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With a volatile stock market and housing prices on the decline, many investors are looking to take advantage of the real estate down market. Although, as real estate pros know, real estate is the greatest wealth creator, knowing what, when and how to buy can scare off even the most seasoned professionals. Here are some tips for industry pros on how to successfully master today's changing real estate market

1. Make your money going-in when you buy (vs. sell).
The time to gain is on the front-end when you buy. Go against herd, play contrary to market. Buy something of extraordinary value when no one else wants it. Sell when fewer people are selling and buy when fewer are buying.

2. Being lucky means being ready.
In falling markets people need to sell more quickly, which means buyers can get a discount on the true market value. Buyers might consider taking out an equity line on their own home so they'll have easy access to cash and can quickly act on the best deals.

3. Buy quality.
When it comes to deals in the overcrowded condo market - look to buy in the projects that were built first during the recent boom. They are usually in the best locations vs. projects that were built later after the popularity of the first projects took off.

4. Don't be scared off by problems - these can often be the best opportunities for you. Market confusion is an ally - don't despair when problems arise in a real estate deal - often they present great financial opportunity. For example, if you took out a sub-prime mortgage and now are having a difficult time meeting the payment - re-negotiate the terms with your lender. They don't want to take back the property anymore than you want to foreclose.

5. Invest. Don't speculate.
Investing means you can rent it out vs. holding on to it just to hope it goes up. A good investment is one that you can rent out quickly to cover your mortgage and expenses - your short-term earnings, then sell when the market is right for significant capital gain. (You can't rent out or live in your bonds.)

6. Start with what you know.
For most people, residential properties are easier to understand, purchase and rent out. Start in your area - where you can be close to your investment. When the real estate market stabilizes, you can look to sell for a significant profit.

For further information about investing in real estate in the Colorado Springs area contact Jason Daniels at RE/MAX Advantage for your own consultation meeting at 719-201-8052.  www.jasondanielshomes.com

Can a Home Stager Help Sell Homes?

by Jason Daniels

Everyone who sells a home thinks to tidy it before potential buyers visit. But do sellers understand how to play up their home's assets and mask its flaws in order to sell it quickly and for top dollar? This is exactly what a home stager does. A home stager is a designer or stylist who suggests ways to make the home more appealing to potential buyers.

"When selling your house, you're emotionally invested in the home you've created," said Holly Slaughter, editor-in-chief of the RealEstate.com Tips and Tools. "Hiring a professional home stager, who is impartial, can help highlight your home's selling points and make it more appealing to a wide range of buyers."

When deciding whether or not to hire a home stager, consider:

Select your level

Home staging offers many levels of service. For $100 or less, a home stager will walk through your house and offer advice on what is the best way to present your home for your upcoming showings. You may be told to clean up the clutter, hang pictures or mirrors in new locations, repaint the walls or scrub those hard to reach areas of the floors. For a higher fee, a stager can perform a more hands-on role such as repositioning furniture, arranging flowers and suggesting great tips for highlighting your home's curb appeal. And then for an even higher fee, home stagers can redecorate your home from a warehouse full of furniture and decor items, bring in shrubs and annuals or clean out that one room collecting clutter over the years.

It may be worth every penny

Stagers say the cost is worth it. Some studies show that a house that has been staged is on the market for fewer days and sells for a higher price than comparable homes. Depending on the home and the neighborhood, a home stager may be just what you need to sell your home more quickly and get the top dollar you're looking for.

Your time is valuable

Consider your time. For busy people, hiring a home stager is money well spent. If you need to sell quickly, or if your house has been on the market for some time with little interest from prospective buyers, home staging might be the answer.

You can find home stagers through associations such as the International Association of Home Staging Professionals, Accredited Staging Professionals or the Interior Redesign Industry Specialists.

www.jasondanielshomes.com

Local Sky Sox Stadium Renovation Received Well with Raving Fans

by Jason Daniels

Have you seen the new Sky Sox Stadium?  If you enjoy Americas greatest pastime, treat your family to a Sky Sox game this season at their new stadium right in our backyard.  I came across this article about the renovation and found it interesting.

Going, going, gone.

Gone is the old look of Security Service Field, the home stadium of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox professional baseball team.

The AAA affiliate of the Colorado Rockies spent $7 million over the past two years to refurbish the ballpark, which was built in 1988.

