Last Thursday, The Peloton in Boulder announced they’d be matching the $8,000 tax credit from Uncle Sam, effectively dropping their prices by $8,000. Good deal if you’re in the market for a cool Boulder condominium.
Search the available Peloton listings here, and feel free to call or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like more information, or to schedule a showing.
Like many homeowners I like to take on a good remodeling project once in a while. I recently completely demolished our master bathroom as the first step in what is likely to be a many-month project to reconfigure and update this room.
I was careful to salvage as many of the working parts of the bathroom as possible: the sinks, copper pipe, faucets, shower pan, and toilet. Why? Because Boulder County has the wonderful Center for Resource Conservation. This is a great place for construction folks and home renovators to pick up salvaged construction items. And it’s a great way for us to keep our landfills from being clogged with these usable items.
There are a lot of ways to start a website these days. Every hosting company seems to have some tool to allow you to build a rudimentary site. Some tout WYSIWYG creators or template systems, others integrate a blogging system of their own. Google has entered the fray with Google Sites and there’s always the tried and true Dreamweaver.
But what if you just want to get up and going– you know, take that first step and get some content out there? You want your site to look good but you don’t want to have to edit every page by hand to get the content in there. And what about updating content in the future? You also want to have more control than some of the big blogging sites currently give you and have a solid platform for growth in the future.
Enter WordPress. It’s not just blogging software you know. With the blogging explosion in the recent past, WordPress was born and has grown some hefty legs along the way. It has been steadily raising the bar in the past couple of years, and has moved from just a blogging system to becoming a platform.
By platform I mean that you can build sites with WordPress that are not just blogs, but are robust, flavorful sites with a lot of features and power. And here’s the elements that make WordPress so powerful:
A huge number of themes
Tons of plugins
Moderated multi user contribution
Easy content creation
Multi domain capable with WordPress Mu
If you install WordPress on your own server account, which isn’t hard, you then have ultimate control over this system allowing you to run ads or monetize your blog as you see fit. Most of the big blog hosting sites out there just don’t give you this level of control. Hosting companies like DreamHost, which is a green, carbon neutral company to boost, allow easy one-click install of WordPress to get you going fast.
In this series I’ll discuss each of the points outlined above to give you more detail on each facet of the platform so you can see the true power of WordPress. Stay tuned for part 2 on themes.
There have been so many cool real estate sites popping up in recent years (Trulia, Zillow, Redfin, etc) that it seemed as if the monsters like Realtor.com were destined for obsolescence just as soon as the average consumer started trusting the new techno sites for their real estate search. But not so fast.
The NAR announced a recent take over of Cyberhomes assets and data, and is revealing an interested long-term strategy to compete with these new kids on the block. Will it work? Maybe. Who does it benefit? See this awesome article on 1000 Watt Consulting for an in-depth analysis.
This news made me recall another incredible article/piece of news by the ever-entertaining and brilliant Notorious ROB where he discusses how a little guy (think local real estate agencies) may have suddenly delivered a potential knock-out punch to the tech-heavy real estate start-ups of the last 4 years. In a nut-shell, ROB comments that a particular local real estate company has just unveiled a new website which competes and possibly exceeds the user experience and amount of data delivered by these tech start-ups. Big deal, right? Maybe not.
One thing is for sure: it’s an interesting time to be in the real estate industry. Who will survive? I’m not sure. I know that I’m constantly amazed by some of the tech start-ups like Redfin and the now bankrupt BuySide Realty/Iggys House who receive all this VC money and ALSO offer deep discounts. How can these companies be soooo top-heavy and programmer heavy and also offer deep discounts and also survive? I don’t know. I know that the only way we’ve survived while offering deep discounts is by offering a level of service that the above discounters don’t or can’t. We’re basically offering the same service as a traditional agent, AND we offer discounts. How? Our overhead is almost non-existent, no multi-level management, no VC money, no standing staff of programmers.
But that’s not enough, is it? No, I don’t think so. I think that we also need to provide great service AND a great user experience on our website. Which brings me back to the above point made by Notorious ROB: if little guys can deliver a big, satisfying punch on their websites then what will drive people to keep using the large tech sites? The answer to that question remains to be seen, but if the age-old adage that “all real estate is local” is true (which i think it is), then the answer is: nothing. If, in the near future, there’s no significant difference between the average local agent’s site in regards to data and user experience when compared to the big non-local tech sites, then there’s really nothing but recent momentum to keep carrying new users to those tech sites. And momentum can change.
