The Buzz at The Bartic Group

Check out our blog below to catch up on recent developments in Colorado's real estate world and other interesting news.

March 25, 2019

Selling The House & 'Tidying Up': What We Learned From Marie Kondo

Unlike an HGTV makeover show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” is less about the shock factor of a total transformation and more intuitively captures the power of how our lives improve when we focus on the things that make us happy.

 

So, it’s no wonder that the popular Netflix series caught the attention of so many Americans who on average hoard 23 items they have zero use for. Her viral catchphrase “Spark Joy” spread like wildfire and had thrift stores overflowing with donations to the point of capacity.

 

After a delightful 8-hour binge of the show, we couldn’t help but notice that many of its takeaways run parallel to the types of challenges that arise when you sell the house. So, we’ve pulled out episode-by-episode gems on the art of how to stay organized, move forward, and show gratitude for every life chapter—from one house to the next.

En-’joy!’

 

Episode 1: “Tidying with Toddlers”

Summary:

In this episode, we meet Kevin and Rachel Friend, who struggle with clutter and communication in their single-family home. They explain their frustrations over time management and chore delegation (laundry was a main point of contention), but as soon as Kondo enters the house, they breathe a sigh of relief.

 

As they go from room to room, Kondo asks the Friend Family a simple question: “Does this spark joy?”

 

This simple method puts their relationship with “stuff” in perspective.

 

Lesson for sellers: Find the joy in decluttering

One of the first steps in preparing a home to sell is decluttering. It’s going through old U-Haul boxes filled with high school yearbooks and old clothes, and figuring out what you want to keep for the new home. The KonMari Method makes the process quick and fun.

When you ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” you force yourself to confront your connection with possessions that you either have or don’t have the space and heart for anymore.

 

But Kondo reinforces to the Friends Family that decluttering isn’t about tossing any old thing away. It’s about focusing on the objects that are important and meaningful to you.

As you sort through the piles of stuff in each room, grasp each item with care. Feel for that punch in your gut or instant excitement when you pick them up.

 

Separate the clutter into two stacks: Joy and No Joy. The first few pairs of pants might take longer to get through, but as you start feeling the rhythm, decluttering becomes a breeze.

 

Apply this strategy to all of your belongings and you might find items you haven’t touched in years that you love (Kevin Friend unearthed sentimental weddings photos stuffed in old garage storage that are now hung on their wall).

 

Remember, you’re decluttering for peace of mind, but also for the buyers who will walk through your home, unimpressed by the unorganized kitchen cabinets and clothing tornado in the bedroom closets.

 

Episode 2: ‘Empty Nesters’

Summary:

Kondo walks into the home of Wendy and Ron Akiyama, a retired couple who want a revamped house for themselves after their adult children have left the nest.

 

Ron has kept every single baseball card he collected with his children and Wendy has enough Christmas ornaments to decorate the entire neighborhood. Their home has become a storage unit filled with three generations of Akiyama belongings.

 

The piles of stuff they have in each room looks discouraging to the average Netflix binger, but the episode isn’t over yet and neither is Kondo’s positivity. She hops around the home and teaches the Akiyamas to categorize.

 

They go from room to room, pile to pile, and separate each action item into manageable chunks.

 

Lesson for sellers: Compartmentalize your home prep

We won’t sugarcoat it for you—selling a home is daunting. With so many steps, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and defeated before you even start the process. But just like how the Akiyamas sorted through pounds of stuff using categorization, you can break down your to-do list into manageable tasks.

 

Start with creating your own home preparation schedule that’s separated by tasks and weeks. In less than a month, you’ll move through decluttering to home maintenance to deep cleaning.

 

Episode 3: ‘The Downsizers’

Summary:

We meet Katrina and Douglas Mersier and their children Kayci and Nolan, who call themselves the Fantastic Four. Immediately, you sense their closeness as a family and bond as a team, but their teamwork was put to the test when they relocated from a four-bedroom house to a two-bedroom apartment. After living in a cramped and cluttered space for over a year, “it still hasn’t felt like home,” says Katrina.

 

Kondo sets the goal for the Mersier family: “Their new challenge is to downsize the thing that they own, so it will fit in their new home.”

 

As they show Kondo around the apartment, the Fantastic Four feel exasperated by their living situation. The kids own up to their faults, explaining that though their mother organizes the space for them, they can’t keep it that way.

 

But, as the episode progresses, each person in the family learns to take responsibility for their own belongings. “We each play a role and we only have a limited amount of space and we all need each other,” says Kondo.

 

Lesson for sellers: Involve your family and make projects a team effort

If you’re selling a house with your family, it shouldn’t be your single responsibility to get through it. Every family member should pitch in, and together you’ll finish the job faster.

One of the Mersier family’s biggest takeaways is that organization and cleaning are now values instilled in their family and children. “We didn’t know how to declutter, how to tidy. Now we have the ability to continue to help the kids to learn it, and they’ve learned it at this early age.”

 

Get your kids involved with tasks, such as decluttering. Have them apply the same method of asking, “does this spark joy?” for their toys, clothes, and other keepsakes. They have ownership over their rooms, so there aren’t any surprises at the new home when they can’t find their favorite stuffed animal you forgot to pack up.

 

Episode 4: ‘Sparking Joy After a Loss’

Summary:

This episode introduces us to Margie Hodges, a widow who loves her home filled with memories, mementos, photographs, and reminders of her late husband. More specifically, she is struck with the challenge of tidying up all of his belongings that she hasn’t touched since he passed 9 months ago.

 

Margie has left every jacket, shirt, magnet, and mug that he owned in its exact place; she’s afraid of disturbing the last tangible reminders of who he was. His presence is so strong throughout the house, but Margie knows she has to move on. “I have to make room going forward, I can’t just live in the past,” she says to Kondo.

 

Margie is emotional from start to finish, but through Kondo’s process, her sadness evolved to catharsis, as she worked on accepting this loss, starting fresh, and reflecting on her own life.

 

Lesson for sellers: Infuse mindfulness into the selling process

Detaching from your house is essential to preparing your home for sale. If you’re emotionally charged and feel gutted every time you move things around or pack up, the process becomes grueling and will take too much time.

 

To begin letting go, first acknowledge that your emotions over the house exist and are valid. Kondo reinforces to Margie that she values how she feels about her past and her memories. And throughout the episode, she helps Margie gently confront the passing of her husband by tidying up at a slower pace.

 

Next, put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and depersonalize the house. If you were a buyer, would you want to see all of the previous owners bowling trophies on display or children’s art projects plastered across the fridge?

 

You’re preparing your house for other people now. And, as harsh as it sounds, this is no longer your home. Understand that this house has served its purpose in your life, and it’s time to pass it on to another family starting theirs.

 

“My head is full of 40 years of memories. So, I have that and no one can take that,” Margie says as she donates her husband’s clothes.

 

Episode 5: ‘From Students to Improvements’

Kondo helps lovebirds Matt and Frank transition from young adulthood to maturity through their home, in which they’ve lived in for 3 years. They want their parents to see their progress and ability to live as adults with each other to demonstrate growth.

But from disorganization to hoarding personal items, the couple struggles to find the perfect balance of what to keep and what to toss.

 

So, before they start tidying, Kondo asks them to picture their visions for the home. Immediately, Frank responds with a vision of joy as people and his parents walk through this home, and him and Matt feeling content with their home.

 

And, though hit a few emotional roadblocks, they keep this image in mind to raise their spirits and commit to their goals as they tidy the house.

 

Lesson for sellers: Visualize what you want for this house and the future

One of Kondo’s key lessons is about peering into the future. “Before you start, visualize your destination,” she advises.

 

The concept of visualization and mental imagery is a method supported by sports psychologists and athletes, who use it as a way to picture their success. It helps with performance and allows them to calm down and focus before a big game.

If it can help professional sports players, visualization can also help you sell your home. What do you want to accomplish with your home sale and how do you want to see it carried out?

