Tag Archives: Real Estate

What’s Happening in the Summit County Market?

Anne and Molly summarize the Summit County market by analyzing September 2017 market stats.

If you have any questions about the market or real estate in general in Summit County please reach out to the Skinner Team!

A Mile-High Building Boom in Denver (Realtor.com)

As Denver market continues to grow so will ours here in Summit County. 


A Mile-High Building Boom in Denver 

 | Oct 13, 2017

A booming tech industry and strong job market have fueled an apartment-building frenzy in the midsize, mile-high city of Denver. Neighborhoods once filled with rundown 19th-century warehouses, modest apartment complexes and vacant lots have transformed into landscapes of glass, brick and steel, as new structures continue to climb.

Standing on the 12th-floor roof deck of the Alexan Uptown, a new 372-unit luxury apartment building, real-state agent Justin De La O counts about half a dozen cranes within a few blocks’ radius that mark where similar properties are rising.

Median rents in Denver grew to $1,184 in 2015, up from $777 in 2005—a 52% increase, according to data from rental website Apartment List, compared with 32% nationally. Construction of new units boomed during the same decade, but remained slower than the pace of new job creation, with 1.7 new jobs created for every new residential building permit. From 2010 to 2015, the ratio was particularly off-balance, with 2.9 jobs added for every building permit, according to census data analyzed by Apartment List.

Now, some local real-estate experts say the balance is shifting, with the supply of new housing matching or even exceeding demand. The result: Rental-price growth already shows signs of softening, with median rents down 0.4% over the past month, to $1,340, according to Apartment List’s October report. (The company says this may be due in part to a seasonal dip.)

“They have totally overbuilt the luxury apartment buildings,” says Christina Freyer Walker, the president of Colorado & Co. Real Estate. That’s good news for renters, as some buildings begin to offer incentives such as $500 signing bonuses, elaborate furnishing packages, gift cards and breaks on rent to attract tenants.

Tori Larson is the asset manager for the developer behind Decatur Point, a 203-unit rental building with an outdoor pool that opened in November 2016 and is now 88% rented. She says the building has tried a range of promotions to attract renters.

One recent deal was aimed at pet owners; it included a gift card for 10 visits to a doggy day care and six months of monthly on-site pet grooming. Another promotion featured a $500 Visa gift card, which she said was popular. “It’s a constant battle trying to figure out what’s going to work and what’s going to attract people,” she says. Studios in the building start at $1,485 a month; two-bedroom, two-bathroom units go up to $2,700.

Leeann Nicolo moved to Denver from New York in June. She looked at about 15 different places before choosing her 950-square-foot unit at the Alexan Uptown. At the time she signed her lease, she says the building was offering one-month free rent and waiving the building’s standard pet fee for a few months. The signing package for her $1,950-a-month, one-bedroom apartment also included several gift options. She chose one that came with a $300 Southwest Airlines gift card, a free membership to the Denver Zoo and a subscription a service that delivers free snacks from around the world once a month.

“In New York you have to argue for everything and you’re lucky if you even get an apartment,” says Ms. Nicolo, 27, who works in cybersecurity. The building’s more recent promotion included waived signing fees and discounts on certain units.

The rental-building boom was partly fueled by a slowdown in the building of for-sale luxury condos. Some developers say that under local construction-defect laws, condos are more vulnerable to lawsuits than rental buildings, making rentals seem like a safer bet. Others say that market conditions have been more favorable for rentals.

The low inventory of homes for sale has kept the sales market competitive. Denver homes and condos sell in under 30 days on average after listing, on par with hot markets like the San Francisco Bay Area, says Pam O’Connor, the CEO of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.

David Zucker, the CEO of Zocalo Community Development, says the past year has given him pause about the high end of the rental market, though Denver’s growing global recognition makes him optimistic about the city overall. The company’s newest luxury rental building, Coda, in Cherry Creek, is about 70% rented a year after opening, which he says is slightly slower than expected but not surprising, considering the competition.

