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Why Summer Home Sales are So Slow in Denver

While there’s certainly no magical day of the year that guarantees your home will sell, there are a few climate-based factors that come into play. According to recent statistics, summer home sales in Denver plummet, and homes spend far more time on the market in July, August, and September than any other time of the year.

summer home sales 300x197 Why Summer Home Sales are So Slow in DenverWhat the Statistics Say

There’s plenty of data available to show sales rates throughout the year based on individual time zones. When it comes to Mountain time, summer home sales take a nosedive in August and don’t really pick up again until December. Some statistics taken from 2015 MLS data prove this. In the months of July and August, homes are 50% and 55% less likely to sell when compared to average, respectively. Hundreds of real estate agents in the Mountain time zone agreed that these months are the worst months to put a home on the market.

Why Do Summer Home Sales Drop?

Per the research, there are a few different factors that lead to plummeting summer home sales. These include the following:

  • High temperatures. In July and August, it’s not uncommon for temperatures to soar past 100 degrees. What’s more, the heat lingers throughout September, and sometimes even into early October. When it’s this hot outside, people are less interested in attending showings and open houses, and they aren’t interested in moving.
  • Prices are higher. If you really take the time to study the numbers, homes tend to sell for significantly less during the winter months. This is true for not only Denver, but also for the rest of the country. People tend to avoid summer home sales because holding out until winter can save them tens of thousands of dollars and lessen their monthly mortgage rates.
  • There are more homes on the market. Summer home sales also plummet in Denver because there are simply more homes from which buyers can choose. Most sellers will perform some exterior renovations before listing, and this requires warm temperatures and nice weather. These sellers will wait until the work is complete to list, and that’s why you’ll find very few homes on the market in the winter when compared to summer. Because buyers have a larger selection, homes tend to stay on the market far longer.

The Perfect Time to List Your Home

According to statistics gathered over several years by the MLS, the best time to list a home in the Denver, Colorado area is early May. This will allow you to get your home listed early – before many other sellers – and at the precise time when shoppers start looking for their new homes. It’ll ensure you receive plenty of offers before July and August to avoid the summer home sales drop, and it’ll also help you get more out of your home since homes tend to sell for far less in December through late March.

Summer home sales in Denver are certainly slow. The temperature, the number of listings, and even the average prices all play a role in this. By listing your Denver-area home in early May, you’ll find the perfect balance – you can sell your home more quickly, and for a better price.

Are Your Squeaky Floors Trying to Tell You Something?

You’ve likely experienced it firsthand at some point; squeaky floors are quite common, and many people just get used to them. The truth is, though, that your squeaky floor is sending you a message you may not want to simply ignore. Here’s what causes them and what you should do to fix the problem and enjoy silent steps once again.

What Causes Squeaky Floors?

Squeaky floors are typically caused by one main problem: loose nails holding your subfloor to the flooring joists. Homes that are relatively new have subfloors made of strand board or plywood, which is usually quite durable. These boards are nailed directly to the lumber used to craft the floor joists, whether you have I-joists or the more common 2×8 boards. It’s common knowledge that builders should use one nail every six inches around the edge of the subfloor board and one nail every 12 inches within the field itself. When these guidelines aren’t followed, the pressure you put on the floors as you walk can cause nails to work loose. The result is an audible squeak.

Carpeted Floors Squeak Too

Homeowners are often baffled when carpeted areas of their homes begin to protest under their weight. After all, if the floor is carpeted, how does this squeak occur? Whether you have hardwood floors, tile floors, or carpeting, those flooring materials are all laid on top of the subfloor, which is installed in your home the same way regardless of your flooring type. Although carpeting may muffle the squeak somewhat, it can and still does occur.

