Bill’s Blog

Which State Do You Belong In?

Bill Allen, Broker Associate November 8, 2013 : Bill's Blog

I stumbled upon this fun, interesting article earlier, and it is a great way to wind down this Friday. Time magazine recently published a short quiz that will match you to the state in the U.S. where you “fit in” best. The questions measure various personality traits such as your level of openness, extroversion, and neuroticism, and then picks a state for you where the majority of people share the same qualities.

Here is the link to the article and assessment.

It only takes a few short minutes. According to the quiz, I belong in Georgia. I don’t know what I think about that…. anyways, give it a shot if you have a chance.

Have a great weekend everybody.

Best,

Bill

Bill Allen, Re/Max of Boulder
ballen@boulderco.com, 303-441-5690

 

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Detroit Leads Turnaround, Boulder Not Far Behind

Bill Allen, Broker Associate November 5, 2013 : Bill's Blog

Detroit, Santa Barbara, Calif. and Reno, Nev. markets are currently leading the nation in recovery according to realtor.com’s third quarter ranking of America’s top turnaround markets.

The median age of inventory dropped 17.7 percent over the same period in 2012, with typical homes selling in 84 days between July and September of this year. Median list prices rose 7.6 percent year-over-year to $199,128 in the third quarter. The number of homes available on the market dropped across the country by 3.3 percent year-over-year, with an average of 1.96 million homes on the market on any given day in the period.

Most noteworthy in the third quarter of 2013 is the acceleration in markets that have been less impacted by the highs and lows of the past several years, such as Ann Arbor, Mich., Dallas, Boston and Boulder, Colo. These markets have demonstrated more consistent, incremental improvement, and their appearance on the list may be a bellwether of stronger improvements in similar markets to come, as the national marketplace moves further into balance. All four placed within the top 25 accelerating markets in the previous quarter’s report.

Significant changes in economic factors in coming months could still impact the strengthening market, including reduced affordability levels, rising mortgage rates, and federal fiscal uncertainty – both recent and ongoing. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reported in October that affordability has fallen to a five-year low as home-price increases easily outpaced income growth, and projected mortgage rates to rise to 5 percent by mid-summer of next year. NAR also warned that complications with the mortgage loan process resulting from the government shutdown are just one factor that may impact fourth quarter sales closings.

Top Turnaround Towns
No. 1 – Detroit, Mich.

No. 2 – Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc, Calif.
No. 3 – Reno, Nev.
No. 4 – Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
No. 5 – Ann Arbor, Mich.
No. 6 – Dallas, Texas.
No. 7 – West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, Fla.
No. 8 – Boston-Worcester-Lawrence-Lowell-Brockton, Mass.-N.H. (MA).
No. 9 – Boulder-Longmont, Colo.
No. 10 – Las Vegas, Nev.-Ariz. (NV).

Best,

Bill

Bill Allen, Re/Max of Boulder
ballen@boulderco.com, 303-441-5690

 

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7 Tips to Scoring Your Dream Home

Bill Allen, Broker Associate November 1, 2013 : Bill's Blog

I came across this earlier today, and thought it was some valuable information. Even though these pointers were originally written for agents, I think they are just as important for anyone that has an interest in buying right now.

1. Make sure you are preapproved: About three or four months before home buyers even shop for a home, they should review their credit reports to make sure they’re accurate and take short-term steps to improve their credit score, says Michael Corbett, author of Before You Buy! Corbett says buyers then should get a bank’s preapproval. This shows sellers that a lender has verified the buyer’s income and credit score to determine that he/she can afford payments on a mortgage for a certain amount.

2. Don’t lowball: Buyers may only get one chance to get the home they want in a competitive market. They may not get a second try to sweeten the deal later, so a lowball offer the first time around could cause them to lose out. Buyers should use sales prices of comparable properties in the neighborhood to submit their best offer the first time around.

3. Consider an escalator clause: These purchase contract clauses are becoming more popular again. This is when the buyer agrees to increase their offer if there’s a higher bid from another buyer.

4. Add earnest money: The extra deposit can show sellers how serious the buyer is. Some buyers may even double the amount that the seller requests to show their commitment in purchasing the home.

5. Keep contingencies to a minimum: Sellers prefer no contingencies, but buyers want to protect their interests too. “Offset a financing contingency with preapproval and a strong earnest money deposit,” Kiplinger’s Personal Finance reports. “If you have enough cash, temper an appraisal contingency by assuring sellers that if the appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price, you’ll pay the difference or split it with them (up to a certain amount).”

