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Fort Collins Real Estate Blog

Northern Colorado and Beyond

By Jared Reimer | Managing Broker in Fort Collins, CO
  • 6 Questions to Ask When Shopping For a Mortgage

    Posted Under: Home Buying, Financing  |  February 13, 2014 12:06 PM  |  184 views  |  No comments

    [photo 1199817] PatioShopping for a mortgage is a big deal.  Nobody is particularly well versed in the ins and outs of points, lender fees and closing costs simply because the industry is dynamic and most folks are only shopping for a mortgage once every five to seven years.  It's hard to stay on top of the changes in the industry and it's hard to have enough repetition to really understand exactly what needs to be done.  On top of that, being unfamiliar with the entire lending process could leave you in the precarious position of paying a little too much up front, or worse, paying too much over the course of your mortgage.  That's why it's so important to shop for and develop a great relationship with a mortgage professional.  I asked one of my expert preferred lenders, Chris Coates, for a list of 'must ask questions' when shopping for a mortgage.  These questions will not only get you the best loan product available to you, but will also help you find and establish a long-term working relationship with a great mortgage professional.

    Question 1: What is the rate and what lender fees available to me? 

    Quotes for loan closing costs vary substantially between lenders because "less than upstanding" lenders can quote a lower appraisal, title, interest due figure just to make the numbers look lower.  Ask your prospective for a "Good Faith Estimate".  Their lender fees can specifically be found on page two, box A of the GFE.  Pay attention to box A on the GFE and the interest rate, the lender does not control any other costs.  Then, if you're shopping for a mortgage, you can compare apples to apples.

    Question 2: Is there mortgage insurance included on my loan and how much is it per month?

    Depending on your unique financial situation, several different loan programs will become available to you.  Mortgage insurance is an insurance policy which compensates lenders or investors for losses due to the default of a mortgage loan.  Some loan programs require mortgage insurance, others don't.  When shopping for a mortgage, be sure to ask if there is mortgage insurance, and if so, if it is included in the estimated monthly payment that was quoted to you.  Depending on your rate, sometimes loans with mortgage insurance make better sense for you - it is not always a negative to include mortgage insurance on a loan.

    Question 3:  If the loan offered to me is an Adjustable Rate Mortgage,  how long is the fixed period? 

    The nature of adjustable rate mortgages is that they adjust.  Ask your lender how long the mortgage is fixed and when the mortgage rate will adjust and if there is a cap on the upward adjustments over a period of time.  This may help you in planning your next move or perhaps help you in determining when you should refinance.

    Question 4:  If the loan offered is an ARM, ask, "What is the margin index my loan is tied to and the adjustment caps?"

    These features of an ARM are lending 101 and if your lender can not explain them to you and provide adjustment scenarios, they are not providing honest advice or they simply don’t know what they are doing.  ARMs get a bad rap, but in some cases, ARMs are a very good loan for some people.  In other cases they can be an absolutely terrible loan for some buyers.  Your lender should always be able to tell if you are a good candidate for an ARM or not.   

    Question 5: If I only qualify for a FHA loan, why is that,  and is there anything I can do to qualify for a conforming loan? 

    FHA loans tend to pay lenders more money on a per deal basis.  Because of this, I believe lenders will push FHA loans when they should be suggesting a conforming loan that is a better deal for the borrower but not always as lucrative for a lender.  Sometimes FHA is the only program that works because FHA is more lenient on credit, job history, down payment, etc.  Your lender should be able to tell you why an FHA loan is your only or best option.  This is a very easy way to flush out a sketchy lender.

    Question 6: What should I expect during the lending process, do you see any hurdles in  my qualifications?

    Too often a lender will tell you what you want to hear and hope for the best when the loan goes into underwriting.  A good lender will tell you up front what they see as possible issues in qualifications and give you potential solutions that will be used if issues do come up. Remember credit is still tight for everyone, it’s been in the news now for 5 years and no one is immune.  There can always be surprises along the path of loan qualification, but a good lender will always set the proper expectations in order to avoid crisis situations during underwriting.

