Tag Archives: home

Buying Your Home: Settlement Costs and Information

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has a nifty online booklet with loads of settlement cost information. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or experienced, this is a very valuable resource. Check it out here: Buying Your Home: Settlement Costs and Information

You can also view 100 Questions and Answers About Buying a New Home on HUD’s site.

Let me know when you are ready to buy and sell! 303.663.9335


How to Install a Hardwood Floor

Hardwood floors can increase a home’s selling price by at least 6%!

diynetwork.com has loads of flooring ideas and trends. Check out this article on How to Install a Hardwood Floor.

Happy Wednesday!


Top 10 Rules for Staging Homes from HGTV’s The Stagers

Matthew Finlason of HGTV gives his home staging tips to help you get ready for a home sale.

Check it out:

Top 10 Rules for Staging Homes from The Stagers

1. Grab them from the curb.
You’ve seen them. Buyers hunkered low in their cars in front of your house, doing drive-bys before deciding whether to request a showing or attend an open house. Make these potential buyers fall in love with your home from the street by adding potted plants and flowers, power-washing patios and walkways, weeding the garden and mowing the lawn. It’s your first chance to make a good impression, so you’ve got to make it count.

2. Make it sparkle.
Pretend that your mother or mother-in-law is coming for a visit. Think hotel clean. Mop, dust, vacuum, wash windows, baseboards — even the cat. Remember that people will look in your cupboards, under your sinks and in your closets. Also, pay particular attention to odors. You might even consider consulting a neutral nose by having a friend come by for a smell test.

3. Pay attention to color and light.
You may love hot pink in the living room, but too-bright colors turn buyers off. Neutralize strong colors for the broadest appeal. A neutral home appears larger and has less chance of offending someone. Also, open up blinds and draperies to make sure there’s sufficient natural light throughout the home. Remember, lighting is the most effective way to set a mood.

4. Depersonalize.
Few things deter buyers more than a cluttered home. They need to see your home, not your stuff. Excessive personal items like photos, collections, personal awards, electronics and collectibles will make it difficult for buyers to see past your personal style and may deter a sale. Taking yourself out of the picture makes it easier for buyers to imagine themselves, and their stuff, in your space.

5. Consider replacing furnishings.
Think about removing or replacing worn or outdated furnishings and get rid of extra pieces. The time has come to move beyond matching furniture, so break up your sets; dated can easily become eclectic with editing and rearranging. Consider consulting with a professional staging company for design direction and advice on rental furnishings to create an inviting home with broad appeal to a wide range of buyers.

6. Invest in new artwork.
Displaying new artwork is a great way to breathe new life into a room. Photography can be used to contemporize a room and add a splash of color as well.

7. Make repairs.
Make your home a high-maintenance zone. Repair squeaky doors, chipped or smudged paint as well as broken fixtures and fittings that you’ve neglected.

8. Apply a fresh coat of paint.
It’s the best bang for your buck that will quickly refresh a dull, dated room. Slap a fresh, neutral color on the space. Choose a beige or taupe for living spaces and a neutral green or blue for bathrooms.

9. Don’t forget the floors.
Get rid of worn carpets, and consider refinishing shabby hardwood floors. An inexpensive new area rug is a quick fix and can disguise the look of old floors.

10. Spring for new light fixtures.
Renew the look of the room by replacing old or dated light fixtures, door hardware, light switches and outlets. If it’s tacky and older than you, get it out of there.

Source: HGTV.com


Buying is Cheaper than Renting in Most US Cities

Not sure whether to buy or rent? According to this article from CNN.com, buying a residential home is cheaper than renting in over 74% of America’s 50 biggest cities!

Read on:

Buying is Cheaper than Renting in Most US Cities

By Les Christie
August 16, 2011

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Home prices have taken such a beating and demand for rental units has increased so much that it’s now cheaper to buy a two-bedroom home than to rent one in most major U.S. cities.

According to real estate web site Trulia, buying was cheaper than renting in 74% of the country’s 50 largest cities in July. In just 12% of the cities, including New York, Seattle and San Francisco, renting was cheaper. In the remaining 14% of cities, renting was less expensive but close to the cost of buying.

In addition to a continuing decline in home prices, rock-bottom interest rates have added a lot of weight to the buy side of the scale. The overnight average rate for a 30-year fixed was just 4.19% on Monday, according to Bankrate.com. A 15-year fixed averaged just 3.43%.

Add in the tax perks of home ownership and for those who can afford it (and who can actually qualify for a loan), it certainly is a buyer’s market.

“It’s a personal decision, of course. But if you have a steady job and you are planning to stay for seven years or more and have enough cash to put 20% down and enough left over for seven or eight months of expenses, you’re better off buying in most places,” said Daisy Kong, a spokeswoman for Trulia.