6. Write a letter: Personal love letters about the home addressed to the sellers are winning over some hearts lately. The letters tell the seller about the buyer (e.g. “We’re relocating from …”) and what drew the buyer to the home (e.g. “We especially love …”).

7. Give the gift of time: Express your willingness to work with the sellers’ timetable to go to closing. If the sellers want to remain in the home for a while after closing, offer them a “lease back” or “rent back,” which means that you will be their temporary landlord. This is a legal arrangement, and you’ll need to work out the details with your agents and be sure that the sellers keep their homeowners insurance during their stay. If you are bidding on a short sale, make clear to the sellers that you are patient and can wait for the bank’s decision.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Best,

Bill

Bill Allen, Re/Max of Boulder
ballen@boulderco.com, 303-441-5690
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Not Everyone is Scared of Haunted Housing…

Bill Allen, Broker Associate October 30, 2013 : Bill's Blog

Boulder reportedly has several haunted locations. These include the Boulderado Hotel, the theater at Boulder High, and multiple buildings on the University of Colorado campus. However, what if you found out the home you were interested in buying was the site of paranormal activity?

A new study showed that not everyone would be wary of living in a haunted home. Realtor.com® recently released the results of its Haunted Housing Report, which ran on realtor.com® from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1 and explored consumer sentiments around their perceptions of “haunted” real estate. Survey results from nearly 1,400 respondents reveal consumer thresholds for purchasing haunted houses for sale, past experiences with spooky homes, popular “warning signs” of a haunted home, expected discounts when buying “perceived” haunted houses for sale and intolerable scary occurrences.

Sentiment regarding a haunted home purchase:
• 26 percent of respondents indicated that they would consider purchasing a haunted house for sale;
• 36 percent shared that they might consider a haunted home purchase;
• 38 percent revealed that they would not consider a haunted home purchase.

Consumer experiences with haunted real estate:
• 51 percent of respondents heard about someone else’s haunted home experience;
• 35 percent of respondents lived in a home they suspected to be haunted;
• 25 percent have researched a home’s history to find out any eerie past incidents.

Most popular “warning signs” a home could be haunted:
• 61 percent of respondents thought a cemetery on the property may be an indication;
• 50 percent shared that homes over 100 years old could be haunted;
• 45 percent thought quick transitions in owners might be a sign;
• 45 percent believe that an unexplainable low price on the home is alarming;
• 43 percent felt that homes in close proximity to a battlefield may be haunted.

Of the respondents that would consider purchasing a haunted home, many indicated that they expected discounts for haunted real estate:
• 12 percent reported that they would pay full market value or over for a haunted house for sale;
• 34 percent shared that they would purchase a haunted home if it was discounted 1 to 30 percent;
• 22 percent indicated that they would purchase a haunted home if it was discounted 31 to 50 percent;
• 19 percent revealed that they would purchase a haunted home if it was discounted 51 percent or more.

For the respondents that would contemplate purchasing a haunted home, the following spooky occurrences would stop them from buying a home:
• 75 percent would be scared off by levitating objects from purchasing a home;
• 63 percent would be deterred by objects being moved from where they were placed;
• 63 percent would be dissuaded by ghost sightings;
• 61 percent would be discouraged by supernatural sensations;
• 61 percent would be scared off by flickering lights/appliances;
• 60 percent would pass on a home with strange noises (footsteps, doors slamming);
• 34 percent would be deterred by warm or cold spots.

Of “curse,” disclosure laws vary state by state, so if buyers have concerns with purchasing homes that might be considered haunted, the buyers must advise the agents representing them and should conduct their own investigation to determine whether they have a friendly ghost or a scary spook, as well as “who they’re gonna call… ”

If you want some more information about the eerie side of Boulder, or want to hear all of the local ghost stories, I would suggest the book Haunted Boulder by Roz Brown- it is both informative and intriguing. I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable Halloween.

Best,

Bill

Bill Allen, Re/Max of Boulder
ballen@boulderco.com, 303-441-5690
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Zuckerberg Buys Out Neighbors to Prevent Development

Bill Allen, Broker Associate October 25, 2013 : Bill's Blog, Uncategorized

I came across this funny story this morning, and I thought I’d share it.

Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has bought four homes adjacent to his own 5-bedroom crash pad in one of Palo Alto, Calif.’s toniest neighborhoods.