Mistakes Can and Sometimes Do Occur

Carpenters no longer carry around a hammer and a box of nails to build your home. They use air-powered tools like nail guns to make the job quick and efficient. While this is typically preferable because a home can be finished in about the quarter of the time it used to take, it also opens the door for human error. It’s easy for a carpenter with a nail gun to miss the mark by an inch or two, and in some cases, the gun may run out of nails before the carpenter even realizes it. Just one missing nail can create a very loud squeak.

squeaky floors 300x201 Are Your Squeaky Floors Trying to Tell You Something?Fixing the Problem

Fortunately, in most cases, resolving a squeaky floor isn’t impossible or too expensive. If you’re confident in your DIY skills, this job should be fairly simple. You’ll need to enter your crawlspace, and you’ll need to have someone inside the house hit the squeaky area of the floor with a hammer so you can find it. Your job is to remove insulation and make sure there’s no piping or wiring below the floor; your helper’s job will be to drive a nail to secure the subfloor to the joist properly. If you don’t feel confident, you can always call a construction crew, who should be able to finish the job in a single day’s work.

Squeaky floors are quite common, but they don’t signify an awful problem that will cost you thousands of dollars to fix. In fact, it’s usually just a missing or improperly placed nail, and replacing it is quite simple. Fix squeaks early on to keep other nails from working loose and to protect the integrity of your flooring.

What to Expect when Adding a Swimming Pool to Your Property

If there’s one thing that truly affords a home plenty of luxury, it’s an in-ground swimming pool. If you’ve been toying with the idea of adding a pool to your home, but you aren’t sure where to start, you’ve certainly come to the right place. Here’s what you need to know about adding a swimming pool to your property.

infinity pool 300x200 What to Expect when Adding a Swimming Pool to Your PropertyChoosing the Pool

When it comes to installing a pool, you have several options available to you. You could choose and above-ground pool that rests on a foundation of sand, or you could choose an in-ground pool that varies in size and depth. Some in-ground pools are only four feet deep, but others are Olympic-size and may be 12 to 15 feet deep. The choices are yours, and it’s all based on your unique preferences. Pools come in different materials, too, and some come with luxuries that others do not. For example, some in-ground pools have built-in heating systems and covers while others don’t.

How Long Does It Take?

Setting up an above ground pool may take only an afternoon, plus time to fill the pool. Contractors will deliver sand, level it up, set up your pool and filtration system, and then start the flow of water. You should be able to use this pool the next day. An in-ground swimming pool, on the other hand, is a much larger project and could take several weeks to complete. During this time, you may have to deal with the sounds of construction in your yard. Once the in-ground pool is installed, it may take several days to completely fill it, depending on your water availability. You may need to contact your water provider ahead of time so they can plan for this increased demand.

Safety Concerns and Building Codes

Most locations within Denver have safety and building codes you must follow if you will put a pool on your property. For example, if you live in a suburb with nearby neighbors, you’ll need to install a locked privacy gate that will prevent anyone from getting into your pool while you are not home. It’s best to ask your chosen contractor about building and safety codes in different parts of Denver and the surrounding area, and if you’re going to be installing an in-ground pool, you should start securing your permits to build ahead of time.

Long-Term Care and Maintenance

Both an in-ground and above-ground swimming pool will require long-term care and maintenance. The water will need to be filtered and treated to prevent the growth of bacteria and the buildup of debris. You may need to remove things such as leaves and twigs from your pool frequently to prevent them from clogging the filtration system, and it may be necessary to completely drain your swimming pool at the end of the warm season to prevent freezing and cracking.

As you can see, there’s quite a bit that goes into installing a swimming pool, even if it’s one you simply set up above ground. The best way to go about it is to hire a contractor who is familiar with local codes and pool installation; this will make the process simpler and easier.

2017 Tax Breaks for Luxury Homeowners

In 2016, homeownership rates in the United States hit their lowest level since 1965.  With that information in mind, it seems that the American Dream is no longer as attainable as it once was. In an effort to help boost homeownership rates once more, the Federal government has changed a few things. Here are some of the most important 2017 tax breaks for luxury homeowners.

Mortgage Interest

Right now, the mortgage interest deduction offered by the federal government is capped at $1 million for married couples filing jointly and $500,000 for single individuals or married couples filing separately. Most of the benefits from this deduction go toward individuals who make more than $100,000 per year. If your mortgage is $500,000 with a 4.5% interest rate, you’ll save $10,000 in the first year alone. If the value of your mortgage is less than $1 million, you may qualify for some substantial 2017 tax breaks.

energy efficient homes 300x237 2017 Tax Breaks for Luxury HomeownersEnergy Credits

Energy credits aren’t deductions – they’re tax credits, which could be even better than a deduction. For example, let’s say you update your luxury home with new doors, windows, and insulation, and the total deduction you would get is $2000. If this were applied as a deduction, and you’re in the 33% tax bracket, you’d only lower your tax obligation by $660. However, because it’s applied as a credit, you’ll lower your entire tax bill by $2000. There are limitations based on purchase, of course, but the savings from these 2017 tax breaks can truly add up.