Top buyer’s markets
Las Vegas offered the most compelling buy-side math, Trulia’s survey found.

Prices there have plunged more than 59% from their August 2006 peak, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index.

The median price of a two-bedroom, two-bath condo or townhouse is about $60,000, according to Trulia, a ratio of only six times the median annual rent of a similar rental apartment, which is $9,700.

Monthly mortgage payments on a median-priced Vegas condo would come to only $256 on a 30-year, 5% interest loan. Even factoring in property taxes and common charges of roughly $300 a month, the monthly amount is still much lower than the $810 in monthly rent they would pay on a similar place.

Detroit, according to Trulia, is another metro area where buying is better. The median price for a condo or townhouse is about seven times annual rent. Home prices in Mesa, Ariz. and Fresno, Calif. also clock in at seven times rent.

Arlington, Texas, Sacramento, Calif., Phoenix and Jacksonville, Fla. all had buy-rent ratios of eight, Trulia said.

Top renter’s markets
Even though rents average $2,980 a month in New York (the highest of any of the 50 markets), it’s still the best city for renters, according to Trulia’s survey.

Paying for the same kind of two-bedroom Manhattan apartment would cost 36 times as much, nearly $1.3 million.

Big money towns
One surprising place where renting is cheaper is Ft. Worth, Texas; buying exceeds renting costs by 32 times. Part of the reason is there are relatively few condos in the city and they tend to be upscale and costly. That, combined with low rents of about $9,500 a year, make renting cheaper.

Omaha, Neb., where buying is 27 times annual rents, Seattle and San Francisco, which both clock in with purchase prices that are 24 times rents, and Kansas City, at 22 times rents, are other places where renting makes financial sense.

Should you rent or buy?
The buy-rent calculation is just one part of the decision-making process. Other factors include:

•How long you plan to stay. If you’re not keeping the home for several years, transactional costs of buying and selling (e.g; commissions, closing costs) can wipe out any buying edge.
•Whether you have cash for closing. It’s not easy to find banks willing to lend more than 80% of the cost of a home. That means buyers have to come up with 20% down, plus closing costs. On a $200,000 home, that’s $40,000.
•Whether you can cover all the homeownership costs. It’s not just the mortgage: There are property taxes, insurance, heat, utilities and regular maintenance.
•Whether you can claim the tax advantages of homeownership. Mortgage interest is deductible and can shave a lot off tax bills but this benefit accrues mostly to high income earners with substantial mortgage payments. Many borrowers claim the standard deduction on their taxes and so derive no savings from the deduction.
Even where it’s cheaper to rent, it doesn’t necessarily mean renters will come out ahead, according to Ken Johnson, a real estate professor at Florida International University and co-author of a new study on whether it’s better to buy or rent.

“Paying off a mortgage is a kind of forced savings,” he said. Each check homeowners write lowers the balance they owe and increases the value of their property holdings. That, unlike cash in a bank account, is not easy to tap.

Where the jobs are
Homeowners have to go through a lengthy and costly process to access it by taking out a home equity loan or a cash-out refinance — actions they tend not to take unless there’s a specific need.

Depending on where they live, renters may save on monthly expenses but, unlike the forced savings of mortgage payments, they won’t have anything to show for their monthly payments in the way of savings.

Ultimately, however, the decision whether to buy or rent depends on each person’s situation and their plans for the future.

While buying a home may be an attractively cheap option these days, many mortgage holders have found out the hard way that the joys of homeownership can turn sour should the unexpected strike.

Source: money.cnn.com


Find Your Property Value!

Hello and welcome to September!

Get ready for fall, and find your home’s property value using realestate.com’s Home Price Check!

This is included under my Real Estate Resource links in the right-hand column, so you can easily access it anytime!

Here’s to a good month!

Tom Calhoun
303.663.9335


New Listing Coming Up in Highlands Ranch!

Check out this new listing I have coming up in Highlands Ranch!

New Highlands Ranch Listing

To learn more about the Highlands Ranch community, check out their website!

Check back soon for more information and listings!


Welcome!

Welcome to my new blog!  My name is Tom Calhoun. I hope to share advice, tips, listings, and my experiences in the real estate world! I am a residential real estate agent based out of Castle Rock, Colorado and serving the Front Range: Centennial, Denver, Highlands Ranch, Sedalia, and Franktown. I specialize in buyer brokerage, condominiums, foreclosure property, investments, luxury homes, new construction, residential acreages, and relocation. Enjoy exploring the blog and please leave your comments and questions!  Thanks for visiting, and be sure to like us on Facebook!

Enjoy!

Best,
Tom Calhoun