PARK AVENUE PROPERTIES REAL ESTATE BLOG

Park Avenue Properties Real Estate Blog

Tanya Stevenson and Sandy Daniels

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What to Consider When Moving from Renting to Buying a Home

by Tanya Stevenson and Sandy Daniels

 

google map to real pro systems

According to a recent report from RentCafe, the national average for rent has gone up $300 since 2011. These higher rent prices are leading many to consider homeownership over paying a monthly payment that may go up with each renewal. With the cost to borrow money still at historic lows, interest rates are also fueling reasons to buy instead of renting a home. 


If you can swing a mortgage that is comparable to what you pay for in rent, it seems like a no brainer to buy rather than pay someone else’s mortgage and help them build equity for the long haul. However, the choice between buying and renting a home is among one of the most important financial decisions you can make, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s a long-term purchase with a number of responsibilities that go past the renter’s purview. 


Home buyers that opt for a fixed interest rate mortgage will protect themselves against rent increases, but they will be responsible for other expenses they didn’t have as a renter, such as, maintenance costs, taxes, Home Owners Association (HOA) fees, and home and mortgage insurance. As a renter, these expenses are generally paid by the landlord. As an owner, you’ll be responsible for these costs, and a new water heater if yours suddenly quits. 


But, there is something to be said about owning your own home, a part of the “American Dream”, and there is real value beyond financial. Here are a few key questions to ask if considering buying a home instead of renting.

How much can you afford?

 If you are sure buying a house is what you want to do, make sure you don’t spend more than you can afford. You don’t want to be put in a tough financial situation should your income disappear or drop, or a major expense creeps up. Run some scenarios and find a reasonable mortgage payment that you can manage. 


How long do you plan to stay?

The longer you plan to stay in a home the greater value it can be to you. If you plan to stay longer than five years, you will be able to spread out the initial home buying costs over time and eventually build equity in the home. Additionally, buying the right house depends not only on your current needs, but your future needs. If you are planning to have a family, or grow your existing one, you’ll want to make sure you have enough room to accommodate kids in the coming years if you don’t want to make another move in the near future.  

Is the local market conducive to home buying?

One of the largest factors to consider when looking for a home is the local market, and this is not something you can control. If you need a three bedroom, three-bathroom home in a specific area of town and there aren’t any available, you’ll have to wait, or reassess your needs and wants. In addition to availability and affordability, you want to make sure home values are stable and reasonable where you are looking.  


A good real estate agent will have their finger on the pulse of the local market, be able to get you competitive marketing analyses to help determine home values, and know how and where to find what you are looking for.


Knowing what you can afford, whether or not you want to put down roots, and what the local market looks like is a great place to start from when considering a home purchase. For expert advice and assistance in determining whether or not it’s the right time to buy for you, contact Park Avenue Properties at (719) 548-9900.

Primary Factors the Affect the Real Estate Market

by Tanya Stevenson and Sandy Daniels

Colorado Springs Homes for Sale

Property ownership makes up a significant portion of the average American’s net worth, and homeowners have a considerable amount invested in their home’s value. A big picture look at what primary factors drive the real estate market can help prospective home buyers and current homeowners alike better understand when to buy or sell a home, and why home values can increase and decrease.

Numerous factors affect the U.S. real estate market, from construction to demographics. Most of these factors are interdependent and broad in scope, but all play a part in shaping the climate of the market.

Primary factors that affect the real estate market include:

  • The Economy: the nation’s overall economic health
  • Demographics: a population’s socio-economic factors
  • Interest Rates: the cost of money
  • Government Policy: regulations, taxes, and deductions

The Economy

Our nation’s economic health is largely based on our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Product (GNP). Both are measurements of how much a nation produces in goods and services each year, domestically and internationally. Steady growth (2% – 3% percent per year is ideal) means unemployment (4.7% – 5.8% of population) and inflation (2% – 3%) are in balance, and the overall economy is considered healthy. Here, people have jobs and wages are good. When this occurs, people can afford to buy homes and make their mortgage payments, new home construction is taking place, and the chance of foreclosure is low. When there is little to no growth, or a stagnate economy, people either don’t have the ability to buy homes or are hesitant to do so. Negative growth is, obviously, an indicator that the economy is not doing well, which can result in foreclosures due to job and wage losses, and a decrease in overall consumer confidence.

