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Neil Kearney is Again Recognized as a Five Star Real Estate Agent Award Winner

Neil Kearney is Again Recognized as a Five Star Real Estate Agent Award Winner

Neil Kearney has once again been recognized as one of the top real estate professionals in the Denver Metro Area.  The “Five Star Professional” award in the real estate category is awarded each year based upon independent research and interviews with actual clients from the past year. The Five Star Professional research team applies a vigorous research and evaluation process to identify service professionals who provide quality services to their clients. Professionals do not pay a fee to be considered or placed on the final list of Five Star award winners.  Along with outstanding survey results the real estate agents who are considered must obtain a high standard of production. This year the criteria was tightened, and under 750 real estate agents in the Denver Metro Market were recognized as a Five Star Professionals. There are currently over 20,000 licensed real estate agents in the Denver area.  Neil feels honored to be once again be designated award winner.  This is one of the most credible awards a real estate agent can receive because it is based upon direct feedback from recent clients.  Only the highest scoring agents are selected. Here is a description of the research methodology that is used.  Five Star Professional follows standard survey practices used by other professional research organizations. The research also includes a regulatory review to provide necessary checks and balances. Five Star Professional conducts research to help consumers with the important decision of selecting a service professional. The Five Star award is presented to wealth managers, real estate agents, mortgage professionals, home/auto insurance professionals and dentists in more than 45 markets in the...
Home Search Zillow Sued for Inaccurate Zestimate’s

Home Search Zillow Sued for Inaccurate Zestimate’s

This past May, Zillow, the online real estate search company was sued by a Chicago based home building company who claimed that Zillow’s online Automated Value Model (AVM) is deceiving home buyers with prices below the true value of properties leading to frustrated sellers. Furthermore the suit claims that Zillow’s “Zestimates” are in violation of the legal description of an appraisal, which under Illinois law must be administered by a licensed appraiser. Zillow defends themselves by stating that their Zestimates claim only to be approximations not true appraisals; to which the suit responds stating that whether or not they are technically appraisals homeowners are viewing them as such leading to confusion and irritation. It will be interesting to see over the coming months how this lawsuit plays out. It’s clear that Zillow’s Zestimate and other AVM’s which are becoming common across the internet are being used by consumers to determine the approximate value of their home.  But in my experience, many times this approximation isn’t close to the true market value. So just how accurate are Zestimates. In a Nationwide study conducted by Zillow it was found that their Zestimates fall within 5% of the sales price of homes 53.9% of the time, within 10% of the sales price 75.6% of the time and finally within 20% of the sales price 89.7% of the time. Back in 2007 when Zillow was just getting its footing I conducted my own research local to Boulder on the subject and found that on a whole Zillow’s algorithm was 99% accurate.  However, when I took a closer look I found that there was...
The Steps of A Home Search

The Steps of A Home Search

If you have determined that you are ready to buy a house (click here for more information about determining if you are ready) the next question to ask is how do I do it? What is the smartest way to go about buying a home? What are the first steps in a home search? This article will show how to begin the process of buying a home as well as point out some common pitfalls that can be avoided. Step 1 – Finding a Really Good Realtor It’s easy enough to start browsing houses on the internet or going to the random open house, but at some point you will want to get more serious about looking at homes.  The first step towards getting more serious about looking for a home is finding a good Realtor who has been through the process time and time again.  Most people end up working with a Realtor, so why not engage one early on in the process?  Realtor’s have tools that will save you time and put you on track to finding the right home more quickly.  A good Realtor is much more than a person who shows you the houses that you have found online, they serve as an information source, an advocate and a guide through the process.  Make sure you are working with a Realtor who is more interested in helping you find a great house for the long term rather than a quick sale for them.  It takes patience and persistence to make sure you end up in the right home. Note: A Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors...
Colorado’s Property Tax Rates Near The Lowest