The building has free gigabyte high-speed internet for all residents, in addition to concierge service and a new ground-floor restaurant, Hedge Row, owned by Elon Musk’s brother Kimbal Musk. For future development, he says, he’s focusing on mixed-use buildings.

Some buildings are trying to stand out with increasingly luxurious amenities. At the Battery on Blake, a luxury apartment building across the street from Coors Field, there’s a sports lounge with an indoor bowling alley and billiards. Many buildings also include dog spas (where renters can wash their pets) as well as rooftop dog parks or dog runs. And then there are the types of amenities that are unique to Denver’s outdoorsy lifestyle, like ski-storage rooms, or kayaks that residents can borrow to use on nearby rivers.

The Confluence, a 35-story building under construction at the convergence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River, has units that range from 658-square-foot studios to 2,500-square-foot penthouses. Amenities include bikes that residents can borrow to ride around town, as well as valet parking. A heated outdoor infinity pool, open year-round, has a cantilevered glass wall as well as several resort-style cabanas, each with its own fire pit. The gym has sliding glass doors that open to an outdoor yoga lawn.

One-bedrooms at the Confluence start around $2,400 a month and the largest penthouses could rent for more than $16,000 a month; prices are still being determined. With hand-scraped wood floors and 10- to 12-foot ceilings, the units are some of the priciest per square foot in Denver. Developers say there’s already a waitlist for penthouses, although they’re still under construction. They aren’t offering big promotions yet, though some non-penthouse units come with a $500 to $1,000 “construction” rebate while the building is still being completed.

Tara Nelson, a 32-year-old registered dietitian, moved to Denver from Barnstable, Mass., in May. She looked at seven or eight different luxury buildings before settling on Decatur Point in Jefferson Park. She liked the building’s gym, which has Peloton bikes with live video spin classes, and free yoga classes twice a week. Her 630-square-foot studio apartment has a patio where she can watch the sunset in the evenings.

Her rent is $1,700 a month, but with the building’s one-month free move-in incentive, which she spread out over the first year, she pays $1,595; she says her application fee was also waived.

Developers and real-estate agents say the next boom will likely happen in the suburbs. Adrienne Hill, a senior vice president with Simpson Property Group, has developed buildings like Sky House, a new 25-story, 354-unit downtown luxury apartment building in the Financial District with a rooftop pool and a gym that has a virtual training center. The building opened in October 2016 and is 64% occupied, which Ms. Hill says is in line with their expectations.

With the urban market nearly saturated, the company is looking to suburban areas like Littleton, about 20 miles south of Denver, for new development. “There’s a lot of opportunity in the suburbs and a lot of pent-up demand,” she says.

 

April Market Analysis

Land Title Guarantee Company’s April 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.

