Buyer Tip – Purchasing New Construction

1. Get Your Own Agent – An agent that is knowledgeable about builders and the building process will get you up-to-speed on builders in your area and help you understand their pros and cons, set good expectations and timelines, and be there to negotiate for you.

2. Find a Lender & Get Approved – Builders often partner with lenders to provide buyer incentives. Understand what they are offering and how it can help you accomplish your purchasing goals. Shop around for other lenders as well so you can compare lender offerings.  

3. Set A “Move Date” Goal – When building a new home, a buyer can move in right away or wait weeks or even months for their new homes to be completed. Setting a “Move Date” goal will help you, your agent, and your builders establish realistic timelines.

4. Research & Choose a Builder – Do some of your own research on builders. Do you want a custom built home? Do you want to work with a well-known established community builder? Not all builders are created equal and understanding what builders are most appealing to you, and who is not, will set both you and your agent up for success.

5. Research Communities, HOAs, Metro Districts – New homes in new communities often come with homeowners associations and/or metro district taxes. Understand what the HOA and metro district offers and their costs, as well as the pros and cons of the covenants to be part of the community.

6. Know Customization Options & Costs – Most builders do what they can to accommodate a buyer’s needs. Understand what and how to request customization options from your builder by working with your agent. Don’t be afraid to request what you want. It’s your home and negotiating your needs is something the builder already expects in the process.

7. Understand Your Warranty – This isn’t the warranty on your furnace, this is the warranty in which the builder promises to repair or replace certain elements of the home, if necessary, within a certain time.

8. Get A Home Inspection – Regardless of the builder, I always recommend my buyers to still move forward with an inspection. Any issues found in the inspection can be negotiated and fixed by the builder. Better to buy a $300 inspection and fix issues prior to closing than spending thousands down the road.

These are eight of many points to understand in the purchasing and new home process. Contact me today to start your process to purchasing a new home.


Posted on April 23, 2020 at 5:20 pm
Justine Marx | Posted in Buyers |

COVID-19 Mondays With Matthew April 14, 2020

Matthew shares his thoughts and predictions on how COVID-19 will the mortgage market.

 

This Monday’s Topic covers 30 Year Conventional  Loans: 

  • Mortgage Loans Relation to Bonds 
  • COVID-19 Impacts to Homeowners & Lenders
  • 2020 Mortgage Rates Predictions

Interested in hearing from Matthew on a specific topic? Email me at justine.marx@windermere.com for requests. 


Posted on April 14, 2020 at 12:12 am
Justine Marx | Posted in Buyers | Tagged , , , ,

Coronavirus Protections for Home Buyers

 

As the situation develops with the COVID-19 pandemic, Windermere Real Estate is dedicated to taking steps to reduce the spread of the virus while continuing to work with home buyers. To help with this process, here are some ways you as a home buyer can keep yourself and others safe during the buying process.

 

WHEN TOURING HOMES

❱ Only tour the property if you feel healthy.

❱ Ask your Windermere agent to show you the property instead of attending an open house.

❱ Drive separately from your agent to the property.

❱ Be considerate of the seller’s home and wash or sanitize your hands before entry, touching as little as necessary. While many sellers will likely provide it, bring your own hand sanitizer and use before and after you tour the home. You might also consider wearing disposable gloves for further safety.

❱ Ask your agent to confirm with the seller’s agent that they have not recently been sick or in contact with someone suspected of having COVID-19.

❱ Sellers often ask you to take off your shoes when you tour their home or wear protective booties that have been provided. Consider bringing your own booties and throwing them away when you’ve finished touring.

❱ Be mindful of how much you touch things in the home and minimize contact with doors and hand railings.

❱ Reduce the amount of time spent with other people in the same room. This “social distancing” practice can curb person-to-person spread.

DO NOT TOUR HOMES IF

❱ If you are currently self-quarantined because of illness or other reasons, you should not tour homes in person. Ask your Windermere agent to video chat with you while they tour the home so you can see it virtually.

❱ Do not view homes when you’re sick, feeling like you’re about to be sick, or getting over an illness.

❱ We do not recommend touring homes after returning from international travel or travel that exposed you to a large group of people in close quarters, like large events.

