Monday, September 10, 2007

Real Estate Investing - The Perfect Scenario

Most people haven’t got a clue when it comes to investing. I used to fit in that category. The good part is that you don’t have to be because there are people out there to teach you. One of the directions I found is Real Estate. The market across the country is prime for investors right now. Some areas are a little more prime than others. Colorado seems to be leading the curve for the rest of the nation so I will focus on the Denver area for the purpose of this article.

The foreclosure rate seems to be out of control in most areas; bad for mortgage companies and general consumers; good for investors. In the Denver area, we having been seeing a record amount of foreclosure filings; approximately 500 – 1000 per week. The two types of investments are “flipping” where the investor buys a property at a severely reduced price and does a little cosmetic or repair work and then sells it for a profit. (I’m sure you may have seen the TV shows dedicated to the professionals in this arena) and rental properties.

Flipping:

In my opinion, the “flipping” type of investment should be left to the professionals. They should and, in most cases, are very experienced in the art of finding the perfect house, repairing and dressing it up to sell at a competitive price in a short amount of time. Usually they can estimate down to the penny, however, there may be some unforeseen issues with the house that could knock their margin completely out of line. Plus in a slow seller’s market, the price may have to be very low in order to get it sold quickly.

Rental:

I like the thought of rental properties right now. For every foreclosure, there is a person and/or family in need of a place to live. Therefore, the rental market is gradually increasing. These families are most often good people who pay their bills on time but got caught up in the mortgage fiasco of ARMs, interest only and Neg Am products that were introduced to the public a few years ago. These people were sold something that they did not understand and then got whacked by a huge increase in their payment. Most of these people are going to be looking for housing comparable to what they just left but in a more affordable realm. When a foreclosure is filed by a mortgage company, the home owner has a couple of options; they can work to get the payment together a continue to move forward; they can try to refinance, but with the mortgage guidelines being revised, it’s much more difficult to get a loan; they can walk away and let the bank foreclose (usually leaving the house in shambles); or they can negotiate with the bank for a “short-sale”. This is my favorite.

A short-sale could be the investor’s best friend. The seller just wants to get out and the bank just wants to get as much as they can (a foreclosure costs the bank a ton of money). The investor steps in, makes an offer, and purchases the house at a discount from the “true” market value and then with minimal repairs and/or changes, is able to put it up on the market as a rental. The housing market will turn (we have already seen a little evidence of it here in Denver) and in a couple of years or so, the equity will be at a point where selling the home makes sense. The investor makes a profit and moves along to the next opportunity.

Having a professional Realtor who is experienced in investment properties is critical to the process. There are certain nuances to investing in Real Estate. Time frames are an aspect of short-sales that most people don’t expect. Sometimes a bank can take up to several months to approve the acceptance of a proposed payoff, although if the process is followed, a much shorter time-frame can be realized. Knowing how to structure an offer to get it accepted by the bank is also very important.

Here in Denver, the investment opportunities are huge. I’m sure the rest of the country will soon follow if they are not already there. Real Estate is still one of the most solid investments that exist; if it is done correctly.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Is Your Home Priced to Sell?

Selling a home is a major life decision. You have put a lot of money and hard work in caring for and maintaining your home. When setting the asking price for your home it can be emotional and complicated. Unless you have your home appraised there will be a little guess work and research on your part to set the asking price. Most people don’t have their homes appraised because it cost a few hundred dollars and the bank will require their appraisers to visit after the sale of the home anyhow.
 
The best way to determine the asking price for your home is to look at properties that have sold over the past few months, look at current homes for sale that are similar to yours in the same area, look at pending sales, and look at expired listings. By analyzing this information you will be able to determine a price range for your home. The best way to get this information is to contact a professional real estate agent and ask them for a CMA on your home. He/she will come out and look at your home, take notes, and gather the required information. Typically, you will get a well-formatted report that details all the necessary information needed to make an educated decision on pricing your home.
 
By choosing the correct asking price your home will sell much faster because it will attract more attention and potential buyers. Also, real estate agents that are familiar with the local market will be more inclined to view and show your home because they know that it is priced correctly and it won’t be a waste of time for their clients.
 
If the real estate market is strong in your area homes that are introduced to the market should draw a lot of interest in the first couple of weeks, especially if they are priced at the market value. If the price of the home is too high then potential buyers could be left out because the price was outside their range. In the end it is the buyer who sets the selling price, not the real estate agent and not you. Your home is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it so price it right and it will sell in a reasonable amount of time.
 
Visit Jason Deines's website for more information on http://boiserealestateinfo.net/. There you will also find statistics on the Boise Idaho Real Estate Market.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Make Home Buying Lemonade Out of Sub-Prime Lemons

Over the last two years many consumers became home owners by agreeing to interest-only or zero down payment mortgage loan terms. This was a great way for many people to purchase a house while keeping their monthly payments at an affordable level for the short term.

Unfortunately, many of these home owners today are unable to keep up with the costs of homeownership. As a result, foreclosures are high in some parts of the country, while many other homeowners with these loans are concerned this fate may await them in the future.

Being a little conservative when making a home purchase might be a good thing for you. Here are a few tips on what you can do to avoid being in the same situation as those who thought sub-prime loans were their ticket to homeownership, and who now may find themselves in a difficult financial situation.