Colorado’s Property Tax Rates Near The Lowest

Do you know what PITI is? If you have a loan on your home you probably know that these are the four elements of a mortgage payment. P stands for principal; the first I stands for Interest; T stands for taxes and I stands for insurance.  Together they make up the amount you pay for your home on a monthly basis.  If your PITI payment is comfortable for you, you will have extra funds available to pay for all of your living expenses, be able to save some money on a monthly basis and have some left over for some fun.  But many times as we consider how much of a house we can afford we key in on the price of a home  and the interest rate (these go into determining the ‘P” and first ‘I’) without much considering the ‘T’ and the ‘I’. Before I get started talking about property taxes I want to make it clear that this is not a comprehensive article on taxation.  There are many elements that go into the discussion of total taxation that include income tax, various sales taxes, car registration fees, use fees, transfer taxes, etc., this article just focuses on one element and is therefore not a comprehensive picture. It doesn’t fairly compare apples to apples across states. However, I think it’s an interesting and relevant topic because it comes up often in my discussions when I am showing property. Corelogic recently did a study ranking the median property tax rate across the country.  The highest property tax percentage is in Illinois where taxes are 2.67% of the assessed...
Boulder Neighborhoods – Guide for 2016

Boulder Neighborhoods – Guide for 2016

Boulder Neighborhood Guide I realized a few years ago that people coming from out of town were having a hard time characterizing the different neighborhoods within Boulder.  In response I created the Boulder Neighborhood Guide. In this report I have split Boulder into eleven different areas and present the lifestyle highlights, schools, shopping districts, local recreation and real estate statistics for each area. If you’re interested in learning more about the different neighborhoods within the City of Boulder this is your guide. Click this link to view and download the report.  Boulder Neighborhood Guide 2016 It is recognized that Boulder is a great place to live but the neighborhoods in Boulder are a bit hard to peg. Boulder was developed over time in a piece-meal fashion. The result is that many of the neighborhoods are only a few hundred homes in size. It is common to have two adjacent neighborhoods developed at different times and with completely different price ranges. While this report is not comprehensive, it will give the reader valuable information from which to start understanding the real estate market in Boulder. I will highlight the major neighborhoods in each area. Here are some highlights from within this years report. Last year homes in Boulder County appreciated roughly 13.52%. But the appreciation varied between areas and price ranges.  Within Boulder neighborhoods as I have split them in the report gains in median prices ranged between 6.6% to 35% depending upon the area.  Here is the list of neighborhoods sorted by median price appreciation last year: Wonderland Lake / Dakota Ridge = 35% North Boulder East = 28%...
Seven Key Strategies for Winning Multiple Offers

Seven Key Strategies for Winning Multiple Offers

During 2015 43% of all homes sold in the City of Boulder sold for more than asking price (see more context in my year end report) . Presumably most of these homes had multiple buyers making competing offers.  So what does it take to be the winner of a multiple bid situation?  Here are seven strategies for winning multiple offers.  I liken these ideas to a set of arrows in a quiver. Price – The most effective way to win the hearts and minds of a seller is to give them the most money.  In theory it’s easy give them more than anyone else.  In practice, given limited information, it’s very difficult to know what others who are exactly in your position will do.  On average in 2015, those homes that sold for a price over asking price sold for 4% above. The range is from just a few hundred dollars over to 20% over. Now that’s using a sharp and effective arrow! Escalation Clause – This could be a subheading under price but I think it’s worth giving it top billing.  An escalation clause is a paragraph inserted in the contract which states; that the buyers agrees that if their offer isn’t high enough their offer will be automatically increased to beat any competing offers by $X,000 up to a cap price. Some sellers and their agents announce that they will not accept escalation clauses because they view them as a hedge (we are willing to go higher but only if we need to).  For a buyer an escalation clause is a good way to state your intentions...
If You Are Looking For A Home in Boulder County, You Need This Information

If You Are Looking For A Home in Boulder County, You Need This Information

Hold on and get up to speed!  Homebuyer’s in Boulder County are getting a crash course in rejection. The local real estate market is still running on all cylinders and seems to have a full tank of gas. In April and May there were 789 real estate transactions that closed in Boulder County. 270 closed at less than full price, 98 closed at full price and a staggering 421 closed above full price! Two-thirds of the sales in our market during the past two months closed for full price or more. The average transaction closed for 1.2% above list price. I haven’t seen anything like it during the past twenty-five years. Looking more closely at the homes that sold above full price is an interesting analysis. One that could come in handy if you find yourself in a situation where you are competing with multiple offers. The big question is how high do I need to offer? Of course every situation is different but here is the recent data. Sales in Boulder County closing in April and May of 2015 that sold for above asking price: Price Range – $0 – $250k     Number of sales = 93    average premium paid = 5.5% Price Range – $250K – $500k     Number of sales = 212    average premium paid = 4.5% Price Range – $500k – $750k     Number of sales = 74    average premium paid = 5.1% Price Range – $750k – $1 Mil.     Number of sales = 23    average premium paid = 4.9% Price Range – > $1 Mil.     Number of sales = 19    average premium...
Competing with Multiple Offers? Wondering How Much To Offer?

