Colorado Real Estate News

Three Ways to Protect Yourself When Buying New Construction

Written by Gretchen Rosenberg, President and CEO of Kentwood Real Estate

When you’re looking to purchase a brand-new home, it’s wise to hire a real estate broker as your trusted advisor. Homebuilders are in the business of building and selling properties and maximizing profit. As any business would be. They’re not fiduciaries to buyers and will not give you the clear-eyed advice you need as you move through the process.

When I was actively selling real estate, I was fortunate to represent many homebuyers when they purchased new construction. It was a privilege to help them wend their way through the complex process. I learned the ins and outs of a typical builder’s contract language and the important questions to ask.

Three Important Questions

  1. Where is the Earnest Money Held? Did you know that builders like to hold your earnest money in their operating accounts? Wouldn’t it be better to request they hold your earnest money at a title company in a trust account? 
  2. When Can we Schedule an Inspection? Did you know that most builders will permit you to have a home inspection? You should absolutely do a full-blown inspection. One time, we discovered the sewer line from the house hadn’t been connected to the city main. Another time, the builder had forgotten to spray insulation into the attic. And another time we found that a roof truss had been dropped through the living room sub-floor and punched a hole through it! We were standing in the basement looking up at a hole in the wooden floor and saw they’d covered it with carpet and pad.
  3. Can I use a Broker? A real estate professional is your expert and your advocate. They will work on your behalf throughout the process of building or buying new construction. Brokers help you understand the contracts, the key steps, manage negotiations (you may not get much off the price in these heady days, but you might get a few freebies.) Do not walk through the door or sign in without bringing your broker in the first time. Commercial projects require pre-set appointments so this would be more difficult than residential where the showrooms beckon.

Bottom Line for New Construction

Don’t go it alone when choosing new construction. Builders factor in the cost of commission and they don’t back it out if you’re unrepresented. They pocket the difference. So use that money to your benefit.

At Kentwood Real Estate we have both residential and commercial brokers who understand first-generation space. Contact us for all of your Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado real estate needs!

Colorado Real Estate News

Three Reasons to Sell Your Home TODAY!

wooden block house on snow

Are you considering selling your home? Denver-metro’s real estate market is white-hot right now and homesellers have an opportunity to earn a premium by listing their properties. Below are some statistics and insights into why NOW is the prime moment to sell your home and effectively capitalize on the extraordinarily potent real estate market. The bubble will not burst and in this seller’s market, the benefits and supporting evidence speaks for themselves.

1. Make a Significant Profit on Your Home Sale
According to Mansion Global at the end of October, the median U.S. homebuyer is paying about $20,000 more than they did three months ago. Denver-metro has experienced a spectacular median home price growth of 11.67% over last year and an extremely positive 7.14% year to date.

With interest rates hitting a new historical low 14 times this year, homebuyers have more purchasing power, and they are willing to make a strong offer to secure the homes they love among the stiff competition.

Due to this elevated buying ability, multiple offer scenarios are continuing later this year than they have in the past and in price points that typically haven’t seen that before. With voraciously hungry buyers engaging in bidding wars for your home, homesellers stand to maximize their profits.

2. Inventory Is Low and Demand Is High
According to the Denver Metro Association of REALTORS®, more than seven in 10 homes sold in October 2020 and 72% were on the market for less than a month with the median days in MLS for detached single-family homes at a speedy five days, representing a tie for the lowest number on record.

Housing inventory hit an all-time low of 3,415 active listings at the end of November. Compare this to the average active listings for November month-end of over 14,000 and you can see how homes are flying off the metaphorical shelves.

The Denver-metro area has had more closed homes than active listings every month-end since July 2020 and with extremely limited housing inventory, you have your pick of the litter with buyer offers.

3. Colorado Cities are Some of the Best Places to Live
The U.S. News and World Report published its list of the 150 best places to live in the U.S. and the first four out of 5 are all in Colorado with Denver earning second place overall.

