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What to expect in the way of condominium fees?

by Allison Simson & Joyce Nenninger

Question: I am thinking about buying a condominium in Wildernest but I am uncertain about paying homeowners association dues. What can I expect in the way of condominium fees?

 

Answer: Condominium buyers should ask to see the budget for the property in order to determine what in included in the monthly fees. Condominiums that offer a lot of services and recreational facilities generally charge higher fees. Tennis courts, swimming pools and recreational facilities generally increase the costs of running the condominium association, but in my experience most of the complexes that have clubhouse facilities are complexes with a large number of owners. Spreading the expense of these facilities over a large number of owners often makes the actual additional expense very minimal.

 

Also, the expense of these features may be offset by increased rental value if you plan to use your unit primarily as an investment rather than as primary residence.

 

Fees tend to be less in units that where heating expenses are metered separately.

 

I have worked with any number of buyers who initially feel that they just don’t want the additional expense of homeowner’s dues. Once a buyer understands that these fees include items that they will be paying for no matter where they purchase (i.e. heat, electricity, water, sewer, trash removal, snow removal, cable TV exterior maintenance and building insurance), they are no longer held back from making a buying decision.

 

Also, be sure to take a look at what kind of funds the association has set aside for capital expenditures. Most associations are far more conservative than individual homeowners in budgeting for major improvements on repairs and tend to include a healthy reserve fund in their budgets.

 

For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800 or

1-800-262-8442. Email - [email protected] or visit their web site at www.SummitRealEstate.com. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field.  Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  

Baby-boomer generations impact on the Summit County real estate market?

by Allison Simson & Joyce Nenninger

Question: Joyce, what impact do you see that this baby-boomer generation will have on the Summit County real estate market?

 

Answer: The way I see it, most Realtors are very optimistic about the impact of this generation on our local real estate market. What we are seeing is that the baby-boomer generation is having a dual impact on our real estate market. These buyers are purchasing property in Summit County to use not only as vacation homes but also in many cases they are taking these properties as “test drives” in order to determine where they wish to spend their retirement.

 

The baby-boomers are indeed getting older and although their most financially productive years are ahead, an estimated 80 million of them have begun pondering retirement – especially in terms of where they plan on living in their retirement. Some plan to stay put while others will be moving to the ocean or the mountains.

 

Estimates show that 7.5 million Americans own second homes and have an annual income of a relatively modest $46,000. The most popular second-home locations are no more than two or three hours by car or plane from the buyer’s primary residence, which generally means easy access to children and grandchildren.

 

For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800 or 1-800-262-8442. Email - [email protected] or visit their web site at www.SummitRealEstate.com. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field.  Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  

Some Tips of Negotiating your Real Estate Purchases

by Allison Simson & Joyce Nenninger

Question: We are going to be buying a home this summer and have been getting advice from friends about how to make an intelligent offer on a property. We don’t want to look foolish, but on the other hand, we don’t want to pay more than we really have to. What’s the best way to negotiate?

Answer: The purchase of real estate is indeed a negotiated transaction and a little up-front education will help you when it comes time to make that offer.

 

Your offering price should be based on local market conditions and how well the house is priced. Find out how fast homes are selling and whether or not they are selling for close to the asking prices. It hot markets, well-priced homes sell for very close to the list price and in slower-paced markets the gap between the list and sales price may be considerably more.

 

In Summit County, the average number of days that a home was on the market in 1997 was 230 days and the average percent of list to sales price was 96%. These statistics should give you a handle on how to approach a seller with your offer. Keep in mind that the 96% statistic is an average, reflecting the fact that some sellers have stuck to full price with others negotiating more steeply than 4% off of the list price. In my experience, those homes that are perceived to be properly priced will sell closer to list price than those properties that are priced above the market.

 

Your Realtor can help by providing you with comparable sales information and by showing you comparable listings. I feel that the best way to understand value is to be familiar with similar properties that are currently on the market in the same price range. If you miss this important step and blindly make an uneducated offer, you could overpay for a property that is priced too high for the market.

