Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3

'Worst is over' for housing, analyst says, as Aug. sales rise

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

Great Article from USA Today:

Sales of existing homes rebounded slightly in August after a record drop the month before, an indication that the worst may be over even though the housing recovery still is on shaky ground.

Existing home sales climbed 7.6% to an annual rate of 4.13 million units, according to a report Thursday by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). But the pace is still weak, 19% below the 5.10 million-unit pace in August 2009.

Sales had plummeted 27.2% in July to the lowest level in 15 years a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.84 million units. The drop is largely attributed to a decline in home purchases following the expiration of a federal home-buyer tax credit of up to $8,000.

Looking ahead, economists say Augusts' increase in existing home sales may be a sign that home sales will slowly pick up over the next year.

"This report is only good in the context of the incredibly bad report last month," say Mark Zandi, with Moody's Analytics. "But last month will be the low point in the cycle. When we look back years from now, it will be the bottom. The worst is over."

Zandi says the bottom of the crash hit in July, but that the market will not come roaring back. Still, sales should be better a year from now.

Home prices also inched up. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $178,600 in August, up 0.8% from a year ago. Distressed homes, which includes foreclosed properties, rose to 34% of sales in August from 32% in July; they were 31% in August 2009.

Total housing inventory at the end of August also slipped 0.6% to 3.98 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 11.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 12.5-month supply in July.

Home sales may rise as the job market improves. Patrick Newport, an economist with IHS Global Insight, says he is not expecting existing home sales to climb above the 6 million mark — a number one might expect under normal conditions — until 2013. Mortgage applications remain stagnant despite low prices and attractive interest rates.

On Thursday, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was unchanged at 4.37%. Earlier this month, the rate dipped to 4.32%, which was the lowest level on records dating back to 1971.

Since the tax credit expired, there have been fewer purchases by first-time home buyers: first-time buyers purchased 31% of homes in August, down from 38% in July, according to a separate NAR survey.

Regionally, the West led with the biggest rise in existing home sales: August saw a 13.8% jump to an annual pace of 990,000 units, but that's still 16.1% below August 2009.

The Northeast followed with a 7.9% rise in sales in August, but that's still 24.4% below August of last year. The South saw sales rise 5.2% to 1.62 million units on an annual level, which is 13.4% below August 2009.

And sales inched up 5% in the Midwest to a pace of 840,000, 26.3% below a year ago. Both the South and Midwest also saw a rise in median home prices from a year ago.

Contributing: Associated Press

Preparing Your Home for the Fall Season

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

RISMEDIA, September 13, 2010—This year has certainly flown by, and now, with fall around the corner, it’s a great time to start prepping your home for the cooler months. From water leaks to the chimney, it’s better to be ready for the cold season…before it hits.

Here, State Farm offers up some fall maintenance tips for your home:

Check all window and door locks for proper operation
* Windows that can be opened by breaking the glass and unlocking them, are less effective deterrents to criminals. Check with the hardware store for window lock alternatives.
* All exterior doors should have deadbolt locks.

Make sure there are working nightlights at the top and bottom of all stairs
Other safety ideas for stairs:
* Tile and painted wood or concrete stairs can be slippery when wet or when a person's shoes are wet. Resurface the treads with slip-resistant strips near the stair nosing.
* All stairs of at least three risers should have a handrail.
* Do not store items on the stairs.

Have a heating professional check your heating system every year
Woodburning stove connector pipes and chimneys should be inspected by a certified chimney sweep at least annually.

Replace your furnace filter
Furnace filters need to be replaced frequently to allow your heating and cooling systems to operate properly.

Run all gas-powered lawn equipment until the fuel tank is empty
By doing this, you are removing flammable liquid storage from your garage. At the same time, make sure you aren't storing dirty, oily rags in a pile. They can ignite spontaneously.

Have a certified chimney sweep inspect and clean the flues and check your fireplace damper
Soot and creosote, which build up inside the chimney, can ignite when a fire is lit in the fireplace.

Remove bird nests from chimney flues and outdoor electrical fixtures
Bird nests on top of light fixtures are a fire hazard. Bird nests in chimney flues can prevent a proper venting of combustion gases and can catch fire from sparks. You should exercise great caution when working on your roof or consider hiring a qualified professional to take care of any work that needs to be done.

Make sure the caulking around doors and windows is adequate to reduce heat/cooling loss
Check glazing for loose or missing putty or glazing compound. This will also help reduce water damage to the windows and door frames.

