Category Archives: For Buyers

TIps and information to help Buyers understand the buying process and the Denver Metro real estate market.

Water Rights Issues in Colorado!

Thinking of buying property with a well or water rights in Colorado?

The Colorado Association of Realtors hosted a training session on the issues surrounding water rights.  The video below includes a presentation from the Department of Water Resources that provides information you ought to know before buying property where you may want to use a source of water other than that supplied by a municipality (E.g.- water sources such as wells, streams, ditches, ponds, reservoirs, rain barrels, etc..).  The video also gives you information on resources you can use to determine if any water rights that come with the property are permitted for your intended use.   The video on wells and water rights is a little “dry” (no pun intended)- but it’s pretty important information to know before you buy…

The actual presentation by the Department on Water Resources starts at around minute 7:38, so unless you want to watch some advertisements that only a Real Estate Brokers would possibly care about, you might want to start watching at the 7:38 minute point in the video.

Click below to see the video and enjoy!

http://livestream.com/accounts/4105485/events/4683965/player?width=560&height=315&autoPlay=true&mute=false

New Listing- 14366 Blue Vista Way

4 Bedroom,  2.5 Baths,  2,320 Above grade sqft, 941 unfinished basement sqft

Status: ACTIVE

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: joan@joanbagwell.com or fill out the contact 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!

 

3 Offers in 2 days!

Status: Under Contract, Taking Backups!
PRICE: $244,900
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.

 

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!

 

How to Automatically be Notified of Home Sales Activity in Your Neighborhood!

*** THE PROBLEM ***

We’ve all done it.  You see a “For Sale” sign in the neighbor’s yard and rather than directly asking the neighbor what they want for their home, we reach for the flyer instead (and hope they are not watching us from the front window).  Why not just ask?  Well, I think most people find it a little awkward to talk about anything related to money.  Either that, or they are afraid they will look like the nosey neighbor, Mrs. Kravitz, from the old “Bewitched” TV show (maybe you are too young to remember that).

Anyway- the next thing you know, you see the “sold” sign and the moving van in the driveway.  Is that the right time to knock on the door and ask what it sold for?  Or do you just “stake out” their front yard to casually run into them when they come out to pick up their mail or put the next box in the van.  That may be even more awkward…  as sellers rarely want to tell people if they didn’t get their full asking price.

Then, you wake up one morning and the moving van and the For Sale sign are gone- and so is your chance of getting all the details on the house.  Sound familiar?  If you are like most people, you may know what your neighbor originally asked for the house- but what did they actually get for it?  Did they drop the price a few times after you took that first peek at the flyer?

When I interview sellers about listing their homes, this seems to be the experience most people have.  They know the asking price, but not the final sold price.  They do not know whether the seller gave any concessions to the buyer.  And, unless they were friends with the seller or attended an open house, most of the time they do not know what the neighbor’s house even looked like inside.

That makes it hard to get a good feel for what your own home may be worth at any given time.  Home values rise and fall like stock price values.  Your home’s value is based on what your neighbors’ homes sold for- and only those sales that closed in the most recent 3-6 months count in that valuation.  Moreover,  “value adjustments” are usually made for any significant differences when comparing  sold homes to yours (like square footage, the number and configuration of bedrooms & bathrooms, views, finishes, updates, recent maintenance items replaced, energy efficiency features, etc).  That is why it is important to know more than what the sold property looked like from the front yard.   If you have never seen the inside of comparable homes in your neighborhood, and don’t know what they ultimately sold for, how are you to know how your home compares?

*** THE SOLUTION ***

The obvious answer would be to ask a real estate agent (like me) when you are ready to sell.  But assuming you are not ready for that yet, and you just want to keep an eye on property values, maybe I can still help you out.   I have a quick and easy way for you to be automatically notified when a home in your neighborhood goes up for sale, when it gets sold, what’s its asking price is, and what it ultimately sells for.  The notification also sends you website links to see any interior photos and virtual tours available for the property.  No need to ask the awkward questions of your neighbor, and no need to hope a realtor will send out a postcard to tell you what’s going on in your neighborhood.  Best of all, the service is FREE!

HERE IS HOW TO SIGN UP TO GET THE NOTIFICATION!

Use the contact form below to let me know which area you would like to monitor (by neighborhood name and city, or street boundaries).  Or, leave your street address and I will look up your neighborhood for you.  Let me know if you would like to be more specific about the kinds of homes you want to be notified about (like- “I only want to be notified of detached homes that are 2,000 sqft or larger and that have at least 4 bedrooms, in The Ranch Reserve neighborhood”, etc).   Once set up, you will receive an email each time a home in your area of interest is listed in the MLS, has a price change, goes under contract, comes back on the market or is sold or withdrawn.  You can view the photos & virtual tours and read the descriptions of the properties’ features for as long as the properties remain on the market!   This is a great tool for staying informed on the market in your neighborhood!  It is easy to sign up and the service is FREE-  no strings attached!  This service works for any home along the front range in the Denver Metro area and Northern Colorado!

Just fill out the form below to sign up today, or to contact me with any questions you may have about the real estate market.