Denver Real Estate Blog
If you’re thinking about moving into a new high rise or a historic home here in Denver but are concerned about the limitations of adding some cool and exciting home technologies, you may want to read further.
Over the past five years, the popularity of affordable flat panel HDTV’s along with the explosive growth of table PC’s has created quite a stir. Suddenly, every one wants to mount their new TV on top of their fireplace and everywhere else in their house. It’s cool, sexy and practical. More and more people are gravitating towards less equipment, less wiring and no clutter. It makes sense after all given some of today’s sleeker home designs.
Innovative Wireless Systems are Perfect for Your Denver Home!
Over the past few years, a company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts decided to introduce a new and innovative wireless music system that actually leveraged customer’s existing home entertainment system as well as allowing it to expand to anywhere in the home but without all the mess. The good news is that no existing or new wiring is required to make it work. For example, if you already own an existing audio system as most of us do, you can add a new wireless music server, connect it to your home entertainment system and stream millions of songs, local and international radio with a couple of key strokes. Most importantly, you don’t have to purchase any new fancy or expensive system controller. You simply download the Free Software and operate this system using your home computer or any of Apple’s iPhones, iPod Touch, iPad, Droid and even Kindle devices. This way, you are using products that you already own and are comfortable using. For those that do not currently own an existing home audio system, you can start by adding just one of these wireless music servers and expand it up to literally 32 rooms playing the same music or something different in each room at the same time. Finally, these systems only require a few hours to install and program which saves you a lot of money and without running a single speaker wire from one room to another thus avoiding the expense of having to remodel your home.
Modernize Your Home Entertainment Experience
This system is in our opinion the most flexible, innovative and affordable home music system on the market. It is just one example of the types of wireless home technologies now available. If you have an interest in learning more about this system or many other smart home options, here at New Era Realty there is only one individual we trust to recommend to our clients. Please contact Taki Pappas with Wave Designs at 303-522-7383 for a Free In-home Site Survey. You can learn more about him and his services at: www.wave-designs.com
Moral of the story, to have the latest and greatest in smart home technology is ready to go and could be at your fingertips without breaking the bank. Give Taki a call and you will be surprised by how many systems in your home can now be upgraded with little hassle and at an affordable cost.
Close to 2.5 million homes in the U.S. are contaminated with crystal meth toxins. Luckily, Colorado is one of 27 states with a meth disclosure law.
If an owner is unaware of a contaminated house and sells it to you, you’re now liable. In turn, when you put the house up for sale, should the buyer find traces of meth, they are obligated to report your home to the state, in which case the state condemns the home until it’s been cleaned and inspected. The cost? Upwards of $10,000 or more.
Just by smoking crystal meth in a room over several periods can render that room toxic. And if you’re looking to buy an apartment, check the building’s history of crystal meth arrests. If your apartment building shares a ventilation system, the entire building may become polluted.
Many times, even if you’ve searched police records, the property may not show as a meth lab house. One way to check is by asking neighbors or by getting a home testing kit. Though kits are not totally reliable, if they read positive, you can be sure the reading is good.
- Yellow discoloration on walls, drains, sinks and showers.
- Blue discoloration on propane tank valves and fire extinguishers.
- Removed or taped off fire detectors.
- Burning of the eyes, itchy throat, a metallic taste in the mouth, or breathing problems when in the home.
- Strong odors of solvent and paint thinner, or odors of cat urine or ammonia.
Not Just Foreclosures
In Colorado Springs, the Tramonto Toscano, a 5,800sqft, $1.5 million mansion in the prestigious Peregrine-Tuscany Heights neighborhood sits empty while the owners litigate the future of the home. The costs to clean up this meth mansion will run in excess of $125,000. The culprit was their 20-year-old son.
Realtors Caught in the Middle
A realtor I know disclosed to me about the home of a prominent radio figure. Rumors filtered to the realtor that the radio celebrity had been a meth smoker. The realtor had the gumption to check it out. What she found was a single room with high enough levels of meth toxins that legally forced her to report it to the state. The house was condemned and she and her company had to foot the bill before the state allowed her to put the home back on the market. It was time consuming and expensive.
