RealtorMag

Monday, June 13, 2016

Baby Boomers Heading 
Back to the City

Unlike previous generations, many baby boomers aren't planning their retirement in sunny southern locales. Instead, more are choosing to move back to metro areas they had left when they started raising a family in the suburbs.

Baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, are the largest and wealthiest generation to ever retire and they're making their imprint and redefining urban centers.

About 11 percent of home buyers aged 50 to 59 closed on homes in urban areas and central cities from July 2013 through June 2014, according to a 2015 report by the National Association of REALTORS®. However, that percentage is rising, up to 13 percent this year. Baby boomers are estimated at 74.9 million people so even the slightest percentage jump equates to a dramatic shift.

Some of the most walkable urban centers and college towns are seeing some of the highest growth from baby boomers moving in, says Jonathan Smoke,®'s chief economist. They tend to be drawn to the condos, nearby restaurants and shops, cultural venues, as well as places where they can take classes and workshops.

New buildings are offering amenities to cater to this demographic, such as concierge services similar to hotels that help them with everything from dog walking to planning parties. Builders are also constructing more urban two-bedroom residences with dens and expanded laundry rooms (that can also be repurposed as hobby, craft centers, or miniature offices), says Isabell Kerins, a director of product and business development at John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

Also, more high-end dining boutiques, art galleries, theaters, and cultural organizations are moving in to downtowns to appeal to boomers' who may have more leisure time and more money to spend than younger residents, says Harris Steinberg, executive director of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University.

Developers also are creating more "urban suburbs" to appeal to boomers who want the urban lifestyle but don't want to move into the city core. For example, some builders are looking to create walkable areas in suburbs with condos near restaurants and retail to appeal to baby boomers urban desires.

Source: RealtorMag
Mortgage Rates Slightly Up,
Buyers are Still Coming


Mortgage rates may have inched up slightly but that didn't seem to deter home buyers from shopping for a loan last week. Mortgage application volume rose 2.3 percent week-over-week on a seasonally adjusted basis, driven by an uptick in home purchase applications, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports. Mortgage applications are nearly 24 percent higher than they were a year ago.

After a short dip, mortgage applications for home purchases reversed course last week and rose 5 percent. Purchase applications are 17 percent higher than a year ago.

"Purchase applications got back on track last week, resuming the level of activity observed throughout most of April and May," says Lynn Fisher, MBA vice president of research and economics. MBA also reported that the average loan size for purchase applications rose to a survey high last week, reaching $307,700.

Meanwhile, applications for refinancing mostly held flat last week, budging just 0.4 percent during the week. MBA reports the average on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.85 percent last week, up from 3.82 percent the prior week.


Source: RealtorMag
5 Basement Renovations 
that Pay Off 

With homeowners using their basements for laundry, exercise and storage, aesthetics are usually a secondary concern. How can you update the looks of your basement? Here are a few ideas worth exploring:

#1 Enhance the Floor
Floors in busy areas eventually end up in bad shape. A new floor will tremendously enhance the appeal of your basement. The costs of a new floor are less expensive than most homeowners assume. Vinyl floors are affordable, tough and require little upkeep. Apply an epoxy coating for an even cheaper flooring option. Several coats of epoxy make even the roughest floors look new.

#2 Add Shelves
Clutter undermines the look of any basement. Adding shelvesto your basement walls will help organize clutter and contribute tremendously to its overall look. Varnished wood shelves add an additional shot of style to your basement.

#3 Utilize Waterproofing Strategies
The presence of water in your basement causes rotting wood and corroded plumbing fixtures. Cracks in your basement wall can also expand, potentially damaging your foundation. Call a waterproofing professional if you notice leaks in your basement. Failure to address a leak can result in major damage and costly repairs to your home.

#4 Improve the Stairs
Change the look of your basement staircase for a dramatic improvement in looks. If the stairway is enclosed, knock down the wall to create an open staircase. Replace the old stairs with newer wood and install a decorative banister for an added shot of style.

#5 Build a Small Kitchen
A basement has water, electrical and gas lines that are useful in a kitchen remodel. Generally, a kitchen by itself would seem odd in a basement. But, if your basement is already designed as an entertainment room, the addition of a kitchen makes perfect sense. A stove and a refrigerator will cut down on going upstairs for snacks.
Source: RealtyTimes
Five Smart 
Homebuyer Strategies

The National Association of REALTORS® has announced that there's a housing supply shortage. Homes are selling quickly and home prices are starting to inch up again. It's becoming a seller's market in many areas.

Any time the market changes, it's time to change strategies. During a buyer's market, buyers have the upper hand and can make more demands to sellers over their homes' price and condition. During a sellers' market, buyers concede the upper hand to sellers and are more willing to accept higher prices and terms.

When homes are in short supply, buyers don't have the luxury of taking their time, teasing sellers with lowball offers, demanding that every little thing be fixed, and shopping for homes with multiple real estate agents. Do these five steps instead.

Make a good first impression. Not only do you need to impress sellers, you need to impress real estate agents. Hire one agent and let him or her profile your needs to the marketplace. Be specific about your must-haves so you don't waste your agent's and your time viewing homes that lack what you want most. When you find the home you want, send the seller a letter along with your offer outlining why you love the home.

Get preapproved by a lender. Not only will you know how much home you can buy, you'll be ready to make an offer quickly. Your real estate agent can include the fact that you're financially preapproved by your lender in with the offer, which will carry weight with the seller.

