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Getting ready to Sell

One of the biggest challenges sellers face when listing their house is decluttering. Cleaning out some of the more personal decorating choices allows buyers to imagine themselves living in the house.

Those planning to sell soon are in luck! Marie Kondo, the inventor of the KonMari Method of Tidying Up, has gained popularity with her new Netflix series. She gives some great tips for sorting through years of accumulated possessions that we all collect in our homes.

“The KonMari Method™ encourages tidying by category – not by location – beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.”

When you subjectively look at all of your belongings, you can sort through the ones that mean the most to you. Not only will you increase space for more joy-bringing items in your new home, but you will also have a much easier time packing remaining belongings!

“Remember, tidying up isn’t about getting rid of stuff. It is about creating an environment that sparks joy and improves your quality of life.”

When selling your house, first impressions matter! Before you or your agent schedule a photographer to take photos for your listing, make sure to tour your home with fresh eyes. Look for any imperfections that a buyer might notice.

When you sort through your more sentimental items, consider packing them away to ensure that you know where they all are. That way, they are safe during open houses and showing appointments. This will also cut down on the amount of packing you need to do right before you move!

Bottom Line

Whether you are selling your house to move up to a larger one, downsizing, or moving in with family, only bring the items that truly spark joy for you. This will not only help cut down on the items you move, but also ensures that you’re off to a great start in your new home!

Dena Schlutz

Managing Broker

303-588-7532

dena@PROS.realtor

Buyers: How to stand out in a competitive market

We are seeing a more balanced market, but it is still a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show that you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing whether or not your dream home is within your reach.

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you through this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential homebuyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores necessary to qualify for a mortgage. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so today.  Give us a call, and we can recommend the best lender for your circumstance!

Dena Schlutz

Managing Broker

303-588-7532

dena@PROS.realtor

Avoid Costly Water Damage

Non-weather water damage is responsible for 19% of homeowner insurance claims. Protect your property by performing these simple tasks this spring:  

  • Clean, inspect and repair gutters and ensure that downspouts are draining away from the foundation.
  • Check the grade and drainage around the foundation and fill any low spots with compacted soil to ensure water does not drain toward the foundation or basement windows.  Make sure downspouts or gutters aren’t leaking into window wells.
  • Inspect the roof for missing shingles or damage. Check the fireplace chimney and flashing to make sure water can’t find its way into the roof.  If unsure, call a trusted professional to avoid costly problems.
  • Check hoses on the refrigerator water line, washing machine, and ensure toilets are in good working order.  After running the dishwasher check the floor for signs of water, a small leak can go undetected until it damages the floor.  Visually inspect your water heater for signs of rust or leaks. If you have an evaporative cooler, check the water lines for integrity and leaks.
  • Inspect and repair caulking around showers, tubs, and sinks.  Don’t forget the kitchen and utility sinks.
  • Check outside faucets and replace leaking handles and repair or replace leaky hoses.
  • Check your sprinkler system.  Run through each zone and manually walk the property to ensure that sprinklers are set correctly and check for overspray.  
  • Remove anything that can hold standing water to minimize breeding ground for mosquitos.  And, while you're at it, make sure to change your furnace filter, and have your A/C serviced and get ready for summer!

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Dena Schlutz

303-588-7532

Dena@PROS.realtor

First-Time Home buyers Savings Account

To assist first-time homebuyers, Colorado’s legislature enacted a program in January of 2017 called the “First-Time Homebuyers Savings Account” or FHSA.  Interest and capital gains taxes are exempted from Colorado’s flat income tax of 4.63%. Federal taxes still apply to gains on a Colorado FHSA.

To create an FHSA, include a DR03050 form when filing Colorado state taxes to designate an FHSA account.

Almost any account with a financial institution qualifies; mutual funds, CDs, brokerage (stocks, bonds, etc.), money markets, insurance, even a savings account. FHSAs can also include individual stocks.

The limit is $50,000 in initial principal, and $150,000 is the non-taxable limit. The annual contribution cap is $14,000 ($28,000 if filing jointly). There is no limit on how long the account can exist, however, in order to qualify the money needs to be designated as an FHSA for at least a year before the home is purchased.

A first-time buyer is someone that has never purchased a home before. That includes single‐family homes, condos, cooperations, townhouses. It does not include land or commercial property.  

A child who inherited a home can still qualify as long as they have never purchased a home themselves.  Also, a divorcee who previously owned a home with their spouse will qualify as long as they haven’t been listed on a title in the previous 3 years.

A parent, relative or friend can designate a first-time home buyer as the beneficiary account, they can change the beneficiary at any time, but can only have one FHSA at a given time.  An individual can be the beneficiary of multiple accounts. For example, parents and grandparents could each establish and FHSA for the same first-time homebuyer.

Funds can be used to purchase a home with someone who is not a first‐time buyer as long as the person with the FHSA is a first‐time buyer.  