Property Taxes

You can get 2017 tax breaks on state taxes you paid on your primary residence from your federal tax obligations, as well. A nationwide study of property taxes conducted by SmartAsset shows that most Colorado homeowners pay an average of only 0.6% of their assessed property values in the form of taxes to the state, which compares to the national average of 1.19% of property value nationwide. This could mean a huge deduction for luxury homeowners. If your assessed property value is $750,000, this means you’ll pay $4500 in property taxes to the state of Colorado, but you can deduct that from your federal taxes.

Casualty Losses

While it’s rare that an insurance company won’t cover loss or damage to a luxury home, it can and sometimes does happen. Unfortunately, when your insurance company denies your claim, that’s money you must spend out of pocket to repair your home and your property. The federal government allows you to deduct any casualty losses, which can help ease that financial burden somewhat. However, in order for you to qualify for this deduction, the casualty must exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income. You won’t be able to write off a broken window, but you may be able to write off losses after a substantial flood or massive storm, depending on their severity.

There are plenty of 2017 tax breaks out there, no matter how much money you make or how much your home and property is worth. In fact, in some cases, luxury homeowners may benefit the most from some of these programs, including the mortgage interest deduction. Talk to your tax preparer to find out just how much you can save.

What the Record-Breaking Dow Means for Your Money

News stations and social media sites are flooded with the news that the Dow Jones Industrial Average passed 20,000 points for the first time in history. As you can imagine, investors and their brokers are incredibly happy, and experts claim the record-breaking Dow is all thanks to Donald Trump.

record breaking dow 300x188 What the Record Breaking Dow Means for Your MoneySince Election Day

The Dow Jones has climbed some 1700 points since the day Trump was elected, and per Jeff Layman, the BKD Wealth Advisors chief investment officer, it’s all because of the new administration in the White House. Everyone sees the potential for tax cuts, both for individuals and corporations, and these tax cuts typically lead to a stronger economy. After all, the less people spend on taxes, the more they can spend in stores and on other commodities. The less corporations pay in taxes, the more money they can pass along to employees, which can also help strengthen the economy.

There’s a Catch

Even the experts agree that these record-breaking Dow numbers indicate good faith rather than actual occurrences – at least for now. Trump’s policies, which include infrastructure investments and deregulation on top of things like tax cuts have financial experts feeling confident in the growth of the economy nationwide. Although these experts believe that all the policies will inevitably go into effect, a few have concerns about delays in implementation. This means that we could see a market correction soon – at least until the policies are in full swing.

Low Unemployment Boosting Record-Breaking Dow?

There’s also some talk about low unemployment numbers across the country. Right now, the unemployment rate across the country is about 4.7 million, which means there are 7.5 million jobless people across the country. With more Americans working than this time last year, and with the significant appreciation of stock values, most families are doing much better for themselves. However, brokers caution against making hasty decisions at this point; although things look good right now, they can and likely will slow down. Major changes in investment portfolios could be a risk due to the market corrections that most experts predict.

What about Mortgage Rates?

With the economy pushing forward, many are concerned about climbing interest rates. Of course, the Federal Reserve raised its rates slightly at the end of 2016, and most experts agree that recent trends will continue to see those rates rise throughout the rest of 2017. With a strong economy comes inflation, and interest rates are expected to reflect that. However, just like delays in policy implementation may impact the record-breaking Dow and cause a market correction, these same delays are also expected to keep any interest rate increases low. In fact, they’re expected to climb by less than a point throughout the entire year.

The record-breaking Dow Jones Industrial Average is certainly exciting, and it’s a good indicator that the economy here at home is expected to thrive under the new presidency. However, it’s vital to think critically and invest smartly. It’s still a great time to buy a home, though, since interest rates remain low despite recent increases.

What’s Behind Rising Interest Rates?