 

Find our Coronavirus Protections for Home Sellers here:


Posted on April 1, 2020 at 5:58 pm
Justine Marx | Posted in Buyers | Tagged , , , , ,

Mortgage Interest Rates – What Difference Does It Make

A 1% decrease in Mortgage Interest Rates can provide significant savings to your monthly and annual mortgage payments.

Let’s use an example:

Purchase Price: $300,000

Loan Terms:

  • 30 Year Conventional
  • 20% Down
  • Fixed Rate:
    • 5% – Monthly Principal & Interest = $1,288
    • 4% – Monthly Principal & Interest = $1,145
          •   Est Savings = $143 per month, $1,700 per year

 

Just a 1% increase added about $143 to this buyers monthly P&I and a little over $1,700 to the annual P&I. So there is a difference; a big difference. This example is calculated with a 20% down payment. If we adjust that to a lower down payment, say 5%, there is larger savings to be had per month as the buyer is leveraging more on the loan.

 

Purchase Price: $300,000

Loan Terms:

  • 30 Year Conventional
  • 5% Down
  • Fixed Rate:
    • 5% – Monthly Principal & Interest = $1,530
    • 4% – Monthly Principal & Interest = $1,360

   Est Savings = $170 per month , $2,040 per year

 

Engage or re-engage with a lender to understand how these low interest rates can make home ownership more achievable.


Posted on March 19, 2020 at 8:46 pm
Justine Marx | Posted in Buyers, WHO LOVES STATS, Windsor Real Estate | Tagged , ,

COVID-19 & The National Housing Market

 

How will COVID-19 impact the national housing market? 

Take-aways from Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner

Housing Market

  • Expect a 10% -15% contraction in the number of home sales for 2020 
  • Contraction is anticipated to be brief and pick back up quickly
  • Qualification and financing is going to more achievable than ever
  • Low supply in new construction, but households are still being created which puts upward price pressure on housing stock

Buyers

  • Mortgage Interest Rates continue to remain extremely low and are expected to remain low
  • Buyers are influenced by the economy and with 70% of the US economy being influenced by consumption and the stock market declining, buyers concerns of job security arise and the option to obtain a down payment from selling stocks is limited
  • Take Action: Buyers, look for lending options that offer achievable money down and doesn’t create a risk for leveraging stocks or completely deplete savings during this uncertain time. Leverage the low interest rates while they last and understand how a decline in interest rates can significantly change your monthly mortgage, making home ownership more achievable in the long term.

Sellers

  • Inventory may drop as, depending on market, sellers may be hesitant to list
  • Sellers may be cautious to open their home to potential buyers
  • Take Action: Discuss virtual safe tours with your agent to keep your listings moving and buyers looking.

Recession

  • Will we experience a recession in 2020? Yes, if the economy continues to see a shirk through Q3.
  • How long will it last? Because there is nothing systemically wrong with the market, if a recession occurs, it will be a short term impact.
  • The economy is expected to recover and to be much healthier than in the second half of 2020 than what is experienced in the first half.
  • Note – A recession is two or more quarters during which the economy shrinks.

 

Most importantly! Order take-out, get coffee to-go, buy gift cards and find every opportunity to continue to support your small businesses and stimulate the overall economy. Action now will lessens the impact when we fully recover from COVID-19.


Posted on March 17, 2020 at 7:15 pm
Justine Marx | Posted in Buyers, Buyers & Sellers, Investors, Sellers | Tagged , , , , , ,

Two Tales

This is a Tale of Two Counties.

When it comes to new home activity, there is a big difference between Larimer and Weld Counties.

Larimer County new home starts are down 10% and new home closings are down 15% compared to last year.

Weld County new home starts are up 18% and new home closings are up 8% compared to last year.

This is all according to the new home research experts and Metrostudy.

So why the difference?  It comes down to price and availability.

There is more land available for new home development in Weld County.

Plus, the land tends to be less-expensive than Larimer which means that builders can deliver a lower-priced product and reach a larger pool of buyers.

The average price of a new home in Larimer County is $507,105 while the average new home price in Weld is $411,269.

