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

What to do With 40 Years – Build a Brand

Written by Kentwood Real Estate President and CEO, Gretchen Rosenberg

I have exciting news! Kentwood Real Estate is 40 this week!

Henry Ford said, “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” We’ve completed 40 successful years of changing lives.

In 1981 five brokers formed the beginnings of our brand, The Kentwood Company, which was renamed Kentwood Real Estate in 2008.

The incorporation papers were signed by Roger Campbell this week in 1981. Roger told me, “We wanted a name that was easy to say, easy to spell, memorable, and upscale so we settled on Kentwood.”

Colorado Real Estate History

Other notable names in Colorado real estate who contributed to our success as founders, owners, and leaders are Jim Nussbaum, John Fitzpatrick, Jerry Weigand, Bill Moore and Peter Niederman, Julie Hummel, Dee Chirafisi, Jim Theye, and Chris Vuletich. 

Our original office remains the DTC flagship. In 1998 we added Cherry Creek, in 1999, City Properties, and in 2018 we expanded to Northern Colorado. We added Denver Rental in 2011. Kentwood Commercial and Prosperity Home Mortgage were both launched in 2017.

Our previous owners sold the company to HomeServices of America in 2016, beginning the adventure of our Berkshire Hathaway affiliation.

To our brokers, our staff, and the management team – thank you for your ideas, collaboration, and professionalism. YOU make this company admired, productive and competitive.

To our clients, we say thank you for 40 years of working with the best brokers in the business, for your business, and your support. A focus on clients fostered our success over these 40 years. That laser focus on client experience and market knowledge keeps traditional brokerage relevant into the 21st Century.

Our brokers, loan officers, and support staff make our company special. An organization, no matter how well designed, is only as good as the people who live and work in it. We celebrate all who have contributed to 40 years at the pinnacle of real estate.

We have so much to be proud of at Kentwood Real Estate, Kentwood Commercial, Denver Rental, and Prosperity Home Mortgage, and much more to look forward to. 

At Kentwood Real Estate 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.

Cheers to 40 years!

Colorado Real Estate News

Real Estate Market Trends

February 2021 Depicts an Icy-Hot Spring Market With Buyer Demand on Fire.

The Greater Denver Metro housing market proved that the underlying theme of this market is speed: the speed at which buyers are purchasing relative to the number of sellers listing, and the speed at which active properties are going under contract while prices are accelerating. 

The Gap for Detached Properties Over Attached Properties Shrank in February. 

While many metrics still show that detached properties are in higher demand than attached, that gap decreased in February. There were 3,641 closed properties, up 3.70 percent from last year at this time, and in part because attached properties were on the rise. Attached properties saw a 16.29 percent increase in closings relative to last year at this time. The increased demand for attached properties propelled the market to an average close price of $401,552. Meanwhile, detached properties saw a 1.80 percent decrease in closed properties relative to last year.

Competition Remains Incredibly High. 

The report confirms that with median days in the MLS at five, close-price-to-list-price ratio at 101.90 percent and months of inventory at 0.55, competition remains exhaustive. With properties frequently going over asking price, full appraisal gap waiver appreciation continues to rise. Savviness, creativity, knowledge and guts are all components that will help buyers move towards a path of homeownership in this market.  

The Luxury Market Shows Interesting Trends. 

Last month, DMAR reported that the luxury detached market alone closed on 206 homes, a 10.75 percent increase in this category from last month and a 46.10 percent improvement from last year. More buyers are ready to purchase property over $1 million than the market saw in 2020 and single-family home sellers are enjoying a more crowded and hotter marketplace. While less competitive than other market segments, it remains high with February’s close-price-to-list-price ratio at 97.63 percent.  

*Written March 10, 2021. Updates may be available after this date.

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

Snowshoe Trails in Colorado

Are you anxiously awaiting adventure this winter, tired of watching the snow fall outside your window? If skiing isn’t your thing, why not try snowshoeing? For those looking for fun in the sun and snow, here are some snowshoeing trails so you can get up and go.      

Mills Lake, located in Rocky Mountain National park, is a scenic five-mile hike around a gorgeous frozen lake against a backdrop of snow-sprinkled Pagoda peak and Longs peak. While Rocky Mountain National Park is not exactly an isolated locale, this trail is known for being a little less crowded due to its length. For those feeling particularly motivated, Mills Lake is the perfect mountain trail to test your skills. 

