11852 Columbine St has dropped over $19,000 in price! The new price is $299,900! Check out the photos and details for this property on the tab on this website for this address!
Author Archives: joanbagwell
New Listing- 14366 Blue Vista Way
4 Bedroom, 2.5 Baths, 2,320 Above grade sqft, 941 unfinished basement sqft
Asking Price: $460,000
This 2-story home is on a cul-de-sac lot. The home has hickory wood floors, and a well designed kitchen with 42″ hickory cabinetry, a pantry, a kitchen island and stainless steel appliances included. The kitchen is open to an eat-in area and the family room w/gas fireplace, 2-story vaulted ceiling, pre-wired surround sound! All bedrooms are on the same floor! Formal dining room, study and main floor laundry. Sprinklers front and back. Back yard is flat and fully fenced and pre-wired for speakers. New furnace in 2014. Garage is oversized 2.5 car.
Click below for photo slide show:
For more information Contact Joan Bagwell: email@example.com or fill out the contact form below.
New Listing- 11852 Columbine St, Thornton
3 Bedroom, 3 Bathroom , Tri-Level Home, 1,871 Finished sqft!
Granite kitchen counters, laminate flooring in living rm & Fam rm. New carpet in basement, ceramic tile in kit & baths, Kitchen appliances included. Finished basement, bonus room and lg laundry rm. Newly stained decks, sprinkler system front & back, storage shed. New paint & blinds throughout! NO HOA! Neutral colors. Clean & move-in ready! Property is sold “as-is”. The seller will do no further work. Showings begin Tues 07/28/15! Buyer to verify all information.
Click Photo for slideshow:
Contact Joan for further information, by filling out the form below, or by calling 720-201-3049:
Open Houses are Risky Business! Are They Worth It?
Almost every time I have spoken with homeowners about ways to market their house for sale, I have been asked if I do open houses to find buyers. My answer to that question is “very rarely”.
At that point, many sellers seem shocked and surprised. Maybe it is from watching real estate “reality” shows on TV, but there seems to be a belief that filling the house with the smell of freshly baked cookies and potpourri, and putting out an open house sign draws in hordes of qualified buyers and inevitably results in getting an offer at the end of the day.
Despite what you may see on reality TV, it is not the reality I have experienced. Here is why I do not include open houses in my usual list of marketing tasks:
1. For the most part, open houses don’t draw in actual buyers. They draw in curious neighbors and people who happen to be passing by and see the open house sign. Think about the times that you have seen a neighbor’s house being held open. When you stop and go in, chances are you are doing so because you are curious to see how their house compares to yours and what they are asking for it. Most neighbors are not actually looking to buy their neighbor’s house. With only 7% of homebuyers buying a home that they first saw at an open house, it is not the most effective way to market the home. It’s like fishing in a pond with 100 fish in it, but only 7 of them are hungry enough to bite. And you only have 2-3 hours (the average length of an open house) to find those 7 hungry fish… what are the odds?
2. A recent survey of homebuyers by the National Association of Realtors shows that roughly 90% of homes are purchased by buyers using a real estate brokers. Real Estate brokers generally set private showing appointments for their buyers, at times that are convenient to the buyer. Using a Broker is much faster and more efficient than driving neighborhoods on the weekends looking for open houses.
3. When you open your house to anyone passing by, you don’t really know who is coming into your home or why they are there! Sure, there may be a sign-in sheet, but many people will not sign in and when they do, they give fictitious information because they don’t want the broker contacting them afterward. When a real estate broker shows your home, most of the time (depending on the broker) they have pre-screened the potential buyer. Most brokers will require the buyer be pre-approved with a lender prior to showing them homes. The lender’s preapproval would include: pulling the buyer’s credit report (which requires a social security number), and getting a copy of the buyer’s driver license, tax returns, paystubs, bank statements, etc. The preapproval process helps verify that the buyer is who they say they are. The fact that the buyer has gone through the application process shows that they are serious buyers and not just “looking”.
4. Open houses can present a risk to the seller’s property. Below is a recent notice (April 2015) to real estate brokers that I found on the IRES website (IRES is one of the MLS’s that serves the Denver metro and Northern Colorado areas).
