6 REASONS WHY IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BUY

The housing market is looking healthier. Here are six reasons why now is the time to jump into the market.

1. Uncle Sam is willing to help. First-time buyers (defined as anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the last three years) are entitled to a maximum $8,000 tax credit; interest rates are at record lows; and the Federal Reserve is doing its best to make mortgage loans available.

2. People have to live somewhere. About 800,000 new households are formed each year in this country, ensuring that the housing market will tighten, even if the economy doesn’t soar.

3. Borrowers leverage their investment. If you put $10,000 into the stock market and it earns 10 percent, you’ve earned $1,000. If you put $10,000 down on a home and its values increases 10 percent, you’ve made $10,000.

4. When prices come back up, you’ll have instant equity. In parts of the country where foreclosures have driven down prices, better times will mean the price of the home you buy will rise rapidly.

5. Mortgage costs stay the same. If you get a fixed-rate mortgage, the monthly payment stays the same – while everything else, including rent, goes upward.

6. You own it. There is something comforting in the notion that your home is your own. You can paint it any color you want, let the dog run in the back yard and hang a swing for the kids in the front.

BUYING FORECLOSURES AT THE AUCTION

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Buying foreclosures from the County Courthouse steps is a lucrative and exciting full time business. Some of the wealthiest men in Colorado made their fortunes at these foreclosure sales. You must know 4 key things before you EVER attempt to make a purchase at one of these foreclosures auctions.

1. Take careful notes of the condition of the home the day before or two days before the foreclosures sale date. A lot can happen to an empty foreclosure home over time. It may not be in the same condition when it finally goes up for a foreclosure sale.

2. Make sure to pull a title report on the foreclosure sale property weeks before the auction. You need to know what loans and liens are placed against the property. Many of these liens will be wiped out at the foreclosures sale, but MANY will not. And probably most importantly, the position (rank) of the lender that you are paying off in the auction dictates which loans and liens will be wiped off and which will not. Knowing the position that you are buying into is critical. Conducting a title search beforehand will help you determine that position and the risk involved in buying the property. Many title companies will do a semi title search for you for FREE if you promise them your business in the future.

3. Foreclosure sales are a place of great competition at times. You must know your top number BEFORE you walk into the foreclosure sale. This number should take into account the cost of the repairs (that you double checked yesterday!), the cost of holding the property, and your expected sales price. DO NOT BID OVER YOUR TOP NUMBER! It can be easy to get caught up in a competition with another bidder. Do not get emotional. Walk away when the bidding has gone over your number.

4. Keep information on foreclosure sales that get postponed on the day that they were supposed to go to auction. Bankruptcies, seller negotiations, family issues, and lender leniency can all cause a foreclosure sale to be postponed. Track these homes and the new date that the sale has been postponed to. Other investors may not keep this information and will be caught off guard when the new future sale date arrives. That is one less investor competing against you for that foreclosure sale. Sometimes that is all it takes.

BIGGEST REAL ESTATE MISTAKES

1. Buying a House for its Decor: Remember that you are buying the house, not the stuff inside of it, so make sure you see beyond the decorations and look at the bones of the home. Focus on the floor plan and the square footage. You also might want to measure the dimensions and graph out how that’s going to work with your current belongings.

2. Not Providing Easy Access for Showings: Make your house easily accessible to potential buyers. If there’s nowhere to park or it’s difficult to get into, buyers may just skip it and look at someone else’s property instead.

3. Not Researching the Neighborhood: It’s absolutely critical that you research the neighborhood before you buy. Check out the area, amenities and the school system to be sure that your address corresponds with the correct school district. Also attend a community meeting, if possible. You’re not just buying a house, you’re buying a piece of that real estate and the land around it.

4. Losing Money With Auctions: While the starting bidding price for a house on auction might be a good deal, it doesn’t mean the final price will be. Make sure that you are very strict with your budget when you are bidding—do not go over your final price because you got wrapped up in the excitement of a bidding war. Another thing to keep in mind is that when you buy a property at auction, you aren’t able to get any of the warrantees or guarantees, and you are not able to do a home inspection. Find out if the auctioneer is going to put those charges on top of the sale price as well as if there are any liens on the property. You could be responsible for paying the property taxes on that house you just bought, which could make what looks like a good deal into a really bad deal.

5. Trying to Make the “Hard Sell” While Showing: If you are selling your house, you really shouldn’t be around at the open house. You might want to try and sell the place on all the reasons you think the house is great, but that might not translate to the buyer. If you leave, you allow the buyers to really give unbiased objective feedback to the agent, which is only going to help you in the end.

6. Waiting Until Spring to Sell Your House: Spring is the time of heaviest real estate activity, but that does not mean that people don’t buy houses 365 days of the year. That doesn’t mean you can’t emphasize your home’s seasonal amenities. You don’t have to wait until the weather is nice to put your home on the market. That’s a common real estate myth.