Realtors at New Era Realty are taught to look for the telltale signs. But it’s not uncommon for even the best to miss the signs. Be vigilant and aware. Exposure to meth toxins could lead to respiratory illness, central nervous system failure or organ damage.
If you have any suspicions, talk to your realtor.
As Mother Nature does her part of painting trees, tulip leaves and backyard lawns into gorgeous shades of green colors this time of year, it also is a good time for homeowners to incorporate more earth-friendly features into their properties. Including more green features into your home is not only good for preserving Mother Nature, but it also can be good for growing the value and marketability of your home. Celebrate Earth Day this month by incorporating the following four green tips into the inside and outdoor characteristics of your home to create a more earth-friendly living environment.
Keep the Lights on with Solar Powered Energy
With 300+ days of sunshine per year, Colorado homes are excellent candidates for solar powered energy. Switching from carbon-based fuels to natural renewable energy sources like sunlight can lower your carbon footprint and energy bills, while adding value to your home when you decide to sell it. Tax credits are available for solar panel installations and several companies offer lease options to lower or eliminate the upfront costs associated with installing and maintaining solar panels on your home, making this green home feature good for the environment and your wallet.
Out with the Old, In with the New
Remember when your mom used to yell at you about closing all of the doors and windows because you weren’t heating the outside? Well, she was onto something, and it wasn’t just making your life more difficult. With Colorado’s frigid winters and below freezing temperatures, old single panel windows can be the single biggest source of heat loss in your home. Replacing your old windows with double or triple paned windows filled with argon gases will not only keep the cold air out of your cozy home in the winter, but also help reduce hot temperatures from seeping into your home during the blazing summer months. Switching to more durable, energy-efficient windows will reduce your family’s energy use year-round, while increasing your household’s yearly savings on heating and cooling costs.
Plant a Tree for a Shady, Oxygen-Rich Backyard
Trees not only enhance a property’s outdoor character and comfort, but they also are excellent natural resources to shield the strong Colorado sun from your yard’s flowers, grasses and greenery. Planting trees also are good for the environment by adding more oxygen to the earth’s atmosphere, as well as providing a food and shelter source for your neighborhood’s birds and squirrels. Enhance your neighborhood’s ecosystem by planting a tree in honor of Earth Day this year.
Xeriscape to Eliminate Maintenance and Resource Needs
Using drought-tolerant plants, mulch and rock features in your landscaping, coupled with efficient irrigation methods, can create an outdoor environment that is less maintenance intensive and uses fewer natural resources to maintain. If you have a large yard with abundant grass that is hard to keep alive during the water scarce Denver summers, you may want to consider replacing a patch of grass with a stone patio area that will take less water and time to preserve, while adding opportunities to host summer barbeques and neighborhood gatherings in the comfort of your earth-friendly backyard.
When you are ready to turn your green energy-efficient home into green Benjamin Franklins this summer, give the real estate experts at New Era Realty a call. Our experienced team can help you sell your current earth-friendly Denver home for the best price and find a new environmentally conscious home that fits your specific lifestyle and budget.
You know it’s springtime in the Rockies when the last flakes of snow for the season melt away, brightly colored tulips spring to the surface after a long, cold winter and chirping bird songs welcome you in the morning. Other sure signs that spring is in the air is when your to-do list is overflowing with home improvement and remodeling projects, especially if you are thinking about putting your home on the market this summer.
If you are in the market this spring for a major home remodel, or even just a makeover, you are not alone. An article in The Denver Post recently released results from the 2013 Remodeling Sentiment Report, which reported that homeowners are showing more confidence in pursuing their home remodeling projects than they have during the past three years and homeowners are planning on increasing their remodeling scopes and expenditures on projects this year. According to the article, homeowners surveyed for the industry report said that they are planning on remodeling 3.6 rooms this year (up from 2.6 in 2010) and spend an estimated $114,000 (up from an average of $80,000 in 2010). (1)
Whether the purpose of your spring remodeling projects is for your own personal enjoyment or to update your home for resale, it can quickly become overwhelming to figure out where to get started on these projects. To help ease the tension of getting started on this year’s remodeling projects, begin with the following five steps to spring your project into action.
