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The Denver Real Estate Broker Blog

You Can Afford a lot More Home Than You Think

AffordibilityAt least right now, October 15th 2014. Rates this week are phenomenal and represent a great opportunity.

We have found that most people shop for a new home based on the monthly payment and not the cost of the home. At least this is where most buyers start when determining the price range for searching. This makes sense as the monthly payment translates to the carry cost of owning the real estate. The “sticker price” has little tangible value with regard to affordability without a monthly payment.

When looking at the monthly payment for financing a new home, a big driver is the interest rate. We find it fascinating how much the interest rate changes the amount a buyer can purchase at the same monthly payment. The rule is fairly obvious, the lower the interest rate the higher the purchasing power. That sounds good but translating it into real numbers revels the AHHA!

Every 1% decrease in interest rate translates into 10.75% increase in purchase price. This also works in reverse, as it will erode purchase power when rates are rising.

So a buyer that wants a monthly payment around $2,000, with 20% down can afford a $500,000 home at a 4.75% rate.

That same payment gets the buyer a $553,750 home when the rate drops to 3.75%.

So as a real estate broker we like to keep an eye on rates as they have a direct correlation with affordability.

Today’s rates: 

October Rates

Please let us know if you would like us to run the numbers based on your specific purchase.


You’ve Decided to Buy a New Home, Now What?

Congratulations, you have decided to buy a new home. That decision ushers in a flood of emotion ranging from excitement to anxiety.

In order to help with the later, we have created a home buying guide that identifies the steps in purchasing a new home.

Weather you’re a first time home buyer or seasoned owner, we feel our road map helps organize and simplify the process.

There are quite a few steps when purchasing a home. The graph below is a visual representation of the home buying process. 

It all starts with hiring a professional real estate broker to guide you through the process. You will want to hire a broker that is an expert in the areas you are considering a purchase. More: Denver Real Estate Broker Duties, Home Purchase 

Once you select to real estate professional to help facilitate your home purchase you will want to get pre-qualified/approved for your new home loan if you require financing. Selecting a lender is a very important step. Get referrals from people you trust. Then compare the personality’s you relate to, with a good faith estimate.  

Next up, making an offer. What makes a good offer? 

Next you will want to review all of the Colorado Real Estate Disclosures with your Broker.

After your offer has been accepted the next major hurdle is the general inspection. The general inspection gives you the ability to thoroughly inspect the property to determine the level of deferred maintenance that is needed. This is fancy way of saying, what needs to be fixed.  More: Denver Real Estate Inspection

After the inspection it is important to review the title insurance commitment. What is the title insurance commitment?

At the same time your lender is busy gathering the support materials needed for the loan application. Once complete the loan package, along with the appraisal is submitted to underwriting for approval.  Once approved, your real estate broker is given the clear to close and the settlement figures are sent to the title company.

Once the title company has the real estate transaction figures they complete the settlement statement. The settlement statement outlines all the fees associated with the purchase of the home. Your real estate broker will review the settlement statement to ensure it is accurate.

Now, its closing time. It is always a good idea to walk the home one last time right before you go to the title company and close on the property. This ensures nothing has happened to the home you are about to be financially responsible for. Your real estate broker will arrange the final walk the hour before closing.


Denver Real Estate Broker Duties, Home Purchase

What is the job of a real estate broker and what makes a good broker? These are two very good questions if you are considering hiring a real estate professional to help with the purchase of real estate.

There are four categories of skills that need to be managed by a competent real estate broker. These categories include; Guidance, Responsive, Accounting and Loyalty.