 

Or, you could err in the other direction and make a ridiculously low offer and in doing so you might offend the sellers who then become tough negotiators. An even bigger risk in making an inappropriately low offer is that you could lose the house to another buyer who is better informed and who makes a more reasonable offer.

 

How much you can afford to pay for the house should also be taken into consideration. At the time you make an offer on a house, you should be prequalified for your loan. If you are not currently prequalified, talk to a lender before you make an offer to make sure that you can qualify for the financing you need to complete the purchase. Presenting your offer along with a letter of prequalification from your lender with definitely strengthen your position with the seller.

 

Additionally, find out what you can about the market history of the house, including how long it has been on the market, whether or not the current list price was the original list price and when the last price reduction was made. If the price was reduced some time ago and the house has still not sold, the sellers may be receptive to a lower offer.



 

For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800 or 1-800-262-8442. Email - [email protected] or visit their web site at www.SummitRealEstate.com. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field.  Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  

Older homes and surges in power

by Allison Simson & Joyce Nenninger

Question: We have an older home and seem to have a lot of surges in power. We have purchased a surge protector for our computer but wonder if we need them for our other more expensive appliances.

 

Answer: Homeowners possessing numerous expensive appliances such as VCRs and computers should equip their house with a whole-house surge suppressor rather than individual plug-in surge protectors. Power surges can occur very easily, be it from turning on a home appliance or from receiving an energy surge from a nearby source, and these frequent surges can gradually break down a home's wiring insulation. A whole-house surge suppressor, which several companies will install complete with a $10,000 damage warranty, will offer the best protection for expensive appliances. These suppressors can either be mounted on the circuit break box, mounted under the electric meter, or installed into a snap-in circuit breaker. The level of protection depends on the model, but certain features to look for are the magnitude of the surge that can be dissipated, the speed of reaction, and the amount of voltage that triggers a surge block. Some new suppressors are also designed to protect a home's phone, cable, and modem lines. Ó2008 Information.Inc.



 1-800-262-8442. Email - [email protected] or visit their web site at www.SummitRealEstate.com. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field.  Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  

For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800 or

Challenging the tax assessment on your home

by Allison Simson & Joyce Nenninger

Question: We want to challenge the tax assessment on our home. How can we get some assistance in this?

 

Answer: Although some real estate industry members attest that local home assessors have become more accurate over the years, homeowners who wish to challenge a tax assessment can do so with the help of a real estate practitioner. First, conduct your own comparative research using the area "comps" listed on the assessment slip. Take note especially if your home features fewer bedrooms or baths than the nearby comps. Request a "comparative market analysis" from a trusted practitioner. This data will balance your home against recent area home sales. A professional appraisal could also be conducted at a cost of between $250 and $275. Recent homebuyers should refer to the sales contract for evidence of the home's value. Next, request an "informal conference" with the assessor in order to present your findings. If the results of this meeting are unfavorable, file a formal appeal with the Board of Equalization in the timeline specified. Be aware however, that the board may actually raise your assessment. While a lawyer is not needed at this stage in the process, homeowners who choose to challenge the board may require legal counsel. Ó2008 Information.Inc.

For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800 or 1-800-262-8442. Email - [email protected] or visit their web site at www.SummitRealEstate.com. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field.  Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  

Paying mortgage points on behalf of the buyer

by Allison Simson & Joyce Nenninger

Question: We’re negotiating the sale of our home and are going back and forth with the buyer about paying mortgage points on behalf of the buyer. What do we need to know about paying this fee for the buyer?

 

Answer: When negotiating a real estate transaction, buyers can request that the seller pay all or some of the mortgage points. Typically equivalent to 1 percent of the total loan amount, points are basically fees charged by the lender. Points must be paid in cash at the time of settlement, and potential homebuyers should be aware that points are directly related to the annual percentage rate. When shopping for a mortgage loan, watch for no-point loans and secure a loan at the lowest interest rate possible. However, keep in mind that buyers can also deduct mortgage points from their tax return, whether the seller has paid for them or not.