    Establishing a good relationship with a quality lender well before you even put an offer in on a home will be in your best interest.  With the market moving so quickly, you do not want to rush while shopping for a mortgage or vetting a mortgage lender.  The best Lenders, just like Realtors, will be much more informative and better educators, rather than utilizing their best sales pitch.  Trust the ones who tell you the bad, along with the good, so that you can understand exactly what to expect, and have a much more satisfactory purchase.

    Chris Coates is a leading mortgage provider and American Capital Finance, serving the Northern Colorado and Denver Metro area (not to mention all of Colorado and Wyoming).  Should you need mortgage advice, education, or guidance, Chris is the man for the job.  Give him a call at 303.831.9636 or email him directly at ccoates@amcapfin.com.

    The NoCo New Home Team is committed to bringing you useful information, timely advice and expert service whenever you need it.  Whether it’s Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Greeley or anywhere in between, we’ve got Northern Colorado covered.  Feel free to contact the NoCo New Home Team or subscribe to our newsletters and market reports.  We're always taking and responding to your questions and inquires at info@NoCoNewHomes.com

  • Northern Colorado Home Sales - Best Month on Record

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Fort Collins, Home Buying in Fort Collins, Home Selling in Fort Collins  |  August 18, 2013 8:09 AM  |  341 views  |  No comments

    Northern Colorado home sales in July were the best month on record with 1,208 homes sold at an average price of $261,779 for a total volume of $316 million, a 37.9% increase over last year. The year to date volume of $1.6 billion is an amazing 29.2% increase over the same period last year and again, the highest on record. The Loveland and south Larimer County area is leading with a 26.4% increase in the number of homes sold while Greeley and Weld County have recorded the highest price increase at 12.2% and the Fort Collins and northern Larimer County have the highest average selling price at $273,663.

    table pic
    About the only negative is that there were just 130 new homes sold in July accounting for 7.6% of total sales and total new home construction sales are 945 for the year to date or 14.8% of total sales. This compares to the peak of new home construction way back in 2002 when new home sales accounted for 30.5% of the 1,121 homes sold in July and were 33% of the total home sales for the year to date. It is pure speculation to think about where the market would be if we had one thousand more new homes to sell but with the low inventory and high demand it is certainly possible that this rate of construction could be absorbed without too much difficulty.

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are currently 4,002 active listings but 1,525 are under contract and 464 are shown as new homes under construction or to be built. This leaves a net of 2,013 active listings and with a demand of around 900 homes per month we are left with a slim two month supply compared to a normal market which is a six to seven month supply. This is evident in the ‘days to offer’ which for resale homes is at 48 days for the year to date. This is the lowest figure on record and compares to an average over the last few years of 81 days and the previous low, again way back to 2002, when homes were on the market an average of 56 days prior to going under contract.

    We expect the higher prices will bring more resale homes to the market and builders are certainly trying to ramp up construction which will provide more new homes in the coming months. Couple this with the recent increase in mortgage rates and the fact that demand slows as school starts and we should expect a better balance between supply and demand over the next few months.

    The NoCo New Home Team is committed to bringing you useful information, timely advice and expert service whenever you need it.  Whether it’s Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Greeley or anywhere in between, we’ve got Northern Colorado covered.  Feel free to contact the NoCo New Home Team or subscribe to our newsletters and market reports.  We're always taking and responding to your questions and inquires at info@NoCoNewHomes.com

  • Generation Y Real Estate Trends

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Fort Collins, Home Buying in Fort Collins, Home Ownership in Fort Collins  |  August 13, 2013 8:30 AM  |  388 views  |  No comments

    Believe it or not, an entire generation of homeowners is just around the corner.  According to USA Today, Generation Y or "Millennials" comprise the nations largest demographic - over 90 million - much larger than even the Baby Boomers.  Gen Y consists of Americans born between 1982 and 2001.  Not to make you feel any older, but the oldest of the Generation Y constituents are now in their early 30's and are wanting to buy homes - lots of them.  Just like 'the me generation' of the 1980's differed from their conservative parents, Generation Y real estate trends are also diverting from the tried and true 'norm' of the past couple decades.

    Who Are the "Gen-Y's"

    • They are highly educated, inquisitive and curious.  They understand the real estate industry and tend to research more.
    • By 2017, Gen Y will represent 44% of home buyers.
    • They tend to be hip, stylish and social.
    • They value homeownership as an investment.
    • They tend to be frugal, having come out of school into a deep recession.
    • They aren't impressed by traditional luxury.