Guidance is an important attribute to a smooth and successful real estate transaction. Some of the areas of broker guidance center around the following:

  • Frame the property search around what’s most important to you
  • Recommend lenders for pre-approval that help determine an affordable price, strengthen your offer and lead to a faster closing
  • Search the MLS and network with other brokers daily to find new properties that match your criteria
  • Preview properties, schedule and accompany you to showings
  • Analyze comparable property values and advise you on current market conditions
  • Structure and prepare your offer, review disclosures and laws and deliver the contract
  • Negotiate skillfully on your behalf and promote clear and frequent communication among all parties
  • Review title commitment, recommend home inspectors, facilitate lender approval, insurance coverage, and recommend attorneys or tax professionals as needed
  • Accompany you on final walk-through

Responsiveness is the next area of management and includes:

  • Acting in good faith at all times
  • Adhering to your instructions
  • Returning all calls and emails promptly, keeping you informed
  • Closely tracking dates and deadlines

Accounting for money and information is extremely important.

  • Receive, deliver and monitor all earnest money deposits
  • Receive and deliver all documents in a timely manner
  • Review final settlement statements to ensure accuracy

Loyalty is the final attribute of a competent real estate professional.

  • Place your interests above all others
  • Keep your personal information strictly confidential
  • Ensure that all parties to the transaction are fully informed about any material facts that may affect the transaction

Your real estate broker has a fiduciary responsibility to you at all times and should service your specific real estate needs with good faith and professionalism at all times.


Denver Real Estate Inspection, What Should I Have Done?

Denver Real Estate Inspection, what should I have done?

This is another question we get from every one of the clients we help. The short answer is, you should inspect for everything that is a concern to you. Now that is a pretty vague answer so I’ll expand.

There are plenty of inspections that can be conducted for a home you are working to purchase. Here is a list of some of the inspections offered in Colorado. This is not a complete list, it’s simply a list of the most common.

  • General Home Inspection
  • Sewer Line
  • Radon
  • Structural
  • Termite
  • Asbesto
  • Methamphetamine
  • Mold
  • Waste Pump
  • Soil Condition
  • Lead Based Paint

We typically recommend that a buyer, at the bare minimum, conduct a general inspection, sewer line inspection and radon inspection.

The general inspection is conducted by are third party selected by the buyer. Most real estate brokers have a list of referrals for inspectors so don’t worry if you don’t have an inspector in mind.

The general inspection typically last between 3 and 5 hours, depending on the size and age of the home. During the general inspection everything that can be visually accessed is inspected. The inspector will then generate a detailed report explaining the items inspection and the repairs needed.

This report gives you the actual condition of the home so that you can determine if the home is worth buying. 


What Makes a Good Offer When Purchasing Real Estate?

What Makes a Good Offer When Purchasing Real Estate?

This is a question we get asked by each and every client with work with. A good offer is one that gets accepted. That is the simplest explanation, however that can be a tricky undertaking.

It may be perceived, especially on the buy side, that a good offer is an offer at the lowest price. This is not the case as the market determines the price. Real estate typically trades hands at a price that other buyers paid for similar improvements (real estate). Now there are situations called distressed sales where prices fall outside this economic fact, however that will not be discussed here.

To make a good offer your real estate broker should first determine market price for the property you are interested in (subject property). This in not always, and often isn’t the list price of the home. Your broker finds the market price by gathering sales of comparable properties as close to the subject property as possible. Then through the art of adjustment, market value is determined.

Next your real estate broker will want to consider how long the subject property has been on the market. This is a good indication as to the willingness of the seller to negotiate on the price. The general rule is that the longer the property has been on the market the more negotiable the seller is likely to be.

Next it is a good idea for your broker to check public records to see is the seller has a recorded mortgage and how much is still owed on the home.  This is another clue as to the willingness of the seller to negotiate. If the seller has the home listed at the amount they owe, the likelihood of them negotiating is lower.

The last thing to consider when determining what makes a good offer is the location of the property. You have heard the adage  - Location, Location, Location. This is a fundamental truth in real estate; the best location commands the highest price. Therefore the best offer may be significantly altered by the location of the subject property. 


Standard Colorado Real Estate Disclosures, What Are They?

Most Colorado real estate transactions have a standard set up disclosures that are provided by the seller and disclose important facts about the home being sold. Below you will find a list of the most common disclosures. This is not an all-inclusive list, as some real estate firms require other disclosures.