  • Buy only as much home as you can afford now.
    • You may be willing to be cash-strapped for a couple of years because of a high mortgage payment until your monthly income increases, but if your salary doesn't grow as you expect, you may find yourself cash-strapped for longer than you want.
    • Consider your lifestyle when determining how much home to buy. If you like to spend money eating out every night or traveling around the world, be sure to buy a home that leaves you with enough monthly cash to do these things.
  • Expect the unexpected. Even if you're not buying a fixer-upper, you'll still have expenses arise at inconvenient times that are unavoidable, like the cost of a new water heater. If you don't plan for these costs you may find yourself going further into debt to pay for the repairs, or you just might have to learn to live with cold showers.
  • Get a loan that is built for the amount of time you expect to live in the home. If you're going to move within 5-7 years, an ARM loan might save you money. If you're going to be there longer, a fixed loan might be more cost-effective. Compare both the short-term and long-term costs of each type of loan to determine which is best for you.
  • Find out which lenders your friends used. Research lenders on the internet. Meet with those with whom you're comfortable and who you trust.
  • Find a real estate agent who is intimately familiar with the area in which you'd like to buy. Interview several agents and ask them for customer references before selecting the one who most wants to help find the right home for you.

You may not be able to completely avoid the financial risks of buying and owning a home, but with thorough research, planning, and by living within your means, you can be more assured that buying a home that won't result in your selling it out of necessity instead of out of choice.

By Barry James Copyright © 2007 HomeGain.com, Inc.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Independence Day!

QUOTES ON LIBERTY, FREEDOM and EQUALITY

1) The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom, courage. – Thucydides

2) Freedom is the last, best hope of earth. – Abraham Lincoln

3) Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties. -John Milton

4) By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes is his duty against the influence of authority and majorities, custom and opinion. – Lord Acton

5) Liberty cannot be caged into a charter or handed on ready-made to the next generation. Each generation must recreate liberty for its own times. Whether or not we establish freedom rests with ourselves. -- Florence Ellinwood Allen

6) Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. – Abraham Lincoln

7) God grant that not only the love of liberty but a thorough knowledge of the rights of man pervade all the nations of the earth, so that a philosopher may pervade all the nations of the earth, so that a philosopher may set his foot anywhere on its surface and say:" This is my country." – Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Home Staging For Condos - Six Tips On How To Avoid Having "An Elephant In The Room" by Jeannene Edwards

When staging condominiums there are fundamental principles which MUST be applied. Too often sellers believe the art of home staging and condo staging is exactly the same thing. This way of thinking will cause them to make their FIRST mistake . . . which could result in their condo sitting along side countless others . . . long after the buyers have gone home!

The following is a list of additional mistakes to avoid when staging your condo for sale:

Think Square Footage - Many condominiums have limited space. When planning your furniture layout, instead of thinking square footage . . . think square inch, and make each one count!

Size Really Does Matter - When shopping for furniture focus on scale and proportion, NOT bigger is better! Oversized furniture may look great on the showroom floor, but when you get it home it will look much different. You will swear that the "elephant in the room" is definitely not what you ordered!

Flex Areas - Condo living calls for carefully planned, creatively designed, multifunctional spaces known as flex areas. Because of the growing demand to meet the diverse needs of today's condo buyer, more and more manufacturers are offering proportionately scaled, multipurpose furniture to their lines. They include upholstered slipper chairs that fold out into guest beds, ottomans that serve as extra seating and storage, high-low tables that instantly transform from cocktail tables into dining tables for entertaining . . . just to name a few. And for the savvy targeted condo buyer, staging a multi media/home office area is always advisable.

Defining Spaces - Whether you prefer the clean, contemporary lines of ultra urban or the graceful warm feel of timeless traditional - remember to use COLOR to define your spaces and create memorable WOW effects. Too often sellers believe that by keeping the walls neutral, it will make the limited space of a condo look larger. Actually the opposite is true. By bumping out a few accent walls with well chosen COLORS you not only will add excitement to the room, but visually add depth, giving the illusion that the space is larger than it is.

Presentation Is Everything - Choose fewer, but larger, more dynamic artwork and accessories. This is one of the most frequently made mistakes by sellers who believe you should do quite the opposite. Just remember . . . scale down your furniture and scale up your artwork and accessories to successfully stage a condo with limited space. Your presentation and end result will certainly be more dramatic . . . and memorable!

Jeannene Edwards, owner of Interiors Defined, Inc. is a professional home stager and licensed interior designer in Orlando, Florida. In addition to her interior design and home staging services, Jeannene has merged with David Edwards Construction, a division of Interiors Defined, Inc., enabling them to offer complete architectural design and building services to further meet the needs of their clientele. Jeannene is a notable speaker known for her training seminars, award winning designs and 'how-to' articles published in newspapers, magazines and trade manuals nationally. For information regarding the IDI Step-by-Step E-Staging Guide or any of the other many design services being offered by Interiors Defined, Inc. please contact Jeannene Edwards or David Edwards at: http://interiorsdefined.com/, http://idihomestaging.com/, and http://davidedwardsgc.com/

Denver, the Springs among best cities for relocating

Colorado has two metro areas on the recently released 2007 "Best Cities for Relocating Families" lists.
 
The Denver-Aurora area ranked No. 21 of 50 on the big-city list, or metro areas with populations of 1.25 million or more.
 
Colorado Springs was No. 4 on the list of small metro areas, with populations of 350,000 to 575,000.
 
