FINDING YOUR NEXT HOME IN A TIME OF A TIGHT SUPPLY
Most everything that’s been written and said about the limited housing inventory across Northern Colorado – and for that matter, across much of the country – is on the mark.
Nationally, there were 1.07 million existing homes on the market at the start of April, down roughly 28 percent from a year ago. Locally, the four largest markets in Northern Colorado all report inventory in April at less than half of April 2020.
That said, the data doesn’t change the fact that people are buying (April closings in three of those four local markets were up over last April and April 2019). People are still itching to take advantage of some of the best interest rates in history.
So, how do you find a suitable home when it seems like there’s too little available in the listings?
For the diligent and determined among you, there are ways to make it work. Here are some key home-hunting questions to ask yourself:
- Are you pre-approved? If you need to bid against another buyer, the seller needs to know you have loan pre-approval.
- Are you working with the right REALTOR? A REALTOR with a good network can find listings before other buyers know about them.
- Are you looking in the right price range? Expand your possibilities by lowering (or raising) what you’re expecting to pay.
- Are you looking in all the right places? Expand your possibilities again by looking at geographic locations beyond a certain neighborhood or community.
- Are you open to less than your ideal home? Think about alternatives, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. Maybe a townhome or smaller house? It’s rare to find your dream home on your first go-round.
Call me if you need help with finding a home in today’s tight market.
BUILDING A NEW HOME? GOOD QUESTIONS GET GOOD RESULTS
Building a new home can be a dream come true. Working with a REALTOR who knows their way around the new construction process can keep the experience from becoming a bad dream.
How do you make sure you’re getting all the information you need, and when you need it? By knowing which questions to ask of the builder, and when to ask them.
For example, when you’re engaging a builder, what should you know about the contract? About pricing? During construction, how do you make sure the building process is going smoothly, and that you are meeting your responsibilities as a buyer? What’s included (maybe landscaping) and what’s not (maybe fencing)?
At the beginning, your REALTOR should be ready to ask for a copy of a blank contract to review with you ahead of signing. Before you agree on price and exchange any money, are you clear on costs such as commissions, earnest money, or OEC protection coverage? As construction kicks off, are you aware of the results of the soils test and which type of foundation system the builder will be using? How does the final walk-through work? What’s covered by the builder warranty?
Then there are the expectations. What’s a realistic timeline for finishing the house? What happens if there is an unexpected issue with the building process?
These are just a taste of the types of questions that ought to be part of the relationship between the buyer and their builder. But even if you’ve worked with a homebuilder before, don’t assume all construction projects will follow the same path. There are different questions for different circumstances. With the right REALTOR, you can be ready for whichever direction your project takes.
SENIOR PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION APPLICATION DUE BY JULY 15, 2021
When it comes to retirement living, Colorado scores well on many fronts: mild weather, sunny days, and mountain views. Another good reason to grow old here? Taxes.
According to Kiplinger, Colorado ranks among the 10 most tax-friendly states for retirees. And one of those friendly tax laws is built around real estate.
Colorado offers a property tax exemption for many seniors on their primary residence. The Senior Property Tax Homestead Exemption tax credit is available to older adults who have lived in their homes for at least 10 years and who were over the age of 65 prior to January 1, 2021, for taxes to be paid in 2022. For those who qualify, the tax credit of 50 percent is available on the first $200,000 of assessed value on the property. This is a state plan, and the Colorado legislature decides which years there will be an exemption, and the amount of the exemption.
Qualified homeowners need to apply directly to their respective county assessor’s office by July 15, and the exemption must be applied for only once. Seniors that were previously approved do not need to reapply. The exemption remains in effect for subsequent years as long as the property ownership and occupancy do not change. The surviving spouses of seniors who previously qualified may also apply.
THE GROUP DIFFERENCE
Financing still a reliable option for homebuyers, including first-time buyers
In this constantly changing marketplace, it is perhaps more important than ever to work with a savvy, professional team that has been focusing on Northern Colorado for decades.
Over 75 percent of our buyers have used some form of financing in 2021. Contrary to popular belief, cash is NOT always required. Digging into the first quarter 2021, The Group’s data reveals 21.6 percent of deals across the region were all cash, as compared to 16.8 percent in 2020 and right in line with 21.2 percent in 2019.
Looking at first quarter 2021 transactions for clients of The Group, 21.6 percent of deals were all cash, compared to 16.8 percent last year, and right in line with 21.2 percent in 2019. For all sales across the region (see Northern Colorado at a Glance, p. 2), 15.1 percent were cash deals, according to the Colorado Association of REALTORS.
Our company believes in making real estate transactions as simple as possible for our customers, and our affiliated Group Mortgage, LLC, is a cornerstone to that one-stop shopping. The Group Mortgage can advise customers – including first-time home buyers – about multiple loan programs that have become more readily available since the Great Recession. These programs often require lower down payments than might have been previously available. A common misconception is that mortgage insurance is costly. While that once was true, mortgage insurance is now much less expensive, often making home ownership a viable option.
Would you like to explore your home financing options? Contact me so I can connect you with my team.
REAL ESTATE BY NUMBERS
- $35,872. Average impact on the cost of building a new single-family home in the U.S. due to the rising prices of lumber. Prices increased about 250 percent from April 2020 to April 2021, according to an analysis by the National Association of Home Builders.
- 106,000. Square footage for a new manufacturing building that Eldon James Corp. plans to build in east Fort Collins. The company, which makes fittings and tubing for medical equipment, wants to open the new plant in April 2022.
- 13 percent. Average sales price growth for homes sold in Colorado between the first quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, according to the latest FHFA Home Price Index report. The national average for the same period was 12.6 percent.
- $64.5 million. Total price that a Tennessee-based investor paid to buy two multifamily apartment complexes in Fort Collins, including the 120-unit Landmark complex at 1050 Hobbit St. and the 160-unit Stone Creek at 1225 W. Prospect Road.
- $874,500. Price that new owners paid to buy the Currier Inn Bed and Breakfast, located at 1221 Ninth Ave. in downtown Greeley. The 10-room lodging facility was built in 1997.
- 16.76. Acreage that investors acquired for future development of industrial buildings. As planned, the three new buildings will total about 280,000 square feet. The buyers paid $3.65 million for the land.
- $1.99 million. Price that investors paid for a 17,500-square-foot Longmont Commons office building at 2204 18th Ave. in northwest Longmont.
- 12,946. Square footage for a proposed new grocery store in downtown Greeley. Owners of the building at 1320 Eighth Ave. recently submitted plans for the store to Greeley planning authorities.
- $70,050. Average profit for American homeowners who sold a home during the first quarter of 2021, down from $75,750 in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a recent report from ATTOM Data Solutions.
- 224. Number of apartment units proposed for a location near the Greeley Mall in southeast Greeley. As planned, the Copper Platte apartments will be ready for tenants in August 2022.
- 7,800. Square footage for a proposed new research building for Innosphere Ventures. The business accelerator organization is planning to build the facility next to its existing 10,600-square-foot building in north Fort Collins.
- $95 million. Purchase price for the Central Park Tower office building in Broomfield’s Interlocken business park. The 300,000-square-foot building is 11 stories tall.
- $30 million. Price that Denver Public Schools agreed to pay for four buildings that make up a portion of the Johnson & Wales University campus.
- $21.63 Million. Combined purchase price for three buildings in the Johnstown Plaza shopping district. The properties include buildings at 4940 and 4862 Thompson Parkway, sold for $12.73 million, and 4832 Ronald Reagan Blvd., sold for $8.9 million.