Leading Indicator

We are watching close to see where the real estate market is headed. Anecdotally we can tell you that the vast majority of transactions that are under contract are still closing. We have seen very few transactions cancel because of employment issues or the wild swings of the stock market.

An interesting leading indicator was announced this week that sheds some light as to where the market is headed. Each week the Mortgage Bankers Association releases their index which tracks new mortgage applications.

They track both purchase applications and refinance applications. To no one’s surprise, the index was down this week but not as much as you may have guessed.

New purchase applications were down 11% compared to the same week this last year. Refinance activity fell more sharply, down 34%.

This is a statistic we will watch closely as time goes on.

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Posted on March 27, 2020 at 9:35 am
Fort Collins | Posted in Fun Facts, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , ,

The Life Expectancy of Your Home

Every component of your home has a lifespan. Common questions asked by homeowners include when to replace the flooring or how long to expect their siding to last. This information can help when budgeting for improvements or deciding between repairing and replacing when the time comes. We’re all familiar with the cliché: They just don’t build things like they used to. And while this may be true when it comes to brick siding or slate roofing, lifespans of other household components have increased in recent years. Here are the life expectancies of the most common household items (courtesy of NAHB):

 

Appliances: Among major appliances, gas ranges have a longer life expectancy than things like dishwashers and microwaves.

Appliance Life Expectancy
 Oil-burning Furnace  20 years
 Heat Pump  16 years
 Gas Range  15 years
 Electric range / Refrigerator / Dryer  13 years
 Electric / Gas Water Heater  10 years
 Garbage disposal  10 years
 Dishwasher / Microwave / Mini Fridge   9 years

 

Kitchen & Bath: When choosing your countertops, factor in the life expectancies of different materials.

Kitchen / Bath Item Life Expectancy
 Wood / Tile / Natural Stone Countertops  Lifetime
 Toilets (parts will require maintenance)  50+ years
 Stainless steel sink  30+ years
 Bathroom faucet  20+ years
 Cultured marble countertops  20 years
 Kitchen faucet  15 years

 

Flooring: If you’re looking for longevity, wood floors are the way to go. Certain rooms in your home will be better suited for carpeting, but you can expect they’ll need replacing within a decade.

Flooring Material Life Expectancy
 Wood / Bamboo  Lifetime
 Brick Pavers / Granite / Marble / Slate  100+ years
 Linoleum  25 years
 Carpet  8 – 10 years

 

Siding & Roofing: When choosing roofing and siding for your home, climate and maintenance level factor into the life expectancy of the material. However, brick siding and slate roofing are known to be dependable for decades.

Siding / Roofing Material  Life Expectancy
 Brick Siding  100+ years
 Aluminum Siding  80 years
 Slate / Tile Roofing  50+ years
 Wood Shingles  30 years
 Wood Siding  10 – 100 years (depending on climate)

 

Are extended warranties warranted?

Extended warranties, also known as service contracts or service agreements, are sold for all types of household items from appliances to electronics. They cover service calls and repairs for a specified time beyond the manufacturer’s standard warranty.

You will have to consider whether the cost is worth it to you. For some, it brings a much-needed peace of mind when making such a large purchase. Also consider if the cost outweighs the value of the item. In some cases, it may be less expensive to replace a broken appliance than to pay for insurance or a warranty.


Posted on March 27, 2020 at 8:00 am
Fort Collins | Posted in Homeowner, Living | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What Makes A Home “Modern”?

Sleek, sustainable design, open concept floor plans, minimalism, and eco-conscious thinking are defining characteristics of modern architecture. Recently, modern design concepts in home building have become more popular, and the resurgence of interest in modern real estate has followed suit.  

 

These characteristics are what define Contemporary Architecture: 

 

Clean geometric linesAt the heart of modernist values lies the simplification of form. Modernist homes have a very ‘linear’ feel with straight lines and exposed building materials. Furnishings and adornment reflect this value, incorporating vibrant, geometric and abstract designs. 

 

Smaller, multifunctional spaces: With the Tiny House subculture consistently on the rise, and the new generation of homeowners expressing a desire to move away from the sprawling dwellings of the past, multifunctional living spaces are a must for modern homes. Built-in storage is commonly used to reflect this multi-purpose; space-saving feel. 

 

Eco-conscious: Modern homes are wellsuited for technological and green upgrades, as well as eco-friendly building materials and energy-efficient practices, and flat roofs to accommodate solar power. A new trend is to bring nature into each room for a calming, soothing effect. Large windows are abundant in modern architecture, allowing light to fill and expand the interior space, bringing the natural world indoors. 

 

Post-and-beam structure: Exposed wood posts and ceiling beams are classic elements in modern architecture. This style of building has been around for thousands of years; however, modern homes significantly emphasize the structure, rather than hiding the bones behind drywall. In new modern homes, the post-and-beam structure can be made of concrete, iron or other materials. The visible horizontal and vertical beams reinforce the clean geometric lines of the space. 