7. Treating Real Estate Like the Stock Market: When the real estate market is really hot and is appreciating really fast, people tend to look at it like it’s the stock market. But playing real estate is nothing like the stock market—when you invest in real estate, you really need to take a long-term approach.

8. Failing to Market Your Home in Different Ways: Don’t market your home with just a for-sale sign. Explore other marketing tools as well. Talk to your real estate agent about the marketing that they will do. It’s something that should be set up from the initial signing of a contract with an agent. Some homes have virtual tours and photographs online. If you choose to go that route, don’t forget to include the floor plans. That way, people can see the layout of your home and know that if it it’s right for them.

9. Not Thinking About Resale: When you are decorating and renovating your home, you need to think about what is going to appeal to a broad section of buyers when it comes time to sell it. Buying houses and being in the real estate market is like chess, you always want to look two or three steps ahead in the game.

10. Buying Without Actually Seeing the Property: It’s really easy to buy a house without seeing it because of the Internet and virtual tours, but virtual tours can be deceiving. Plus, it’s really hard to actually get a sense and feel of a home by only looking at it online. You need to actually walk through the place yourself. If that’s just not possible, hire an inspector to go look at the property and provide you with an assessment.

11. Trusting Everything a Real Estate Advertisement Says: Don’t assume every ad is fact. Learn to decipher real estate lingo. For example, cozy means small, and as-is means it’s a fixer-upper. If there are a lot of exclamation points in an ad, it means they are there just to take up room because there is so little to say about the place. Follow the old adage: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

12. Picking the Wrong Agent: Treat meetings with agents like a job interview because that’s really how it works—that person is going to be working for you. Talk to your friends who’ve sold houses and had a good experience with their agent, and go to open houses and observe how that agent interacts with other people. It’s also a good idea to meet with the agent in their office. It allows you to see how organized they are, what kind of environment they work in, and whether that’s conducive for them being able to do a good job for you.

13. Not Hiring an Agent: There’s a lot more to selling a house than just putting a sign on the front lawn. If you don’t have an agent, you will not get on the multiple-listing service (MLS). That means that other agents are not going to know that your property is for sale. Another thing to consider is if you are willing to show the house each time someone wants to come by and look at it? If you do plan to sell your house on your own, always have a lawyer present at a closing. It’s really important to have someone on your side who understands all the complexities.

14. Buying the Most Expensive Home on the Block: The most expensive house will only depreciate in value over time, rather than appreciate, which is what you want. Also, those houses are often not the first house to sell because they are usually overbuilt to the neighborhood. It’s absolutely critical that you research the neighborhood before you buy to find out what the price point should be.

15. Not Setting a Realistic Budget: Just because the bank pre-qualifies you for a loan amount of $400,000 doesn’t mean you can afford to make that payment every month. Before hitting the streets for a house hunt, you should sit down and make a monthly budget of what you spend every month. Come up with a number that you are comfortable spending on your mortgage payment, aside from those other expenditures. An easy way to do this is to take a third of your gross income and have that figure be the number you spend on the house. It is also a good idea to have six to nine months of mortgage payments in the bank, plus a little extra if you have any repairs that you might need to do.

16. Visiting the House Only Once: It’s important to visit a house more than once because the neighborhood itself may be very different, depending on the day of the week and the time of day. It’s also a good idea to go home and think about it, even sleep on it, before you go back again.

17. Not Being Pro-Active at Closing: The best thing to do when going into a closing is to get all the paperwork ahead of time. All that information should come from a mortgage broker or banker. They have what they call a HUD (Housing and Urban Development) One form that lists out all the charges, and you can legally get it in your hands 24 hours before closing. Schedule the closing for in the morning, so you have a fresh mind and plenty of time to go over everything and ask questions. The final walk-through is another imperative part of the process. You may want to have a home inspector accompany you.

18. Doing Major Renovations/Remodeling Before Selling: Minor upgrades usually have a higher return on your money than tackling major renovations before placing a home on the market. The main reason? Huge construction projects always cost more than you think they will, and they also take longer than you expect. The best place to spend money is outside. Research shows that increasing the curb appeal often returns the most value on your money. It’s what gets buyers inside the house, after all. Don’t feel like you have to tackle major renovations before placing your home on the market. Just touch-ups here and there—especially outside the home—typically do the trick.

19. Skipping the Loan Pre-Approval Step: When you are pre-approved, the bank is saying, “We will give you a mortgage of up to this amount, so now all you have to do is find your home.” Some sellers only allow Realtors to show their house if someone has a pre-approved letter. That indicates that the shopper really is serious about buying a home.