Also, in Niche’s Best Cities for Young Professionals in America list, Denver placed 11th and Denver Business Journal ranked Denver 13th for overall real estate investment and development.

With the high desirability of our beautiful state, not only is there the potential for Coloradans to purchase your home among the low housing inventory, but many individuals out of state will be pining for your property.

Partnering with Kentwood
The benefits of listing your home in this market are plain as day with a high potential for homes to not only sell quickly, but for a large amount. If you would like to capitalize on Denver-metro’s phenomenal housing market and maximize your profit, consider partnering with an experienced Kentwood broker to elevate your home’s marketing, staging and overall value.

Colorado Real Estate News

CEO Reflections

Rooted in Value

Accolades vs. Action

We have many accolades to tout at Kentwood Real Estate, but we’re laser-focused on the customer service actions needed to meet both our clients’ expectations and their goals. Without a deep concentration on the excellence of service, we would never get to the point of raving fans, testimonials, and accolades.

Consumers today have a plethora of models, systems, portals, and personalities to choose from as they embark on their real estate journey. Our team of commercial and residential brokers are at the top of their game because they recognize that we’re in a service business. Real estate “sales” is customer service and expert problem-solving at its core.

Service as Value

I used to joke with clients when I was still in sales that I did a lot more than the average broker. Unlike agents who used the “Three P’s” as a marketing plan, (Put out a sign, Put it in the MLS and Pray,) I offered my clients a list of over 40 behind the scenes activities that they may not have realized their real estate broker should be accomplishing for them.

Does your broker conduct an ownership and encumbrance and tax search on your property or the property you’re making an offer on? Research the condition of the title and zoning? Make sure the HOA covenants and declarations are in your hands for review? 

Does your broker complete a well-considered market analysis for the commercial property or home you’re selling and buying? (And explain how their knowledge and expertise informs that report?) How does your broker expose your property? Qualify prospects? Protect you from shady inquiries or unhealthy/unsafe showings?

Does your broker consistently seek feedback and provide it to you in a timely and valuable way? Negotiate on your behalf? Represent your best interests while balancing the needs of both buyer and seller to get to the end game desired? 

Have you received an estimated net proceeds for a variety of prices? Been guided through the maze of legal documents and referred to an attorney if needed? Do you know if a complete appraisal package has been prepared and provided to the appraiser? Have you been guided through the inspection process and informed on how to best tackle these secondary negotiations?

But Wait! There’s More!

The list of what your Kentwood Real Estate broker can and will provide you in terms of service and support during your transaction continues. It’s so robust that you should make an appointment with a Kentwood broker for more detail soon.

Now is a great time to be a seller, and many buyers are looking for property to purchase. Reach out and learn about why we consistently earn awards and accolades at Kentwood. It’s because we make it about YOU!

Colorado Real Estate News

Why 4th Quarter is a Great Season for Real Estate

Written by Kentwood Real Estate President and CEO Gretchen Rosenberg

The seasons are changing and it’s time to finish raking leaves; time to make sure you enjoy the great Colorado Outdoors while it’s still semi-summer and time to consider making a move.

Before stepping into management, I spent 22 years in real estate sales. It never failed that September through November were among my best months every year.

Odds of Selling

As a homeowner considering putting your house on the market or up for lease, your “odds of selling” are among the highest at this moment. It’s not typical to see a jump in inventory during the final quarter of the year and home buyers are left to sift through what little inventory there is. Anything new on the market is usually hotly contested. By choosing to get your house on the market soon, you know the buyer pool is at the highest it’s been in years.

Buying Power

Mortgage rates remain historically, breathtakingly low. The current odds of selling your home in Metro Denver rests at 73.4%. The ratio of buyers to sellers is out of balance in the Colorado real estate market. Those are some great odds! The pool of buyers has maximum affordability at current prices because of low mortgage rates.

In the Northern Colorado market, affordability is greater, with more to choose from in mid-tier price ranges. With similar inventory issues in the communities surrounding Fort Collins, buyers are left struggling to win the day among competitive bids. Having an experienced real estate broker in your corner can help you wade through a complex and sometimes frustrating process.