 

“It’s very important to have a vision and communicate the vision to your home. It allows the rest of the process to go much more smoothly,” says Kondo.

 

If your vision is to have a successful home sale, think about what emotions and feelings you want to feel at the end of the process. Picture the success of a home sale as motivation.

 

To achieve that ultimate goal of selling a house, you’ll need to get through every step with ease. Communicate your vision to your real estate agent—they can help you figure out how to achieve it with the right tools and skills.

 

Episode 6: ‘Breaking Free from a Mountain of Stuff’

“Daddy, can we go to Toys R Us?” “No, Ashton. We’re getting rid of things not going out and getting more.”

 

College sweethearts Aaron and Sehnita Mattison have been married for 17 years. They moved to their home to start a new chapter in their life and to start a family. With two kids and hopes to add a third, they realized that they need to revamp their cluttered house jam-packed with belongings and junk.

 

The couple plans on staying in this home and must declutter to welcome a new family member, but what’s keeping them from accomplishing their goal is stuff. That’s it—they have too much stuff and aren’t able to let go of them due to emotional and sentimental attachment.

 

Kondo appears in their lives not to bestow tidying “magic,” but to teach them a lifestyle change of recognizing what is most important to them in their lives. Through this process, the Mattson’s learn to respect their belongings and what they have.

“This process of looking at what’s in our life makes it so that we’re not gonna take the items we have for granted, that we’re not going to just bring more things into the household,” says Aaron.

 

Lesson for the seller: Recognize whether your belongings have purpose

Throughout the season, Kondo teaches her clients that every item deserves a home and serves a purpose. She preaches to treat the tidying process as a way to respect what you have, while making sure that each of your belongings has a role to play.

So , when it comes to showing the house to buyers, check that whatever you decide to use as decor has a reason to be there. This cuts down on clutter and makes your home look and feel inviting.

 

For example, add spice racks and cookie jars to the kitchen for a homey atmosphere, but take away the dirty pots and pans that clutter up the sink.

 

In the bedroom, place a floor length mirror in the corner to make the space feel bigger and switch out the floral bedspreads for a crisp, and gender-neutral white.

 

Create a focal point for the living room, one of the main places buyers will want to look at. Hang up a three-piece wall art that ties the colors of the room together.

This process makes you realize what needs to be there for staging and what will help you sell your home.

 

Episode 7: ‘Making Room for a Baby’

“Tidying is not just about cleaning, it’s also about creating a space that sparks joy. By doing this, you get one step closer to your ideal life.”

 

Mario and Clarissa, who have been together for six years, hold up an ultrasound picture to the camera. With excitement in their voices, they reveal that they’re expecting a baby boy in the coming months and want this opportunity to clear up space for their kids to grow without chaos.

 

It was a difficult process at first—Mario’s sentimentality gets the better of him, as he struggles to throw away prom invitations from high school and shoes from his 165-pair sneaker collection. Kondo teaches him and Clarissa to show appreciation toward their belongings, helping them to detach and learn how to create their ideal life.

 

She asks them, “Is this something you’d like to keep as part of your life going forward?” If you answer no, say thank you, and put it aside.

 

Lesson for the seller: Show gratitude

To Kondo, gratitude is a crucial part of tidying up and the main lesson she hopes that her clients take from the process is to have an appreciation for the items that they decide to keep and “confirm how you feel about each and every item that you possess.”

Here’s your opportunity to rethink what’s essential for you to bring to your next home. And, in that process show gratitude to the things that don’t make it to the next stage of your life.

 

This is why Kondo asks every client to place all of their clothes or all of their shoes in a pile at the center of their bed. They see everything they have, which puts how they feel about their belongings into perspective.

 

If you find yourself attached to many things during the tidying process, ask if these items are important for the next chapter of your life in your new home, then express gratitude. “Many people may feel guilty when letting go of items. By expressing gratitude towards the items you let go, it will lessen the feeling of guilt,” says Kondo.

 

Additionally, for things that you’ve never worn or used, it’s even more important to say thanks, because they taught you that you don’t like these kinds of shirts or use this kind of item.

 

Episode 8: ‘When Two Messes Become One’

We’re introduced to Angela, a flight attendant and Alishia, a veterinarian, newlyweds and new homeowners, who had their meet-cute on one of Angela’s flights. Though they’ve lived with each other before, this new space brings the challenge of figuring out what they should share and what they should keep separate.

 

The tidying process becomes a roadblock in their relationship, causing tension and bickering. But, after each visit and lesson from Kondo, they start to meet in the middle, clean with the same mindset, and develop clearer communication.

 

Much of their issues with tidying comes with getting used to their new house. When Kondo visited, they only lived there for 3 weeks. Throughout the process, they started to understand the intention for each room in their new home and who should be responsible for what space.

 

Lesson for the seller: Be kind to your house—old and new

Before she imparts her clients with any cleaning wisdom, Kondo asks to greet their home. For this ritual, she kneels on the floor, closes her eyes, clasps her hands on her lap, and expresses her goals to the home.

 

“[Home] is the place where we appreciate all the things that support us. It is where we review and rethink about ourselves,” she says. From her experience in a Shinto shrine, she believes that every object contains life—she taps on books to wake them up and yelps when her clients throws a shirt on the ground.

 

A home is one of the most important transactions and belongings in your life, so be kind to it! In your old house, leave it in good condition as a way of showing appreciation for what it has done for you. Maintain it with home updates that not only add value to your home, but also help close the deal faster.

 

Even a simple paint job in the kitchen with a neutral color revamps the entire room and keeps the home clean. Use this chance to thank your house for bringing so much joy and for protecting for so many years.

 

Then, like the newlyweds in this episode, apply the same process for your new home. Keep it tidy with the KonMari Method and maintain it regularly, so that it’s in tip-top shape for years to come.

 

 ‘The KonMari method is a means to realize your ideal life’

Marie Kondo heralds the importance of tidying your home, but the main takeaway of her show isn’t just about throwing away old T-shirts and papers. We learn about how meaningful improvements in our life help us appreciate what we have and achieve happiness.

 

Selling the house comes with loads of stress but a joyful mindset can help you see the big picture, run on the fumes of gratitude, and do more with less stuff weighing you down—physically, and emotionally.

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
March 22, 2019

Your House Is Perfect For Families! Here's How To Sell It

How To Market Your “Family Friendly House” To Parents, Without Violating Fair Housing!

 

You’ve loved raising your kids in this home and now that it’s time to sell it, you think the fastest way to find a buyer is to market the house as “family friendly.” Seems harmless, right?

 

Not so fast…Even if you have absolutely no intention to discriminate against any type of prospective buyer in the sale of your home, stating that your house is “family friendly” in your property listing or to potential buyers could violate fair housing laws.

 

This applies to not just “family friendly” language but any marketing that could be perceived as excluding a certain class of buyers in your marketing, and a fair housing violation could result in a complaint filed against you. In 2017, there were 28,843 housing discrimination complaints filed with agencies and organizations at the local, state, and national level.

 

To get clarity on this legal area in real estate we spoke to a top-selling agent who’s sold over 600 single-family homes and a fair housing attorney. With their insights, we’ll cover how to market a house that’s perfect for families without violating fair housing plus tips for crafting a listing description that focuses on the house itself rather than who you think might buy it.

 

What are the general fair housing rules around property descriptions?

The Fair Housing Act is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, color, religion, sex or gender, disability, national origin, or familial status. According to Amy Glassman, fair housing attorney and coauthor of Beginner’s Guide to the Fair Housing Act, if you name one protected class in your home’s listing, you may be excluding others. She adds that you shouldn’t say your house is “family friendly” because it refers to the familial status of prospective buyers, which violates the federal fair housing law. “The basic rule is that you want to focus on the property and the amenities in the property and not the type of buyer that you want. You don’t want to use language that triggers reference to any of these protected classes,” she says. Glassman adds, “Anyone who is looking to sell a house or hire a real estate agent should be aware that there are authentic state and local fair housing laws in their jurisdiction that are often more expansive than the federal law.” Language such as “perfect for retirees,” “not suited for small children”, or “walking distance to churches” (which could be seen as excluding buyers with a disability or the nonreligious) appear harmless but are still a violation of fair housing laws. State and local fair housing laws may protect more classes than federal housing laws which may or may not include income, veteran or military status, age, and more. You can find which protected classes are regulated by your state laws using The Policy Surveillance Program’s website.