20. Falling in Love With the First Property You See: Many homebuyers, particularly first time homebuyers, fall into the trap of falling in love with the very first house that they see. You need to at least look at three more houses in the area to get an idea of what the comparables are in that price range. You want your realtor now to show you homes comparable to what you saw. At the end of the day, re-evaluate.

21. Buying a Home Without a Professional Inspection: There are a lot of things a home inspection can reveal about a property that are not visible to the naked eye. Be sure to hire someone that comes with a good referral basis, that’s been in the business a while and knows what to look for. Look up the American Society of Home Inspectors and get a list of qualified home inspectors in your area. Once you find an inspector, insist that they compile a written report, complete with photos. Photographs are important because there are areas a home inspector will go that you might not look at. Be sure to hire a home inspector to thoroughly check out a house you are interested in purchasing.

22. Overlooking the Extra and Hidden Costs: Buying a home is not just about the money that you spend up front; it’s about all the rest of the money you have to spend beyond that. Find out what the property taxes are, what your water bill might be and what a standard electric bill is in that home, especially if you have electric heat vs. gas heat. You also need to factor in furnishings you may need to purchase before you can move in.

23. Buying What You Want, Not What You Need: Look at the space that you are already living in. It will help you to realize what you have been missing and what you need in your next home. Make a list those of needs and then ask your agent to start shopping these needs. On average, Americans live in a house for about nine years. Remember, you can always trade up a few times before you find the ultimate home.

24. Setting Too High of a Sale Price: As a seller it’s really important to do your research, and in order to come up with your sale price, look up what comparable homes in your neighborhood have sold for. Figure out what the going price is and try to put yours right in the middle of that, unless you have something extra special to offer. It is always better to price a home sharply than to start too high and have to reduce. Once you reduce, it always looks like something is wrong with the home.

25. Failing to Showcase Your Home and Make Small Cosmetic Changes: When you are selling your house, you have to really look at it objectively and think about it from the viewpoint of the house hunter. Make minor enhancements to the house and maybe hire a professional stager to come and arrange your furniture. Staging is about decorating your house for the buyers’ taste, not yours. A great place to start is with the front of the home and the main entryway. Home staging is designed to increase the potential selling price and reduce the amount of time the house stays on the market.

 

Our Holiday Favorites!!!

Happy Holidays from King Real Estate Group!

In the spirit of the holiday season we wanted to share a couple of our favorite holiday recipes with you!

Ginger Snap Cocktail

I got this yummy Ginger Snap Cocktail recipe from the food network and thought I would share. www.foodnetwork.com

 

Ingredients

ginger snap drink

 

  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce ginger liqueur, such as Domaine de Canton
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon agave syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Pinch grated nutmeg
  • Ice
  • Cinnamon stick, for garnish

 

Directions

Shake all together the vodka, ginger liqueur, lemon juice, agave syrup, grated ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Reindeer Cookie Ball Pops

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I got this yummy recipe for Reindeer Cookie Ball Pops from http://www.kraftrecipes.com.

Kraft Recipe Ingredients

1 pkg.  (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened

40 NABISCO Ginger Snaps, finely crushed (about 2-1/4 cups)

4 pkg.  (4 oz. each) BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, broken into pieces, melted

1-1/4 cups  candy-coated chocolate pieces

1 cup  small pretzel twists, broken into pieces

 

Kraft Recipie Directions

MIX cream cheese and ginger snap crumbs until well blended.

SHAPE into 30 (1-inch) balls; place in single layer in shallow pan. Freeze 10 min. Dip balls in chocolate; place in single layer in waxed paper-lined pan. Insert lollipop stick into each ball. Decorate with candies and pretzels as shown in photo.

REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm. Keep refrigerated.

Do you have a favorite holiday recipe? We loved to know! Please share it with us in the comment section of our blog!

About Us:  

King Real Estate Group is an independent real estate company located in Greenwood Village, CO. We offer a local Buyer’s and  expert listing service in the Colorado Front Range. Our marketing, tracking and buyer assistance programs are the best in the business.

If you are interested in selling your current house or need help finding your dream home contact King Real Estate Group. King Real Estate Group offers their clients professional, knowledgeable, and innovative real estate services.   For more information about real estate trends visit our website at: KingRealEstateGroup 

How to Prepare Your “Home For Sale”

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What more could you want than to get your home sold for top dollar in short order without any hassles? If you take a moment and read through the following suggestions before you put your property on the market, you will be on your way to a successful sale.

 

Drive-up Appeal

Trim trees and shrubs, clean out flower beds and invest in a few flats of colorful flowers, paint the front door, make sure doorbell is working properly, wash the mailbox, keep the porch swept and get an attractive mat for people to wipe their feet.