Uncle Sammy has agreed to keep his pockets open through April 30, 2010. And now, even more home buyers will be eligible to reach in and grab $8,000. Here are the details:
First-time home buyers are eligible for an $8,000 tax credit.
Current homeowners who have lived in their current home for 5 consecutive years are eligible for a $6,500 tax credit if they purchase a NEW home.
If you have bought a home previously but have not owned a home in last 3 years then you’re eligible for the $8,000 tax credit.
Income limits: $125,000 for an individual, $250,000 for a couple.
The home must be $800,000 or less and cannot be a vacation or second home.
Pretty generous overall.
I’m torn about this tax credit. I’ve come out pretty consistently in favor of the tax credit as it appears to have a direct effect on the buying habits of my Denver and Boulder clients. It’s clearly one of the issues they’re considering when making their decision to buy at this time. So expanding the tax credit will likely continue to help buyers get off the fence and jump in to home ownership if they were considering it in the first place.
But I just can’t help but to wonder what is going to happen with all of our debt in this country. Tax credits like this equal lost revenue for the Fed. God knows we’re already in hock up to our necks with China holding most of the purse strings. What happens if the Chinese decide to transition out of the US Dollar and into other currencies as suggested by this article?
While paying attention to dates in a purchase agreement/contract has always been important, over the last few months some new regulations have thrown other timeline issues into the mix. Realtors and borrowers should be aware of this new potential for delay.
Conventional appraisals (and soon FHA as well) now have to be ordered through an Appraisal Management Company (AMC) in an effort to completely separate the loan officer from the appraiser and eliminate any sort of influence. As a result of ordering through this new system, most lenders require that the loan officer collect the fee for this appraisal up front upon ordering. However, as per the new regulations, a lender cannot accept monies for anything (appraisal, credit report, etc.) until a minimum of three days after taking a loan application. This can be an issue if the dates in a contract do not allow for sufficient time from application to when the appraisal is due. Most good Realtors are aware of this and allow for enough time.
Many homeowners are familiar with the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) that discloses the costs and rate for their loan. Related to this is the Truth-in-Lending (TIL) which discloses the Annual Percentage Rate (APR). If for some reason (such as increased title costs or a change in fees and/or rate) this APR moves by more than 0.125% then it must be re-disclosed to the borrower a minimum of three days prior to closing. Often times when figures get sent to a title company they come back with figure changes for a variety of reasons. While these adjustments are normally minor it’s important that a lender work closely with the title company to insure this is done in a timely manner and does not delay a closing.
A less common time issue involves the transfer of a loan to another lender because the current one can’t get it done. New regulations now require a minimum of seven days until that new lender can close the loan. Often times it would take a new lender this long to get it processed and approved by underwriting.
When I’m originating a loan and in control of the process, I am always sure to check the dates and confirm it’s realistic for an appraisal to be done in time. It’s also standard practice for me to re-disclose a new GFE and TIL when the loan’s interest rate is locked-in and again if I notice any changes in costs/fees that could impact the APR. While the lender costs on my GFE rarely change much (and if anything are typically lower than my estimate) in some cases a borrower may elect to add an origination fee in order to reduce the rate, or they may elect to use seller-paid concessions, both of which may be enough to require a lender to re-disclose. I always work closely with the title company to ensure we’ve gotten figures to them well before close so they can get them back to us with their changes and we can confirm our APR is okay.
Questions or comments about Denver mortgage lending? I can be reached at email@example.com or 303-898-6203. Or if you’d like prequalified for a new home loan or refinance please go to http://mupdike.ulc.com and click on the Apply Online Now link in the left column. You can also check out my own blog at www.denverloanracer.com.
Boulder County’s Septic Smart Program is an important piece of information for home-sellers to know. Am I really writing a blog piece about poop? Yup. It’s important for homeowners in Boulder County to familiarize themselves with this County website and the requirements for sale of their property.
Homeowners can enter their property address and search county records, as well as follow the 4-step process towards becoming “Septic Smart”.
These requirements went into effect back in September of 2008, so if you have a home for sale in Boulder County and you have a septic system then you should get your system inspected right away.