 

Sellers also stand to benefit from covering mortgage points for the buyer since it reduces their capital gain. In other instances, sellers who've occupied the home for at least two years may not need to reduce their capital gain, especially if profit from the home sale doesn't exceed the statutory dollar amounts of $250,000 or $500,000. However, buyers and sellers who plan to deduct mortgage points should be careful to delineate on the settlement sheet, what figures cover points and loan origination fees. These figures must be calculated as a percentage of the stated principal amount of the loan, and the amount of points charged must correspond to similar mortgage loans in the immediate area. Finally, the loan must be secured by the principal residence and points paid directly by the taxpayer. Be sure to consult your own tax consultant to determine how this information applies to your situation. Ó2008 Information.Inc.

 

For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800 or

1-800-262-8442. Email - [email protected] or visit their web site at www.SummitRealEstate.com. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field.  Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  

When remodeling is not in the budget

by Allison Simson & Joyce Nenninger

Question: Wow, we just got a bid back from a contractor for remodeling our kitchen. There’s no way that we can afford the whole project right now. How should we get started?

 

Answer: Rather than completely renovating their kitchen, some homeowners, particularly those on tighter budgets, tackle smaller jobs, such as reviving their kitchen cabinets. The renovation of cabinets can include refinishing, repainting, and replacing handles and hinges, among other things; and the entire project often costs only a quarter of the price for a complete renovation. Luis Terry, of Best Kitchen Cabinets in Rockville, Md., provides a number of wood and finishing samples to show to homeowners. When actually performing the project, solid wood can be refinished easily, but doors must be stripped and smoothed by hand in a shop. The cabinet's frame must also be finished or painted to match the doors. After the project is completed, the homeowner should polish the wood, and they should prevent buildup of grease or food particles on the cabinets. The entire project can take about two weeks, but most of the work will actually be done at a wood shop. When renovated properly, solid wood cabinets can last 30 to 40 years, says Terry. Ó2008 Information.Inc.

 

For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800 or 1-800-262-8442. Email - [email protected] or visit their web site at www.SummitRealEstate.com. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field.  Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  

Key Factors on deciding what type of home to purchase

by Allison Simson & Joyce Nenninger

Question: We want to buy a home here in Summit County but don’t know where to begin. My wife and I don’t seem to agree on what this house should be like. How do we get started?

 

Answer: Most homebuyers base their decision mainly on price and location, studies show. Other important elements are space, renovated kitchens and bathrooms, a home office, energy efficiency, and modern amenities. Although many of these elements can be added later, some buyers prefer to purchase a house that already contains what they want. When deciding what type of home to buy it can be helpful to make a list of both wanted and needed features in a home--this list, which can include any specialized features, can easily be generated by first considering unappealing aspects of the home. Buyers should give their real estate agent a copy of the list, and they should take a copy with them whenever they are out house hunting. Nonetheless, buyers often find themselves swayed by a house's ambiance and forgetful of their carefully constructed list. While atmosphere is important, to ensure a long-lasting happiness in the home, it is best for buyers to make sure it actually contains some of the features they want. Ó2008 Information.Inc.

For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800 or 1-800-262-8442. Email - [email protected] or visit their web site at www.SummitRealEstate.com. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field.  Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  

First steps to see if you can afford a new home

by Allison Simson & Joyce Nenninger

Question: We have dreamed of owning our own home, but are afraid that we don’t have enough cash. How can we be sure that we can “swing it”?

 

Answer: The timing is great to buy a home in Summit County. There is an increased emphasis on affordable housing with a number of new projects coming on the market and there are quite a few programs available for purchasing with a low downpayment.

 

Perhaps you just got a new promotion and your income is now high enough that you are concerned about paying too much in taxes, but don’t have sufficient cash tucked away for a downpayment. Or your first child is on the way and you are out-growing your small condo.

 

A knowledgeable Realtor can help you as a first-time buyer to locate the resources you need for a move. The first step is to sit down with a Realtor who is familiar with the loan programs that are available. You will need cash for a downpayment and an income that is high enough to meet the lender’s qualifying standards. A Realtor can often help find ways to minimize the amount of cash needed with a little help from either the sellers or the loan company. You may be able to include some of the closing costs in your mortgage and structure the transaction so that it works for you. If you feel ready to buy your first home, contact a Realtor who can assist you in making your dream a reality.

