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HARRY'S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE 7.30.2019

by Harry Salzman

July 30, 2019

 

HARRY’S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE

          A Current Look at the Colorado Springs Residential real estate Market

As part of my Unique Brand of Personal Service, it is my desire to share current real estate issues that will help to make you a more successful and profitable buyer or seller.

 

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LOCALIZE…LOCALIZE…LOCALIZE

You’ve probably read or heard various things about the national housing market in recent weeks.  Most notably is the fact that homeownership fell slightly in the second quarter 2019 and that existing home sales fell 1.7% in June.  And this is while mortgage interest rates are still historically low.

Colorado Springs does not follow the national trend in general as our median home prices have consistently been considerably higher than that of the U.S. All of the “Top 10” lists such as “Best Place to Live”, “Best Place for Small Business”, “Best Quality of Life”, and more are making companies and their employees sit up and take notice of Colorado Springs.  These folks want housing and want it now.  The problem we face is a lack of available homes for sale—most especially in the more affordable price ranges.  When we do have such properties, as you might expect—they go fast.  

This past week I was busy with both buyers and sellers and had to deal with multiple offers on both ends.  On one home I had six offers within hours of it being listed. And one of my buyers lost their offers on two different homes before finally buying one almost immediately after it came on the market.  There just isn’t a lot of time to think about it once you find the home you want.  What that means is that you need to do your homework (that’s where I come in to help) before you begin the search.  You need to know what your wants, needs and budget constraints are and try to stick with them.  It’s easy to get caught up in a bidding war, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.  You could end up with a home that doesn’t appraise for what you offered, thus making it difficult to find a loan.  There are any number of reasons to walk away from a transaction and as I’ve always emphasized—sometimes walking away is a WIN for a buyer.  

Higher prices are creating a problem for those first-time buyers who, for whatever reason, were not ready before now.  It’s harder to qualify for a higher priced home and the down payment is going to be higher, too.  Many of these folks are being forced into remaining renters for the foreseeable future.  This is opening up opportunities for those looking for investment properties and I’ve had a lot of recent repeat business in this area.  Homes may be costing more, but rent prices are going up accordingly.

The following infographic from this month’s Realtor Magazine illustrates some of the “whys” of the housing shortage:

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If you, a family member or co-worker are even thinking of looking for a new home or an investment property….NOW is the time. Simply give me a call at 593.1000 or email me at Harry@HarrySalzman.com and let’s see how together we can make all your residential real estate dreams come true.  It may not be as easy as it once was, but hey—I haven’t been so successful in my 47 plus years in this arena without learning how to weather all types of cycles and obstacles successfully.  I can help you find a way, but you need to pick up your phone and give me a holler first!

 

EXISTING HOME SALES FALL 1.7% NATIONALLY IN JUNE

National Association of Realtors, 7.23.19

According to Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, “Home sales are running at a pace similar to 2015 levels—even with the exceptionally low mortgage rates, a record number of jobs and a record high net worth in the country.”

Yun says the nation is in the midst of a housing shortage and much more inventory is needed.  “Imbalance persists for mid-to-lower priced homes with solid demand and insufficient supply, which is consequently pushing up home prices.”

This infographic can help explain:

As I mentioned earlier, Colorado Springs is also experiencing a slowdown in sales, which can be attributed to the lack of available homes, but we are faring better than most of the country and should continue to do so.  The historically low interest rates, low unemployment rates and booming economy are providing the impetus for our local residents to finally make the move they’ve been thinking about for some time now.  And with new companies continuing to relocate here, there are more buyers for existing homes.

If you’ve considered selling to trade up, this is a great time since your present home should sell quickly and there are more available homes to choose from in the higher price ranges at present.  You do need to have a plan, though, and know where you want to move before we list your present home because things move quickly once your present home is listed.  Again, give me a call and we can figure out if a trade up move is in your near future.

 

NEW HOME PURCHASES REBOUND

The Wall Street Journal, 7.25.19

Home buyers bought more new homes in June, a bright spot in the housing sector, and most likely due to the lack of existing homes for sale.  

According to a report from the U.S. Commerce Department, newly built single-family home sales increased 7% in June from the prior month, following two straight months of declines.  