  • Market Analysis by Area for April 2017: There were 189 transactions and $114,226,938 in monetary volume. Some trends for all 18 reported areas in April: $618,443- Average transaction price, $651,114- Average residential price and $421-PPSF.
  • Year to Date Market Analysis (4 months): Monetary volume in 2017 totaled $400,422,612 with 621 transactions. $665,173-Average transaction price, $687,676-Average residential price and $422-PPSF.
  • Market Snapshot for Years 2017 vs 2016:  Average Indicators for $: Single Family +22%, Multi- Family +12% and Vacant Land +8%. Median Indicators for $: Single Family +30%, Multi- Family +10% and Vacant Land +8%.
  • Market Analysis % Change YTD 2017: Monetary volume ($114,226,938) in April 2017 was 28% higher than April 2016. Transactions (189) were also up at 22% from April 2016.  YTD 2017, monetary volume is up by 31% and transactions are up 15% compared to YTD 2016.
  • Residential Market Sales by Price Point: Residential volume in April had 162 transactions with $105,480,438 gross volume. There were 25 properties that sold for $1M and above in April. The most active price point was between $300K-400K with 28 transactions. There were 55 Single Family, 107 Multi-Family and 11 Vacant Land transactions in April.
  • Average Price History by Type 2017: Average price for residential Single Family: $1,141,417, Multi- Family: $458,136 and Vacant Land: $383,469.
  • Comparative Historical Cost Analysis 2017 YTD: There were 512 residential transactions and $352,089,998 gross $ volume with 95 properties selling for a $1M and over-compared to 2016, there were 459 transactions and $268,033,677 $ gross volume, 46 properties at $1M and over.  In 2015, there were 423 transactions with $232,945,600 $ gross volume, 43 properties at $1M and over.
  • Top Lender Graph: There were 416 loans in April, 64% (189) of the loans were related to sales, there were 110 REFI’s and 185 loans were timeshare related. 36% of the real estate closings were cash transactions.
  • Market Highlights: Please see page 10 of the Market Analysis- You can note the higher priced sale in April in the Highlands/Braddock Hill area, Water House topped out the highest PPSF at $845.76. There were 2 bank sales in April.
  • Foreclosures: There were 5 foreclosure actions in April.
  • Purchaser Profile Abstract:  There were 25 upper end sales in April compared to 38 in March. Our buyers for real estate transactions in April were the Front Range demographic at 45% of our market, 21% are “local” and 34% are out of state buyers with 0% International. 
  • Land Title New Development Summary: This (page 16) shows all the new construction each month with 12 in April compared to 20 in March.

5 Tips for Saving Money On Your Next New Home

Looking to save more money on your next new home? Kara Masterson from housecall outlines some really helpful ways to do so. If your interested in making your new home a mountain escape contact me and we can get you settled in Summit County and saving money! – Anne Skinner


5 Tips for Saving Money On Your Next New Home

Posted on Sep 30 2016 – 12:08pm by Housecall
By Kara Masterson

The process of buying a new home is stressful, even if you’ve already done it before. Looking at properties, researching areas, processing paperwork, etc., can all take a toll on your schedule and daily life. With all this going on, the last thing you should have to worry about is saving money when it actually comes time to buy the property. Use the following five tips for saving money on your next new home:

Always Use a Real Estate Agent

One of the biggest mistakes people make is trying to purchase a home without a licensed real estate agent. Places like Lisa Burridge & Associates Real Estate can be of immense help during the purchase process. Not only can an agent help with paperwork, but they’ll also know how to negotiate the price using fair market value, the actual condition of the home and other various factors.

Try Not to Pay PMI

Also known as private mortgage insurance, this is tacked on to your monthly payment if you buy a home with less than 20 percent. Some lenders will still offer standard mortgages with smaller down payments, but they’re increasingly hard to find. Save money by trying to save at least 20 percent for your home, or purchase a home that fits into a slightly smaller budget.

Reduce your Property Taxes

This is a very popular and often effective way to save money on a new home. If you think the assessed value of your home is too high, ask for a review. A different assessor will come out, perform an inspection and make any adjustments, if necessary. While this doesn’t always work, it’s worth a shot if you want to save as much money as possible.

Find Better Insurance Rates

Similar to auto insurance and health insurance, monthly property insurance premiums vary depending on the company that underwrites the policy. Spend time shopping around to different insurance companies until you find the one that offers an affordable rate that sufficiently covers your property.

Make Additional Monthly Payments

If your mortgage payment is low enough where you can consistently pay more each month, doing so could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the course of the mortgage and reduce the number of months you’ll need to pay.

There are a variety of methods consumers can use to save money, both upfront and during the course of their mortgage. To avoid financial issues in the future, always purchase a home that is within your set price range and never buy a home with zero money down; doing so will make it much harder for you to borrow against the property in the future.