 

Fair housing violations could result in a complaint

If someone believes that fair housing laws were violated, they can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “They would investigate it, they would determine if they think it has merit, and they would seek what’s called conciliation,” says Glassman. “So, they would essentially seek a settlement.” A settlement of the violation could be the withdrawal of the offending ad, required training, or monetary damages. “Assuming something settled, it’s whatever the party has decided is fair and reasonable and what both sides can agree to. If it doesn’t settle, it ultimately would find its way to court,” she says. The best way to abide by fair housing laws is to work with an experienced real estate agent who is familiar with state and federal housing laws.

 

Market the family-friendly qualities of your home appropriately

Although you can’t say that your home is family-friendly, you can point out the amenities that buyers with families might often search for. “If it’s close to schools and shopping and there are walking trails, it might be perfect for the family or the stay at home mom or whoever, but that’s not our place to make those decisions,” says a real estate agent who’s sold 66% more properties than the average agent.

 

Here are some qualities that you can share about your home that might adhere to families:

The house is located in a top school district.

           Parents want to put roots down where their kids will thrive, so an above-average school district is often a must-have for families shopping for their next home. Moreso, a school district that doesn’t meet expectations could be the deal-breaker for a family.
The quality of the school district was the most important factor to 35% of home buyers between the ages of 37 and 51, while 31% cited the distance to schools as the most important factor. 
Redfin and Zillow allow home buyers to search for homes based on school zones and the GreatSchool rating. 
Check the quality of elementary, middle, and high schools in your area. If the schools are, in fact, great schools, you can include this information in your property’s listing without violating fair housing laws, according to Glassman. It is illegal, however, for buyers agents to “steer” buyers based on his or her own views about certain communities or schools.

           The house is positioned on a calm street or cul de sac.


              Some parents may move from city life to the suburbs to raise their kids. They might dream of living where their kids can play in the street and sleep to the sounds of crickets instead of traffic and sirens. A peaceful street could be an important feature for buyers looking for a family-friendly house.
The fact that your house is located in a low-traffic area is appealing for many buyers, not just those with families. So, this information is OK to share, but be careful with your phrasing. A “quiet” street excludes hearing-impaired buyers and therefore should be used with caution.

           The house is close to shops, restaurants, and parks.


              Michelin star restaurants, natural hiking trails, and one-stop-shops for daily necessities are features you should include in your home’s listing. But, phrases such as “walking distance” can bump up against fair housing laws because they exclude buyers with disabilities. To stay on the safe side, simply state that the property is “close to” or “near” certain amenities.

           “Low crime rate.”

           Neighborhood safety is comforting for every new homeowner, especially those with kids. Crime statistics are safe to state in your home’s listing—just remember to stick to the data rather than neighborhood stigmas. So, instead of saying “safe neighborhood for kids”, share that the property is located in a neighborhood with a low crime rate.
Type your home’s address into CrimeReports or AreaVibes to see the crime data in your neighborhood.

           The house has a backyard and outdoor space.


              A big backyard, with trees to climb and grass to roll in is a sought-after feature for many families. Fenced-in backyards are particularly appealing to parents with kids and pets. 
“If you’re describing the backyard and the fencing—maybe you have a fenced-in pool—those are all elements of the property, so that’s fine,” says Glassman. Feel free to describe the elements of your backyard to their full extent to help you sell your home.

           Convenient entrances with extra storage.

           Backpacks, sports gear, coats, and shoes clutter the doorway of family homes. Buyers of family-friendly homes dream of an out-of-sight mudroom for kids to drop their stuff so guests don’t trip as they come through the door.
An adjoining back door and mudroom make coming and going easy for every homeowner, especially those with little ones. Highlight the convenient entrances and storage to appeal to every buyer.

           The house is equipped with smart home technology that adds security, safety, and comfort.

           Smart home systems are making it easier to control the temperature in your house, lock doors, turn off lights, and even access security cameras via microphone.
For a family with kids, this new home technology provides priceless peace of mind. If you’ve recently installed a new smart home system in your house, make sure to mention it to buyers. Include the details of your house that would make everyone feel more at ease.

           Ample square footage and bedrooms

           Families often look for houses they can grow into. More space means more family buyers, so finished basements and attics or spare rooms that can be turned into a playroom or a teen space are hot-ticket features amongst families.
“You can describe features that you think are family friendly, but you shouldn’t say they’re family friendly,” says Glassman. Rather than advertising your finished basement as a playroom for kids, simply state that it’s a finished basement and let buyers decide what they’ll use it for.

           Use keywords in your listing description to target buyers hunting for certain features.


             “Everybody’s online,” says Glassman. “These buyers know exactly what they’re looking for and they’re typing it in. I’ve seen many careless listing agents forget to put things like a finished basement or forget to fill in the square footage.”
When you give buyers what they’re looking for, your house will sell itself. Work with your real estate agent to include every feature of your home in your listing. Buyers with or without families will be able to find your home based on the must-have features they search for.

 

Avoid fair-housing violations while selling your home

You raised your family in your house, so you know it’s family friendly. You might even find yourself daydreaming about the next family that moves into it. However, when you list your home for sale, you cannot specify who your buyer preference is.

 

Fair housing laws prohibit discrimination of race, color, religion, sex or gender, disability, national origin, or familial status. Marketing your home towards families specifically could violate this federal law. So, instead of marketing your home as “family friendly,” simply state the facts of your home to appeal to every buyer.

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
March 14, 2019

Spring Is In The Air, Almost!

Happy March!

 

Don’t let yesterday’s blizzard fool you, sunny days are coming soon! Read our 10 Tips On How To Get Your Home in tip top shape in time to enjoy the warm weather.

 

1.Get houseplants ready for spring.

Houseplants put out new growth when the days grow longer, so now is a good time to pinch back leaves so that foliage thickens. Experts recommend fertilizing with a diluted solution of plant food during the spring. 



Tip: Here's a good article from The Garden Helper website about how to grow and care for (a.k.a. not kill) a houseplant. 




 

2.Replace smoke and CO alarm batteries.

Time flies... do you remember when your smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries were last replaced? The start of Daylight Saving Time, which happened on March 10, is a good milestone to use as a reminder. 




 

3.Take a peek into the attic. (Yes, really!) 





Sure, it's no one's favorite place, but checking the attic even just once a year helps prevent unpleasant surprises such as mold or pests.

Look for: Detached ductwork sending moist air into the attic space instead of outside.

Signs of rodents, such as stained insulation.

Access points for pests, such as torn vent screens.

Tip: Attics need good ventilation, which is why keeping vent openings unblocked by insulation is very important. Home inspectors often say they actually like to feel a slight breeze up there. 




 

4.Get ready to plant summer-blooming bulbs and tubers.

It's probably safe to plant bulbs such as gladiolus and Tiger Lilies two weeks before the last frost. (Granted, this year it's especially hard to be sure of that date!)  Get a head start with dahlias and other more cold-sensitive plants by growing them inside until any frost danger has passed. 




 

5.Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.

Make sure downspouts channel water away from the home via a drainage system or splash blocks. (Downspouts should never deposit water directly next to the foundation).

 

6.Clean the dryer vent.

Check to make sure your dryer vent is made of non-corrugated metal, rather than Mylar (a shiny material that looks like metal) or plastic. Even straight PVC pipe can create problems because it allows a static charge to build up.





7.Prune (cautiously) some flowering trees and shrubs. 





The rule is that some perennials need to be pruned before they flower in the spring, and... some don't. :) Here's a helpful article that explains exactly which plants to prune now versus later in the spring.






8.Give the roof a once-over.

