Category Archives: Summit County Real Estate

The Top 12 Keller Williams Blog Posts of 2015

Keller Williams tracked their top blog posts of 2015. One of my favorites is “Random Acts of Kindness” from January 2015. Find them all below and pick your favorite. 


January 2015– Random Acts of Kindness

Keller Williams associates started 2015 off with full hearts and generosity. Readers were delighted to learn about the unforgettable gift associates gave a pizza delivery driver at the Keller Williams Michigan-Northern Ohio Regional ALC Clinic.

“I was proud to be a part of the Keller Williams family before but now I’m just bursting with pride. Your act of kindness brought tears to my eyes.” – Dian Thompson-Melvin

February 2015   – Breaking Records & Winning Awards

On the same day that Keller Williams announced it was the largest real estate franchise by agent count in the world, Training Magazine named the company the world’s #1 training organization across all industries. At a Feb. 9 awards ceremony in Atlanta to honor the Training 125, Keller Williams was recognized for the growth, productivity and profitability gains resulting from its world-class education and training programs.

“Keller Williams training and technology have almost doubled my business in 10 months and is absolutely unparalleled in our industry. Simply the BEST!” – Ellen Grant

March 2015 – Making Millionaires

Keller Williams continued to make millionaires in 2015.The Millionaire Real Estate Agent (MREA) is a roadmap to success that contains four models for running a successful real estate business: the economic model, the lead generation model, the budget model and the organizational model. It’s really easy honestly; just read the book and follow what it says. There is no guess work involved. Just ask Chip Parrish of the Denver Central (Colo.) market center.

“I suit-up and show-up every day. I am in the office from 6am-4pm working hard at lead generation. When you run your business like a business, you set it up for success.” – Chip Parrish

April 2015 – A Culture Worth Studying

In April, researchers at the Stanford Graduate School of Business published a report in their Closer Look series on the importance of culture at Keller Williams. It marked the third time that the prestigious business school has studied Keller Williams.

The nine-page report can be downloaded for free.

May 2015 – Giving Where We Live

On May 14, 2015 Keller Williams associates around the globe donated hundreds of thousands of hours to their local communities during RED Day. RED Day stands for Renew, Energize and Donate. It is a global day of service and volunteerism for 700 offices and the hundreds of thousands of Keller Williams associates around the world.

“Every time we participate in a RED DAY, I feel good. Just a little help anyone receives goes a long way.” – Leslie Guzman

June 2015 – Agents Lead the Conversation

On June 25, 2015, Keller Williams CEO Chris Heller and President John Davis co-hosted the first KW Town Hall, an interactive streaming conversation with associates worldwide. After a brief update on the state of the company, Heller and Davis turned the conversation over to agents who submitted their questions through social media, using the #KWTownhall hashtag, as well as to the live studio audience of local team leaders and ALC members.

July 2015 – Topping Lists

Keller Williams was proud to be represented by 30 associates on the fourth-annual National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals’ (NAHREP) annual list of the top-producing real estate agents in the United States, two of which are on the top 10 list! The 2015 list recognizes top-producing agents whose hard work and dedication has led them to close an outstanding number of transactions. Selected from among 500 agents considered, the 250 winners collectively handled a total of 20,730 transaction sides in 2014 and over $3.9 billion in total volume.

“These 30 agents are market experts who have committed to delivering a superior customer experience. It’s no wonder so many clients choose to work with them to buy or sell their home.” – John Davis, President, Keller Williams.

August 2015 – Success Is Sequential, Not Simultaneous

In August, 2015, Keller Williams associate Chad Hyams of the Southeast Region, spoke with Mega Camp attendees in Austin, Texas on best practice tips to ensure their digital marketing strategy is on track.

“You have to go and do work; success is not going to just happen.” – Chad Hyams

September 2015 – A Look at Lead Generation

Generating leads is your business’ bread and butter. Without a lead, there’s no client, which is why you dedicate a good deal of time to cultivating prospects. All year, the KW Blog delivered proven techniques to help turn you into a lead generation machine.