The Fort Worth-Arlington area of Texas ranked No. 1 among large cities. Other top 10 big cities included Kansas City, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Austin, Texas.
 
Knoxville, Tenn., was first among mid-sized cities of 575,000 to 1.25 million population. Other top mid-sized markets included Wichita, Kan.; Salt Lake City; Oklahoma City; and El Paso, Texas.
 
The Provo-Orem area of Utah came in first for small metro areas. Also ranked high on that list were Durham, N.C.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Spokane, Wash.; and Madison, Wis.
 
The lists were produced by Worldwide ERC of Washington, D.C., a relocation industry trade group, and Primacy Relocation of Memphis, Tenn. Primacy is a third-party relocation firm.
 
Metro areas were rated based on factors such as crime rate, cost of living, education, climate and housing market. Housing data evaluated ranged from affordability to property tax and rate of appreciation.
 
"Without a doubt, the state of the housing market is having a huge impact on relocation decisions of both employers and the families who are being transferred," Michelle Vallejo, president of Primacy, The Americas, said in a statement. "The cities on [these lists] represent some of the stronger real estate markets ..."
 
The rankings are published every spring, and this is the third year Worldwide ERC and Primacy have teamed up to produce them.
 
Source: The Denver Business Journal

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Offering $100 Commission On The MLS Won't Sell Your Home! Seller Learns The Hard Way. by Scott Daniels

I`m at Publix early this morning when I bump into a former prospect who we gave a listing presentation to in February. They decided to go with a "By Owner" program" in which they paid a ridiculous amount of money to "Sell their Home" by themselves!

As PT Barnum once said "There`s a sucker born every second" sadly in this case he maybe right!

The house is located in Pembroke Pines,Florida it`s a 3bed,2ba,2CG pool home and it`s listed for $400,000. It needs some work and the seller refused to listen back than about the price. I explained the home should be listed at $370,000 in order to move! They called me insane, told me about their impression of the market and laughed me out of the house!

The company they hired places the home on the MLS in a "Limited Representation" capacity. They`re offering $100 commission if you can believe this to the buyers agent! Needless to say, the house won`t sell now or 10 months from now without the right commission! He pleads with me to bring him "buyers"!

The conversation is as follows:

Seller: Look, I`m stuck here we`re not receiving any buyers to our home! We need to move before September.

Me: I can appreciate your predicament, the problem is that you`re with another company who placed your home on the MLS. Why are you offering $100.00 for commissions?

Seller: The By Owner People explained to me that it doesn`t matter a "home will sell if it`s on the MLS". I paid them in advance a fee of $5000!

Me: You`re stuck the By Owner People are paid and the MLS isn`t a cure all for selling a home! I don`t foresee any Realtors showing you`re home.

Seller: How about doing me a huge favor?! I can`t afford to pay you!

We shook hands and said our goodbyes to one another. I can`t believe someone would go through all the trouble of being a FSBO without first hiring a professional who can market and sell a home! This seller is stuck, yes, his property is on the MLS, but what`s the point when you`re offering $100 as commission!

scott daniels
florida list for less realty,inc.
954-275-0200.
http://www.listfloridahomesforless.com

Common Sense Selling Points by Scott Baxter

Selling a home is a pretty stressful event. You are, after all selling the place that you have lived in for years (maybe). either way you look at it, there is likely an emotional attachment to your home and you will want to realize the greatest profit from its sale. It would be nice if buyers could place the same emotional value on your home but that is a bit much to expect from someone who has not lived there. It is your responsibility to make the home presentable (or to hire someone to do so) to buyers. Remember that your home will be in competition with hundreds of homes, or more depending on the size of your area. So how can you showcase your home in a way that will attract the attention of buyers and help your home sell quickly?

There are a number of things that are commonly overlooked when selling a home. Small things that we as owners have come to overlook that buyers will notice straight away. Small dings in the wall, a slight leak from a faucet, the marks of your growing children on the kitchen door frame. All these things are the kind of things that buyers notice when they view a home. Remember that any broken or faulty aspects of your home may lead buyers to question what else may be wrong with the home. The foundational step of a good home showing is cleaning the house.

Like a maniac. No matter what kind or age of home you have the showing process needs to happen in a clean environment. This means cleaning all those little niches that you sometimes gloss over when doing your daily cleaning. Clean out your closets and organize them neatly. Clean behind the appliances, scrub all the fixtures, shampoo the carpets if there are any and wash the windows. You want viewers to walk into your home and feel like it is this clean all the time.

The same should hold true for the outside of the home. Looking at your home with a critical eye is hard but necessary. If your paint needs touching up or a complete redo, don't be afraid to spend the money to get it fixed. You will get it back when the home sells for more than it would without the improvement. Selling a home is like displaying your home in a magazine, it has to look beyond good. Buyers can be pretty fickle when it comes to homes that are not well taken care of or at least appear that way. Don't let this happen to your home, plan ahead for your sale and get your home in shape for it.

Scott Baxter is a long time real estate investor and is also a real estate agent who specializes in Prescott AZ real estate. Scott's passion for real estate has enabled him to become a leading expert in relocation to the Prescott area. Contact Scott today for more information or visit him online at http://www.prescottscott.com

Friday, June 8, 2007

Home Sellers Alert - Top Ten Mistakes That Cost Home Sellers Thousands Of Dollars In Today's Market by Jeannene Edwards

Everyone knows that selling your home in any market can be an exhausting experience, both emotionally and physically. But selling in today's market, glutted with standing inventory, has become especially challenging for sellers and realtors alike!