Do a Walkthrough to Uncover Remodeling Clues
To get a real pulse on what needs to be done around your house, walk through your home from room to room and corner to corner to get a clear perspective on the type and amount of work that needs to be completed. Whether you are planning on selling your home this summer or not, it can be beneficial to walk through your home with a buyer’s cap on so you can pinpoint the areas in your home that will add more value and marketability for potential buyers when you’re eventually ready to sell.
Create a Master List
Write down all of the projects that you uncover during your walkthrough and organize their importance by prioritizing what projects need to be completed first and which ones can hold off until later in the season. Typically, structural remodels should take preference over cosmetic ones, especially if you are planning on selling your home this summer. The last thing you want to happen during the sale process is a stalled closing due to structural issues identified during the inspection process.
Find Good Contractors, Fair Prices
If you and/or your spouse are a handyman at heart, then you may choose to dig into your spring remodeling projects without the help of professional contractors. However, if you are like the majority of homeowners who don’t know the first thing about ripping out walls or installing new kitchen cabinets, then finding a good contractor/s who offers a fair price and agrees with you desired project completion timeframe is critical. You can start the process of weeding through potential contractors by searching reputable online contractor lists and asking for referrals from friends and family members. Plan to get at least three price quotes from each type of contractor you need to hire so you can feel comfortable with the price and experience of the contractors you choose.
Develop Realistic Plan for Smooth Project Success
To keep your remodeling projects on budget, on time and within the parameters that you and your family are comfortable with, it’s important to make a realistic project plan that works with and not against your family’s regular schedule. If you are doing a major remodel and have young kids in the house, you may want to stay with a friend or family member during the bulk of the project so that you don’t disrupt everyone’s schedules too much. You may also want to plan on starting a project around a slow time at work so you can be available for contractor consults, buying materials and unplanned emergencies that may come up throughout the project.
Get Started Before the Season Heats Up in Denver
Remodeling season is officially in full swing and is only bound to get more busy and hectic as the warm weather settles in and summer break begins. Even if you aren’t ready to get started on the actual remodeling work just yet, you still can get a jump on your project by lining out contractor interviews and creating a project plan that fits your schedule and lifestyle.
When you are ready to show off all of your remodeling hard work and reap the financial benefits of adding more value in your home, call the Denver real estate team at New Era Realty. Expert agents can help you get the best return on your investment when you’re ready to sell your remodeled Denver area home.
1 Remodeling is making a comeback, and the numbers are beautiful - The Denver Post
The broken record continues to play here at New Era Realty, but there is no better music to our ears than a robust local real estate market! It has officially been over a year since we saw the dramatic turn around in our market and we haven't looked back since. Denver continues to garner attention at the national level as investors near and far swarm the local market looking to cash in on the vast opportunities found here. Nationally home prices are increasing at pre-recession levels (Forbes) and Denver's are the highest they have been since the fall of 2007 (Denver Business Journal). Denver saw a year-over-year 9.2% gain which was higher than the average 8.1% gain other cities experienced.
Despite the overwhelmingly positive numbers, the lack of inventory in the local market is the biggest challenge we realtors are facing, along with our buyers. The number of active listings in the area fell below the 7,000 mark with only 6,786 homes and condos available for purchase. Consider that we have 78% LESS homes on the market than we did at the peak high during the summer of 2007. With over 6,500 properties going under contract (including pending listings) and almost 3,000 properties selling in February alone, properties are selling almost as quickly as they are listed. The number of properties under contract increased 21% from February 2012 and the number sold increased almost 19% from the same time last year. For many buyers, the window of opportunity to find an "affordable home" is closing rapidly and without some flexibility in price, location or other key requirements, that window may be closed for the foreseeable future. If you are one of these buyers, the time is to act NOW and to act QUICK!
If you are thinking about selling your home, my gut tells me that more and more homeowners will be listing their homes in the coming months. Now is the time to list and realize the maximum return on your investment. Avoid the inevitable competition that will hit once summer rolls around! Is your home currently worth $500K or less? There is a good chance it will sell in less than 3 months at most. If your home is under $300K it will likely sell in 45 days!
© 2013 Garold D Bauer, All Rights Reserved, Information Deemed Reliable
As always, we are up-to-date on the latest market happenings. Please don't hesitate to contact us whenever you or someone you know is considering buying or selling a home!