New home sales are a narrow slice of all U.S. home sales, as about 90% of homes purchased were previously owned.  But with existing home sales down, new home purchases are a good option for some.

If this is something you have considered, I can help you with that, too.  I have a good working relationship with most of the local homebuilders and can work beside you to help with site and home selection, as well as helping you find the best mortgage loan for your individual needs.  And did I say—I provide this all at NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU.  Before you head out to look, give me a call and let’s discuss the ways you can benefit from my assistance in new home buying.

 

U.S. ECONOMY CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF GROWTH

Economic Advisor, Loan Depot, 6.10.19

July marks the 10thAnniversary of the U.S. economic expansion that began June 2009.  If the streak continues through this month, it will make history, surpassing the 1991-2001 growth cycle to become the longest since 1854, which is as far back as economists have attempted to date business cycles.

We have had heftier extended growth cycles before. In the first 39 quarters of the record expansion of 1991-2001, gross domestic product increased 43%.  In the 39 quarters through this March, GDP grew just 22%.  At the present pace, this run would have to last six more years to match the aggregate growth of 1991-2001 when GDP expanded 54%.

Here is a picture of how the U.S. has changed since the start of the current expansion in 2009 and where it stood in June:

 

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NINE DECORATING MISTAKES THAT DATE YOUR HOME

The Wall Street Journal, 7.21.19

One of the first things I get asked by potential sellers is, “what do I need to do to make my home more marketable so I can get the most money from it?”.  The answer is different for each home, of course, but I read this article last week and thought I would pass on some of the advice.

Dated:  Tubs with built-in jets.  They had their heyday but now seem too bulky, tough to clean and call for up to 80 gallons of water.

Up to Date:  Large standing showers with water-efficient shower heads and space for a built-in stool or wood bench.  They could be enclosed in floor-to-ceiling glass which keeps steam and heat in during use.

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Dated:  Vessel sinks which appear to sit on counters like bowls.  Water gets in where the bowl meets the counter and since the faucet needs to be as high as your hands, the counter gets pushed below standard height.

Up to Date:  Undermount sinks where there’s no lip between the sink and countertop.  Even better are sinks that are actually part of the countertop.

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Dated:  Faux finishes attempting to replicate the golden tones of Tuscan-villa walls.  They add a heaviness to a room and really devalue a space.

Up to Date:  Today’s palettes are much lighter and airier. Paint over sponged or rag-rolled walls and sand down textured walls if practical.

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Dated:  Midrange yellow-toned oak cabinets have gone out of fashion in a big way.  People wanted oak to match the furniture around it, but now folks like to mix up different material and finishes.

Up to Date:  Lighter and brighter cabinetry and color for a clean and sophisticated space.  Also, mixing reclaimed wood with painted wood adds more interest.

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Dated:  Trapezoidal kitchen islands or a countertop peninsula, which has an angle on one or both sides, typically at 45 degrees.  

Up to Date:  Rectangles and square islands give an uninterrupted workflow, an easy-to-navigate traffic path, and will go well with anything else you put in the space.  It will also be as relevant and attractive in 30 years as it is today.

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Dated:  Interior plantation shutters that often cost as much or more than custom drapes.

Up to Date:  Replacing plantation shutters with drapery or roman shades or both.  The softness of the fabric instantly improves the space and drapes can make a ceiling feel taller and a room larger.  For light control, layer drapes over hidden blackout roller shades.

 

These are just a few areas that can add to the “appeal” of the house.  A number of my clients tend to do some or all of these things as time goes by so that they can enjoy the changes prior to selling the home.

 

KITCHEN MISTAKES THAT COULD SINK A SALE

National Association of Realtors, 7.22.19, Realtor.com, 7.19.19

Most buyers put a lot of focus on the kitchen which makes sense because it can be one of the most expensive rooms to remodel. Its features can make or break a sale.

  • Fluorescent lighting.  Swap out bad lighting for a budget-friendly chandelier or pendent lights and remove any curtain valences from the window to allow more natural light in.

 

  • Overcrowded counters.  Clutter is the enemy when you go to sell a home and that means piles of old mail or several small appliances on top of countertops.  Keeping out things like a teapot or dried flowers is very dated.

