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Denver Real Estate Blogspot

March 2009

First Time Home Buyers Get an $8,000 Break!

Mar. 29, 2009
Categorized in: Buying a home...

$8,000 Tax Break for First Time Homebuyers, Denver, ColoradoThe new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) included a new $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit for 2009 home purchases. If you've recently purchased a home or are thinking about buying a home you have several different ways you can receive this tax credit -- even if you've already filed your tax return.

Qualifying taxpayers who buy a home between January 1, 2009, and December 1, 2009 can claim up to $8,000 or $4,000 for married individuals filing separately. You can claim the credit either on your 2008 tax returns or 2009 tax return next year. The credit begins to phase out at a modified adjusted gross income of more than $75,000 or $150,000 for joint filers. But if you make less than that you can claim 10% of the purchase price up to the maximum credit.

The filing options to consider are listed below:

  • File an extension.  If you haven't yet filed your 2008 return but are buying a home soon, you can request a six-month extension to October 15th. This step would be faster than waiting until next year to claim it on your 2009 tax return. Even with an extension, you could still file electronically, receiving your refund in as few as 10 days with direct deposit.
  • File now, amend later.  If you're expecting a sizable refund on your 2008 tax return but you're also considering buying a house in the next few months, you can file your return now and claim the credit later. You would file your 2008 tax forms as usual, then follow up with an amended return later this year to claim the homebuyer credit.
  • Amend your 2008 tax return.  If you're buying a home in the near future , but you've already filed your 2008 tax return, you can consider filing an amended tax return. The amended tax return will allow you to claim the homebuyer credit on your 2008 return without waiting until next year to claim it on the 2009 return.
  • Claim the credit in 2009 rather than 2008. For some taxpayers, it may make more financial sense to wait and claim the homebuyer credit next year when you file your 2009 tax return rather than claiming it now on the 2008 tax return. This could include people who have less income in 2009 than 2008 because of factors such as a job loss or drop in investment income.

For more information on the new tax credit, see the IRS website.

If you're thinking about buying a house in Denver in the next few months and would like some help, give me, Judith Clausen, a call at 303-587-3509. I only represent buyers, never sellers, and can help you find the home you're looking for. Check out my references and see what my clients say about me. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
 
Judith Clausen, Exclusive Buyer's Agent (EBA)
Buyers Advantage Real Estate of Metro Denver
 
Email Judith Clausen, Exclusive Buyer's Agent, Denver, Colorado

 

Spring Buying Opportunities Best in Years

Mar. 11, 2009
Categorized in: Denver Market Info

Though still down considerably from 2008, Denver’s real estate market is picking up. February’s median price for a single family home is up 5.8% from January to $192,000, after the usual seasonal downturn in January. The average price of a single family home is $218,000, up 6% from January. For condos the news isn’t quite as bright. Sales were off 9.5% from January and the average price in February was down 7% to $138,2239, while median price rose 4.2% to $117,725.

Gary Bauer, independent real estate expert in Denver with the Genesis group, is optimistic for the rest of 2009, predicting a good spring market. Though many parts of the rest of the nation is looking at severe real estate price drops, since Denver’s market didn’t go through the highly inflated price bubble experienced elsewhere, Denver is one of the few places in the country where real estate is remarkably stable, particularly when looking at year over year data.

View Channel 9 interview with real estate expert, Gary Bauer .

The recently released Case Shiller Housing Index shows a year over year average price drop of 18.5% nationally. But of the 20 metropolitan areas measured, Denver showed the smallest decline, 4.0%, from 2007 to 2008.

The OFHEO (Federal Housing Finance Agency) report for 2008 shows that Denver's values decreased by only -0.71%, 111th of 292 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (Denver-Aurora). In the fourth quarter of 2008 values actually increased by 0.77%.

Foreclosure filings dropped by 2% in 2008 according to the Colorado Division of Housing. Completed foreclosures dropped 16% from 2007.

Denver's drop in values began in 2001, unlike most U.S. cities where the drop didn't begin until 2003, and then only in cities showing the greatest increase in prices during the early 2000s. Denver's increases took place in the 1990s and prices did not drop steeply from 2001 to late 2008.

More houses went under contract in February than in January by 9.2%, following a trend beginning in December. The mix of single family residences sold under $200,000 in February was 52.4% and over $200,000 was 47.5%. For condos the split was stark, indicating falling prices. Only 18.2% of sold condos were over $200,000 while 81.8% were under $200,000.

For buyers, the time is exceptionally opportune, especially given recent interest rate drops. And for first-time home buyers (buyers who haven’t owned a home for the last three years) an $8,000 federal tax credit should help sweeten the pot. You’ll have to buy before the end of the year though.

Single family homes priced well, in good condition, in good locations were staying on the market fewer days than the average of 107, and were selling in 30 days or less for 99.01% of list price. Homes staying on the market over 90 days sold at 94.87% of list price. If you're a seller you'll want to price your home well and make sure it's in good condition, attractively staged. If you're a buyer and you want to buy a move-in ready home in a good location, be prepared to pay close to list price. My experience over the last month to month and a half shows that premium homes are selling, many with more than one offer, and some even at above list price. Denver’s real estate market isn't uniformly declining, contrary to what you may hear on the news or read on the internet or in the newspaper.

