Denver – Downsize with Dignity

Living in Denver for the last (can it be?) 39 years, has shown me a lot about how I, and my clients & friends age.  The included chart  is a great summary of the events, health-wise, that might be indicators of our progression through life.

Knowing the physical aspects of aging can help you better understand and serve those

Denver Downsize

How we age in Denver

above 50 in your life. The good news is that, in absence of disease, normal aging can be a rather benign process. Genetic and environmental as well as lifestyle factors determine how we age. There’s good news about aging. A long life span provides the benefit of a greater perspective on life, self-knowledge, and a new depth to our gratitude. We also become less concerned with what others think about us, except for our physical appearance.

Many life decisions – marriage, child rearing, career, retirement – are settled and are no longer worries. Some might say a pleasure of “settling scores” comes from living well and “outliving those who were mean to us”. Respect for one’s own experiences, feelings, and opinions all contributes to successful aging as does respect for the body through daily exercise and a healthy diet. And we all know, Denver is one of the healthiest cities in America.

If you would like an invitation to our next Downsizing with Dignity presentation please contact me.

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Investing on Your Side of the Fence in Denver

Denver horse properties is not the topic here so lets not get distracted! Below is a sound investment opportunity for anyone who has owned a home and is worried about college tuitions in the future, or just wants a steady, dependable investment. And Lord knows I have been distracted into “trading schemes”, “oil & gas” investments, etc where I really had no business going. Hence our opening line today:

The grass tends to look greener on the other side of the fence. Maybe that’s why some people invest in things they don’t understand. It has been said that the grass is just as hard to mow on the other side of the fence so stay with what your most familiar.Denver

Single-family homes used for rental property give a person a chance to invest in something they understand: a home. They also have distinct advantages over other types of investments.

An investor can borrow up to 80% of the value at fixed interest rates 30 years. The financing creates leverage so that the investor can benefit from the increase in value of the home not just the down payment.

It is reasonable to expect that the home will appreciate while providing tax advantages and practical control that are not available with many other investments. Low housing inventory in many markets has caused rents to increase and low new home growth will make it difficult to keep up with demand.

Consider a $150,000 home purchased for cash that would rent for $1,500 per month. With $18,000 income and allowing for property taxes, insurance and maintenance, it is still reasonable to expect $10,000 net income. There would be an 8% return on investment without considering tax savings or future appreciation compared with 5-year CDs paying less than 2.35% and a 10-year Treasury yield at 2.13%.

An added bonus is the amortization that occurs on the loan as the principal is reduced with each payment. It becomes a forced savings account that increases the equity and isn’t taxable until the property is sold.

The reasonable control has a lot of appeal to many investors who find the volatility of the stock market unacceptable and don’t want the risk associated with alternative investments. Please contact me if you’d like to know more about available opportunities.

Even though our market is drastically different than the example above, the rents make up for it. Denver’s median rent is in the $1400 per month for a 2 bedroom condo, while a 2000 square foot house might rent for over $2000 per month, depending on the neighborhood. Therefore, if you want to investigate buying a rental home as an investment property; for college tuition or other; lets have a chat. Contact me

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Denver Deductible Dilemma

Denver home owners have experienced more than our fair share of insurance claims with the hail we seem to get during the season. And making sure we have the right amount of coverage balanced with the deductible is more math than I care to do in a month. But to be well protected one needs to do that analysis. And folks across the country today are finding that their insurance simply does not cover the losses they are facing. Do the Denver Double check of your coverage with your agent, and remember…

The purpose of insurance is to shift the risk of loss to a company in exchange for a premium. Most policies have a deductible which reduces the amount of the claim that is paid by having the insured share in the first part of the loss.Denver flood insurance

In the process of managing insurance premiums, policy holders often consider higher deductibles to lower the premium. Lower deductibles mean less money out of pocket if a loss occurs but also results in higher premiums. Higher deductibles result in lower premiums but require that the insured bear a larger part of the loss.