Demographics

The composition of a population plays a big part in real estate market changes. Age, race, gender, income, education level, family size, birth and death rates are some demographic indicators. These socio-economic factors, when studied, can forecast market trends. Baby Boomers make up about 20% of the population and are in retirement mode right now. Their home buying decisions, such as, downsizing, moving into assisted living or retirement communities, and relocation will all affect the real estate market. It may create niche markets for those that want to live out their days in comfort and move in to luxury homes. As a result, home values will fluctuate based on supply and demand. During their working years, this demographic was a huge influence on the economy with purchasing power and what they do next with their gains in retirement will create trends and influence home purchases for successive generations.

Today, Millennials have replaced Baby Boomers as the largest segment of home buyers and their buying trends may not mesh with current market availability. Buying homes later in life, closer to urban areas, and smaller or older homes are some features of this demographic. And, what they buy, when they buy, and their willingness to adapt to market changes will influence future real estate trends.

Interest Rates

Of course interest rates impact housing trends. Interest rates are determined by a number of factors which include the actions of the U. S. Federal Reserve, the health of the economy, and the rate at which people save. Typically, when interest rates are low, people are more apt to take out a mortgage because it costs less to borrow the money. As well, people may borrow more money than when interest rates are lower. Lower interest rates also can allow more developers to build more homes because it cost less to finance the construction. Conversely, when interest rates rise, home sales slow, as does new home construction. Again, the cost to borrow money to fund these activities go up, making it less appealing to buyers or harder to afford.

Government Policy

The fallout from the housing crisis ten years ago resulted in policy and legislation that put more controls on how mortgages are funded, with the intent to stop predatory lending, and avoid another housing crisis. Because of this, getting a mortgage was more difficult, as the requirements and restrictions changed the terms of borrowing. As well, the housing crisis bailout affected taxes in general and how they are allocated – in this case to pay for bailout.

Taxes on the sale of a home, regular real estate taxes, and related fees also impact the cost of buying and selling a home. Federal, state, and local tax policy can all influence regional housing affordability and the ability to maintain a home. Higher taxes make it more difficult to pay for a home.

Mortgage interest rate deductions on taxes are incentives to homebuyers as they can decrease the amount of yearly taxes an individual will pay. These deductions are factors to consider when purchasing a home as the benefit may help offset the cost of borrowing the money to buy and pay for a home.

These economic factors all influence the real estate market in some way, and a basic understanding of these major economic forces can give a general idea of how the housing market works. Together, these and other variables, all influence home prices, availability, and affordability, which in turn impact individual buying and selling trends.

Brexit and the U. S. Real Estate Market

by Tanya Stevenson and Sandy Daniels

Colorado Springs Real Estate

 

In an interdependent global economy, the U. S. often feel the effects of major market movements occurring in other countries. Additionally, our domestic economy can be affected by just the anticipation of foreign market movements. While Britain’s decision to leave the Europe Union was a major economic consideration for many of the world’s economies, the U.S. housing market, to date, has seen little in the way of major change due to Brexit. Many experts believe the economic fallout hype from Brexit was more anticipatory than reality. However, that’s not to say the forthcoming exit negotiations won’t yield changes in the coming two years.

As with any dynamic economy, Britain’s decision caused a minor fluctuation in mortgage interest rates, but nothing dramatic. Real estate analysts believe any affects are already wearing off a month after the vote. The mortgage rate remains under 4% with the 30-year-fixed hovering around 3.5% percent and the 15-year-fixed closer to 3% for 2016.

A Wall Street Journal survey of economists and industry leaders on the impact of Brexit on the U. S. found little to worry about. Most viewed Brexit as just a temporary pause in the process of economic globalization. If anything, this is good for the U. S. housing market. The long recovery from the 2007 real estate crisis is steady, which is good for homebuyers and real estate investors. Dramatic fluctuation one way or the other would be indicative of an unstable economy, and for the most part, the U. S. economy is faring well in an ever-changing world.