    What Are They Up Against?

    • Years of being underpaid or underemployed due to the struggling economy has made it difficult to save for a down payment.
    • Student loan debt is eating away at their savings capacity and debt to income ratios for loan qualification.
    • Low housing inventory has kept many on the fence, waiting for the right time to buy.

    What Turns Them Off?

    • Energy Inefficient and wasteful homes
    • Large Unusable spaces such as formal living and dining rooms
    • Suburbs, McMansions and massive homes

    What Do Gen-Y's Want to See?

    home theater

    •   Smaller homes with flexible floor plans utilizing every square foot
    •   Larger kitchens in lieu of formal dining rooms
    •   Home offices in liew of formal living rooms
    •   Technology
    •   Energy Efficient Homes
    •   Urban, dense communities

    Are you you a millennial?  What do you look for in a home and which 'norms' could you do without?  It'll be interesting to see where Generation Y real estate trends will go - we'll have to wait and see how powerful the millennials become.

    The NoCo New Home Team is committed to bringing you useful information, timely advice and expert service whenever you need it.  Whether it’s Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Greeley or anywhere in between, we’ve got Northern Colorado covered.  Feel free to contact the NoCo New Home Team or subscribe to our newsletters and market reports.  We're always taking and responding to your questions and inquires at info@NoCoNewHomes.com

  • Northern Colorado Home Sales Strong, But Slowing

    Posted Under: General Area in Fort Collins, Market Conditions in Fort Collins, Home Buying in Fort Collins  |  July 17, 2013 3:44 PM  |  374 views  |  No comments

    Home sales in Northern Colorado have been on a record setting pace but slowed in June with 1,091 sales this year compared to 1,016 in June of last year. This increase of 7.4% is way off the pace of the first five months when the increase was 20.7%. The year to date sales still show a strong 17.6% gain but the lack of inventory and the higher mortgage interest rates are having an effect.

    The following table shows the breakdown by area. Loveland figures include Loveland, Berthoud and all of southern Larimer County. The Fort Collins area is from CR 30 north to the Wyoming border and the City of Fort Collins accounts for about 85% of these sales. The Greeley / Weld figures are for all of Weld County including Windsor.

    The 5,147 homes sold this year include 4,339 resale homes which is the most on record for this six month period. The previous high was way back in 2004 when 3,933 resale homes were sold. New construction is improving but still has a long way to go. Ten years ago, new home construction accounted for 30% of the market compared to 16% currently.

    Pic
    Selling prices remain strong as the average selling price is up 7.6% to $251,062 and seems destined to keep going up. There are currently 3,996 homes on the market but if we deduct the homes under contract and new homes listed as ‘to be built’ we have a net inventory of 2,171 homes. With a demand that could exceed 5,000 homes over the next six months, the supply is equivalent to just 2.6 months of sales when a balanced market is considered to be a six month supply.

    The higher selling prices should bring more sellers to the market and builders seem to be ramping up construction so the supply should increase. On the other hand, higher prices and higher interest rates could slow demand so maybe we will find a balance over the next few months. It will be interesting to see which direction home sales in Northern Colorado will go.

    The NoCo New Home Team is committed to bringing you useful information, timely advice and expert service whenever you need it.  Whether it’s Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Greeley or anywhere in between, we’ve got Northern Colorado covered.  Feel free to contact the NoCo New Home Team or subscribe to our newsletters and market reports.  We're always taking and responding to your questions and inquires at info@NoCoNewHomes.com

  • 3 Ways to Win in Today's Competitive Real Estate Market

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Fort Collins, Home Buying in Fort Collins, How To... in Fort Collins  |  February 12, 2013 4:48 PM  |  332 views  |  No comments

    Have you noticed how competitive the real estate market is getting?  If you're not in the market, you're missing out on all the fun!  If real estate was a game, the commentators would say "It's getting chippy out there".  And it certainly is getting chippy.  


    In today's market, when buying a home, you're opponent is not the seller, it's all the other buyer's jockeying for the very few homes available.  If you want your offer accepted here are three ways to make it stand out.