“Crime Alert from the Colorado Real Estate Commission – Denver police report burglaries of listed homes after holding an open house
The Division of Real Estate has been made aware of criminal activities taking place at open houses listed for sale. The Denver Police Department has received reports of homes listed for sale being burglarized over the last couple of weeks. All the homes involved had held an open house and were later burglarized. Thieves are attending the open house during the day and scouting out ways to gain access; later returning and burglarizing the home. This is an important reminder to take extra precautions with homes you are listing and opening up to the public. Law enforcement recommends developing a good process for checking and ensuring all access points to the home are secured. Denver Police are urging everyone to be on the lookout for anything that seems suspicious at homes listed for sale. If you see suspicious activity or a home that looks like it may have been burglarized, please contact your local Police Department through its non-emergency number.”
5. Open House can be dangerous for the person holding the open house (the homeowner or their broker). I am sure your mother told you when you were a child to never get in the car with a stranger. The same principle applies when being alone in a house with a stranger. Always know who you are dealing with and whether they are a serious, pre-approved buyer. Your goal is to sell your house, but not at the risk of your life and safety. I don’t mean to be a fear-monger, but if you are too trusting or allow yourself to be alone in a house with an un-screened “buyer”, the result could be hazardous to your health and even fatal. Here are some very real stories in the news in the past few years that illustrate the point:
You can search the internet and find many more horrifying tales of attacks on people trying to sell real estate. So- to go back to the question posed in the title of this post- in my opinion, given the low probability (7%) of actually finding your buyer through the open house, and the risks to personal safety and property, I would say that the benefit does not out weight the risk.
If, after reading all of this, you still want to bake cookies and breakout the potpourri , please check out these safety tips for holding an open house, from the National Association of Realtors ( http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/handouts-for-customers/for-sellers/open-house-safety-tips). If you are interested in selling your home and would like the professional assistance of a real estate broker, I would be happy to help! Please contact me using the form below.
Automate your Denver Home Search!
Most people are unaware that sellers determine how their homes are advertised when they are listed for sale. Sellers determine whether the home is to be listed only in their Broker’s MLS or whether it is to be syndicated, or shared with multiple publicly accessible websites. Therefore, because not all listings in the MLS are shared with the publicly accessible sites, your search results on these sites may not include all homes currently on the market.
If you would like to receive information on all listings in the Denver Metro/Boulder and Northern Colorado Broker’s MLS, I can set up an automated search for you, based on your specific criteria. The search runs daily and you will be notified via email when a property comes on the market that matches your criteria. You will also be notified of price drops and changes in status, such as when a property goes under contract or comes back on the market if it has previously been under contract.
You will be able to access all available photos, tours, and detailed information on a free personal website I will set up for you. On your free personal website, you will also be able to rate each property according to your interest level. You will continue to have access to the properties in your search results history for as long as the properties remain on the market. This website can also be used by homeowners who want to keep track of the sales activity in their own neighborhoods.
If you are thinking of buying a home, the automated notification system, definitely gives you an edge over other buyers looking for properties. It allows you to see each new listing as soon as it becomes available, without having to make the time to do the search yourself. It’s faster, and much more convenient. Having the free personal website helps you organize your search results, and makes it easier to go back and have another look at the properties that you liked, without having to run another manual internet search and sift through pages and pages of properties that you have already ruled out.
If you would like to receive the automated notifications of new listings, along with your free search results website, please fill out and submit the contact form below. Or, if you prefer to use the manual search method on one of the public sites, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions about any of the properties that you find in your search!
Denver’s Top 5 “Biggest Bang for the Buck” Home Improvement Projects!
Many sellers ask me what they can do to improve the value of their homes at resale. Every year, Remodeling Magazine and Realtor Magazine cooperate to research the costs and value-added of numerous home improvement projects in a wide range of costs. The research is conducted at the national, regional, and even the city/local level. This year, the information was compiled in the Remodeling 2014 Cost vs. Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com).
What I am going to summarize here is the information specifically for the Denver metro area. The average cost and the average amount recouped for each project can vary greatly depending on the area of the country that you are in. If you live outside the Denver area, you should go to www.costvsvalue.com to search for the information for your specific area of interest.