No need to scale the heights! You can use binoculars to scan for any damage that may have occurred over the winter. 




 

9.Inspect water supply hoses.

Take a quick look at hoses and fittings for your washer, sinks, and toilets to make sure they're not cracked or loose. Replace any plastic lines with more reliable steel-braided hose. 



10.Do something "for the birds".

Birds have had a rough year so far because of extreme weather in many places. A food mixture that's heavy on Black Oil Sunflower Seeds gives migrators and residents a welcome energy boost and appeals to a wide variety of species.

 

Everything about your home should make the buyer feel like they can immediately move in. If you are considering selling your home this season and aren’t really sure where to get started in prepping, give us a call at 720-208-7200 and we’d be happy to schedule a time to chat!  

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
Feb. 25, 2019

Thinking About Moving To Colorado?

Why We Love Colorado!

There are about a million reasons. Colorado is an amazing state full of… well, everything. Here are a few reasons why we made Colorado our Valentine this year, and every year for the rest of our lives.

THE WEATHER!

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… it doesn’t matter, all seasons are our favorite here in Colorado!

Spring brings an abundance of wildlife to Colorado, which you can experience at one of our world-class state parks.

Although 300+ days of sunshine is more myth than fact, it definitely doesn’t feel like it! The summer season still helps our state rack up an average of  245+ days with sun a year. This makes summer the perfect time to enjoy all of the outdoor activities that Colorado has to offer, including camping, hiking, fishing, biking, and other classic outdoor summer activities!

Fall brings apple picking, pumpkin patch visits, and some of the most beautiful fall sights in the country.

Winter, of course, is one of our most beloved seasons. Coloradans and other people from all over the world wait patiently all year to enjoy wiling away the winter hours at one of Colorado’s 28 ski resorts.

For those who do not harbor a particular affinity for hurdling down a mountain on a long piece of plastic, fear not! There is so much more to do in Colorado during the winter – we have something for everyone!

THE SCENERY!

When you think “Colorado”, you likely think “mountains”. You are definitely not wrong.

The beautiful Rocky Mountains are the crown jewels of Colorado. Yes, that really is what our view looks like basically all of the time. One of Colorado’s biggest claims to fame — literally — is its 58 fourteeners (peaks exceeding 14,000 feet) (Colorado). This is the most of any state in the U.S.

Our state’s most famous peaks hold a beauty that is unmatched, but there is a lot more to Colorado’s good looks than just her peaks. Denver itself has a fun, colorful skyline complete with a theme park and a Ferris Wheel! Denver locals begin their mornings driving towards the city while the bright Colorado sun rises above the silhouette of the Rockies and glistens off of the newly renovated downtown high rises.

Yes, that really is what our view looks like basically all of the time.

THE ENTERTAINMENT!

The local entertainment industry in huge in Colorado! We are lucky to have a multitude of professional sports teams to root for, including professional sports such as basketball, hockey, soccer, lacrosse, and rugby.

Coloradans love to rally around our local teams, and that becomes most obvious during fall and summer! During football season in the fall, our Broncos play at the Sports Authority field at Mile High stadium. The city is littered with people boasting the team’s signature orange, white, and blue colors.

You can tell who is going to a Rockies baseball game in the summer as Coloradans of all ages sport our team’s purple, black, and white colors. Locals love watching our team play at Coors Field on warm summer days! During the 4th of July and a few other scheduled games, Coors Field hosts a post-game fireworks show for free!

Aside from sports, Colorado also has a really awesome music scene. We have venues and artists for everyone! The Pepsi Center hosts large shows for big names ranging from Ariana Grande to Bob Seger to Kenny Chesney.

We also have a large handful of small but popular theaters that pull in local acts and underground artists. A few favorites are Ophelia’sThe Fillmore Auditorium, and Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

Our outdoor amphitheaters attract music lovers from far and wide during the summer, and for good reason! Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater  is the biggest amphitheater in the Denver metro area. Our most notorious concert spot is Red Rocks Amphitheater, one of the most rad concert areas in the world! We’re not sure if we can claim that factually, but it is definitely a widely held belief.

THE BEER!

Colorado has so many beer options, we are not even sure where to begin. This Colorado Craft Beer Map is pretty cool, though. We also have this comprehensive Colorado Brewery List, which covers the 300+ breweries Colorado has to offer. With nearly 100 new breweries set to open across the state in the new future, it’s no wonder Denver has been crowned the “Napa Valley of Beers”.

THE PEOPLE!

Last, but farthest from the least, Colorado has given us lifelong friends and family! We always receive comments from visitors about how nice everyone here seems to be. With so much sunshine, endless sites to see and activities to keep us busy, it’s hard to not be in a good mood while you are living in the Centennial State!

Have we convinced you to make that move? Call The Bartic Group today so we can find the perfect home for you!

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
Feb. 15, 2019

Instant Offer Program

Net Even More Money With Our NEW Instant Offer Program

Our Instant Offer Program is to help homeowners just like YOU sell your home quickly and for a fair price. Our main focus is to help you, by guaranteeing the highest cash offer for your house while being flexible with your situation. We take pride in making the home selling process as easy as possible, we are committed to providing you with great service and respect. Not only can we get you cash for your house, but you won’t need to worry about repairs, showings, or financing falling through.

 

Visit us online at www.TheBarticGroup.com or call us at 720-208-7200 to learn more today!

Jan. 31, 2019

The Bartic Group Partners With Barbara Corcoran

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Jan. 7, 2019

December 2018 Real Estate Recap

The Bartic Group's December 2018 Real Estate Recap

With a blink of an eye, December has come to a close. We’re counting down the 12 days of Christmas into the New Year, but not without another Real Estate Recap!

Every month, The Bartic Group scours the internet for the latest real estate stories to create an informative monthly digest so that you’re up to date with the goings-on in housing.

Let’s take a look at what happened last month:

1. FED UP

 

+ On December 18, The Federal Fund raised interest rates by a quarter-point to 2.25-2.5 percent. What does this mean for you as homebuyer or seller? Well, higher interest rates mean higher mortgage rates—fewer people are able to afford the hike in interest when buying a home.

+ CNBC, Here’s how that Fed rate hike will impact you: “The economy, the Fed and inflation all have some influence over long-term fixed mortgage rates, which generally are pegged to yields on U.S. Treasury notes, so there’s already been a spike since the Fed started raising rates.

Between increasing home prices and higher mortgage rates, homes are about 10 percent less affordable this year than they were last year, according to Tendayi Kapfidze, the Chief Economist at LendingTree. ‘Next year, we could see another 10 percent to 15 percent decrease in affordability,’ he said.”

If you’re thinking about selling a house, get your listing up sooner rather than later. With mortgage rates still at a historical low, buyers won’t be entirely affected just yet and still have full wallets as we enter the new year. Homebuyers will want to lock down on a rate before its late.

 

2. OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS FOR OPPORTUNITY ZONES


In 2017, Congress established the Opportunity Zones program as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as an approach to encourage private sector investments in low-income communities in the U.S. In other words, another way for people to avoid capital gains taxes.

+ CNBCHeard the buzz about opportunity zone funds? Here’s the skinny.

Just last week on December 12, President Trump signed an executive order “to create a new White House council for promoting private investment in ‘opportunity zones’ in more than 8,700 distressed communities across the U.S., aiming to expand prosperity to neglected zip codes” (The Washington Times).

Pretty similar to the 1031 exchange, but with different rules and mission statement. With Opportunity Zones, investors don’t have to die to eliminate the capital gains tax burden. After 10 years, the entire basis automatically steps up. And investors don’t have to jump through hoops to get it.

This includes saving taxes on any depreciation of the asset, unlike the 1031, where an investor may have to pay “depreciation recapture.” In essence, an investor can use depreciation to offset income in the rest of the portfolio” (wealthmanagement.com, Opportunity zones explained).

Sounds good, huh? You can read more about it on the IRS’s FAQ page, which highlights how investors can benefit from the proposed tax breaks.