Craving Space 

Buyers are craving space with another COVID winter in our future. Many people are hoping that a move to a larger property will afford them the ability to weather the storm, literally. If you are thinking of listing your home for sale, consider your location’s appeal and price carefully. The odds of selling are high, but buyers are looking for updated and move-in-ready in most cases.

It’s the season for selling! Contact any Kentwood Real Estate broker for more information on listing or buying residential or commercial property in Metro Denver, the foothills, up the I-25 corridor, and areas surrounding Fort Collins in Northern Colorado. We’re here to provide you the information you need to make an informed decision. Tis the season!

Colorado Real Estate News

Denver’s Housing Market Remains Tough For Buyers As Inventory Remains Low

September 2020 revealed the toughest market to buy a home in metro-Denver’s history. Housing inventory can’t keep up with the buyer demand, putting us in a very strong seller’s market. The average price for both single-family and condo homes in Denver hit a record high.

“It is incredibly difficult for buyers today, they’re just having to work like crazy,” said Jill Schafer broker at Kentwood Real Estate. “People are having to put all their cards on the table.”

Click here to hear more about the Denver housing market, and what else the DMAR October Market Trends report revealed.

Link: CBS4 Denver – Denver’s Housing Market Remains Tough For Buyers As Inventory Remains Low

Colorado Real Estate News

Top Tips For Buying A Luxury Home

Homes in Denver, CO are considered as “luxury” if they’re valued over $1M+. While luxury applies to value alone, homes in this bracket all have in common a highly competitive buyers-market despite varying in every aspect from square footage, lot size, and location To navigate an often complicated home buying or selling process in the luxury home market, you will need a broker with negotiation experience and a deep understanding of your neighborhood’s trends.

If you are in the market for a luxury home, there are key areas you need to pay attention to throughout the search process.

Know where to search:

Most real estate is easily accessible through the MLS or a simple online search, but when it comes to luxury properties, many of the homes remain unlisted in order to protect the seller’s privacy. Well-connected and luxury-focused brokers can tap into their professional networks to identify potential buyers or sellers rather than relying on inbound-only interest.

Know the neighborhood:

If you’re investing in a luxury property, you’re likely purchasing your dream home – no bargains or compromises. Understanding each neighborhood and their trends is arguably the most important aspect of living in your dream home as well as ensuring the longevity of your investment. While the home may be perfect, it’s especially important to be aware of future development or changes that might affect your lifestyle.

Know your priorities:

From amenities like bowling alleys and tennis courts to sprawling vistas and top-of-the-line finishes, knowing your priorities and what you deem as luxurious will be immensely helpful in finding the perfect estate. As is true with homes in any market, luxury homes may not have each and every feature you desire. It’s important to develop lists of must-have and desirable-but-not-necessary features, so your Kentwood broker can schedule tours of homes that fit your vision and reduce the time you spend searching. While the home might seem perfect, be sure it’s perfect for you and your family.

Pricing:

Pricing is the most important aspect to selling a luxury home. An experienced broker will solicit a consensus home value from their colleagues, luxury experts, and past and recent market data. While the seller might want to sell their home for more, it’s important to consider the broker’s value because they’re experts for a reason: They know how price homes for sales. If a seller decides to list their home too high, there is a very real risk of ultimately chasing the market meaning potential buyers will wait-out each drop in price to see how low you’ll end up going to sell.

If you’re in the market for a new luxury home, learn process of buying high-end real estate, study each neighborhood, know exactly what you need in a home, and sign the right broker. Kentwood Real Estate has represented the most discerning clientele in Colorado and our brokers are an elite team of Realtors whose exceptional service, local expertise and deep community roots create a market advantage for clients. If you’re ready to start your journey to buying your next luxury property, contact a Kentwood broker today!

Colorado Real Estate News

Six Reasons Why a Real Estate Deal Can Fall Apart

Failed Real Estate DealWhy do some real estate deals fall through? A survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors found that one in every five home deals falls apart. Following are six primary reasons that the dream of home ownership collapses at the last minute.