 

  • Dated drawer knobs.  Drawer knobs that are chipped or scratched can make a kitchen look unkempt and can be an inexpensive do it yourself project that will provide an instant update.

 

  • Faux plants.  These can cheapen a kitchen’s look, too.  Instead, have a vase of fresh flowers on the kitchen island or a few potted herbs along the kitchen windowsill for a real touch of greenery.

 

  • Unsightly trash cans.  Plastic anything needs to be removed—especially that free standing plastic trash can on the floor.  It if has to be out, swap it for one made of metal.  It will give the kitchen a more polished look.  

 

  • Old linoleum.  Every cheap looking kitchen seems to have a linoleum floor but ripping it up and replacing it with hardwood is an expensive undertaking.  To save some money, hide a linoleum floor with a bright rug. Or have it redone with decorative tile which won’t be as expensive as hardwood but will instantly make the space look more luxurious.

 

  • Faddish colors.  Avocado and orange paint may be trendy at one time, but over time it’ll end up looking tired.  Timeless colors such as white, cool grays or other neutrals are best.

 

  • Mismatched appliances.  The ideal kitchen look includes appliances all with the same finish.

 

There you have it.  These are great things to keep in mind as you live in your present home and when it’s time to redo the kitchen or parts of it.  It will not only make the home more presentable to potential buyers but will make it more enjoyable for you while you are living there.

 

 

HARRY'S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE 7.9.2019

by Harry Salzman

July 9, 2019

HARRY’S BI-WEEKLY UPDATE

           A Current Look at the Colorado Springs Residential real estate Market

As part of my Unique Brand of Personal Service, it is my desire to share current real estate issues that will help to make you a more successful and profitable buyer or seller.

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AND HOW WAS YOUR INDEPENDENCE DAY?  (and yes, that’s a LIVE Bald Eagle!)

Carol and I were up in Breckenridge for the July 4th holiday and while wandering around, we came across HawkQuest, a Colorado non-profit organization. Their goal is to bring eagles, owls, falcons and hawks to the public to make education of same both meaningful and fun, while creating an atmosphere which fosters respect of biodiversity, of the finality of extinction and of man’s need to nurture his world while discussing the raptors’ place in our ecosystem.  

And that’s how we came to meet Magissiwa (named for the Ojibwe word migizi,which means bald eagle).  We couldn’t’ resist having our photo taken with her, most especially since it was the Fourth of July.  What better day could we have found? 

In any case, she is quite a beautiful bird with a six foot wing span and a great personality and I wanted to share her picture with you.

I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday celebrating our great nation and most Importantly, the freedom that it provides us all.  I am especially grateful for the men and women in the military both present and past who have sacrificed so much in order to insure that freedom.  Thank you one and all.

 

NOW SOME real estate NEWS…

Just when it appeared that things were slowing down a bit--BOOM-- the mortgage rates went down, and it’s become quite busy again.  These last few weeks have again brought multiple offers, most over listing price, and at times, some disappointing news for buyers when they don’t get home of their choice for reasons we may never know. Sometimes it’s simply that the seller has several offers and doesn’t want to waste the time to counter, so they accept one of the offers as is.  Other times it’s the price offered or the closing time desired.  There are just many reasons, but it’s so difficult to have to explain to a client that they didn’t get “the” home.  It’s not a good feeling and I do everything in my power to try and prevent that from happening.

That’s where my 47 plus years of local experience is so important.  I’ve been around through all types of cycles and I know the “ins and outs” of getting a deal done.  That doesn’t mean even I can guarantee a client will get the first choice each and every time because, as I just mentioned, there are too many factors that are beyond my control in this fast-paced market.  However, I know how to negotiate on a client’s behalf and at times that means advising them to walk away.  As I’ve said in the past, sometimes NOT closing a deal is a win in the long run.

If you, a family member or co-worker are even considering a move…NOW is the time.  Simply give me a call at 593.1000 or email me at Harry@HarrySalzman.com and let’s see how together we can make your residential real estate dreams come true.

 

JUNE 2019 BROUGHT GAINS IN HOME VALUES AND A LOWER NUMBER OF SALES

Statistics provided by the Pikes Peak REALTORS Service Corp., or it’s PPMLS

Here are some highlights from the June 2019 PPAR report. Remember that the new format of this report no longer provides monthly statistics for each individual neighborhood. However, if you are interested in what’s happening in your neighborhood, I can provide you with this information through other means.