“Our facility was aging, so we ren­ovated,” says Mike Hobson, director of public relations for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. “We are in a unique situation because Elmore Sports Group that owns the franchise also owns the stadium and the land it sits on. Almost all other pro teams in the United States have stadiums owned by a city or county, but Elmore Sports Group used only its own money to refurbish our ballpark.”

The most visible improvement is a four-story building that has been constructed in right field, down the first-base line.

The building’s ground floor houses the Sky Sox’ clubhouse, complete with an indoor batting cage, pitching tunnel, offices, locker room and weight-training room. The second floor features a large waiting area for family members of the ballplayers, and the third floor leads to five outdoor private picnic terraces that can accommodate 100 people per terrace.

“The fourth floor is our Centennial Banquet Hall that can fit up to 250 people and was built to be a year-round facility,” Hobson says. “It gives the Sky Sox an opportunity to offer corporate hospitality, which we have never had before. As a result of this new four-story building, our corporate group reser­vations increased from 100 during the 2005 season to 400 in 2006.”

The Sky Sox also added black wrought-iron fencing around the park, as well as red stamped bricks along the entrance area, and electronic message boards at the ticket offices.

In addition, all of the 2,300 old box seats were torn out and replaced, and a new catering kitchen was built to better manage food services.

“The 2007 season will be the 20th in Sky Sox history, and we now have a modern-day, fresh-looking, 8,000-seat stadium to celebrate,” Hobson says. “Our all-time season attendance record is 269,904, and our goal for 2007 is to set a new record of 300,000 fans. We are confident that we will do it.”

Security Service Field, the highest-elevation professional ballpark in the country at 6,531 feet above sea level, has only one more pending renovation project. Plans are to add a new stadium scoreboard in the near future.

“The Sky Sox offer a fun, family environment that is affordable, with our ticket prices still at $5 to $9,” he says. “A family of four can enjoy a great day at the ballpark for around $50. That is certainly a bargain in these days of professional sports.”

Story by Kevin Litwin from Images of Colorado Springs

www.jasondanielshomes.com

Mortgage Market Update - March 2007

by Jason Daniels

"TELEVISION IS NOT REAL LIFE. IN REAL LIFE, PEOPLE ACTUALLY HAVE TO LEAVE THE COFFEE SHOP, AND GO TO JOBS." Bill Gates Right on Bill...and last Friday, the Department of Labor reported that another 180,000 Americans left the coffee shops and found jobs during the month of March, with another 32,000 jobs added to prior month's reports. The Unemployment Rate dropped to 4.4%, matching the lowest rate in six years - and Average Hourly Earnings were up as well, rising to $17.22 per hour. So it was all good news for the US job market...but bad news for home loan rates, since a strong labor market can lead to inflation, the arch-enemy of Bonds and home loan rates. On the release, Bond prices slipped lower, causing home loan rates to rise slightly across the board.

And the Fed was watching too...remember that the pop in new job formations and stronger wages creates that risk of further inflation ahead, and this news comes on the heels of a higher read on inflation from the Fed's most closely watched indicator - The Personal Consumption Expenditure Index. So, despite the media and many "so called" experts saying the Fed has to cut rates soon - don't expect a cut in the near future, as the Fed's main priority is controlling inflation.

WANT TO REDUCE THE INTEREST YOU PAY ON CREDIT CARDS? YOU'RE NOT ALONE...SO DON'T MISS READING THIS WEEK'S MORTGAGE MARKET VIEW, TO GET SMART ON THE TRICKS THAT CREDIT CARD COMPANIES USE TO CHANGE THE RULES AND COST YOU MORE, IN WAYS THAT YOU MIGHT NOT EXPECT.

Forecast for the Week

What's on the docket this week? A few reports of note - and one of the more interesting items on the calendar will be the Federal Reserve Board's "Meeting Minutes" from the March 21st meeting, due for release this Wednesday afternoon. Why so intriguing? Because unlike the carefully crafted Policy Statement released just following the actual Fed Meeting, the Meeting Minutes is like the Fed "unplugged"...where all the commentary and discussion between Fed members is unbridled and unleashed to the public. Not all members vote at each meeting - but they all have a voice. Was the decision to keep the Fed Funds Rate in a paused position unanimous? Or did non-voting Fed President Jeffrey "the Dissenter" Lacker raise his voice in favor of more hikes? We'll all find out later this week - and the comments could be market movers, so stay tuned.