 

3. FIRES CONTAINED. NOW, WHAT?


California fire claims have reached $9 billion and is expected to rise even more. Following the aftermath, California wildfire victims face new challenges finding housing (Market Watch):“For the thousands of Californians who now find themselves homeless, matters may only get worse thanks to the state’s extremely competitive, pricey real-estate market. ‘These market conditions that require would-be home buyers to make quick decisions are not easy for buyers,’ said Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com.

“Views per property in Butte County, which was the location of the Camp Fire, are nearly double what they were last year. Listings under contract have spiked 86% in Butte County compared to the week before the fire. The number of homes on the market is 23% lower than pre-fire inventory projections.”

With thousands picking up the charred pieces from the aftermath, unable to find housing, and facing unaffordable insurance rates, victims are taking their families elsewhere. More than 1 million have already left between 2006 and 2016, due to the housing crisis, and the fires are only making that number go up.

+ Buzzfeed News: California Already Had A Housing Crisis. The Wildfires Are Making It Worse.

+ The Mercury News: Deadly Camp Fire fuels California’s raging housing shortage.

 

4. LIKE COLLEGE, BUT FOREVER: “CO-LIVING” OR GROWN-UP DORMS?


Co-living is “where residents buy into furnished, semi-serviced apartments, either by the unit or by the bedroom. These are sort of communes for digital nomads with pop design, Casper mattresses, Nest thermostats, and other covetable accoutrements of the startup set.

Critics have called them ‘dorms for adults,’ while more evangelical residents praise them for the instant community they create” (Bloomberg, Hotel Icon Ian Schrager Thinks Communal Living Is the Future).

In Europe, Bloomberg, Co-Living Firm Wins $1.1 Billion Investment for Europe Expansion: “Medici Living Group, a Berlin-based provider of communal housing for millennials, won a commitment from Corestate Capital Holding SA to invest 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion) over the next five years to fuel European expansion.” Medici has plans to expand to states in 2019 with properties already in New York and Chicago.

+ PR Newswire: Starcity announces major ground-up developments in San Francisco and San Jose, bringing more than 1,000 new coliving units to key urban centers in the Bay Area
  

5. CLIMATE CHANGE IS AFTER THE HOUSING MARKET, OH AND YOUR LIFE


The federal government released a climate assessment following the UN’s climate report, with not so great news:

“Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century. Without adaptation, climate change will continue to degrade infrastructure performance over the rest of the century, with the potential for cascading impacts that threaten our economy, national security, essential services, and health and well-being” (NCA, Fourth National Climate Assessment).

We’ve witnessed the wrath of climate change all year, from fires to hurricanes. Housing Wire, Natural disasters hasten housing market slow down: “Mortgage Bankers AssociationChief Economist Mike Fratantoni cites California’s recent wildfires as cause for concern. ‘The hurricanes in the South and wildfires in the West likely impacted both month’s numbers and continue to cloud the picture of the housing market’s overall strength,’ Fratantoni said.”

Cities are implementing their own bills to curb pollution, while some people are taking it upon themselves to buy property in less affected areas as preparation for climate change-related disasters and evacuation. NYTimes, Climate Change Insurance: Buy Land Somewhere Else: “A small number of young professionals who are preparing homes away from the places where climate change is expected to strike the hardest. They believe they are making sound real estate decisions by buying land on high ground that will appreciate in value, while at the same time developing a Plan B.”

 

6. WHERE DID EVERYONE GO?


According to people looking for new places to live, the west coast is the best coast. The US Census Bureau released a report that shows which areas have increased or decreased in population. Idaho and Nevada are the biggest winners. Between July 2017 and July 2018, each state increased more than 2% in population.

+ Realtor.com, The states that grew the most this year: “Texas saw 379,128 new residents over the past year, followed by Florida with an increase of 322,513 new residents. California hit third with 157,696, and Arizona got fourth with 122,720.

Overall, the most populated state is California with more than 39.5 million residents. Texas ranked second, but with 10 million less. On the other hand, the least populated state is Wyoming with 577,737 residents.

The state that lost the most residents over the past year is New York, whose population fell by 47,510 over the past year. Other states that saw population declines in the past year were Illinois, West Virginia, Louisiana, Hawaii, Mississippi, Alaska, Connecticut, and Wyoming.”

 

7.  ALASKAN EARTHQUAKE


On November 30, Anchorage, Alaska was hit with a 7.0 earthquake that split highways in half and has caused more than 5,000 aftershock since then. But, within days, Alaskans dusted off their shoulders and repaired their city.

+ The Verge, How Alaska fixed its earthquake-shattered roads in just days: “‘We have more quakes than any other state in the Union,’ says Shannon McCarthy, a spokesperson with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. As a result, Alaska takes its earthquake preparation very seriously."

+ NYTimes, The Anchorage Earthquake Was Terrifying. But the Damage Could’ve Been Much Worse: “Experts said that while the quake was significantly less intense than the one in 1964, which was magnitude 9.2, its limited destruction was the result of the region’s growing smarter and much more resilient in the years since. Anchorage was much better prepared for a major earthquake; other cities may not have fared so well.”

As a homeowner or homebuyer, make sure your insurance and protection are updated. Depending on where you live, this might be a call for flood, earthquake, or fire insurance and inspection. In earthquake-prone areas like Alaska and California, double check what your homeowner’s insurance covers to stay protected in case of an emergency.
  

8. ANALYSTS SEE 2020 RECESSION WITH 2020 VISION


+ USA Today, Worst December for stocks since 1931 gets worse as rate hikes spook investors:  “The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 464 points, or 2 percent, to a 14-month low of 22,860. The technology-packed Nasdaq composite briefly slipped into bear market territory after dipping more than 20 percent from its late August peak.

And the broad Standard & Poor's 500 stock index, which tumbled 1.6 percent, is now down 10.6 percent from the end of September, which marks its worst start to December since the Great Depression, according to Bespoke Investment Group. The large-company stock index fell 14.53 percent in December 1931, according to data from S&P Dow Jones Indices.”

As we head into 2019 with this stock market, home sellers beware. Fortune, Most Chief Financial Officers Expect a Recession by 2020 at the Latest: “The latest survey of chief financial officers shows that 82% of U.S. CFOs expect a recession to have started by 2020. Almost half (48.6%) of the CFOs thought the downturn would happen by next year, according to the Duke CFO Global Business Outlook poll.”

Our advice? Sell your home in 2019 before the market drops further. A slowing economy and lower consumer confidence are signals for you to cash out on now.

  

9. AND THE COLOR OF THE YEAR GOES TO….


+ Pantone, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral: “Sociable and spirited, the engaging nature of PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity. Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression."

Living Coral doesn’t have to just be an Instagram aesthetic. If you’re feeling inspired, sprinkle this color around your home for a cozy, yet lively atmosphere.

+ House BeautifulWarning: These Coral Rooms Will Make You Want To Redecorate Your Home Immediately

+ Elle Decor, Pantone just released their color of the year 2019: “Some years, we choose a color and we see it more as an accent, especially in the home space. It's the kind of color you could paint a whole room. It would be great in an entryway or a bathroom. You could see someone with a great coral couch. It's a shade people want to live with, which is exactly why we chose it.”

  

10. 'TIS THE SEASON

With holiday decorations, most families go for the usual—a tree, basic lights, and maybe a reindeer on the lawn. These families, on the other hand, aren’t here to play. TIME, ‘People Think We’re Crazy.’ Families Who Spend Thousands of Dollars a Year on Christmas Light Displays Explain Their Obsession.

“MONEY spoke with five dedicated light show creators who have decorated their homes for anywhere from five years to four decades, all while adapting to new technology, managing electricity bill costs, dabbling in programming, creating fresh designs, curating the perfect playlist, and balancing a regular job on top of all of it."

+ Realtor.com, When holiday decor goes too far.

That's it for your December, 2018 recap!

