The real estate market in Boulder County is red hot, which makes maintaining your mortgage approval a must if you’re shopping for a home.
“It can be a lot of work to get your mortgage approved. Once it is approved, it is important not to make any major financial changes until you sign your final disclosure and the loan is closed,” says Jessica Shanahan, loan officer with Premier Lending.
To keep your mortgage approval, you need to know the financial moves not to make.
Your mortgage approval is primarily based on documenting your income and assets, your equity stake or down payment, your credit history and the cash you’ll have left over after the deal is done, according to Tuttle’s Real Estate Update.
After your mortgage is approved, don’t change any one of those qualifiers without first consulting your loan officer or you could lose your mortgage.
Here’s Real Estate Update’s list of what not to do:
Avoid Big Purchases
Don’t buy a new car or another large possession, or change the lease on your current car. It could show up on your credit report or bank statement. The new loan or purchase amount could tilt the debt-to-income ratio the lender used to approve your home loan, and your mortgage could vaporize.
Don’t Get New Credit
Don’t sign up for any new credit cards or other lines of credit, even for a zero interest rate. Resist all of those credit card offers that flow in after you get your mortgage approval.
Don’t Miss a Bill Payment or Pay Late
Pay your bills on time without fail, even if you dispute the charge. If you stop paying a bill, it can end up on your credit report and cause a problem with your mortgage.
Don’t Change Jobs
Now isn’t the time to start a new job or lose the job you have. It is okay to take a second job, as long as you keep the job you have. However, if you should be so fortunate as to get a promotion and raise, your mortgage shouldn’t be jeopardized.
Don’t Spend Your Cash
Don’t use your cash reserves, transfer large sums between bank accounts, or make undocumented transactions in your back account – either deposits or withdrawals. This activity can cause your mortgage approval to be reversed.
Just remember to control items that affect your financial picture, and barring any uncontrollable life events, your mortgage should be fine.
For more information see: https://bit.ly/2JzU2lx
By Jay Kalinski —
That’s right, based on the latest available data from the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, the average net worth of a homeowner is $231,000, a whopping 44 times greater than the average renter’s $5,200 net worth. What makes the situation more dire is the fact that the gap is widening. From 2013 to 2016, the average net worth of homeowners increased 15 percent while the average net worth of renters decreased by 5 percent. The situation for renters is bad and getting worse.
More than any other factor I could identify, homeownership best explains the gap between the haves and have nots. People seem to understand this fact, as a Gallup poll showed that Americans chose real estate as the best long-term investment for the fourth year in a row. So, why aren’t more renters buying homes?
It could be that renters do not want to own homes. Anecdotally, we hear stories about how Millennials prefer to rent to give them a more flexible lifestyle, but the research tells a different story. In fact, Millennials represent the largest share of homebuyers today and only 7 percent of respondents to an NAR survey said that they did not want the responsibility of owning. More generally, 82 percent of renters expressed a desire in the fourth quarter of 2017 to be homeowners and about the same percentage said that homeownership is part of the American Dream.
What is driving this desire for renters to become owners? According to a recent survey, the main reasons renters would want to buy a home are: a change in lifestyle such as getting married, starting a family or retiring; an improved financial situation; and a desire to settle down in one location.
Renters seem to know that owning a home is a great investment, and they overwhelmingly express a desire to do so, and yet something is preventing many of them:
Based on a recent NAR survey, it appears that ability (perceived or actual) is the biggest obstacle to homeownership. In fact, 66 percent of renters reported that it would be somewhat or very difficult to save for a downpayment on a home. Only 16 percent said that it would not be difficult at all. Of those who said saving for a downpayment was difficult, 49 percent identified student loans, 42 percent cited credit card debt, and 37 percent cited car loans.
The above, however, only focuses on one aspect of home affordability. Another side is home price appreciation. That is, if homes were more affordable, it would be easier to save for a downpayment. Unfortunately for local renters, Boulder County has appreciated more since 1991 than any other area in the country — more than 380 percent! The average single family Boulder County home topped $708,000 in February 2018, which is almost 20 percent higher than two years ago.