A small fire in a $300,000 home that resulted in $2,500 of damage might not be covered if the policy holder has a 1% deductible. If the homeowner can afford to handle the cost of repairs in exchange for cheaper premiums, it might be worth it. On the other hand, if that loss would be difficult for the homeowner, a change in the deductible could be considered.

Homes in high-risk flood areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders require additional flood insurance. However, each homeowner needs to assess the risk of being able to financially sustain a flood loss on their home when flood insurance is not required. The recent events in south Texas and Louisiana are evidence that the unexpected can happen.

It is important to review your deductible and discuss risks with your property insurance agent so that you’re familiar with the amount and make any changes that would be appropriate before a claim is made. The FEMA website has information and frequently asked questions about flood insurance.

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Denver – Downsize or Right-size?

Denver has always been a “younger” community, at least until everyone I know now has grey hair! When did that change? Anyway, in my travels around town, we still seem to have that special sway to our step, an extra energy that emanates from us as we walk and yet I run into folks who want to move Mom in with them from other parts of the country (a move from sea level for someone with COPD is not a good idea). And they prepare to do so by getting a larger home with a separate  entrance and a main floor bedroom. Before we buy that house let’s talk about the possibilities and what is best for Mom or Dad:

AGING IN PLACE: This can be done in two very different ways…

Aging in the COMMUNITY: Everytime I speak with someone who is in this process of downsizing they really do not want to be uprooted and thrown into new surroundings having to find a new dentist or grocery or shoe repair…they like their surroundings. So staying in a comfortable community close to friends, activities and support services, but in a different home, a condo, apartment or a different house, might be the ticket.

AGING IN “MY HOME”: This is the preferred approach, (just ask them) and can be done by modifying the current home to make it less hazardous? Are there services available to help remodel. Just removing throw rugs can help a lot! There is more to it than that but first…

Yet when is it time? Here is a Planning Continuum that may help you…Denver Aging in place












As you can see from this graphic things in our lives can change quickly and if you are the care giver it may be difficult for others who are involved to understand that there is more of an “emergency” than they thought. As an example a simple stumble caused by a rug in a hallway may be an indicator that mom is shuffling her feet not raising them up and stepping. This is something that we notice in our aging parents in Denver and across the country. Yet it may be time to start considering a plan and devising ways to make her current home safer. Stretching carpet, and handrails are good first steps.

Next time: A Primer on HOW WE AGE and things we can watch for in our older friends here in Denver.

And of course, if you want to have a more private evaluation of your needs, this Senior Real Estate Specialist is more than happy to help here in Denver. Just CONTACT ME.


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Your Denver Home’s Equity Could Be the Answer

When I got into real estate here in Denver one of the first things I realized was there were months with nothing and others with plenty. Home sales were good and bad, so I needed some kind of way to fill in the dips, valleys and smooth the road. A Home equity line did the trick. Here is somemore…

A home equity line of credit (known as a HELOC), is a mortgage loan made to homeowners to be used on an as-needed basis. A lender, such as a bank, will approve a borrower for a specified amount based on the equity in their home and all the necessary paperwork is signed to authorize the loan.Denver Home Equity

The line of credit amount is available to the borrower and no interest is due until some or all the money is used. When the money is paid back, the line of credit is again available in full to the borrower.

The specifics of the repayment will depend on the HELOC lender. It may require interest only or it may require amortized payments of principal and interest.

The proceeds from a HELOC can be used to make improvements on the home or anything else such as medical expenses, college tuition or unexpected expenses or other liquidity issues.

Unlike personal credit card interest, the interest on a HELOC may be tax deductible. Your tax advisor will be able to let you know about your situation.

Rates and fees can vary widely on HELOC loans. Borrowers should shop around, compare and get recommendations before deciding on a lender.

