Zillow recently reported that the number of applications denied for a mortgage has declined between 2014 and 2015. After the mortgage crisis, many people were being denied for a mortgage despite having relatively good credit and a steady income. Those who were approved were put through the ringer – banks required an endless amount of paperwork and buyers had to watch every penny they received or spent so as not to raise red flags. Seeing lenders loosen their purse strings ever-so-slightly is a great indication for those who are ready to get into the housing market.
Zillow reported that in 2013, 12.4% of people who applied for a conventional home loan were denied where as in 2014, only 11.2% were denied. Those numbers are even better for those seeking a FHA loan. Only 16.6% were denied in 2014 which is down almost 4.6% from the previous year. On top of that, interest rates are historically low which makes home buying even more affordable.
Improving your credit is always the first thing to consider when applying for a home loan, but improving your debt to income ratio is also important. If you have a car that you are pretty close to paying off, it may be hugely beneficial to pay your car off early before you go to the bank to determine what you qualify for. That will greatly improve your ability to borrow as you will improve your debt to income ratio. If you are not sure if you qualify, there is no harm in going to a bank and asking to get pre-approved. Its great to get a baseline and know what you qualify for and what you can do to increase your borrowing amount. It is highly helpful to be pre-approved.
Realtor.com narrows down 9 helpful tips for a successful Open House, including something as simple as “white-ing out” your bathroom by using clean simple white towels. Celeste Perron outlines these 9 tried and true tips.
Open House Hacks: 9 Tips for Staging Your Home to Sell
Whipping your place into its most marketable shape might land you abuyer with a dream offer. And it might all spring from a terrific open house—the kind where every attendee is entranced, the hors d’oeuvres are delicious, and nothing remotely goes wrong.
You don’t have to hire a pro home stager and rent all new furniture to get the look buyers love. We asked agents and home staging experts for their secret staging hacks. Here are nine little moves that have a great impact for minimal effort or money.
1. Strip the windows
“Light and bright is what sells,” says Randy Wine, a real estate agent in Rutherford, NJ. So pack away your curtains. “They might be beautiful, but they’ll darken and date the room. You can leave the sheers, but take down the drapes.”
Pull the blinds all the way up. “If blinds are left in the down but open position, that can reduce light by 50% over the course of the day,” says Justin M. Riordan, founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency in Portland, OR. And make sure your windows are sparkling clean; they let in more light and just look nicer, too.
2. White-out the bathroom
Just as hotels use white items to reinforce the idea that they’re clean, white in the bathroom makes things look fresh and new.
“Even if you can’t replace cabinets or countertops, at least purchase fresh white towels,” says Sheila Schostok of Your Home Matters Staging & Redesign in Lake County, IL. And add a white shower curtain, white soap dish, and new white bathmat (though, if your bathroom floor is a selling point, skip the bathmat).
3. Update kitchen fixtures
You don’t need to replace the countertops or even paint to give your kitchen an update. The solution is simpler and cheaper.
“Replacing an old light fixture with a nice modern one from Home Depot can do a lot to improve the look of your kitchen,” says Wine.
If your drawer pulls and cabinet knobs look dated, swap them out for the style and finish that’s most sought-after in your area, whether that’s brushed nickel or polished brass—ask your broker what’s hot.
4. Flip every switch
Lighting up the house by turning on every lamp and overhead light will make prospective buyers confident that you have nothing to hide. Remember, you’re not trying to create “atmosphere” like you would at a dinner party—you’re showcasing a product for sale. Place floor lamps in dark corners. “An inexpensive, high-intensity floor lamp directed at the ceiling can do a lot to make a room look bigger and brighter,” says Wine.
5. Replace wall art with mirrors
Whether your walls feature fine art or family photos, swap those personal pieces out for a large mirror on one or two key walls. Since people’s taste in art varies a lot, you should hide prominent paintings or art photographs unless you are confident they have broad appeal.
“Mirrors have the advantage of maximizing light to make rooms look bigger and brighter,” says Wine. If you have a nice backyard, try placing a mirror on the wall across from the window that looks out on the yard, so the greenery will be reflected and visible from multiple angles in the room.
6. Roll up rugs
Hardwood floors are a major selling point for most buyers, and a rug that’s even slightly stained or tattered is a turn-off. So don’t hide wood floors, unless they’re a mess or your rugs are classic and pristine. Always remove area rugs from your kitchen, because the room will feel cleaner and more spacious without them.
