Category Archives: Buyers and Sellers

16201 Ginger Avenue, Mead, CO

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Welcome to 16201 Ginger Avenue in Mead.  This home features 3 bedrooms and 3 baths  in Mead’s popular neighborhood of Western Meadows.

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You will agree this home is spotless and shows as such with it’s clean and tidy set up.

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On the main level you will find wood flooring, vaulted ceiling and an oversized master bedroom suite with large walk-in closet.  The laundry room, complete with folding table, is also located on this level.

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The lower level features a generous family room that walks out to a large patio.  Enjoy the beautiful Colorado mountain views that we love so much, from the patio.

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Additional features include a spacious 3-car garage and an unfinished basement ready for you to put your own touches on.

This home has fantastic curb appeal, beautifully manicured landscaping and a private fire-pit area – perfect for year around use!




7 Key Things That Help You Qualify For A Mortgage



In an environment where lenders are highly regulated and risk-averse, borrowers are rightfully a little nervous when they apply for a mortgage. But with the right preparation, qualifying for a home loan can be a rewarding experience in your journey toward homeownership.

“In a lot of ways, lenders have gone back to the basics, looking at fundamental personal finance criteria to decide who qualifies for a loan,” says Rick Sharga, chief marketing officer of Ten-X, an online real estate marketplace in Irvine, California.

At the same time, Sharga says lenders have been more risk-averse than ever since the housing bust.

A.W. Pickel, III, Midwest division president of AmCap Mortgage in Kansas City, Missouri, recommends finding a loan officer you can trust and sticking with that person during your entire homebuying process.

“A good loan officer is like a pilot flying you and your loan from Kansas City to Hawaii,” Pickel says. “There are several ways to get there and several things that can happen on the way. A good loan officer has seen the turbulence and knows where the smooth air is.”

7 steps toward a loan approval

The back-to-basics approach by lenders means that borrowers can take steps that increase their chances of a mortgage approval.

Improving your credit, reducing your debt and gathering your documentation are among the many things you can do long before a loan application to increase the likelihood of getting a “yes” from a lender.

1. Maintain a high credit score. The average FICO score for an approved borrower is around 720 for a conventional loan and close to 700 for an FHA-insured loan, says Sharga. He says borrowers should find out their FICO score before applying for a loan, make sure their credit report is correct and take steps to improve their score if necessary. Pickel says he recently reviewed a loan file with a high debt-to-income ratio of 49 percent but a credit score over 800, which resulted in a loan approval.

Keep a vigilant eye on your credit profile while you wait for your loan to close, too.

“Once the application process has begun, borrowers shouldn’t do anything that might negatively impact their credit rating — no new accounts, no late or missed payments,” says Sharga.

2. Save for a bigger down payment. One way to minimize risk for a lender is to make a higher-than-minimum down payment. “The average down payment today is around 10 percent; historically the standard has been 20 percent,” says Sharga. “Anything above that lowers the loan-to-value ratio, which is viewed positively.”

3. Choose the right loan. If you have less money for a down payment but have good credit, you may qualify for a conventional loan with private mortgage insurance and a down payment requirement of 3 to 5 percent.

You may want to look for a lender who issues FHA loans, which are often available to borrowers with less cash or a lower credit score and require a down payment of 3.5 percent. Keep in mind these loans require a monthly mortgage insurance payment in addition to principal and interest, Sharga says.

4. Manage your debt. Lenders are reluctant to issue loans that fall outside qualified mortgage rules established by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), says Sharga. These loans have a strict cap of a 43 percent debt-to-income ratio, which is the percentage of your gross monthly income that goes toward the minimum payment on all your debt, including your mortgage.

Paying off credit card balances or at least reducing debt before applying for a home loan is helpful.

5. Buy within your means. “Be realistic with your monthly income,” Pickel says. “Buy a house with a monthly payment you can afford. Buying a house that needs the income from two or three future raises will only cause stress.”

It matters that you can afford your payments and have remaining income after those payments are made, he says.

6. Demonstrate stability. Lenders look for signs of personal and financial stability, such as whether you’ve saved three to six months’ worth of expenses in the bank, whether you have a steady employment record and how often you’ve moved over the past few years, Sharga says. Your good credit score and a pattern of saving money are both indicators of financial strength.

7. Respond fast to lender requests. The CFPB’s ability-to-repay rule requires lenders to verify whether a borrower has the means to handle loan payments, says Sharga. This requires you to have all your financial records in order, including pay stubs, bank records, tax returns and more. Sharga says incomplete documentation is a common reason for loans being declined.

“If the loan officer asks for it, then bring it,” says Pickel. “Sometimes people don’t want to say they can’t find something or they don’t want to look for it, but it really helps to have all the information that the loan officer requests. This will help expedite the process.”

