Posts Tagged ‘Real Estate Expert’

New Listing: Better than New in Loveland!

I have a new listing on Wisconsin Ave in Loveland. The home was only built in 2012. While there are still some new construction homes going up in the area, there are definitely some great advantages to this home that the owners have loved living in for the past four years:

  1. That tangible feeling of “Home” when you step through the front door. You can feel when the owners have enjoyed the home. Call it good energy or a sense of how a family lives in a home, but no matter the age, it makes a difference.Dining B
  2. Full landscaping and landscaping that’s had a chance to mature. When you first plant your garden, everything looks tiny. Give a few years and it all begins to fit (give it a few more years and it might start looking overgrown, but that depends on how much attention you pay your garden).Yard B
  3. Little perks the homeowner has already added. The home was built with the covered patio out back, but the owners added a nice sun shield that stays with the home. Patio D

Check out full listing details here.



First Time Homebuying

Our favorite youngest daughter is getting ready to decide whether or not to buy her first home. She has made a list of Owning  vs Renting, recognizing that owning is an opportunity, but also comes with its own list of responsibilities.

As we discuss the pros and cons of owning, we have put together our Top Ten list of considerations for moving forward with a purchase. Getting your “ducks” in order is a priority.

1. Interview local REALTORS®. Find one who can give you recent market statistics, buying scenarios, financial direction and has experience negotiating in today’s marketplace in Northern Colorado. Not all markets in Colorado are the same so make sure your REALTOR® understands differences between Fort Collins, Loveland, Wellington, Windsor and all surrounding towns.

2. Gather credit information for your lender. You will need to provide recent 401 k statements, recent bank statements, recent pay stubs.

3. Preapproval from a lender is THE most important duck, not prequalification. The lender will tell you what you can afford and what your monthly payments will be. This step requires a preliminary review of your credit information. Do not increase your credit card debt, buy a new car, or apply for a new credit card. Make sure you have a copy of your last two most recent tax returns.

4. Avoid making large cash deposits to your bank account.

5. Do not make a major career change.

6. What do you have for a down payment and what are your options? Will you be gifted money, co-signing, or do you have cash saved for approximately 20% down.

7. Do research on the area/s that you want to buy. Walk the neighborhoods at different times of the day and on the weekends to observe activity and age groups. Check walkability scores, crime rates, number of rentals.

8. When negotiating your contract, realize there will be additional funds needed beyond your down payment. Inspections, appraisals, HOA transfer fees and warranties are not necessarily provided by the seller. After closing, expect the unexpected. Inspections are not foolproof and Murphy’s Law is ever present.

9. When closing on your purchase, NEVER WIRE FUNDS TO ANYONE BUT THE CLOSING AGENT. Scams are rampant. And beware of unexpected emails that ask for money to cover additional inspection costs. All of these costs should flow through your agent.

10. Before, during and after your closing, your REALTOR® should be your trusted advisor for any questions that you may have. From finding handymen to paying taxes, call your REALTOR®.

Home Inspection Advice

Our daughter in Austin just purchased her first home and she had lots of questions about her inspection items. Even after your inspection resolution, during the final walk-through, make sure you check the home. Sometimes it is weeks after the resolution before the walk-through.

As a real estate expert (40 years in business), I have compiled a list of inspection items that you should not miss if you are buying a home. Home inspections often rely on that which is most visible. With my clients, I make sure there is a home warranty in place that helps to protect the buyer and seller for a year after closing, especially with appliances.

1. Go through the home inside and out and run the faucets, flush the toilets, and fill the bathtubs. Check inside the toilet tank to see if there is evidence of rusting bolts. A few years ago, we had an awful experience with a leaking toilet due to a corroded bolt.

2. If  it’s an older home, you may consider hiring someone for a camera inspection of all plumbing and sewers.

3. If the owner DIY upgraded the home, make sure the work is to code with all of the proper permits. Open drawers, doors and closets to see the “inside” of their work.