According to new data released by the Census bureau, the vacancy rate of homes for sale in this Country is at it's highest level since the bureau began tracking it forty years ago. This is not good news for the multiple thousands of people who presently have homes on the market. The prospect of being stuck with a house that doesn't sell for months on end is frightening, and takes an emotional toll leaving some sellers unprepared. Remember, the difference between a smooth, profitable selling transaction, and one that isn't, is usually caused by lack of knowledge and being unprepared.

The following is a list I've designed to make you aware of the ten most common mistakes that cost home sellers thousands of dollars:

1. Establishing the appropriate selling price for your home is critical! Setting the price too high causes a house to sit on the market for a long period of time, and become known as a 'stale' listing. Setting the price too low may needlessly cause you to give away thousands of dollars in profit. Either way you will lose.

2. Accessibility is key when selling your home. In today's competitive market, buyers who can't get easy access to view a home will move on and purchase elsewhere. Remember, the more accessible you make your home, the greater your chances become for finding a qualified buyer who will pay top dollar for a profitable sale.

3. A buyers positive first impression is everything when buying a home. Many sales are lost due to cluttered rooms that weren't de-cluttered, unpleasant odors that weren't addressed, and Spring cleaning inside and out that wasn't done! If a buyer does look beyond these things and make an offer on your home, it undoubtedly will be for much less than your asking price.

4. Minor repairs and simple maintenance will yield 2-4 times the repair cost at the time of sale. Buyers buy what they see, and they will always perceive the repair costs to be higher than the seller will perceive it to be. Simple repairs not being taken care of ahead of time can easily lower the offer on a home by thousands of dollars.

5. If your home isn't warm, inviting, and presented in 'showcase condition' to highlight the homes best features, it will make a huge impact on buyers' perception of value . . . again resulting in a lower offer on the home.

6. Sellers who insist on relying on traditional methods to market their home will be out performed by those willing to be innovative in this competitive market. Thinking outside the box in order to find new strategies for attracting potential buyers will greatly increase your chances for a more profitable sale.

7. You must remember that once you put your home on the market . . . you can no longer view it as 'your' home. You need to depersonalize the space so the buyers can imagine themselves living there. It is a product to be sold, and should be viewed as a dollar and cents business transaction.

8. Our current market condition for houses has been determined by supply and demand. And right now the supply is much greater than the demand. Therefore, many people are taking this opportunity to shop dozens of homes to compare prices as well as value. This is why it is imperative that you offer them a home that is in 'showcase condition', generating a greater perceived value.

9. You can save an enormous amount of valuable time and money if you make sure that your prospective buyer has been pre-approved for a loan before spending a great deal of time with them. Remember, time is money, and it will take up time that you could be spending with someone who can buy!

10. Signing with the right real estate agent is key to having a pleasant, profitable selling experience. Their knowledge and marketing methods can have a huge impact on your success and the profitability of your sale. Do your research . . . and choose wisely.

Avoid these costly mistakes by diligently arming yourself with knowledge. It can make all the difference in the successful sale of your home. A little time spent now on properly preparing your home as a product to be sold can save you countless hours of frustration . . . and thousands of dollars in profit!

Jeannene Edwards, owner of Interiors Defined, Inc. is a professional home stager and licensed interior designer in Orlando, Florida. In addition to her interior design and home staging services, Jeannene has merged with David Edwards Construction, a division of Interiors Defined, Inc., enabling them to now offer complete architectural design and building services to further meet the needs of their clientele. Jeannene is a notable speaker known for her exciting and informative seminars. Her award winning designs and 'how-to' articles have been widely published in newspapers, magazines and trade manuals nationally. For additional information regarding the many services offered by Interiors Defined, Inc. please contact Jeannene Edwards or David Edwards at: http://interiorsdefined.com/, http://idihomestaging.com/, and http://davidedwardsgc.com/

Selling--To Stage or Not to Stage? Preparing Your Home For Sale by Nef Cortez

Gone are the days when you stuck a yard sale sign in a home that was being prepared for sale, held an open house and printed out flyers as some of the major tools for marketing real estate property. As homes that are listed for sale populate the internet and are available to be viewed by a national audience, professional realtors are increasingly seeking to improve their skills in order to assist the homeowner to market his or her home in way that will showcase the property in the best light and improve the final sale price. Often, these skills include advising the homeowner on how to prepare the home for photographs as well as the actual physical viewing of the home.

While, most realtors may know the marketability of a property based on other factors such as the location of the property, size of the property, etc., they may not be as adept in interior design principles that will enhance the showcasing of the home. Thus a whole new service industry, called “staging” has sprouted from these needs. Staging is the new buzzword in the real estate industry used to describe the de-cluttering, redesigning and in some case remodeling of a home to prepare it for sale.

In the past, homeowners were left to their own discretion when it came to home showings. If they didn’t have any idea on how to prepare for the home showing they often depended on their realtor for guidance. While that may have been sufficient then, in this ever increasingly competitive market (where sellers try to solicit the best prospective buyers) staging has become a growing industry and a tool in the realtor’s marketing arsenal. In order to maintain a competitive advantage, more and more realtors are adapting quickly to either learn these basic principles themselves or to add interior designers to their contact lists who can provide these services. Usually as part of the marketing of the property, several photographs of the home are almost mandatory and as virtual tours of homes become increasingly popular the need to showcase the home properly becomes almost a necessity.

