Category Archives: Anne Skinner I Colorado Mountain Realty

So You Wanna Buy a House? Step 8: Ace the Inspection

Inspections can be a big hurdle in buying or selling a home. Jamie Wiebe from Realtor.com explains how to “Ace the Inspection.” Here in Summit County I can recommend great inspectors and handymen for anything that may arise from the inspection. You can contact me here.


So You Wanna Buy a House? Step 8: Ace the Inspection

By
Jamie Wiebe

Pamela Moore/iStock

A home inspection can be a terrifying process to newbie buyers: What if the house you adore has major problems hiding beneath that shiny new coat of paint? If you lie awake haunted by visions of mold or “foundation issues,” it’s time to take a deep breath. This installment of our weekly 2016 Home-Buying Guide illuminates everything you need to know about home inspections, and how (as scary as they might seem) they exist to protect you from a very bad deal.

Here are some insights into how to make the most of this all-important step. OK, exhale.

Hire a top-notch inspector

While it may be tempting to hire any run-of-the-mill home inspector to get the job done—particularly if the price is right—the inspection is no time to cut corners. After all, buying a home is an enormous investment. “Everyone does themselves a disservice when they shop by price alone,” says Alan Singer of Sterling Home Inspections in Armonk, NY. “Plenty of inspectors don’t know what they’re doing and set up shop because it’s easy to do.”

So, first, check your local requirements: Many states require an inspector to have a license or insurance, and not having either is a big, waving red flag. Even if insurance is not mandated, you’re better off choosing an inspector who is insured, which protects both of you against errors and omissions. Membership in a professional trade organization, such as the National Association of Home Inspectors, indicate the inspector is up-to-date on the latest developments in the field—another giant plus.

Attend the inspection

Even though you will receive a written report after the inspection, you should attend the inspection while it’s being done. It provides a valuable opportunity to learn all about the inner workings of your would-be new home. “I much prefer it when buyers are there so we can discuss the home in person,” Singer says. “It’s much easier to explain the ramifications of an issue when we’re standing in front of it.” Plus, it sure beats deciphering a 10-page report about HVAC or plumbing problems.

So, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Really stick your nose into the inspection. You and your inspector will be looking at all sorts of things you might have skipped during your showings, like the attic and crawl space, and under the sinks. Don’t be scared to delve into the details. Even the best home will receive a laundry list of to-do’s and potential problems, and fixing them will be much easier with a hands-on understanding of the issues involved. Consider it free (and invaluable) fix-it advice.

Don’t panic (until it’s time to panic)

The vast majority of issues raised during an inspection are reparable—after all, as Singer describes it, you’re buying a “used home.” Just like a used car or an old computer or second-hand clothing, there are bound to be problems. Some of them may be small and easily fixed, like leaky pipes and rattling doorknobs. But if an inspector discovers a majorproblem—with, say, the foundation or water intrusion—even that may not be a deal killer. In fact, it could be a bargaining chip you can discuss with the sellers before closing the deal.

Work with your real estate attorney and agent to determine the best approach. If your offer was contingent on a successful inspection (and most are), you have a good basis to request that the current owners make repairs before closing. You’ll want to get this in writing, along with provisions if the sellers fail to fix the problems.

But there’s no obligation for sellers to address the inspector’s discoveries. If they aren’t willing to shoulder the burden, you need to assess whether the cost of a new roof—or mold abatement, or fixing the foundation, or whatever the problem is—is worth the reward. With no solution beyond paying $30,000 from your own pocket, you might need to move on to a more habitable home. “People get very invested in the home they want to buy, and it all becomes a very overwhelmingly emotional experience,” Singer says. “But they need to listen to the advice of the inspector, take a look at the financial ramifications, and make a clear-headed decision.”

Hopefully, all will go well and your inspector will say it’s fine to move in. At that point, most homeowners move on to an even more intimidating step: Locking in the terms of their home loan. Stayed tuned for that installment of our Home-Buying Guide next week.

Hey, Homeowners! These Little-Known Tax Deductions Can Save You Thousands

Be sure to get the most back on your taxes this year. Renee Morad from Realtor.com outlines some important tax information for homeowners. 