4. Check balconies and decks for cracks, rusted flashing, warping and soft areas for water damage.  There are horror stories of home buyers who purchased the beauty of outside decks and later found that the supports have rotted, costing tens of thousands of dollars to cure.

5. Open and close windows and screens to make sure of their functionality.

6. If you are the home buyer, make sure you know where the main water shut-off valve is located, what kind of filters for the furnace & how to change, how to work sprinkler systems plus any other pertinent information about the workings of the home.

7. Is the main electrical panel properly labeled?

8. Are smoke detectors and CO2 detectors properly installed and operating?

9. What is happening on the roof and in the attic? Make sure there are no critters living up there.

10. Make sure the ventilation and insulation is adequate. When we moved into our new home 20 years ago our bath pipes above the garage froze. The builders forgot to put insulation around the pipes.

May the Source Be With You!

In 1977 Star Wars was released and “May the Force be with you” became a buzz phrase. The Group, Inc. Real Estate Company (TGI) was launched in 1976 and the next year adapted the phrase, “May the Source be with you”. From the beginning, TGI wanted to be more than just a real estate company where agents helped clients buy and sell real estate. They wanted to be the place where all real estate related questions could be answered…the Source. Last night’s economic forecast at Embassy Suites was at full capacity and the TGI Source presented data and predictions for the coming year in Fort Collins/Northern Colorado.

The Real Estate Story in Fort Collins/Northern Colorado for 2016 indicates there will continue to be a shortage of inventory in the mid to low price ranges, affecting entry level buyers. Here are the top ten factors.

  1. Home appreciation in Fort Collins/Northern Colorado will continue to lead the nation. For the one-year period ending September 30, 2015, Fort Collins was ranked 9th in the nation for home price appreciation (12.87%) and Greeley ranked 10th (12.72%). From 1991-2015 Colorado had a 263.98% appreciation rate compared to the US rate of 122.35%. This trend will continue.
  2. Affordability: the true cost of housing. Colorado ranks mid-range for housing costs with California being the highest and North Dakota the lowest. The factors that affect housing costs are house price, house payment, utilities, household income and property taxes.
  3. Fort Collins is on pace to be the next Boulder County in 10 years for housing costs. Boulder County is land-locked (they have no more land on which to build) and as a result their average home price is twice the price of Fort Collins. TGI for years has been tracking a specific home builder’s 1,000 sq. foot ranch-style home from the late 50’s-early 60’s. The identical Wheeler home was built in Boulder, Fort Collins and Greeley. The appreciation trend has been the same for more than 20 years. In 2015 a Wheeler Greeley home sold for $177,000; in Fort Collins $341,000; and in Boulder $610,000.
  4. Fort Collins Build Out. Fort Collins is quickly running out of land on which to build. Today, 50,000 workers commute to Boulder each day.
  5. Drive ‘till you qualify. With affordable housing being an increasing problem in Fort Collins, first time home buyers are finding their American Dream in Greeley, Loveland, Wellington, Johnstown/Millikin and Severance.
  6. Where are the condos? Condos are a great way to enter the home buying market and help the affordable housing crunch in Fort Collins. However, due to Colorado’s strict Construction Defect laws, a normal 30% market is currently at 3.8%. Builders do not want the liability. Only legislation in Denver can change this alarming trend. Last week TGI searched the MLS for 2 BR/2BA single car garage condos in the $150,000-$300,000 range. There were only 5 for sale. Lenders will not lend on condo projects under litigation so cash buyers or investors are the only option.
  7. Apartment conversions. Watch for this possible trend in Fort Collins. The statute of limitations is 6 years for builder litigation. How will this affect the market in Fort Collins? In December 2015, median monthly rent in Fort Collins for a 2 BR apartment was $1,150 (Loveland $900, Greeley $860). Will paychecks increase as rents increase?
  8. CSU Stadium opportunity. With the new stadium being built on campus, will the old stadium site be an opportunity for CSU to build a neighborhood of affordable housing for its employees? This is a dialogue that needs to be started.
  9. If employment is a leading indicator for housing needs by 12-18 months, Fort Collins and Northern Colorado are going to needs more housing. Larimer County has a 3.4% growth rate and 3.5% unemployment. That means in 2017, 5,000 more people will need to find housing in Larimer County.
  10. Main Street and Wall Street. At the end of last year interest rates were predicted to go up to 5%-5.5%. With the downturn of the stock market, that figure has now been adjusted downward to stay in the 4% range. This should affect the housing market in a positive way.