While it should go without saying, honesty is an essential component of a loan approval.

“No one likes surprises, especially loan underwriters,” says Pickel. “Tell the truth, even if it hurts. It will help even if it means that you don’t qualify today.”

Michele Lerner has been writing about real estate, personal finance and business topics for more than two decades and contributes articles about mortgages at Her work has appeared in The Washington Post and online at Fox Business News, Forbes BrandVoices,,, and

Garry’s Thoughts

If you are renting now you are very familiar with the high cost of rental rates in this sizzling real estate market.  This article will help with laying the ground work for qualifying for a mortgage to purchasing your own home plus the mortgage payment will most likely be less than what you are paying in rent right now.

Millions of Owners Are Missing Out on Savings

Nearly 4.5 million borrowers are eligible to refinance and could lock in savings on their monthly mortgage payments but have not taken advantage, according to a new report from Black Knight Financial Services.

The average borrower stands to save $260 a month. Nearly 700,000 borrowers could save $400 or more per month, the report shows.

“The recent pause in the upward movement of interest rates continues to encourage late-to-the-game borrowers to refinance,” says Lynn Fisher, the Mortgage Banker Association’s vice president of research and economics.

But many owners are not refinancing, despite the potential savings.

“Our data doesn’t tell us about motivation,” says Ben Graboske, senior vice president of data and analytics at Black Knight Financial Services. “It leaves us to surmise that the reason is apathy, lack of awareness, and education.”

Some homeowners may still be underwater on their home loans, owing more than what the home is currently worth. Other owners may have a low credit score that is blocking them from taking advantage of lower rates.

Still, owners likely will have more time to take advantage. “I don’t think this will be the last opportunity [to refinance into a low rate], but I don’t have a crystal ball,” says Graboske. “There are enough pressures in the market—lenders getting more efficient—that we’re going to have competitive rates around for awhile.”

Source: “Reason to Refinance: 4 Million Homeowners Are Leaving $1 Billion on the Table,” CNBC (June 22, 2017)

Garry Thoughts

Whether you are a first time home buyer or a seasoned homeowner these suggestions make sense and we can all hear this information from time  to time.

Americans Want to Hear More on Affordability

“In many ways, housing is an invisible crisis,” says Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “There are still too many families without access to safe, secure, and affordable housing. This survey highlights the value all of us place on a decent place to call home and underscores the critical need to increase access to affordable housing.”

According to the survey, nine out of 10 Americans say owning a home is one of their greatest achievements in life. Also, 68 percent of U.S. renters say owning a home is one of their chief goals, according to the survey. PSB, on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, surveyed 1,000 people in the U.S. and Canada to gauge their perceptions of and challenges to affordable housing.

Ninety-one percent of American homeowners credited owning a home with making them more responsible, and 44 percent said it helped them build a nest egg. Forty-one percent say homeownership has given them stability.

But homeownership remains out of reach for many. Nine out of 10 Americans and Canadians say it’s important to find solutions to the lack of affordable housing. At 59 percent, concerns regarding U.S. affordability in particular easily topped other housing issues like safety (16%) and quality (11%).

One major barrier to homeownership cited among survey respondents: the high costs of rent. Eighty-four percent of survey respondents said the high cost of rent was preventing them from buying, followed by 75 percent who said obtaining a mortgage was proving to be a big barrier.

Many of the survey respondents said they’ve struggled to pay housing costs at some point in their life. Among U.S. respondents, 27 percent of respondents said they struggled to pay housing costs in their 20s; 22 percent in their 30s; 11 percent in their 40s; and 9 percent in their 50s.

Source: “Nine Out of 10 Americans and Canadians Call for Affordable Housing Solutions,” Habitat for Humanity (June 20, 2017)


Garry’s Thoughts

It seems hard to believe in our market here in Colorado and how housing prices have been increasing over the past 3 years but here is a short list of areas in the country where housing prices are actually dropping.

First-Time Buyers Face New Competition

Investors are scouring real estate markets looking for low-priced homes, and they’re increasingly stepping on the toes of first-time buyers, who are hunting in the same price range. “The investor is starting to gobble up pretty much anything under $200,000,” Dennis Cisterna, chief revenue officer for Investability Real Estate, which markets rental homes, told The Dallas Morning News. “We are not adding any new supply to the market to serve that first-time home buyer.”

Housing inventories are at the lowest level in 30 years, and the shortages are most pronounced in the low and middle price ranges. “We are losing inventory at a record pace and in the segment of the market with the most demand,” says Javier Vivas, a® analyst.