    1)  Work with the Best

    It goes without saying that if you're working with high quality professionals, you're more likely to get the outcome you want and deserve.  Professionals know how to get the job done while preserving your best interests.  A hardworking and well respected Realtor will know how to craft, present and negotiate your offer and make it stand out.  A proactive lender will not only have you pre-qualified, but will also advise you on which loan programs will make your offer more acceptable than others.  A great team of professionals will make you and your offer look great.


    2)  Convince them til Closing

    Knowing what can go wrong from offer to closing can help you craft your offer in a way that is more appealing than your competition.  Low appraisals, inspection issues and loan approval are the three biggest hold-ups that can kill a deal.  To beat the possibility of a low appraisal, submit your offer based on neighborhood comparables and add them to your offer.  You won't have control over the final appraisal figure, but knowing that you aren't drastically overpaying will assure both parties that the appraisal won't be an issue.  To cover the inspection issues, decrease your contingency periods.  I still suggest doing normal due diligence and inspection, however, tighten those periods so if you do have to back out, your seller will only have the home off the market for a short period of time.  To combat a loan approval issue, make sure you are fully qualified with your lender and have your pre-approval letter ready to go.  The more down payment you're able to bring to the table will make you look financially stable and in a better position compared to other buyers.  Being proactive is the best way to make your offer stand out.


    3)  Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

    If you truly want the home, put your money where your mouth is, and pay full price or even above asking price.  If you can justify it (using comparables - see #2) then pay what you can.  There are plenty of buyers out there who find a perfect home, then put in a low-ball offer just to see it get rejected.  This isn't a low-ball market anymore and buyers need to understand that.  The more skin you can put in the game, the better the chances are of getting an offer accepted.


    It's a tough market out there for buyers.  If you want a winner on your team who can get the job done and beat other offers, call me today so I can get to work taking down your competition.

    What is the market like in your part of town?  If you're a buyer, have you seen the increased competition for homes, even missing out on a few?  Sellers - have you seen multiple offers on your home?  Let me hear from you!




    Jared Reimer is a real estate expert at Prudential Rocky Mountain Realtors in Northern Colorado.  Real estate is his passion and he always wants to connect with like-minded and savvy real estate fans.  For more information or to get in touch with Jared, please visit his website at www.ReimerRE.com or email him at JaredReimer@ReimerRE.com

  • 5 of Northern Colorado's Most Interesting Properties

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Fort Collins, Celebrity Homes in Fort Collins, In My Neighborhood in Fort Collins  |  February 5, 2013 8:56 AM  |  340 views  |  No comments

    Every couple of months, I love to scour the MLS system to try and find some seriously unique and interesting properties. Whether they're quirky, expensive, small, or have some distinctive characteristics, they all appeal to the dreamer - those people who long for great mountain home, or that home on the lake. Those people who what to leave suburbia and fix up an old farmhouse, or those folks who just want luxury, luxury, luxury. Bringing fun and unique listings to you is one of the best parts of my job. I hope you find these homes as interesting as I do.

    Most Expensive Home

    2480 Saddle Notch Road, Loveland, Colorado

    Price Tag: $10,000,000

    By far the most expensive home, and most luxury mountain property in the region, this 5 bedroom, 7 bath home has anything you could ever need. Massive theater room, 2 ponds, and horse stables on 375 acres of pristine mountain property. It's easy to see why this home commands such a hefty price tag.

    Click HERE for Pics and Info

    Oldest Home

    2525 W. County Road 4, Berthoud, Colorado

    Price Tag: $1,189,000

    Sitting on 68 acres, this Rocky Mountain River Ranch property was built in 1890, and has had many upgrades and renovations since. With a gourmet kitchen, gorgeous master bath and charming feel, this home is truly special. Rumor has it that Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower vacationed here often!

    Click HERE for Pics and Info

    Home that "Has It All"

    2225 Rock Castle Lane, Fort Collins, Colorado

    Price Tag: $2,999,900

    If you really want it all, this is the home for you. 47 acres that backs up to Fossil Creek Reservoir with a pool, a pool house (with steam showers), tennis courts, gourmet kitchen, exquisite bathrooms, horse pastures, a barn, and much, much more. Even better, this home is a stones throw away from shopping, I25, and all that Fort Collins has to offer. This home truly has it all.