As many experts predicted, the Federal Reserve raised its interest rates by 0.25% in December. These same experts believe that this will be one of many incremental increases to come throughout the course of 2017. Although rising interest rates worry many would-be buyers, it’s a great sign that the economy is strengthening, and there’s no reason why you should put off buying your next home.

Rising Interest Rates Signal a Strong Economy

When the Federal Reserve raised its rates in the last quarter of 2016, many people viewed this as a negative. However, per market analysts, a climbing interest rate reflects a strong economy in which future inflation is predicted. When we live in a strong economy, workers are more likely to receive raises, and companies feel more secure in passing cost increase onto consumers. The same can be said for the real estate industry, and slightly rising interest rates are nothing more than a reaction to a favorable future economy.

mortgage rates luxury homes 300x188 Whats Behind Rising Interest Rates?A Potential Increase in the National Deficit

There is much speculation that President Trump will cut taxes for millions upon millions of American households, and per many of his proposals, he’ll increase national spending at the same time. This will cause the national deficit to grow and result in more borrowing, thereby pushing inflation even more. Consumers themselves will have more money to pay for their loans, which means interest rates will likely continue to climb – albeit slowly.

Will Rates Keep Climbing?

Although the Federal Reserve only raised its rates slightly – and it was the only increase for all of 2016 – it is safe to assume that these rates will continue to climb throughout 2017 due to a strong economy and an increased national deficit. However, it’s also safe to say that the rates will climb slowly, due in part to missed predictions surrounding the GDP. Although it was predicted that the US would experience a 3% GDP growth in 2016, that growth only hit the 2% mark, which signals the fact that some markets are still struggling. Real estate market analysts agree that we may see rates around 4.7% by the end of the year.

Why You Might Want to Buy Now

Although there’s no need to panic over December’s increase, if you’ve been thinking of buying a house, it is better to act now. With interest rates on the move for all the reasons mentioned above, all signs point to steady increases throughout 2017 and likely into 2018, as well. Buying now and locking in a low interest rate for a 15- or 30-year loan could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage. What’s more, even as interest rates are climbing, home values are on the rise as well. This will likely drive up home prices nationwide.

Interest rates are climbing for a few very significant reasons, and experts believe they’ll continue to do so throughout all of 2017. Buying now can help you lock in your investment just before home values start to skyrocket, which will allow you to enjoy a tremendous return even in the wake of rising interest rates.

above, all signs point to steady increases throughout 2017 and likely into 2018, as well. Buying now and locking in a low interest rate for a 15- or 30-year loan could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage. What’s more, even as interest rates are climbing, home values are on the rise as well. This will likely drive up home prices nationwide.

Interest rates are climbing for a few very significant reasons, and experts believe they’ll continue to do so throughout all of 2017. Buying now can help you lock in the best rates, and you can also invest in your home before home values skyrocket, which will allow you to enjoy a tremendous return.

Smart Gadgets in Denver Luxury Homes Near You

With every passing day, technology becomes more and more important in our lives. We depend on it each time we send or receive a text message, and we even rely on it when we shop online. Smart gadgets are becoming important parts of luxury homes, and there are some fun ones out there that can change your daily life. Here are some awesome smart gadgets you can find in Denver luxury homes.

The Lyric T5 Wi-Fi Thermostat

The Lyric T5, manufactured by Honeywell, is one of the smartest thermostats available on the market today. It allows homeowners to program it as they would any other programmable thermostat, or it can learn from your daily life and adapt to them as things change. You can control it with your smartphone or tablet, which adds to its convenience, and it can use the location settings on your smartphone to detect where you are, adjusting your home temperature before you even walk through the door.

smart HVAC 300x150 Smart Gadgets in Denver Luxury Homes Near YouGoogle Wi-Fi

Larger homes can fall victim to wi-fi dead spots, which are simply parts of the house where the wi-fi signal isn’t as strong as it could be. Google Wi-Fi aims to change all of that by providing simple wi-fi devices that you can place in these areas to boost your signal. What’s more, these smart gadgets manage your network for you to allow you to get the most out of it. There’s no simpler or easier way to enjoy the best connection possible from anywhere in your home.

