Colorado Real Estate News

Housing for All is Not Aspirational, It’s Fair

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

Fair housing as a concept began when legislators and practitioners acknowledged that housing policy had not previously been equitable. April is national fair housing month, however, it takes every month of the year and every day of the month to right past wrongs and create housing equity.

The American Dream

Having a place to call home that we own remains a cornerstone of the American dream. Home signifies safety and stability for many people and impacts where families send their children to school, where people work and how they get to work, and where they access community services. Homeownership boosts household wealth through equity and appreciation, and over time, provides many other social and economic benefits. It strengthens neighborhoods.

The Reality and Challenge

Unfortunately, not all people have enjoyed equal access to homeownership. Bias and prejudice throughout our country’s history have resulted in people experiencing both subtle and direct housing discrimination due to their race, national origin, the color of skin, religion, veteran status, sexual orientation, disability, or family status. Discrimination in housing is wrong; it is also illegal. 

Fair Housing is Everyone’s Job

As respected leaders in our community, it is our responsibility and commitment to ensure that every person who desires to rent or purchase housing is able to do so without bias or discrimination. All of our licensed REALTORS® at Kentwood Real Estate receive formal training on the topic. Fair Housing is part of the National Association of REALTORS® code of ethics. In addition, our lending associates at Prosperity Home Mortgage have an equal commitment to Fair Lending. Each of us must be 100% committed to Fair Housing and Fair Lending. 

Honoring Fair Housing month is a reminder that we’ve come a long way, yet we have miles to go to achieve equity.

Colorado Real Estate News

Top 3 Reasons We’re Watching Inflation

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

The Colorado housing markets remain white-hot and even some commercial sectors are in a positive rebound. We’re watching the economic indicators closely to gauge what the short- and long-term trajectory might be.

The Federal Reserve monitors inflation and says their target benchmark for altering policy is a 2% inflation rate. 

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) judges that inflation of 2 percent over the longer run, as measured by the annual change in the price index for personal consumption expenditures, is most consistent with the Federal Reserve’s mandate for maximum employment and price stability. 

3 Metrics to Watch

Long Term Rates – “Signs of faster economic growth, an improving job market, and increased vaccine distribution are pushing (mortgage) rates higher,” said Joel Kan, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. In turn, this is slowing the refinance markets according to the Mortgage News Daily Blog.

Consumer Price Index – This is showing signs of heating up according to a recent article on CNBC. It’s to be expected, and if you’re looking to purchase a house or investment property you’re still able to lock in historically low rates. They just feel higher compared to last month.

Demand-Pull Indicators – “When an increase in the supply of money and credit stimulates overall demand for goods and services in an economy to increase more rapidly than the economy’s production capacity. This increases demand and leads to price rises,” explains Investopedia. Our government has been faced with stimulating the economy with a combination of both increasing the supply of money and stimulating credit to get the economy through the pandemic-induced recession. Now, they’re watching the hangover and gauging the best way to keep our economy moving without ramping up inflation too rapidly.

Good News for Real Estate

These are interesting indicators to watch, but what do they mean practically for everyday people?

Mortgage rates are still extremely low and should remain so throughout 2021 (great for buyers.) Housing price inflation is increasing due to high demand (great for homeowners and sellers, not so great for buyers.) One thing I’ve learned throughout my 2 ½ decades working in the real estate industry is that people will always need houses, shops and restaurants, and offices. Things like the Great Recession or the COVID Pandemic may slap us with a pattern interrupt, but we always get back to an even keel and we always have people who need to transact.

If you’re one of those people, contact a Kentwood Real Estate Residential or Commercial broker. We represent clients from Colorado Springs to Denver to Boulder and Fort Collins. Our brokers are experts in their field and will help educate you on these important indicators and advise you on the next steps in your life journey!

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

The Colorado Luxury Real Estate Market is Thriving in 2021

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

In Colorado’s overheated real estate markets, one notable sector that has benefitted from our current frenzied climate is the luxury sector. Two years ago, homes over $1 million were plentiful and sellers often had to reduce their price to get an offer. Our supply shortage was primarily in the mid-to-low-tier price ranges. At the time, we generally saw 4-6 months of inventory on the high end, providing buyers time to make their decision.

