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Black Friday Sale in the Golden Triangle!

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

This sophisticated loft is ideally located close to everything including:  light rail, Cherry Creek Shopping District, Cherry Creek Bike Path, Civic Center, 16th Street Mall, The capital, LoDo, shopping, restaurants, parks and more!  The views from this unit are amazing.  There is a huge, private covered patio overlooking the sunken gardens the the Rocky Mountains.   Granite Counters, wood floors, and open floorplan make this loft extremely livable.  View the virtual tour at:  http://www.obeo.com/Public/Viewer/Default.aspx?ID=559041

Should I Sell My Home during the Winter or Holiday months?

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

This time of year I always start to get the same question. Should I sell my house now or just wait until the spring when everyone else sells their houses? This seems like an obvious answer until you see a few key points. 

1. It is too cold, no one wants to look at houses in the snow? In Knoxville, Tennessee, where I am from, we really do not get a lot of snow. As a matter of fact, we are lucky if we see any snow at all. Therefore this common hesitation doesn't apply to this area. 

2. No one is looking for houses in the winter time. This is plainly not true. There may be less people looking to buy. However, the ones who are looking are more serious. There may be less property visits during the cold months but the ones who are willing to drag their realtor out in the winter must be pretty serious. Wouldn't you rather have less traffic if they are more serious buyers? 

Another point is that with less inventory during this time of year means less competition. During the spring there are going to be a lot more homes to compete against. I would rather be a big fish in a smaller pond, than a small fish in a big pond full of other fish. 

3. I can't decorate my house for Christmas. I disagree. I say, don't just put out your Christmas decorations, go all out. Make your home the best decorated house on the block. A house can look truly beautiful, warm, and inviting during the holidays. One very strong buyer desire is to be in the new home by Christmas. Last year I had four sales in December specifically for this reason. One of them actually closed on Christmas Eve to make good on my promise to get them in by Christmas.

Another idea would be to put some lights around the realtor's "for sale" sign too. Please make sure that your realtor replaces the holiday pictures in their marketing after the holidays. It looks nice while it is in season, but after that it just looks dated. More on that on point #5.

4. I like to invite friends over for holiday parties. I can't do that if my house is for sale. Are you kidding? This is the perfect opportunity to show off your home to a large group of people. Don't just invite a few people over, host the Christmas party. Your friends might not be in the market to buy a home, but you don't know who they know who might be in the market. It is estimated that most people know at least 150 people very well at any given time. 

5. If we don't sell the house over the winter, it will appear stale in the spring. This might be true but there are tricks you can do to lessen the impact. The most effective change you can make is to adjust the price. If the house was listed all winter and it didn't sell, the chances are the price is too high. Have a price adjustment, even if it is just a small one. Also, update the pictures. Most likely the original pictures were taken with leafless trees and plants without flowers. Your house will look drastically different with some fresh blossoms and updated landscaping. Be sure to take the picture of the house from a different angle as well. Someone who saw your house a thousand times on the internet will be forced to pause and look at the house again in a fresh light. 

6. That tax credit expired, it won't help me sell my house. Actually, congress decided to extend the tax credit through April. Not only did they extend it, but they opened it up to more people. If you wait until the spring you will miss this large group of buyers.  

These are just a few points to ponder as we head unto the winter months.

 Please call me with any questions.  I am always happy to help :-)

Happy Holidays!!

Good Neighbor gets home for a song

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

The following article from today's Denver Post is a great resource for teachers, police officers and EMT's.  Please call or email me for more information about this great program!  303.963.5335 or Rachel@CoolDenverHomes.com

 

Denver Public Schools teacher Erich Smeaton likes to say he got lucky three times on his way to becoming a homeowner in Denver's Ruby Hill neighborhood.

First, another teacher at South High told him about the Good Neighbor Next Door program.

The federal program, frequently referred to as GNND, provides a 50 percent discount for the purchase of certain homes by teachers, firefighters, police officers and emergency medical technicians.

"I jumped on it," Smeaton recalled.

In October 2008, Smeaton called real-estate broker Xenia Matteson. Together, they walked through the home he now owns — a foreclosed property held by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In January, he submitted a $49,000 bid on the 700-square-foot bungalow in southeast Denver. It was listed by HUD at $98,000.

The GNND program makes HUD homes available at half-price to eligible buyers in designated revitalization areas. Greater Denver has about 20 such areas. The program aims to bring public-service professionals into economically struggling communities where their presence will help stabilize the neighborhood.