Although, for copyright reasons, I cannot list all of the projects here in this blog post, I can say that my overall observation of all the projects is that, with a few exceptions, most projects with “upscale” finishes do not recoup as much of their cost as projects done with mid-range finishes. So, my advice for sellers would be that you should view any luxury finishes as a “value-added” or “personal enjoyment” factor for yourself while you are living in the home. You most likely will not get back what you spent when it comes time to sell. While you should recoup a higher actual dollar amount for a high-end project versus a mid-range project, it may not be as high a return when stated as a percentage of the cost of the project.
The Five Projects in Denver that have the highest amount of cost recouped are:
|Project||Cost||Resale Value||Percentage of Cost Recouped|
|Upscale Siding replacement (fiber-cement)||$13,250||$13,560||102.3%|
|Mid-range Attic Bedroom Remodel||$48,664||$46,253||95.0%|
|Mid-range 2-story Addition||$153,017||$136,713||89.3%|
|Upscale Garage Door Replacement||$2,793||$2,479||88.8%|
|Upscale Siding Replacement (foam-backed vinyl)||$14,028||$12,358||88.1%|
My thoughts, looking at these top 5 projects for Denver, are that the type of work that recoups the most money can be categorized as upscale projects that improve curb appeal and/or midrange projects that add additional living space. Something to keep in mind, is that the report is based on AVERAGE costs and values for each project. Your costs and values may be different depending on how well you shop and the neighborhood you are in. If you wish to recoup as much as possible for your improvements, my advice would be:
- do the improvements that are valued by the buyers in your area,
- only improve to the level of expectation of buyers for your neighborhood (don’t over-improve),
- shop carefully to reduce the cost of the improvements made.
SOURCES: 1. ©2014 Hanley Wood, LLC. Complete data from the Remodeling 2014 Cost Vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at www.costvsvalue.com. 2. National Association of Realtors (http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2014/01/realtors-rate-exterior-replacement-projects-among-most-valuable-home-improvements. 3. Photo copyrighted by Microsoft.
Additional information that may be of interest can be found at these sites:
If you would like a free consultation about the current value of your home, or suggestions for improving the marketability and resale value of your home, please feel free to contact Joan, by either calling 720-201-3049 or submitting the form below.
3 Offers in 2 days!
Status: Under Contract, Taking Backups!
MLS: #2849347, #737063
3 BEDROOM, 3 BATHROOMS, 2-CAR OVERSIZED GARAGE, 2132 SFT
Beautiful tri-level home with a great floor plan! Large covered deck overlooking the fenced backyard with mature landscape, dog kennel and sprinkler system for plenty of green grass! Stay comfortable with AC and Evaporative cooling in the warm summer days to come! Neutral colors inside with newly refinished hardwood floors, new kitchen counters, fresh paint throughout, and new carpet on lower level. Kitchen appliances included! Low maintenance metal siding, newer water heater and windows. Clean and Move-in ready! Short Walk to Schools, Croke Reservoir, Northwest Open Space, RTD, and nearby Shopping! Just a quick hop to I-25 for a fast commute to Downtown Denver! Quick Possession possible!
Click Below for Photo Slide Show:
Please call (720-201-3049) or email with any questions about this home or about the current real estate market!
Home Buying After Foreclosure or Bankruptcy- How Long Until I Am Eligible?
Only a few short years ago, the Denver Market was flooded with short sales and foreclosure properties for sale. The bankruptcy rate in Colorado was still fairly high then. Many people lost their homes during that time and have been renting since then. With the current tight rental market and rising rental rates, they may now be wondering, “How long until I can buy again”?
The answer is “it depends…”. Bankruptcy, Foreclosure, Short Sales and Deeds-in-Lieu are all called, “derogatory credit events” in the lending world. The waiting period before you are eligible for a new home loan will vary depending on: which type of “event” you had, the circumstances that lead to it, and the type of loan you want to get for your next house (VA, FHA or Conventional).
The lending world breaks down these events types even further: Foreclosure, Deed-in-Lieu, Short Sale, Multiple Bankruptcies, Chapter 7 Bankruptcies, and Chapter 13 Bankruptcies.