Qualified purchases are only on homes purchased in Colorado.  Careful thought needs to go into establishing an account as an FHSA because if the money is spent on something else, the interest earnings are subject to back taxes and a 5% penalty.  Here is the complete Colorado HOUSE BILL 16-1467

Make sure to check with your financial advisor or CPA to see if this is right for you as this isn't legal or tax advice.

Logan Schlutz

 303-815-3922

logan@pros.realtor

How Much Does It Cost To Rent?

The average rent in Denver is approximately $1,464 for multi-family condo and $1,750 in Boulder. Contrast this to 2002 when the average rent in Denver was only $800 and $1,015 in Boulder for multi-family condos.

Monthly rents have been increasing faster than average earned-income so rent continues to demand a larger share of income spent on housing.

Banks and financial advisors recommend limiting housing expenses to 30% of household income.  Data from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs show that 77-80% of homeowners in Denver and Boulder spend less than 30% on housing costs, while 55-60% of renters in Denver and Boulder spend more than 30% respectively.

Becoming a homeowner can stop the rise in monthly housing costs because mortgage payments are fixed- and as income increases, the percentage of income spent on housing decreases. And using a home to build equity is one of the best ways to get ahead!

Logan Schlutz  303-815-3922

logan@pros.realtor

Is Now a Good Time to Buy my First Home?

We have good news as the local real estate market is becoming more balanced compared to this time last year.  Homes in Denver are staying on the market 40% longer, and the positive news for buyers is that there are about 20% more homes for sale.  In Boulder, homes are staying on the market around 10% longer, and there are 12.5% more homes for sale.

With talks of an impending recession, some first-time home buyers may wonder if this is a good time to buy a home. Although pundits have consistently, and incorrectly, predicted the demise of the second longest expansion in American economic history, this question still deserves serious consideration.

To answer this question, we can look at historical appreciation data. In the graph below, the red line charts the rise or fall of the National House Price Index.  It represents the average rate of appreciation (rise in value) with the 0% line being the baseline or the purchase price. The graph shows that during the last five recessions, nationally, home appreciation rates were rarely affected with the exception of the Great Recession of 2008/2009.

Since 1980, in the other four recessions, homes have stopped appreciating only twice, and have briefly gone below the purchase price only once, and then by less than two percent. Historical data indicate that prices of homes will likely continue increasing even through the next recession.

Logan Schlutz  303-815-3922

logan@pros.realtor

Days on Market Boulder and Denver (Residential)

Average Days On the Market (DOM) is an important metric because statistically a home should go under contract in an optimal number of days and correlate to the price point and neighborhood.  The marketing and negotiation strategy should be tailored to this key metric.  And, DOM can also give an indication how robust the market is.

City of BOULDER all homes JAN to JAN comparison:

70% of all home Buyers have some sort of financing which affects the average number of Days on the Market. This is because it takes an average of 30 days for most loans to close after a property has been placed under contract. Therefore; if the average DOM was 30, one would interpret that homes were under contract, within only a day or two of being listed. 

The graph above for Boulder Colorado shows that most homes are on the market in January for 47 days before going under contract (total DOM 77).  The DOM trend is moving toward a more equalized market with supply and demand coming into balance. 


The number of DOM decreased slightly in 2018 and increased significantly in January 2019.

The months with the greatest DOM for 2017 and 2018 is January, which is the slowest month of the year.  Over the next several months until June we will see fewer days on the market, because demand is catching up with inventory.  This is a good time to be a seller and can be hit or miss for Buyers.  The late summer and fall usually see an increasing total number of days on the market peaking in January. 

The Graph above shows the number of DOM for Boulder since 2010. One thing to note is that even though the total number of DOM has increased in January 2019 over the January 2018 and January 2017, the DOM as in indicator still shows a robust housing market when taken into the context of the last eight to 9 years.

The DOM on the market indicator for Denver is substantially lower than in the Boulder market. This is the result of several factors, but the main factor is the way that DOM is calculated in the Denver compared to Boulder. In Denver the predominate Multiple Listing Service (where homes are placed for sale) is different than in Boulder. Using this system, most Denver based agents will change the status of a home that has gone under contract from “Active” to “Pending”.

The Pending status will essentially ignore the period during which the loan is processed, so in this case there is no need to subtract the 30-day loan processing/waiting period.  Another significant factor is that Denver properties on average experience fewer DOM than in Boulder because the price point tends to be more affordable than in Boulder.

One can see that the Denver market has also had a slight increase  in the number of DOM, but that in general, properties are still being placed under contract within 8 days of hitting the market.

Taking that into a historic perspective of the last 10 years, we see that the Denver Housing Market is still very robust.

When properties sell very quickly, its important to have a strong lender who can give your offer an edge with the ability to close quickly.

One strategy is to get pre-underwritten which means the lender evaluates all your income and qualifications as if you were under contract to purchase a home, the only thing left for you to do is find the house and get it under contract.  After this is complete, the only outstanding item is the appraisal and the loan will be nearly ready to close.  If the home is priced correctly, this makes your offer competitive with a cash offer.  Another tip is to have a Realtor who is responsive and dedicated enough to you to act immediately when a home that fits your criteria hits the market.