Spring is in the air! It is time to get out of hibernation. There are several outdoor events going on in April so let some sun shine on your face. Colorado Rockies Opening Day begins the first Friday of this month. April showers bring May flowers as we begin to see our grass turn green and the trees with new buds. Coloradans have always been conscious of the environment. Learn how to turn your home into an environmentally friendly space with sustainable services and products at the Earth Day Denver Fair.
Here's to Good Music, Good Food, and Good Health!
The outdoor concert series begins this month and will last through the end of September. Red Rocks Amphitheater, Fiddler's Green Amphitheater, and Denver Botanic Gardens have some great shows coming up this spring and summer. Doors Open Denver is a free event providing access to both historic and modern buildings around town. Spend a weekend in the mountains at one of these outdoor festivals: Taste of Vail, Taste of Estes, and Breckenridge Spring Beer Festival. If you happen to dine out on April 25th, make sure to visit one of these restaurants that sponsor Project Angel Heart Dining Out For Life that gives 25% of your tab towards this wonderful cause. Take control of your health by visiting the several 9HealthFair's around town this month. Bring your loved ones with you!
Support Your Denver Teams and Local Charity Events
Denver Nuggets are on fire and driving for a great play off seed this year. Colorado Rapids need your support this year. Denver Outlaws have their home opener the end of this month. First ever Rodeo All-Star Weekend will be held here in Denver. For all you avid runners or those who want to get the whole family, including Fido, involved with charity events, check out all of Colorado Races for A Cause this month.
Fort Collins will be hosting The Taste this month. Little Plates for Little People is a beautiful fundraising event to help promote Teaching Tree's school readiness program for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
We hope you enjoy our beautiful state this month!
It’s not just farmers and firefighters who are desperate for rain. This summer, the Denver Parks and Recreation Department is closing its athletic fields and delayed sending invoices for summer requests such as clinics and camps due to this winter’s extremely dry conditions. Denver Department of Parks and Rec kept all of its natural turf/grass athletic fields closed until March 18, and then permitted only baseball and softball fields for use by those associated leagues. All multi-purpose fields were just recently opened for all other sports leagues.
Protecting Denver Fields for Future Use
The system-wide closure and restrictions were imposed to protect the fields from damage. Preventing the high use of the fields under their current conditions will prevent significant closures later in the year. DPR will continue to monitor field conditions and adjust maintenance as needed.
“While this is our goal, the department has the right to extend/change the field closures if conditions do not improve or continue to deteriorate. We realize that this is an inconvenience for those of you who have been planning to start your 2013 seasons in the coming weeks. We can assure you that we are just as eager to begin the playing season, but we hope that you will understand our need to ensure the health and maintenance of our fields. The actions we take today to protect our playing fields will help ensure that they are in good playing condition for many seasons to follow.”
Follow Posted Signs to Avoid Violations
The Department of Recreation will post signs regarding closure information in the parks and at the fields. DPR staff and Park Rangers will also be monitoring Denver parks. If any organized practices or games occur during closures, they will be issued a citation. In both situations, they will be asked to leave the fields. Failure to comply could also lead to a $100 fine. Any damages could land you a summons to court. Any violation of posted closures or directives of the park manager is a fine of $100 and could mean a revoke of permits for organizations for the 2013 season.
If you have any questions regarding your league and the status of the fields, contact the DPR Facility Use Permit Office at 720-913-0700.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) recently announced plans to raise its monthly mortgage insurance, effective April 1, 2013. An overview of the proposed changes includes the following:
- The upcoming increase will be the fifth FHA increase to mortgage insurance premiums since 2009.
- The monthly mortgage insurance will be in effect for the life of the loan if the loan-to-value ratio exceeds 90 percent (which is the case on most FHA loans).
- If you put a 10 percent down payment on a home, the FHA will drop the mortgage insurance requirement to 11 years. Even with a down payment, you will still need to plan for paying mortgage insurance for at least the first 11 years of the loan.
So, what do all of these changes mean to you if you are in the market to buy a home in the Denver metro area this spring? Let’s take a look at how mortgage insurance affects your monthly mortgage payment and how qualified home buyers can take advantage of FHA loans to purchase their dream home.
