Last year, the real estate market was, well, crazy. I mean crazy in a good way. Crazy can be good, unless it involves people behind the wheel of a car or B-list celebrities.
In 2013, homes were flying off the proverbial shelf, sometimes going under contract within three hours of being listed. The median price of homes rose and foreclosures dropped and mortgage rates were actually affordable – good, good, and more good.
So what does that mean for 2014? While 2013 was a fantastic year for real estate, it doesn’t mean 2014 won’t be great. Granted, 2013 is a tough act to follow; but predictions for this year are positive, with experts believing that home sales will remain at or near the current level and prices will hold steady or even rise a bit. There will likely be a better balance between buyers and sellers, alleviating the panic buyers, concerned with the reality of losing the house of their dreams, felt this past year.
What can you do if you are hoping to buy in 2014? Reach out to me or you personal Realtor now rather than later and provide me with your wish list. Be specific, but flexible. As Realtors, we are constantly touring homes, talking with sellers, and learning of properties that are not yet on the market but may be coming soon. By sharing your wants and needs with us now, you are one step ahead of other buyers in the marketplace.
Thinking of selling this year? Be cognizant of that fact and keep it in the forefront of your mind when making big and small decisions, including renovations, welcoming new pets into your world, and even buying non-essentials for your home. Remember that you are planning on showing your property at some point, and when that happens, you will have to de-clutter and clean to position your property in the best light.
Got a leaky faucet or a non-working fireplace? Tackle those projects now to avoid the mad dash later. And now is not the ideal time to housetrain a puppy (is there ever a good time for this job…I’ve done this more times than I can count and let me just say, wow?!) or paint your bathroom Bronco’s orange or start collecting bottle caps from around the globe. You can do all of those things in your next house – for now, keep it simple and save yourself some crazy.
I’ve sold hundreds of houses over the course of my career and while every single client and every single house is unique, one thing always remains the same: houses cost money.
I know, I know – that’s the worst part, isn’t it? You’re all wrapped up in the glorious backyard and the stainless appliances and the fabulous school district and just as you are dreaming about paint colors and Thanksgiving tablescapes – WHAM – the money monster starts creeping in.
Don’t panic. Mortgage rates may not be at an all-time low right now, but they have found a nice, cozy spot at approximately 4.5 percent for a 30-year fixed loan. And while they may continue to rise, experts don’t foresee and huge jump on the horizon, which is good news for buyers now and in the near future.
So while luck (and a very good Realtor…ahem) may have led you to your dream home, finding the best mortgage deal takes a little more than good fortune. A recent article in The Denver Post simplified the process of securing a mortgage and, being the nice girl I am, I thought I’d share some advice:
Do Your Homework:
- Check your credit report with the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Don’t be nervous – I equate this to going to the dentist – it never is as bad as you expect.
- If you notice errors, get them corrected.
- If possible, pay down outstanding debt to improve your score.
- Resist buying new cars or other big ticket items (yachts, castles, Hope Diamonds) while applying for a mortgage and during the time until your closing date.
- Get pre-approved before shopping for a home – this will classify you as a strong buyer and sellers will be more attracted to your offer if they know it is solid. Looking for a good lender? Call me! I know the best lenders in town; people you can trust and who can get the job done quickly!
- Define how much you want to spend, or better yet, what you can afford. This will help you narrow your search and help you avoid over-spending when shopping for a home.
Find the Best Rates:
- A standard loan offers fixed interest rates for 30 years, while an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) provides a fixed rate for the first five to seven years.
- ARMs make sense for buyers planning to be in the house for a short period of time. Because ARMs offer a lower initial rate, but will grow exponentially in the years ahead, they aren’t the best bet for long-term, financially stable buyers.
Determine the Length of Your Loan:
- Ideally, a 15-year mortgage is a best bet for those buyers who can swing it. Actually, a cash purchase is fantastic (oh how I love the cash buyer!) but, alas, most of us are not floating in dough.