In short, Brexit, though a major global economic event still to come with its pending negotiations, in the big picture the U. S. real estate market will remain stable. Brexit aside, mortgage interest rates remain at historic lows which make it a great time for those considering buying a home.

Reasons to Buy a Home

by Tanya Stevenson and Sandy Daniels

There are many reasons to buy a home. The first is home ownership and knowing your mortgage Banning Lewis Ranch Homes for Salepayment goes toward your financial well-being instead of a landlord’s. Renting is a good short-term solution, but if you are planning to settle in your community for more than a couple years, it makes sense to own your own home. Here are some great reasons for buying a home.

Stability

Often an unrated reason, home ownership creates a sense of belonging and allows you to form long-lasting ties with your neighborhood and city. Also, it aids in fostering educational and social continuity for children.

Equity & Savings

Paying your mortgage is like having a ready-made savings plan – you are investing in yourself and benefit from the equity you create, not a landlord or property management company.

Your Rules Reign

As a homeowner you control your environment. You get to set the house rules from pet policies and smoking rules to décor, upgrades, and landscaping decisions. No need to get permission from a landlord to paint your walls, as you determine what, if any, restrictions should be set.

Tax Benefits

The U. S. Tax Code allows mortgage interest as a tax deduction. And, when you sell your home, you are eligible for up to $250,000 ($500,000 as a married couple) in a federal tax free gain.

Predictability

With a fixed-rate mortgage, you know what you are paying each month for the term of your mortgage. Rents can rise and landlord can change rental terms each year you renew your lease.

Not only does a sense of pride come from home ownership, but many great financial and personal benefits exist as well. For more information about buying a home in the Colorado Springs, CO area, call us today and let us share even more great reasons to buy your own home.

Selling Your Colorado Springs Home? The Importance of Using a Real Estate Professional

by Tanya Stevenson and Sandy Daniels

When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price with the least amount of hassles. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is to actually get the home sold.

In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser’s behavior during the home buying process. For the past three years, 92% of all buyers have used the internet in their home search according to the National Association of Realtors’ most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers.

However, the report also revealed that 95% percent of buyers that used the internet when searching for a home purchased their home through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their home directly from a seller whom the buyer didn’t know.

Buyers search for a home online but then depend on an agent to find the actual home they will buy (53%) or negotiate the terms of the sale & price (48%) or understand the process (60%).

The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers that reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots”. This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who used an agent to buy their home has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process. Call Tanya Stevenson at 719-548-9900 for advice or visit http://www.ColoradoSpringsHomeSales.house

Improving Your Home’s Curb Appeal

by Tanya Stevenson and Sandy Daniels

Improving your home's curb appeal is easy if you are planning to list your home for sale. Most improvements are not difficult or expensive. You want to provide a warm welcome to visitors with attractive, well-kept grounds.

Landscaping

This is the first thing potential buyers will notice.

  • Lawns should be green, mowed and weeded.
  • Flower beds should be weeded and trimmed as necessary.
  • Trim overgrown trees, hedges and shrubs.
  • Clear away any overgrown areas along walkways and driveways.

Turn the front entry into a small potted plant garden or hang planted baskets from the front porch. Colorful flowers and shrubs will always attract people. A window box with colorful flowers is always inviting.

It may be necessary to replant part of the front yard with annuals for the spring and summer selling season. Your sprinkler system should be in working condition.

If you have a fence, it should be cleaned, repaired and repainted if necessary. Gates should be easy to open and close.

Front yard water elements, including ponds or fountains in good condition, are major attractions for good curb appeal.

Homes in drier areas of the country may have more hardscape and plants that don't require much water. This type of low-maintenance landscaping may have broken stone pavers and other fixtures that need replacing for good curb appeal.

Lighting is part of the landscape. Install walkway solar lights or strips if that part of the front yard does not have lights. You may also be able to add a simple yard decoration such as a statue or stone flower pot.