Sellers Property Disclosure – This is an important disclosure from the seller as to the condition of the home and systems within. This form has 13 sections that range from the structural condition to environmental condition. This form should be analyzed thoroughly as it will give you clues on where to pay special attention with the inspections.

Lead Based Paint Disclosure – This disclosure will only be present if the home was built prior to January 1st, 1978. This form discloses any knowledge the seller has about the presence of lead passed paint in the home.

Square Footage Disclosure – This is a disclosure that is made to the Buyer and Seller with regard to the square footage being represented for marketing purposes. The disclosure requires the listing broker to disclose where the square footage measurement comes from.

Closing Instructions – This form identifies who will be conduction the closing and the fees associated with the closing services. The form also includes instructions for the closing company and how conduct the closing.

Source of Water Disclosure – This form discloses the water provider for the property with contact information.


What is the Title Insurance Commitment?

The title insurance commitment is an insurance policy that is purchased by the seller that insures the property against loss due to title defects, liens or other matters related to title.

When reviewing your title commitment it is important to examine Schedule B, Section 2, Exceptions. This is the section that lists the items that will not be insured against.

More often than not, this section contains utility easements, recorded neighborhood plat maps etc. that are normal and don’t pose a liability for the buyer. However, there are transactions where serious exceptions are present that need to be cleared prior to closing on the property. Your real estate broker should offer guidance on involving a lawyer or title expert when issues with the title commitment arise.


Affordable new construction town homes minutes from downtown Denver

Affordable living in Downtown Denver is getting harder and harder to come by. Denver’s popularity is growing. Each and every year people discover that Denver has an exceptional quality of life, is still relatively inexpensive, has great weather and offers endless recreational activities.

As more people discover and fall in love with Denver, it’s natural to see housing prices climb.  Increased demand puts upward pressure on price. We are seeing this result as prices in neighborhoods like Jefferson Park, Lohi, Sloans Lake and Highland have surged considerably in the last 3 years.

It is predicted that prices in these same neighborhoods will continue to climb in the coming years. This prediction stems from the massive amount of renovation and infill happening with the Denver Union Station and RTD Light Rail project currently underway in Lower Downtown (Lodo).

Osage Place Rendering

So, where do you go if you want to enjoy all that Downtown has to offer but don’t want break the bank to get it? Simple, Osage Place.  

Osage Place is located at 4301 Osage St., Denver, CO, 80211 in Sunny Side. The Sunny Side Neighborhood is located directly north of Lohi between 38th and I-70. Osage Place offers 13 town homes priced from $410,900 to $420,900.  These luxuriously outfitted homes are between 1,435 and 1,505 square feet, have 2 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, have an office/3 bedroom, offer spacious roof decks with city views and have numerous upgrade options.

Osage Place Interior Finish

Architecturally, Osage Place is stunning and the interiors have been outfitted to match. Each unit has Kentwood hardwood floors throughout the main living area. The kitchen offers Kitchcraft 42” cabinets with stainless pulls, quartz countertops, Whirlpool stainless appliances and Progress lighting. All bathroom fixtures are Moen, all sinks are under mount Kohler, and counter tops are Quartz. Carpet is upgraded with luxurious Tuftex over 6lb Rebond pad. Buyers have the option to customize their home with numerous color combinations across carpet, countertops, hardwoods, cabinets, tile and accents. Additionally buyers have the option to add a fireplace, media center, additional lighting, 4th bathroom (plan A only) and hot tub.

Osage Place Roof DeckLiving in a brand new construction town home at Osage Place gives you access to all that downtown Denver has to offer. You are a 7-minute drive or 14-minute bike ride from Union Station. You are 8 blocks from the new light-rail station at 41st and Inca. You have easy access to both major Interstates of I-25 and I-70 making Osage Place easy to get to and from.