 

 For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800 or 1-800-262-8442. Email - [email protected] or visit their web site at www.SummitRealEstate.com. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field.  Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  

Tenant Evaluation: Key to Successful Property Management

by Allison Simson & Joyce Nenninger

Tenant Evaluation: Key to Successful Property Management

 

Question: We are going to put our Dillon condo onto a long-term rental program and feel that we can handle obtaining the rentals by ourselves. Naturally we don’t want to rent to anyone who won’t take care of our place. How can we screen prospective tenants?

 

Answer: According to Peter Meer in a recent article in the Colorado Realtor News, a key ingredient to successful residential property management is the selection of a quality tenant. Remember that under federal and state law, there are 10 protected classes: disability, race, creed, color, sex, marital status, familial status, religion, national origin and ancestry.

 

Bottom-line, evaluate a prospective tenant on the basis of identification, employment, income, rental and credit history, and not on any other basis.

 

All residents that will be living in the unit 18 years of age or older should have a current ID picture issued by a government agency. At the signing of the lease make a photocopy of this identification. Be cautious of the would-be renter who cannot provide this.

 

As regards income, there is no standard level within the industry. A safe standard would be that the resident’s income be three times (after taxes) the rent on the unit they plan to occupy. You can verify income by: 1) current pay check stub, 2) self-employed previous tax return or W-2, 3) interest or dividends from investments, CD’s, trust funds, etc., 4) social security or disability payments and 5) alimony and/or child support. For items 3,4 and 5 a variety of documentation may be requested.

 

Rental history is an extremely important item and two years verifiable rental history is a good norm. Tenants may try to falsify this critical information. They may provide phone numbers of friends or relatives who will give them an outstanding reference. If the applicant was a homeowner for the previous two years, you may want to require proof of sale, closing statement or proof of satisfactory mortgage payments. Should the prospective tenant not have a rental or homeowners history, you might consider increasing the security deposit.

 

A credit report should be done on each applicant. If the applicant has no credit or poor credit you might consider a larger security deposit. If you turn down the applicant due to poor credit, he/she is entitled to know the name of the credit reporting agency and how to reach them, and you must tell them the reason you have turned them down.

 

As a property manager you have the legal right to determine the number of occupants for the property. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has, over the years, attempted to define the correct number of people per housing unit on the basis of number of people per bedroom per square footage and most recently per number of rooms. There’s no federal, state or city law that truly defines the correct number. The safest way to go is to set a standard for you and apply it uniformly. For example, you could have a policy of two persons per bedroom with the exception of children under the age of five. Critical to all of this, no matter what our standard is (be sure it is reasonable), apply it uniformly or you could be in violation of fair housing laws.

 

In regard to the first month’s rent and the security deposit, it is very common to require certified funds for both upon signing the lease.

 

Applicants may be denied occupancy for the following (but not limited to) reasons; falsification of application, incomplete application, insufficient rental or employment history or a criminal record.

 

If you are a property manager acting for another, remember that you are the agent of the owner. You now have a fiduciary responsibility to place the best tenant available in that client’s property. Failure to use a reasonable tenant evaluation process could create a liability for you, the property manager. Bottom-line – don’t put just anybody in the property. Be certain that the new tenants meet reasonable standards.

For answers to your real estate questions, call Allison at 970-468-6800 or 1-800-262-8442. Email - [email protected] or visit their web site at www.SummitRealEstate.com. Allison is a long time local in Summit County. Summit Real Estate – The Simson/Nenninger Team is located at the Dillon Ridge Marketplace. Allison’s long-time residency and years of real estate experience can help you make the most of any buying or selling situation. She’s a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), the highest designation awarded to a Realtor in the residential sales field.  Her philosophy is simple, whether buying or selling, she understands that the most important real estate transaction is yours.  

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Summit Real Estate
The Bright Choice
330 Dillon Ridge Way, Suite 10
Dillon CO 80435
970-468-6800
800-262-8442
Fax: 970-468-2195

Allison Simson, Owner/Broker, is a licensed Colorado Real Estate Broker