The 411 on Mortgage Insurance
Many people, especially first-time home buyers, may not realize at first that there is more to buying a house than paying down the principal and interest of a loan. When figuring out how much your total monthly mortgage payment is going to be, you also need to consider the cost of monthly mortgage insurance, property taxes and home owner insurance. Typically, the less amount of down payment you put toward your home, the more likely it is that you will have to pay mortgage insurance. And, while the term may lead you to believe that you are insuring your mortgage, in reality mortgage insurance protects the bank that owns the mortgage from you. For instance, if you are ultimately unable to pay your loan back, mortgage insurance ensures that the bank gets paid off first for whatever you owe.
Calculating Your Total Mortgage Payment
When it’s all said and done, various taxes and charges each month can add up to 25 percent or more of what your mortgage payment is. For example, let’s say you buy a house in a Northwestern Denver suburb for $190,000 and you contribute a $15,000 down payment. If you get a 30-year fixed rate loan at 5.5 percent, your actual loan payment will be about $970 per month.
Even though you put some money down, you still will have to pay mortgage insurance, which could be around $90 per month. Homeowner’s insurance will be another $90, and property taxes can translate to another $100 per month. So, the initial $970 monthly now becomes $1,250 a month – a 28 percent increase from the simple monthly principle and interest payment. As you calculate what buying a home costs, you will find various online mortgage calculators that can help you figure out what your payment will be. If they aren’t factoring all of the expenses mentioned above, you will need to add approximately 25-30 percent to the amount of your home loan to get a good idea of what the monthly cost of buying a home will really be.
Advantages of an FHA Loan
An FHA loan is just one of many options that home buyers can choose from to finance their homes. An FHA insured mortgage may be used to purchase or refinance a new or existing 1-4 family home, a condominium unit or a manufactured housing unit. The two biggest advantages to using an FHA loan to finance your home is that these types of loans typically offer lower down payments than conventional loans and they can offer easier terms to qualify for a loan if you don’t have a high credit score or have experienced any past financial hardships.
But, even with these advantages, it’s important to take into consideration the mortgage insurance terms of an FHA loan, especially with the new changes that will take effect starting on April 1. As with any loan, it also is important to include all of the other costs associated with a mortgage when calculating how much of a house you can truly afford.
If you are ready to make an offer on your dream Denver area home this spring, make sure to consult a seasoned mortgage professional, as well as an expert real estate agent, who can help you find the right home and mortgage to fit your personal and financial lifestyle. Contact New Era Realty, your Denver metro real estate experts, today to get started.
Ants, bedbugs, bees, centipedes; earwigs, fleas, flies, hornets; mice, mosquitoes, roaches, rats; bats, ticks, spiders, termites; foxes, coyotes, raccoons, squirrels and oh, my bears and lions too? Spring is near and so are the home invaders. As it warms and trees bloom, bees, wasps, spiders and ants become active. While it is your home’s structural integrity being invaded, the bigger issues are your family’s health.
Insects and Repellents
For the most part, pests are not a do-it-yourself kind of task. While getting rid of one bee in the home is fair gaming, you don’t want to stir up a hornet’s nest.
“Over the counter products aren’t potent enough and won’t solve your insect problems,” said Randi Stephens from Enviropest Wildlife Removal.
In Colorado, spiders may pose a more serious danger. Colorado is home to the black widow, the very aggressive and harmful recluse and hobo spiders whose bites can cause serious cellular damage and possibly serious infections.
Many Vertebrates call Colorado Home
With spring comes love which leads to animals seeking shelters for their broods. While squirrels and raccoons look for holes in the roofing to make nests in your attics, foxes, coyotes and skunks may be prowling under your decks for a cozy dry home.
If you’re crafty enough to catch a squirrel, you might not realize you’ve left their young behind. As the starving babies move about in your attic looking for their mother, they may fall between your walls leaving serious health issues. And you most definitely don’t want to corner a mother raccoon.
“Don’t come into contact with wildlife without safety equipment,” said Ms. Stephens, “especially if they have babies. Raccoons are very protective of their young.”
If you do encounter a coyote, fox or mountain lion, call the Department of Wildlife. In many cases, these animals are protected; you may serve jail time and pay hefty fines if you relocate an animal illegally or kill them.