Also located in Rocky Mountain National Park, Sprague Lake is the perfect destination for those donning their snowshoes for the first time. This hike around an idyllic lake is both short and flat, ideal for those looking for a quick adventure before cozying up with some hot chocolate. If you’re seeking a brief snowshoeing experience, look no further than this spectacular Sprague Lake hike. 

Brainard Lake in The Brainard Lake Recreation Area is the best place for those feeling indecisive about how long they want their winter wonderland experience to last. The trail circles beautiful Brainard Lake and connects to other charming trails such as Lake Isabelle in case you’re feeling more ambitious than you originally thought. While the Brainard Lake Recreation Area is bustling in the summer, the crowds dim during the winter months, offering you a serene snowshoeing experience.    

Located in Golden Colorado, you can find Clear Creek Trail in Lions Park. This trail requires a bit of snowfall before you can use it for snowshoeing, but the wait is more than worth it. Clear Creek Trail offers a chance for an exciting urban experience where you can enjoy the small-town charm of Golden painted against a picturesque Front Range background. So, when you’re done spending time in the snow, you can slide right into a fun night of snacking and shopping.  

Quandary Peak is the place to be if you’re looking for a challenging fourteener hike near Breckenridge, Colorado. This seven-mile trek is not for the faint of heart (make sure to read the guidance and warnings before you head out!), but the view from the top makes the climb worth the effort. If you are looking to annihilate a fourteener this winter while snowshoeing, Quandary Peak Trail is the best quest for you.    

Zimmerman Lake in Cameron Pass is an ideal location for snowshoeing all winter long due to the Pass’ excellent ability to retain snowfall. The lake is just one mile away from the parking lot and allows you to admire the Never Summer Mountains. This hike connects to other relatively flat trails if you want to explore more of this perpetually snowy pass.

You don’t have to stay inside and wait for sunny weather to chase adventure. Winter in Colorado means lots of chances to make spectacular memories in the snow. This winter, try strapping on a new pair of snowshoes, follow your feet and find a whole new climb to conquer.

Colorado Real Estate News

Three Reasons to Sell Your Home Now!

photo depicting a mother holding up her toddler daughter in a kitchen

If you are a real estate fanatic like we are, you know that 2020 has been a record-breaking year for the market and it likely won’t be slowing down in 2021. Zillow expects home values to increase 10.3 percent from November 2020 to November 2021 despite the ongoing pandemic challenges. The sales growth continues to be affected by similar factors such as strong demographic trends and a shift in buyer preference ignited by the pandemic. If you considered selling in 2020, this year proves to be just as promising. Still not convinced? Here are three reasons why now is the perfect time to sell your home: 

Interest Rates Are Expected To Stay Low
Get excited because the 2020 below-average interest rates are here to stay! Last year, interest rates were below 4 percent and while they may slightly increase in 2021, they are predicted to remain low compared to historical averages. Let’s put these rates into perspective. According to Freddie Mac, December 10th had a record low rate of 2.71 percent for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. Compared to a year like 2018, where the annual average was 4.54 percent, these record-breaking rates are incredibly beneficial to all homebuyers. Buyers can secure a long-term mortgage at an insanely low rate, and sellers can capitalize on high prices. It’s a win-win situation!

There Are More Buyers Than Sellers
As demand continues to rise, inventory remains low. But this isn’t necessarily a negative situation for individuals looking to sell their homes. Buyers are eager and anxious to purchase a house quickly, especially when the real estate market provides such ideal financial solutions for potential buyers. As mentioned earlier, the low interest rates provide affordable mortgages, ultimately resulting in an inadequate supply of homes to satisfy consumer demand. With such high competition to close a deal, buyers are aggressive with their purchase offers. So why not benefit from these multiple offers and rising prices?

TIP: if you are looking to sell your home, consider investing in house repairs to amp up the curb appeal and receive a higher asking price.

Seasonality of Homebuyers.
Did you know there are seasonal trends for selling and buying a home? In previous years, the spring months are historically the best time to list a home. However, with the unpredictable and uncertain living conditions that we are experiencing, the usually defined “peak of interest” in the market has become blurred. With that being said, the most desirable time to list your home is NOW, so do your homework and prepare to capitalize on the eager homebuyers.