Professional home stagers are practiced in the art of preparing a home for resale. They work with the “flow” of a home, eliminate clutter, edit and arrange furniture, and may even assist in enhancing curb-appeal. The interior design techniques that professional home stagers use to increase the overall look and desirability of the home have a significant impact in improving the home's final sale price. With ever popular real estate television shows on HGTV such as “Curb Appeal” and “Designed to Sell”, homeowners almost expect their realtor to be knowledgeable about these techniques.

In the current real estate climate where most homes have interior and exterior photographs taken of the property and posted on internet sites this type of service is a plus. Some statistics show that staging improves the final sale price of the house by anywhere from 2% - 10%. For example, in the current California real estate market with the median sale price of a home hovering at $597,640 these figures can mean anywhere from $11,952 to $59,764! That’s quite a bit of pocket change for a comparatively minor investment.

Depending on the home seller’s budget, a home staging service can prepare a home with simple tasks like rearranging furniture, eliminating clutter, advising the homeowner on special cleaning tasks to coordinating much more complex activities such as repainting, carpeting and refinishing hardwood floors. When it comes to higher priced homes in luxury neighborhoods sometimes extensive remodeling is advisable. While the initial outlay by the homeowner may be substantial, a homeowner’s equally substantial return on investment usually makes it worthwhile. With such great returns, what might have seemed liked a trend a few years ago isn’t showing any signs of stopping.

Nef Cortez has been a licensed real estate broker and has held various positions in the real estate and mortgage industry for over 25 years. If you would like to read more of Nef's timely advice (with the latest FREE info on local foreclosures), visit his website at Chino Hills CA Real Estate or read his blog at A Slice of So Cal Real Estate

Governor signs five foreclosure-related bills

Gov. Bill Ritter on Friday signed into law five bills intended to curb foreclosure and mortgage fraud.

"Colorado has one of the highest foreclosure and mortgage-fraud rates in the country," Ritter said in a statement. "We're on pace to log another 37,000 foreclosures this year, which was up about 30 percent from 2006, and that was up 30 percent from 2005. Those are just staggering numbers.

"But the good news is that these bills will help stem the tide by setting standards for mortgage brokers, by prohibiting predatory lending practices and by protecting consumers in Colorado."

The five bills are:

  • HB 1322, sponsored by Rep. Rosemary Marshall, D-Denver, and Sen. Peter Groff, D-Denver, contains multiple measures intended to strengthen existing mortgage fraud laws.
  • SB 85, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, and Rep. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs, prohibits improper influencing of real estate appraisals.
  • SB 203, sponsored by Groff and Marshall, requires mortgage brokers to register with the state.
  • SB 216, sponsored by Veiga and Marshall, spells out a mortgage brokers' ethical responsibilities, which include not enticing borrowers into deals that won't benefit them.
  • SB 249, sponsored by Veiga and Rep. Joe Rice, D-Littleton, imposes an annual fee on title insurance companies to pay for industry enforcement and analysis.
Source The Denver Business Journal June 1, 2007

Companies expect to hire IT, financial workers

Denver companies expect to hire more IT and financial employees in the third quarter, according to separate surveys released Wednesday by Robert Half International.
 
Hiring trends in both fields were 1 point above the national average.
 
The survey said a net 16 percent of chief information officers expect to hire more IT workers, or up 1 point above the second-quarter forecast. The results break down to 20 percent of those surveyed planning to add staff, while 4 percent expecting to cut staff.
 
In a separate survey, a net 4 percent of chief financial officers said they expected to add accounting and finance professionals, up 4 points from the second-quarter forecast. The results show 7 percent intend to add employees, while 3 percent expect to cut jobs.
 
Source The Denver Business Journal June 6, 2007

DirecTV to add 1,000 jobs in Centennial

Satellite television company DirecTV Inc. plans to add as many as 1,000 metro-area jobs at the company's new, 256,000-square-foot operations hub it opened Thursday in Centennial.

El Segundo, Calif.-based DirecTV's call center management, information technology and data center, retail services support and other functions will be based at the center, which occupies a six-story Inverness Business Park building formerly home to defunct telecommunications company ICG.

The expanded operations center will be at the core of everything DirecTV offers its 16 million subscribers nationwide and its future customers, said John Suranyi, president of DirecTV's sales and service, in a news release.

The company also operates a broadcast collection facility near the new operations center as well as its broadcast uplink center in Castle Rock that employs 110 people.

Source The Denver Business Journal June 8, 2007

Friday, June 1, 2007

Foreclosure May Not Be Your Only Option by Brian L. Thomas

I get it. I have been there. You are dangerously behind in your mortgage payments and you can’t seem to catch up. You’re getting the letters and phone calls that lead you to believe that you have no other option. Foreclosure seems eminent. That’s not necessarily the case.

