Central Arvada Condo Just Listed by Carrie Lovingier

6310 Oak St #107This spacious 2-bedroom, 2-bath ranch-style condo at 6310 Oak Street (Unit 107) is within central Arvada’s Grace Place subdivision, built in 1999. The master bedroom features a huge walk-in closet with built-in shelving, and the kitchen has a bar/counter overlooking the living room. Being a garden-level unit, this condo has a private patio. It has a full size washer & newer dryer, a newer range and newer hot water heater. The building has a brand new roof. The complex is adjacent to Allendale Park, close to Ralston Recreation Area & near bus & light rail. The HOA fee is only $145 per month, and there’s plenty of guest parking. You’ll be only 15 minutes from downtown Denver or downtown Golden, and 36 minutes from DIA.  Casinos are 45 minutes away, and skiing is just an hour away. View a narrated video tour at www.ArvadaCondo.info, then call listing agent Carrie Lovingier at 303-907-1278 for a private showing.


Real Estate Related Email Scams Are Proliferating

Judging from my own email, there has been a huge spike recently in email scams targeting real estate agents and their clients. For several months I have been getting Real_Estate_Today_bylineemails with subject lines such as “Clear to Close” or “Document Delivery Notice,” with links to “View Documents.”

Many of the emails appear to have a PDF attachment, but when you click on the attachment, then you see a link to “open” that PDF.  I worry that some of my colleagues or their clients might fall prey to this or similar scams.

DocuSign is a well-known software for signing real estate documents, and often the email asks me to click on a link to view a DocuSign contract or settlement statement for some transaction it doesn’t identify and that I wasn’t expecting. One should never click on that link. This can be tempting to an unaware agent.

I can’t tell you what exactly the scam is because I haven’t clicked on any of those links. If any of you readers have clicked on such links, I’d like you to share your experience with me.

Another popular scam involves sending an email giving buyers wiring instructions for their down payment. In many cases buyers’ money was lost forever.  These emails might appear to be from your agent or title company, but they aren’t.  Always call your agent or title company to verify any such email.

Our office has a business subscription to Microsoft Office 365, and often my agents and I receive emails aimed at compromising our Office 365 accounts. The subject line is often “Account Login Attempt,” and the text claims that someone knows my login details and has used it to access my email account. The text of the email contains my email address to make it seem authentic. It goes on to say that a lock has been placed on my email account and that I need to click on a link to restore access. Of course I ignore and delete these messages. How many of my colleagues (and readers of this column) have fallen victim to such emails?  I’d like to hear from them/you.

There’s a simple way to identify links you should not click on. Float your cursor over the link (don’t click!) to display the true link address. What you saw in the message is likely not what you would get if you click on it! Often it will be for a web address from a foreign country, whose 2-letter initials take the place of .com.

2017 Home Sales Will Hit Record Again, Despite Reported ‘Low Inventory’

One of the most persistent myths about our real estate market is that not enough people are putting their homes on the market, resulting in “record low inventory.”


How, then, since there are so few homes on the market, does one explain that the number of homes sold has set a record every year since 2013? In the chart above, 2017 is shown slightly lower than 2016, but that doesn’t include the 1,387 that closed since the end of November. Also, there are 2,400 listings that have been under contract for more than 30 days, the majority of which are bound to close before Dec. 31st. Another 3,000 listings have been under contract less than 30 days, and many of those will close by Dec. 31st, too.  So, the number of 2017 sold listings will probably end up over 65,000.

Active listings and DOM      How to explain the record number of sales when there are so few active listings? It’s really quite simple. As shown in the table at left, the median days on market (“DOM”) for new listings is less than half what it was five years ago and is showing no signs of rising, which explains why the number of active listings keep declining. What about December? The numbers aren’t in yet, but, judging from the last three years, when median days on market was 16 and 17, you could speculate that half the homes put on the market this week will also be under contract before the end of the 2017.

The statistics I’ve been quoting are for the total metro MLS (REcolorado.com), but Denver and Jefferson County are as hot or hotter.  Denver’s median days on market for November was 14, and Jeffco’s median days on market was 12.


One Month Left to Sell Before Possible Tax Hike

Real_Estate_Today_byline    If either version of the GOP tax bills is enacted, nearly 20% of Colorado homeowners who sell their home would be subject to capital gains tax next year who are not subject to it this year. That’s how many of us have lived in our homes more than two but less than five years.

Currently, you only need to have lived in your home for 2 of the 5 years preceding a sale to enjoy a $250,000 (single) or $500,000 (if married) exemption on capital gains. That changes to 5 of the past 8 years under both bills. For a typical $100,000 gain in value, that computes to nearly a $20,000 tax hike. (The Senate version only requires you to be under contract by Dec. 31, whereas the House version requires that you close.)

So, if you are planning to sell before you’ve lived in your current home for at least 5 years, it would be a good idea to put it on the market immediately. Fortunately, as I’ve demonstrated in previous columns, December is a pretty good month for putting a home on the market.  We know how to make it happen, so call us.