The truth is that sometimes folks in Denver use HELOCs for other purposes. One purpose might be to buy an investment property or a college condo; or a kitchen update, or even add on to the house. One thing you cannot do is get a HELOC when your house is on the market for sale. SO make sure you reach out before so we can talk through your plans. CONTACT ME

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Denver & Our Aging Parents – 1 Aging in Place

The myths of aging are astounding to me, even here in Denver! For instance:

“Old People are all the same”!

Actually, all of us have lived very diverse lives and have an amazing collection of experiences and memories that we would love to share with others, even riding up a ridge of a mountain in a blinding thunder snow storm with a string of teenagers on horse back in front of me. I even discovered a map and the name of the mountain last year: Parika Peak and we rode right up the Continental Divide!

Here are some others:

“Families Dump Relatives into Nursing Homes”

“Old equals ill and Disabled”

“Old People are lonely and gradually withdraw”

“Older People Are Richer, Poorer Than Young People”

“Older People Are More Likely to be Victims of a Crime”

“Every Retiree Wants to Live in Florida”

“Older People Don’t Use Technology”

Six Living generations in Denver

Our aging generations

Where do your parents fall on this chart? Mine are long past but in the next installment you will see a chart on planning for their next home and where they are health wise. BTW all elderly folks say their health is GREAT! and I have a chart on that too.

I have found that most folks in Denver want to stay in their home and so we will be adding to this series a number of posts about adapting a home for aging in place. It certainly will not be a comprehensive list but it will give you some ideas, and of course I do have a list of contractors that could help make the changes you might need. One I learned of and never thought about was how throw rugs and runners can cause trips and fall because as one ages the height of the steps we take are lower and lower.

If you want to visit with me about this and my designation of Senior Real Estate Specialist please contact me.

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Which Value Do You Want?

Often, when asked to help someone sell their home, or to just sit and visit, the true value of the conversation ends up being staying in Denver, versus moving across town or to another state. Your decision may be based upon the estimated value that I can provide you (and that may even suffice for an estate!). Should you be thinking it might be time to move, a conversation about real estate might be the best way to determine what the plans really are. But read on, there’s more…

What your home is worth depends on why you ask the question. It could be one value based on a purchase or sale and an entirely different value for insurance purposes.Denver real estate

Fair market value is the price a buyer and seller can agree upon assuming both are knowledgeable, willing and unpressured by extraordinary events. This value is generally indicated by a comparable market analysis done by real estate professionals.

Insured value is determined for insurance coverage. Homeowner policies typically have replacement clauses in them and the cost of demolition, new construction and the added complexities of matching existing construction could exceed the cost of new construction.

Investment value is based on the income it can generate during its useful life. This value is dependent on what kind of yield an investor requires to capitalize the value over time. The formula for this is to divide net operating income by the capitalization rate required by the investor.

The assessed value of a home is used to determine the property taxes the owner must pay. This value is determined by the responsible state government agency.

Homeowners are generally more familiar with their home’s market value. Since it can be lower than the replacement cost, owners should review the insured value with their property insurance agent periodically.

There can be a surprising difference in each of these separate values. It is important to know the purpose that it is going to be used for the value.

With my level of experience ( since 1985) I am often asked to establish a value for a home here in Denver that is being managed by an estate or a trust, and they need to liquidate. A divorce can be another reason to get a value for a home as can the blending of 2 families, or the expansion of another. I have even estimated value for an un-developed oil & gas lease in the DJ Basin. Life as a Realtor here in Denver can be very diverse. So Let’s Have a conversation about real estate. CONTACT ME

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Shorter Term – More Savings

When counseling someone about that next Denver home it always seems to be the question: “How much can I afford?”.Only the most disciplined clients can stay in the 15 year mortgage range of price, but it can be so worth it. And it can also provide the college tuition for later on, simply by providing the equity in your home. Yet that first/second home is about other things, like family & schools, and neighborhoods. So read on…

Whether you’re refinancing your current home or buying a new one, something worth considering is a 15-year loan rather than a 30-year term. The payments will be a little higher but you’ll get a lower interest rate and you’ll build equity much faster.Denver short term

Let’s look at an example of a $300,000 mortgage with the choice of a 30-year term with a 3.92% rate compared to a 15-year term with a 3.2% rate. The payments would be $682.28 higher on the shorter term but the equity would be considerably higher even after you adjust for the higher payments.