The mortgage company doesn’t want to own your home anymore than you want to lose it. In the current Real Estate market, (definitely here in the Denver Colorado area) it seems that this scenario is more common than believable. The home prices dropped; an A.R.M. (adjustable rate mortgage) adjusts to a higher rate; the new payment is now unaffordable; refinancing is out of the question because of credit status changes; the owner finds that they owe more than they can realistically sell it for. What now? Walk away? Not a good idea. Without filing bankruptcy, the bank can still come after what is owed to them; even after they take AND sell the property. (and it’ll be a lot higher because of the cost of foreclosing on the property)

There are other ways. One of these ways is called a “short-sale”; it is a way for the bank and/or mortgage company to come to a feasible solution with you. A short-sale is where the mortgage company agrees to take a certain percentage of the money that you owe and give you a letter releasing you from the remainder of the debt. The short-sale could still affect your credit, but by now your credit could already be trashed due to the situation.

Most of the time the bank won’t even discuss a short-sale with you until you are behind in your payments (3 months in some cases) I have seen the banks discuss short-sale prior to default, but it was only in very specific situations.

Please understand, it is not an easy road to go with a short-sale. There is quite a bit of documentation and negotiation, but it is much easier than the alternative. You probably won’t find out how much the bank will accept until you get an offer from a qualified buyer. It is best to find a Realtor that has experience in pre-foreclosure and short-sale. The Realtor can help guide you and in some cases help you to negotiate with the bank to make sure things go smoothly. The Realtor will know the language being spoken by the bank, can help you to put together the documentation and help you to understand the process.

So, the first steps aside from finding a qualified real estate agent; call your mortgage company, (don’t avoid them, they won’t go away), find out their process for short sale (the Realtor will help), get the house on the market, price it fairly according to the agents recommendations, keep the home in top quality condition (it will sell faster and possibly at a higher price). Once the offer comes in, be prepared to wait. The mortgage companies are dealing with hundreds; even thousands of short sales and foreclosures. They will get to yours, it may just take a little time (let your agent call and check on it), the buyers also have to be prepared to wait; your agent will make sure everyone knows the situation (within the terms of your agreement with the agent)

Don’t give up hope! It may take a couple of years to bring your credit score up; but compared to foreclosure, judgments, collections, bankruptcy and possibly attorneys, it will be much better for you in the long run. Hang in there! Find a good Realtor to help.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Current Denver Real Estate Statistics

SPRINGTIME UPDATE
MAY 25, 2007

It may be seasonal, but who cares!! Showings have increased dramatically
over the last few weeks. During April we scheduled 21,758 showings (725 per
day average). Since last October the average has been about 500 showings
per day. This equates to 13% of all listings being shown each day,
comparable to last year.
April 2007 13%
2006 13%
2005 16.75%
2004 16.75%
2003 20%
2002 22%

MLS statistics show 26,430 active listings, which is down 3.2% from last
year. Unfortunately, the vacant properties still remain at 48%, and
continue to show a frightening increase compared to 46% in the fall of 2006,
42% in August 2006, 40% in the fall of 2005, and March 2004 with 35% being
vacant.

According to The Zillow Index, values in the Denver-Boulder-Greeley area
have declined 1.9% from the same time period 2006, The Zillow Index uses
sales data that goes a step beyond Realtor data, and uses not only resale
homes but also statistics from new homes and for-sale-by-owner transactions.
MLS statistics are slightly more alarming, showing a decrease of 3.1% in
combined single family/condo sales or 3.59% decrease for single family homes
and condos dropping less than 1% from 2006. (Perhaps the condo market is
finally starting to improve!!)

Gordon Von Stroh, longtime guru of vacancy statistics for the Denver market,
reports the overall vacancy rate in the first quarter stood at 7.1%. The
last time vacancies were lower was in the first quarter was 2001 (4.5%).
Rents have continued to decline slightly, but historically when occupancies
rise, so do rental payments. This should be an excellent time for investors
to look hard at many of the great opportunities in our market. (Professor
Von Stroh's figures utilize numbers from apartment complexes and do not
include smaller multi-unit properties and single family homes. Although we
cannot statistically validate vacancies in these smaller properties,
anecdotally it appears to be even lower.)

Please be sure to keep us updated when the status of your properties change.
It only takes a few seconds on the internet (www.rerconline.com or
http://rerconline.com/uplist.html). This makes you look more professional
in the eyes of your sellers as well as other agents AND means the showing
statistics we provide everyone are more accurate. (If you need a list of
the properties we show for you or your office, please just send us an email
to frontdesk@rerconline.com.

Have a happy a safe holiday weekend.don't forget to buckle your seat belt
and wear your sunscreen.

Alice Marsh

For emails of the source articles or further information about Real Estate
Resource Center, Inc., Colorado's Premier Showing Service, currently
providing service to more than 3,000 agents, contact Julie Bobb or Alice
Marsh at 303 399-9930 or visit www.myshowingservice.com.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Selling Quickly by Eddy Kicker

There is a simple truth in the world of real estate. It is ideal for a home to sell quickly. When homes languish on the market for months the home's attraction decreases and people begin to wonder why the home has not sold yet. Have you ever noticed a home that has been listed for months? Sometimes through several different agents and companies? It is unfortunate that this happens as the home's selling potential is severely decreased by this process. Homes that stay on the market for too long acquire a stigma of being problem homes. This is a bit of a misjudgment as one of the main reasons that homes don't sell quickly is that they are overpriced.

It is easy to see how this happens, people have a strong emotional attachment to their homes and occasionally they price their home according to this link. Unfortunately for these people, home buyers do not take this into consideration when purchasing a house. When deciding on a price for your home, there are several factors which should be taken into account. One of the most important things to consider is the location and what homes have been selling for in the area. No matter how fabulous a home is, it is unlikely to sell for $500,000 in a neighborhood where the average home is worth $200,000. Buyers expect certain things out of certain areas, there may be a few exceptions but this is true of most neighborhoods.

