This brick ranch at 3240 Arbutus Street, Golden, is in the Applewood Lane subdivision on the north side of 32nd Avenue across from the Manning and Maple Grove Schools. It’s a self-managed HOA with annual dues of only $120 to cover common area maintenance. I call it a “cul-de-sac” neighborhood because there is no through traffic, just neighbors getting to and from their homes. This home, just listed for $695,000, has 3 bedrooms plus a study that could be a 4th bedroom and 2½ baths on the main floor. The basement is unfinished except for the fully installed and working 4th bathroom. It is so ready-to-finish that there are framed walls and 25 sheets of drywall waiting to be installed! The sellers are the original owners of this 1993 home. Find more details, photographs and a narrated walk-through plus drone footage of this home at www.ApplewoodHome.info. Open Sunday, May 12th, 11am-2pm.
Last week I wrote about the challenges facing buyers who must sell their current home in order to buy a new home and are not sure how to accomplish that.
This week, I’m going to address the different challenges facing renters, including first-time home buyers.
There are many programs for first-time home buyers, but did you know that anyone can qualify as a first-time home buyer if he or she hasn’t owned a home for at least three years? You could have owned many homes in your lifetime, but if you haven’t owned one in the past three years, you can take advantage of these special programs.
A common misconception among people who want to buy a home is that a 20% down payment is required, but that is simply not true. Another misconception is that if you put down less than 20%, you’d be required to pay for mortgage insurance. There are conventional loans available with as little as 3% down that don’t require mortgage insurance. That differs from the 3.5% minimum down payment required for FHA loans which do require mortgage insurance which continues for the life of the loan.
One of our preferred lenders, Scott Lagge of Movement Mortgage, compares the low costs of available programs to what renters pay when they lease a condo or home. Typically, renters need to come up with the first and last month’s rent plus a damage deposit. Some first-time home buyer programs have out-of-pocket costs as low as $500. Moreover, your partially tax-deductible mortgage payments could be as low or lower than what you’d pay in totally non-deductible rent.
When I bought my first home in Golden in 1997, I was single but I had a good friend (also renting) who agreed to rent a room from me if I bought a suitable home. I found a ranch-style home with a walk-out basement that worked perfectly. He lived in the basement, I had a main-floor master suite, and he had access to the kitchen. We both saved money over renting, and I was building equity in my home. This is a formula that can work for anyone – if they have someone they’d like to have living in their basement!
There are programs from CHFA (the Colorado Housing & Finance Authority) that offer a grant of up to a 3% of the first mortgage loan amount, or up to 4% through a “silent” second mortgage that accrues no interest and requires no payment until the first mortgage is paid off, either at maturity, refinance or resale.
Scott claims that the best first-time homebuyer program of all is his company’s Dream to Own Loan. This loan includes a silent second of 4% of the purchase price to be used for down payment and closing costs. This is the closest thing to a no-money-down loan that Scott’s aware of for first-time buyers. There’s no mortgage insurance and the rates are competitive. Call Scott at 303-944-8552 for more details.
Another great option for renters is a rent-with-option-to-buy program which you can read about at www.HomePartners.com. The way it works is that you only have to qualify to rent a home which that company then purchases so you can rent it. They’ll pay up to $500,000 for almost any home (except a condo) that’s on the MLS once you agree to rent it at a pre-determined rental amount based on the purchase price. You can rent the home for up to five years, knowing in advance what your rent will be for all five years, but at any time you can buy that home at a price that is also agreed to in advance. Call Golden Real Estate to apply for this program.
That program is also a good option when your credit isn’t strong enough to buy right away but you know it will be better within five years. You can also use the program for the peace of mind that comes from knowing what you’ll pay in rent for five years and that you won’t have to move.
It’s also a good program for people relocating to our area who see a home they may want to buy but feel better renting it with an option to buy it later on if they like it — but they don’t have to.
You’ll love the remoteness and quietness of this home’s location at 1296 Golden Gate Drive, just 12 miles from downtown Golden! The drone footage at the end of my narrated video tour at www.FoothillsHome.info captures that remoteness well. Built in 1997, this 2,798-square-foot home on two acres is more than your typical foothills cabin, with its oversized 2-car garage, its great room with its freshly refinished hardwood floor, wood burning stone fireplace and vaulted ceiling. There are three decks, too — the wraparound main-floor deck with direct access from the master suite, and two smaller decks upstairs, outside both bedrooms and the loft. Because this home’s in Gilpin County, the property taxes are only $718/year. Just listed at $650,000.
After you’ve watched the video tour, come to the open house on Saturday, May 4th, 11 am to 2 pm. Or call 303-525-1851 for a showing!
Have you faced this dilemma? You want to buy a home that better fits your family’s needs, but you are stymied by the need to sell your current home to pay for the next one. So you stay put in a home that doesn’t quite meet your needs.
There are several ways to tackle the challenge of buying a home when it depends on selling your current home. Let’s look at different scenarios based, first of all, on the amount of equity you have in your current home.
If you own your home “free and clear” and are downsizing to a lesser priced home, the easiest path is to take out a home equity line of credit (or HELOC) on your current home. This kind of loan is easier to obtain than a standard mortgage, especially when done through a credit union. Note: You must do this before going on the market.