As people today are focusing on a revised set of housing needs, many are turning to the upscale housing sector for the space and features that will fit a new lifestyle. In a recent Luxury Market Report, the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM) said:

“In a snapshot of 2020, despite the devasting effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the luxury real estate market has seen one of its strongest years since 2008. In comparison to experts’ predictions in early 2020, it is remarkable how significant demands for property type, location, and amenity preferences have changed amid the pandemic.”

Our Colorado lifestyle has provided those seeking Denver real estate and Fort Collins real estate with a new opportunity to work from home and a growing interest in having extra space for things like virtual school, working out, and a designer kitchen to cook more meals at home. The desire to own a home that can meet these needs continues to increase. Additionally, record-low mortgage rates are creating opportunities for homebuyers to stretch their legs into higher price points or even expand their real estate portfolios. The ILHM report continues to say:

Experts believe that the demand for exclusive residential properties outside the metropolitan areas will continue well into 2021; even with the introduction of vaccines, the pandemic is far from over.

For those who have moved to the suburbs and beyond, moving back to the city full time is unlikely while the work from home trend remains. Many of these affluent homeowners are now making their secondary properties their primary residences for the foreseeable future.”

If you’re interested in buying a home this year, it’s helpful to understand that our Colorado luxury home market is finding buyer interest nearly as intently as our mid-tier market is. Be prepared to put your best foot forward when making an offer. Sellers should look to maximize their pricing by placing effort on the prepping and staging of the residence prior to putting it on the open market.

Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research at realtor.comnotes:

“Interestingly, markets, where new supply is improving the fastest, tend to be higher priced than those that have yet to see improvement, suggesting sellers are more active in the more expensive markets.”

Good to Know

With rates still bouncing along the bottom, it’s good to know that you can buy more by leveraging your purchase. If you’re hoping to buy the luxury home of your dreams, this could be the year you achieve that goal. 

At Kentwood Real Estate we’re especially equipped to handle the purchase and sale of any luxury residence along the Front Range. We stand ready to help guide you through the complexities of our current real estate markets. Search for your next home at Kentwood.com and let us know how we can help!

Colorado Real Estate News

Congratulations to the Kentwood Top 25 in 2020

As we wrapped up 2020 we took a deep breath and paused to consider what a roller coaster we’d just been on. Despite being shut down and shut out of real estate sales for close to two months, we were able to bounce back once real estate was deemed essential and showings were again permitted.

A Company Rooted in Excellence

Our Company Purpose is the core of how we operate and a large reason we rebounded so successfully in 2020:

At Kentwood, we believe in community.

That we accomplish more together.

That deep roots matter.

We inspire people to imagine the next steps in their life journey.

Our Top 25 Individuals and Teams in 2020 are hardworking professionals who exemplify our Purpose. Congratulations to everyone on the list!

Individuals sales volume:

Individuals units:

Team sales volume:

Team units:

Colorado Real Estate News

Kentwood Real Estate Announces Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council

In its commitment to addressing homeownership disparity in Colorado and the real estate industry, Kentwood Real Estate has formulated a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council. The council is actively identifying and executing on initiatives to help underserved communities and to educate the brokers and staff through education, community activation and engagement, and by influencing policies.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion within our brokerage and our neighborhoods has always been a top priority to our leadership team,” said Gretchen Rosenberg, president and CEO of Kentwood Real Estate. “The DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Council is a place to create conversations in safe open dialogue. We want to unite the company, learning about our differences, and highlighting how this makes us stronger. We want to create a regular cadence of internal communication about opportunities for engagement in the community at large and in National Association of Realtors® affinity organizations.”

Members of the DEI Council are as follows:

Education is at the heart of the program. The DEI Council is planning an all-company panel on a range of topics tied to diversity, equity and inclusion. Furthermore, every broker in the company, plus a guest of their choosing, will be encouraged to attend at least one function per year with affinity or community groups. The ‘plus-one’ program will encourage brokers to tap into their sphere of influence to both expand education in the community and facilitate a level of comfort for people stepping into new situations.