    Click HERE for Pics and Info

    Most Unique Home

    829 Peterson Street, Fort Collins, Colorado

    Price Tag: $625,000

    Historic homes are always the most quirky and interesting. Now, you won't find any secret passages or hinged bookshelves in this Old Town charmer, but you will find a funky mix of classic touches and historic wood work along with contemporary updates. The narrow curved staircase, butlers pantry, Juliette balcony, and basement kitchenette set this home apart from the norm.

    Click HERE for Pics and Info

    Smallest Home

    9073 W. Poudre Canyon Hwy, Bellvue, Colorado

    Price Tag: $63,900

    If charm and "coziness" is what you're after, then pay attention this sweet, little cabin. This well laid out, well designed home utilizes every bit of its 462 square feet - boasting a living room, dining room, kitchen and bedroom! Plenty of storage beneath the cabin, right on the river with plenty of parking.

    Click HERE for Pics and Info

    Jared Reimer is a real estate expert at Prudential Rocky Mountain Realtors in Northern Colorado. Real estate is his passion and he always wants to connect with like-minded and savvy real estate fans. For more information or to get in touch with Jared, please visit his website at www.ReimerRE.com or email him at JaredReimer@ReimerRE.com

  • 3 Tips to Getting Your Contingent Sale Offer Accepted

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Fort Collins, Home Selling in Fort Collins  |  January 29, 2013 8:42 AM  |  254 views  |  No comments

    A contingent sale offer is an offer that is accepted under the pretense that the buyers still have a home to sell. It is a stressful situation for both the buyers and the sellers. Sellers fear that the buyer's old home won't sell, is over-priced, or will take too long to sell. On top of that, the sellers may have a new home or life situation lined up that relies on their home being sold in a specific time frame as well. Buyers making offers contingent on the sale of their home are hesitant simply because it is an uphill battle to get their offer accepted to begin with, not to mention the logistical difficulties of overlapping the move schedule for two different homes.

    Honestly, contingent sale offers are very difficult to get accepted. If one piece of the the puzzle drops out, it could affect several other purchases or sales that are based off a single contingency. Although difficult, here's how to present a contingent sale offer for best results:

    1) Show Them The Money

    In real estate, money can make anything better, right? Fears and apprehensions fall by the wayside if you're able to show them the money. Contingent sale offers have an increased risk of never closing, and you need to be able to come up with a strong case to get your offer accepted. This isn't a situation where you can low-ball and get your offer accepted. Have your Realtor pull comparable properties and pay the fair value of the home, no more/no less. If possible increase your down payment to show the sellers that you're financially stable, and always include a lender's prequalification letter.  

    2) List Your Home Prior to Going Under Contract on a New Home

    It may seem like a no brainer, but how serious would a seller think you are if you haven't listed your home yet? Not having your home on the market shows that you don't have your act together, and will only be wasting more time - de-cluttering, finishing projects, painting, etc...If absolutely need to sell your home in order to purchase a new home, get it listed as soon as possible, before you even think about putting in an offer.

    3) Prove How Quickly Your Home Will Sell

    Along with the offer, include a listing description of your home, along with several other comparable properties for the seller's agent to review. This will do several things:

    • Shows the sellers that you are serious about selling your home and buying theirs
    • Shows that you are fairly pricing your home for a quick sale
    • Verifies the condition of your old home
    • Indicates how quickly everyone can assume a sale of the old home

    In this market, a reasonably priced home will sell within 20-35 days. There is no point to over pricing your old home while putting in a contingent sale offer on a new home.

    With property preparation and cooperation, contingent offers can be a win/win for all parties involved. Sellers need to carefully weigh the risks and rewards of accepting such an offer, and buyers need to make it worth the risk for the sellers. Cooperation is certainly key to making a contingent sale deal go through.

    Jared Reimer is a real estate expert at Prudential Rocky Mountain Realtors in Northern Colorado. Real estate is his passion and he always wants to connect with like-minded and savvy real estate fans. For more information or to get in touch with Jared, please visit his website at www.ReimerRE.com or email him at JaredReimer@ReimerRE.com

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