From RISMedia

Highlighted Review

Thank you Kirk Bast for such a great review. I was so happy to find that perfect property for you guys! If you or anyone you know is looking for their mountain escape contact me


For more of my Reviews

Success Story – 77 Hawn

Success Story – 77 Hawn Drive

77 hawn

Rebecca, Tommy and Larry wanted to sell their home in Leadville and move to Frisco.  I was able to bring multiple offers to them for their home in Leadville, and after only 14 days we were able to put their home under contract. By ensuring that all the dates and deadlines were quickly met in the sale of their Leadville home, I was able to allow them to confidently begin their search in Frisco.  After only a few showings, I found them a wonderful home that was perfect for them.
I wrote an offer for the new home in Frisco prior to closing on their Leadville home because they knew the deal was solid.  At no point did they feel uncertain about putting in an offer on a new home nor did they have to make their offer contingent on the sale of their Leadville home. This gave them a leg up in the competitive Frisco market.  By working with me, I was able to find solid buyers for their current home as well as find them a great home in Frisco where they can start a new chapter. I’m so excited for them!

7 Bathroom Renovations That Really Pay Off

7 Bathroom Renovations That Really Pay Off

kohler.com

Let’s get real: The first room you stumble into in the morning—bleary-eyed, dazed, and yawning—should be a soothing oasis. A bathroom that achieves those lofty heights? That’s a bathroom you can love. That’s why these most special of rooms are second only to kitchens as the areas homeowners eagerly spend time and money renovating—and that catch a buyer’s eye when you’re trying to sell.

But exactly which upgrades are the best, in terms of both usefulness and return on investment? Before you go nuts installing saunas and rain shower heads, check out this second installment in our series Renovations That Really Pay Off, for some smarter tweaks you’ll be very glad you made.

Reglaze, don’t replace, the tub

“No, no, no—do not put in a new tub,” says Rebecca Knaster, associate broker with Manhattan’s William Raveis. “It’ll cost thousands between the tub and the installation.” Instead, have the tub reglazed for “around $1,500,” which will make it look brand new.

Matt Plaskoff, founder of One Week Bath, agrees that if the shower area “is in decent shape,” it’s best to concentrate on the front part of the bathroom, which “sets the tone for the space.” 

Invest in a new sink

Face washing, teeth brushing, gerbil bathing—your sink sees a lot of use. It’s also the very first thing a buyer notices in a bathroom, says Knaster.

“Step 1 for getting the most bang for your buck is a new contemporary sink,” she says. “It will set you back a few hundred dollars and make all the difference.”

Just note whether the sink you already have is an undermount (where the edge is below the countertop to create an uninterrupted surface) or overmount (where the sink lip comes up over the countertop), says interior designer Randal Weeks, founder of Aidan Gray Home.

An undermount can be difficult to remove unless it’s under a formica top. If the sink is adhered to the surface, the top will also have to go, which quickly drives up the cost. One easy and dramatic sink upgrade Weeks recommends is replacing separate hot and cold faucets with a sleek single-handle faucet that starts at $70.

Go for timeless tile

While natural stone is hot, Weeks prefers neutral styles that will appeal to a broader range of people and provide better return on investment. Pricey stones are taste-specific, he notes, and can give a busy look that’s a turnoff regardless of expense.

In fact, Weeks says one of the biggest issues buyers consider when making offers is the cost of redoing other people’s “bad choices.” So go for crowd-pleasing features such as bright white subway tiles, which run a mere 21 cents each. The payoff?

“You can add $10,000 of value to your home by selecting timeless elements that won’t date it.” 

Upgrade your lighting

It’s not just Snow White’s evil stepmother and the Kardashians who spend lots of time staring into the mirror on the bathroom wall. For most of us, lighting and lighting fixtures are critical elements.

“Dated light fixtures are a turnoff,” says Knaster. “For no more than $100 you can buy a basic but nice bathroom light fixture.”

Install a double vanity

The last thing you need in the morning is a battle with your partner over who gets the sink. It’s no wonder “I’m looking for a double vanity” is one of the most common things heard by Will Johnson, a Hendersonville, TN, real estate agent and founder of the Sell and Stage Team.

A double vanity typically costs between $200 and $800, with installation falling around $220, Johnson says—and it’s a wise investment. Johnson has clients who “won’t buy a house simply because there’s only one sink in the master bathroom!”

Swap in new fixtures

“Old materials such as bronze can instantly date your bathroom,” says Johnson. To knock out this easy DIY update, simply purchase new door handles, drawer pulls, and towel bars. A nice chrome drawer pull can cost as little as $3, while a towel bar canaverage $30

Get a water-saving toilet

Old toilets use 6 gallons of water per flush, gobbling up about 30% of all residential water in U.S. homes. Go green when you swap out your throne. New WaterSense models using only 1.28 gallons per flush (e.g., TOTO’s Carlyle II 1G toilet) conserve up to 18,000 gallons of water annually. The initial cost of $974 will shave more than $110 per year off a water bill and add up to almost $2,200 over the lifetime of the toilet. Bonus: The latest water-saving thrones actually work.

But skip the bidet 

Bidets may be considered the Rolls-Royce of toilet upgrades, but most bathrooms simply don’t have room for them. What’s worse: Most Americans have no idea what on Earth these things are and may even be weirded out  by them.

“My personal opinion is that our society is not accustomed to this practice and doesn’t see the extra value in them,” says Tracy Kay Griffin, an expert designer at Express Homebuyers in Springfield, VA. “We haven’t renovated a home yet where we thought it would be a good investment to add a bidet.” Just say nay to the bidet.

Non-Bank Servicers Creating Bigger Mortgage Problems

Non-Bank Servicers Creating Bigger Mortgage Problems

By
Catherine Curan

elenaleonova/iStock

It’s hard to find a more sympathetic foreclosure story than Kathleen Conrad’s.

The disabled widow of a Marine who served in Vietnam, Conrad, 66, lives in a rundown Westchester house the couple bought in 1999, realizing their modest version of the America dream.

But after her husband died in 2004, Conrad faced larger-than-expected cuts to her widow’s benefits. During the 2007 housing market boom, she took out a second mortgage from GMAC. In 2013, Conrad fell behind on payments and was contacted by her loan’s new owner, Infinite Customer Systems and the strong-arm tactics began to get Conrad out of the home.

Unlike big banks, non-bank servicers like Infinite are not bound by even the modest consumer protections built into the National Mortgage Settlement (NMS) of 2012.

Non-bank servicers are taking a page from their predecessors’ playbooks. Sources say that many of the same old problems the NMS partially sought to address are back with the nonbank servicers, including long delays in reviewing loan modifications and wrongful denials of loan modification requests.

While Federal Housing Finance Agency director Mel Watt is still dithering about whether to finally allow principal write downs to help troubled borrowers keep their homes, private investors who’ve already gotten a steep discount on distressed debt sold by government-sponsored entities are using hard-knuckle tactics with homeowners.

“The investors buying these loans are not interested in offering home-saving solutions to struggling homeowners,” said Jacob Inwald, director of foreclosure prevention at Legal Services NYC.

As government-sponsored enterprises including Fannie Mae sell delinquent mortgage loans to shore up their balance sheets and banks pull back on this market, private investors are muscling in. They range from small fry like Virginia-based Infinite Customer Systems to $60 billion Texas-based private equity titan Loan Star Funds. Loan Star is the backer of mortgage servicer and originator Caliber Home Loans, a major new player in New York.

After a flood of complaints about Caliber’s practices, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opened an investigation last year. Loan Star declined to comment. A spokesman for the AG said the investigation is ongoing.

ICS’ Patrick Desjardins said he tried to reach a deal with Conrad before filing foreclosure. She halted the case by filing for bankruptcy protection, aided by foreclosure defense attorney Linda Tirelli. Earlier this month, a judge voided ICS’ lien, leaving the investor with worthless paper, and Conrad in her home.

“I don’t know where I would have [gone]” Conrad said. “That’s why I was fighting so hard to keep the house.”

Experts fear the new wave of investors will steamroll other vulnerable New Yorkers.

“We’re really concerned about the outlook,” said a spokesman for the Center for NYC Neighborhoods. “This is an unprecedented transfer of property ownership, accelerated by the distressed sales to non-bank servicers.”

Non-banks serviced 25 percent of the $9.9 trillion in outstanding US residential mortgages last year, against just 7 percent in 2012.

That’s according to a new Government Accountability Office report released last week by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who called for more oversight. This shift could lead to “harm to consumers, such as problems or errors with account transfers, payment processing, and loss mitigation processing,” the report said.

These new risks come as thousands of New Yorkers are mired in foreclosure. A new report from New Yorkers for Responsible Lending notes that as of last October, the state had nearly 90,000 pending foreclosure cases, half of which were filed in the previous 12 months. The crisis has bypassed wealthy enclaves of the city while ravaging low-income minority neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens.

Income Properties in Summit County

Income Properties in Summit County

Summit county is a wonderful place to buy a vacation home, but is it a good place to buy an income producing property? The answer to that question can be very tricky.  With prices on the rise, it is becoming more and more difficult to purchase a property that will actually make money.  When I speak with clients, I often advise that it is possible to cover your costs by renting your home but you have to be able to prioritize that over your desires sometimes.
When looking at a home to purchase it’s very important to balance your monthly carrying costs with the rental potential.  HOA’s can be one of the biggest factors that prevent you from being able to cover your costs.  If you compare a home that has a monthly HOA fee of $400 to another that has a monthly fee of $800, that means that you have to be able to generate $4800 more in rentals per year to be able to cover your costs.
Another factor to consider is what is included in your HOAs.  Heat tends to be the highest utility in our cold mountain climate.  Heat can be upwards of $200-$400 per month depending on your heating system.  When you have renters using your home, they are not as conscious about the cost of heating as you would be so expect them to leave the temperature higher than you may personally.  If your HOA does not include heat, your carrying costs will be much higher.  Renters also expect cable and internet so those can be around an additional $100 per month if your HOA does not include them.
Location is one of the biggest factors that determine the amount of rent you achieve.  A ski-in/ski-out home will always achieve more in annual rent than somewhere that requires you to drive to the ski resort.  Of course this will come with a premium price so you will have to factor that in.  Also, the number of people that your home will sleep is a big factor.  Don’t confuse the number of people with the number of bedrooms.  Often a 2 bedroom with good sleeping solutions will rent just as well as a 3 bedroom that sleeps the same number of people.  Surprisingly 1 bedrooms and studios do extremely well in our market here in Summit County.
When you rent your home also makes a huge difference.  Of course you are buying a vacation home because you want to be able to use it too.  However, if you think you want to use your home on major holidays, you can expect to loose out on a huge amount of revenue.  Christmas is one of the biggest revenue generating times of the year so if you are tempted to use it during that time just be aware of the income you may be loosing out on.
Last but not least, the way that you handle your rentals will make a huge difference.  If you want to hand the keys over to a professional management company and have them do all of the work, expect them to take 30%-40% of your gross rentals.  That will severely cut into your ability to cover your costs.  If you want to cover your costs or even make a little money, it is going to take work.
Keep in mind that if you were just going on vacation frequently that you would be spending money on hotels every time. (That could be spending upwards of $5,000 a year if you are coming up monthly.)  If you are buying a vacation home, you may not be able to cover 100% of your costs, but even if you are putting $5,000 of your own money into your home each year, you are still in a better position than just spending that money on hotels.  You are building equity into your home every year you own it.  No one can predict exactly what the real estate market will do, but chances are when you go to sell your home in the future, you will make a profit.  Not to mention that when you are on vacation, you always have a place that feels like home!
By
Anne Skinner

The 6 Worst Homes for First-Time Buyers

Angela Colley at Realtor.com has outlines which type of first-time homebuyers you shouldn’t be. If you’re ever unsure about any step in the home buying process never hesitate to ask your realtor.


The 6 Worst Homes for First-Time Buyers

By
Angela Colley

Deciding to buy your first home is a little scary. Looking for a home is anxiety-inducing. But actually making an offer? That’s a whole different level of panic. Are you choosing the right one? What if you buy this home and the perfect place comes on the market a week later? What if you end up hating the place in a year?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula for first homes. (If there were, we’d tell you.) And no, we can’t totally destress the process (buying a house is a big deal, after all). But we can help you avoid the biggest mistakes. And, as it turns out, some homes just aren’t right for the average first-time buyer. Go ahead and take a look.

1. The one that’s a little too ‘cosy’

You may not have children when you buy your first house. You may not even be planning on children. But those plans could change in the next five to 10 years, and that tiny two-bedroom historic bungalow you’ve been eyeing may go from just right to clown-car small.

“If you are recently married and plan to start a family, do not buy a two-bedroom home. Unless you bunk the kids together, you will be moving once the second child comes along,” says Seth Lejeune, a Realtor® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Collegeville, PA. “Three is generally a good average. If you end up staying there longer than expected, you can start a family and still be comfortable.”

2. The bloater

On the flip side, you shouldn’t just get the biggest house you can qualify for, either. Five bedrooms might make sense for you in the future, but if it’s just you and your partner now, you probably won’t need those other four bedrooms for years. In the meantime, you’ll be carrying a much larger mortgage than you need—or possibly can handle.

“There’s almost nothing worse than buying more house than you need and having a reminder come in the mail every month as you scrounge to make payments,” Lejeune says.

3. The money pit

You might be tempted to buy an older fixer-upper—after all, you’ve watched so much HGTV you could give Bob Vila a run for his money—but be careful how much rehab you take on.

If the home needs one or two biggish projects and a handful of small weekend jobs to get into perfect condition, you might come out ahead. But if you can spot a dozen problem areas now, you may end up going broke trying to repair that place.

Instead, opt for a fixer-upper with an end in sight.

“I generally advise people to keep it simple—like kitchens and bath upgrades,” Lejeune says.

4. The weekend stealer

Is the front lawn a tropical garden? Does the house have a swimming pool out back? Is there a huge vegetable garden that needs tending? Those features might look great now, but do you really want to spend every weekend maintaining your home?

“Pools, hot tubs, elaborate landscaping, etc. are great in theory, but all require maintenance,” Lejeune says.

If you’re not up for the challenge, move along.

5. The dream crusher

In an ideal world, you’ll live in your first home for a while, maybe make a few improvements, and sell it for a profit later so you can upgrade to an even more awesome pad.

But that doesn’t mean you should look at every home for its investment potential.

Sometimes your tireless home improvements won’t mean much to the next buyer. And sometimes that home simply isn’t going to go up in price, no matter what improvements you make.

“If you make a row home in the worst part of the city into the Taj Mahal, you’re never gonna get that money back,” Lejeune says.

If your only reason for making an offer is what you might get out of it after you sell it, consider the market very, very carefully before you make the plunge.

6. The doorbuster

If you’ve found a really good deal on a home, go ahead and pat yourself on the back for being a regular real estate pro. But then stop and ask yourself why the deal’s so great. Is the location a bit gritty? You might save big bucks in the beginning, but there also might be big problems if and when you try to sell the home later on.

“I would advise that you pick [a locale] with a strong school district and a fiscally sound municipality,” Lejeune says.

Even if you don’t plan on having children, or you don’t care if a neighborhood is a little rough around the edges, future buyers might—and that means you may be forced to offer the same discount you got when you bought the house. And nobody wants their decisions as a first-time buyer to come back and haunt them as a first-time seller.

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