 

 

If you want to see even more insights about the Colorado market so that you can make really good decisions about your real estate, you are welcome to watch this complimentary webinar, just click HERE.


Posted on November 15, 2019 at 5:44 pm
Justine Marx | Posted in Buyers, Fort Collins Real Estate, WHO LOVES STATS, Windsor Real Estate | Tagged , , ,

Most Active

 

What is the most active price range in Northern Colorado?  Take a guess…

  • $300,000 to $400,000
  • $400,000 to $500,000
  • $500,000 to $750,000
  • $750,000 and above

By far, the most active price range is $300,000 to $400,000 with 60% more closed transactions than the $400,000 to $500,000 range and 400% more than homes priced $750,000 and above.

However, this lower price range does not have the most inventory.  The price range with the greatest selection of homes is $500,000 to $750,000.


Posted on November 7, 2019 at 9:47 pm
Justine Marx | Posted in Buyers, Buyers & Sellers, WHO LOVES STATS, Windsor Real Estate | Tagged , , ,

Buyer Beware: Is That House For Sale Haunted?

A trope as old as horror movies: a family moves into a beautiful house that they bought for well under market value. They’ve put all their savings into the move, and they’re looking for a fresh start. When they meet the neighbors and other townsfolk, they quickly learn that there’s a history to the home that they weren’t aware of.

When they start to experience the abnormal, it’s easy to brush off as new home jitters. The children who hear noises in the closet, and a husband who starts sleepwalking, are chalked up to stress and anxiety from the move. It’s only when the experiences escalate beyond control that the family finally realizes the extent of the haunting.

While sharing a home with the supernatural can be a selling point for some buyers, it’s quite the opposite for others. In fact, a 2017 survey by Realtor.com found that 33% of people were open to living in a haunted house, 25% would consider it, but 42% said it was a deal-breaker. So how do you make sure you’re fully informed about a home’s history? Knowing the right questions to ask is the first step:

 

 

Ask to see the seller disclosure form

In the famous 1991 case Stambovsky v. Ackley, the new homeowner, Jeffrey Stambovsky, won a lawsuit against the previous owner for not disclosing the history of hauntings.

In this case, the previous owner had published stories about the family’s experiences in Reader’s Digest and their local newspaper. In her writings, she explained several interactions with ghostly beings in the home, including finding that her children had been given rings, which would later disappear, bed shaking, and conversations with the floating specters.

The court took this evidence and ruled the “defendant is estopped to deny [the ghost’s] existence and, as a matter of law, the house is haunted.” Setting a new standard, this case created a basis for future seller disclosers. In this instance, they found that the history of the home, and the seller’s experiences in the home, would have influenced the marketability, and therefore, omitting these facts was unfair to the buyer.

Fast forward to 2019, there is not a specific section on seller disclosure forms for hauntings or ghostly sightings, but thanks to Stambovsky v. Ackley, sellers in many states are obligated by law to disclose things that affect a house’s marketability.

 

 

Ask Google about the history of the home

In 1991 when Mr. Stambovsky bought his haunted house, search engines didn’t exist. Today,  we’re lucky enough to have things like Google which would have found the previous home owner’s stories in mere seconds. Search keywords like the address or town name, and words like “haunted” or “ghosts”, as well as “murder” or “news report” should help you start your dive into the history of the home.

 

 

Ask the neighbors and your agent  

This is where nosey neighbors come in handy. When you find a place you’re serious about, contact the neighbors to see what they know about the home’s history. The same goes for your real estate agent; he or she can reach out to the listing agent to see if there is anything haunting you should know about prior to buying. While many states don’t require sellers to disclose paranormal activity or deaths in the home, if asked, all real estate agents must, by law, answer truthfully.


Posted on November 6, 2019 at 1:18 am
Justine Marx | Posted in Buyers | Tagged , , , , , , ,

END OF YEAR HOME BUYING

 

Here is a fact…

If you have ever thought about owning a new home, the last two months of the year are usually the best time to make that happen.

Here’s why…

Many builders have year-end goals and sales quotas to hit.  If they have a “standing inventory” of homes that are completed but not sold, they are typically motivated to sell these homes by the end of the year.