TRID: Things to Know

A REALTOR® does much more than list & sell homes and collect commission. There are intricacies every step of the way with a transaction. In some states attorneys are part of the equation. In Colorado, your REALTOR® oversees the transaction from start to finish.

Is your REALTOR® knowledgeable when it comes to all of the forms and legal jargon?

Will you have surprises at the closing table?

Has your REALTOR® taken classes and gone to seminars to stay up-to-date with the changing rules and regulations that are designed to protect the consumer?

Do you have time to study and understand everything you are signing?

1.TRID is an acronym for Tila/Respa Integrated Disclosure Rule. Also known as Know Before You Owe. This is an acronym from an acronym. TILA = Truth in Lending Act and RESPA = the Real Estate Procedures Act.

2. The new rules went into effect on October 3, 2015.

3. It is important to know about TRID if you are BUYING or SELLING a home. As a buyer, the new rules relate to your mortgage. As a seller, you need to know if there is the possibility of a delay at the Closing table and thus a delay in the funding of the sale.

4. Choose a lender who understands the NEW process. This a sweeping change in the mortgage industry and your lender should be able to explain all of the settlement service fees from application to closing. Lack of understanding of the rules leads to mistakes, and some of those can be quite costly. Choose an experienced REALTOR® who understands the NEW process and can be your advocate with your new mortgage loan or a watchdog to the selling side of a transaction. An experienced REALTOR® deals with all of these forms and rules on a regular basis and is your trusted guide in all parts of the process.

5. TRID replaces 3 forms with 2 forms. The changes are intricate and with understanding can lead to a smooth transaction, or to a nightmare for the uninformed.

6. With the new changes, Lenders must give a Loan Estimate to the borrower 3-days after the mortgage application.

7. With the new changes, the Borrower must receive the Closing Disclosure 3 business days PRIOR to closing.

8. If specific changes are made at the closing table, the Closing must be delayed 3 business days. Specific changes for the 3-day review are: The APR increases by more than 1/8 of a percent for fixed-rate loans or ¼ of a percent for adjustable loans; a prepayment penalty is added; the basic loan product changes (such as a switch from fixed to adjustable interest rate, or a loan with interest-only payments).

9. This is the link to the government TRID website, As a normal consumer, I challenge you to understand the guidelines the government has published for your “understanding”


New NAR Insurance Committee

A few weeks ago I was appointed to the new National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Insurance Committee. Why is this so important? NAR is the watchdog whose purpose is to protect private property rights in our country. Over the past few years, Northern Colorado has had to deal with a number of natural disasters. Tornadoes, drought, excessive rains, fires and floods have affected our population and the largest single investment of its people…their

The purpose of the committee is to advocate public policy related to insurance issues which benefits the interests of home owners by modernizing/improving the system of insurance regulation in the U.S. The areas of discussion are Disaster & Homeowners Insurance, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) and the Affordable Care Act provisions and how they relate to Health Insurance for NAR members.

As a REALTOR®, it is my job to not only help my clients buy and sell real estate, but to ensure my clients’ investments are protected at the legislative level.

The Little Blue Book

I was privileged to be part of the product concept and creation of Rules to Live by for REALTORS®. Now in print, thousands of REALTORS® are reading this light-hearted booklet which focuses on the instructions, principles, philosophies and rules that members of the National Association of REALTORS® utilize to be successful in their real estate careers. Input was received from nearly 600 NAR members to create the professional guide that gives realistic advice to REALTORS®.  
Chris McElroy,REALTOR®