A change in credit score

Credit scores can fluctuate between loan approval and closing. Just one missed bill payment could lower your FICO score and increase your mortgage payment, or even make you ineligible for the mortgage.

To prevent this scenario from happening, buyers who are nearing the closing date should be aware of dinging their credit, which can happen when you open credit lines, run up balances, or take out a loan on a new car. Closings can also be hurt by a diminishing debt-to-credit ratio, so make sure to carry on with business very much as usual.

Getting Spooked by the inspection

When a prospective buyer or buyers find their dream home, but the inspector finds an unexpected problem at the last minute, the buyers can be spooked and the deal dissolves, even if the sellers promise to fix the problem.

While the situation suggests that the sellers were hiding an issue from the buyers, usually if you find a deficiency in the home, the home inspection report becomes a negotiable tool for the buyer. So if a surprise pops up during the home inspection, don’t run until you’ve brought the issue up with the sellers. They could have a logical explanation and you could get a concession.

Running out of money

A mortgage is only one part of the funds you’ll need to buy a home. Saving for your down payment and closing costs is not enough. You will need to have a cushion for unexpected repairs and other expenses that come with a home purchase.

To prevent this, talk to your lender or Realtor about the financial reserves you’ll need to get in the house before making an offer.

Small problems blown out of proportion

Even relatively small flaws in a home can bring negotiations to a grinding halt if buyers or sellers get emotional or take things personally. A deal can fall through for something as small as a single cracked tile. Other deals can collapse because of a small misunderstanding such as what’s included with the house…appliances, window coverings, storage sheds, etc., can completely ruin a deal.

While it’s fine to bring up problems, try to do your best to stay calm and avoid being accusatory during communications with the sellers to avoid offense. And even if the seller does not grant all your requests, try to keep the big picture in mind. Does that chipped molding really matter that much?

Cold feet

When buyers see the home in its best condition, they are on an excitement high. Then, over the next couple of weeks, the home just becomes a memory. Buyers are hit with the details of closing and moving costs. As everything sinks in, they’re handed a horrible inspection report listing every little defect in the house. That’s the moment that most deals fall apart.

Go into house hunting knowing there’s a honeymoon period, followed by a whole lot of stress, paperwork, and check writing that will drain your savings. But in the end, you find out that it is all worth it. The buyer’s Realtor should tell them that it is normal for an emotional low to follow the high at the time of contract. The Realtor should let them know that getting cold feet is very normal when buying a home.

Colorado Real Estate News

12 Ways to Enhance Your Front Entry

Home Improvement | Front EntryYour front entry forms a prospective home buyer’s first impression. Be inspired to up your homes’ curb appeal with these easy-to-please entry enhancements.

Lead Them In

Buyers should be guided from the street or drive to the front door with a clearly marked and well-maintained path that is 3-4 feet wide so two people can walk side by side. Add interest and impress visitors with a custom walkway.

Make the Point of Entry Pop

A punch of bright, bold paint that contrasts with the siding and trim is an easy way to revamp a tired entry. Against a white façade, a spring-green door cheerfully leads buyers inside. Consider the style of your home and choose colors accordingly.

Keep it Clear

Cut back overgrown plantings that block views of the front door or spill over onto walkways. Flowers and plants in containers ae easy to maintain and can be rearranged at any time.

Add Personality

An entryway is a prime location to splurge on gorgeous features, such as a stylish, wooden front door or colorful step tiles. With these elements, you don’t need much more to achieve a polished look, and they will impress potential buyers in the future.

Elevate the Architecture

Research your home’s style and add appropriate architectural details such as decorative brackets, moldings, columns, and trim. If you already have those elements, bolster their appeal by giving them a fresh coat of paint or stain.

Repeat Elements

Connect the entry with the rest of your home’s exterior by repeating elements that create a cohesive look. A prominent design element, such as the arch in the window above the door, reappears in the awning overhead.