 

Hey, Homeowners! These Little-Known Tax Deductions Can Save You Thousands

By
Renee Morad

Sawayasu Tsuji/Getty Images

You probably already know that owning a home comes with some sweet tax benefits, like the mortgage-interest and property-tax deductions. But did you know there’s a whole list of other homeowner-related tax breaks that you might be leaving on the table?

We’re not talking chump change, either. Homeowners already save an average of $3,000 a year in taxes from mortgage-interest and property-tax deductions, according to the National Association of Realtors. When you add in some of the lesser-known homeowner tax breaks, you could really be amping up the savings—and beating the IRS at its own game.

Back in December, Congress passed the Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act of 2015, which extended many exemptions that were about to expire and made others permanent. But to reap the benefits, you first have to know about them.

So, here we go! Check out these common—and not-so-common—homeowner deductions that you should take advantage of this year:

1. Mortgage interest deduction

If you’ve taken out a loan to buy a house, you can deduct the interest you pay on a mortgage, with a balance of up to $1 million. To access this deduction, you will have to itemize rather than take the standard deduction. The savings here can add up in a big way. For example, if you’re in the 25% tax bracket and deduct $10,000 of mortgage interest, you can save $2,500.

Of course, there are some limitations. For example, if you’re helping a family member pay his or her mortgage, you can’t deduct that interest on your tax return.

2. Private mortgage insurance

Qualified homeowners can deduct payments for private mortgage insurance, or PMI, for a primary home. Sometimes you can take the deduction for a second property as well, as long as it isn’t a rental unit. Here’s the catch: This only applies if you got your loan in 2007 or later.

Another restriction: This deduction only applies if your adjusted gross income is no more than $109,000 if married filing jointly or $54,500 if married filing separately.

3. Property taxes

You can include state and local property taxes as itemized deductions. An interesting note: The amount of the deduction depends on when you pay the tax, not when the tax is due. As a result, paying property taxes earlier could have a positive impact on your return.

4. Capital gains on a home sale

The dreaded capital gains tax can be avoided when the gain from selling your personal residence is less than $250,000 if you are a single taxpayer or $500,000 if you are a joint filer. To qualify, you must have owned and used the home as a primary residence for at least two years out of the five years leading up to the sale.

5. Medical improvements

If you’ve made improvements to your home to help meet medical needs, such as installing a ramp or a lift, you could deduct the expenses—but only the amount by which the cost of the improvements exceed the increase in your home’s value. (In other words, you can’t deduct the entire cost of the equipment or improvements.)

“A lot of this comes down to fact and circumstance,” says Gil Charney, director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block. “For example, if you’ve recently installed a heated therapy spa or hot tub in your home, you may be able to deduct the expense if there’s also evidence that, say, a physical therapist visits your home three times a week and you’re over a certain age.”

6. Home office

If you have a dedicated space in your home for work and it’s not used for anything else, you could deduct it as a home office expense.

“It doesn’t have to be an entire room,” Charney says. “It can just be a dedicated space.”

7. Renting out your home on occasion

If you rented out your home for, say, a major sports event like the Super Bowl or the World Series, or a cultural event such as Mardi Gras, the income on the rental could be totally tax free—as long as it was for only 14 days or fewer throughout the course of a year.

8. Discount points

Discount points, which are paid to lower the interest rate on a loan, can be deducted in full for the year in which they were paid. In addition, if you’re buying a home and the seller pays the points as an incentive to get you to buy the house, you can deduct those points, Charney explains.

9. Energy-efficiency tax credit

You can take advantage of an energy-efficiency tax credit of 10% of the amount paid (up to $500) for any green improvements, such as storm doors, energy-efficient windows, and air-conditioning and heating systems.

10. Loan forgiveness deduction

If you’re the owner of a foreclosed or short-sale home, you can take advantage of mortgage-debt forgiveness. For example, if you make a short sale of your primary home at $250,000 but owe $300,000 on your mortgage, the lender will forgive the extra $50,000 owed—and you don’t have to pay taxes on that amount.

For more tax tips, check out IRS Publication 530 for a list of what homeowners can (and cannot) deduct.