VA seems to be the most forgiving of these derogatory credit events. With VA financing, the buyer is eligible for a new loan only one year after a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The wait period for the other types of events is only two years.
For FHA, the wait period for Chapter 13 bankruptcies is also after one year of on-time payments and approval from the bankruptcy court. It is 2 years for a person having a Chapter 7 or multiple bankruptcies, and 3 years for a Foreclosure, Deed-in-Lieu, or Short Sale.
Conventional Loans tend to be less forgiving. Wait periods range from 2-7 years depending on the type of event. After the wait period is up, the buyer may also be required to come with a higher down payment amount for their new loan.
The following chart, provided by the Wynn Team with Citywide Loans, provides a “short and sweet” visual summary of the waiting periods required for each circumstance and loan type. Here is the link to the chart:
Derog Waitng Period for mortgages
Buyers should keep in mind that even if the waiting period has elapsed, lenders still make loan approval decisions based on credit scores and debt-to-income ratios. The waiting period is an added requirement.
If you are ready to buy or sell a home, please contact me! I would love to help you make that move! Or, if you have any questions, also please fill out the form below.
Preparing your home for showings
A property’s physical condition is one of the main factors determining whether or not it will sell quickly and at a desirable price.
IT’S LIKE WHEN YOU SELL YOUR CAR:
Since most people have probably bought or sold a car more often than they have bought or sold a house, I am going to use a car analogy to demonstrate this point. Here goes… If you were going to sell your car, and you wanted to get top dollar for it, you would “detail” it, inside and outside, and keep it that way each time you showed the car to a potential buyer. And why would you do this? Because you know that it is more likely you will sell it quickly and get what your car is worth if it looks newer, is well-maintained, is clean, and has been “de-personalized”. Auto dealers know this too, and that is why you seldom see cars on their lots that are riddled with oil leaks, have flat tires, have “wash me” written in the dirt accumulated on the back window, or have car seats or dog fur on the seats, or crumbled fast food bags, empty water bottles and muddy footprints on the floor, or something sticky on the dashboard . While that may be a common way people “live” in their cars, it is not what most buyers are going to rush to buy!
The same is true when you sell your home. While presentation is not everything in selling your home (price trumps all else)- presentation is a close “second”.
The good news is, that even minor improvements made at little cost can assure the highest return when it comes time for prospective buyers to tour your home. A word or advice: always be receptive to feedback from your showings. If there is something homebuyers consistently don’t like, change it. It may not suit the way you live in your home, but remember, if you do what buyers are asking for– you won’t be living there much longer anyway. Give the people what they want, and you will get what you want- the house sold!
Here are some suggestions to ensure your property is prepared for its public debut:
Curb Appeal & Exterior
Rake, mow, and water the lawn
Trim hedges and bushes
Tidy the flower beds and garden
Pick up any litter
Sweep and hose down all types of walkways
Remove driveway grease spots
Repaint exterior areas on the house as needed
Repair or replace any broken features, especially those at the front of the house (steps, windows, screens, etc.)
Make sure the garage door is closed and no vehicles are blocking the driveway
Clean & tidy up the entrance
Be sure the doorbell is functional
Buy a new doormat
Clean the door and polish the door hardware
Be sure the door opens smoothly and key turns easily
Oil squeaky doors
Replace burned out bulbs
Repair any broken windows
Touch up chipped or scuffed paint
Repair cracked plaster
Repair leaking faucets & toilets
Complete any unfinished home improvement projects!
Deep Clean Interior
Clean every interior room or hire a cleaning service to ensure a spotless environment
Replace worn throw rugs and shower curtains to freshen the overall appearance
Place fresh towels and new guest soaps in every bathroom
Clean all windows and sliding glass doors
Have carpets or wood floors professionally cleaned
Be sure the house smells fresh and clean (clean window treatments, upholstery, linens, laundry, take out trash, don’t smoke in the house etc)
De-Clutter For a Spacious Feeling
Arrange the furniture to accentuate the space
Store excess furniture
Clean & clear off counters, stove, and refrigerator
Clear closets of unnecessary clutter and seasonal clothing so they appear larger
The “Buying Atmosphere”
Keep interior and exterior lights on at night
Keep the temperature at a comfortable level
If possible, be absent when the broker shows your property so the buyer feels more comfortable taking a closer look and expressing their opinions
“De-personalize” your house so that buyers can picture themselves in it
Remove pets during showings (confine them inside or outdoors, or take them with you)
Turn on soft music
Turn on gas fireplaces (in winter)
Make all beds
Open curtains and blinds during the day and leave lights on in dark rooms or hallways
Set the table with good china and candles
Put clothes, dishes and all other personal items away
Put private documents, jewelry, precious coins, and other valuable items in a safe place, out of view.