In addition, interest rates are on the rise in 2018, and we’ve already covered how a 1 percent increase in interest rates can reduce your purchasing power by 10 percent.
There are two takeaways from this. First, for renters, you may be familiar with the adage “The best time to buy a home was 30 years ago. The second best time is now.” That is true now more than ever. If you have been considering making the jump to homeownership, now is the time. At this point, each day delayed likely equals less home for the money.
Second, for local government officials, if you truly support the idea of affordable (market rate) workforce housing, you have the power to encourage it. Without you, the affordability situation will only continue to deteriorate.
Jay Kalinski is broker/owner of Re/Max of Boulder.
Labor statistics are officially confirming what we all know – Colorado’s population is on the rise, with newcomers lured by a strong job market.
By the end of 2017, Colorado had a record year with its fastest rate of growth in almost 20 years, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Statistics.
Coloradans participating in the labor force increased 141,700 for the year, adding 5,100 nonfarm payroll jobs from November to December for a total of 2,671,500 jobs.
The increase was noticeable compared to the previous month when employers added 1,800 jobs. In fact, November’s gain was higher than the state’s 12-month average gain of 3,817 jobs, and higher than the previous four months average gain of 4,800, according to CDLE data.
By sector, most of November’s added jobs are private sector payroll jobs, which increased 4,300 and government increased 800. Average hourly earnings also rose, going from $26.93 to $28.09.
Even so, the state’s unemployment rate increased two-tenths of a percentage point from November to December to 3.1 percent. The rise in the unemployment rate correlated with an increase in the number of people actively participating in the labor force, which grew 14,800 over the month.
Colorado’s unemployment rate is still lower than the nation’s December rate of 4.1 percent, which declined from 4.7 percent from December 2016 to December 2017.
The biggest private sector job gains in November 2017 were in construction and education and health services, while over the course of the year, the largest private sector job gains were in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and construction.
The jobs added resulted in a 2 percent job growth rate, with Colorado outpacing the U.S. growth rate of 1.4 percent, as it has for the past seven years.
Colorado Department of Labor measures the unemployment rate, labor force, labor force participation, total employment and the number of unemployed is based on a survey of households. The total employment estimate derived from this survey is intended to measure the number of people employed.
All Colorado estimates from the establishment and household surveys, including greater geographic detail, are available at: http://www.colmigateway.com.
Estimates for all states and the nation are available at: http://www.bls.gov
Boulder is readying to change the paradigm of transportation mobility as a result of being named one of 35 Champion Cities selected as finalists in the 2018 U.S. Mayors Challenge. The competition is based on city leaders proposing bold solutions to each city’s toughest problems.
Three Colorado cities – Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins – were selected from a pool of more than 320 applicants. Selected cities now begin a six-month testing phase supported by a grant award of up to $100,000 for each to conduct a public prototype.
In Boulder’s application, the city proposed to combat climate change through accessible and affordable transportation alternatives for low- and middle-income residents. City officials will conduct experiments on mobility options – including ridesharing, subsidies, and an electric car loan program – to determine the most effective way to improve low-income residents’ mobility.
Currently, more than half of Boulder’s low- and middle-income residents depend on fossil-fuel, single-occupancy vehicles.
Denver will use cutting-edge air pollution sensors to create a city-wide air quality monitoring program at public school buildings to make better informed decisions on policies. The city aims to address the negative economic and health impact of air pollution. Denver families spend an average $3,100 a year on asthma-related medical costs.
Fort Collins will make more energy efficient rental housing for low and middle-income households to reduce health and economic disparities. Nearly 50,000 Fort Collins households are energy-inefficient.
“We received hundreds of bold and creative ideas from cities around the country in response to the 2018 Mayors Challenge, and these 35 really stood out for their potential to improve people’s lives. The next six months are a great opportunity for the cities to test their ideas and make them even more innovative and effective,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City.