 

 

Mountain Events: February 19th-21st

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Celebrate Breckenridge History: 11:00a Breckenridge Welcome Center, Breckenridge.

SalesForce.com Open House Hours: 11:00a EVO3 Workspace, Frisco.

Dave Perron and Friends: Broken Arrow at Arrowhead Ski Area, Avon.

The Swing Crew: 3:00p The Last Lift Bar, Keystone.

Kevin Danzig & Faith Crawford: 5:00p The MotherLoaded Tavern, Breckenridge.

45 Years: All day, Speakeasy Movie Theater, Breckenridge.

Let the Beat Move You! – Full Moon Yoga Expereince Meta Yoga: 6:30p Old Masonic Hall, Breckenridge.

Colorado Music Convergence: 8p Riverwalk Center, Breckenridge.

Grizzly Bears of Alaska Photography Exhibit: All day, Arts Alive Gallery, Breckenridge.

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

Ballet Technique with Christine Armitage: 8:30a Old Masonic Hall, Breckenridge.

Colorado Music Convergence: 2p Riverwalk Center, Breckenridge.

Copper Uncorked: 3:00p Center Village, Copper Mountain.

Full Moon Snowshoe Party: 5:00p Gold Run Nordic Center, Breckenridge.

Canvas Uncorked: 6:30p Warren Station Center for Performing Arts, Keystone.

Fresh Hops: 9:00p Barkley Ballroom, Frisco.

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

50+ Winter Games: All Day, Summit County Community & Senior Center, Frisco.

Colorado Music Convergence: 11:15a Riverwalk Center, Breckenridge.

Bentgate Presents Loveland Ski Area On Snow Demo: 8:30a Loveland Ski Area.

Telemark Sunday Funday: 10:00a Beaver Creek @ Base of Centennial, Beaver Creek.

Free One Run Lessons: 1:30p Arapahoe Basin.

Free Copper Ambassador Moonlight Snowshoe Tour: 5:30p Copper Mountain Resort.

The Pros and Cons of Investing in a Vacation Home

“It is less expensive to stay in hotels in various destinations than it is to upkeep a home, including the hidden expenses of caretaking, overall operations of a home and property taxes,” she cautions. “However, for those that are able to enjoy it, it is definitely worth The Pros and Cons of Investing in a Vacation Home

Your home will always be one of your best investments, but a vacation home may not be.

By Jeff Brown | Contributor

For the winter weary, February is the perfect month to head for the beach or slopes. And many vacationers have the same thought: “Gee, wouldn’t it be great if we owned a place like this?”

With improvements in the economy and housing market, the second home that seemed out of the question a few years ago may now be within reach. But is it a good idea as an investment?

Experts in real estate, personal finance and taxes urge some hard thought before taking the plunge. A second home can produce a wonderful family tradition or turn into a stress-inducing money pit.

A second home is best viewed as a luxury item, not an investment or cheap vacation option, says Alison Bernstein, founder of the New York relocation consulting firm Suburban Jungle.

“It is less expensive to stay in hotels in various destinations than it is to upkeep a home, including the hidden expenses of caretaking, overall operations of a home and property taxes,” she cautions. “However, for those that are able to enjoy it, it is definitely worth it.”

Sales figures for 2015 aren’t in yet, but 2014 was stunning, with the most vacation home sales since 2006, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales of more than 1.1 million units in 2014 exceeded 2013 sales by more than 57 percent. Rising home prices and stock market gains stoked a market flooded with baby boomers nearing retirement, the association says. The median vacation home sold for $150,000 to a buyer with $94,380 in annual household income.

The upside is clear: Decorate as you like, leave your clothes and toys, and use the property whenever you want – maybe even retire there someday. And if you have unlimited use, you needn’t gnash your teeth over every rainy day. Many buyers imagine gathering the extended family – the generations building memories together.

On the other hand, a second home is unquestionably a financial burden. Even if you can pay cash to avoid mortgage costs, there are property taxes, insurance and maybe association fees. Maintenance costs can be high if you must hire a pro for every little job you’d do yourself at home. All those costs are likely to rise over time.

Then there are headaches, such as making trips or hiring someone to prepare the home for the season or close it up afterward. Doing chores yourself can take the fun out of a getaway.