Colorado Down Payment Assistance Programs!
The one of the biggest obstacles buyers face in purchasing a home is having enough money saved for both a down payment and closing costs. A minimum of 3.5% of the purchase price is required for an FHA loan, and typically, at least 5%-10% is a common requirement for a Conventional loan.
Here is what it might normally cost to buy (but read on- good news to follow!)
For a home priced at $200,000, with FHA financing, a buyer would need at least $7,000 to meet their minimum down payment requirement. For a conventional loan, the down payment would be at least $10,000 (5% down). In addition, buyers will need to have funds for closing costs. Typical closing costs might include loan origination fees, amounts to be escrowed for taxes and hazard & mortgage insurance, and various lender fees and recording fees. These closing costs can range between 2-5% of the purchase price (up to $10,000 for a $200,000 home). In addition, if the seller does not pay the buyer’s broker’s success fee, the buyer may be on the hook to pay that too (the broker’s fee is negotiable, but a common buyer’s broker’s fee in Colorado might be around 3% of the purchase price- about $6,000 on a $200,000 home). The buyer may also need to pay upfront any third-party fees for services like, loan application, credit report, inspections, surveys, appraisals, etc (which may run more than $1,000 total).
The total for all of those fees, costs and down payment could potentially cost the buyer over $24,000 for a buyer using an FHA loan to buy a $200,000 home. Needless to say, most buyers do not have that kind of cash available- especially not first-time homebuyers (who are not rolling over proceeds from the sale of their former home).
Now- here is the good news!
Luckily, for most buyers, the out-of-pocket costs to get into a home can be greatly reduced. For example, in Colorado, the buyer’s broker is usually paid from the seller’s proceeds. Also, some closing costs can be rolled into the buyer’s loan- so less needs to be paid upfront. The purchase contract may be negotiated to have the seller pay some or all of the buyer’s closing costs. Some third-party services, like inspections and surveys are optional- though I highly recommend having them done (it is always good to know what you are buying before parting with your money). Down payment assistance programs are also a big source of relief to buyers that need a bit of help with the financial side of buying a home. With all of these resources and strategies employed, it is possible to purchase a home with as little as $1000-$1500 out of the buyer’s pocket (even in today’s tougher lending environment).
For those buyers that desire as little as possible coming out of their pockets at closing, I am providing some information on down payment assistance programs available in Colorado. Below is a list of the most commonly used assistance programs. Some require that the buyer be a first-time homebuyer (or hasn’t owned a home in the past three years). Some of these programs do not require being a first-timer. In some of the programs, the assistance amount must be paid back or is gradually forgiven over time. In other programs, the assistance is a grant, which does not need to be repaid. Some are also location specific. Finding the right mix of loan type and assistance program to fix a buyer’s needs can be complex- so more than likely, a buyer will need the help of a good lender to help them sift through the programs they are eligible for, as well as an experienced real estate broker (like myself) to help them find a house that will meet the requirements of both their loan type and any assistance program they may be using.
One of the lenders I have worked with is the Wynn Team at Citimortgage. Their team of loan officers, works with pretty much all of the assistance programs I am familiar with. They have provided this short summary (in italics) of several of the homebuyer assistance programs available to buyers in Colorado. Here is the list of some of the top financial resources available to buyers purchasing a home:
1. Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA)
CHFA is probably the most well-known option to assist potential home buyers with down payment assistance or unique financing options not available through typical lending channels. CHFA is available throughout the state of Colorado. Here is what CHFA has to offer to home buyers looking to purchase a primary residence:
- CHFA SmartStep Plus: FHA (3.5% down payment) or VA (0% down payment) mortgage loan with down payment or closing cost assistance (3% of your first mortgage amount) in the form of a second mortgage payable over a term of 30 years. Income and purchase price limits apply.
