Find a New Home in Four Steps

Posted in Buying by Kenady Swan 

 

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a current owner looking for a bigger home, the ideas below will help you better navigate that all-important first step: Finding a property that you like (and can afford).

 

The search for a new home always starts out with a lot of excitement. But if you haven’t prepared, frustration can soon set in, especially in a competitive real estate market. The biggest mistake is jumping into a search unfocused, just hoping to “see what’s available.” Instead, we recommend you first take some time to work through the four steps below.

 

Step 1: Talk to your agent

Even if you’re just thinking about buying or selling a house, start by consulting your real estate agent. An agent can give you an up-to-the-minute summary of the current real estate market, as well as mortgage industry trends. They can also put you in touch with all the best resources and educate you about next steps, plus much more. If you are interested in finding an experienced agent in your in your area, we can connect you

here.

 

 

Step 2: Decide how much home you can afford

It may sound like a drag to start your home search with a boring financial review, but when all is said and done, you’ll be glad you did. With so few homes on the market now in many areas, and so many people competing to buy what is available, it’s far more efficient to focus your search on only the properties you can afford. A meeting or two with a reputable mortgage agent should tell you everything you need to know.

 

Step 3: Envision your future

Typically, it takes at least five years for a home purchase to start paying off financially, which means, the better your new home suits you, the longer you’ll most likely remain living there.

Will you be having children in the next five or six years? Where do you see your career heading? Are you interested in working from home, or making extra money by renting a portion of your home to others? Do you anticipate a relative coming to live with you? Share this information with your real estate agent, who can then help you evaluate school districts, work commutes, rental opportunities, and more as you search for homes together.

 

Step 4: Document your ideal home

When it comes to this step, be realistic. It’s easy to get carried away dreaming about all the home features you want. Try listing everything on a piece of paper, then choose the five “must-haves,” and the five “really-wants.”

For more tips, as well as advice geared specifically to your situation, connect with an experienced Windermere Real Estate agent by clicking here.

Posted on May 15, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Windermere Windsor | Category: Blog, First Time Home Buyer, For Buyers | Tagged , , ,

Are You Better Off Paying Your Mortgage Earlier or Investing Your Money?

Posted in BuyingSelling, and Living by Guest Author 

Photo Credit: Rawpixel via Unsplash

Few topics cause more division among economists than the age-old debate of whether you’re better off paying off your mortgage earlier, or investing that money instead. And there’s a good reason why that debate continues; both sides make compelling arguments.

For many people, their mortgage is the largest expense they will ever incur in their lives. So if given the chance, it only makes logical sense you would want to pay it off as quickly as possible. On the other hand, a mortgage is also the cheapest money you will ever borrow, and it’s generally considered good debt. Any extra money you obtain could be definitely be put to good use elsewhere.

The reality is, however, a little less cut and clear. For some homeowners, paying off their mortgage earlier is the right answer. While for others, it would be far more advantageous to invest their money.

Advantages of paying off your mortgage earlier

  • You’ll pay less interest: Each time you make a mortgage payment, a portion is dedicated towards interest, and another towards principal (we’ll ignore other costs for now). Interest is calculated monthly by taking your remaining balance, the length of your amortization period, and the interest rate agreed upon with your lending institution.

If you have a $300,000 mortgage, at a 4% fixed rate over 30 years, your monthly payment would be around $1,432.25. By the time you finish paying off your mortgage, you would have paid a total of $515,609, of which $215,609 were interest.

If you wanted to lower the total amount you pay on interest, you don’t need to make a large lump sum to make a difference. If you were to increase your monthly mortgage payment to $1,632.25 (a $200 a month increase), you would be saving $50,298 in interest, and you’ll pay off your mortgage 6 years and 3 months earlier.

Though this is an oversimplified example, it shows how even a small increase in monthly payments makes a big difference in the long run.

  • Every additional dollar towards your principal has a guaranteed return on investment: Every additional payment you make towards your mortgage has a direct effect in lowering the amount you pay in interest. In fact, each additional payment is, in fact, an investment. And unlike stocks, bonds, and other investment vehicles, you are guaranteed to have a return on your investment.
  • Enforced discipline: It takes real commitment to invest your money wisely each month instead of spending it elsewhere.

 

Your monthly mortgage payments are a form of enforced discipline since you know you can’t afford to miss them. It’s far easier to set a higher monthly payment towards your mortgage and stick to it than making regular investments on your own.

Besides, once your home is completely paid off, you can dedicate a larger portion of your income towards investments, your children or grandchildren’s education, or simply cut down on your working hours.