Logan Schlutz

303-815-3922

logan@pros.realtor

 

 

 

How budget makeovers can increase selling price

Seasonality can have a positive or negative effect on the rate and price at which homes sell.  Unless there are extenuating circumstances, I advise that sellers do not list their homes in January.  This January, I spent the month working with our interior designer to get my sellers ready for professional photography and staging.  Investing in interior design works wonders!  On a budget of $2,000 I helped some of my former clients sell their home for $55,000 more than we thought possible prior to our budget make over.  

This is our designer Nan Fischer with Nan Fischer Décor.  We use Nan’s expertise to advise on value added improvements, paint and staging design.  Nan has been featured or published in the following media: 

-Solar Age, Victoria and Boulder Magazines

-HGTV, My First Sale Episode; Casey/Boulder Stager Episode

-Comcast Television, Design Bits, 15-minute design methods

 

Why Interest Rates Rise

Many real estate professionals are currently asking how rising interest rates are going to change their business, especially in the short run.  The first question we need to understand is why interest rates are climbing.  Interest rates, global bond markets, and inflation are closely tied together, and they have a combined effect on mortgage rates.  A faster growing economy gives investors confidence and money flows out of conservative bonds which impacts the bond market.  Additionally, when the economy is growing consumers have more money to spend, and inflation can result.   A strong economy, de-valued bond prices, inflationary concerns, and continued short-term rate increases from the Federal Reserve are causing higher mortgage rates.

May Market Update

 

 

 

 




 

Real Estate Market Summary:  May, 2016

 

“Either make your money work for you, or you will always have to work for your money”

 

The ultimate goal in holding an asset, is to make a return for profit on the original investment.  When you take away the physical and emotional connection to owning a house, you have an asset in its truest definition.  The goal of this document is not to force your hand into making a decision on a whim, however it is to inform you of what is happening in the surrounding community. More specifically, Colorado has been noted as “the second-hottest real estate market in the United States.”  Not only has the market made a great comeback over the last few years, the first months of 2016 have created an unique opportunity to cash in on your investment.

 

Over the last twelve months (April 2015 - April 2016), the market has shown:

 

  • 31.3% decrease in months supply of inventory on housing

    • metric used to determine how many months it would take to sell all current

    inventory

  • 9.2% increase in housing prices

  • 11.7% decrease in amount of days spent on market

  • 6.2% decrease in new listings

 

→ This graph depicts the Months Supply of Inventory of Boulder, Weld, and Larimer counties across the last three years.  The current low values mean that houses are flying off the market at an unprecedented speed!

 

→ This graph depicts the Median Sales Price of Boulder, Weld and Larimer counties across the last three years. There is a steady and positive trend in the above graph.  This not only means that houses are gaining in value, but people are also spending more on housing.  

 

At this point in time, there is high demand for houses on the market. Seasonality can play a role as well; Summer tends to be a popular time to try and sell, or buy a new house due to the ease that comes with the warmer season.    After analyzing the outlined data above, along with the low months supply metric, and the rising median sales price, it marks an advantageous time to capitalize on your investment.

 

Estate Professionals has 20 years experience in Boulder County real estate.  Call for a free, no obligation personalized market analysis of your property 720-466-3101.

 

All the best,

 

Dena Schlutz and Logan Schlutz

 

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Testimonials

Dena was a wonderful realtor!! We worked with her for several months & she was nothing but patient & extremely responsive regardless of the day & time. She was key in helping us back out of a potential bad deal a couple months into our search, which ultimately led us to finding our dream home a couple of months later. She helped us navigate through a bit of a complicated process, tirelessly going back & forth with the seller throughout it making sure the language in the contract was accurate & reflected our best interest. The cherry on top was that we were able to get the house below asking price, which is quite rare in the Boulder housing market these days. Both she & her assistant Shelby were instrumental in this.

We will definitely work with Dena again for future real estate endeavors & would definitely recommend her to anyone looking for a realtor in the area!
S. Vidal-Cardenas
Dena was by far and away the best real estate agent we have ever used in our 40 years of dealing with Real Estate transactions. We own or have owned property in 5 states and she is the best agent, hands down! P. McConathy

Thank you SO much, Logan, for the awesome job selling our home. Your expertise and advice was exactly what was needed for you to get top dollar for our home. The listing pictures you had taken were beautiful. We thank you so much for always being on top of every aspect of the sale, offering perfect advice! We will continue recommending you to family and friends!

 

L. Ron
Dena helped me sell my house in Longmont very quickly. She priced my house well and marketed it successfully. At the open house, there was a constant stream of people for two hours. Dena and Shelby had staged the house beautifully and the result was multiple offers that very day. Dena then handled the closing process flawlessly. I would recommend her highly. M. Dorey
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