Shop within your price range. In a seller's market, it's wise to shop for homes within or slightly below your price range. This will give you more room to make full-price offers or above in case the home you want is in a bidding war with other buyers. You'll be able to pay your own closing costs. Trying to buy a home out of your reach during a seller's market will only cause you and your agent frustration.

Be flexible.
No home is perfect. To get more home for your money, you might shop for an older home that needs renovation. Try to look past ugly wallpaper and stained carpet and visualize the home with more attractive finishes. You may be able to get more living space in an established neighborhood than with a newer home that is priced higher for similar square footage.

Be ready.
Be ready to see a new listing at a moment's notice. Be ready to make an offer when you believe this is the right home for your household. Once a seller has accepted your offer, proceed as if you're in a normal market. Set a reasonable closing date that accommodates the seller as much as possible. Confirm the offer with your lender. Schedule the inspections you'll need and don't nitpick the seller over small things.

Whether you're in a buyer's market or a seller's market, you should feel good about the home you choose, the deal you make, and the courteous way you treated all parties to the transaction.

Source: RealtyTimes
Denver Ranked as
Best Tech Hot Spot

Denver was named as the best city for tech professionals based on wages and home prices, according to’s New Tech City Index. The rankings looked at 365 cities, factoring in the average wage in the sector, industry employment in the city, and the average house price for employees moving there.

Denver tech professionals boast an average wage of $91,861, and the city has seen explosive growth in its housing market in the past five years, with prices up 41 percent in the past five years.

“Many areas exist outside of the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest where tech folks can find both their dream job and the home of their dreams,” says Grant Simmons, vice president at “Cities like Denver not only offer great tech-focused career opportunities, but also more bang for their housing buck, great schools, and lifestyle options that suit both small-town and big-city appetites.”

The index singled out Columbus, Ohio as the most affordable place for tech workers to live. The average home price there is $107,367. On the other hand, Oakland, Calif., saw the biggest growth in home prices among emerging tech hub areas, with prices growing nearly 48 percent in the past five years.

Here are the top 20 cites for tech professionals, according to the index:
  1. Denver
  2. Framingham, Mass.
  3. Oakland, Calif.
  4. Atlanta
  5. Boston
  6. Austin, Texas
  7. Santa Ana, Calif.
  8. Baltimore, Md.
  9. Durham, N.C.
  10. Boulder, Colo.
  11. Columbus, Ohio
  12. Trenton, N.J.
  13. Newark, N.J.
  14. Bridgeport, Conn.
  15. Minneapolis
  16. Huntsville, Ala.
  17. Charlotte, N.C.
  18. Raleigh, N.C.
  19. Bethesda, Md.
  20. Wilmington, Del.
Source: RealtorMag

Monday, June 6, 2016

10,000 New Homes Expected 
in Denver this Year as 
Builders Kick Into Overdrive

Metro Denver home construction revved up in the first quarter, reaching a pace not seen since before the last recession, according to a report Wednesday from Metrostudy.

Builders in metro Denver started 2,413 new homes in the first quarter, up 3 percent from the fourth quarter and 47 percent higher than the first quarter of 2015. New housing starts are running at a pace about 26 percent faster than a year ago, on track to end the year with about 9,869 homes built.

Housing starts in metro Denver, as measured by Metrostudy, are now at their highest level since 2007, and Covert expects the pace to quicken and that builders will complete 10,000 new homes this year.

He called 10,000 homes an important milestone, but it is only half the number metro builders achieved during the peak of the housing boom last decade. It also remains far short of what is needed to keep pace with the region’s population growth.

“While the large run up in new homes in metro Denver is a very encouraging sign, demand still out paces supply. The influx of new residents to the state coupled with historical low interest rates has created a very strong demand for homes in the metro area,” said Brook Rarden, a managing director with U.S. Bank’s Private Client Reserve in Denver.

And there simply isn’t enough supply for first-time and low-income buyers, he adds.

Builders remain primarily focused on higher-priced properties. Homes priced above $400,000 accounting for about 60 percent of the market, the highest share on record, according to Metrostudy.

The cost of a new home in metro Denver now averages $503,768, which contrasts with an average price of $398,663 for existing homessold in April, according to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors.

Demand, however, is much stronger in the under $400,000 market, based on what the typical household can afford. Covert expects builders will respond by producing more condos, townhouses and paired homes in suburban and in-fill locations.

The accelerated pace of new home construction has put pressure on the supply of vacant lots. In the first quarter, there were 11,494 vacant developed lots available through the entire metro area.

Source: The Denver Post

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Thinking of moving to Lowry Field, Colorado?

Lowry Field, Colorado

Housing Market Trends

Market trends help you understand the movement of key price indicators. Trends in Lowry Field show a 36% year-over-year rise in median sales price and a -22% drop in median rent per month.

Median Sales Price
The median sales price for homes in Lowry Field for Feb 26 to May 25 was $510,000 based on 31 home sales.
Price Per Square Ft.
Average price per square foot for Lowry Field was $265, an increase of 11% compared to the same period last year.
Median Rent Per Month
The median rent per month for apartments in Lowry Field for Apr 29 to May 29 was $1,725.

Lowry Field has very low crime relative to the rest of Denver County.
Knowing more about crime activity in Lowry Field can help keep you aware of crime in the area. Crime activity is most helpful when comparing two locations to understand the relative safety of each location.


Get to know your neighbors in Lowry Field by reviewing our census driven map. Get insights into median age, how many people are married, and percentage of people with a college degree.


Most people in Lowry Field commute by car. Learn how neighbors in this area get to work so you can consider how you might commute if you lived here, too.
93% commute by car
4% commute by public transportation
3% commute by other means (not biking or walking)

Source: Trulia