Investors comprised 33 percent of all single-family and condo sales in 2016, the highest percentage ever recorded by real estate data firm ATTOM Data Solutions. “This is setting the stage for a boom in single-family rentals,” says Daren Blomquist, an economist at ATTOM.

But while institutional investors dominated the rental housing market after the housing crash, they’re increasingly being priced out of markets such as Denver and Dallas. Smaller mom-and-pop investors are now stepping in to take their place. “The investors are competing for those starter homes,” Blomquist says, adding that 61 percent of investor purchases are for homes between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet.

Investors also tend to pay cash, which is making it difficult for first-time buyers who need financing to compete. About 19 million single-family homes in the U.S. are now owned by investors, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

Source: “First-Time Buyers Hunting Affordable Housing are up Against Property Investors … and Losing,” The Dallas Morning News (June 16, 2017)


Garry’s Thoughts

This article is great as it describes the fact that First Time Homebuyers are being forced out of the market.  This is due largely because housing values are increasing so significantly and buyer’s aren’t able to qualify for the average sale price of homes in the Front Range area. We are finding that an FHA loan or even a low down-payment conventional financed loan cannot compete against an investor cash offer who will use the home as a rental property. I am seeing a large percentage of investors taking their money out of their stock market investment portfolios and reinvesting in real estate.

How Staging Impacts Buyers …

Home Seller’s may wonder how staging their home when it’s time to sell will impact potential Buyer’s opinions during viewings …  now we know. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) asked over two thousand Realtors to share their experiences of showing staged vs. not-staged homes to Buyers – here’s what they said.



Ranked: Best U.S. Markets for Buying Residential Rental Property | RISMedia

The good news is for landlords. Rents are up sharply and tenants are plentiful. The bad news is for renters.

Ranked: Best U.S. Markets for Buying Residential Rental Property | RISMedia.


5 Tips for Buying into an HOA

via 5 Tips for Buying into an HOA.

5 Tips for Buying into an HOA

Purchasing a home is a serious commitment with long-term implications. The immediate factors that can swing a buyer’s decision are costs, geographic location and amenities. With every major decision there is an underbelly of more important factors. It is no different in what one should look for when purchasing a home within a community association.

The Type of Community Association

The first deciding factor one needs to consider is what type of community association you are looking for. Homeowner associations or planned unit developments range from single family homes with zero common area, to townhomes with a pool and clubhouse to a condominium within a master association with a smorgasbord of maintenance responsibility. It is these types of factors that will affect the costs associated with assessments which is the lifeblood of the association being able to operate, offer these services and pay their vendors for the work done.

Financial Sustainability

The financial position of the association is crucial. Whether the association is adequately funded and the Assessments are equitable to what the owner is receiving as far as exterior maintenance, common area maintenance, upkeep of amenities. Ask your realtor to do some homework to verify the amount of the assessment and when it is collected. Well managed Associations, especially those with a laundry list of maintenance responsibilities, have a reserve study performed every three to four years. This engineering report assists the association’s board of directors and finance committee best plan the financial future of the association by determining the responsibility, costs associated with these services and creating an annual plan for exterior maintenance. There’s one thing to perform preventative maintenance, but routine maintenance ensures that the association’s funds are not misappropriated because of poor planning and counter productive maintenance.

Prepared for the Future

Reserve monies are vitally important. Depending on the number of projects the association will need to undertake in the future, it is always good to know that the reserves are adequately funded. Without reserves, owners are subject to special assessments which can put a tremendous amount of strain on an individual’s finances. Not to mention, board members and the management company’s ability to run the association come into question and can make for a very unpleasant special or annual meeting!

Community Insurance

Be sure to check what type of insurance the Association has on the buildings as well as common areas. More often than not, townhome structures are not covered by the association. condo insurance can be very complicated so be sure to check with the realtor that the association meets the insurance requirements set forth in the covenants as well as statutory requirements and that they have full coverage and what the deductible is. It wouldn’t hurt to check with a local insurance underwriter to determine what the premium costs are associated with insuring the dwelling as well as your personal belongings. There are several grey areas in insurance such as plumbing leaks. Be sure to establish whether the Association has a resolution for this kind of issue and who is responsible for what.

Governing Documents

Since Articles of Incorporation and Covenants are public records, be sure to read through them to see if there are any restrictions, which may conflict with your lifestyle. Many association’s boards of directors vote on and approve guidelines, whether they pertain to rules and regulations, architectural changes or basic day to day issues. For instance, if you have four vehicles and the association you are interested in has private streets, doesn’t allow for on street parking because streets are private and you only have space for two vehicles, you may want to consider an association that has more flexible parking regulations.