“Good tips, I love this stuff! We’ve been using BOLD leads to bring in sellers, and have signed a few listings already, but we are always looking for more ideas!” – Susan A.

October 2015 – Highest Ranking Real Estate Brokerage by Sales Growth Percentage

With year-over-year sales growth of 16.1 percent, an increase of nearly $700 million over the previous year, Keller Williams moved up from No. 28 in 2014 to No. 24 in 2015 on the Franchise Times 200. The impressive showing by Keller Williams followed on the heels of recognition by Inc. Magazine earning a spot on the 5000 Honor Roll as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States.

This impressive showing followed on the heels of earning a spot on Inc. Magazine’s 5000 Honor Roll with Keller Williams being listed as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States. This recognition placed Keller Williams on the Five-Time Inc. 5000 Honoree Honor Roll.

November 2015 – Profit Share Milestone Achieved

In keeping with the philosophy that agents are partners and stakeholders, Keller Williams created a distinct wealth building platform that rewards associates who contribute to a profitable market center’s growth by attracting productive associates. In the United States and Canada, we do this through profit share; and across the world, through growth share. By November 2015, Keller Williams had distributed more than $104.3 million in profit share in a single year to associates.

“For Keller Williams, 2015 marks another record year for growth, productivity and profitability gains,” said Chris Heller, CEO, Keller Williams.

December 2015 – Planning for 2016 with CEO Chris Heller

Steve Murray of REAL Trends Talked with Keller Williams CEO Chris Heller about the challenges and opportunities in real estate in 2016. Find out what kind of a sales year Heller thinks we will experience in 2016 as well as his insights on new business models, Upstream and keeping good momentum.


I’m very proud to be a Keller Williams agent, and am looking forward to what 2016 will bring. 

-Anne Skinner

 

The 5 Real Estate Trends That Will Shape 2016

Yes, you read that right. 2016 is right around the corner and Realtor.com is highlighting 5 of the trends that will shape next year. One of Jonathan Smoke ‘s points is that “Generational shuffle will make 2016 the best year to sell in the near future.” So get ready to sell or to buy in 2016 it should be a good year. 


The 5 Real Estate Trends That Will Shape 2016

House: RiverNorthPhotography/iStock; numbers: mishabokovan/iStock

By
Jonathan Smoke

It’s almost the new year. Get ready to break out the Cristal: We had a great 2015—the best year for housing since 2007. And our forecast here at realtor.com® projects an even better year in 2016.

How so? Well, with economic growth chugging along, employment will continue to increase, meaning that people will have more money coming in and they’ll be able to buy their first home or upgrade to a new one.

Here’s a closer look at the trends that will have the greatest impact on the housing market in 2016.

1. We’ll return to normal (Anyone remember normal?)

The year ahead will see healthy growth in home sales and prices, but at a slower pace than in 2015. This slowdown is not an indication of a problem—it’s just a return to normalcy. We’ve lived through 15 years of truly abnormal trends, and after working off the devastating effects of the housing bust, we’re finally seeing signs of more normal conditions. Distress sales will no longer be playing an outsized role, new construction is returning to more traditional levels, and prices rise at more normal rates consistent with a more balanced market.

2. Generational shuffle will make 2016 the best year to sell in the near future

Millennials emerged as a dominant force in 2015, representing almost 2 million sales, which is more than one-third of the total. This pattern will continue in 2016 as their large numbers combined with improving personal financial conditions will enable enough buyers between ages 25 and 34 to move the market—again. The majority of those buyers will be first-timers, but that will require other generations to also play larger roles.

Two other generations will also affect the market in 2016: financially recovering Gen Xers and older boomers thinking about or entering retirement. Since most of these people are already homeowners, they’ll play a double role, boosting the market as both sellers and buyers. Gen Xers are in their prime earning years and thus able to relocate to better neighborhoods for their families. Older boomers are approaching (or already in) retirement and seeking to downsize and lock in a lower cost of living. Together, these two generations will provide much of the suburban inventory that millennials desire to start their own families.