As an investment, a vacation home is uncertain. The housing crisis of a few years ago showed how dangerous real estate investments can be. Since a vacation home, unlike a primary residence, is not a necessity, prices can plunge when demand evaporates in an economic downturn.

“Though you may have equity in the second home, you should not look to it as a proper investment for your future retirement because you may not be able to access the equity quickly when you need to,” says Melinda Kibler, certified financial planner with Palisades Hudson Financial Group in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

One vacation destination can be very different from others, so experts urge deep research on factors like price trends, the pace of new building, and access to interstates, airports and amenities like beaches, ski slopes, restaurants and natural wonders.

“You should talk with real estate agents and definitely speak with other property owners in the area,” says Mark Buckalew, senior vice president of D.A. Davidson & Co. investor group in Pocatello, Idaho. “You can look on Zillow at historic prices. Don’t just rely on the person trying to sell you the property.”

In 2014, 30 percent of vacation homebuyers paid cash, the Realtors’ association says. Though mortgage rates are low these days, it’s generally harder to qualify for a loan on a second home than for a primary residence. You might need a down payment of 20 percent or more, even though 10 percent or less might be enough to buy a full-time home. A higher down payment reduces the lenders risk if the borrower defaults, which is considered more likely with a second home.

“Second home loans generally require more money down and a better credit score than owner-occupied home loans,” says John Lazenby, a real estate agent and president of Orlando Regional Realtor Association. “Of course, lenders look carefully to ensure that second-home buyers are financially capable of paying two mortgages, and [they] have formulas to calculate for shortages in expected rental income.”

Many vacation home shoppers plan to rent the property out part of the time to offset costs, and this has become easy with sites like Vacation Rentals by Owner and Airbnb. Fees for such services are much lower than those of rental managers, who may charge commissions as high as 25 percent.

Keep in mind, though, that rental income is highest and most dependable during the “high season” months you’d most want to use the property yourself, like winter in Florida.

Mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible on the federal return regardless of whether you rent. If you do rent, insurance, maintenance and even some heating, phone and cable charges can be deductible. But the rules are tricky.

“If you use the property for the greater of 14 days or 10 percent of the time rented, you are considered to have used the residence personally and must allocate expenses between the rental income and personal use,” says Allen Falke, a tax attorney with Mirick O’Connell law firm in Massachusetts. Many of the expenses apportioned to personal use will not be deductible.

That’s just an example, as the rules have many twists and turns. Also, some deductions are not allowed for taxpayers subject to the alternative minimum tax, and profits from selling a second home are taxed as capital gains.

Since you don’t know for sure how much rental income you could earn or how many expenses will be deductible, consider buying only if you can afford the property without these considerations.

For many people, even if the finances are acceptable, the vacation home decision hangs on personal issues: Given all the responsibilities, will this really make you happy? Do you want to vacation in the same place year after year? Will your kids and grandkids really come as often as you hope? Will your stomach churn with every late-night call from a renter? Can you live with financial setbacks without kicking yourself for buying the property?

“If you’re going to have friends and family join you, you want to make sure it’s easy and inexpensive for everyone to visit,” says Jim Moran, director of sales at Victory Ranch, a vacation destination in Utah.

“Buyers should also consider their stage of life and that of their children to ensure they are going to be able to actually use the home the amount they are envisioning for many years,” Lazenby says. “For example, a family with young children may find that their use of the home declines as the kids become immersed in sports.”

Bottom line: A vacation home is a long-term commitment. For many buyers, the payoff is well worth it, but if your dreams don’t come true, you could be stuck with high costs and responsibilities for years.

Mountain Events: February 12th-14th

Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Presidents’ Day Weekend! Be sure to get out an explore the great resorts Summit County has to offer in this beautiful spring-like weather. Don’t forget to keep an eye on traffic by checking COTrip.org for all of your I-70 information. 


 

Friday, February 12th

Snowmobiling Tour: 8a, 10a, 12:30p, & 2:30p Dillon.

Adult Drop-In Hockey: 8:30a Stephen C. West Ice Arena, Breckenridge.