"I've seen it happen," Matteson said.

An area on South Quivas Street, six blocks east of Smeaton's place, improved significantly after an influx of young teachers, including many of her own clients, she said.

In Colorado, 552 homes have been purchased through the GNND program, according to HUD. The program combines two previous programs — the Teacher Next Door and the Officer Next Door, both created in the Clinton era.

Firefighters and EMTs gained eligibility in 2006, and the program's new name took hold.

"People think of this area as the 'hood. I don't consider it the 'hood," Smeaton said of his Ruby Hill neighborhood. His neighbors are mostly working families, he said, including many whose children attend South High, where he teaches geography and English as a second language.

Smeaton's home needed $35,000 in repairs, including a new roof and siding, as wells as plumbing and electrical work. When repairs are needed, the buyer of a GNND home must hire a HUD-approved contractor to do the work. Funds are available in the form of federally backed "203k" home-renovation loans. The borrowed renovation funds are rolled into the buyer's mortgage.

After a homebuying bid is submitted, it is entered in a lottery, competing with bids from other teachers, firefighters, police officers and EMTs.

"We never have any idea how many people we're bidding against," said Matteson, who has brokered and closed 22 purchases for teachers this year.

Smeaton won the lottery in his first attempt. "I got lucky for a second time," he said.

Some acquaintances of Smeaton and Matteson have failed as many as 12 times in their bids for GNND properties.

"Eligible homes are pretty scarce," said Matteson. Even in revitalization areas, relatively few homes are selected by HUD for the program.

HUD signs a promissory note for its half of the purchase. It is a "silent second" mortgage on which the buyer never makes a payment. After three years of occupancy, the second lien goes away. Buyers who choose to sell the home early must pay off a share of the second in proportion to the unfilled part of their three-year commitment.

"It is a great program," said Matteson. Participants need not be first- time homebuyers.

Smeaton said his third stroke of luck came from the government's $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers. His purchase closed in March, allowing him to take advantage of the program, which has since been extended through April and expanded to include a $6,500 tax credit for buyers who have owned their existing homes for more than five years.

More information

For more information about the Good Neighbor Next Door program, go to www.hud.gov/ offices/hsg/sfh/reo/goodn/ main.cfm.


All Denver mortgage lenders are not licensed

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Even though lenders are now required to be licensed in CO, there is a HUGE loophole.  Banks, like Wells Fargo are exempt.  Guess what, many lenders who can't get a license just move over to Banks like Wells Fargo. 

To make matters worse, Wells Fargo has a history of low customer satisfation and ignoring consumer complaints.   They also have a culture of quanity over quality.  They prefer good Sales People, to knowledgable and experienced mortgage lenders.

Another interesting fact:  I heard that about 1/2 of Colorado lenders got out of the business once the licensing requirement came into effect.  However, they did not all leave the business, they just moved to Wells Fargo or other Banks. 

This means that Wells Fargo has a high percentage of lenders whom the state may not allow to be licensed. 

With all the problems that the Banking Business has caused for our economy, there is no reason why their lenders should not be subject to the same requirement of all other lenders. 

Why does this bother me so much?  Because this hurts consumers who are trying to buy a home.  This process can be stressful and applying for a loan is never "fun".  When Banks make mistakes, there is no state agency to step in.  Licensed lenders are regulated by a consumer protection agency DORA and Banks should have to conform to the same standards.

My advice is to stay away from Banks like Wells Fargo.  I strongly suggest not getting a home loan with Wells Fargo.  If you do have a problem, they have a record of not responding to consumer complaints and you have almost no recourse in Colorado.  This attitude goes very high up the chain and I believe upper manangement at Wells Fargo does not care about customer satisfaction.

Good luck!  I have many good lender reccomedations.  They are all licensed in the State of Colorado.  Email me at Rachel@CoolDenverHomes for a list of great lenders who won't let you down.

 

Do you need a little help? Denver Personal Assistants

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Do you need a little extra help around the holdiays?  Do you need someone picked up at the airport?  This company offers very professional and affordable services. 

Just Be is an elite, yet affordable, personal assistant service operating throughout the Denver metro area.  Starting at $25 an hour, our team can assist you with:

 * Party Planning         * Gift Shopping & Wrapping    * House & Pet Sitting

 * Grocery Shopping     * Household Management       * Airport Transportation    

 * http://www.justbeassistants.com/Services.html   And Much Much More!! 