Assuming that most of these households will both sell and buy, it is important to recognize that 2016 is shaping up to be the best year in recent memory to sell. Supply remains very tight, so inventory is moving faster. Given the forecast that price appreciation will slow in 2016 to a more normal rate of growth, delaying will not produce substantially higher values, and will also see higher mortgage rates on any new purchase.

3. Builders will focus on more affordable price points

One aspect of housing that has not recovered yet has been single-family construction. Facing higher land costs, limited labor, and worries about depth of demand in the entry-level market, builders have shifted to producing more higher-priced housing units for a reliable pool of customers. That focus caused new-home prices to rise much faster than existing-home prices. Builders were able to be profitable and grow by following this move-up and luxury strategy, but their growth potential was limited by avoiding the entry level. That should begin to change in 2016.

We are already seeing a decline in new-home prices for new contracts signed this fall. In addition, credit access is improving enough to make the first-time buyer segment more attractive to builders. We’re looking for the strong growth in new-home sales and single-family construction as builders offer more affordable product in the year ahead. Consumers of all types should consider new homes, but availability will be highly dependent on location.

4. Higher mortgage rates will affect high-cost markets the most

We told you mortgage rates would go up in 2015, and they did—but they also went back down. We expect similar volatility in 2016, but the move by the Federal Reserve to guide interest rates higher should result in a more reliable upward trend in mortgage rates.

Thirty-year fixed rates will likely end 2016 about 60 basis points higher than they are today. That level of increase is manageable, as consumers will have multiple tactics to mitigate some of that increase. However, higher rates will drive monthly payments higher, and, along with that, debt-to-income ratios will also go higher. Markets with the highest prices will see that higher rates will result in fewer sales; however, across the U.S., the effect will be minimal as the move to higher rates will spur more existing homeowners to sell and buy before rates go even higher.

5. Already unaffordable rents will go up more than home prices

The housing crisis that politicians are ignoring is that the cost of rental housing has become crushing in most of the country. More than 85% of U.S. markets have rents that exceed 30% of the income of renting households. Furthermore, rents are accelerating at a more rapid pace than home prices, which are moderating. We’ve been seeing asking rents on vacant units increase at a double-digit pace in the second half of this year.

Because of this, it is more affordable to buy in more than three-quarters of the U.S. However, for the majority of renting households, buying is not a near-term option due to poor household credit scores, limited savings, and lack of documentable stable income of the kind necessary to qualify for a mortgage today.

This trend does not bode well for the health of the housing market in the future. It will only improve if we see more construction of affordable rental housing as well as more of a pathway for renters to become homeowners.

Tuesday is Colorado Gives Day!

Colorado Gives Day Tuesday, December 8th


The Retriever Rescue of Colorado is the organization that Dan and I got Playa from as a puppy. They are an amazing organization that does great work. Without them we wouldn’t have our girl. They were able to rescue Playa’s mom and get the puppies to loving and caring homes.

Anne-Skinner-main-pic-238x300

Their mission statement: Believing that all Retrievers deserve a safe, loving home, the mission of Retriever Rescue of Colorado is to rescue abandoned, abused, neglected and unwanted retrievers and to promote public education on animal-related issues.

Dan and I are volunteers that do home visits for any Summit County potential adoptions. Again we can not recommend this rescue enough. Please consider them tomorrow, Tuesday December 8th on Colorado Gives Day!

Click here to Learn More or Give today! 

Thanks!

Anne Skinner

The 4 Most Important Mortgage Documents You’ll Sign

Your signature is needed on so many documents when buying or selling a home. As of October 2015 there are new documents you need to sign for your mortgage. Not only does having a realtor help you keep track of everything, but they can help you manage getting it all done. Zillow blog examines the 4 most important documents you’ll have to sign for your Mortgage. 


 

The 4 Most Important Mortgage Documents You’ll Sign

When it comes to buying a home, knowing your way around the paperwork will help you feel more confident on closing day.