On more granular levels, the DEI Council is examining all touchpoints within the company to find ways to ensure the brokerage is addressing diversity, equity and inclusion at every level – from translating homebuyer and seller books into Spanish, to confirming the equal housing guidelines are optimally represented on all marketing material.

Kentwood Real Estate is a proud member of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), the Colorado Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (CAHREP), the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP®) Denver Chapter, the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB). Kentwood Real Estate is passionate about and committed to advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion in the housing industry and beyond. To learn more about Kentwood Real Estate and available listings, visit www.Kentwood.com.

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

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

Why Pricing Your House Right Is Essential

In today’s real estate market, setting the right price for your house is one of the most valuable things you can do.

According to the U.S. Economic Outlook by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home prices nationwide are forecasted to increase 4.7% in 2020 and 4.1% in 2021. This means experts anticipate home values will continue climbing into next year. Today, low inventory is largely keeping prices from depreciating. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, notes:

“Looking at the sheer number of buyers, low mortgage rates, and limited sellers, the strength of home prices–which are now growing at the highest pace since January 2018–makes sense.”

When it comes to pricing your home, the goal is to increase visibility and drive more buyers your way. Instead of trying to win the negotiation with one buyer, you should price your house so that demand is maximized and more buyers want to take a look.

How to Price Your Home

As a seller, you might be thinking about pricing your house on the high end while so many of today’s buyers are searching harder than ever just to find a home to purchase. You’re thinking, higher price, greater profit, right? But here’s the thing – a high price tag does not mean you’re going to cash in big on the sale. It’s actually more likely to deter buyers and have them looking at the houses your neighbors are selling instead.

Even today, when the advantage tips toward sellers because there are so few houses for sale, your house is more likely to sit on the market longer or require a price drop that can send buyers running in the other direction if it isn’t priced just right.

Our Trusted Real Estate Professionals Will Help

It’s important to make sure your house is priced correctly by working in partnership with a trusted real estate professional. When you price it competitively, you won’t be negotiating with one buyer over the price. Instead, you’ll have multiple buyers competing for the home, and that’s what ultimately increases the final sale price.

The key is making sure your house is priced to sell immediately. That way, it will be seen by the most buyers. More than one of them may be interested, and your house will be more likely to sell at a competitive price.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about listing your house this fall, connect with a Kentwood broker, to discuss how to price it right so you can maximize your exposure and your return. Find a broker at www.Kentwood.com

Colorado Real Estate News

CEO Reflections

Written by Kentwood president and CEO Gretchen Rosenberg

Rooted in… Change

In 1996 when I embarked on my career in real estate, I quickly learned that no two transactions, no two clients and no two co-op agents would ever be the same.

Experienced real estate brokers, whether they practice residential, commercial or leasing services, know this is a fluid business. They understand how change impacts people’s need for different surroundings. They also become adept at managing expectations and outcomes.

Managing Expectations

It’s reasonable for you to believe your real estate broker will be honest, forthright and ethical throughout your relationship and transaction. In fact, we have a duty to be just that. These relationships are bi-lateral, however, and in order to have the best working relationship it’s important for the consumer to be able to receive news and advice from their broker with an open mind. The best way I found to help clients manage expectations was to give them their options, wait a beat, and then ask them if they had any questions and how they wanted to proceed.

Managing Outcomes

Once the options are weighed, sometimes with the advice of counsel, sometimes with the input of home inspectors, the next steps can be plotted. This is where an adversity to change can negatively impact the outcome. Real estate isn’t a zero-sum game, there are people on the other side of the transaction. People with their own motivations, hopes and desires. We must always keep the best outcome for our client front and center, while being open to changing course, giving here and there, or getting what we may not have expected. That’s negotiation.

Changes in circumstances, even when they’re a positive step forward in a life plan, can cause stress and anxiety. Top real estate brokers are attuned to this dynamic and assist their clients in finding the best way forward.

At the end of all of this change lies the outcome, and this is what Kentwood has always been about. Results for the people who have entrusted us with their life changes.

Our company purpose says it best:

At Kentwood, we believe in community.

That we accomplish more together.

That deep roots matter.

We inspire people to imagine the next steps in their life journey.