 

  

 

We also focus on:

* Senior Companion Services    

* Post-Surgery Assistance

* New Mom Assistance, and

* Massage Therapy

 

Our mission is to make your life a little easier and more enjoyable so you can "just be" yourself to

Rest, Relax and Unwind.

 

In recognition of launching Just Be we are extending

a special offer to you:

 

Save 10% when you schedule your first appointment between now and February 1, 2010.

(Share this offer with your friends, family and colleagues and tell them to mention the word "Launch" to receive 10% off their first scheduled appointment.)

 

Contact us today at 800.917.0944 or visit www.justbeassistants.com to schedule your appointment.

 

 

We look forward to assisting you!

 

 

Brenda, Erica & Sean

Your "Just Be" Personal Assistants Team

Colfax Business Improvement District Neighborhood Meeting

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Colfax Business Improvement District Neighborhood Meeting

 

CBID had a neighborhood meeting scheduled for October 28th, however it was canceled do to last week’s snow storm.  They have re-scheduled the meeting for Tuesday, November 17th from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.   The event will be held in the Sante Fe Room at the Ramada Downtown Denver.  Participants are invited to join CBID Board of Directors and staff for appetizers and refreshments while networking and receiving an update on CBID events and other important news within the district.

 

Please RSVP by calling 303.832.2086 or emailing Stephanie@colfaxave.com

Denver Arts Week

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Denver Arts Week

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

November 7th, Explore the museum's amazing galleries, enjoy cultural performances and participate in family-friendly activities! Please note: The museum's Genghis Khan exhibit is SOLD OUT for Night at the Museums. The Museum's permanent exhibitions will be open for your enjoyment.

 

Black American West Museum

November 7th the Black American West Museum will be participating in Night at the Museums.  Denver's greatest museums are open for FREE from 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Free shuttles starting at Cherry Creek Shopping Center and the Denver Art Museum will take our guests to the Black American West Museum and the other participating museums.

 

For more information call: (303) 482-2242

 

Artist Lesa R. Webb

Saturday, November 7, 2009 - Artist LESA R. WEBB presents new artwork in " Cultivating Cultural Diversity Through Works of Art" at Blair Caldwell African American Research Library's Charles and Dorothy Cousin's Changing Gallery (third Floor) through November 30, 2009. Artist’s Reception this Saturday, November 7, 2009 from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Blair Caldwell Library located at 2401 Welton Street Denver, CO 80205. Library hours: Mondays and Tuesdays 12:00 noon - 8:00 p.m., Wednesday and Friday from 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The library is closed Thursday and Sunday.

 

For more information please call:  720 865 2401.

Stiles African American Heritage Center, INC
Sunday, November 8, 2009 - STILES AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE CENTER, INC. presents it 6th annual QUILT EXHIBIT AND SALE at 2607 Glenarm Place Denver, CO 80205 from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. The theme of this year's exhibit is Kujichagulia - Self Determination, the second principle of Kwanzaa: to define and name ourselves, to create and speak for ourselves. Our traditional refreshments - tea and teacakes - will be served.
 
Participating artists:
Rocky Mountain Wa Shonaji Quilt Guild members                             Billie Wagner
Judy Scott                                                                                     Dawn Williams Boyd
Jackie Hollis                                                                                  Rosie Smith

4 tips for the homebuyer tax credit

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B
Here is a very informative article about the homebuyer tax credit:
4 tips for the homebuyer tax credit

The federal homebuyer tax credit is back in action in a new-and-improved format that will benefit both first-time homebuyers and homeowners who want to sell their current home and buy a new one. The credit is reasonably straightforward, but there are some tips for those who want to take advantage of it. Here's what you should know:

1. Deadline: April 30, 2010

The most important tip is to be aware of the deadline. Buyers who want to use the tax credit must have their new home under contract (i.e., in escrow) by April 30, 2010, and must close the transaction within 60 days after that date.

That deadline is much sooner than it may seem: Many buyers take months to locate a house, and closing a transaction typically takes 45 to 60 days.

First-time buyers should get started soon because they may face a lot of competition from other buyers who also want to purchase a moderately priced home, according to Ann Pettijohn, a broker and owner of Oaktree Realtors in Orange, Calif. That price range is "very popular" and those homes tend to sell more quickly than higher-priced homes, she says.

Buyers who wait until 2010 may also find fewer homes on the market from which to choose, according to Allyson Bernard, broker and owner of Real Estate Professionals of Connecticut.