How Kentwood Can Help
Have we convinced you? While there is no better time to sell your home than now, we understand the process can be daunting and often complex. With our local expertise and exceptional service, Kentwood is here to guide you through a pleasurable selling experience! Reach out today!

Colorado Real Estate News

Real Estate Market Trends

photo depicting candles lit in front of a wintery window

January 2021 Presented Brand New (Unsurprising) All-Time Inventory Lows
In January, the Greater Denver Metro housing market again broke a new inventory low with only 2,316 total active listings on the market, translating into an inventory shortage and an opportunity for appreciation to accelerate. 

Single-Family Attached and Detached Homes Also Sealed in Record Prices
Single-family detached properties hit a record average price of $629,159, while attached properties hit a record of $397,792. Single-family homesellers saw a 101.03 percent close-to-list-price in January and a drop to five days in the MLS, down from six last month and 24 days last year. Overall, the drive in demand has been proportionally higher for single-family detached properties than attached properties, explaining why the market is currently sitting with historic-low inventory for single-family detached properties.

2021 Shows No Slowing Down for the Luxury Market
Meanwhile, new listings for the Luxury Market jumped a little from one month ago at 2.22 months of inventory in detached luxury homes and 3.65 for attached luxury homes. 

Even with less inventory year-over-year, the market still saw an 85.71 percent increase in closed attached homes and a 70.19 percent increase in closed detached homes. In January, the luxury residential market was up 85.16 percent year-over-year for sales volume of $335,859,100, up from $181,393,127 from one year ago. The detached luxury sales volume was up 90.11 percent, and the attached was up 48.36 percent from one year ago.  

This Month’s Report Confirms a 2021 Seller’s Market
As long as interest rates continue to remain low and inventory scarce, there will continue to be multiple buyers for every appropriately priced house. Sellers across the state will continue to have the opportunity to navigate through multiple offers and differing terms of their choice, ultimately choosing one contract while disappointing several others.

*Written February 14, 2021. Updates may be available after this date.

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

Top 3 Ways to Protect Yourself from Fraud

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

There is a cyber-crime epidemic happening and it’s hitting real estate transactions particularly hard. According to FinCen, the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, “Drug traffickers, corrupt officials, money launderers, and other criminals seek to exploit real estate transactions to hide their illicit profits, conceal their identities, and launder funds.”

Consumers are at risk by virtue of being involved in a real estate transaction and must be highly vigilant to avoid becoming the next statistic. About 40% of all wire fraud moneys are recovered, which means 60% are not. 60% of those buyers lost their down payment and in some cases the entire purchase price. Sellers lost the sale of their house and had to put it back on the market or wait for the buyers to recover their funds or access other funds. This is amounting to billions of dollars lost to criminals.

How can you protect yourself? 

  1. Do not click on links or attachments. At Kentwood Real Estate we have a mantra – No Links, No Attachments! What we mean is to maintain heightened awareness whenever we receive an email with a link or attachment we aren’t expecting. We know that cyber-criminals send phishing attempts constantly and use social engineering to make us think something is important or urgent. We don’t click the FedEx link, the phone company attachment, or title company email until we systematically verify the email is legitimate.
  2. SAIL your email. Vet any suspicious email through the acronym SAIL. Sender. Attachments. Information. Links. Do you know the sender? Were you expecting this email from them? Were you expecting an email with an attachment? Does the information in the email make sense? Are there spelling or grammatical errors? Did you hover over links to see the underlying URL? Same for the email account it was sent from? Is the domain in the URL misspelled or does it substitute a number for a letter, etc?
  3. Don’t fall for fake branding. It’s easy enough to copy and paste a company’s branding, or even someone’s email signature, into a phony phishing email. The criminals know how to appear compelling by attempting to use “social proof.” An email signature or company logo is not proof. Pick up the phone and call your broker or lender and ask if the information you received is information they intended to send you. NEVER accept wiring instructions via email that hasn’t arrived on an escrow or title company secured platform or isn’t encrypted. And ALWAYS call to confirm the wiring instructions before initiating a wire with your bank.

Together, we will overcome cyber-crime.

The best way to avoid becoming a statistic is to ask questions, pay close attention to your email, and slow down. We would much rather see you close, move into your home, and avoid the pain of being a victim. Our Kentwood Brokers, residential and commercial, stand ready to assist. We look forward to helping you take the next steps in your life’s journey!