BY

Laws effected in October 2015 require home buyers to sign new documents during the mortgage process. Here’s a look at what has changed, and what you’ll be signing if you buy a home now.

Mortgage disclosure law changes in 2015

Consumers financing homes in the U.S. are protected from fee abuses by two main regulations: the Truth In Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).

Respectively, TILA and RESPA protect you from closing cost abuses and prevent housing service providers (like lenders, real estate agents and title companies) from giving each other referral fees for your business.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) enforces TILA and RESPA, and on October 3, 2015, the CFPB combined all previously required mortgage rate and fee disclosures into two simple forms to make it easier for consumers to understand their mortgages. This initiative is called the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule (TRID).

The Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure

The two forms TRID created are called the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure.

The Loan Estimate must be provided to you within three days of applying with a lender, and it replaced the Good Faith Estimate and Truth In Lending disclosures home buyers used to get prior to October 3, 2015. It details loan terms, projected payments over the life of your mortgage, and line item closing costs.

The Closing Disclosure must be provided to you at least three business days before closing on your mortgage, and it replaced the final settlement statement, which was also known as the HUD or HUD-1. It looks almost exactly like the Loan Estimate, but adds a breakdown of costs paid by buyer versus seller versus third parties. This means you’re reviewing final terms in the same format you saw in the Loan Estimate initially, and you’ve got three days to digest it before you close.

Make sure you read and understand the specific timing rules lenders (and you) must follow with these disclosures when closing a home purchase or refinance, because they could affect how long it takes to complete the mortgage process.

If you agree to go forward with closing after the Closing Disclosure’s three-day waiting period, you’ll also need to sign a full set of loan documents. Among those, the following two are most important.

The promissory note (aka “the note”)

The note is your loan contract, and contains the terms of your loan (such as 30-year fixed or 5-year ARM); specifies the rate, payment intervals and payment changes along the way; and states whether you’ll incur a prepayment penalty if you pay off the loan early.

In the note, you agree that your home is security for the loan, so your lender will have a claim to your property if you don’t repay according to the note’s terms. This note provision will refer to a separate document that’s the “security instrument,” called a mortgage or a deed of trust.

The security instrument (aka “the mortgage” or “the deed of trust”)

Both a mortgage and a deed of trust pledge the property as security for the note. Fannie Mae provides a list that specifies which states require mortgages vs. deeds of trust so you know which one you’ll sign along with your note based on where you live.

Depending on the loan you choose, you’ll need to comply with one of these three occupancy provisions contained in all mortgages and deeds of trust:

  • Owner-occupied. You must move into the property within 60 days of closing and live there as your primary residence for at least one year. Then you’re allowed to use it as a rental or a second home.
  • Second home. You can only use the property as a second home and aren’t allowed to rent the home.
  • Non-owner-occupied. You’re paying a higher rate for this loan, so you’re free to convert occupancy to owner-occupied or second home if and when you see fit.

Should You Buy a Home While Carrying Student Debt?

 on the Zillow.com blog examines what it means and how you can buy a house with student loan debt. There is some great advice from financial experts on how to move forward with buying a home financially. “The single most effective way to get rid of student loans while saving and building wealth is to live below your means. When you start significantly upgrading your lifestyle, you lose flexibility with your budget. — Katie Brewer of Your Richest Life Planning” 


Should You Buy a Home While Carrying Student Debt?

Financial experts give their two cents on managing both student debt and a mortgage.

It’s challenging for first-time buyers to break into the housing market as rents keep rising and the inventory of low-value homes remains scarce in most areas. Add thousands of dollars of student debt to the equation and potential buyers may assume they simply cannot afford to buy. Recent data showed that home buyers who completed at least a bachelor’s degree are minimally affected by their student debt when shopping for homes.

Check out some tips from personal finance experts about acquiring mortgages while carrying significant student loan debt.

If you had student loan debt, what was your payment strategy to get rid of it?