Dec. 3, 2018

Your real estate recap for November, 2018

In November, Amazon announced it’s locations for HQ2, wildfires blazed through California, and midterm elections brought out the most voters in decades.

Here’s how the news shook out for real estate in November:

1. Bezos Money Moves


+ There’s no doubt that the recent announcement of Amazon’s HQ2 locations (Long Island City, NY, and Arlington, VA) has sparked interest and concern for the housing market in these areas. In Long Island City alone, real estate agents saw a 794% increase in online views of homes for sale in November. 

+ From Housing Wire: Amazon announces HQ2 locations in New York and Virginia. "'Today’s announcement of HQ2 will likely have a quick impact on home prices and rents in Arlington, Virginia, and New York City. That’s because Amazon’s HQ2 is like nothing we’ve ever seen before,' Hale said. Not only is it one of the largest company headquarters openings, but the amount of attention it’s received is unparalleled. There’s no doubt that investors and landlords in these areas have been following the news trying to get ahead of the Amazon housing boom.

+ NY Times reports: Amazon’s HQ2 Will Benefit From New York City. But What Does New York Get? “‘What are they going to do for the community? Are they going to guarantee us employment opportunities?’ said April Simpson, the president of Queensbridge Tenants Association. 'I’m worried about, when they come, they’re not going to have opportunities for people. Not just people from Queensbridge—but other lower- and middle-income people in this area.'”

+ The Verge: For Queens residents, Amazon’s HQ2 isn’t arriving without a fight. "Between 2010 and 2016, LIC has seen a population growth of about 11 percent, which is more than double the rate of all of New York City, according to the American Community Survey. (The waterfront strip along Vernon Boulevard alone has nearly doubled its population from roughly 3,400 residents to 6,700.) A study last year found that LIC has outpaced the rest of the United States for new housing developments, and a local neighborhood development organization found that the area is on pace to grow from 80,000 residents to over 100,000 in the next three years."

2. A Country Divided By Real Estate


+ Now, we can’t ignore the red elephant in the room—it’s been an intense rat race for both sides this past couple of months leading up to the midterm elections. The country is split, left and right, in its values and, consequently, voting. Real estate data can reveal what you believe in and predict how you vote.

+ Realtor.comRed vs. Blue America: How the nation's real estate divide shaped the midterm elections “We found stark differences between America's red and blue real estate—everything from the cost of homes, the number of places being built, even the credit scores it takes to buy a home. ‘Not only are people living in different political realities, but they're contending with very different housing realities and paying different amounts for it,’ says Mark Muro, senior fellow in the metropolitan policy program at the Brookings Institution, a think tank based in Washington, D.C.

‘You're seeing the Democrats become more and more of an urban party and the Republicans become more of a rural or exurban party,’ says Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball, a newsletter from the University of Virginia Center for Politics. 'As you get farther out from the city, it gets more Republican.'"

+ Then, what does it look like for the real estate market with our newly elected congress? What does this look like for home buyers and sellers? FromInman.comWhat the new Congress means for real estate. “For one the housing market, unlike the stock market, does not make sudden moves based on events like elections. Buyers will still purchase homes and sellers will still list their houses.

However, longer-term public policy can play an important role, as we have learned with actions by the Federal Reserve, starting three years ago when it began raising interest rates. Plus, tax reform has played a role — good and bad — with the real estate scene.”

3. Camp Fire to Thousand Oaks


+ Camp Fire tops the list for most destructive wildfires in California. Though it’s now 100% contained, the wildfires left a trail of flattened towns and destroyed homes (unless you hired private firefighters like the Kardashian-Wests).

+ HomeLight: Firestorms in Northern California Cause Unchartered Territory in the Real Estate Market. HomeLight analyzed the effects of the 2017 wildfires in Sonoma and Santa Rosa, CA— “According to HomeLight data, the real estate market in Sonoma county took a steep dip at the start of the fires, but in days after the containment began, sales crawled back up.

In fact, sales are creeping back to the level they were at this time last year, despite fire cleanup and aftermath. Instead of overpriced homes sitting on the market, they’re selling right away. As soon as a listing hits, buyers come in with their best offer.”

+ Business Insider: Wildfires in California have destroyed thousands of homes, and the devastating pattern is making fire insurance more expensive and complicated than ever “Thanks to heightened wildfire activity across the state, it's becoming harder than ever for California homeowners to obtain and keep fire insurance, reported the Associated Press.

'As California wildfires grow larger and more intense, an increasing number of insurance companies are not renewing policies for customers who live in areas they deem too risky to cover,’ wrote Laura Newberry of the Los Angeles Times."


After detrimental events, such as a wildfire, we have found that property owners will either 'dive, survive or thrive.' Wildfires can be an opportunity to paint a fresh picture and thrive. While it is never easy to deal with life-altering devastation, being aware of what is going on around you will help promote a positive rebuilding process.” Forbes.com: The Impact of Wildfires on The Future of California Real Estate.

+ NBCNews: How to help victims of the California Wildfires “FEMA, a government entity, does not accept donations, but they are working closely with non-profits that are relying on donations. Hart urges people who want to donate to make sure that whichever charity you choose has been approved by National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD).

Here’s a list of some organizations working closely with survivors:
Right now best thing is to go on the Red Cross site and sign up to volunteer,' says Tornetta. 'Whatever time you can commit, whether it’s a week or eight hours — we will welcome your support. Please sign up and call first, as we can’t necessarily stop in the middle of an operation if you just show up.'"

4. DIY a Christmas Gift, Not Your Home Sale


+ Realtor Magazine: FSBO Transactions Hit New Record Low "The number of For Sale by Owner transactions fell to a record low of 7 percent of all home sales in 2018, down from 8 percent last year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. FSBOs—homeowners who try to sell their properties themselves without a real estate agent—have decreased dramatically since 1981, when they accounted for 15 percent of all home sales.”

+ What does this mean for home buyers and sellers? Chances are, you can’t compete with the chops of top real estate agents who have been in the business for years—they know the right people and the practices to get you the most for your money.

+ So, as we head into the holiday seasons and you’re thinking about selling or buying a home, take into account these five trends for the 2019 housing market.

+ From Caroline Feeney, ForbesReal Estate Markets Cooling Across The Country, And It's Not Just The Winter Effect

1. Mortgage rates will continue to rise and hit 5.5% in 2019.
2. Homebuyers will have more negotiating power, and sellers will need to make more compromises.
3. As price gains slow, home values will still appreciate at a 2-3% clip.
4. Markets will cool faster or slower depending on local conditions and tax burdens. 5. Upper-tier markets will soften while demand for entry-level housing remains high. 

+ Work with the top real estate agent in your area to navigate the rest of the year and 2019.

5. The Wells Fargo wagon is not coming to town


+ “Wells Fargo acknowledged Tuesday that, because of a calculation error, it had improperly foreclosed on 545 distressed homeowners after they asked for help with their mortgages. Overall, 870 homeowners were denied help for which they qualified — with more than half losing their homes afterward, Wells Fargo said.”Washington Post: Wells Fargo admits it incorrectly foreclosed on 545 homeowners it should have helped

+ 'Wells Fargo initially disclosed the problem in August and said it would set aside $8 million, or about $12,800 per customer, to address the problem. But on Tuesday it increased the number of people it believes were affected after conducting an expanded review. A ‘substantial majority’ of the borrowers have already been contacted and will be offered “remediation,' the bank said.

+ 'This effort to identify other instances in which customers may have experienced harm is ongoing, and it is possible that we may identify other areas of potential concern,' the bank said in its SEC filing."

+ One word: Yikes. Calculation errors… isn’t their job to do, well, calculations? Some owners decided to take action against their wrongful disclosure. Market Watch: Longtime Sacramento Restaurant Owner Files Wrongful Foreclosure Lawsuit Against Wells Fargo.

+ CBS News: How to fight a wrongful foreclosure.


6. Cash or coin?


Blockchain is taking on a new frontier: real estate. But, it’s premature to think that young tech billionaires are now purchasing homes with Dogecoins.