Also at risk: the deductibility of property taxes, state income tax, and the mortgage interest deduction. The estate tax, which only applies to the top 0.2%, would be cut in both versions and eliminated by 2024 if the House version prevails — a billion-dollar windfall to heirs of the top 0.1%.

If you’re thinking of buying an electric or hybrid vehicle, you should do that before year end, too, because the $2,500 to $7,500 tax credit (based on battery size) is also being eliminated. It’s not too late to take delivery of a new Tesla Model S or Model X, or Chevy Volt by year’s end and get that full tax credit plus Colorado’s $5,000 credit (which does not go away in 2018). I can secure you an additional $1,000 on either Tesla model, plus free supercharging.  Call me at 303-525-1851.

Just Listed: 4-Bedroom Townhome Near Downtown Golden

1060 Cottonwood     This 4-bedroom, 3½-bath home at 1060 Cottonwood Circle with main-floor master was just listed by Andrew Lesko. Adjacent to the Harmony Village co-housing community and a stone’s throw from Fossil Trace golf course, this is a high-end home with hardwood and tile floors, a gourmet kitchen, and more. Just listed at $675,000. Find more pictures and a narrated video tour at www.CottonwoodVillas.info, then come to Andrew’s open house, Saturday, Dec. 9th, 1-4 pm, or call him at 720-550-2064 for a private showing.


Golden Real Estate Has a Record of Success in Jefferson County & Denver

Our Agents Sold 49 Listings in 2017 through November.  53% of our listings sold above their listing prices. Only 31% had to settle for less than the listing price. Our median days on market (DOM) was 6.

GRE's 2017 Listing stats

We Also Closed 36 Buyer Sides. 64% of our buyers were able to buy their homes for less than asking price. Only 25% of them paid above the listing price.

GRE's 2017 Buyer Stats

Wouldn’t You Like  Us on Your Side?  Call 303-525-1851 for a free in-home consultation!


If You’re a Veteran, You Owe It to Yourself to Consider Using a VA Loan

Real_Estate_Today_bylineAs I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a mortgage broker — frankly, I don’t think real estate agents should be in that business — but I know enough about VA loans to say that any veteran purchasing a home with a mortgage should ask their lender whether a VA loan might be right for them.

This is particularly true for veterans with a 10% or greater disability, because for them the VA funding fee is waived, making a VA loan an easy choice over a conventional, FHA or even a jumbo loan.

A VA jumbo loan is one that is in excess of the conforming limit, which varies by county (the limit in Jeffco, for example is $493,350). You may think that the VA loan limit is that amount, but that’s merely the limit for 100% financing. You can borrow much more than that amount — up to $1.5 million — as long as you put down at least 25% of the difference between the purchase price and the VA limit.

The following useful information about VA loans was gleaned from the VA’s website:

VA logoVA home loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies. VA guarantees a portion of the loan, enabling your lender to provide you with more favorable terms, including:

  • No down payment as long as the sales price doesn’t exceed the appraised value.
  • No private mortgage insurance premium requirement.
  • VA rules limit the amount you can be charged for closing costs.
  • Closing costs may be paid by the seller.
  • The lender can’t charge you a penalty fee if you pay the loan off early.
  • VA may be able to provide you some assistance if you run into difficulty making payments.

You should also know that:

  • You don’t have to be a first-time homebuyer.
  • You can reuse the benefit.
  • VA-backed loans are assumable, as long as the person assuming the loan qualifies.

You must have satisfactory credit [Wells Fargo requires a credit score above 600], sufficient income, and a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to be eligible for a VA-guaranteed home loan. The home must be for your own personal occupancy [not for a rental or investment property]. The eligibility requirements to obtain a COE are listed below for service members, veterans, spouses and other eligible beneficiaries.

VA home loans can be used to:

  • Buy a home or a condominium unit in a  VA-approved project
  • Build a home
  • Simultaneously purchase and improve a home
  • Improve a home by installing energy-related features or making energy efficient improvements
  • Buy a manufactured home on land
  • To refinance an existing VA-guaranteed or direct loan for the purpose of a lower interest rate
  •  To refinance an existing mortgage loan or other indebtedness secured by a lien of record on a residence owned and occupied by the veteran as a home.

Fortunately, a VA regional loan center — one of only nine in the country — is located in Lakewood, at 155 Van Gordon Street. They should be able to provide you with the required Certificate of Eligibility.

Eligibility (visit http://benefits.va.gov/homeloans for more information) varies by the type and length of your military service, whether you are disabled or a surviving spouse who has not remarried.

Come to our VA Homebuyer Workshop Tonight!

Whether a VA loan is right for you is not always easy to determine, so Golden Real Estate has partnered with Wells Fargo to host a VA Homebuyer Workshop this Thursday, November 30th, from 6 to 7 pm, at VFW Post 1, 841 Santa Fe Drive, Denver.  RSVP to Bernie Bernfeld at 303-273-6373, or call or text me at 303-525-1851.

Bernie specializes in VA loans for Wells Fargo and would be happy to answer your questions if you can’t attend the workshop.