As March ends, the little brown bat leaves Texas for its migration north into Colorado. Last year’s abnormally high bat count was caused by a very mild winter. Bats pose their own unique issues. They of course carry rabies, but also, in the fall, can leave behind bat bugs, which are similar to bed bugs. More dangerous is that bat guano can cause histoplasmosis, a respiratory fungal disease transmitted as spores.
Anticipate and Dissipate
Most home owner’s insurance cover bats and raccoons, but not termites. The best solution is to have your house inspected yearly. Be vigilant.
“Do a home check,” said Ms. Stephens. “Check for vulnerable areas; that soffit junctions on roofs are not weak. Check shingles for winter damage that may have occurred during winter storms so that raccoons and squirrels don’t crawl through to the attic; that no long gaps or cracks are at the foot of doors for insect to crawl through.
With so many invaders of all sizes and various dangers, it’s no wonder that pest control is among the fastest growing occupations.
The clocks have moved forward by an hour, you get to start enjoying one more hour of Rocky Mountain daylight in the evenings and your sights are set on sunny spring break destinations. But before the last of the Colorado March snow melts away and you jet set to your favorite spring break beach at the end of the month, it’s time to spring forward with planning your home remodeling and improvement projects.
If the recent snowstorms are leaving you feeling unmotivated and unable to focus on marching forward with your home’s spring projects, take a look at the recent results from the Remodeling 2013 Cost vs. Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com), which will help shed some light on which home improvement projects can provide the best return on your investment. The top five remodeling projects from the report for the Denver area that can give you more bang for your buck include:
- Deck Addition (72-81% Cost Recouped)
- Window Replacement (76-77% Cost Recouped)
- Garage Door Replacement (74.8% Cost Recouped)
- Basement Remodel (74.3% Cost Recouped)
- Minor Kitchen Remodel (74.1% Cost Recouped)
To help you get a spring in your step toward moving forward with updating your home and growing its value, check out the following five initial steps for starting a home improvement project this spring.
Step One: Get Inspired at the Denver Home Show
Expert and celebrity home project motivation and inspiration will take over Denver as the Home Show comes to town on March 15-17 at the National Western Complex. From strolling through Garden of Excellence displays for outdoor project inspiration to visiting one-on-one with expert interior designers in the industry and meeting celebrity guests from the DIY Network, you will experience many unique first-hand encounters during the show that will prepare and stimulate you to tackle your spring home improvement project list this year.
Step Two: Gather Various Price Quotes
Before starting any home improvement project, it’s always important to go through the process of getting three or four price quotes (labor and materials) for the job. If you don’t know of any appropriate contractors for the project, ask friends/families for referrals, search online contractor directories that typically review contractors before adding them to their lists, and follow up with any exhibitors that you enjoyed meeting at the Denver Home Show.
Step Three: Research Project Details
Whether you are planning on doing a home project on your own or hiring a contractor to do some or all of the work, it’s important to understand the details associated with the project and the various components/steps for completion. Search online, read home improvement magazines and talk with friends/family members who have gone through remodeling projects like yours to glean as much information (positive and negative) as possible from their experiences. Being a knowledgeable consumer will allow you to communicate more effectively with contractors, get better deals on materials and ultimately finish your projects with all of your desired features and functionality.
Step Four: Schedule the Home Improvement Project Appropriately
Depending on the size of your remodeling project and how much of your living space it will affect, you will want to schedule the completion of your projects around your family’s work/school schedules. If you’re planning on tacking the projects on your own, then scheduling the project during spring break may be a good idea if you’re planning on staying home anyway. If you opt for hiring contractors to do the work and the space affects a lot of your family’s main living area, then it may be easier to move your household to a friend’s or family’s home during the project, especially if the friend or family member is away for spring break and needs someone to watch their home while they are away.
Step Five: Enjoy Sprucing Up Your Home
Taking the first steps to starting your spring home improvement projects can be daunting at first, but if you just take it one step at a time, you will be well on your way toward springing forward to enjoying a newly updated home. All of the hard work will pay off this summer as you enjoy hosting barbecues on your newly remodeled deck or next winter as you stay nicely warm and toasty with new wind- and weather-proof windows. Regardless of the home projects on your list this spring, the improvements you make today can also pay off when you are ready to sell your home down the road.
For more guidelines and information on what home improvements are most important to home buyers in the Denver metro area, contact the real estate experts at New Era Realty today.