+ Forbes: How real estate is breaking the blockchain mold “As it stands, most real estate transactions that involve cryptocurrency require the parties to transfer their assets into fiat cash – although experiments involving direct crypto to crypto transfers are ongoing.

While blockchain is forecast to turn into a billion-dollar industry in the next few years, growing to $9.7 billion by 2021, the report states that adoption in the commercial real estate markets is limited. To date, only a handful of single-family sales have taken place using cryptocurrency.”

+ For more literature: The Blockchain for Real Estate, Explained ( Forbes)

+ If Bitcoin isn’t your thing, what about cold hard cash? Housing Wire: Feds significantly expand investigation into all cash real estate deals

“Title insurance companies in 12 of the nation’s largest markets will now have to provide federal authorities with substantial details on all real estate deals of $300,000 or more if the buyer is paying all cash. The requirement comes at the hands of the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which is significantly expanding its investigation into whether foreign buyers are using shell companies to buy U.S. real estate in order to launder money.

Going forward, title companies in Boston; Chicago; Dallas-Fort Worth; Honolulu; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; New York City; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; and Seattle will all be required to report on the person behind shell companies on all-cash deals of $300,000 or more.”

7. Mr. Robot, the Realtor


+ “Home buyers have reported losses totaling $1 billion to the FBI since 2015” reports NBCNews Bay Area (“They Failed to Protect My Money”: Home Buyers Demand Answers, Accountability After Fraud). “Among the latest victims is Maria Lopez, a Napa retiree.  She now finds herself caught up in a costly home purchase gone awry.‘ I have absolutely no savings,’ Maria said. ‘So, if something happens, like if my car breaks down, I have no money to pay for that." Maria did have savings — until someone stole it...Internet thieves spoofed her real estate agent's email account, and took every penny.”

+ The FBI issued a public service announcement just last year, warning against electronic money wiring and email fraud. How can you prevent this from happening to you?

+ Realtor Magazine: Housing is the second highest industry for cyber attacks

Be particularly vigilant Tuesday through Thursday. Cyberattacks can happen at any time, but businesses were found to be 2.5 times more likely to fall victim to a phishing attack between Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Watch for fake invoices. The most common way to disguise malware for businesses is through an 'invoice.'

Don’t be ignorant. For every 33 employees, you can expect one phishing attack per quarter, the report finds.

Don’t believe software will always protect you. Antivirus software usually lags 30 days behind evolving malware in detecting it.”

8. Flash sale! This Thanksgiving only—ish!


+ 70% off flatscreen TVs, buy one get one 50%—Black Friday is any shopper’s Holy day. Now, what about housing? Do “hot deals, act now!” exist in the real estate industry?

+ Kind of… (Bloomberg: Black Friday Comes to London Apartments With $64,000 Discounts), but for real estate in the U.S., the best time to buy isn’t necessarily on the day after Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. What you can do is time your sale or purchase like a Black Friday deal.

+ Find out the best time to sell your house with HomeLight’s Best Time To Sell tool.

+ “Over the last 5 years, we've compiled the most comprehensive dataset on real estate transactions nationwide. Each month, we add new information to our database to better match homeowners with the top real estate agents in their areas. This same data can be used to see the best time to put your house on the market.”

+ Attom Data: Top 10 days of the year to buy a home “ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s premier property database, today released an analysis of the best days of the year to buy a home, which shows that only 10 days of the year offer discounts below estimated market value — seven in December, and one each in October, November, and February."

9. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Tulsa, Oklahoma!


+ CityLab: Stop Complaining About Your Rent and Move to Tulsa, Suggests Tulsa“Another big plus is that Tulsa is much, much cheaper to live in than New York City. The median home price here is about $120,000, not nearly $700,000. And, for about 25 lucky telecommuters looking for a change of scenery, it’s about to get even more affordable.”

+ CNBC: Tulsa, Oklahoma, will pay you $10,000 to move there and work from home “Eligible workers receive access to additional benefits, including a co-working space that comes with complimentary snacks and beverages, as well as monthly meetups and workshops with fellow members and Tulsa entrepreneurs. Program participants will also have the option of living in a new, fully-furnished apartment for a discounted rent, plus free utilities for the first three months.”

+ This isn’t the first city offering straight up cash for you to move in with them. Newton, Iowa revitalized their dwindling population with a $10,000 subsidy, Vermont is offering $10,000 in tax breaks, and Maine expanded a local program to offer student loan forgiveness for recent grads.

+ In an effort to compete with coastal migrations, the Midwest is laying it all on the line, “Love Actually”-style. But, with a $10,000 bag of money.

That wraps it up for November, 2018.
Nov. 2, 2018

Monthly Real Estate Recap

 

1. Miss Fannie Mae 

+This past month, the press has zoned in on one particular trend: rising mortgage rates. They’ve hit an all-time high since 2010 when it lingered around 4.7 percent.

From WashPost: US average mortgage rates edge up; 30-year at 4.86 percent. “Home borrowing rates remain at their highest levels in more than seven years, with the key 30-year rate approaching 5 percent. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages ticked up to an average 4.86 percent this week from 4.85 percent last week. A year ago, it stood at 3.94 percent.”
 

+So, what does this mean for homebuyers?
 

+“For homebuyers who don't have a lot of wiggle room in their wallets, the rise in monthly payments will reduce the number of homes affordable to them in their local markets. A buyer with a $2,500 monthly housing budget lost nearly $30,000 in purchasing power this year.” CNBC onHigher mortgage rates, rising prices costing homebuyers more than $1,200 a year.
 

But remember, mortgage rates are still at a historic low. And since rates have just started to rise, agents like Loretta Thomason, a top selling agent in Austin, Texas, haven’t seen the effect on her home sales just yet.

“I would advise my buyers to lock in the rates now and purchase at this time” (after checking with their lenders). “Try to get a home before rates increase too much, where you’re no longer able to afford a property,” says Thomason.
 

+Jon Coile from WashPosthas a couple of other ways to finesse the higher mortgage rates as a homebuyer in What to consider when buying a home amid rising mortgage rates.
 

2. Tech rush: California to Austin, Texas

+“Google, Apple, Amazon, Dropbox, and Oracle have all recently either built new facilities or significantly expanded existing ones in or near Austin, prompting dozens of smaller internet companies and start-ups to follow. The city remains affordable, as well, with a favorable cost of living compared to dozens of other major cities in North America.”
From Washington Post: Movers and Shakers are flocking to rising tech hubs
 

+With steep housing prices in the Silicon Valley and Bay Area, young home buyers don’t mind moving to other techie hubs that go easier on their savings account.


+“In the Austin area, the biggest generator of inflow was San Francisco, unsurprising considering both cities are hubs for the technology sector.” Culture Map: California homebuyers continue coasting into Austin's real estate market
 

+ Thomason: “I had a closing this morning—she works for Google and he’s at Amazon, and they moved here from California! This is their first home and this is where they can still build a home in the low $220K price range. I still see the California trend, with all the new companies moving into Austin.”
 

3. Rental news: Expedia versus Airbnb

+ Housing WireExpedia dives headfirst into short-term rentals, acquires Pillow and ApartmentJet.“Expedia announced this week that it is acquiring Pillow, a San Francisco-based startup that helps apartment owners work with their long-term residents to turn their occupied units into short-term rentals, and ApartmentJet, a software company that enables multifamily property owners to turn units into guest suites.”
 

Expedia acquired HomeAway back in 2015, which already taps into the short-term rental market. “According to Expedia, the acquisitions will ‘help unlock urban growth opportunities that, over time, will contribute to HomeAway’s ability to add an even broader selection of accommodations to its marketplace and marketplaces across Expedia Group brands.’”


“Our acquisitions of Pillow and ApartmentJet are important and foundational investments in the Expedia Group platform,” Okerstrom (CEO of Expedia) added. “We gain technologically advanced solutions that will help us give travelers new options for great places to stay in popular destinations while benefiting residents, owners, managers, and local tourism.
 

