Lone Tree, CO Real Estate News

By Laurie James
(Your Castle Real Estate)
Loan Considerations for Loan Amounts Between $200K - $417KWith 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 could not...
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By Laurie James
(Your Castle Real Estate)
FHA First-Time Buyer Tax CreditIn 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 for ...
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By Laurie James
(Your Castle Real Estate)
Loan considerations for a first time buyerLending 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 they ...
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By Laurie James
(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 al...
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By Laurie James
(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, underwrite...
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By Laurie James
(Your Castle Real Estate)
What is a FICO score?FICO stands for Fair Isaac Corporation, a company that created the most used credit scoring model in the United States.  An individual’s credit score is calculated through a statistical algorithm and is used as a factor in determining the likelihood of a borrower defaulting on a loan.  FICO scores are generally used for obtaining mortgages, car loans or consumer credit.  The scores are provided from the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and Transunion.  Typically, there is a variance amongst the scores since each agency has a slightly different scoring formula.  FICO scores range from 300 – 850, with higher scores being considered less risky.  For mortgage lending purposes, any score over a 680 is considered good and above a 750 is considered ...
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By Laurie James
(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 Chuck Kane
(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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By Chuck Kane
(Your Castle Real Estate)
Have you ever driven through Aurora North looking for a rental property and taken a close look at the roofs?   Here's what you'll see: a bunch of 1950's ranches in varying states of repair or disrepair, lawns that are often grassless, old handcrank windows and roofs in almost perfect condition!  This surprised me at first and perplexed me for a long time.  Why, in a neighborhood devastated by foreclosures with properties with massive deferred maintenance are the roofs in such condition?  Really!  Stand in the middle of a typical street and looking at 10 roofs simultaneously, you'll be amazed. Well, it turns out the answer is pretty simple. There was a huge hailstorm in the mid-90's and most of the roofs were replaced by insurance companies then. The result is that while you certainly ne...
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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 Chuck Kane
(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 found...
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By Chuck Kane
(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 cash flow 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...
Comments 0
By Chuck Kane
(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...
Comments 0
By Rex Jarnagin
(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).    ...
Comments 0
By Rex Jarnagin
(Your Castle Real Estate)
Have you ever driven through Aurora North looking for a rental property and taken a close look at the roofs?   Here's what you'll see: a bunch of 1950's ranches in varying states of repair or disrepair, lawns that are often grassless, old handcrank windows and roofs in almost perfect condition!  This surprised me at first and perplexed me for a long time.  Why, in a neighborhood devastated by foreclosures with properties with massive deferred maintenance are the roofs in such condition?  Really!  Stand in the middle of a typical street and looking at 10 roofs simultaneously, you'll be amazed. Well, it turns out the answer is pretty simple. There was a huge hailstorm in the mid-90's and most of the roofs were replaced by insurance companies then. The result is that while you certainly ne...
Comments 0
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 t...
Comments 0
By Rex Jarnagin
(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...
Comments 0
By Rex Jarnagin
(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 cash flow 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 ...
Comments 0
By Rex Jarnagin
(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,...
Comments 0
By Laurie James
(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...
Comments 0