I used the debt snowball method to pay off my student loan debt. In 2005, I still owed $13,000. Since my loans were serviced through Sallie Mae, I took advantage of the 1-year forbearance to pause my loan payments so I could aggressively pay off smaller loans that we owed. While the interest still accrues during the forbearance period, I was able to focus on clearing up other debt faster. After the year passed, I was able to start paying off my student loan with more traction. It only took another year and a half to retire the remaining student loan balance. — Toni Husbands of Debt Free Divas

Personally, I was lucky enough to make it through undergraduate and graduate school without accumulating any student debt. My wife, however, accumulated between $10,000 and $20,000 in student debt from going to a small private college for her undergraduate degree. Once we got married, I “married” her student debt as well. Currently, she still has around $11,000 in student loan debt. To manage the payoff, the first thing we did was to call the loan administrator and request a lower interest rate, which they did to our surprise without any problems. Currently, the interest rate is only 3 percent annually, which equates to $124 per month. At this level, I do not feel that much of a hurry to pay it off. Instead, it is more along the lines of a low-interest home mortgage, which we are paying off at the required rate, but no more. — Jacob Irwin of My Personal Finance Journey

If you’re still carrying student loan debt, what is your financial plan to eliminate it?

Slow and steady! — Heather Jarvis of Ask Heather Jarvis

I currently hold quite a bit of student loan debt — over $85,000 — but I like to think that my resolve is tantamount to the balance. When I first graduated, I had nearly double that amount to pay off. But by making the pay-off my first financial priority and sending over $1,700 to pay it down every month, I was able to make a sizeable dent in that number quickly. I also cut out spending elsewhere to have more to send toward my loans whenever possible. This meant limiting meals out, having multiple roommates rather than living alone, and forgoing cabs in favor of public transportation. — Mario Bonifacio of Debt Blog

If you’re a homeowner, did you have student loan debt at the time you bought? How did that impact your purchase?

We didn’t let the student loan debt hold us back from buying a home, but we also purchased a home that easily fit into our budget instead of purchasing a home that stretched our budget. — Katie Brewer of Your Richest Life Planning

We purchased a condo while I had an outstanding student loan balance. The pre-approval process takes into account your debt-to-income ratio when determining the amount you’re able to borrow. Those purchasing a home without outstanding student debt should ensure that their monthly payment does not exceed 25 to 30 percent of your monthly income. We started with a small condo with very affordable monthly payments and assessments that allowed us to have breathing room in our budget to address our outstanding debt — including my student loans. — Toni Husbands of Debt Free Divas

The student loan debt did not impact our purchase much at all, since the home we wanted to buy was very affordable based on our income. For us, I do not believe it would have been better to pay off the student loan prior to buying a house, since our debt was fairly low, carried a reasonable interest rate, and does not tie up a large portion of our monthly income. — Jacob Irwin of My Personal Finance Journey

In hindsight, would it have been better to pay off your student loan debt before or after your home purchase?

One thing I would do differently would be to focus on repaying my students loans aggressively as soon as I graduated from undergrad. Instead of taking on car loans and living in high-priced apartments, I could have been much more aggressive as a single person with no children. Instead, I was comfortable with the idea of paying the minimum amount for the full loan term because that was the normal approach to dealing with debt. — Toni Husbands of Debt Free Divas

If you’re not a homeowner, is your student loan debt prohibiting you from buying?

I don’t believe that my student loan is prohibiting me from purchasing a house, though I may have been able to contribute a down payment fund by this point if it weren’t for my student loans. I still feel like both my personal and professional life are in limbo, and at this stage I feel like renting is the smart choice for my situation. I’m currently contributing extra money toward both my 401(k) and my personal IRA account each year and I could instead allocate some of that money towards a down payment if purchasing a home was one of my priorities. My student loans have definitely put the thought of even saving for a home on the backburner, but it was also not a priority of mine to begin with. — Debt Hater of From Debt to Dreams

What are your tips for folks carrying substantial student loan debt?