7. Swap out lampshades
To make a room look more light, clean, and modern, replace any old lampshades for new white drum shades, which are cheap and readily available at Ikea and Target.
8. Set the table
Elaborate table settings can have an overly staged look, but if your dining room table has seen better days or the room could use some livening up, set the table with simple modern place settings from CB2 or Bed Bath & Beyond. Go for modern white plates, sleek stainless-steel cutlery, and stemless wine glasses atop neutral-hued place mats or a tablecloth. If the room could use a touch of color, add vibrant napkins.
9. Add a metallic accent
Making a room look more luxurious and contemporary is as easy as adding a metallic accessory or two—like a silver leather throw pillow, a bronze side table or garden stool, or a copper tray.
“Metallics add visual appeal, but they’re less controversial than color,” says Wine. “They’re like glamorous neutrals.”
The Zillow.com blog outlines 5 tips fo First-Time Home Sellers. Brendon DeSimone shares of the key things to consider as you decide to sell your home.
5 Tips for First-Time Home Sellers
Selling a home is nothing like buying one. Whether you’ve been in the home for four years or 40, first-time sellers need to consider some important points before getting started.
You need the right agent
Unless you’re offering the home For Sale by Owner, you will need to sign an agreement with a real estate agent and their brokerage. You’ll also have to pay a commission. Because the agreement contractually ties you to your agent for three to six months, choosing the right one is more important this time around. Unlike when you were a buyer, you can’t simply come in and out of the market.
You’ve got to be ready to sell
In the Internet age, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Information flows more quickly than ever. If you list your home at an unrealistic price or not in the best condition, the number of days on market (or DOM) will add up — and could come back to bite you later.
Sellers who resist their agents’ pricing suggestions may not be emotionally ready to separate from their home. By overpricing it, they will self-sabotage the sale. It’s better not to list your home than to “try” at a high price or in bad condition.
DOM factors into buyers’ offers
A typical buyer looking at a listing will first notice the price and size. They will then scroll through the photos and look at the listing history. If a home has been on the market more than three months, they may think there is something wrong with it.
Or, what’s worse, when you do get serious and adjust your price or condition to what it’s really worth, buyers will penalize you for it by offering even less.
You’ll never interface with the brokerage — only your agent
The agent you choose matters more than the brokerage, although you should consider both. If you list your home with Suzy at XYZ Brokerage, Suzy will be your only contact with the company.
Agents are independent contractors who choose to hang their license with a company whose brand and culture match their business. While a well-known or large brokerage is an important consideration for listing, if your agent is successful and someone you trust, they will do a good job no matter the brokerage.
If you get an offer, you have to move soon
Once you get an acceptable offer from a buyer and you sign the contract, the clock starts ticking toward your closing. Many sellers underestimate the amount of time it can take to list, sell and close on a home. Know your market before you list, and put a plan in place for where you’ll move when your home sells. If your market moves quickly and your agent expects the home to sell within a few weeks, it might be better to wait.
The best advice for first-time sellers is not to sell until you are ready. Have a plan, know where you are going, and work with a great local agent early on. You should do what it takes to present your home in its best light and price it right.
Selling a home can be very stressful and emotional. Add on top of that packing and moving, and it’s a lot to deal with for anyone. Be sure you’re prepared before you start the process.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.
Did you know it is cheaper to own than to rent in more than three-quarters of the counties in the United States? Realtor.com’sJonathan Smokeexplains why now is the time to buy if you can, and how in doing so you can not only get the best deal, but also save money in the long run.
After all, when people have jobs they can break off and form new households—ditching the roommates behind or finally moving out of Mom and Dad’s basement—and that’s what fundamentally drives home purchases.
Most of the households created over the past two years have been renting households, but based on U.S. Census data for the third quarter of this year, it appears that homeownership has started to recover.
This especially makes sense now that it is cheaper to own than rent in more than three-quarters of the counties in the U.S. And it’s not getting better— rents are rising year over year at twice the pace of listing prices. Meanwhile, mortgage rates remain at near record lows but appear poised to increase over the next year. And home prices are rising, too.
So if you qualify for a mortgage and have the funds for a down payment and closing costs—and if you intend to live in a home long enough to cover the transaction costs of buying and selling—you will be better off financially if you buy as soon as you can. After all, if you are tired of your current home now, you won’t feel better about it in six months.
