Colorado Real Estate News

CEO Reflections

Rooted in… Equity

By Gretchen Rosenberg, President & CEO of Kentwood Real Estate

Fair. Housing. I’m looking at these two words separately because many in real estate have tended to run them together, fairhousing, and thereby lost the meaning.

It’s something we’re required to learn, but is it something in our hearts and in our practice?

This week one of our very own brokers, Lori Pace, a recognized speaker on diversity, inclusion, and fair housing gave our company an outstanding presentation. We learned a lot, especially the pitfalls to look out for while we’re working on behalf of our clients, our neighborhoods, and our communities.

Recently, a reading of The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein brought home the deeply systemic ways people of color have been discriminated against in housing for decades. Not just the redlining of neighborhoods from a lending standpoint, but discriminatory zoning regulations and overlays, homeowner’s association regulations and site locations for industrial plants.

Kentwood real estate is rooted in equity, not in exploitation. We believe everyone should be treated equally and afforded the same opportunity. The opportunity to live where they want to and to choose the type of housing that best fits their lifestyle.

One of my first meetings as a Kentwood manager brought home how committed our company has been to this concept. We were discussing whether to design a second sign. A luxury sign to go in front of any listing worth more than a certain high price point because some of our competitors were doing that very thing. Our Kentwood General Sales Manager at the time said, “No, we won’t do that. I don’t agree with the idea.” He went on to say, “Imagine how you would feel if your house didn’t qualify for that special sign. Someone in one neighborhood or on one block gets the luxury sign but you don’t? That’s not who we are. We treat everyone with the same luxury service and experience, and everyone should get the same Kentwood sign in front of their home.” End of discussion. Decision made.

That’s rooted in equity, a principle I intend to help our brokers and staff continue to learn more about and get better at demonstrating to the people of Colorado.

Colorado Real Estate News

4 Signs It’s Time to Sell Your Home

Not only is moving a daunting process, but making the choice to sell your home is a decision that requires lots of consideration. If you have been on the fence about whether to sell your home, here are four telltale signs that now might be the time to act.

You’re Bursting At The Seams

One of the main reasons for selling your home is to accommodate a growing family. That house that once fit two newlyweds comfortably feels smaller and smaller by the day. Your family has started to grow and now includes a dog, toddler, and you’re expecting a new baby sometime soon. Your kids will eventually need spaces of their own – bedrooms, work areas, and play areas. The point is, you are quickly out-growing your home and it’s time to start searching for something that is better suited to your needs.

Sell Your Home | Not Enough Space

Your Home No Longer Suits Your Lifestyle

A lifestyle change can mean a wide variety of things depending on the individual. Your kids have grown up and moved out, and now you find yourself with an empty nest that is much too big for what you need or can manage. Maybe you have a new job with a longer commute and want to cut back on your drive time. Anything from retirement or divorce, to an in-law moving in can rearrange the lifestyle you have become accustom to. A happy home is one that syncs up with the current phase of life you are in, and it’s important to make sure that you have the right fit.

Empty Nester | Sell Your Home

Remodeling Won’t Offer Return on Your Investment

Every now and then it’s nice to give your home a face-lift to help re-energize your house and make it feel new again. Small updates to the kitchen or the bathroom might be all you need to decide that you want to stay put for a few more years. But making significant remodels to your home might not always be the best decision. Before taking on any large home improvement projects, understand your neighborhood and know the highest price point in the area. If your home is already similar in style and condition to the other homes in your surrounding area, remodeling might be a bad investment.

Sell Your Home | Remodel

Equity Is On Your Side

After years of paying your mortgage and keeping your home in quality condition, you’ve probably built up quite a bit of equity. After the housing market crash, many people found that their equity had all but evaporated. That is no longer the current climate, and many homeowners are cashing out on positive equity. Selling your home and moving into something less expensive can put some of that extra equity to work for you in other ways. Do some research, have your house reappraised, and see if it’s the right time for you to sell your home.

Equity | Sell Your Home

 

Colorado Real Estate News

Understanding and Building Home Equity

What exactly is home equity? Equity is the amount of the home or property that you actually own. Take the difference between your loan balance and your home’s market value to estimate the amount you have in equity. One of the major benefits of home ownership is the opportunity to build equity. Essentially, equity is an asset and if you were to sell your home it would also become a profit. There are a few different ways you can go about building your home’s equity.

Mortgage Payments

A mortgage payment is made up of two parts: principal and interest. When you make mortgage payments each month you are paying off a portion of interest and a portion of principal. The principal portion goes toward building home equity. If you begin to make larger payments each month you will pay down your mortgage in less time and also build equity faster.

EquityYou could also choose to refinance your home into a shorter term mortgage, such as a 15-year fixed. This would increase the amount of your payments but allow you to build equity much faster than a traditional 30-year mortgage as you decrease your loan to equity ratio faster. Finally, you could choose to make a larger down payment at the outset to automatically earn equity. More equity equates to lower interest rates and easier to obtain finances.

Home Improvements

A second way to build equity is to make home improvements. These can be anything from making small repairs to upgrading your home. But keep in mind that very few major home renovations offer more return than the cost you put into them. Generally, the renovations with the biggest pay off are those that correct defects which make your home less desirable than other homes in your neighborhood. So be smart and make improvements where the expected value exceeds the cost. Some improvements that offer the greatest returns include: replacing or cleaning carpets, refinishing damaged flooring, updating the kitchen and bathrooms, touching up the interior paint or hiring a landscaper to freshen up your yard.

Market Value

Home appreciation, or the increase of market value on real estate, is a third way to build equity that many people tend to overlook. When the rate of appreciation goes up, so does the value of your home. Home values tend to increase at a similar rate as inflation, which is generally an annual rate of 5%. Unless you are in a boom or bust area, those steady increases are typical over time.

As a home owner, there are many ways to build your home equity. Take charge of what you can control to improve your financial future.