The single most effective way to get rid of student loans while saving and building wealth is to live below your means. When you start significantly upgrading your lifestyle, you lose flexibility with your budget. — Katie Brewer of Your Richest Life Planning

Maintain a positive attitude. The best plans and the most sophisticated math in the world don’t mean a thing if you make yourself miserable and give up. Second, make a budget. Knowing where you spend will help you make meaningful cuts and not beat yourself up over meaningless cuts (like single-ply toilet paper or bad Q-tips). Lastly, put together a sensible timeline of how quickly you might be able to pay off all your debt. Having a timeline can change the way you look at your debt; whereas hundreds of thousands of dollars might seem insurmountable, you know that December 2019 will definitely arrive and can therefore plan the months leading up to it. — Mario Bonifacio of Debt Blag

First, use the federal government to your advantage. It offers programs to consolidate and, in some cases, even forgive student loans. Sadly, not everyone knows about them. For instance, a relatively new program is called Pay As You Earn, or PAYE for short. It actually caps the monthly federal student loan payment at 10 percent of your discretionary income. Second, don’t stop paying. The same government that offers helpful programs can also garnish your wages, take a portion of your Social Security benefits, and confiscate tax refunds. Call your loan servicer and ask about your options. But be careful of student loan repayment scams. Only deal with reputable organizations that have excellent reviews and a Better Business Bureau rating. Third, get creative. For instance: volunteer with organizations like AmeriCorp. They offer loan forbearance (which means you don’t have to pay on the principal or interest while working). After your service, you receive a monetary award you can put toward your loan. — Howard Dvorkin of Debt.com

What advice do you have for prospective home buyers limited by their student loan debt?

Build a strong credit history by making your payments on time. Improve your debt-to-income ratio by paying down credit cards and other consumer debt. Balance your competing goals of paying down debt and saving for a down payment. — Heather Jarvis of Ask Heather Jarvis

Don’t let student loan debt hold you back from buying a home. It is important to make sure that you don’t take on more than you can handle, but it’s also important to balance student loan debt with other important financial goals. Make sure you purchase a home that allows you some room in your budget to focus on other goals. — Katie Brewer of Your Richest Life Planning

For anyone looking to buy a home and carrying loan debt, I would say that it is all about balance as with most things in life. You need to set your goals and figure out what is important to you. Are you OK with stretching your student loans out a few more years in order to save for that down payment? Or does the student loan payment need to be eliminated so that you have breathing room in your budget for a mortgage? It may be best to pay off your student loans as quickly as possible (especially if they are high-interest loans), and then switch your focus toward purchasing a home. If you do have any outstanding credit card debt, I would advise you to pay that off before even starting to save for a down payment. If you have sufficient income to pay off your student loans a little slower and buying a home is a priority for you, start shifting some of that money toward your down payment instead. If you come up with a sound financial plan and make sure that you can afford the monthly payments, I don’t feel that there’s any reason that a student loan will prevent you from owning a home. — Debt Hater of From Debt to Dreams


 

 

 

9 Ways to Stay Warm This Winter Without Turning Up the Heat

Realtor.com is at it again. Maureen Dempsey explores 9 ways to stay warm this winter without relying simply on the heat. One of my personal favorites is the heated towel rack.


 

9 Ways to Stay Warm This Winter Without Turning Up the Heat

D Trocio Photography/Getty Images

By: Maureen Dempsey

The chill will be here before you know it—or, depending on where you’re reading this, it’s already arrived with a scary vengeance. Now you have three options: Crank up the thermostat, up your layering game (and risk looking like the Michelin man), or search for other types of home heating products to keep you and the family toasty.

Here’s the good news: There’s a slew of products that can warm your home in an array of astonishing ways, from heated rugs to countertops to driveways (no more shoveling snow!). Here’s a sampling of the innovative options.

Heating panels

Radiators and vented systems work perfectly well throughout the house, but add a few radiant heating panels to your room of choice to fire up the cozy factor. Starting at $600; warmlyyours.com.

Heated driveway

You might love a fresh snowfall a little more (instead of cursing it) if you don’t have to shovel it. You can increase safety and eliminate snow and ice by installing a heated driveway. Around $2,500 plus installation; heatizon.com.