“Red” Exhibit: 11:30a ART of the VALLEY GALLERY, Avon.

Apres Ski Yoga: 4:00p Elevated Yoga & Holistic Health, Frisco.

Brian Parton: 5:00p the MotherLoaded Tavern, Breckenridge.

Peligroso Tequila Party: 5:00p Dillon Dam Brewery, Dillon.

Wine At The Mine 2016: 5:30p National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum, Leadville.

6th Alley Supper Club – Fish Fry: 6:30p 6th Alley Bar & Grill, Arapahoe Basin. * Call for reservation

Funkiphino: 9:30p Snake River Saloon, Keystone.

Saturday, February 13th

Skiloveland.com

Loveland’s 25th Annual Mountaintop Matrimony: 8am Loveland Ski Area.

Wearable Art Vest: 10:00a Part 2 with Rocket Nelson, Randall Barn, Breckenridge.

Kids in the Kitchen: 10:30a Vail Recreation District Community Programming Room, Lionshead Parking Structure, Vail.

Public Skate Session: 1:30p Stephen C. West Ice Arena, Breckenridge.

New Beginnings – Scenes of Summit County: 4:00p Arts Alive Gallery, Breckenridge.

Copper’s Moonlight Dine & Ski: 5:30p Solitude Station, Copper Mountain.

Art Show & Reception for Jerry Georgeff: 6:30p Blue River Fine Art Gallery, Breckenridge.

Glass Fusing Workshop: 7:00p Ready Paint Fire, Breckenridge.

Frisco Funk Collective: 8:30p Barkley Ballroom, Frisco.

Sunday, February 14th

Subaru WinterFest: 9:00a Center Village, Copper Mountain.

Beyond V1 Nordic Skate Clinic: 10:00a Gold Run Nordic Center, Breckenridge.

Frisco Cup Challenge Nordic Race: 10:00a Frisco Nordic Center, Frisco.

Love is…A Work of Art: 3:00p Violinist Jerilyn Jorgensen and Pianist Cullan Bryant, Colorado Mountain College, Breckenridge.

Artist In-Residence Bradley Chance Hays: 3:00p The Sebastian Hotel, Vail.

 

Listing Photos: Your Home’s First Showing

A major part of my aggressive marketing plan for listings is high definition photos. Not only is your home’s online presence the first thing potential buyers see, but it is also what helps the decide whether or not they want to come view the home in person.  from Zillow.com blog explains why your listing photos are so important.


 

 

Listing Photos: Your Home’s First Showing

 

 

Foreclosures Finally Return to Pre-Housing Crisis Levels

Clare Trapasso of Realtor.com explains how U.S. foreclosures have returned to the pre-housing crisis levels. This is another factor that proves the housing market is on the rebound.


Foreclosures Finally Return to Pre-Housing Crisis Levels

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

By
Clare Trapasso

For those who associate foreclosure signs, shuttered homes, and idling cars overflowing with family possessions with the deepest, darkest moments of the subprime mortgage housing crisis—and that means pretty much all of us—there was some good news this week. The numbers have been tabulated, and it turns out that U.S. foreclosures fell to their lowest levels last year since the housing crisis began, according to a recently released report.

Foreclosures plummeted almost 27%, from 603,028 in 2014 to 476,000 in 2015, according to CoreLogic.

“We’re finally through the worst of it,” said Dan Hammel, a professor of urban geography at the University of Toledo.

He credits the stronger economy, which has translated into more homeowners with steady jobs, for the recovery. Other factors include increasing housing prices and banks tightening their lending criteria.

However, these same factors are hindering many would-be home buyers from securing financing. Call it a classic double-edged recovery.

And some states remained harder hit than others. There were 79,109 completed foreclosures in Florida in 2015—by far the most in the nation, according to the CoreLogic report. The Sunshine State was followed by Michigan, with 48,865, and Texas, with 29,815. Ohio and Georgia were neck and neck with 24,456 and 24,239, respectively. Those five states accounted for nearly half of the country’s foreclosures.

Washington, DC, boasted the fewest, at 81, followed by North Dakota, at 220, and Wyoming, at 541. West Virginia was close behind with 560, and Alaska had 700.