Driveways

The driveway usually leads to the garage and potential buyers will see it before they see the front door. Keep driveways clean and free of weeds that might pop up through cracks. The driveway may need to be refinished, potholes filled and oil and grease stains removed.

Remove all trash barrels, children's toys and other objects in the driveway before showing the house. Put away garden tools. The garage door(s) should be closed, cleaned or repainted if necessary.

Front Door

Potential buyers come in through the front door. Dress-up your door with new paint and a wreath or other decoration. Make sure the front door lighting fixtures are clean. Replace them if necessary.

The design of the house will dictate how you present the entry. A large front porch on a Craftsman design home may have room for a small seating area or a porch swing. A contemporary design may not offer much room. This is where hanging baskets or potted plants will add color.

Pathways and steps leading to the door should be clean and free of any obstructions. Repair wood steps and concrete steps that are cracked. Pull out any weeds growing through cracks. Steps and front porch areas can be repainted.

The Home

A home with an old peeling paint job will not sell. A roof that is obviously in need of repairs will turn away buyers unless they are looking for a "fixer". It is better to repair the roof and paint the house.

Replace any rotted wood on siding, railings and trim on the outside of the house. This includes porches and decks.

Add shutters to windows if they complement the architecture. Fix window screens and screen doors if necessary. Clean windows and window sills inside and out. This is very important for windows facing the front of the house.

Buyers will be eager to inspect a home that looks good on the outside. It is an indication that current owners care about their property and keep it in good condition.

If you are thinking about selling your home and want to discuss what type of enhancements will help you sell your home, contact Park Avenue Properties of Colorado Springs today!

Home Defense: Preparing for Floods

by Tanya Stevenson and Sandy Daniels

As spring sets in and rivers and streams begin to swell from melting snow, the threat of flooding becomes a real risk.  The best time to prepare for disaster is before it strikes, so now's a good time to put some thought into flood preparedness. The following are a few tips that can help you be prepared.

  • Have an emergency kit ready- You should have an emergency kit on hand that will help you get through any type of natural disaster. This kit should include several days' worth of food and water. It should also have other emergency supplies like first aid equipment and flashlights.
  • Keep appliances elevated- Flood damage to your home can be minimized if you keep your appliances up off the ground. A furnace, electric panel, or water heater that has been submerged during a flood is likely to be completely ruined. Having to replace appliances can be a huge financial burden, so protect appliances by elevating them before the flood hits.
  • Don't build on a floodplain- The best time to start thinking about flood preparedness is before you've even constructed or bought your home. If you have no choice but to build on a floodplain, you can alleviate the risks of flood damage by elevating your structure as much as possible and having various reinforcements constructed that will keep flood water out.
  • Make sure you have a good sump pump- A sump pump can be a lifesaver in the event of a flood. However, choosing the right sump pump can be complicated. You'll have to put some research into finding the right product. You should also shop around for a backup sump pump or a backup power supply for your sump pump so that you can remove flood water from your home even if your power supply goes out.
  • Have "check valves" installed- Check valves can be put into your plumbing system to help prevent flood waters from becoming backed up and interfering with your home's drains.
  • Have barriers constructed- In some cases, it may be possible to construct barriers that will keep flood water out of your building. These barriers can help to seal the walls in your basements and in other parts of your home.
  • Be aware of any bodies of water that are close by- If you've got bodies of water like streams, rivers, and dams located near your home, you'll be more at risk for flooding. Be aware of any bodies of water located nearby and keep an eye on them so you're aware when flooding is imminent.
  • Have an evacuation plan prepared- If flooding becomes severe enough, you'll need to evacuate. You need to make sure that you have a well laid out plan regarding where you'll go once the flooding starts. Everyone in your household should be aware of this plan.
  • Know how to turn off utilities quickly- If flood waters reach utility supplies in your home, damage to your property could be drastically increased. Flooded utility supplies could cause electrical problems, fuel leaks, and many more hazards. You can minimize the chances of severe damage by knowing how to turn off utilities before flood waters reach your property.