 

Advantages of investing your money

  • A greater return on your investment: The biggest reason why you should invest your money instead comes down to a simple, green truth: there’s more money to be made in investments.

Suppose that instead of dedicating an additional $200 towards your monthly mortgage payment, you decide to invest it in a conservative index fund which tracks S&P 500’s index. You start your investment today with $200 and add an additional $200 each month for the next 30 years. By the end of the term, if the index fund had a modest yield of 5% per year, you will have earned $91,739 in interest, and the total value of your investment would be $163,939.

If you think that 5% per year is a little too optimistic, all we have to do is see the S&P 500 performance between December 2002 and December 2012, which averaged an annual yield of 7.10%.

  • A greater level of diversification: Real estate has historically been one of the safest vehicles of investment available, but it’s still subject to market forces and changes in government policies. The forces that affect the stock and bonds markets are not always the same that affect real estate, because the former are subject to their issuer’s economic performance, while property values could change due to local events.

By putting your extra money towards investments, you are diversifying your investment portfolio and spreading out your risk. If you are relying exclusively on the value of your home, you are in essence putting all your eggs in one basket.

  • Greater liquidity: Homes are a great investment, but it takes time to sell a home even in the best of circumstances. So if you need emergency funds now, it’s a lot easier to sell stocks and bonds than a home.

 

Misael Lizarraga is a real estate writer with a passion for teaching real estate concepts to first time buyers and investors. He runs realestatecontentguy.com and is a contributing writer for several leading real estate blogs in North America.

Posted on April 18, 2019 at 12:45 pm
Windermere Windsor | Category: Blog, For Buyers | Tagged ,

Party Like It’s 2018!

 

Just a few months ago most people thought mortgage rates were heading to 5% and now they are back to where they were a year ago.

 

You probably saw this week’s news from the Federal Reserve declaring that they would not raise their Federal Funds rate for the rest of 2019

 

(just three months after saying they would raise rates at least twice this year).

 

While this is big news, even bigger news for mortgage rates is that the 10-year Treasury yield just hit its lowest point since January 2018. One thing we’ve learned from our Chief Economist Matthew Gardner is that mortgage rates follow the 10-year treasury (not necessarily the Fed Funds rate).

 

Last Spring it looked like mortgage rates had bottomed out and they steadily climbed through the Summer and Fall of 2018. It looked certain that they would hit 5% around January.

 

Instead they started dropping. Now with the 10-year Treasury at a 15-month low, they just dropped a little more and they are back to where they were a year ago.

 

Great news for buyers! Party like it’s 2018!

Posted on March 22, 2019 at 6:41 pm
Windermere Windsor | Category: Blog, For Buyers, Fun Facts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

The Whole Story

Metro Denver has 2.1 months of inventory on the market. This means that, at the current pace of sales, it would take just over 2 months to sell every single-family home currently listed for sale.

But that’s not the whole story because inventory levels vary drastically depending upon the price of the home.

When we take a closer look at months of inventory broken down by price range this is what we see:

• Under $400,000 = 0.9 months
• $400,000 to $500,000 = 1.8 months
• $500,000 to $750,000 = 3.1 months
• $750,000 to $1,000,000 = 4.2 months
• Over $1,000,000 = 7.7 months

These numbers represent great news for move-up buyers because they can sell in a strong market and potentially move up to a market that is market that is not as strong.

 

              Below is a short video with a recap of our annual Market Forecast presentation!

Posted on February 15, 2019 at 8:26 pm
Windermere Windsor | Category: For Buyers, Fun Facts, Market News | Tagged , , , , , ,

How’s 2019?

A lot of our clients are asking how 2019 is starting off.

Here’s one thing we notice…

There are more homes to choose from, which is great news for buyers.

In January alone 4,821 homes came on the market in Metro Denver.

That is a 14% increase compared to one year ago.

At our annual Market Forecast, we predicted a more balanced market in 2019, so far it looks like we are trending that way.

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Below is the recap of our Denver Annual Market Forecast!

Posted on February 8, 2019 at 6:48 pm
Windermere Windsor | Category: Blog, For Buyers, Fun Facts, Housing Trends, Market News | Tagged , , , , , , ,

More Choices

Great news for buyers! There are more homes to choose from. It seems there is relief from the days of drastically low inventory levels.

Compared to a year ago, residential inventory levels are up:
• 9% in Northern Colorado (Larimer & Weld Counties)
• 45% in Metro Denver (wow!)