The CMA is still the best tool to use in the pricing of a home. The CMA compares your home to other homes that have similar traits and are of similar size that have sold recently in the area. From this baseline a good realtor will be able to guide you to the correct asking price based on the additional assets that your home has or things that the home lacks. If you are mindful of these things then your home should end up priced properly. Also remember that homes that are on the market for too long have trouble selling even with an adjusted price. So make sure that your home has the right price tag when it is listed.

Eddy Kicker is a REALTOR servicing the Greenville, SC real estate market. Eddy is a dedicated professional that offers the best in customer service and attention in relocation to Greenville.

Top 10 Spring Staging Tips by DesAnn Collins

What is staging? I am asked this all the time. Staging is a verb. It is the action of doing something. Staging can be from one end of the spectrum-renting & setting furniture up in vacant home to making over 200 suggestions for occupied or vacant home. So “staging” is a word used to describe many things.

I do all of the above for my clients. As each home is different so are the actions taken to stage each.

It is definite that those consumer savvy buyers are looking for the BEST home they can find.

For the Realtors® that work with me they are seeing a significant increase in the sellers interest in “staging”. They, the Realtors®, are enjoying the attention they are receiving for showing their professionalism by offering my services at time of listing the home for sale. These Realtors® homes are selling VERY quickly. The Realtor® and home-seller reap the benefit of staging their home, (product), by enjoying having sold the home at the higher end of comps and in very little time.

As always it is best when seller makes changes suggested by stager BEFORE house is listed. When house starts to advertise it will be “show” ready from day 1! MLS photos will reflect the correct “product”. You don’t want to have your first days on market not reflect the house at its best. Your best perspective buyer may be the one that sees house first, as soon as it is listed. It is important that you not “lose” those important first days.

Ideally the following list should be implemented BEFORE listing. Of course it will still be effective no matter how long house has been on market. It is never to late!

The only guarantee I have is that the investment to stage will ALWAYS be less than first reduction in price!

Now with all that said lets get down to some practical information.

“Top Ten Spring Staging” to-do list

#1.) “Happy” colors on front door. Choose a contrasting color of house or door. Such as if house is tan and door is red, use yellow decorations. Use yellow marigolds and other fragrant flowers in a nice large container. Do not over-fill space. Use yellow in door decoration.

#2.) First Impression- What are your own first impressions that you have when seeing the house? Would you want live here? Would you even come in the driveway?

#3.) NO empty flower pots-especially filled with dead flowers! It is better to have nothing rather than dead flowers.

#4.) Rake and tidy-up yard. Having nice clean lines will make yard appear large and un-cluttered. It is difficult to have yards pretty this time of year. Put out new mulch in beds, this will at least cover-up winters wrath. Landscaping will appear neat. Be careful… make sure that mulch doesn’t have any manure smell or other unpleasant odor. That is not the impression you want perspective buyer to experience. The yard is part of what perspective buyer will see first. It is “curb appeal”. When buyer sees that yard is neat & tidy they are willing to see the inside. They should make the connection that if the yard is tidy than most-likely the interior is neat & tidy too!

#5.) “Spring” clean the interior. No matter what problems a particular house may have, no one wants to have to clean their NEW home. Dig in and clean, hire professional cleaning crew if needed.

#6.) Box and store off-premises your winter wardrobe. Why have items in house that seller probably doesn’t need for several months? Rent a storage unit and edit items that are not crucial to ones well being.

#7.) Have a garage-sale. Seller can have a sale BEFORE advertising the house. It will make their move to new home less stressful, why schlep these things to new home. Seller can than use profit towards any minor staging suggestions or for items needed for their new home.

#8.) Have “WOW” factor when new buyer steps in the door. This is EVERYTHING! According to NAR perspective buyers make connection to house in 15 seconds! Make sure your “wow” is a positive one. You don’t want the thought..”Wow, this is awful, or stinks. You need a magazine “WOW”. You need them to WANT to live there.

#9.) Place a new “Welcome” mat at doorways. This seems so simple, but many seller’s fail to understand the significance. The mat is the house’s way of saying “Hello, come on in and stay awhile”.

#10.) Use silk greenery and spring flowers for that added touch throughout your home. Plants=life. Not only will good silks add aesthetic value, they have a subliminal effect. Think about it….dried dead flowers in pots or the appearance of living plant life.

Remember that first impressions are everything make sure their “wow” factor is a good one…NOT “Wow did you see that? Or smell that?"

Make it a GOOD experience and buyer will certainly remember that!

I hope that I have helped those of you in need of some practical advice from a professional staging Interior Decorator.

DesAnn is a Professional Real Estate Stager & Interior Decorator. She is Ohio’s 1st provider & instructor for Realtors® 2hr C.E.U. about the POWER of staging. Her homes have sold in as little as ONE DAY! 84% sell usually in 30 days!

Best of luck & happy selling!

info@DesignByDesAnn.com

http://www.DesignByDesAnn.com

Key Strategies for Sellers

How do you prepare a house to sell?

Doing whatever you can to put your house's best face forward is very important if you want to get close to your asking price or sell as quickly as possible. Short of spending a lot of money, here are several ideas for making your home show better: Sweep the sidewalk, mow the lawn, prune the bushes, weed the garden and clean debris from the yard. Clean the windows (both inside and out) and make sure the paint is not chipped or flaking. And speaking of paint, if your home was built before 1978, new federal law gives a buyer the right to request a lead inspection. If you think you might have some problems, do the inspection yourself beforehand and make any fixes you can. Be sure that the doorbell works. Clean and spruce up all rooms, furnishings, floors, walls and ceilings. It's especially important that the bathroom and kitchen are spotless. Organize closets. Make sure the basic appliances and fixtures work. Get rid of leaky faucets and frayed cords. Make sure the house smells good: from an apple pie, cookies baking or spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove. Hide the kitty litter. Put vases of fresh flowers throughout the house. Having pleasant background music playing in the background also will help set your stage.

What repairs should the seller make?

If you want to get top dollar for your property, you probably need to make all minor repairs and selected major repairs before going on the market. Nearly all purchase contracts include an inspection clause, a buyer contingency that allows a buyer to back out if numerous defects are found or negotiate their repair. The trick is not to overspend on pre-sale repairs, especially if there are few houses on the market and many buyers. On the other hand, making such repairs may be the only way to sell your house in a down market.

Do sellers have to disclose the terms of other offers?

Sellers are not legally obligated to disclose the terms of other offers to prospective buyers.

What are the standard contingencies?

Most purchase offers include two standard contingencies: a financing contingency, which makes the sale dependent on the buyers' ability to obtain a loan commitment from a lender, and an inspection contingency, which allows buyers to have professionals inspect the property to their satisfaction. The purchase contract must include the seller's responsibilities, such things as passing clear title, maintaining the property in its present condition until closing and making any agreed-upon repairs to the property.

Whose obligation is it to disclose pertinent information about a property?

In most states, it is the seller, but obligations to disclose information about a property vary. Under the strictest laws, you and your agent, if you have one, are required to disclose all facts materially affecting the value or desirability of the property that are known or accessible only to you. This might include: homeowners association dues; whether or not work done on the house meets local building codes and permits requirements; the presence of any neighborhood nuisances or noises which a prospective buyer might not notice, such as a dog that barks every night or poor TV reception; any death within three years on the property; and any restrictions on the use of the property, such as zoning ordinances or association rules. It is wise to check your state's disclosure rules prior to a home purchase.

How does someone sell a slow mover?

Even in a down market, real estate experts say that price and condition are the two most important factors in selling a home. If you are selling in a slow market, your first step would be to lower your price. Also, go through the house and see if there are cosmetic defects that you missed and can be repaired. Secondly, you need to make sure that the home is getting the exposure it deserves through open houses, broker open houses, advertising, good signage, and listings on the local multiple listing service (MLS) and on the Internet. Another option is to pull your house off the market and wait for the market to improve. Finally, if you who have no equity in the house, and are forced to sell because of a divorce or financial considerations, you could discuss a short sale or a deed-in-lieu-of- foreclosure with your lender. A short sale is when the seller finds a buyer for a price that is below the mortgage amount and negotiates the difference with the lender. In a deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure situation, the lender agrees to take the house back without instituting foreclosure proceedings. The latter are radical options. Your simplest, and in many cases most effective, option is to lower the price.

What are the two most important factors when selling a home?

Price and condition are the two most important factors in selling a home, even in a down market. The first step is to price your home correctly. Use comparative sales information from your agent, or pay for a professional appraiser (usually $200 to $300), to objectively evaluate your home's worth. Second, go through the house and repair any obvious cosmetic defects that could deter a buyer. In a down market, you may have to consider lowering your price and/or making a major repair, such as replacing the roof, in order to lure a buyer. If this isn't happening, take it up with your agent or agent's broker. If you are still not satisfied you are getting the service you need, you may have to switch agents.

Do I have to consider contingencies?

If you are a seller in a seller's market, in which there is more demand than supply, you probably won't have to entertain too many contingencies. But if you are selling in a buyer's market, when buyers are few, prepare to be very flexible. Granting contingencies also depends upon what kind of price you want to get and on the condition of your property, most experts agree. Remember, contingencies are written into the contract and are negotiable during the negotiation phase only.

What is the best time to sell your house?

There is no "best" time to sell per se. Selling a house depends on supply, demand and other economic factors. But the time of year in which you choose to sell can make a difference both in the amount of time it takes to sell your home and in the ultimate selling price. Weather conditions are less of a consideration in more temperate climates, but most of the time, the real estate market picks up as early as February, with the strongest selling season usually lasting through May and June. With the onset of summer, the market slows. July is often the slowest month for real estate sales due to a strong spring market putting possible upward pressure on interest rates. Also, many prospective home buyers and their agents take vacations during mid-summer.

Following the summer slowdown, real estate sales activity tends to pick up for a second, although less vigorous, fall market, which usually lasts into November when the market slows again as buyers and sellers turn their attention to the holidays. If this makes you wonder if you should take your home off the market for the holidays, consider the advice of veteran agents: You are always more likely to sell your house if it is available to show to prospective buyers continuously.

Source: Yahoo.com

Parker and Denver, Colorado Real Estate

This is the initial post of the Real Estate blog dedicated to Real Estate. Specifically in Parker, Colorado and the Southern areas of Metro Denver.

We feature articles and information for Sellers and Buyers. Check back often. We update regularly.