The dynamics and fundamental components to allow a homeowners association to function effectively are numerous. This small guideline should point you in the right direction, assuming you will have the flexibility to comply with the regulations! There is nothing more comforting than knowing that your property values are being protected and that the people behind the scenes have a vested interest and they treat you and your investment as if it were their own.

Mike Talmarkes, CMCA, AMS, PCAM

via 5 Tips for Buying into an HOA.

Let the Numbers speak for Themselves

Longmont – Single Family

Home sales Year-to-Date are UP 36.8%

Number of Active Listings DOWN 21.5%

Median Price UP 1.8%

Average Price UP 4.8% 


Firestone/Frederick/Dacono – Single Family 

Home sales Year-to-Date UP 29.4%

Median Price UP 10.4%

Average Price UP 16.5% 


Humor Alert! – 7 Real Estate Riders that Should Exist, but Don’t

Image representing Trulia as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Humor Alert! – 7 Real Estate Riders that Should Exist, but Don’t


1. By Appointment Only (And Good Luck With That)

Those ‘By Appointment Only’ riders don’t seem to be too terrible at a glance, and they’re not in most cases – especially when they give the sellers the chance to scrape up the oatmeal their toddler just plastered on the wall, clean up their bedrooms and vacate the premises so the buyer and the property can have some alone time.


But then there are those sellers who need 4 days’ notice, can only show their home on Wednesdays between 1 and 1:20 and Thursday after 10:15 pm, required 3 reminder calls and, because they refuse to put a lockbox on the house, want the buyer’s broker to knock three times and give a whippoorwill call before entering.  This is the group whose listed homes should bear this fantasy sign rider.


2. Flexible Zoning: Lawn Parking Allowed


Flexibly zoned neighborhoods are fantastic for those who want to build another unit or have a little urban farm.  The challenge with flexible zoning is that your neighbors’ “dream” uses are also allowed – and they might not exactly line up with your client’s idea of an idyllic, semi-rural setting.


Some of the other sorts of folks attracted to flexible zoning find it suits them because they need space for their 20 ‘vintage’ automobiles – space to stores them for the 10 years until they retire and have time to fix them up.  That might become a challenge with the makeshift chop shop spot is the neighbors’ front yard.


3. Wildly Overpriced


Enough said.


4. Looooooooooong Sale


Part of buyers’ outrage at the concept of a short sale is the paradoxical, misleading nature of the transactional name.  Nothing about a short sale is short, except the amount of proceeds the seller will have to payoff their mortgage.  I wonder if buyers would be a little less outraged if we flipped the script and went in the direction of extreme truth in advertising?  Maybe some bold listing agent will one day change all their short sale riders to be upfront about the “loooooooong” length of the escrow that is part of the trade off for low, short sale pricing.


5. Unnatural Lighting Galore


Ever watch a house hunting reality show on TV?  Seems like every buyer’s dream is a home with more windows than walls, the better to let in beams of natural light.  Unfortunately, in some eras, windows were costly and thought to make a home harder to cool and heat. Additionally, homes with additions or much reconfiguring done over the years can end up with bathrooms and kitchens that lack windows and even ventilation.


In homes like these, where fluorescents rule the day, the more accurate way to describe the situation might be ‘Unnatural Lighting Galore.’


6. Down and Going Neighborhood


“Up-and-coming neighborhood.” Is that label a blessing or a curse? That’s situation-specific, as it does hold the promise of a value-priced home that will be worth more in the future, based on the hope that the area is already on track to overcome its stigma.  But the truth is, sometimes areas don’t really come “up” for a decade or two after people start calling it ‘up and coming.’ Other times, up and coming neighborhood is really just a pretext for charging more than the comparables – much more, in some cases.


But what about those neighborhoods that used to be nice, but have taken a hit by the recession, or the construction of a big mega-mart smack in the heart of the area?  Sure would be nice (albeit unlikely) if sellers would flag this for buyers, with one of these riders.


7. Basement Flooding →  Underground Pool!


Just last week I showed a home which had been the subject of multiple pre-listing inspections. The reports mentioned standing water in the crawl space, and I was on a mission to see precisely what the inspectors meant.  I searched high and low and couldn’t find a door to the basement, but finally managed to use my fingernails to pry up a floorboard hatch in the entryway coat closet.  And lo and behold, I found myself face to face with a few feet of standing water – in California, mind you. Weeks after the last rain.


Most unfortunate.


To be a great agent for a long time, you’ve got to be an optimist.  But there is a line beyond which looking on the bright side can border on flirting with delusion. As I was discussing the property and our viewing with my clients, there was nothing else to do to but to have fun with the situation, so I mentioned the underground pool – laughs were had, all around.  Here’s to truth-telling and staying on the right side of the optimism/delusion line, my friends!


Read the full original article from Trulia Blog here-