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You can get many more fun facts like these plus get our predictions on the 2019 market by joining our annual Market Forecast. Just click the link below!

https://www.eventbrite.com/o/windermere-real-estate-12011801121

Posted on January 11, 2019 at 3:59 pm
Windermere Windsor | Category: Blog, For Buyers, Fun Facts | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Still Up

All the talk of the market cooling off might make someone think that prices must be going down.

The truth is prices are still going up.

Here are the latest year-over-year appreciation numbers from the Federal Housing Finance Authority (they track 243 markets all across the Country):

Colorado Springs 11.44%

Greeley 10.53%

Denver 9.97%

Boulder 9.89%

Fort Collins/Loveland 8.64%

Posted on December 21, 2018 at 4:09 pm
Windermere Windsor | Category: Blog, For Buyers, Fun Facts, Housing Trends | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Good Loan News

Here are two recently-announced pieces of really good news for home buyers.

• The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority recently raised the income limit for their down payment assistance program to $115,600.

Now more people can get help with a down payment.

• Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac raised their conforming loan limits so that more people can use a conforming loan and not be forced to use a ‘jumbo’ loan.

Contact us if you would like to hear how these pieces of news could help you.

Posted on December 7, 2018 at 8:31 pm
Windermere Windsor | Category: Blog, First Time Home Buyer, For Buyers, Fun Facts | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Good News for Buyers

Here’s some good news for buyers who have been waiting for more selection…

No need to wait any more because the numbers show that more new listings are hitting the market compared to the recent past.

In Metro Denver, the number of homes for sale is up 14.42% compared to last year. 

That equates to 800 more homes to choose from.

Start spreading the news!

Posted on November 2, 2018 at 8:02 pm
Windermere Windsor | Category: Blog, For Buyers, Fun Facts, Market News, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , ,

Love Letters: How to set yourself apart in a seller’s market

Love letters are a lost art form, in romance and home buying. Yes, home buying. If you’re a buyer and you want to set yourself apart from other buyers, you might want to state your intentions clearly by declaring your abiding love for the seller’s home in a letter. Here are a few tips for writing a love letter that works (for love letters of a romantic nature, you’re on your own).

Consider what about the home makes it your dream home. Do you see yourself raising a family there? Do you have a special attraction to the architectural/design style? Does the home evoke a sense of nostalgia? Consider your emotional reaction to the home. Many sellers are emotionally tied to their homes, and they often want others to see value in the things that make the home appealing and unique.

Share your home-buying journey. Whether you’re buying your first home, upgrading to something larger, or seeking a place for retirement, those personal stories can help a seller empathize with you.

Share commonalities. If you have any information about the people selling the house, share what you have in common. This could be anything from children to hobbies.

Show, don’t tell. If you can, paint a picture of what your life will be like when you live there. For example, “I can imagine pancake breakfasts with our two children in the lovely kitchen.” If the seller has had similar experiences, continuing those traditions may be important to them.

Don’t over-compliment the seller. A love letter should be an authentic message about your interest in the home. A seller can tell if you’re genuine, so keep your compliments sparse and real.

Keep is short and simple. Your love letter should be a sonnet, not a novel. Keep to the point and try to remain under 200 words.

Show stability. You might find yourself bidding against all cash buyers or people willing to pay more than you are. Your letter may set you apart from the competition emotionally, but don’t forget to share that you’re a financially viable candidate. Also, if you have unique (and strong) resume attributes, consider including a couple of key points. You never know what might draw the seller to you.

Don’t point out flaws or improvements to be made. Even when you’ve found your dream home, you may still have plans for improvements. This is not what sellers want to hear. Make sure not to point out the household flaws, or renovations you will make once the ink has dried. This could sour the seller to your overture.

Consider a multi-media love letter. Last year, a Windermere agent helped his client purchase the home of her dreams. She was a violinist and the home she desired required a certain acoustic quality. He followed her through the home while she played in different rooms. When she sent this video to the sellers, it helped set her apart from other buyers bidding on the home.

Be professional. While this is a love letter, and somewhat emotional, it is also a part of a business transaction. Do not be overly familiar. Remember to format, address, and copy edit your letter as you would with any other business correspondence.

Here are some samples of love letters.

If you are submitting a love letter with your bid, make sure to consult your agent. They may have inside information about the people selling the home through their connections with the selling agent. Your agent can advise you if your letter is appropriate and what information it should contain.

In a competitive seller’s market a love letter will not always work, but as in love, it is always worth a try.

Have you ever written a love letter with a house offer? What was your experience?

Posted on July 22, 2018 at 6:00 am
Windermere Windsor | Category: For Buyers, For Buyers & Sellers, Housing Trends, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged ,