Proof of Purchase – Your Highlands Ranch Home Burns

Back in the day when I was the Highlands Ranch area coordinator for neighborhood watch with Douglas County Sheriff (I think I stopped when Highlands Ranch got to 10,000 homes), this was one of the biggest issues for people recovering their goods after a loss in Denver. You know the land won’t be lost, and maybe the foundation will be useable, but in Denver, like Colorado Springs, the personal property, the art work, the silver from Granny, the trains in the basement or even the guns in the safe can all go up in smoke. You need to be ready and it is pretty simple, but read this first:

People who experience a personal property loss are usually asked by their insurance company for proof of purchase which can come in the form of a receipt or current inventory of their personal belongings.Highlands Ranch

Even the most organized people might find it challenging to find receipts for all the valuables in their home. If the inventory isn’t up-to-date, a homeowner might forget to add some items to the claim and may not recognize the omission for long after the claim is settled.

The inventory can serve as a guide to make sure a homeowner gets compensated for all the loss.

Photographs and videos can be adequate proof that the items belonged to the insured. A series of pictures of the different rooms, closets, cabinets and drawers are helpful. When video is used, consider commenting as it is shot and be sure to go slow enough and close enough to things becoming recorded.

For your convenience, download a Home Inventory, complete it, and save a copy off premise. Good places for your inventory could be a safety deposit box or digitally, in the cloud if you have server-based storage available like Dropbox.

Take out your camera phone and walk the house and note the special things on the video.Then save it to a safe place, and delete it from the phone…don’t give the bad guys a shopping list! If you want a printed blank inventory, just reach out to and I will get one to you. If you want to be part of Neighborhood Watch or want to start one, call your local law enforcement agency and ask for the community relations officer.

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Denver Boomers Are Staying In-Place

Thirty one, almost 32 years being a residential real estate broker in south Denver allows me to look back and note interesting trends. And this is one that is fairly consistent. What is different is the number of silver haired residents we now have in Denver…it seemed to be different in the 1980’s. The common complaint we hear today is there isn’t anything I can buy to replace my home. When we built our home we actually planned for an elevator, eventually. So my counsel to folks is often, “re-model if you love your home”.

There is one new trend I am seeing and that is folks chasing the grandchildren. What I mean is grand parents want to be near the children and so they move to where they live. And then the kids move again, so they do too. It is a curious trend that has developed because of our mobile society. We hope our children will come “home” after their adventure. And while multiple moves are good for me (I can refer you to Realtors across the country) I pray the families are re-inforced for the effort it takes to leave Denver.

There seems to have been an accepted progression for homeowners going from starter home, to gradually moving into one’s dream home, then, downsizing after becoming an empty nester and finally, into a retirement home. However, Marianne Cusato’s 2016 Aging-in-Place Report indicates that many older Americans don’t plan on following that pattern.Denver - Pete Doty

61% of homeowners above the age of 55 intend on staying in their homes indefinitely. 2/3 of them believe that the home’s layout will serve their needs without having to make aging-related improvements.

Some of the reasons being cited for staying in place are:

  • 66% say their home is conveniently located
  • 38% say they live close to their family
  • 68% say they feel independent in their home
  • 54% say they are familiar with their neighborhood
  • 66% say the feel safe in their home

Typical renovations that might be considered for their current home are things like grab bars in the tub or shower, shower seats, taller toilets, handheld showerheads and additional handrails on stairways.

It seems that the report’s conclusion is that regardless of a homeowner’s age, they want to thrive in their home. The same emotional reasons that causes a person to want to buy a home are the things that cause them to hold onto them if is practical.

One of the services I offer is a list of contractors who can help you get your home up to speed for your life style or ready for sale. If you are considering a move, we should talk.

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Attracting Buyers to a Denver Home

It seems that in Denver Home sales incentives, including those with builders, have shrunk to almost none. However, over 16% of the listings in the MLS have expired and could take advantage of this. Yet experience tells me that even offering a carpet allowance will cost the Seller 3 times the actual costs because of the buyer’s inate ability to “HORIBLIZE” any repair situation. So having a property properly priced and in great condition will not only expedite the sale but also maximize your investment.