 

Absolute Basics

  • §  Start by airing out the home. Most people are turned off by even the smallest odor. Odors must be eliminated, especially if you have dogs, cats or young children in diapers or if you are a smoker.
  • §  Wash all the windows in the house, inside and out.
  • §  If it has been over a year since the carpets have been cleaned, now is the time to do it. Bare floors should also be waxed or polished.
  • §  Put bright light bulbs in every socket made for a bulb. Buyers like bright and cheery homes.
  • §  Clean out closets, cabinets and drawers. Closets should look as if they have enough room to hold additional items. Get everything off the floor and don’t have the shelves piled to the ceiling.
  • §  Make sure there is not too much furniture in a room. Select pieces that look best, and put others in the garage or storage.
  • §  Go over the kitchen like a health inspector. Clean the oven, range (new drip pans) and the seal of the dishwasher door.
  • §  Bathtubs, showers and sinks should be freshly caulked. The grout should be clean and in good condition. There should be no leaks in the faucets or traps.

 

A Few Unrelated Suggestions

  • §  If you have limited counter space in the kitchen, keep unnecessary items put away.
  • §  Keep children’s toys out of the front yard, sidewalks and front porch.
  • §  Recognize the difference between decorator touches and clutter or sterility.
  • §  Clean the ashes out of the fireplace.
  • §  Make sure that the pull-down staircase is working correctly. Be sure there is a light in the attic.
  • §  The pool needs to be sparkling and free of leaves.

 

For those Willing To Go the Extra Mile

  • §  There are some things you can do that will add flair to your home. If your home is the least bit dated, you may want to replace wallpaper in the entry, kitchen and bathrooms and consider replacing outdated light fixtures.
  • §  Fresh paint on interior and/or exterior where needed.
  • §  New appliances in the kitchen can be an exciting feature that can actually make the difference in a buyer choosing your home over another.

 

Showing Your Home

  • §  When you leave the house in the morning or during the day, leave it as if you know it is going to be shown.
  • §  Turn off the radio or television. Leave soft music playing.
  • §  Keep pets out of the way—preferably out of the house. Many people are acutely uncomfortable around some animals and may even be allergic to them.
  • §  Leave your premises. Take a short break while your home is being shown. Buyers are intimidated when sellers are present and tend to hurry through the house. Let the buyer be at ease, and let the agents do their job.

 

Finding Your Ideal Neighborhood

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If you’re in the market for a home this year, look beyond its’ four walls and directly at your neighbors. Thoroughly check out a prospective neighborhood before plunking down hundreds of thousands of your hard-earned dollars. If you want to get the real dirt on your neighborhood, you’re going to have to do some digging. So dust off your trench coat and dark glasses, and get ready to go on a sleuthing expedition.

1. Contact the community association for the neighborhood you are considering. Often, it publishes newsletters, holds meetings, or sponsors community activities, all of which hold potentially useful bits of information about your neighborhood.

2. Subscribe to the local paper or call and ask for a sample of back issues.

3. Locate the community hang-outs. Is there a neighborhood pool or community center? If so, try and visit so you can get a sense of who lives in the area and whether there is a strong community feel.

4. Look for sidewalks. For some, living in a part of the neighborhood with no sidewalks means many things: not as many walks (and therefore don’t meet and greet the neighbors), young kids have fewer safe places to ride their bikes, and it seems to prevent other folks from walking much, too.

5. Visit the neighborhood at different times of the day and at least once on a weekend rather than a weekday. Are most of the folks working out of the home? Is the neighborhood composed of retirees? Are there loads of school-aged children? Are there many young mothers with babies and toddlers?

6. Study a map of your neighborhood to see the proximity of parks, libraries, the nearest hospital, and other amenities. Likewise, try driving different routes to the home so you can see the good, the bad, and the ugly in the surrounding area.

7. Arrange a visit to the school your children would attend, check out the school’s test scores, and find out how many veteran teachers are on staff.

8. Talk to the neighbors and ask them very specific questions. For example, you may want to ask about their perceptions of crime, location, noise, traffic, and community feeling. Is the neighborhood changing? If so, how?

9. Head down to city hall to check on issues with zoning or find out about any projects in the works. You should be able to find out if there are any major road or construction projects planned for the next few years.

10. Pump your real estate agent for information. How long do homes in this area stay on the market? What’s their resale potential?

11. Check your town or city’s website for real estate tax assessment information. By looking at our local real estate tax office website, I can see the value of the assessment, how much of that total is land versus the structure, how the assessor rated the structure’s condition, and recent home sales in the area.

12. Head to the nearest police station to ask for crime rate information. Be sure to ask about the typical response time for emergencies.

13. Check the national registry for sex offenders. Once you’ve gathered as much information as you can, review it. Does the neighborhood seem to meet your needs? Did you find any information that’s a deal breaker? Can you picture yourself living here happily? Be as picky as you can afford to be; no returns or exchanges are offered on neighborhoods.