The top factors driving home shoppers this summer were pent-up demand and recognition of favorable mortgage rates and home prices. These drivers will likely remain well into next year.
Yet demand for housing is extremely seasonal. In most markets in the country, we are conditioned to believe that we should buy homes in the spring and summer. So come each October, plans to purchase shift to the spring. While the school calendar and weather do influence the ideal time to move, many buyers would benefit from buying this fall and winter rather than waiting until next spring.
In October, the percentage of would-be buyers on realtor.com® saying that they intend to buy in seven to 12 months was the highest it has been all year and represented the largest time frame for purchase. Likewise, October produced the lowest percentage of would-be buyers saying they intend to buy in the next three months.
In other words, people’s stated plans point to a very strong spring for home sales. Great, right? But here’s the problem: Inventory isn’t likely to be higher in March and April than it is now. And while inventory should grow in late spring and into summer, it won’t grow as fast as the seasonal demand.
So, if you are ready, consider getting in the market now instead of early spring. You will have more choices and less competition, and you can lock in today’s rates rather than risk rates being 25 to 50 basis points higher. (A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.)
A 50 basis-point increase in rates (for example, from 4.05% to 4.55%) would cause monthly payments to be 6% higher. And that increase would not only affect your monthly cash flow but could also affect your ability to qualify.
So if you are considering buying a home this spring, it’s worth exploring the inventory now and reaching out to a local Realtor®. A new home could be the best gift you give yourself and your family this holiday season.
Regular maintenance on your home is important to keep up with on a consistent basis. It not only protects your home, but also when it comes time to sell it, it shows potential buyers that your home has been well-maintained and makes a lasting impression.
Quick Bathroom Tip:
One of the simplest things you can do is re-caulk your bathroom vanities, sinks, showers, toilets and trim on a yearly to bi-yearly basis. The caulk in your bathroom is quick to wear out because of it’s daily use. It is important to help prevent water from penetrating the cracks in your shower and causing mold.
It is a simple project, all you need is a caulk gun, matching caulk and a razor blade or paint scraper. All of these can be picked up at your local home improvement store. To keep caulk looking good and working properly, its important to scrape the old caulk off first with a razor blade or paint scraper. This is time consuming, however, it is a very important step. Putting layer on top of layer not only makes it look bad, but also reduces the effectiveness. You can be pretty aggressive when you are scraping the old caulk off, don’t worry about removing a small amount of grout in the process.
Once you have removed the old caulking, make sure that the surface is clean and dry. The next step is to apply a bead of caulking to all of the seams. In the shower, you will want to make sure to apply caulking to the edges of the floor or tub, to all of the corners, to any glass doors you might have as well as to benches or shelves. You can use multiple colors of caulking to acheive the desired effect. For instance, if you have a glass or metal framed door, you may want to use clear caulking there and then colored caulking in the corner of the shower.
Once you have applied a bead of caulking, you can use your finger to smooth it down and push it into the cracks. It helps to have your finger slightly damp. You may need to run your finger over the seam multiple times to achieve the desired effect. Keep a damp rag handy so you can wipe your finger off. Once you have completed the job, try to allow the caulking to dry for 24-48 hours before using your shower again. It will make your bathroom look brand new!
Alpine Touring has become increasingly popular in the mountains in the last few years. It is a great way to get out and enjoy the snow without the crowds at the ski resort. It also allows you to access terrain that might otherwise be out of reach. Danny and I have been getting into the sport slowly but surely as we love to bring our dog, Playa, with us whenever we can. However, we are fully aware that there are inherent risks with skiing in the back country. CAIC has been a hugely important resource for us in understanding the avalanche danger. Not only do they put out daily avalanche danger reports which are vital to reading the terrain, but also they are a great resource in learning about avalanche safety. No backcountry excursion should be without CAIC’s forecast, Beacon, Probe, and Shovel.
The fundraiser this evening helps to provide funds for continuing the great work that they are already doing. The fundraiser begins at 5pmtonight at Breckenridge’s Riverwalk center. There will be dinner, drinks, silent auctions and tons of give aways. Buy your tickets now at www.avalanche.state.co.us/caic-benefit-bash/ as it always sells out. I hope to see you there! (And if it is sold out please still consider giving CAIC your support because again without them the Backcountry would be even harder to access).