There is a common body of knowledge among real estate professionals that indicates that the longer a home is on the market, the lower the price will be. Many sellers discount this belief in the beginning because they feel confident their home will sell quickly.Denver home incentives - article.png

Lowering the price is the most obvious thing that can be done to encourage buyers but it might be good to look at what builders do. Builders offer a variety of incentives such as upgrades, seller-paid closing costs, interest rate buy downs, washers, dryers, refrigerators or big screen TVs.

Interestingly, much of the resale market doesn’t employ these techniques. According to the latest NAR Home Buyers and Sellers Profile, 64% of sellers did not offer any incentives at all.

21% of sellers offer a home warranty. 16% of sellers offered assistance with closing costs and 6% offered credit toward remodeling or repairs.

The attached chart indicates that while 80% of sellers were not willing to offer incentives in the beginning of their marketing period, as weeks passes and their home hasn’t sold, closer to half did add incentives.

The ideal outcome is to maximize proceeds in the shortest time possible with the fewest unexpected issues. This involves having a firm understanding of current, local market conditions and crafting a marketing plan that will insure results.

There is so much at stake, the value of a trusted real estate professional is essential.

As a potential seller of a Denver Home, take a look at for tips and some videos.

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Denver real estate a HOT market?

From the first publication: In the last 7 days about 1350 homes have come on the market.
1560 have gone under contract. Yes property sales in Denver are going to be crazy again this year.

Updated 1/12/2017: In the last 7 days about 819 homes have come on the market.
1083 have gone under contract. Yes property sales in Denver are going to be crazy again this year.

And what about those folks who say it is too late? The trends say: More houses are selling, days on the market are the same, Fewer new listings, and median prices are up 10% over last year throughout Denver. The three that are most important to me are the Year To Date SOLD, Denver Real Estatethe Active Listing count, and the days on the market. They all would combine to push prices higher in Denver.

The question always seems to be “How Much Longer will this last for Denver?” To me with my limited scope it appears that another 2 years is likely. That would be a 20% increase in the value of a home you bought today if the above trends hold true. We simply need to see more houses on the market and fewer buyers…which brings us to the why?

Colorado is a net 75,000 people growth per year state (about 15% for mj). Denver and the front range get most of them. That requires about 20,000 living units and that is the simplest explanation I know. When the market tanked the builders quit building, but we did not stop having babies. And those kids are now buying houses too. Why so many people moving here? Unemployment is low so it is easier to find good work. And how about those mountains west of Denver? You know why you live here.



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Rent or Buy – You Pay for the Denver House You Occupy

So often I find folks throughout Denver who are simply afraid of a long term commitment like buying a home. They feel they cannot afford it, that their credit is bad, or that homes are too expensive. At least in Denver, if you can afford the rent you can afford to buy a house. Feel free to reach out, in confidence: 

The ironic thing about people who think they can’t afford to buy a home for themselves, end up buying the home for their landlord. There are several facts that support this notion.Denver Home is Leveraged Investment

Mortgages, whether held by an owner-occupant or an investor, are usually amortized so that each payment reduces the principal amount owed so that the loan will be repaid totally over the term. A tenant is inadvertently retiring the landlord’s mortgage with his monthly rent.

In most cases, the mortgage payment including taxes and insurance will be lower than the rent tenants are paying. Some experts are saying that we may never again experience the incredibly low mortgage interest rates currently available.

Renting precludes a person from enjoying the advantage a home has as a leveraged investment. When the borrowed funds cost less than the investment is returning, the rate of return on the down payment grows much faster. As you can see from the chart, a 2% appreciation on a home could result in big returns on the down payment. In most cases, there are very few or no alternative investments that offer homeowners similar returns.

Even if a buyer agrees with all of these things but doesn’t have the down payment or cannot qualify for a loan, they still need to investigate further. To find out exactly what types of loans are available and the specific down payment required which can be a whole lot less than 20%, they need to consult with an experienced, trusted loan professional (an Internet lender or a “BIG” bank may not be the best choice.) Call for a recommendation. 303-880-5585.

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Facts or Myths – Denver Home Buyers

I cannot express how often I hear this from prospective Denver Home Buyers! Banks and mortgage companies here are very receptive to providing financing for qualified individuals who can verify employment, assets and have good credit. Some even offer FREE credit repair services so you can lower your interest rate. So what are the facts & myths? Read on…

  • “It’s impossible to get low down payment loans.” – FACT! FHA down payments are 3.5% and VA is 0%. In some areas, there may be some 0% down payment USDA loans available. FNMA and Freddie Mac have 3% down payment programs.Denver Home Buyer
  • “It takes perfect credit to get a loan.” – FACT! There is a relationship of better rates to better credit but many issues on a credit report can be explained or corrected. The way to know for sure is to speak to a reliable lender.
  • “If I’ve had a bankruptcy or foreclosure, I can’t qualify.” – FACT! Credit history following a bankruptcy or foreclosure is very important and there can be extenuating circumstances. It only takes a few moments with a reliable lending professional to find out if your individual situation will allow you to qualify for a new mortgage.
  • “Getting pre-approved is expensive.” – FACT! Usually, the only expense to getting pre-approved is the cost of the credit report which could be around $35. The advantage is that you will know that you qualify for a particular mortgage amount.
  • “I should wait to qualify until I find a home.” – FACT! It can take weeks to qualify for a mortgage especially if there are issues that need to be corrected. The best interest rates are only available for the highest credit scores. It is to your advantage to start the qualifying process early in your home search.
  • “All lenders are the same.” – FACT! Reliable lending professionals will explain the entire process before collecting fees, quote fees up-front, have competitive products, do what is necessary to get the loan approved and close at the locked rate and terms. Ask for recommendations from recent borrowers.
  • “Adjustable Rate Mortgages are more expensive than fixed rate mortgages.” – FACT! Adjustable Rate Mortgages can be less expensive than fixed rate mortgages if the buyer’s circumstances warrant it. If a buyer is only going to be in a home for a few years before selling, it can be determined if an ARM loan will result in the lowest way to finance the property. There are many variables and you need to be aware of them before deciding which type of loan to finance your home purchase.

Buyers and Sellers need solid information to make good decisions. Call us with your questions or to get a recommendation of a reliable lender who can give you the real facts.

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“This is going to be the year”

Denver is a net 75,000 plus in population for the last few years. That requires a net 20,000 NEW living spaces. Re-sales of homes have only increased by 1000 over last year. Maybe that partially explains our real estate market. Add to it one of the lowest un-employment rates in the country and one of the most desirable environments to live in and we see what we have.

Every year, it seems like the same things are on the list but this could be the year you really do invest in a Denver rental home.Denver real estate resolution

Rents are climbing, values are solid and mortgage rates are still low for non-owner occupied properties. A $150,000 home (if you can find it in Denver) with 20% down payments can easily have a $300 to $500 monthly cash flow after paying all of the expenses.

There are lots of strategies that can be successful but a tried and true formula is to invest in below average price range homes in predominantly owner-occupied neighborhoods. These properties will appeal to the broadest range of tenants and buyers when you’re ready to sell.

Single family homes offer an opportunity to borrow high loan-to-value mortgages at fixed rates for long terms on appreciating assets with tax advantages and reasonable control.

This can be the year to make some real progress on your resolutions. The first step may be to invest some time learning about rental properties by attending a FREE webinar on January 4th at 7:00 PM Central time zone by national real estate speaker Pat Zaby. Click here to register. If you can’t attend live, by registering and you’ll be sent the link to watch at your convenience.

If you want to see the homes on the market go to

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What a Difference 50 years Makes

<H3>Denver & Colorado Love affair started 50 years ago</H3>

My first trip to Colorado occurred 50 years ago! As a 15 year old I flew into Stapleton International Airport in Denver and was met by what appeared to be a rickety Jeep CJ-5 and a fellow named Ed Link. I do not remember the other guy in the front seat as I was sitting on the un-cushioned wheel well in the back hanging on as we headed west and over Berthoud Pass. It seemed barely a 2 lane road then but I do remember looking out at the tops of 40 foot trees, and those amazing mountains. There was a comment from Ed about a school bus that was still resting in the trees after sliding off the last winter…hmmm? A fantastic start to what would be my first summer of being “SPIN & MARTY”, a teenage cowboy duo on the MIckey Mouse Club’s Western Day every Friday, not that I paid attention. I spent half of the next 2 months in the saddle which for me was heaven. But enough about me…

In 1966, a gallon of gas was $0.32 and today, it is $2.10 in Denver. A dozen eggs were $0.60 but they’ve only doubled to $1.33. A gallon of milk was $0.99 and today, it costs $3.98. You could send a letter for five cents and now, it costs forty-seven cents. Denverstamp.png

The average cost of a new car in 1966 was $3,500 and today, it will cost $33,560. New cars have more features than the earlier models but they’re still ten times more expensive. The median price of a new home was $21,700 and now, in Denver this past November was $370,000.

Interestingly, mortgage rates are actually lower today at 4-4.5% than they were fifty years ago when they were just under 7%. The rates have been low for long enough that many people have been lulled into believing that they are not going to go up.

Yes, rates are a little higher but in perspective, they’re still a bargain. Years from now, will you be remembering and comparing what they were back when?

Take a look at last week’s post for a chart showing the last 200 years of interest rates. It is my privilege to serve you and your friends and family here in Denver. And when you have someone moving to a different part of the country, I can normally help there. Call me.

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Denver – Can 0.5% Really Equal 5%?

Denver has Great Upside…STILL!

Some folks in Denver have been waiting for the home prices to go down. Interest rates can cause home prices down, but the payments remain the same. So read on and then tell me what you think.

Since the election, rates have started going up and it will have a direct effect on the cost of housing. There is a rule of thumb that a ½% change in interest is approximately equal to 5% change in price. Denver Real Estate

As the interest rates go up, it will cost you more to live in the very same home or to keep the payment the same, you’ll have to buy a lower priced home.

Before rates rise too much may be the best time to buy a home whether you’re going to use it for your principal residence or a rental property. Low interest rates and lower prices make housing more affordable.

Highlands Ranch interest affects price.png

Here is a 200 year history of interest rates from FNMA:

Denver200 years 2.jpg

It seems inevitable that rates will go up. How will that effect the Denver home prices? Denver is a +75,000 growth city every year. That requires 20,000 new housing units. Demand is still stronger than supply. Talk to me about your plans by calling 303-880-5585 ext 3. Or prefer to talk with a lender? Go to

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Time May Be Running Out

During the Great Recession, some Denver homeowners elected to rent their home rather than sell it for less than it was worth.

IRS tax code allows for a temporary rental of a principal residence without losing the exclusion of capital gain based on some specific time limits. During the five year period ending on the date of the sale, the taxpayer must have:denver real estate

  • Owned the home for at least two years
  • Lived in the home as their main home for at least two years
  • Ownership and use do not have to be continuous nor occur at the same time

If a home has been rented for more than three years, the owner will not have lived in it for two of the last five years. So the challenge for homeowners with gain in a rented principal residence that they don’t want to have to recognize is to sell and close the transaction prior to the crucial date.

Assume a person was selling a property which had been rented for 2 ½ years but had previously been their home for over two years. To qualify for the exclusion of capital gain, the home needs to be ready to sell, priced correctly, sold and closed within six months.

All of the gain may not qualify for the exclusion if depreciation has been taken for the period that it was rented. Depreciation is recaptured at a 25% tax rate.

A $200,000 gain in a home could have a $30,000 tax liability. Minimizing or eliminating unnecessary taxes is a legitimate concern and timing is important.

Selling a home for the most money is one thing; maximizing your proceeds is another. For more information, see IRS publication 523 and an example on the IRS website and consult a tax professional.

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