The chart below shows that Bond pricing has been skidding lower of late, meaning home loan rates have worsened right along with them. And the next "floor of support" to catch them is lower still - indicating that Bond pricing and home loan rates will likely get a bit worse before they get better.

The market may see some added volatility early in the week, as last Friday's trading session was condensed into just a few hours of trading before a market close in observance of Good Friday. Stocks should improve off the strong Jobs Report, which could hurt bonds and home loan rates.

Chart: Fannie Mae 5.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Apr 06, 2007)
Japanese Candlestick Chart
The Mortgage Market View...

IT'S IN THE "FINE PRINT"...

Credit card companies do a great job at disclosing all of their terms and conditions...but do so in an exceptionally hard to read font and verbiage, designed to dissuade you from really reading the infamous "fine print". But failing to understand the terms can be costly.

Most people know that when your bill arrives, it needs to be paid on time or you'll be hit with a hefty late fee - but many don't know that paying late usually entitles the credit card company to raise your rate immediately and significantly. And worse yet - did you know that paying late on one of your credit cards also entitles all your other credit card companies to raise the rates you are paying them as well? You bet - it's called the "Universal Default Clause", and it basically means that if you are late on one credit card account, all other credit card companies that you have accounts with can increase the interest rate too, even if their accounts have been paid completely on time.

But the plot thickens further - this goes beyond late payments on credit cards alone.

If one of your credit card companies has the Universal Default Clause noted in their disclosure - and most of them do - this clause states that they have the right to penalize a consumer with an increased interest rate if a late payment is reported to ANY other creditor, including utilities, car loans, and home loans. Better believe that credit card companies with this clause sit back and wait for the opportunity to increase the interest rate...and continually monitor their customer's credit reports, just waiting for the opportunity to do so.

And just when you thought it couldn't get any worse...

...it's not just late payments that trigger the Universal Default Clause; interest rates can be increased if a consumer exceeds a credit limit, bounces a check, or applies for additional credit. All of these signs may be read by the credit card company that a consumer is "high risk". The penalty? You guessed it - a higher interest rate.

Further, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. This popular phrase rings true for many consumers that sign up for zero percent interest offers. Although these offers sound great and every consumer goes in with the best intentions of paying the balance in full before the zero percent interest term expires, the vast majority of people do not pay off the bill before the offer ends. And what consumers do not realize is if the account is not paid in full, the creditor does not start charging interest from the date the deal expires, the creditor goes back to the day the purchase was made and charges interest on the balance for the entire period.

Or - back to the Universal Default Clause, if you are late on another credit card payment during the introductory time period with the zero percent rate offer - the card issuer of that sweet deal could prematurely break it off and force a steamed up interest rate, retroactively charged back to the original date of purchase. That smoldering rate could mean paying double or even triple for the purchased merchandise.

Try your best to only charge what you can afford to pay off in full, on a monthly basis. Beyond being just good advice, here's another little known credit card fact that could cost you.

If you charge and then pay the account in full, there is no interest due. But if you charge and choose to only pay half of the bill when it arrives, guess what - you get charged interest not just on the remaining balance, but for the entire charged balance, regardless of your paying half the bill in full. If the bill is not paid in full the following month, this game continues until the account is paid in full.

So although the fine print can be a real snoozer to read, taking the time to become familiar with credit card terms and conditions can save you some serious dollars. Review your current credit card terms and conditions and take the time to find a credit card company that truly matches your spending habits and needs. You will save yourself a few sleepless nights - and more importantly, save yourself a lot of money too!

The Week's Economic Indicator Calendar

Remember, as a general rule, weaker than expected economic data is good for rates, while positive data causes rates to rise.

Economic Calendar for the Week of April 09 – April 13

Date
ET
Economic Report
For
Estimate
Actual
Prior
Impact
Wed. April 11
10:30
Crude Inventories
4/06
NA
 
4307K
Moderate
Wed. April 11
02:00
FOMC Minutes
Mar
 
 
 