More Avalanche Awareness Information
Colorado’s avalanche terrain is inherently more unstable because it is a continental snowpack:
Relatively shallow snowpack with settled mid-winter snow depths less than 5 feet (1.5 m)
Less frequent storms with lower-density snow than the maritime climate
Long periods of drought with very cold temperatures during winter
Temperatures variable throughout winter, leading to more varied layers within the snowpack
Both direct action avalanches and delayed-action avalanches are common and often involve layers deep within the snowpack; the pack can remain unstable and avalanches may be triggered even weeks after last significant storm
It is very important to have a basic knowledge of the snowpack before you enter the backcountry in Colorado because of this. The Rockies offer an endless playground of activities including snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and skinning, just to name a few, and with the right knowledge and acceptance of the risks involved the backcountry can be an amazing experience for everyone.
There are a ton of educational opportunities in the State of Colorado. I highly recommend an AIARE Avy Level 1 course. This level teaches you have to read the terrain, understand the avalanche forecasts, use and test your beacon, probe, and shovel, and gets you familiar with the mindset needed to make informed in the moment decisions.
CAIC is a great resource for finding the right course for you. Here is a Calendar of their education opportunities. These classes are not only informative, but also very fun!
There’s so much more out there than resort skiing, and Summit County has endless opportunities for backcountry exploration. Get out there, have fun, and most importantly be safe!
The Realtor.com Team sums up 10 great to know steps for buying your first home. Having bought my first home in Summit County, I’m familiar with the ins and outs of property ownership here and would be more than happy to help you fall in love with your own mountain home.
The 10-Step Guide to Buying a House
By: The Realtor.com Team
Buying a house may be the most complicated financial process of your entire life. Luckily, we’ve broken it down into 10 straightforward steps:
1.Are you ready to become a homeowner?
Whether you’re becoming a homeowner for the first time or you’re a repeat buyer, buying a house is a financial and emotional decision that requires the experience and support of a team of reliable professionals.
2. Get a Realtor®
In the maze of forms, financing, inspections, marketing, pricing, and negotiating, it makes sense to work with professionals who know the community and much more. Those professionals are the local Realtors who serve your area.
3. Get a mortgage pre-approval
Most first-time buyers need to finance their home purchase, and a consultation with a mortgage lender is a crucial step in the process. Find out how much you can afford before you begin your home search.
4. Look at homes
A quick search on our site will bring up thousands of homes for sale. Educating yourself on your local market and working with an experienced Realtor can help you narrow your priorities and make an informed decision about which home to choose.
5. Choose a home
While no one can know for sure what will happen to housing values, if you choose to buy a home that meets your needs and priorities, you’ll be happy living in it for years to come.
6. Get funding The cost of financing your home purchase is usually greater than the price of the home itself (after interest, closing costs, and taxes are added). Get as much information as possible regarding your mortgage options and other costs.
7. Make an offer
While much attention is paid to the asking price of a home, a proposal to buy includes both the price and terms. In some cases, terms can represent thousands of dollars in additional value—or additional costs—for buyers.
8. Get insurance
No sensible car owner would drive without insurance, so it figures that no homeowner should be without insurance, either. Real estate insurance protects owners in the event of catastrophe. If something goes wrong, insurance can be the bargain of a lifetime.
9. Closing The closing process, which in different parts of the country is also known as “settlement” or “escrow,” is increasingly computerized and automated. In practice, closings bring together a variety of parties who are part of the real estate transaction.
10. What’s next? You’ve done it. You’ve looked at properties, made an offer, obtained financing, and gone to closing. The home is yours. Is there any more to the home-buying process? Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a repeat buyer, you’ll want to take several more steps.
If Summit County or Vail is where you would like to be, let me help you find your dream mountain home.
Summit Sky Ranch is the newest development in Silverthorne, CO. Summit Sky Ranch embodies the Summit County lifestyle. Focusing on location, amenities, and community. The Everist Family, who owns Summit Sky Ranch, wants families to enjoy all that Summit County has to offer right outside their back door.
If interested in exploring more about Summit Sky Ranch, they are offering their first 47 properties which will range between 3 and 5 bedrooms. Starting price is $595,000. If interested please feel free to contact me to learn more about this amazing Summit County opportunity.
When my family and I began planning the development of this majestic property over 15-years ago, we knew three things. 1. We were going to build for those who had the mountains in their hearts. 2. We wanted to build a community that could imbue the passion and love for the mountains into younger generations of Colorado adventurers. 3. We were focused on conservation—both of the land and environment, but also of the active mountain lifestyle. (SummitSkyRanch.com)