Being prepared for flooding can help save homeowners a great deal of money and even lives when disaster strikes. If your home is an area that is at risk of flooding this spring and summer we hope that you consider these steps.

Tips for a Successful Final Walk-Through

by Tanya Stevenson and Sandy Daniels

The home buying process can be a long and arduous one, which means that when you finally find your dream home and come to an agreement with the home seller, it’s quite the feeling! However, you’re not quite home free yet – you’ll still have to do a final walkthrough with your agent. The point of the walkthrough is to go back through every room of the house and make sure everything is in the condition as it was stated in the contract. The following are a few tips for your final walkthrough to keep in mind:

  • Schedule 24 hours before closing – You’ll want to see the property at the very last moment to reduce the risk of damage occurring between the walkthrough and the closing. Try to schedule two walkthroughs, one a week before the closing in order to review all the repairs you requested and one the day before the closing.
  • Check for flagged items – Bring along your home inspection report, the seller’s property condition disclosure forms and a copy of the contract to check for all the items that were flagged.
  • Check for the things that were agreed upon – If the seller agreed to leave certain fixtures, window treatments, fireplace tools or more, check to make sure these are present.
  • Look for things you don’t want – If the seller has left items, such as bookcases or paint cans, that you don’t want, mark it down. It’s the responsibility of the seller to get rid of these items. Be sure to check storage areas, such as the closets, cabinets, pantry, basement, attic and garage space to make sure nothing has been left behind that you don’t want.
  • Inspect the appliances – Make sure that you test out every appliance in the home to ensure that they are in proper working order.
  • Check the heat and air conditioning – This might take a few minutes since you’ll have to wait for the house to heat up and for it to cool down, but you’ll want to make sure that they work.
  • Check the lights – When you go through each room, make sure that you turn on all the lights to make sure that they are working. If a light doesn’t work, swap out the bulb with another fixture in the house to see if it just needs a new light bulb. If not, then it could require a more costly repair.
  • Flush every toilet – You’ll just want to make sure that they work properly.
  • Turn all the faucets on – Not only do you want to make sure that the hot water works, you’ll also want to check for leaks near the faucets.
  • Check the ceilings, walls and floors – You’ll want to visually inspect these areas for any blemishes, such as possible water spots since these could be a sign of water damage.
  • Inspect windows and doors – Make sure that the windows operate without problem and that they lock properly. Do the same with all the doors inside the house.
  • Inspect the exterior – This is especially important if there has been a storm since you last saw the property. Visually inspect all the windows for cracks, check the siding for any damage and circle around the house to see if you can spot anything wrong with the roof.

These are some tips that you should keep in mind when doing your final walkthrough. Note any problems that you encounter and speak with the seller’s agent in order to find a solution to the issue. 

For help with all steps of the home-buying process, from the first search until the keys are in your hand, contact Park Avenue Properties of Colorado Springs today!

2015 Rocky Mountain Horse Expo

by Tanya Stevenson and Sandy Daniels

If you live in Colorado Springs, then that means that you’ll have plenty of things to do around town, especially if you have an affinity for the outdoors. If you also happen to be a horse enthusiast, then you’re in for a treat – the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo takes place this weekend,  March 13th, 14th, and 15th in Denver. The following are some of the events that you can check out at this year’s Rocky Mountain Horse Expo:

  • The Mane Event – If you want to see horses accomplish some amazing things, then you’ll want to check out the Mane Event, which will be held at 7:00 PM on Friday and Saturday. Horses will compete against one another by racing, reining, doing piaffes and playing. Additionally, freestyle champions swill slide and spin, vaulters will leap and dressage champions will dance. Additionally, the Main Event will showcase draft horses and miniature horses! All in all, over 90 horses will perform during the Mane Event for two hours at the National Western Stock Show Complex.
     