 

Open concept:  Modern design strives to “open” the space by eliminating enclosed rooms. A common tactic is to open the kitchen and dining room into an open living space, allowing the spaces to flow into one another. 

 

Minimalism: With open and connected modernist spaces, careful curation of furniture, adornments, and household objects is paramount to incorporating the modernist aesthetic. Generally, modernist homes have art and furniture that reflects the clean geometric lines and the natural materials of the architecture, leaving less space for clutter. Minimalist philosophies encourage few household items that serve both form and function, which work well within this design and architectural style. 


Posted on March 26, 2020 at 8:00 am
Fort Collins | Posted in Buyers & Sellers, Colorado Housing | Tagged , ,

Spectacular Ranch Home is Stanton Bridge in Fort Collins!

Your new home awaits at 848 Terra View Circle in Fort Collins on over 3/4 acre lot. This beautiful home has been updated on the inside and outside. Freshly painted exterior and new roof gives this home amazing curb appeal. Enter the home to refinished wood floors, new carpet and fresh interior paint. The chef in the family will love to entertain in this kitchen with gorgeous granite countertops and backsplash, gas cooktop, double ovens and an island! The finished walkout basement boasts a full wet bar with refrigerator, electric cooktop, and dishwasher. Relax in front of two separate fireplaces in the home or tinker on your toys in the heated garage! Are you looking for a move in ready home with some elbow room? This is it! Check out the 3D Tour to walk through the home in detail! Contact Rondi duPont at (970) 401-0123 for your private showing for more information or click the link below for more details.

http://windermerenoco.com/listing/107279795


Posted on March 24, 2020 at 4:27 pm
Fort Collins | Posted in Fort Collins Real Estate, Virtual Tours | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What ‘s My Home Worth? The Downside to Home Valuation Tools

What’s your home worth?

 

It is a seemingly simple question. However, discovering the worth of your home is more complicated than it might seem. Sites like Zillow, Redfin, Eppraisal, and others have built-in home valuation tools that make it seem easy, but how accurate are they? And if you get three different answers, which one do you believe? Online valuation tools have become a pivotal part of the home buying and selling process, but they’ve proven to be highly unreliable in certain instances. What these valuation tools have made clear is that real estate agents are as vital to the process of pricing a home as they ever were—and maybe even more so now.

 

Every online valuation tool has its limitations. Most are readily acknowledged by their providers, such as “Zestimate” from Zillow, which clearly states that it offers a median error rate of 4.5%. That may not sound like a lot, but keep in mind that 4.5% amounts to a difference of about $31,500 for a $700,000 home. For Redfin and Trulia, there are similar variances. When you dig deeper into these valuation tools, it’s no wonder that there are discrepancies. They rely on a range of different sources for information, some more reliable than others.

 

Redfin’s tool pulls information directly from multiple listing services (MLSs) across the country. Others negotiate limited data-sharing deals with those same services, relying on public and homeowners’ records alike. This can lead to gaps in coverage. These tools can serve as helpful pieces of the puzzle when buying or selling a home, but the acknowledged error rate is a reminder of how dangerous a heavy reliance on them can be.

 

Nothing compares to the level of detail and knowledge a professional real estate agent offers when pricing a home. An algorithm can’t possibly know about the unique characteristics of neither a home nor its neighborhood. Curious about what improvements you can make to get top dollar or how buyer behaviors are shaping the market? They cannot provide an answer there, either. That can only be delivered by a trusted professional whose number one priority is getting you the best price in a time frame that meets your needs.

 

If you’re curious about your home’s value, Windermere offers a tool that provides a series of evaluations on your property and the surrounding market. And once you’re ready, we’re happy to connect you with a Windermere agent who can clarify this information and perform a Comparative Market Analysis to get an even more accurate estimate of what your home could fetch in today’s market.


Posted on March 24, 2020 at 9:00 am
Fort Collins | Posted in Buyers & Sellers, For Sellers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Finding Your New Home in Four Steps

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or you currently own and are looking for a new home, the ideas below will help you better navigate that all-important first step: Finding a property that is both appealing and affordable.

 

The search for a new home always starts out with a lot of excitement. But if you haven’t prepared, frustration can soon set in, especially in a competitive real estate market. The biggest mistake is jumping into a search unfocused, just hoping to “see what’s available.” Instead, we recommend you first take some time to work through the four steps below.

 

Step 1: Talk to your agent

Even if you’re just thinking about buying or selling a house, start by consulting your real estate agent. An agent can give you an up-to-the-minute summary of the current real estate market, as well as mortgage industry trends. They can also put you in touch with all the best resources and educate you about the next steps, plus much more. If you are interested in finding an experienced agent in your area, we can connect you here.