If you want to rent out rooms in your house, your role as a host is getting a whole lot easier. Especially with higher mortgage rates, it’s a great time for homeowners to consider short-term rentals as a way to make some extra cash.
 

+ TechCrunch, Expedia acquires Pillow and ApartmentJet to conquer the short-term rental market.
 

4. Eye on the storm

+After Hurricane Michael and Florence devastated areas in Florida and the Carolinas, it might be useful to look back to Harvey and consider what will happen to their housing market.
 

+ In WSJ:How Harvey Transformed House-Hunting in Houston, where there weren’t any floods, like the Heights neighborhood in Houston, “the median sales price of homes rose 8.2% to-date in 2018 from the year earlier, according to the Houston MLS. The median sales price of homes in River Oaks has shot up 22.6% year-to-date compared with a year earlier.”
 

Where Harvey gave no mercy, like the “traditionally affluent Bellaire, the median sales price of homes fell 11.8% over that same period.”
 

+But, as reported in HomeLight’s hurricane comparison of Katrina and Harvey, Houston’s real estate market bounced back almost immediately. From HomeLight:Hurricanes Harvey vs. Katrina: Which Storm Hurt the Housing Market Most?
 

“Houston housing experts say the Harvey effect won’t last long, and that neighborhoods like Bellaire that might be down now are where the opportunity lies. There is skepticism that climate change will lead to another event of Harvey’s magnitude anytime soon” (WSJ).
 

5. Aftermath of the storm

+So, your house is actually better insured for volcano damage than floods. Unless you in live in Hawaii or Washington, a volcanic eruption is probably the least of your worries. Storms and hurricanes on the other hand cause floods, which are not covered…
 

+“Towns and cities along the Panhandle coast were left in ruins, and damage extended well inland into southern Georgia. The storm’s high winds stripped roofs and caused trees to fall on homesand cars. Coastal communities were walloped by a massive storm surge, which forecasters predictedcould reach as high as nine to 13 feet before the storm. Only homeowners who bought separate flood insurance for their homes were covered if water from Florence damaged their house. And there weren’t many people in that boat.”
 

+From Market Watch:After Hurricane Michael, what homeowners need to know about disaster insurance. You might want to consider purchasing flood insurance to avoid paying cash upfront if and when another hurricane hits.
 

+ CNBC: Tech and real estate turn to the cloud to protect cities from floods. “One four-year-old company, Boston-based Opti, installs underground smart water management systems that connect to the technology cloud and track the weather. The systems control water coming into and out of urban lakes, retention ponds, tanks, pipes, cisterns, even constructed wetlands.”
 

“‘We're able to take the weather forecast and use it to predict how much runoff is going to occur, and drain the facility down in advance to create new storage without building a new major capital asset,’ Opti CEO Marcus Quigley said.”
 

6. A team... like the Red Sox?

+ PR Newswire:Number of Real Estate Teams are Growing, NAR Survey Finds
 

+NAR found that a rising trend in real estate teams. A team is typically led by one main agent in charge of showings and listings. The other team members are each responsible for one specific aspect of your sale.
 

+“The survey asked Realtors® to choose from a list of activities to explain their primary functions on a team. The most common answer was agent (88 percent), followed by broker (50 percent), marketing (47 percent), administrative (47 percent) and transaction coordinator (34 percent).”
 

"‘This growing trend not only helps our members share workloads and responsibilities but also allow Realtors to benefit from the experience of fellow professionals. The synergies of a well-functioning team are often an incentive to relinquish some of the independence of a solo practitioner and offer many attractive features for both licensees and their customers,’ said NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation Realtor from Columbia, Missouri, and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty.”
 

+This trend shows just how much harder it is to sell a home by yourself.Can you make a drone video or VR experience of your house for buyers? Probably not, huh? But, more importantly, do you know the market well enough and deal with real estate transactions on a daily basis? Without a real estate agent or team on your side, you’ll be competing with staffs and groups who know what they’re doing. Find a top real estate agent or team in your area with HomeLightto compete with the market.
 

 + NAR:2018 Teams Survey, from July - October 2018.

“Among respondents that are not currently on a real estate team, nine percent have strongly considered and 30 percent have briefly considered joining or starting a real estate team.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents had two people on their real estate team.
The median number of people on a real estate team was four.
The median year that real estate teams were established was in 2014.

Typically, respondents joined their current real estate team in 2016.”
 

7. Avocado toast and house hunting

+ CNBC:Waiting longer to buy a house could hurt millennials in retirement
 

+“The researchers found homeownership declining most steeply among people under the age of 30 when compared with other generations. ‘They're not able to hit the mark at the same age as their parents,’ said Tamara Sims, a research scientist at Stanford. Why the delay? People often want to put down roots once they have a family. Indeed, the likelihood of owning a home by the age of 30 swells by nearly 30 percentage points for those already married and with children. But younger people today are not in a rush to wed and reproduce.”
 

+Due to student loans, rising prices, and a shift in home ownership culture, younger people just aren’t buying as many homes. But, this isn’t any reason for baby boomer home sellers to fret! As the circle of life continues, the oldest of millennials are now approaching 38 years old, closer to a secure age to buy a home. 33% of home buyersin the U.S. in 2018 were first-time buyers—we forecast a gradual increase in first-time buyers as millennials get older. Guess ya can’t stay young forever.
 

8. Tiny homes, big roles

+As small as 400 square feet and as large as 1,000, tiny homes are once again in the news. This time, they have a bigger role to fill other than appeasing a couple looking to downsize but also keep a bathtub and queen size bed in a 500 square feet box. Veteran Chris Stout realized that Tiny houses for homeless vets make a lot of sense, CNN.


Instead, people are starting to realize its use in more practical and powerful ways. “Our anticipated length of stay [homeless veterans] is six months, but as long as they're working towards their goals, they're welcome to stay.

We see these tiny homes as an educational tool to teach them how to maintain a home, cook for themselves and live next to neighbors.

So far, eight of the original 13 residents have moved into permanent housing. They take their furniture with them, so it takes about 72 hours to prepare a home for the next resident. We'll also have a community center providing medical, dental, barbershop, veterinarian care, as well as a fellowship hall, so we can have group events. So far, we have helped more than 8,000 veterans.”
 

+In Arizona, which ranks dead last for elementary school teacher salaries in the country, school districts decide to target the state’s housing problem as another way to keep teachers in the area despite their low pay. CBS News: How tiny homes are helping cash-strapped teachers in Arizona.
 

“‘The Vail Unified School District purchased a five-acre lot for two dozen tiny homes. The district will charge $125 a month for the land and utilities, but the teachers will own the homes, paying around $600 a month – half the cost of the average mortgage in Vail. We have to be aggressive in pursuing all avenues that we can to attract and retain high-quality teachers, and we feel that this is one of those ways,’ said John Carruth, associate superintendent of the school district.”


That's it for October, 2018.

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz
April 11, 2018

BREAKING NEWS: It is time to sell!

Denver, the most expensive housing market between two coasts, hit an important milestone in February. For the first time ever, the average sold price of a single-family, detached home topped $500,000, at a record breaking $502,986. The year-over-year appreciation was up 11.78% from February 2017. The dramatic price increase came as the total sales volume posted a double-digit drop. The 2,002 single-family homes sold in February marked a 10.59% reduction in closings from a year earlier, DMAR data shows. 

Home prices are rising while at the same time mortgage rates are rising. Rates are now averaging close to 4.45% for a 30-year mortgage, while rates below 4% were available not long ago. Part of the reason home prices are going up so quickly, especially so early in the year, is because some people are bidding up home prices before they rise even more. 

Historically, when single-family home prices shot up, more consumers - especially first-time buyers - chose less expensive condos and townhomes. With an average price of $345,632, attached homes are significantly less expensive than single-family homes. However, condo prices have risen even more than single-family homes jumping 16.95% from February 2017.

Interested in selling? Find out what your home is worth here

Article Credit: Denver Real Estate

Posted in Bartic Group Buzz