"Smart buyers will be out during the holidays when other people are preoccupied," she says.

The short deadline may create even more of a crunch for homeowners who need to sell their current home and purchase a new one, Pettijohn says. Sellers need to be realistic about the value of their current home and put their home on the market as soon as possible, so they'll feel confident about buying their next home, she says.

“Smart buyers will be out during the holidays.”

Buyers who get behind the curveball shouldn't count on another extension to keep them in the game since Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., a former Realtor and the principal supporter of the legislation that extended and expanded the credit, has said in a statement that the tax credit won't be extended again.

2. Credit up to $8,000 or $6,500

Buyers also need to understand that the tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the sale price of the home, which could be less than the maximum of up to $8,000 for first-time buyers and up to $6,500 for repeat homeowners.

For example, if a first-time buyer purchased a small condominum that cost just $70,000, the tax credit would be $7,000. And by the way, if the home costs more than $800,000, the credit now drops to zero.

3. Get good advice

Homebuyers who want to take advantage of the tax credit should consult the right people for help, including:

  • A tax preparer, who can help them ensure they meet all the requirements to use the credit.
  • A mortgage lender, who can help them choose a loan program that will fit their needs.
  • A Realtor, who can help them locate a home they can afford and want to purchase.

Buyers should be aware that not all loans allow the borrower to finance closing costs or accept a contribution from the seller toward those costs, Bernard says. Many loan programs do allow those options, but that "certainly is not a blanket opportunity," she says. Buyers whose savings won't stretch to cover all the out-of-pocket costs to buy a home should discuss that constraint with their loan officer or mortgage broker.

4. Beware of tax fraud

According to Patti Ketcham, broker and owner of Ketcham Realty Group in Tallahassee, Fla., homebuyers should educate themselves about the tax credit and learn the lingo.

"It is critical that buyers educate themselves and that they not fall for the slick smoke and mirrors," she says. "Anytime you have found money, it brings out all the rats."

Three Web sites that may be helpful are:

Buyers and sellers should be wary of any advice that sounds suspicious or overly complicated, Ketcham says. For instance, buyers who are told to conceal any information from their lender should "get away" from whoever offered that advice, she says.

One final tip: The IRS has found such a high incidence of fraud and creative tax accounting associated with the homebuyer tax credit that taxpayers who take the credit will now be required to attach a copy of the settlement statement to their federal tax return as proof of purchase. Buyers should keep their paperwork handy.

Home Buyer tax credit extended!!

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

WASHINGTON — Buying a home is about to get cheaper for a whole new crop of homebuyers – $6,500 cheaper.

First-time homebuyers have been getting tax credits of up to $8,000 since January as part of the economic stimulus package enacted earlier this year. But with the program scheduled to expire at the end of November, the House voted 403-12 Thursday to extend and expand the tax credit to include many buyers who already own homes. The Senate approved the measure Wednesday, and President Barack Obama is expected to sign it.

Buyers who have owned their current homes at least five years would be eligible for tax credits of up to $6,500. First-time homebuyers – or anyone who hasn't owned a home in the last three years – would still get up to $8,000. To qualify, buyers in both groups have to sign a purchase agreement by April 30, 2010, and close by June 30.

"This is probably the last extension," said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., a former real estate executive who championed the credits.

The homebuyers tax credit is one of two tax breaks totaling more than $21 billion that was included in a bill extending unemployment benefits for those without a job for more than a year. The other would let companies now losing money recoup taxes they paid on profits earned in the previous five years.

"We are still in a world of economic hurt, and Congress must continue to act boldly and creatively," said Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. "With the right mix of tax breaks and investments we will get through this recession and get folks working again."

The real estate industry has been pushing to extend and expand the housing tax credit. About 1.4 million first-time homebuyers have qualified for the credit through August. The National Association of Realtors estimates that 350,000 of them would not have purchased their homes without the credit.

Extending and expanding the tax credit for homebuyers is projected to cost the government about $10.8 billion in lost taxes. While the measure passed the Senate by a 98-0 vote, Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., questioned its efficiency in stimulating home sales.



Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/05/homebuyer-tax-credit-cong_n_346632.html&cp

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

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Photo of Roberts (Bobby) Johnson Real Estate
Roberts (Bobby) Johnson
Cool Denver Homes, Inc.
2314 Curtis Street
Denver CO 80205
Roberts Cell: (303) 525-7599
Fax: (303)9635335

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