Broomfield, CO Real Estate News

By Holly Vaccaro
(Your Castle Real Estate)
There are some signs of strengthening in our Denver market.  The metro area's inventory of available resale housing decreased 20% to 23,120 units in October from October 2007.  Some of this reduced inventory is attributed to homeowners taking their properties off the market in frustration because their property is not selling, but lower inventory implies a strengthening market.  Remember, the Denver area had housing inventory of 31,989 units in July 2006. Home sales rose 14% to 4,265 in September compared to the same month last year.  This is due almost entirely to the lower-end of the market (under $180K) selling like hotcakes. October's median selling price for single-family homes decreased 12% to $206,000 from the same month of '07, and was down 4.7% from September's median of $216,1...
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By Katy Tuleja
(Your Castle Real Estate)
This blog will discuss a type of real estate investment, fix and flips, in the Broomfield area in Denver.   What this investment is:  Purchasing a home that needs work.  The scope can range from the basic "paint and carpet" to extensive overhauls to scraping a decrepit property and completely starting over.  Usually does not involve tenants, and the objective is to get in and out of the property as quickly as possible.  Great for beginners with the right skill sets or the willingness to learn.   Equity needed:  With hard money loans (defined in next paragraph), potentially 0% and they'll finance the construction costs, too.  Expect a LOT of strings to be attached.  A small local lender might give you 75% of the purchase price and the renovation budget, and the terms will be a lot more p...
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This blog will discuss a type of real estate investment, large apartment buildings, in the Broomfield area in Denver.   What this investment is:  Still targeting tenants for 6-12 months at a time, buildings with more than five units are considered "commercial" property.  The loans are more difficult to qualify for, and usually a larger down payment is needed.  Uncommon for the new investor; this is usually what landlords with several years of experience "trade up" to.  Cash flows on larger buildings are more stable than for smaller buildings, and the economies of scale make it practical (and desirable) to hire a property manager to take over most the work for you.  This takes reduces the hassle factor of the landlord process.    Equity needed:  Being able to document your income and you...
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This blog will discuss a type of real estate investment, small apartment buildings, in the Broomfield area in Denver. What this investment is:  Purchase of duplex, triplex or quadplex to be rented to tenants, usually for 6-12 month terms.  Usually what the rental home / condo landlords graduate to.  In most markets they cost a little more than a rental home, but are much more likely to cash flow on the average month.  Less cash flow risk; if one unit is empty you have other tenants that still help you with the mortgage payment so it doesn't all come out of your pocket.  Many owners will start to delegate some of the property management tasks to an on-site assistant (typically the most responsible tenant), such as yard maintenance and showing empty units.  The financing process is only s...
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By Katy Tuleja
(Your Castle Real Estate)
This blog will discuss a type of real estate investment, rental condos or rental homes, in the Broomfield area in Denver. What this investment is:  Purchase of a residential property to be rented out to tenants, usually on a 6-12 month lease term.  This is how most new landlords get started.  You can hire out all of the property management functions, but in many cases you will do many of them on your own.  There are smaller down payment requirements than for larger rental buildings.  The purchase process and financing process is very similar to what you experienced buying the home you live in now.  It's a great way for beginners to get started. Equity needed:  Currently 20% - 25% Downpayment.  In some cases you might be able to do it with 10% down, but expect the second mortgage to be a...
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By Katy Tuleja
(Your Castle Real Estate)
This blog will discuss a type of real estate investment, assignments, in the Broomfield area in Denver. What this investment is:  An investor who is interested in Assignments gets a property under contract for an attractive price then assigns the contract to another buyer, usually another investor.  The first investor will be paid a fee for the work.  If you don't have much equity to work with, and/or if your credit power is limited, assignments can be a way to get started in real estate investing.  You will need to have a strong "sales" personality to succeed at it, though.  Equity needed:  None, just earnest money. Importance of credit:  Not important, since you are not purchasing the property yourself. Importance of experience with contractors:  Not important.  The person that you ‘f...
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By Katy Tuleja
(Your Castle Real Estate)
The talk around the water cooler these days is all about LOANS. Who can get them? At what price? What if I already have a few loans, do I still qualify?  A year or two ago the question was at what price do I get a loan (those were the days!).  Today it is "am I still in the game?"       Here's the deal:  if you have an owner occupied loan and 3 investor loans you cannot buy any more properties and get Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac financing, meaning you can't get a conventional 30-year fixed loan. Now, my hope is that someone reads this and tells me I'm wrong. That would be great!  But as far as I know that is the case.      Where does this leave you?  You can pursue loans that are warehoused by lenders, meaning they are not sold on the backend to Fannie or Freddie. You are probably looking ...