According to the Denver Economic Development Council, the outlook for Denver's economy in 2009 is better than average. Denver's unemployment rate at the end of February was 6.6, considerably better than the national unemployment rate of 8.1%.

The jobs outlook is better, too, for the Denver Metro area. According to the most recent Manpower Employment Outlook Survey for the area issued on March 10th, 10% of employers expect to hire more employees, 13% expect to reduce their work force, 73% hope to maintain their current work force, and 4% are uncertain. Sectors hoping to hire include Information, Financial Activities, Professional and Business Services, and Leisure and Hospitality services. Sectors expecting job losses are manufacturing, leisure-hospitality, and government. Sectors where employers plan to reduce jobs are Construction, Durable Goods Manufacturing, Nondurable Goods Manufacturing, Transportation & Utilities and Education & Health Services. However, the recent American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will add jobs to Colorado’s Construction sector. 59,000 new jobs are expected in Colorado due to the measure.

The Denver metro area's cost of living makes it an easy choice over higher cost areas like both coasts. According to CNN/Money.com it costs 51.1%% less to live in Denver than in San Jose; 43.8% less than in San Diego; 66.6% less than in San Francisco; and 12.9% less than Seattle. If you live in the east, it will cost 37.6% less than in Washington, D.C.; 32.8% less than in Boston; 101.9% less than in New York; 22% less than in Philadelphia.

For buyers coming from the south and the midwest, metro Denver could cost more. It costs 4.9% more in Denver than in Atlanta; 12.8% more than in Houston; 8% more than in Dallas; 8.3% more than in Dayton, Ohio; 5.2% more than in Rochester, MN, and 10% more than in Boise. But living in Denver still costs 10.7% less than in Chicago, 15.1% percent less than in Portland, and a whopping 49.3% less than in Los Angeles.

You'll need to do your due diligence to compare cost of living between your city and Denver at websites like Sperling's Best Places, Bank Rate or CNN/Money.

Having an Exclusive Buyers Agent to find the best buys will shore up your buying ability by representing your best interests - finding the best home at the lowest possible price, and saving you time and hassles. See client references. Phone numbers available upon request. Call Judith Clausen now at 303-587-3509 to help you find your next house.
 

Avoid Mesothelioma When Remodeling Your Home!

Mar. 6, 2009
Categorized in: Local Denver Information

Asbestos Moving out of Colorado Homes
    
Purchasing a home can be filled with excitement and anticipation for homeowners. Regarded as one of the great American traditions, it can also be a time where additional responsibilities are acquired. There are many locations throughout the state of Colorado in which citizens have been exposed to asbestos. Asbestos is found in the ground as a naturally-occurring mineral and pollutant. Left behind by many industrial plants and military bases which are now abandoned, there are still dangers present which pose risks to citizens throughout the state.

Potential Denver, Colorado home buyers or those remodeling homes should be aware that homes built before 1980 may still harbor asbestos materials. This is not to make you alarmed because asbestos exposure is easily prevented by taking simple precautions. Typically found in attic insulation, piping, popcorn ceilings, roof shingles and flooring, many green, healthy options insulation options exist that make the use of asbestos obsolete.

Asbestos fibers are thin and strong, and when inhaled frequently, an individual can develop mesothelioma, a rare but severe lung ailment caused by asbestos exposure. Several mesothelioma treatments are available; however, patient prognosis is usually poor. There are a number of factors that can impact how a person reacts to the disease and how their life span and mesothelioma life expectancy will be affected. These factors include latency period, age of diagnosis and cigarette smoking.

If any asbestos is suspected in the home, the best thing to do is leave it un-disturbed until a home inspector can determine the best course of action. Disturbing asbestos in good condition may cause its fibers to be released into the air. It is important to meet with health or environmental professionals to properly examine your new property. Sometimes, the best action is no action. However, if removal is necessary, it must be performed by a licensed abatement contractor who is trained in handling hazardous substances. Organizations such as the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, assists businesses and schools to comply with laws regulating asbestos containing materials.

In Colorado, construction practices are upgrading methods to suit better lighting, heating, cooling systems and environmentally habitable insulation. Green options such as cotton fiber, cellulose and lcynene should be given consideration as replacements to asbestos. Not only will eco-friendly materials provide a healthy atmosphere, it can significantly reduce energy costs.

Current statistics demonstrates that the use of recycled building materials such as cotton fiber insulation can reduce energy use in the home by 25 percent. Alternatives to asbestos allow for you and your family to live in a healthy and safe home, free of health corroding materials.

Denver Real Estate Blogspot

Denver, Colorado

Denver real estate info written by an Exclusive Buyers Agent. Buyers need their own representation by an experienced professional who specializes ONLY in providing expert service, counsel and advocacy for home buyers moving to the Denver area. We offer what you need to make a prudent, informed buying decision. We get you the best terms possible in today's Denver real estate market.

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