HIGH
Thu. April 12
08:30
Jobless Claims (Initial)
4/07
NA
 
NA
Moderate
Fri. April 13
08:30
Core Producer Price Index (PPI)
Mar
0.2%
 
0.4%
Moderate
Fri. April 13
08:30
Producer Price Index (PPI)
Mar
0.6%
 
1.3%
Moderate
Fri. April 13
08:30
Balance of Trade
Feb
-$60.5B
 
-$59.18B
Moderate
Fri. April 13
10:00
Consumer Sentiment Index (UoM)
Apr
88.0
 
88.4
Moderate

www.jasondanielshomes.com

Colorado Springs Real Estate Market Update - March 2007

by Jason Daniels
 
LISTING AND SALES SUMMARY
For the Colorado Springs Area
March 2007
 
 
All Sales
Existing Homes
MONTHLY SUMMARY
Mar 2006
Mar 2007
% + or -
Mar 2006
Mar 2007
% + or -
SINGLE FAMILY/
PATIO HOMES:
 
 
 
 
 
 
New Listings
2,020
2,107
4.3
1,848
1,956
5.8
Sales
1,037
891
(14.1)
922
787
(14.6)
Ave. Sales Price
$251,192
$254,809
1.4
$236,595
$240,549
1.7
Median Sale Price
$212,000
$208,000
(1.9)
$201,325
$199,900
(0.7)
Total Active
4,486
5,659
26.1
3,759
4,907
30.5
CONDO/TOWNHOMES:
 
 
 
 
 
 
New Listings
341
335
(1.8)
246
290
17.9
Sales
148
123
(16.9)
120
87
(27.5)
Ave. Sale Price
$152,638
$178,955
17.2
$143,250
$156,424
9.2
Median Sale Price
$142,750
$157,137
10.1
$130,750
$139,000
6.3
Total Active
794
1,065
34.1
557
758
36.1
CUMULATIVE YTD SUMMARY
Jan-Mar 2006
Jan-Mar 2007
% + or -
Jan-Mar 2006
Jan-Mar 2007
% + or -
SINGLE FAMILY/
PATIO HOMES:
 
 
 
 
 
 
New Listings
5,063
$5,350
5.7
4,549
4,885
7.4
Sales
2,463
$2,235
(9.3)
2,144
1,936
(9.7)
Ave. Sales Price
$250,439
$254,424
1.6
$233,592
$238,005
1.9
CONDO/TOWNHOMES:
 
 
 
 
 
 
New Listings
821
870
6.0
649
717
10.5
Sales
352
355
0.9
291
269
(7.6)
Ave. Sales Price
$149,345
$171,406
14.8
$137,297
$152,988
11.4
 
 
 
 
What Does This Mean?
 
We are seeing a 14.1% decrease in the number of sales from this time last year, and there are 26.1% more listings on the market.  The average sales price has only increased 1.4% compared to March 2006.  The statistics show the market has slowed a bit, but is still good compared to the national average.  Buyers now have more choice and can be more selective.  Sellers need to make sure their homes are priced correctly and are in excellent condition to be competitive.  Homes in great condition and great prices are still selling relatively quickly.
 
Now is still a great time to buy with more selection and interest rates still at historical lows.  It is also a great time to sell before more listings hit the market and increase the competition even more this summer.

 

Finance 101

Are you in the market for a home?  This season it really pays to do your homework!  Because of the recent trouble in the subprime mortgage market, a number of lenders are tightening their standards, and some might find loans a little harder to come by.  Here are three tips for getting the most from your next purchase:

1. Review Your Credit History –  Credit reports are freely available from the credit reporting agencies, and now is a good time to review yours.  Address any blemishes you see and try to improve your score where possible.
2. Shop Around – Don’t always take the first quote that comes your way.  Take time to shop around, ask your real estate agent for a trusted lender, and do what you can to get the best rate possible.
3. Negotiate Price – Get the most from your next purchase by negotiating on the purchase price.  Review recent sales with your agent and make sure you aren’t overpaying. 

By talking with your real estate agent and following these basic steps, you will become a market expert in no time!  A little research can go a long way!

 

A Tip for Buyers and Sellers!

New Homes come with warranties to protect the buyer in case of the unexpected?  But what about existing homes?  Fortunately, there are a number of companies today who offer warranties on existing homes.  Sellers can now offer their buyers a level of assurance that was previously reserved for new construction, and buyers can buy with confidence!

If you are in the market to buy or sell, ask us about the advantages of a home warranty.  You might be surprised at how much protection is offered for a very reasonable fee.

www.jasondanielshomes.com

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Contact Information

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Jason Daniels & Associates
Jason Daniels & Associates at RE/MAX Millennium
9362 Grand Cordera Pkwy Suite 100
Colorado Springs CO 80924
(719) 966-1500
(888) 351-1099