 

Step 2: Decide how much home you can afford

It may sound like a drag to start your home search with a boring financial review, but when all is said and done, you’ll be glad you did. With so many people competing to buy what is available, it’s far more efficient to focus your search on the properties you can afford. A meeting or two with a reputable mortgage agent should tell you everything you need to know.

 

Step 3: Envision your future

Typically, it takes at least five years for a home purchase to start paying off financially—which means—the better your new home suits you, the longer you’ll most likely remain living there.

Thinking of your near future, what life events do you anticipate in the next five or six years? If you’re planning to add to the family or change careers, or even rent out a portion of your home to others, share this information with your real estate agent. They will be able to help you evaluate your current and future needs to help find the best home that you can grow into.

 

Step 4: Visualize your ideal home

When it comes to this step, be realistic. It’s easy to get carried away dreaming about all the home features you want. Try listing everything on a piece of paper, then choose the five “must-haves,” and the five “really-wants.”

For more tips, as well as advice geared specifically to your situation, connect with an experienced Windermere Real Estate agent by clicking here.


Posted on March 23, 2020 at 8:51 am
Fort Collins | Posted in Buyers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Economist’s Perspective

Our Chief Economist made a video for all of our clients where he shares his perspective on COVID-19’s impact on housing.  You can watch it by clicking the image below:


Posted on March 20, 2020 at 9:45 am
Fort Collins | Posted in Fun Facts, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Headwind vs. Tailwind

So far the tailwind of historically-low mortgage rates are prevailing over Wall Street and COVID-19 concerns.

Buyers are still active.  Properties are still closing.  Moving trucks are still showing up at people’s homes.

Open house traffic has declined, but we notice plenty of buyers looking for property.  (one of our open houses last weekend had over 40 visitors)

For many, the interest rates are just too good to pass up.

We even see instances of multiple-offer situations for properties priced right in high-demand locations.

Rates today, compared to 4%, equate to not only a monthly savings for those refinancing but also equates to tens of thousands in additional purchase power.

For the average price of a home on the Front Range, the savings is $171 per month and the increased purchase power is $35,811.

Here’s what we expect to happen over the coming months.  Listing inventory and transaction volume will both decline.  We will no doubt see lower activity compared to a year ago.

But thoughts of the market “coming to a screeching halt” can’t be validated because of the historical performance of our market and because of the inherent fundamentals in place.

We will continue to track the numbers and communicate the facts so that you remain well-informed.


Posted on March 13, 2020 at 1:14 pm
Fort Collins | Posted in Fun Facts, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , ,

A History Lesson

With the stock market on a wild ride and the Dow Jones dropping nearly 1,000 points yesterday, it makes some people wonder if the local real estate market might also crash or at least “correct.”

A little history lesson is in order.

Over the last 40 years, the real estate market along the Front Range has averaged 5.5% appreciation per year.

The highest appreciation in one year was 15.9% in 1994.

The lowest ever was -4.0% in 1982.

The last time Wall Street was in turmoil and the stock market was plummeting was 2008.  This was, for many reasons, the worst economy of our lifetime.

That year real estate along the Front Range dropped 2.2%.

Meanwhile that year the Dow Jones fell 33.8%.

Bottom line, our market has no history of crashing or even experiencing a major correction.

Why is that?

The answer is fundamentals.

Our local economy has inherent fundamentals that insulate it from big downturns.

We have an incredibly diverse economy which is not reliant upon a single industry.  We have all the way from health care, to technology, agriculture, oil and gas, major universities, and financial services (just to name a few).

We are a global destination with a major international airport.

Oh, and the quality of life here isn’t too shabby.

Prices of real estate, just like prices of anything, come down to basic economic principles of supply and demand.

Because of our diverse economy and desirable quality of life, there has been strong, consistent demand for housing along the Front Range.

While there may be little bumps along the way, over the long term our market has proven that it performs.


Posted on March 6, 2020 at 11:32 am
Fort Collins | Posted in Fun Facts, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged ,

Beautiful Ranch Style Home in Fort Collins!

Great opportunity at 5845 Venus Ave in Fort Collins for a first-time homebuyer or investor! Beautifully updated kitchen, complete with Frigidaire Gallery stainless steel appliances, new cabinets, backsplash and granite countertops. The main level boasts hand-scraped oak hardwood floors and 3 bedrooms (or 2 bedrooms + an office). The basement has 2 additional bedrooms, a large storage room & laundry room. Both bathrooms are tastefully updated. Large fenced in yard with a patio, deck, shed & separate fenced off garden area with garden boxes. Contact Kailee Harvey at (970) 331-2868 for your private showing for more information or click the link below for more details.

http://windermerenoco.com/listing/106675374


Posted on March 4, 2020 at 4:30 pm
Fort Collins | Posted in Fort Collins Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,