  • The Slick Horse Rodeo – This family-friendly event gives children the opportunity to interact and participate in races and obstacles as well as competitions. The Slick Horse Rodeo takes place every day of the expo from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
  • Art in the Park – Horses are beautiful and majestic creatures, which is why it’s no surprise that they are often represented in artwork. If you want to view some of the areas best horse-themed art, then be sure to check out Art in the Park. This year’s gallery showing will display paintings, photography, jewelry, mixed-media pieces and even bronze sculptures. This year’s invitational artist is Scott Trees, but you can expect to see the work of dozens of different artists.

Other events worth checking out include the Kids Art Contest, the Holistic Horse Fair, the Craft Fair, Extreme Cowboy, the Equine Comeback Challenge, Mustang Days and Colt Starting Challenge USA, just to name a few. There will also be a number of clinicians and speakers present to further advance your horse education. As far as tickets go, a 3-day grounds badge will get you access to every event for only $25. A single-day grounds pass is only $10. Children under the age of 5 are admitted for free, and a family pack of one-day grounds passes is only $40.

Real Estate Terms Every Buyer Should Know

by Tanya Stevenson and Sandy Daniels

If you're a first time home buyer, there are many things you'll learn during the process, including new terminology. Here are some real estate terms you should know that will help you tremendously in the home-buying process.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage - A type of loan that may offer a low rate initially, but has the ability to increase over time. Adjustable-rate mortgages may experience rate increases at various intervals, with the most common being 5, 7, and 10 years.

Appraisal - An official report provided by a licensed appraiser who will determine your home's value based on recent sales of comparable properties and a visual inspection of the one being sold.

Buyer's Agent - A real estate agent that represents the buyer(s) in their home purchase.

Closing Costs - Closing costs are fees that are due and payable at closing, and are separate from the loan itself. Closing costs can include fees for taxes, title insurance, loan origination and appraisal, among other things.

Contingencies - These are conditions listed in a purchase contract that allow you to walk away from the sale if they are not met. Examples are an appraisal contingency that requires the home be appraised at or above the amount you are paying, and an inspection contingency that guarantees no major problems are uncovered during an inspection.

Earnest Money - Refers to an initial deposit given to show you have a genuine interest in purchasing the property. Earnest money is non-refundable if you renege on your agreement for any other reason than one of the agreed-upon contingencies.

Escrow - A third party who holds onto all funds until both parties have completed their obligations. Only after those obligations have been met will funds be transferred from escrow, usually during closing.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage - A loan in which the rate is fixed and does not fluctuate during its entire term.

Home Inspection - A home inspection is a detailed analysis performed by a licensed home inspector, and provides information about the condition of a home's plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning systems, and structure. This inspection is typically paid for by the borrower, and may cost between $500 and $800, depending on the size of the home and the local market.

Listings - This term refers to an actual home or property listed for sale by a real estate agent or agency.

Offer - An offer is an official agreement to purchase a home at a particular price. An offer may also include one or more contingencies.

Pre-approval Letter - A document obtained from a lending institution stating that you are eligible for a loan up to a certain dollar amount based upon information you have provided. A pre-approval letter does not necessarily guarantee a loan, as you could later be denied based on additional factors.

Seller's Agent - A real estate agent who represents the seller(s) during the sale of their home. A seller's agent is sometimes referred to as a listing agent because he or she is also responsible for listing the home for sale.

Title Insurance - A policy that guarantees there are no defects in your home's title that would prohibit or restrict your use of it. Title insurance is typically required by most lenders, and the fees for this policy are included as part of your closing costs.

These are just a few real estate terms you should know, but there are actually quite a few others you may encounter. Making sure you understand these terms is the key to purchasing the home of your dreams under conditions you are comfortable with. To learn more about the buying process and to start searching for homes contact Park Avenue Properties of Colorado Springs today!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 53

Contact Information

Photo of Lynn, Sandy, Tanya, Jenafer Real Estate
Lynn, Sandy, Tanya, Jenafer
Park Avenue Properties of Colorado Springs
2316 N. Wahsatch Ave. #116
Colorado Springs CO 80907
Office: (719) 548-9900
Toll Free: (866) 548-9996
Fax: (719) 623-1900

Park Avenue Properties is a BBB Accredited Business. Click for the BBB Business Review of this Real Estate in Colorado Springs CO

 

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