Competing with Multiple Offers? Wondering How Much To Offer?

The Boulder real estate market is currently characterized by low inventory and good buyer demand. It’s a sellers market. Many home buyers are finding that the houses that they are interested in buying are also coveted by other buyers. This leads to a multiple offer situation. A great situation to be in – if you are a seller. But for a buyer it’s a difficult situation. To see some perspectives on multiple offers from both sides, read this article. In our area, multiple offers are most often handled in this way- the listing agent receives an offer and then lets all other agents who are showing or have showed the house know that they will be presenting the offer at a certain time and day. If another offer does come in, the first offering party is advised of the second offer and is offered the opportunity to revise their offer. For the buyer, the information available is usually only limited to the number of offers that will be looked at and when to expect an answer. This year many homes are being listed knowing that there will be much initial interest. They state clearly in the MLS listing that showings start on Saturday and all offers will be reviewed on Monday. Being the first to show the house or the first to submit an offer doesn’t seem to have any advantage. This information gap leads to much buyer anxiety. How much should we offer? What are the other offers? Are we crazy to offer $X? Will there be another better house coming down the line that is less hassle...
Golf Course Communities and Listings

Golf Course Communities and Listings

One of the great things about living in Colorado is the excellent golf courses available to the public. We are blessed with good weather and most years golf can be played year around.  January golf is not for the fair weathered golfer but I’m just saying that it is possible. Here is a list of the golf courses in Boulder County. Since this is a real estate site I thought I would highlight the available homes available in the areas surrounding the courses.  If you are looking to buy or sell a home in a golf course community in Boulder County give me a call. Public Courses: COAL CREEK GOLF COURSE 585 W. Dillon Road, Louisville, 303-666-7888 website $35 – $43 Eighteen-hole, 7,028-yard championship course with driving range and putting and chipping greens. Here are the current listings in the Coal Creek Neighborhood. [optima_express_gallery_slider id=223875 rows=1 columns=3 effect=slide auto=false maxResults=50] FLATIRONS GOLF COURSE 5706 Arapahoe Road, 303-442-7851 website $34 Eighteen-hole, 6,782-yard course with driving range, color-coded distance system, target greens and putting and chipping greens. There are not many homes on the golf course but here are the homes in the general area. [optima_express_gallery_slider id=224761 rows=1 columns=3 effect=slide auto=false maxResults=25] HAYSTACK MOUNTAIN GOLF COURSE 5877 Niwot Road, 303-530-1400 website $26 – $30 Nine-hole, 2,153-yard walking course including lighted driving range with grass tee and putting and chipping greens. Family friendly. There are not many homes on the golf course but here are the homes in the general area. [optima_express_gallery_slider id=224764 rows=1 columns=3 effect=slide auto=false maxResults=25] INDIAN PEAKS GOLF COURSE 2300 Indian Peaks Trail, Lafayette, 303-666-4706 website $40- $47 Eighteen-hole,...
Baby Boomers, Millennials and Real Estate

Baby Boomers, Millennials and Real Estate

In a recent article in Forbes Magazine by Mary Meehan titled “The Baby Boomer Housing Bust“, the author makes the case that in the coming years the Baby Boomers may have a hard time selling their homes to the Millenials. She states that many Baby Boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) will need to sell their large suburban homes to finance their retirement and that the younger buyers may not be interested in buying those homes. It’s an interesting article, especially since in the Boulder area we are seeing a strong sellers market with strong demand for any property listed. But since real estate markets change and many people are talking about how the changing demographics in America will affect housing, I thought I would explore the connection between Baby Boomers, Millenials and real estate.  Here are the topics I’d like to touch on: Baby Boomers need to sell homes to fund retirement. Younger buyers, including Millennials have different attitudes regarding home ownership. There will be an unmatched demand for the supply of homes on the market. According to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2014 Generational Trends Survey, Millennials made the most real estate purchases in 2013. Here is the breakdown: Millennials (1980 – 1995)           31% of purchases Gen X (1965 – 1979)                     30% of purchases Young Boomers (1955 – 1964)   16% of purchases Older Boomers (1946 – 1954)     14% of purchases Silent Generation (1925 – 1945)  9% of purchases For reference, here are the latest population percentages in the United States and Boulder County: Under 18     25.7% (22.9%);  18-24     9.6% (13.4%); 25-44     ...