You don’t necessarily have to wait until you get an offer on your property, but if you have waited until that time then don’t worry. From my experience you still have plenty of time to get your Septic Smarts taken care of if you have a typical, 30-day contract time frame. The folks at the Boulder County Septic Smart Program are very helpful and accommodating.
Realasave.com is not only a great real estate company, we are also a technology company. We leverage technology to support our green, paperless business and to build great tools for our users. We also rely on great tools to keep us organized and communicating well within our organization.
When I first saw the Google Wave developer preview video, I wanted to play around with this cool looking new system from Google. Luckily I was granted a preview invite back in September and was able to share a few invites with our team. Since then we’ve been using Wave internally for some small collaborative projects.
In general, I do like the idea of a Wave and the nice threaded interactions being stored in one place. It’s really nice to be able to add other users to the Wave and have everyone contribute. We’ve used it on some website changes to discuss mock ups and work our way to a final version. The playback feature is useful in seeing who has made which changes. You can also make a Wave public by adding the user firstname.lastname@example.org to the Wave.
I think that Wave is coming along quite nicely overall and, of course, there are always glitches with technology at this early stage, which is part of the learning process for the product. We experienced issues with trying to add Word documents to a Wave. Some docs just wouldn’t load. I also experienced severe slow down and even some browser crashes (even in Chrome) when trying to interact with large public Waves. The real time typing updates are interesting, but I’m not sure I’m a big fan or how useful this actually is. I’m guessing there will be an option to turn this feature off. The plugin landscape is also pretty sparse right now, so it’s hard to say how plugins will help flush out the product. Being able to edit someone else’s reply / text is also kind of weird, but you can see the changes in the playback mode. It might become hard to see where edits were made if there are a large number of them. A filter on the playback or other form of timeline may be useful.
One thing I think that is really needed is an notify option. Currently, you don’t know a Wave has been updated unless you are logged into Wave watching your inbox. Right now we find ourselves pinging each other in IM.. “hey I just updated the mock up wave, go check it out”. There is a FireFox plugin that will help you with this now, but it needs to be part of the core system. This may be in the plans, and likely is, but I would also like to see integration with Google docs.
Overall, I think Wave is going to be a useful tool. Will it replace email? unlikely. Will it be a useful tool for smaller teams and friends to collaborate on units of work? I think so, but I’m not sure it’s going to be quite as game-changing as Google hopes.
Wow, 2009 is certainly going out with a bang. Lots and lots of contract action in the Denver/Boulder region right now in what is traditionally a very SLOW time of year.
It’s possibly a reaction to the 8k tax credit from Uncle Sam, but I don’t think so. It seems like buyers are snatching up bargain properties once they hit the magical correct list price.
It just proves that when it comes to pricing, it’s better to SET the market than to CHASE the market. Yes, it’s honestly better to be a just slightly low and to get a quick sale and/or multiple offers than it is to be over priced and to linger on the market.
The reasoning behind this is many-fold. But if you simply factor in your carrying costs, you’ll see that holding on to your property for 6 months while it lingers on the market has costs associated with it. It can easily cost a seller thousands of dollars a month, for 6 or more months, to sit on a slightly over priced property. We’re talking 10′s of thousands of dollars. Why not just drop the price to begin with and generate multiple offers over a very brief time frame (with low or no carrying costs), the result of which could be a bidding war (higher sales than list price) as well as a quick closing?
Not to mention that properties which sit on the market tend to attract low-ball offers as buyers seem to sense blood in the water.
Email email@example.com for any questions about the Boulder or Denver real estate market, or if you’re interested in getting 50% of our paycheck via our Buyer Rebate Program.
ConocoPhillips is our big, new neighbor up the Denver/Boulder corridor just off of Hwy 36. You probably know that they purchased a 400++ acre campus from Storage Tec a while back, and there’s been lots of news and some considerable speculation as to what their plans are.
Well, it appears as if they’re going to use the site as the research and development center on renewable energy. Good news for this area. Even better news that over the next 20 years or so they’ll ramp things up to around 7,000 employees or more. Very nice for the real estate market, and wonderful to have this type of company in the area.
I hope this acts as a draw for other renewable energy companies in the same way that Sun Microsystems and IBM have helped give us a good foundation and big draw in the technology department.
Won’t you be my….neighbor.
Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any Denver or Boulder real estate questions, or if you want some more info about our Colorado commission rebate program where we give you 50% of our paycheck.