Another benefit is that the shorter-term loan creates a forced savings situation where the savings on longer term loan might end up being spent rather than being saved and invested. A conscious decision to pay more in payments could pay big dividends in the future.

30 vs 15 in Denver

When the time comes to “discuss your plans” about whether to re-finance, sell that Denver home and move into something that suits your lifestyle, or to access the equity for improvements, I can aim you at professionals who can help. Just CONTACT ME to start the ball rolling.

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Denver: Be Home Energy Aware

When we first moved to Denver and bought that first house, I was thrilled to have aluminium dual paned windows. Today they would be the first thing torn out, yet there are people who can only afford that house. Extra insulation, and more efficient, dual speed heating systems, even a furnace that looks like a fireplace, have all come along to help us reduce our energy bills. So read on Denver…

After the mortgage payment, the largest homeowner expense is for utilities and the major component is energy. Contributing factors include air leaks, insulation, heating and cooling equipment, water heaters and lighting.Denver Where does my money go.png

Computers, monitors, TVs, cable and satellite boxes, DVRs and power adapters are spinning your electric meter even when they’re not being used. Even though they only represent a small percentage of a home’s total energy consumption, about 3/4 of the electricity is used when the products are turned off.

Unplugging devices can actually make a difference in the size of your electric bill. Plugging several of these offenders into a power strip with a single on/off switch may make the task easier. Most computers have options to put them into sleep mode or even turn when not in use.

The Department of Energy has an Energy Saver Guide and do-it-yourself suggestions.

Here is a offer you might not want to refuse! Anyone who buys a house in metro Denver from me this year will get a free energy/airleak audit from me. This service is known as a “blower test” where air is blown into the home (or sucked out depending on the season) and thermal images are taken with infrared camera to see where insulation can be added. Additionally, if you have newer appliances, or features that are saving energy, those will be noted. And just so you know, and Debbie with Bestway Insulation will be there; what a font of information she is. You can reach her at 303 469 0808 if you want to know more about the service offered or just CONTACT ME.

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Highlands Ranch – Home Safe Home

Years ago here in Highlands Ranch, we had our neighborhood watch program with the Douglas County Sheriff in place on our street and interdicted a planned kidnapping because a neighbor noticed something strange. The reason it was actually successful was because neighbors spoke to each other. If you want to generate a neighborhood watch program contact either your county sheriff or police department. And read on…

Home is a place you should feel safe and secure. Sometimes, we take it for granted and unfortunately, we do need to remain vigilant about things we do that could compromise our safety. Here are a few tips to consider:Highlands Ranch Home Safe

  • Everyone loves an inviting home including burglars. Make sure it looks occupied and is difficult to break in.
    • Always lock outside doors and windows even if you’re only gone for a brief time.
    • Lock gates and fences.
    • Leave lights on when you leave; consider timers to automatically control the lights.
    • Keep your garage door closed even when you’re home; don’t tempt thieves with what you have in your garage.
    • Suspend your mail and newspaper delivery when you’re out of town or get a neighbor to pick it up for you.
  • Posting that you’re out of town or away from home on social networks is like advertising your home is unprotected.
  • Equally dangerous could be allowing certain social network sites to track your location.
  • Don’t leave keys under doormats, in flowerpots or the plastic rocks; thieves know about those hiding places and even more than you can think.
  • Trim the shrubs from around your home; don’t give criminals a place to hide.
  • Use exterior motion detectors and yard lighting.
  • Have an alarm system and use it when you leave home and go to bed.
  • Put 3 ½” deck screws in door plates and door hinges.
  • Have good deadbolts on all exterior doors.
  • Exterior doors should be solid core.

Considering a move to a safer home/neighborhood? Let’s chat about your needs. Contact me.

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