This dynamic can be especially true for publicly-traded builders who are even more motivated to hit year-end sales numbers.

Up and down the Front Range there are beautiful new homes in fantastic neighborhoods.  The builders of these homes may be happy to make concessions and provide incentives as long as you close by year-end.

We just recently helped a buyer with a very compelling incentive package from a builder which included a lower price, additional landscaping and window coverings.

If you would like more details about these kinds of opportunities, reach out and we can help.


Posted on November 1, 2019 at 7:48 pm
Justine Marx | Posted in Buyers, Investors, Windsor Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , ,

How to Cover Unexpected Costs with a Personal Loan

Owning a home comes with its rewards — it’s an investment, a cozy haven to kick-up your feet after a long day of work, and a welcoming place to bring family and friends together. Although all of this makes homeownership fulfilling, owning a home also opens the door for unexpected (but necessary) expenses.

If you’ve suddenly been hit with a home improvement project that’s pinching your budget, like a roofing issue or heater malfunction, a personal loan might be an option to help cover the cost.

What is a personal loan?

A personal loan is an installment loan that’s typically issued by a bank, credit union or online lender. According to the Federal Reserve, the average interest rate on a two-year personal loan is 10.22% but varies depending on your credit score and other criteria. Some lenders offer repayment terms anywhere from 12 months to five years.

A benefit of using a personal loan for emergency home improvement projects is that the approval process is generally quick so you can address urgent home repairs sooner. Some online lenders can run a credit check, approve your application and send funds your way with a couple of days. The approval process for banks and credit unions, on the other hand, can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, if the lender needs additional information.

How to find a personal loan

If you’ve decided that a personal loan makes sense to fund your next home project, make sure you’re aware of these next steps.

1. Assess your budget

 

The last thing you need is taking out a personal loan only to realize after the fact that you can’t afford to repay it. Calculate how much you realistically need for your home improvement project, giving yourself a reasonable buffer for unforeseen repair expenses (e.g. permit fees, price changes for a specific material, etc.)

Then, tally your monthly income and financial obligations to ensure you still have enough cash on hand to keep the lights on and make monthly installments toward your loan. Using a spreadsheet or budgeting app can help you track these numbers easily.

2. Know your credit score

 

Generally, you need a good credit score to get approved for a personal loan. Your credit score is one of the key factors that lenders use to determine whether your application is approved, and a higher credit score results in a lower interest rate offer.

Check your credit score with the three credit bureaus to ensure there isn’t an error or suspicious activity that might inadvertently lower your credit score. For a free credit report, go to AnnualCreditReport.com to see where your credit stands before moving forward in the process.

3. Compare rates and terms

 

When you’ve confirmed that you have a good credit score that can get you competitive interest rates, it’s tempting to accept a loan from the first lender that approves you. But like other major purchases, it’s important to shop around.

Compare interest rates, annual percentage rates (APR), and term durations available, and read the fine print for any conditions or fees that might offset any benefits.

To start, try reaching out to your existing financial institution first to see what they can offer; sometimes credit unions, in particular, offer rate incentives for loyal members. Also, consider using a personal loan aggregator website to compare offers from multiple online lenders at once (just do your due diligence to ensure the site is legitimate).

4. Submit an application

 

If you’re ready to submit an application, you can either complete a form online or apply in-person, depending on your lender. Although all lenders require different information to process a loan application, some common information to prepare ahead of time include:

  • Personal information
  • Income
  • Employment information
  • Reason for the loan
  • Amount you want to borrow

 

To minimize any delays on your end, it’s helpful to prepare copies of verification documents, such as a driver’s license, proof of address like a utility statement, information about your home and pay stubs. Your prospective lender will likely reach out to you if they need any other information to make a decision.

Although it’s always best to have emergency savings set aside for a sudden home improvement project, turning to a personal loan is a useful option when you’re pressed for funds and time. As urgent as your project might feel, however, always take the time to do your research to ensure you’re making the right move for your situation.


Posted on November 1, 2019 at 6:28 pm
Justine Marx | Posted in Buyers | Tagged , , , , ,