- A 15-year mortgage offers lower interest rates, but a higher monthly mortgage. Still, at the end of those 15 years, you will have paid significantly less in interest than those under a 30-year loan.
- A 30-year loan, the more typical choice for first-time or younger buyers, gives homeowners a little more financial freedom on a regular basis. For example, if your home carries a $300K mortgage, you pay approximately $1,520 per month on a loan with a 4.5 percent mortgage but a total of $248K in interest. That same mortgage with a 15-year term requires a payment of $2,182 per month, but the interest is significantly less at $93K. Either way, paying a bit more towards principle is always wise, if possible. And refinancing to a 15-year mortgage down the road is always an option. You know, once your money tree is in full bloom.
Lock It Down:
- Once you do land a great rate, lock it in. This can usually be handled at no cost or for a fee that is refunded at closing.
- Don’t play the guessing game when it comes to mortgage rates. Buyers trying to time their purchases to the fluctuating market usually wind up worse for the wear. And you’re going to need all your energy to pick out paint colors and get to work on those Thanksgiving decorations.
Thinking of Thanksgiving in a new home? Let’s talk turkey. Call me at 303-478-1201 or send me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to help you!
It’s good news for the Denver housing market. According to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Index, which was just released yesterday, home prices are at a five year high for the city of Denver. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are “the leading measures for the US residential housing market, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate both nationally as well as in 20 metropolitan regions.”
According to the Denver Business Journal, “The only major markets with greater gains than Denver in the year ending in September were Phoenix (up 20.4 percent), Minneapolis (up 8.8 percent), Detroit (up 7.6 percent), San Francisco (up 7.5 percent) and Miami (up 7.4 percent).” Home resale prices in Denver have not been this high since October 2007, when the index read 136.08.
“Home prices rose in the third quarter, marking the sixth consecutive month of increasing prices,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
To read more about the Denver housing market visit the Denver Business Journal. Click here to read the entire S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Index report.
According to a new Price Waterhouse Coopers report, the city of Denver is one of the country’s top 20 real-estate markets to watch. Scott Webber, president of Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty, told 9NEWS that City Park, downtown Denver and Castle Pines Village are “growing areas.”
The Price Waterhouse Cooper report listed Denver 14th on the list of “U.S. Markets to Watch: Overall Real Estate Prospects.”
The Denver Business Journal has listed some of the report’s findings:
• Denver ranks eighth among promising investment markets, moving up three spots from the 2012 report, due to “strong growth potential. … An attraction is the city’s central location in the country’s southern and western regions, as well as Denver’s ever-expanding international airport.”
• The city ranks 14th in development prospects.
• Denver ranks 15th in homebuilding.
“Real estate continues to be an attractive asset class because of the low interest rates, because there’s still better returns than bonds and it’s not as volatile as the stock market,” says Price Waterhouse Cooper’s Wendy McCray, partner in the assurance practice for the Denver PwC office.
To read more about the report visit the Denver Business Journal.
As the Denver real estate market continues to gain momentum, it is important to understand the current market conditions. Especially for those who are looking to buy or sell a home. I curated a couple of articles from different resources to help you make informed decisions. I hope you find these articles useless.
- Colorado is ranked the 5th best housing market in the nation according to 24/7 Wall Street.
- 9NEWS is reporting that new home construction in Denver is adding to job market.
- CNNMoney Magazine named 5 Colorado cities– Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, Centennial, Boulder, and Fort Collins — to their Top 100 Places To Live in the United States.
- According to the Gazette, fewer homeowners are “upside down on mortgages.”
- 9NEWS is reporting that the “Denver real estate market is hot!”
- According to the Denver Business Journal, Cherry Creek is getting a 12-story luxury apartment complex on the corner of East First Avenue and Steele Street.
- According to the Denver Post, metro Denver home sales in September are the “best since 2008.”
Now that the Denver real estate market is rebounding, it is the right time to buy a home. If you are looking for help in navigating the current real estate market give me a call at 888-860-1931.