Zuckerberg paid top dollar — more than $30 million in total — for the four residential properties located next door and behind his own home. But he has no plans to build a Taj Mahal on the land, according to a person with knowledge of the transactions, who said Zuckerberg is leasing the existing homes back to the families that live there.

The 29-year-old multibillionaire acted after he learned of a developer’s plan to buy one of the properties next door to the Facebook co-founder, said the source. “The developer was going to build a huge house and market the property as being next door to Mark Zuckerberg.”

Zuckerberg is one of several prominent tech CEOs who own homes on Palo Alto’s tree-lined streets. Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Google’s Larry Page live there, as did the late Apple chief Steve Jobs. Page created a modest stir a few years ago when he bought four adjoining properties in a fashionable, older neighborhood where he’s building a 6,000-square-foot abode.

Zuckerberg, who lived for many years in modest rented digs, reportedly paid $7 million two years ago for the 5,000-square-foot home in Palo Alto’s Crescent Park neighborhood where he lives with his wife, physician Priscilla Chan. Zuckerberg, whose personal fortune is estimated at $19 billion, also owns a home in San Francisco.

Zuckerberg paid different prices for each home, shelling out more than $14 million for one 2,600-square-foot dwelling. A local real estate agent called the amount “absurdly high,” even for that pricey neighborhood. But James Yang, an agent with Sereno Group who focuses on Palo Alto and neighboring towns, said the price is less surprising “if somebody wants to buy a property and the sellers don’t want to sell.”

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Best,

Bill

Bill Allen, Re/Max of Boulder
ballen@boulderco.com, 303-441-5690
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How long does it take to build a house?

Bill Allen, Broker Associate October 23, 2013 : Bill's Blog, Uncategorized

I came across this earlier, and thought it was interesting.

The 2012 Survey of Construction (SOC) from the Census Bureau shows that on average it takes about 7 months from obtaining a building permit to completing a new single-family home. Looking at the houses completed in 2012, houses built for sale, on average, register the shortest time from permits to completion – between 5 and 6 months. Houses built on owner’s land take longer – about 8 months if built by a contractor and more than 11 months if they are owner-built (i.e., where the owner of the land serves as a general contractor). Single-family homes built for rent take, on average, between 8 and 9 months from permits to completion.

In most cases, no time is wasted from the moment a permit is obtained and construction is started. Most homes built for sale and on owners’ land are started prior or within the same month as authorization. Houses built for rent, on average, register a slight delay of one month before construction is started.

The time from permits to completion varies across the nine Census divisions. New England and Middle Atlantic register longer times of between 9 and 10 months. Pacific and East North Central division also show above average time of 8 months to completion. Builders in the East South Central Division manage to complete a home in 7 months, on average. The rest of the country registers times between 5 and 6 months.

For houses built for sale, the SOC also gathers information on sales, registered at the time when a buyer signs a sale agreement or makes a deposit on the home, not the final closing. For new single-family homes sold in 2012, the average time from completion to sale is under one month. However, this average is highly skewed by a relatively small number of homes that are not sold prior or while under construction.

Looking at new single-family homes completed in 2012, more than three quarters of these properties were sold before or during the completion month, including 30 percent that were pre-sold (i.e., sold before being started). Only 6 percent of homes completed in 2012 remain unsold as of the first quarter of 2013. So, for most new single family homes there is no additional lag from completion to sale.

Best,

Bill

Bill Allen, Re/Max of Boulder
ballen@boulderco.com, 303-441-5690
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Find a Solution to Your Flood-Related Insurance Issues

Bill Allen, Broker Associate October 10, 2013 : Bill's Blog

This just came across my desk and seems like a valuable way to find out more about your coverage and claims- A local law firm, Berg, Hill, Greenleaf, & Ruscitti LLP, is holding a Town-Hall style meeting on the University of Colorado campus to discuss flood-related insurance issues and questions. This is a free meeting open to the public that could provide some vital information, especially if your home was damaged by the recent floods.

The meeting will be help from 6:00-8:00 pm on Monday, October 14th at the University of Colorado, Wolf Law Building, Wittemeyer Courtroom. Here is a link to the flyer that includes the contact info of the organizers.

Click here to visit BHGR Law’s website.

Best,

Bill

Bill Allen, Re/Max of Boulder
ballen@boulderco.com, 303-441-5690
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