As prices continue to climb in all neighborhoods with proximity to Downtown Denver, now is the time to get in. Please visit www.osageplace.com for additional information or to reserve a unit.


Rino gets a huge boost from the Industry Denver project

Industry Denver Artist Concept

Industry Denver, located at 3001 Brighton Blvd. opened its doors on May 15th and represents a taste of what’s to come on Brighton Blvd.

Industry Denver Building

If you have been paying attention to the River North (Rino) neighborhood of Denver you are familiar with how popular the area is becoming. The vibe and feel of Rino are like nothing else in the city and it’s becoming one of the hippest areas of Denver. The Rino neighborhood is industrial and gritty, combined with chic and sophisticated.

The Industry Denver project can be described the exact same way. The building itself is a repurposed work of art. Phase one is 130,000 square feet of collaborative office space with four new restaurants. The project, described by developer Sean Cambell, is a technology focused business ecosystem. The project caters to small to medium sized technology and creative companies looking for non-traditional office space and want to be part of a larger collaborative ecosystem. Industry tenants have an opportunity to cohabitate creative clusters of offices, conference rooms, community kitchens, lounges and work areas that foster productivity and innovation. According to Mayor Hancock, the strength of the project will be its ability to draw new, innovative businesses to the Denver area, grow them with “incubation space” and then add them to the expanding list of businesses headquartered in Denver.

Restaurants in phase I of the Industry Denver project will be Tengu (asian noodle house & sake bar), Will Call (neighborhood pub), The Griffin (European Gastro-theme with Bocci Ball courts) and Wystone’s (healthy focused cafe).

So, why is a residential real estate broker, such as myself so excited about commercial real estate project? The answer is simple – for what it’s going to do to the area.  The Industry Denver project combined with The Source give a glimpse of what is coming. I had a chance to speak to the downtown Denver business partnership about Rino and they hinted at a great deal of development money and improvement grants jockeying for position in the bowtie of Rino.

River North Boundary Map


In addition to another 83,000 square feet of office space opening later this year, The Industry Denver project has 55+ residential “for sale” town-homes being built this fall along the S. Platte River. They are also constructing a 250+ unit “for rent” development.

That is a lot of residential density that will spark a great deal of redevelopment of existing architecture new development along Brighton Blvd.

As a native of Denver, what’s happening in River North or Rino is so exciting because it represents another massive development surge that will compliment the Union Station redevelopment in transforming downtown Denver.


9,800 SF of restaurant space coming to the Uptown neighborhood

Uptown Restaurant SpaceI recently had a chance to tour the One City Block apartment complex at 19th and Pennsylvania in the Uptown Neighborhood. Typically I don’t focus on apartments as the Neir Team are residential sales specialists. However, the site plan calls for a considerable amount of ground level retail space that I was very curious about. New class-A retail space traditionally increases property values for surrounding residential real estate.

Our visit consisted of a developer tour of the property and a detailed financial overview of the project. Within the financial overview, the total ROI (return on investment) was discussed along with key revenue generators. When asked about the retail space, the developer explained that the retail space is not a key contributor to revenues for the project.

Uptown's New Restaurant OptionsThis peeked my interest as it seems counter intuitive that the retail space would not be a key driver of revenue, especially with 9,800 square feet of prime, ground level, Uptown real estate. The developer went on to explain that the model for the project focused on providing a very high-end experience for the residences and the retail space is expected to cater to that experience. One City Block will seek targeted business tenants with less emphasis on rental rates, creating an opportunity to place exceptional businesses in the project. The developer stated that they are primarily looking for restaurants to fill the retail space.

D-Bar moves to One City Block

D-Bar, formerly at 1475 E 17th Avenue will be the first tenant moving to 494 E 19th Ave and are expected to open this summer. D-Bar, which had a desert centric menu on 17th, will be focusing more on dining and drinking at the 19th Ave location. Rest assured, their signature desert options will still be available.

Based on the information we were given, One City Block has the potential to strengthen Uptowns strong reputation of culinary offerings.