Heated rug pads

A heated rug sounds pretty appealing, no? The plug-in pad slips under a standard area rug. We have a feeling the kids (and pets) will be flocking to this one. Starting at $150;cozywinters.com.

Heated countertops

The cool touch of granite is fabulous in the summer, but it’s not so great when you’re trying to make coffee on a chilly winter morning. The solution: heated countertops. Installable and stick-on are available. Starting at $750; feelswarm.com.

Heated towel rack

You can banish après-shower cold shocks with this toasty towel rack, one of the products that helped kick off the whole heated gear trend a few years back. $160;wayfair.com.

Heated mattress cover

Ten heat settings and dual control means everyone will be snug on this sherpa mattress cover. Starting at $65; target.com.

Boot heater

Can’t bear the thought of slipping your little piggies into wet, cold boots for another schlep outside? Avoid the torture with a space-saving boot dryer. $35; cozywinters.com.

Heated slippers

http://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/ways-to-stay-warm-this-winter/?iid=rdc_news_hp_carousel_theLatest

These heated indoor-outdoor slippers work as shoes, too, depending on your definition of footwear and, um, style. $125; brookstone.com.

Heated toilet seat

Let’s be honest: This heated toilet seat (with night light!) is quietly appealing. We’ll leave it at that. $122; homedepot.com.


 

Let’s be honest though, all of these sound amazing. Here in Summit County these little improvements could help make the long winter a little bit warmer. 

El Niño…

With more snow expected tonight I’m just going to leave this here…

Summit County has started out the season really well. Whether it’s because of El Niño or not we’re excited about all the snow.

For the full clip check out NBC.

When Is Housing’s Black Friday? Some Surprising Holiday Home-Buying Trends, from Realtor.com

So today is Black Friday, but when is the “Black Friday” of the Real Estate market? sRealtor.com explore when the “Black Friday” of real estate is, and surprisingly it seems to be in the winter. Yuqing Pan writes, “So what is the true Black Friday of the housing business? Here’s a holiday shocker: Dec. 28 was actually one of the busiest days for real estate searches in the entire year, despite the fact that Dec. 24 was the single slowest.”


When Is Housing’s Black Friday? Some Surprising Holiday Home-Buying Trends

Rusanovska/iStock; prosado/iStock from Realtor.com

By: Yuqing Pan 

Thanksgiving evokes certain unshakable images: Long tables crammed with too much food. Beloved and bickering family members consuming way too much of that food. Overstuffed family members staggering away from the table to watch football. And once the crumbs and turkey bones and cranberries are cleared away, just about everyone gearing up for the biggest shopping day of the year: Black Friday.

While prowling the malls for fantastic deals has become enshrined as a traditional part of many Americans’ holiday season, it has long been considered conventional wisdom that this sales fervor doesn’t extend to shopping for a home—that there’s no deluge of would-be buyers surfing the Web for listings or slogging through the (presumed) snow to open houses.

But does the housing market really come to a screeching halt during the holidays? The realtor.com® team decided to put down its Best Buy circulars and Victoria’s Secret gift cards long enough to find out for sure. In order to measure people’s interest in shopping for a home, we used traffic data on realtor.com from throughout 2014. Not-quite-spoiler: Traffic is much lower on an actual holiday. But what about directly afterwards? And in different parts of the country?

We compared the traffic data for realtor.com on Thanksgiving Day 2014 with that of an average day in 2014’s fourth quarter, and then we identified states where house-hunting activity appeared to be most and least impacted by the holiday.

Source Realtor.com

In balmy Hawaii, the amount of people house hunting on turkey day is only 10% less than the average for that quarter. However, in New Hampshire, the number is down by almost 60%.

And overall, the Thanksgiving slowdown only lasts as long as it takes to digest that huge mass of poultry—and hit a few Black Friday sales. By Saturday, it’s pretty much business as usual.

But according to our database, the number of scheduled open houses on the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend is going to be only 6% of the number from this past weekend. So for buyers serious enough to attend a Thanksgiving open house, your effort will likely pay off—you will be dealing with equally determined sellers and facing less competition.