- CHFA HomeOpener Plus: Same exact program as the CHFA SmartStep Plus but with higher income limits and no purchase price limits.
- CHFA Advantage: Conventional mortgage loan with a 3% down payment requirement instead of the normal 5%. In addition to the lower down payment requirement this loan has no up-front or monthly mortgage insurance. Income and purchase price limits apply..
- CHFA Preferred: Conventional mortgage loan similar to CHFA Advantage with the same 3% minimum down payment requirement. The Preferred, unlike the Advantage product, does have Mortgage Insurance but provides an optional second mortgage (3% of your first mortgage amount) for down payment assistance. Income and purchase price limits apply.
2. National Homebuyers Fund (NHF) Platinum
NHF Platinum is a new program available throughout the state of Colorado! Just like CHFA the NHF program is available statewide. Here is how NHF works:
- Down payment assistance in the form of a grant (does not require repayment) in the amount of either 3% or 5% of your first mortgage loan amount.
- Available on 30 year fixed FHA, VA or USDA mortgage loans.
- Income limits do apply.
- Loan limit is $417,000 or loan limits set by FHA, VA, or USDA, whichever is less.
3. Metro Mortgage Assistance Plus (MMA)
The MMA program is very similar to the NHF Platinum program with a few small differences. The major difference is the geographical restrictions of the MMA program. MMA is available in the cities of Arvada, Aurora, Boulder, Brighton, Broomfield, Centennial, Dacono, Edgewater, Englewood, Golden, Lakewood, Littleton, Parker, Sheridan, Thornton, Westminster, Wheat Ridge and unincorporated Boulder and Jefferson counties. Here is how the MMA program works:
- Down payment assistance in the form of a grant (does not require repayment) in the amount of 4% of your first mortgage loan amount.
- Available on 30 year fixed FHA or VA mortgage loans.
- Income limits do apply: $91,100 for households of 1-2 people and $103,000 for a household of 3+.
4. City & County Programs
In addition to these larger down payment assistance programs offered throughout the state or in multiple areas there are some additional programs available in certain cities or counties. Most, if not all, of these programs require you to be a first time home buyer to qualify (to qualify as a first time home buyer you have not been on title to property within the past three years). Here are a few that are most popular in the Denver metro area:
- Adams County
- Arapahoe County
- Aurora HOAP
- CHAC (City/County of Denver and Statewide program)
- Douglas County
- Jefferson County
- City of Thornton
Each city or county has different rules and requirements for gaining access to their programs. Other city and county programs are offered but I merely listed the most popular.
5. Mortgage Credit Certificates (MCC)
Although the MCC program is not a down payment assistance program it is well worth mentioning since it is closely related to this topic. An MCC lets home buyers claim 20-30% of their mortgage interest as a tax credit on their annual federal IRS tax returns. The remaining interest paid is still eligible for the home mortgage interest deduction. There are currently two MCC programs available in Colorado:
CHFA MCC: The CHFA MCC is available statewide and does not require you to obtain a CHFA first mortgage to participate. CHFA offers a 20% MCC credit with their program. Additional restrictions including income, purchase price, loan amount, credit, etc. do apply to this program. You must be a first time home buyer to qualify (some exceptions to the first time home buyer requirement exist).
Denver MCC: The Denver MCC is available within the city and county of Denver only. Denver offers a 30% MCC credit with a $2,000 annual maximum. Just like CHFA, Denver has some additional restrictions to be aware of including being a first time home buyer.
Be aware- Not all lenders work with these programs! There is usually an “approved lender” list for each program. If you would like to contact a lender about one of these programs, or to be pre-qualified for a home loan, please fill out the form below. I would be happy to give you the contact information for the Wynn Team and/or other qualified lenders participating in these programs. Although some of this information may be a bit overwhelming at first, the right professionals on your side can make the most of the resources available to you! I would love to work with you in helping you through the purchasing process and buying your next home! Please let me know how I can help!
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