Florida is still reeling from the housing crisis, because prices were driven artificially high in the mid-2000s as investors rushed to purchase multiple homes, said Jack McCabe, CEO of McCabe Research & Consulting, which focuses on South Florida’s real estate market. Some of those properties were purchased with toxic, adjustable-rate mortgages. So when the rates swung up, many of those investors defaulted, he said.

“Prices in this state have rebounded well over the last three years,” he said. But they are still down about a third from pre-2006 levels.

McCabe is also beginning to see a slight uptick in foreclosures over the past few months from those who qualified for government-subsidized loans. The mortgages often require down payments of just 3.5% of the price of the home. Many of the buyers who qualified for the loans are first-time buyers or veterans who can afford the monthly mortgage payments—but don’t have the cash needed for the traditional 10% or 20% down payment.

The top reasons that banks repossess homes is still because owners lose their jobs or their income is cut, said Douglas Robinson, a spokesman for NeighborWorks America, a Washington, DC-based affordable housing organization.

Lessons have been learned since the foreclosure tsunami swept across the U.S., he said. Those struggling to make their mortgage payments should seek out assistance as quickly as possible; denial and wait-and-see mindsets are dangerous. Sometimes a mortgage modification or refinancing can resolve the problem. Even a short sale can be preferable to a foreclosure.

“The sooner [they] understand all of their options, the better chance the homeowner has to save their home,” Robinson said.

As we saw at the height of the crisis, the impact of foreclosures can quickly spread through communities, bringing down neighboring home values.

Harder-to-obtain mortgages are also hurting the recovery of some of the neighborhoods that suffered the most from foreclosures, said the University of Toledo’s Hammel.

These days, working- and middle-class buyers with poor credit—or young buyers with no credit—are struggling to obtain mortgages.

“Banks aren’t lending in low- and moderate-income areas where there were a lot of foreclosures,” he said.

However, as the national economy and housing prices continue to improve, “we expect to see foreclosure and

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delinquency rates continue to decline in 2016,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic.

Original Article.

 

Hottest Housing Markets for 2016

Zillow.com names Denver as one of the hottest housing markets in 2016. Find out why the Front Range, and Summit County are continuing to grow.


Hottest Housing Markets for 2016

 

BY
Housing experts predict U.S. home value growth around 3.5 percent this year. But which markets are leading the charge?

To determine the hottest real estate markets for 2016, we looked at the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) Forecast, recent income growth and current unemployment rates. These variables were scaled and combined equally to form a “hotness score.”

Here’s a look at the top 10 metros:

No. 1: Denver

The ZHVI is expected to increase 5 percent year-over-year in the Denver metro, where the unemployment rate is a low 3.1 percent. Neighborhoods in Aurora, CO — Delmar Parkway, Highline Villages and Centretech — are the hottest. Denver’s Ruby Hill is also among the metro’s hottest ‘hoods.

No. 2: Seattle

In Seattle, the ZHVI is expected to rise 5.4 percent year-over-year. Northwest Bellevue is the area’s hottest neighborhood with the median home value predicted to increase 9.2 percent to $1.15 million year-over-year. Seattle’s University District, Holly Park and Olympic Manor are also hot spots.

No. 3: Dallas-Fort Worth

The Dallas-Fort Worth market is holding strong with a 4 percent unemployment rate and solid income growth. The median home value is also expected to go up by 5.6 percent year-over-year, according to the ZHVI Forecast. Holford, Oak Lawn and M Streets are the hottest neighborhoods.

No. 4: Richmond

No. 5: Boise

With a 4.7 percent increase in the median home value expected this year, Boise, ID has earned its spot among the hottest real estate markets. At the neighborhood level, Central Bench, North End and Maple Grove-Franklin top the list with a ZHVI Forecast over 5 percent.

No. 6: Ogden

Ogden, UT is another hot market with strong income growth, low unemployment and a ZHVI expected to increase 4.9 percent year-over-year. The metro’s hottest ZIP codes include 84025 in Farmington, 84037 in Kaysville and 84401 in Ogden proper.

No. 7: Salt Lake City

Another Utah metro, Salt Lake City, made the list with a ZHVI Forecast of 4.4 percent. The hottest cities for home value growth are expected to be Grantsville, Erda and Stansbury Park. The 84074 ZIP code in Tooele is also a hot spot.

No. 8: Omaha

In Omaha, unemployment is very low at 2.9 percent, incomes are on the rise and home values are trending up. The ZHVI is expected to increase 3.2 percent year-over-year. The 68136 and 68131 ZIP codes in Omaha are hottest, followed by 68066 in Wahoo.

No. 9: Sacramento

Sacramento’s median home value is predicted to rise 5.1 percent year-over-year. The Southeast Village, Folsom Road and Hagginwood neighborhoods should lead the way with a ZHVI Forecast over 8 percent.

No. 10: Portland

Portland, OR is the 10th hottest market for 2016 with the median home value expected to rise 5 percent. Woodlawn is predicted to have the most home value growth (7.2 percent year-over-year), followed by Parkrose (7.1 percent) and Sumner (7 percent).

 

 

7 Unwritten Etiquette Rules Every Home Buyer Should Know

It is important to remember that while you are trying to buy a home, you can be evaluated by the seller. Following these simple 7 unwritten rules that Liz Alterman at Realtor.com puts together can help you navigate the process successfully.


 

7 Unwritten Etiquette Rules Every Home Buyer Should Know

By
Liz Alterman

You like being under a microscope? Whatever your answer to that question may be, you’d better get used to being scrutinized when you’re trying to buy a home. Your behavior can sway sellers to bestow their precious home on you—or pass you up for someone nicer or way less annoying.

Naturally, realtor.com® is here to help! Just be sure to follow these heretofore unwritten rules of house-buying etiquette to stay in the good graces of all involved.

Get pre-approved for a home loan

Getting pre-approved and knowing exactly how much house you can afford before shopping for a home is key to winning over sellers, real estate agents agree.

“It is simply misleading to look at a home you don’t know you qualify for,” says Cara Ameer, a Realtor® with Coldwell Banker. Yes, this is an etiquette issue. “Remember that the seller and agent(s) took time to prepare for the showing. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if someone was looking at your home and they had no idea if they qualified for a mortgage, let alone the price range of your home?”

If you haven’t yet been pre-approved, let the agent and seller know upfront.

Be punctual

You’re mom used to tell you this one, right? If you have an appointment with your Realtor, respect his or her time. If you’re running late, call, but don’t make a habit of last-minute schedule changes. Agents have plenty of other clients they could be working with. Also, if they’ve asked a seller to leave the house for your showing, your tardiness makes both you and your agent look bad. Enough said.

Remove your shoes

Whatever “shoe rules” you have in your home are null and void elsewhere—so when in doubt, ask if you should remove your shoes upon entering anyone’s home.

“You may be asked to remove your shoes or even wear surgical booties,” says Brenda Hayward, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker. Don’t be self-conscious! “Just give it up; no one looks good in surgical booties.”

Don’t bring an entourage

“This may be OK in Hollywood, but try to minimize the group field trip effect,” says Ameer. “You may want to save that for once you’ve narrowed down your choices to your top two to three properties. Sometimes, too many opinions can be confusing and overwhelming, and add unnecessary time to the property tour.”

Ditto when it comes to little ones. “Ideally, you don’t bring your children with you when going to view a house,” says Nicholas Kensington of Scottsdale Real Estate. “If that isn’t possible, though, don’t let them wander anywhere they want. There are always potential safety issues. And it’s just rude.”

Ask permission before taking photos

Want to take a few pictures or shoot some video to help you remember all those small details? Ask first, Kensington advises. “There might be concerns about privacy that you’re not aware of.”

Don’t linger too long

Just how long is long enough to truly take in a home? While there’s no formal rule, Ameer says anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes is typical for a first showing.

“Taking a bit longer may be OK, but remember: You can always go back for a second showing and will likely need to.” But beyond two visits, when exactly are you at risk of being considered a stalker? See our next point…

Avoid excessive multiple visits

“One, two, or even three visits is typically acceptable prior to making an offer,” Ameer says. “If you must return more than that, make sure this is a home you are seriously considering.”