In El Paso County, the average days on the market for single family/patio homes was 24.  For condo/townhomes is was 23.  

The sales price/list price for single family/patio homes was 100.1% and for condo/townhomes  was 100.2%.  

You can see from those statistics alone that buying a home in today’s seller’s market is not as easy as in the past, but with me on your side you’ve got a considerably better than average shot at it.

Please click here to view the detailed 9-page report, including charts.  If you have any questions about the report or to find out how it relates to your individual situation, just give me a call.

In comparing June 2019 to June 2018 for All Homes in PPAR:              

                        Single Family/Patio Homes:

·       New Listings are 2,053, Up 0.1%

·       Number of Sales are 1,651, Down 5.0%

·       Average Sales Price is $373,792, Up 3.4%

·       Median Sales Price is $331,000, Up 1.9%

·       Total Active Listings are 2,122, Down 1.9%

·       Months Supply is 1.3

 

                        Condo/Townhomes:

·       New Listings are 251, Down 6.3%

·       Number of Sales are 192, Down 5.0%

·       Average Sales Price is $248,816, Up 8.1%

·       Median Sales Price is $240,000, Up 10.9%

·       Total Active Listings are 167, Up 18.4%

·       Months Supply is 0.9

As I mentioned earlier, I’m seeing more activity in recent weeks, so I expect these numbers to continue to rise.  With the lowered interest rates on mortgages, I’m finding that those who thought they had been priced out of the current market now realizing that they can not only get more for their present home but can benefit from a lower monthly payment than they anticipated on a new one.  

If a newly constructed home is under consideration, I can assist you with that, too.  I’m familiar with most of the new construction in the city and can help you with the site and plan selection as well as help you find the best financing to fit your individual needs.  And—did I mention that I provide all this at no additional cost to you?

Now a look at more statistics…

 

JUNE 2019 LOCAL MARKET UPDATE AND MONTHLY INDICATORS ILLUSTRATE OUR LOCAL TRENDS IN DETAIL

Colorado Association of REALTORS® ,Pikes Peak REALTORS Service Corp, or it’s PPMLS

Providing greater detail than the above report, this contains information on both Colorado Springs and Teller counties for residential real estate.  

It is broken down by geographical areas and you can look to see how your geographic area is doing in terms of sales, prices, and more.  

The “Activity Snapshot” for all residential properties in El Paso and Teller counties shows the Year to Date one-year change:

  • Sold Listings for All Properties were Down 5.2%
  • Median Sales Price for All Properties was Up 2.9%
  • Active Listings on All Properties were Down 16.6%

You can click here to read the 16-page Monthly Indicators or click here to get specific information on the geographical area of your choice from the 18-page Local Market Update. I recommend that you check out your own area or one that you are considering, to get a good idea of the local pulse. As an example, here is a detailed report on Colorado Springs:

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BUYING AND SELLING RESIDENTIAL real estate CALLS FOR A SEASONED PROFESSIONAL.  WHO YA GONNA CALL?  

ME, OF COURSE.

Summit Daily News, 7.6.19, in part

real estate is often the largest financial investment and greatest asset of many families. Especially in today’s fast-paced market, it’s not one that should be undertaken without a knowledgeable, experienced professional in your corner.

Yes, technology is streamlining the process of both buying and selling residential real estate, but there’s something it just can’t do—replace the value and expertise of a professional, local real estate agent.

Beware of those companies that say you don’t need a Realtor because you DO need help in so many areas, most especially in education and ethics.

Here are a few things a professional Realtor brings to the table:

  • Timely, Relevant Listing Information.  Not all local listings are on the Internet and many mass market sites are not updated frequently enough to stay current.  To get access to most of the listings in the Pikes Peak area you need to work with a Realtor who has access to the PPMLS and can have pertinent listings sent directly to you.

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  • Expert Market Knowledge.  A local professional like myself can provide you with expertise and knowledge of El Paso and Teller Counties that someone out of this market cannot.  Someone like me is engaged in the community, both professionally and personally.  I can help you find local sources such as plumbers, carpet cleaners and electricians and more.  I know the best suited areas for families as well as those for retired folks.  I work with your individual wants, needs and budget to direct you to the home that will make you happy for years to come. And because I live and work here, I can provide you with the most accurate comparables that no computer can possibly know.