Make sure that the caulking around your bathroom fixtures is adequate to prevent water from seeping into the sub-flooring

Check for cracked or missing caulk around the base of your toilet, bath tub, and bathroom cabinets. Properly sealing gaps between your bathroom fixtures and flooring material can prevent damage

4 Good Reasons for Seniors to Rent Their Vacation Properties

by Roberts Johnson and Rachel Diedrich, Real Estate B

RISMEDIA, September 13, 2010—It seemed like a great idea 20 years ago. You'd buy that condo in Florida, vacation there as often as possible, then someday sell your primary residence and spend your "golden years" basking in the sun. But like so many Americans, the nation's recent economic troubles have given you reservations about taking on too much risk, so your golden years will have to wait. And though you'd hate to sell your beloved getaway, keeping up two homes just won't be possible on your recessionized budget. Is there a solution?

"Absolutely yes," says Christine Karpinski, director of Owner Community ( for "Renting out your second home will allow you to keep it during these tough times and sets you up with an easy business that will continue to bring you profits long after the economy has gotten back on its feet."

Many, many seniors find themselves in this position, she adds. A good percentage of second homeowners fall into the "retirement age" demographic, but because of recent financial troubles are finding that they need to continue working and push back their retirement a few more years. Meanwhile, they have these great real estate investments they made in better years. Rather than sell those properties, possibly for a loss in today's tough real estate market, Karpinski suggests they maximize these investments by turning them into vacation rental businesses.

If you're a second homeowner, Karpinski offers 4reasons why you might consider renting out your second home:

· Your fixed income hasn't kept up with your lifestyle. Admit it. Even when you're happy to give up the daily grind of your job, losing the paycheck that comes with it can be pretty painful. Factor in inflation, rising taxes, a depleted 401K and unexpected "new" expenses, and you may find that what seemed like a manageable cost of living five years ago doesn't seem that way anymore. Your second home, even if it's paid for, may start looking like a liability due to property taxes, homeowner's association dues, and maintenance costs. Not if you rent it out, says Karpinski. Then it becomes a great source of revenue.

"If you have a loan on your second home, renting it out only 17 weeks will cover your house payments for an entire year," she says. "If it's paid for free and clear, only five off-week rentals will cover costs like bills for your phone, power, cable, and association dues. All the rest is profit! When you consider that in some markets you can earn as much as $30 to $40 thousand in rental revenue per year from your second home, you're looking at a nice 'raise' for yourself."

· You've decided to "retire" from retirement. It is not unusual for people to test-drive retirement and find that it's just not for them. Work can provide many rich rewards—structure, social interaction, mental stimulation, a sense of purpose, and so forth—that people keenly miss when they retire. And when they discover that quitting "the rat race" isn't quite what they thought it would be, more and more people are opting to return to the workplace. And (let's be honest), nowadays people simply can't afford to quit the working world completely.

"When people decide to postpone retirement, they may also postpone moving to their retirement home," says Karpinski. "Even if they do retire and then rejoin the workforce either full-time or part-time, they may not want to live in the city they associate with retirement. It's a psychological thing. And so, in these cases, it's better to keep the vacation home a vacation home. Renting it out allows them to do that."

· Circumstances have changed since you made your retirement plans. Maybe grandchildren have arrived on the scene and you can't bear the thought of moving hundreds of miles away from them. Or your parents are in poor health and need you nearby. Or your spouse has passed away and retiring in the Great Smoky Mountains was his idea, not yours. Regardless of specifics, your life bears no resemblance to what you thought it would look like back when you made your retirement plans.

"Life rarely turns out to look like we thought it was going to look," notes Karpinski. "That's okay. Some of the happiest, most successful people I've met during my years working in this field never dreamed they would rent out their second home, and yet once they tried it they loved doing it. It pays to be flexible and keep your options open."

· You've suddenly realized there's no place like home. Maybe there are no dramatic life circumstances keeping you from moving to your "dream destination." Maybe you've simply changed your mind. You've decided you like being near your friends, you don't want to leave your church or synagogue, and your Tuesday lunch with "the girls" or Thursday Bridge night with "the guys" is a tradition you just don't want to give up. Or perhaps you'd like to stay in your hometown most of the year (you kind of like the change of seasons) and spend the bitterest winter months in your beachfront condo. Renting your second home out during the time you are not staying there makes it financially feasible to keep both homes.

"Traditionally, many retirees would sell the home they lived in for 40 years, downsize to a smaller house or apartment, and split their time between that home and their getaway in, say, Florida," explains Karpinski. "But there are drawbacks to doing that: you lose your neighbors, you're no longer close to your familiar grocery store, and so forth. And you don't get to pass the 'homestead' down to your kids. Rent out your second home and you can have the best of both worlds. You can afford both places. It's the perfect balanced solution."

"Renting out your second home can make for a valuable revenue stream that will not only prop you up now when you need it most, but could also make your golden years even more golden in the long run," says Karpinski. "And if you're like most people, you'll find that not only will you quickly get the hang of renting, it's actually fun. I've been doing it for years and I can't imagine ever not doing it. It's more than a way to profit from an investment. It's a richly rewarding way of life—at any age."

Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3

Contact Information

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

Providing Real Estate Solutions Every Day!