Moving beyond Thanksgiving, we looked at the impact of all major holidays. Take a look at the graphic: Dark red indicates higher traffic, while light yellow indicates lower traffic.

So what is the true Black Friday of the housing business? Here’s a holiday shocker: Dec. 28 was actually one of the busiest days for real estate searches in the entire year, despite the fact that Dec. 24 was the single slowest.

The reason: When we’re over the holiday hump but still on break, it’s a great time to look for our dream home. The same reason explains the surge of activity on New Year’s Day. And, perhaps buying a house is a popular New Year’s resolution?

Another surprising, best-performing day on a holiday weekend: the other side of the year, July 6. Instead of traveling, many buyers apparently use the long weekend in the height of the buying season to search for homes and go to open houses.

Overall, the spring market typically has the best combination of inventory and value—more homes go onto the market, but prices have not yet thawed. If you miss out on that sweet spot, the second-best opportunity is in fall. Sept. 1, on Labor Day weekend, was another top performer—it’s all part of a seasonal pattern that buyers and sellers can use to their advantage if they are not constrained by school schedules or job transfers.

Besides family-oriented holidays, there’s one more holiday that significantly slows down home-searching activity. Nope, not Mother’s Day, not Father’s Day, but … Valentine’s Day. Think about it: Your significant other wants to take you out for a romantic dinner. Are you gonna say no because you want to stay at home to browse photos of fixer-uppers?

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Any time of year is a great time to find your High Country get-away!

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Some fun Summit County Thanksgiving Day Events:

  • Keystone Thanksgiving. Click Here for more information.
  • Kidtopia opening at Keystone, November 27th
  • Turkey Day 5k: Town of Frisco. Click Here for more information.
  • Frisco Adventure Park Opening, November 26th
  • Midnight Madness at the Outlets at Silverthorne: November 26th 8pm-12am, November 27th 8am-8pm

J.D. Power: Mortgage Customer Satisfaction Up in 2015

The 2015 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study released today by J.D. Power has found overall mortgage customer approval of lenders is on the rise, which is a good sign for future home-buyers. 


J.D. Power: Mortgage Customer Satisfaction Up in 2015

By: 

While a certain federal regulatory agency in Washington run by a one-time Ohio attorney general may insist that Americans are unhappy with their mortgage companies, the 2015 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study released today by J.D. Power has found overall mortgage customer approval of lenders is on the rise.

Using a 1,000-point scale to measure satisfaction, the new study found the overall customer approval rating was 793 in 2015, a seven point increase from last year. The growing level of customer appreciation was primarily fueled by a 22 point increase in the application and approval process factor.

The study, which polled 4,666 Americans and was conducted in two cycles covering February and March and later in July and August, found overall satisfaction with several mortgage application-related activities, including the completion of an application (799), submitting documents (804) and receiving status updates (811). But Craig Martin, director of the mortgage practice at J.D. Power, warned that the new TRID rule that went into effect on Oct. 3 could alter how consumers view lenders.

“While a lot of effort has been placed on ensuring compliance with new regulations, it is imperative that lenders improve their education and communication about the impact of these changes or risk losing customers,” said Martin. “Effective communication remains one of the most important aspects of a satisfying mortgage experience, especially if the process is taking longer than it has historically.”

Millennials played a prominent role in this year’s study, with the finding that 37 percent of these youthful customers stated the origination process was not completely explained to them, and 58 percent indicated their options, terms and fees were not completely explained. Martin also warned lenders to be cognizant of the communications methods favored by Millennials.

“This generation is highly digitally connected, so ongoing communication and transparency via the channels they prefer, particularly mobile, are vital,” he said.

Among the nation’s top originators, Detroit-based Quicken Loans ranked highest in primary mortgage origination satisfaction for a sixth consecutive year, with a score of 850, up 15 points from 2014. Fifth Third Mortgage came in second with a score of 812, followed by Bank of America and BB&T (Branch Banking & Trust Company) in a tie at 811 each.