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By Katy Tuleja
(Your Castle Real Estate)
A LOT of agents don't advise their clients to get sewer scopes when they purchase a property. This is a major mistake.  A broken sewer can cost between $3,000 - $10,000 dollars to repair and it only costs $99 ($99Rooter - others are more expensive) to have a tech put a camera down the sewer pipe and videotape the sewer all the way to the mainline. This will tell you  and the-buyer what the condition of the sewer is.    So let's see, we pay to have the furnace inspected but a new furnace will only be about $2,000. We pay to have the roof inspected but that's probably a $4,000 job. So why don't we always inspect the sewer?  One reason is because, let's face it,  Realtors want closings. Many figure if they keep their mouth shut and don't go out of their way to recommend a sewer scope that'...
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By Katy Tuleja
(Your Castle Real Estate)
A lot of clients ask me how to figure out what market rents are in a neighborhood. This is a critical input into the calculations an investor needs to make in order to determine what their return on investment will be on a rental property. So you don't want to screw this up!  Unfortunately, this is one of the many figures new investors get wrong.     One place people go to get rents is Rent-o-Meter. Rent-o-Meter is billed as an online resource to get accurate market rents. In my experience it is anything but!  However, I have a fairly simple solution. Multiply what you see on Rent-o-Meter by  80%  and you'll probably be close. I can't explain why but I find rents on Rent-o-Meter to be about 25% high, so multiplying their rents by 80% will get you close (do the math, it works out).      ...
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As investors we face a number of very real and very scary challenges. Making sense of this market is no mean feat and one has to be very careful with his or her investment. However, we usually think about danger as financial. Unfortunately, on rare occasion it can be even worse than that. The majority of the homes investors are buying these days are vacant and once in a while people break in and live in these properties illegally.  The last thing you want to do is walk in on someone camped out in a house, perhaps conducting illegal an activity.      This is no joke, you want to be HEARD when you walk into a property that is supposed to vacant. So make a lot of noise when you're at the front door. I always knock loudly before entering.  Stomp your feet a little. Yell "Hello!" a couple of...
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By Katy Tuleja
(Your Castle Real Estate)
A lot of investors ask what an egress window is and when one is needed. Technically, it's a window for a room below grade that a municipality has deemed large enough to be safe for exit in case of emergency.   While there are some variations, the window needs to be large enough that a firefighter with an oxygen bottle on their back could get in, then carry out an injured person in a fire.  Most often, it's associated with a basement bedroom window, making it a legal bedroom. Basement bedrooms without egress windows are illegal.  Installing an egress window makes them legal.      The confusion is that different cities, counties and agencies have different size requirements and height-above-floor requirements for these windows. Therefore, before you start cutting into the concrete foundat...
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By Katy Tuleja
(Your Castle Real Estate)
You walk into a property you're looking to buy and rent and you walk down into the basement and voila! you find a full second kitchen.   Great!  You start calculating how much rent you could get if you could rent the downstairs separate from the upstairs and the cashflow is out of this world!  But wait, there are a number of very real problems with this scenario.     First of all, it's illegal unless the property is zoned for more than one tenant and the property has been converted to non-residential use. But there are even more practical reasons why having two separate tenants is often not a great idea. The first is the utilities. Since it's a house there will only be one bill for Excel and water. Who's going to pay it?  Can you really get the tenants to pro-rate their share if you pay...
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By Todd Barton
(Your Castle Real Estate)
Loan Considerations for Buy and Hold Investors       As far as investment loans, little or no money down loans are impossible.  However, lenders do permit the use of Home Equity Lines of Credit or second mortgages from other properties owned by the borrower as a source of down payment.  Or, self-employed borrowers are using funds from business lines of credit to fund down payments or renovations (please note: there are asset seasoning guidelines for doing so and the debt incurred by accessing other credit lines must be accounted for against the borrower's debt-to-income ratio). Thus, we have clients leveraging themselves with other homes they own in order to get in with little or nothing down.  There are exceptions, but practically every lender requires Full Income Documentation on any ...