During the six-month “Test, Learn, and Adapt” phase of the competition, Boulder and the other Champion Cities will refine their ideas, and then submit new applications in August. In October, five selected cities will be awarded funding to put their ideas into action – four will receive $1 million and one will receive $5 million.
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. In 2016, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $600 million.
For more information and a list of all 35 Champion Cities, visit mayorschallenge.bloomberg.org
Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Monday, March 19th, 2018 at 9:37am.
Early in 2018 the real estate outlook for Boulder County looks strong, even while sailing into the same headwinds that prevailed last year: low inventory and rising prices.
But this year promises additional gusts in the form of rising interest rates.
“None of the fundamentals in the market have changed, except a small rise in interest rates and the anticipation of additional increases,” says Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association.
“January data shows year over year single-family home sales are about the same as last year, and condos and townhomes are up significantly.”
Single-family home sales for Boulder County are down a single unit or .05 percent with 220 units sold in January 2018 compared with 221 in January 2017. Month-over-month, January sales dropped 39 percent for the first month of 2018 compared to December’s 363 units sold.
In condominium/townhomes, 88 units sold in January 2018, a 44.3 percent improvement compared with 61 units sold a year ago, but a 26.7 percent drop compared with the 120 units sold in December.
“December finished strong and the totals for 2017 pushed over and above 2016 slightly, which makes having a strong January challenging,” says Hotard.
Inventory continued its persistent decline. Single-family homes for sale in the Boulder-area declined 1.3 percent in January 2018 compared to December 2017 – 550 units vs. 557.
Meanwhile, condominium and townhome inventory improved 8.3 percent in January compared to December – 130 units versus 120.
Hotard notes that rising mortgage rates is a new factor for real estate markets that have seen a long run of low interest rates. He says the question is whether rising rates, while still historically low, will have a dampening effect on pricing or sales.
“Affordability is already an issue in Boulder, Louisville and Niwot. If interest rates go up people may have greater difficulty affording higher priced homes,” he adds. For 2017, Boulder’s median sales price came in over $800,000, Niwot’s roughly $750,000 and Louisville’s nearing $575,000.
With minimal data to consider this early in the year, Hotard is reluctant to predict this year’s market.
“For now, the data is over a small number of sales, so it’s difficult to identify trends. But this market has been strong for years and it is likely to continue to be strong.”
Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Monday, March 5th, 2018 at 9:37am.
Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Friday, February 23rd, 2018 at 1:44pm.
If you live in Boulder and laugh a lot, pat yourself on the back. You – and 100,000 of your neighbors – put Boulder on the happiness chart.
Fact is, Boulder is the happiest city in America, based on the Gallup-Sharecare Well Being Index.
Using their experience studying the world’s most thriving populations, National Geographic bestselling author Dan Buettner and Gallup’s social scientists developed an index to assess happiness and identify where Americans are living their happiest lives.
Boulder and two other Colorado cities fare well in that assessment, with Boulder at No. 1, Fort Collins No. 4, and Colorado Springs No. 18.
In a recent National Geographic story and newly-published The Blue Zones of Happiness, Buettner explained the environmental and lifestyle factors that contribute to the overall happiness.
“If you want to get happy, don’t try and change your belief system. Change your environment,” says Buettner.
According to Buettner, happiness is greatest when living in cities that excel in 15 metrics including civic engagement, walkability and healthy food options. In happier places, residents smile and laugh often, socialize daily, spend time in green spaces, and feel they are progressing toward achieving life goals.
Boulder aces all of these categories. As a result, Boulderites overwhelmingly feel “active and productive every day.”
For those of us who live here, we know why Boulder makes us so happy. Here are the factors described in the 25 Happiest Cities report:
Walkability, bike-ability and access to nature
Located in at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder abounds in beautiful vistas, frequent sunshine, and an excellent climate. The combination lures residents to spend lots of time outdoors, enjoying hiking and biking on 300 miles of trails.
In fact, more people walk to work in Boulder than in any other city in the U.S. And the study found a high correlation between the bike-ability of a city and residents’ happiness levels.