Logitech Pop Smart Button Controller

If you’ve seen the “Easy Button” ads from Staples, you can already understand the basic principle behind the Logitech Pop Smart Button. Simply put, these are buttons that you can place around your home and make it easy for your entire family to control your smart home. You can use them to control the hue, brightness, and color of certain smart bulbs, and you can even play your favorite Sonos stations – as well as add mood lighting – with the push of a button. It’s one of the best smart gadgets out there because it’s even easy enough for kids to use.

Triby Connected Speaker for Kitchens

The Triby is a kitchen message center that no luxury home should be without. It offers a speaker that connects to your smartphone for things like hands-free calling, virtual notes, and much, much more. Never again will you have to wash your hands repeatedly to answer the phone or reply to a text; Triby takes care of all of that for you so you can keep chopping, mixing, and stirring. It’s designed with a rugged exterior to make it kid-friendly, too, and everyone can send messages to Triby through the dedicated mobile app.

Smart gadgets aren’t truly necessities, but they certainly can make life simpler and easier for everyone. Whether you’re interested in making all of your smart gadgets one-touch operable or you simply need more wi-fi access throughout your home, there are gadgets out there that can provide you with all of these conveniences.

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Homeowners

With 2017 just around the corner, you’re probably getting your list of resolutions ready and preparing yourself to meet them. Aside from losing five pounds, quitting smoking, or going after that promotion you really want, there are some New Year’s resolutions for homeowners that you should also consider.

#1 – Review Your Insurance Policy

Most of the time, homeowners simply buy their insurance policies and then carry on, never stopping to consider that there may be better options available to them as time goes by. One of your New Year’s resolutions for homeowners should involve reviewing your insurance policy, then comparing your premiums to policies offered by other companies. You may be able to save yourself some money, or even better, get more protection for your money.

#2 – Get an Energy Audit

An energy audit will provide you with very specific information related to improving your home’s energy efficiency, which can not only lower your energy bills, but can also reduce your carbon footprint. Your local utility company may offer free energy audits to their customers, but if they don’t, you can hire an auditor who works in the Denver area through the Energy Star website. Their recommendations can make a tremendous difference.

#3 – Consider Refinancing

Whether you’ve been paying on your mortgage for six months or six years, it’s a good idea to look around at the options that are available to you. Perhaps your credit score has improved and you’ll qualify for a better rate, or maybe a different lender can provide you with lower interest. Although you should consider a refinance very carefully as it does take some time, it’s always a good idea to review the current state of things once a year. That’s why it’s one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions for homeowners.

Parker Colorado 300x200 5 New Years Resolutions for Homeowners#4 – Get Started on Home Improvements

Whether you’ve been putting off replacing your siding, buying solar panels for your roof, or even building that gazebo for entertaining in your yard, make it one of your New Year’s resolutions for homeowners to get started right away. Most home improvement projects will increase the value in your home, which helps you build equity or gain a larger profit if you choose to sell.

#5 – Hire a Landscaper

Last, but most certainly not least, a well-manicured and stylish lawn will provide unsurpassed curb appeal, and when it comes to Denver luxury homes, that curb appeal can go a long way – especially if you’re interested in selling your home. There are dozens of experienced, professional landscapers in the Denver area who can help you design and build the perfect concept, whether you want a koi pond or a trickling stream in your backyard.

New Year’s resolutions for homeowners can improve the value of your home, make it more comfortable, and even save you money in the long run. Add them to your resolution list and ring in 2017 with the most beautiful and energy-efficient home in your neighborhood.

Choosing Christmas Trees: Real vs. Artificial

If you celebrate the Christmas holiday, then chances are good that you put up and decorate a pine tree every holiday season. Whether you prefer real or artificial, there are benefits and downfalls associated with each. Here’s everything you need to know about choosing Christmas trees that are best for your needs.

choosing christmas trees 300x200 Choosing Christmas Trees: Real vs. ArtificialArtificial Christmas Trees: Pros and Cons

When it comes to choosing Christmas trees, the American Christmas Tree Association (per a Nielson poll) says that 79% of all Americans will put up a tree, and of these, 80% will be artificial. In fact, the number of households choosing artificial trees continues to grow each year.