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By Todd Barton
(Your Castle Real Estate)
Loan Considerations for Fix & Flip / Short-Term Investors     Securing conventional financing on a fix & flip or short-term loan is not recommended.  Most conventional lenders sell off their mortgages to investors on the secondary market.  If the loan is paid off early (before six payments are made), the investor has not recovered their initial investment.  The investor will attempt to recover their loss from the lender, who will ultimately come after the loan originator.  The loan originator would then be obligated to pay back any premium paid out by the lender.  If such activity becomes habitual with the loan officer, the lender can cease doing business with them and their firm.   Furthermore, conventional loans require conventional appraisals.  The lender will require that the home i...
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By Todd Barton
(Your Castle Real Estate)
Loan Considerations for Jumbo Mortgages   For the Greater Metro Denver area, any loan amount greater than $417,000 is considered a jumbo loan.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac assign different thresholds for various regions across the country.  For instance, $417,000 is not considered a jumbo loan in a high cost city like San Francisco, yet there will still be higher rates for going above $417K.    Due to the size of jumbo loans, they are considered greater risk for lenders, resulting in higher rates.  Rates have fluctuated greatly over the past few years on jumbos.  As of today, a 30 year fixed could range from 7% - 8%; a full point higher than the prime rate below a loan amount of $417,000.  Five year ARMs are popular on jumbo loans, as they typically price out a half point lower than fixe...
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By Todd Barton
(Your Castle Real Estate)
Loan Considerations for Loan Amounts Between $200K - $417K   With all the doom and gloom publications that are mostly exaggerated, many potential borrowers believe that home mortgage lending options have dried up.  While underwriters and investors are scrutinizing files more closely, attractive rates and terms still exist for owner occupied purchasers seeking a conforming loan limit (under $417,000).  FHA and VA can still lend up to 100% LTV and conventional permits up to 97% LTV.  There are certain guidelines to meet when going to these high LTVs, but they are not impossible to surmount.   Every home buyer should first ask themselves what payment they feel comfortable in committing to on a monthly basis.  Too many buyers over-extended themselves in recent years on homes they simply cou...
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By Todd Barton
(Your Castle Real Estate)
FHA First-Time Buyer Tax Credit    In an effort to boost the sagging real estate market and overall economy, first-time home buyers are being offered a limited time tax credit when purchasing a primary residence.  The highlights of the tax credit are: ·   The tax credit is available for first-time home buyers only. ·   The maximum credit amount is $7,500. ·   The credit is available for homes purchased on or after April 9, 2008 and beforeJuly 1, 2009. ·   Single taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 qualify for the full tax credit. ·   The tax credit works like an interest-free loan and must be repaid over a 15-year period.   Due to the volume of questions that can be generated with the above, I would recommend clicking on the below link fo...
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By Todd Barton
(Your Castle Real Estate)
Loan considerations for a first time buyer    Lending guidelines are changing on a daily basis for every type of loan: conventional, FHA, VA & commercial.  Nevertheless, there are still very attractive first-time home buyer options available.   If you are or will be a first-time buyer, it is critical to speak with a loan officer before looking at homes.  It is a crushing feeling to view a home, picture making it your own and then find out that you cannot qualify to purchase it.  A loan officer will pull credit, analyze debt-to-income ratios, review assets and income and determine what you can afford.    Presuming a pre-qualification occurs, the loan officer will then be able to provide an array of loan options.  Presently, FHA loans are the predominant loan for first-time home buyers as...
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By Todd Barton
(Your Castle Real Estate)
How can you improve your FICO score? To improve one's credit score, it's critical to understand the factors influencing a credit score.  The factors that contribute to a FICO score and the weighted percentages for each are as follows: 35% - timeliness of payments 30% - the ratio of used debt to allowable debt for consumer credit 15% - length of credit history (the more credit history and showing proof of consistent timely payment, the better the score) 10% - types of credit used  10% - recent credit inquiries and recent new credit The greatest driver behind a score is making timely payments on all accounts.  Scores will be adversely affected for any payment that is 30 days late or more.  Being late on a mortgage payment will not only crush one's score, but will also make qualifying for ...
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By Todd Barton
(Your Castle Real Estate)
How does your FICO score impact your interest rate on your loan?    Low credit scores are deemed greater risk for lenders since the likelihood for defaulting on the loan increases.  As such, lower FICO scores translate into higher interest rates.  Mortgage lenders will group credit scores in a range, usually in 20 or 40 point increments, with interest rates progressively getting better for each higher interval.  For example, a borrower with a middle credit score between 660 - 680 will have a higher interest rate (presuming all other variables being equal) compared to one with a 680 - 700 score.  Typically, when a borrower has a 750+ credit, they will be able to secure the best possible rate, assuming their income, assets, collateral and down payment are acceptable.   For qualifying, und...
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