When I obtained a HELOC from a credit union, they didn’t even charge for title insurance and did only a “drive-by” appraisal, and the closing took place at the loan officer’s desk with no closing fee. It couldn’t have been easier.
If you have a mortgage on your home but still have substantial equity, a HELOC can provide the cash you need for a 20% down payment, which is what’s required to get the most favorable interest rate on the mortgage for the home you’re buying. You would no longer be a cash buyer for your new home, and the mortgage lender for your home purchase may make the sale of your current home a condition for approving the loan on your new home, depending on the size of your income and the ratio of your debts to your income. But that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed in buying the new home.
Under the right circumstances, a seller and his/her listing agent will consider an offer that is contingent on the sale of the buyer’s current home. I have succeeded in this process as a buyer’s agent by showing that the buyer’s home is ready to be listed immediately and will be priced to sell quickly based on a market analysis.
Don’t expect, however, to win a bidding war against non-contingent buyers. You can avoid bidding wars and succeed with a contingent offer by looking only at homes that have been on the market over two weeks. Your agent can set up an email alert with that being one of the search criteria. Then be sure to include in the contract the price that you are going to list your home and submit with it a market analysis demonstrating that it is priced to sell quickly. That market analysis should include a spreadsheet of comparable homes sold in the last six months, showing days on market, and a price per square foot that is higher than the price per square foot of your home at the listing price specified in your offer. Your agent could even enter the home on the MLS as an “incoming” (not yet active) listing, complete with high quality photos, showing that you’re ready to “pull the trigger” immediately after your contract is accepted on the new home.
The contract to purchase your new home could have a closing date of 45 to 60 days, and if you have priced your current home correctly, you should get multiple offers and be under contract within, say, four days with a buyer who has agreed to match the closing date on your new home.
One of the deadlines in a contract to buy a home is the contingency deadline, after which you would lose your earnest money if you fail to close on your purchase. That date should not be the day of closing but maybe a week earlier. If the contract to purchase your current home has the same date for that last opportunity for your buyer to terminate and get their earnest money back, you can have some peace of mind about everything working out well.
When I write a contingent contract, I like to add a provision that the seller can terminate if my buyer’s home is not under contract within, say, a week or 10 days after going under contract. That increases the likelihood of acceptance.
(I’ll write about the challenges facing renters who want to become home owners in next week’s column.)
This 5-bedroom, 3-bath home is at 594 Wyoming Circle, Golden. (See below.)It was just listed at $675,000. You’ll love the updated kitchen with hardwood floor, slab granite counters, pantry, and gas fireplace! The updated master bath is also a highlight, with its fabulous shower and free-standing soaking tub. The stamped concrete patio has an inlaid vegetable garden and pergola. Vaulted ceilings give this home a spacious, welcoming feel which you and your guests will appreciate. And it’s in Golden proper! New exterior paint and roof, too. A bicycle-pedestrian trail to Downtown Golden is 1/2 block from the front door, and a trailhead for the North Table Mountain Open Space Park is a block away. Open House is Saturday, April 27th, 11-2. or call 303-525-1851 for a private showing. See interior pix and a narrated walk-through at www.MesaMeadowsHome.com.
This event on Saturday, April 20th, was a big success. Here’s a video taken by Jim Smith at the height of activity:
In last week’s column, I offered to set up Free Neighborhood Alerts for any reader who wanted to keep track of real estate activity in his or her subdivision or larger area. The response was overwhelming. I myself have received over 40 requests, keeping me so busy that I’ve had to make time to write this week’s column!
I’m not complaining. My broker associates and I are pleased to make this service available to everyone who wants it, and we’ve become pretty efficient at creating these free alerts.
We’re able to fulfill more requests, so feel free to ask for your own neighborhood alert. All our broker associates are able to create these highly personalized reports. Just give us your address and the boundaries of the area you wish to monitor. The initial alert will tell you all the active, under contract, sold, withdrawn and expired listings in that area, going back 90 or 180 days or longer. Future alerts will come to you within 15 minutes of a new or changed listing being entered on the MLS. You will literally be up-to-the-minute in your knowledge of real estate activity in your neighborhood!
I’m happy to handle every request I get from readers, but if you know one of our broker associates, feel free to direct your request to him or her. They are more than happy to provide this free service.
Send your requests by email only, please. Here are the names and email addresses of our broker associates:
Chuck Brown — Chuck@GoldenRealEstate.com
Kristi Brunel — Kristi@GoldenRealEstate.com
David Dlugasch — David@GoldenRealEstate.com
Debbi Hysmith — Debbi@GoldenRealEstate.com
Norm Kowitz — Norm@GoldenRealEstate.com
Andrew Lesko — Andrew@GoldenRealEstate.com
Carrie Lovingier — Carrie@GoldenRealEstate.com
Carol Milan — Carol@GoldenRealEstate.com
Jim Swanson — Swanson@GoldenRealEstate.com
In addition to setting up the neighborhood alert for you, we will also send you valuation reports on your home using two different software packages that you will find are much more accurate than, say, the Zillow “Zestimates” which home owners are used to seeing. We can also provide a spreadsheet of active, under contract and sold listings that are comparable to your own home as a double-check on those valuations.