Low rates of smoking and obesity, and high rates of exercise also contribute to happiness.
Sense of community
Boulder residents actively engage in community, whether it’s socializing a couple of hours every day or fighting to maintain the characteristics that make Boulder a ‘happy place’ and a highly desirable place to live.
But, even with all of that happiness, Boulder residents reported higher stress levels than the national average, with 49 percent saying they felt stress.
The National Geographic Gallup Special/Blue Zones Index draws on nearly 250,000 interviews conducted with adults from 2014 to 2015 in 190 metropolitan areas across the U.S.
The top 10 cities are:
1. Boulder, CO
2. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA
3. Charlottesville, VA
4. Fort Collins, CO
5. San Luis Obispo, CA
6. San Jose, CA
7. Provo, UT
8. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
9. Barnstable Town, MA
10. Anchorage, AK
For the full story and list of all 25 cities, visit https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/destinations/north-america/united-states/happiest-cities-united-states-2017/
It’s the same old story, but one we love to hear. Boulder County home sales closed 2017 with yet another increase over the previous year, despite ongoing low inventory, according to Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association.
“All in all, the year was positive. Sales increased moderately over 2016 in both single-family and attached residential housing,” says Hotard.
That’s saying a lot, since sales have increased in Boulder County for several years in a row and prices have increased significantly, while inventory levels never cease to become more challenging.
“The past several years have a pattern of similarity. It’s a sure sign that the demand for a home in Boulder County is strong and undeterred,” he says.
In fact, year-over-year increases in sales were only about 1 percent apart in each market category. Condominiums and townhomes lead with a 5.6 percent rise through December 2017 – 1508 homes sold vs. 1,428 through 2016 – while sales of single-family homes improved 4.4 percent for the year with 4,612 homes sold vs. 4,419.
Month-to-month sales of single-family homes were virtually unchanged, increasing .1 percent in December 2017 compared to November 2017 – 363 vs. 359 units. In the same period, sales of attached dwellings dropped 2.4 percent compared to the previous month – 120 units vs. 123.
Hotard says lack of inventory is a problem plaguing Boulder County that shows little sign of change in the near future.
Inventory of single-family homes dropped 28.3 percent in December compared to November—declining to 557 units from 777, while multi-family unit inventory decreased 5.5 percent—138 units versus 146—over the same period.
Adding to the inventory crunch, demographers say age is starting to catch up with Boulder County. State demographics show the size of the retired Baby Boomer age group will reach unprecedented levels in the coming years.
Experts say older people tend to move less and age in place. Hotard cautions the aging population could make the already tight housing inventory even tighter over the next decade.
Where might inventory easing come from? Hotard notes that Boulder city leaders are looking at land use policies that may bring some limited relief by making it easier to build Accessory Dwelling Units or Occupant Accessory Units. And there’s consideration being given to a targeted zoning change that would allow two homes to be built on larger lots where only one home currently stands.
None of these changes, though, will have the impact needed soon enough or large enough to negate the fact that many people who work in the city of Boulder will likely live somewhere else. Hotard believes that improved public regional transportation will be a needed component of our housing picture.
“We’re in the midst of a big shift,” says Hotard. “Boulder Valley used to be 25 square miles surrounded by reality. Now it’s 25 square miles surrounded by competition. That competition is in shopping, locations for businesses, housing and jobs.”
Housing start statistics show that building has increased in Eerie and the tri-towns of Dacono, Frederick and Firestone north of Boulder.
“Increasing inventory in these towns is helping to keep pricing in check in Boulder,” Hotard says of the competition. “Moderating prices is probably a good thing.”
But he remains confident that Boulder County holds strong as a place that people want to live. He expects 2018 to be another positive year in the area’s residential real estate, beginning with a strong first quarter. With interest rates expected to slowly rise, buyers will be motivated to move earlier in the year rather than later.
“As long as we have the beauty and quality of life Boulder County offers, people will want to live here.” And that means our real estate market will be rock solid.
Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Friday, February 9th, 2018 at 11:57am.