All those visits are not only an inconvenience, but they could also make a seller extremely anxious, especially if a buyer comes to the house five times and is never heard from again. Remember, you will have inspections and access to the home again, so don’t waste a seller’s time with too many visits.

Before you come away thinking you’re the only person in the home-buying process who should adhere to a code of conduct, tune in next week to learn all the unwritten etiquette rules home sellers should follow, too!

For original Realtor.com article

The Land Title Summit County Market Analysis

Screen shot 2016-01-24 at 5.45.18 PM December 2015 Year End Market Analysis

Please note that Land Title data comes from actual recorded transactions at the County Clerk and Recorder’s Office for that particular month. The information is not directly related to MLS data. The data is an unofficial tabulation of Summit County Records that are believed to be reasonably accurate. If you choose to utilize this marketing information in any publications or websites, please make sure you are quoting Land Title as your source. You are welcome to utilize this link within your own websites.

December 2015 Highlights:

  • Market Analysis by Area for December: The last month of the year turned out to be a busy one with 276 transactions and $141,435,873 monetary volume. Average transaction price for all 18 reported areas: $512,449: Average residential price:$525,692: Average residential PPSF $372.
  • Market Analysis by Area YTD 2015 (12 months):  Final year Monetary volume was $1,372,793,984 with 2537 transactions.-Average transaction price: $543,881, average residential price: $546,678 and average PPSF: $348.
  • Market Snapshot for Years 2015 vs 2014:  Final 2015 values held strong and are as follows: Average Indicators for $: Single Family +9%, Multi- Family +12% and Vacant Land +17%. Median Indicators for $: Single Family +7%, Multi- Family +19% and Vacant Land +8%.
  • Market Analysis % Change Complete Full Year 2015 Data: Monetary volume ($141,435,873) in December was up +57% compared to December 2014. Number of transactions (276) were up 48% in December 2015 compared to December 2014. Full year 2015 Summit County real estate is up 30% in monetary volume and up 18% with number of transactions compared to full year 2014.
  • Residential Market Sales by Price Point: Residential volume in December had 230 transactions with $120,909,250 gross volume. There were 16 properties that sold for $1M and above in December.  The most active price points were again in the $200K-$300K range this month. There were 71 Single family, 159 Multi-family and 19 Vacant land transactions in December.  Full Year 2015, there were 678 Single family, 1422 Multi-family and 156 Vacant land residential transactions.
  • Full Year 2015 Average Price History: Average residential pricing continues to increase for 2015- Single Family: $855,925, Multi- Family:$399,232 and Vacant Land was $372,794, all up the past 4 years.
  • Historical Cost Breakdown for Full Year 2015: There have been 2100 residential transactions YTD and $1,148,024,568 volume with 198 properties selling for a $1M and over-compared to 2014, there were 1731 transactions and $858,667,681 gross volume, 126 properties at $1M and over and in 2013, there were 1563 transactions with $769,965,955 gross volume, 122 properties at $1M and over.
  • Top Lender Graph: There were 604 loans in December, 65% of the loans were related to sales, there were 131 REFI’s and 294 loans were timeshare related. 35% of the real estate closings were cash transactions. Full year 2015, the average for cash closings ended at 34%. The list of lenders and number of transactions for all the 5684 loans are listed in a link below.
  • Market Highlights: Please see page 10 of the Market Analysis-Higher priced sale in December (Shock Hill). There were no bank sales again in December.
  • Foreclosures: Foreclosure actions ended 2015 way down with only 63 on for the year, there were only 3 Foreclosure actions in December compared to 12 in December 2014.
  • Land Title Purchaser Highlights (Page 14): There were 20 higher end sales in December, similar to November’s 21 – you can see the details on this report. Full year 2015, our buyers for real estate transactions were the Front Range demographic at 40% of our market, 29% are local ( side note: which in part are  “retires” coming to Summit County) and 30% are out of state buyers, with 1% International. 
  • Land Title New Development Summary: This (page 15) shows all the new construction each month with 27 in December, 9 Town Centre Condos closed in December, the report also includes the Deed Restricted new construction which isn’t included on the other Residential reports.

Click here for the full Land Title Report.