 

  • Full Access to Properties for Sale.  The only way you can gain access to a property is by using a Realtor.  You might see many photos on online sites, including PPMLS, but the only way to know for sure is to step inside, see the views for yourself and truly feel what it would be like to live there.

 

  • Professional, Ethical Standards.  All members of the National Association of Realtors are required to take code of ethics class every two years. This class updates realtors on 17 articles within this code that address a realtor’s duty to clients, the public, and to other realtors.

What that means is that by hiring me as your Realtor, you’re ensuring that I will protect your best interests, disclose important information about the property, provide competent services and other important actions that maintain the integrity of your transaction.  My duty is to you and your goal becomes mine.

 

  • Guidance Throughout the Transaction.  real estate professionals like myself are “guides” as we truly guide our clients through a long and oftentimes complicated process.  Navigating and negotiating details every step of the way is important and this is an area where I shine brightly.  I know how to not only negotiate expertly on your behalf, I can also lead you to the right lender for your specific needs.  

 

Next time you or someone you know thinks that they can save money and/or time by purchasing real estate online, remember these essential points and ask yourself, or them, whether or not it’s wise to place such an important investment in the hands of a computer.  

 

And then call me.  

 

MORTGAGE RATES HAVEN’T BEEN THIS LOW SINCE 2016

Realtor magazine, 6.28.19

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The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has dropped for the seventh time in the last nine weeks, reaching the lowest average since November 2016, according to Freddie Mac in its weekly mortgage market survey last week.

“While the industrial and trade related economic data continues to dominate the news, the drop in mortgage rates over the last two months is already being felt in the housing market,” say Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.  “Through late June, home purchase applications improved by five percentage points compared to the previous month.  In the near term, we expect the housing market to continue to improve from both a sales and price perspective.”

Once again, just one more reminder that if you thought you missed the historically low interest rates…they’re back.  No one knows how long they will be here, but while they are, if you’ve waited…NOW is the time.

 

UPGRADES BOOST A HOME’S SALE PRICE

USA Today, 6.28.19

Getting a home ready for sale can seem overwhelming at times, especially in knowing what to fix or replace in order to get the most dollars possible.  Again, just a reminder that this is where someone like me can give you advice that will help show the house in the best possible way.

The most important thing to consider is looks.  A home that has a new roof, windows or HVAC system may be important to a buyer, but if the home is not visually appealing most buyers will cross it off their list.  

Some things to consider:

  • Groom your yard.  A minimal outdoor spruce-up can add as much as 5% to the sales price.  Today’s buyers, especially the younger generation, consider outdoor space an added value—sometimes more important than a remodeled kitchen.

 

  • The kitchen is key.  Inside, the kitchen is the most important room, according to real estate agents.  But don’t bother with a complete renovation as most return just 51 cents on the dollar according to Zillow. Rather, a smart cosmetic makeover will do the trick and raise the sales price by roughly 5%.  This could include new appliances, countertops and floors that coordinate.

 

  • Appearance inside counts, too.  Painting inside can help make a home feel new.  In Colorado Springs the average cost to paint an entire interior runs between $3000-$4,000 but it adds stronger marketability to the home.  “Smart” features are a plus, especially for younger buyers, and enabling a thermostat, doorbell, lock, camera and speaker costs around $1500 and can boost a home’s sales price by up to 5%, they added.

 

These are just some ways to help you prevent doing things that are not going to reap returns and to show you where you can do others that will boost the sales price and give your home the best visual appearance to a potential buyer.  

Each home is different, though, and when we get together to list your home, I can provide you with what I believe will help you get the most “bang for your buck” and bring offers to the table.  I can also recommend professionals who I know and trust to help you get the job done on a timely basis and at a reasonable cost.  This is just one of the many things I bring to the table when I’m working for you

 

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Harry A Salzman
ERA Shields / Salzman Real Estate Services
5475 Tech Center Drive, Suite 300
Colorado Springs CO 80919
719-593-1000 or Toll Free: 800-677-MOVE(6683)
Cell: 719-231-1285
Fax: 719-548-9357

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