Create a Landing Spot

Give your front porch a sense of warmth and comfort by placing a piece or two of weather-resistant furniture near the entry. A bistro set is an easy addition for any porch size…and a perfect spot to relax outdoors with a cup of coffee or cool beverage. A welcoming wreath overhead rounds out your front door’s décor.

Open it Up

Open up your front entry with full-length windows on both sides of your door. They let light into your home, make your entry seem larger, and underscore your home’s architectural style.

Light the Way

Good lighting is a must for both convenience and safety. Consider motion-sensing lights near the front door. Use low-voltage to illuminate pathways, and put lanterns on posts for general yard lighting.
Upgrade Landscaping: Placing containers of flowers near the front entry is an easy and inexpensive way to add a dose of eye-catching color. Go bold with color to see the containers from the street.

Protect Buyers

Add a roof or awning over the front door to keep rain or sun off visitors while they ring the bell (and off you while you fish for your keys).

Coordinate Hardware and Lighting

Create a polished and sophisticated entry by choosing the same color or metal finish for exterior elements such as entrance hardware, door knockers, house numbers, mailboxes, and porch lights.

Colorado Real Estate News

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

In a robust real estate market, the seller usually holds the winning hand because there just aren’t enough homes on the market.  In a seller’s market, sellers usually get multiple offers and can often get bids that are over the listed price.  House hunting is challenging enough at any time, but shopping in a seller’s market is a whole additional difficulty level.

The supply of homes is low across the country and demand is high. So with lots of competition out there how do you survive the house-hunting and hopefully land that home you’re after?  While there are no guaranteed ways to succeed, here are a few tips to help increase your chances of getting a home you truly want at a reasonable price.

Work With a Real Estate Professional

There’s a myth among some novice home-buyers that it’s only the sellers who need a real estate professional, which couldn’t be further from the truth.  Having someone who knows the local market well, is experienced with evaluating homes, knows how to successfully negotiate, and who will be your advocate through the entire process is absolutely critical.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Know the Signs

If the majority of houses have been sitting on the market for more than six months, it’s not a seller’s market.  If it’s only those ultra-luxurious properties which have been on the market for over a few months, that indicates that houses are getting snatched up quickly.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Get Pre-qualified For a Mortgage 

Getting prequalified lets you know how much home you can afford and it also shows sellers that you’re a serious buyer who is much more likely to be able to close escrow.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

 Do Your Research 

Although your real estate agent will provide lots of help in your home search, it’s important to do a little homework on your own up front.  It will help the home-buying process if you know which areas you’d like to live in, what you can afford, and the type and size of the home you would prefer.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Commit to Being On Call 

To succeed in a seller’s market, you have to make house hunting a priority and always be available.  Treat house hunting as you would job hunting.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Be Prepared to Compromise 

Everyone wants that big, gorgeous home in the best neighborhood, but you may have to compromise a bit, especially when the market is competitive.  This doesn’t mean settling for a home you dislike; it just means going after homes with the features that you really need, rather than what you simply want.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Waive the What-Ifs

Typically, when home buyers make an offer, they do so only with contingencies.  For example, they would buy a home if the inspection goes well or if they can secure financing.  However, in a seller’s market, it may behoove you to drop one or two of these caveats to stand out to sellers, who generally would prefer very few hurdles on the way to closing.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Make a Strong Offer

Work with your real estate professional to put together a strong offer for the home you’re after.  You may also want to work with the seller on a closing date and contingencies.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Don’t Play Hardball

In your typical home-selling scenario, buyers make an offer below the seller’s asking price, then negotiate upward from there.  But in a seller’s market, there is often little or no room for price negotiations.  It’s almost always a waste of time low-balling a seller.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Connect With the Seller

If two offers are close, it may help your chances to try to personally connect with the seller or by write a letter detailing how much you love their home and how much you dream about living there.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Widen Your Search

In a seller’s market, it’s not unusual to feel out-priced in your favorite neighborhood, but that may merely mean you need to start scouting farther afield, such as visiting an up-and-coming neighborhood nearby.