  • The Pros: Artificial Christmas trees are reusable, which means you can take them down after the holiday, pack them away, and use them again year after year. Aside from this, there are many color and style choices available with artificial trees; you can find them in traditional green, white, and even rainbow colors. Some artificial trees come pre-lit; others have fiber optic lighting or no lighting at all. These trees do not require watering, and you do not have to deal with pine needles or disposal of the tree when the season has ended.
  • The Cons: Artificial trees are often made from non-biodegradable plastic, which means they will end up in landfills at the end of their lifecycles. What’s more, they do not provide that “Christmas” scent of pine. Artificial trees may become damaged, and it’s difficult – if not impossible – to find replacement branches when this happens. Finally, artificial trees are usually more expensive than their real counterparts.

Real Christmas Trees: Pros and Cons

Although only 20% of American households still put up a live tree at Christmas, they often make it a tradition. Oftentimes, families enjoy choosing Christmas trees at farms, then bringing them home and decorating them together. These trees also have their own unique benefits and downfalls.

  • The Pros: Real Christmas trees can be costly, but they’re less expensive overall than artificial trees. This is especially true for very large artificial trees, which can easily cost hundreds of dollars. Real trees also provide that Christmas pine scent that homeowners love, and because they are alive, they look far more realistic than their fake counterparts. Many municipalities will collect discarded trees for free following the holiday season, which makes disposal painless.
  • The Cons: Live Christmas trees require attention. They must be watered, and they will lose needles continuously, which can be hazardous to certain pets. Real trees may have “bald” spots or brown areas which can be unsightly. As the tree dries once it has been cut, it can also become a fire hazard. It’s important to choose lights that are cool to the touch, and to make sure they are properly grounded.

As you can see, choosing a Christmas tree can be quite the challenge – especially if you’re trying to decide between a real tree or an artificial one. The information above can help you make the best choice for your family’s unique wants and needs this holiday season.

Is Sakura Square Coming Back to Life?

Once upon a time, Sakura Square in downtown Denver was a prime Japanese-American neighborhood. It’s home to the Tri-State Denver Buddhist Temple, which is still very popular, and it’s also the center of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Now, Sakura Square is looking for developers who are willing to breathe life back into the area and make it a haven for future generations.

The Proposed Changes

Of course, the Tri-State Denver Buddhist Temple is the very heart of Sakura Square, which means it’ll stay – although perhaps in a different, more modern building. The Pacific Mercantile, which is a Japanese grocer that’s been around for more than 70 years, isn’t going to go anywhere, either. However, the entire idea behind the rebirth of Sakura Square is revitalization. This means developers would need to commit to assisting in adding new restaurants, Japanese gardens, museums, martial arts studios, and more – things that provide small slices of home to the Japanese population living in the area.

sakura square 300x200 Is Sakura Square Coming Back to Life?Urbanization of Sakura Square

Sakura Square sits on 2.45 acres, which isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, especially when compared to Denver as a whole, which has a 33,531-acre airport – the largest in the country. The square is surrounded by Lawrence, Larimer, 19th, and 20th streets, and those who are proposing the development want to make some changes. They want to see offices, lodging, residential areas, parking lots, and more. It’s owned by Tri-State Denver Buddhist Temple and Sakura Square LLC, both of whom issued requests for qualified developers in the last week, and submissions are being accepted until October 19th.

Denver’s Economy

Denver’s economy is growing at a pace that is faster than average across the country, so the revitalization of Sakura Square should come as no real surprise. Despite this, things have gone downhill for the area over the years. Tamai Tower is a 20-story residential apartment structure containing 199 apartments. Of those, 86 are occupied by tenants who have vouchers from the Denver Housing Authority, and 113 tenants are paying the market rate. It is hoped that by revitalizing the area, more people will be able to pay the market rate thanks to the addition of nearby jobs and opportunities.

What the Future Holds

Although the future of Sakura Square is still relatively uncertain, one thing can be said for sure. The owners of the area want quality over quantity, and they want to provide an iconic Japanese-influenced neighborhood that is simple, yet stunning. They want it to become the cultural hub it once was, giving the Japanese-Americans living in the area a slice of home, and providing the others with an opportunity to experience a culture that is otherwise an entire world away.

Sakura Square, named after the Japanese word for “cherry blossom”, has always been an iconic part of Denver. It is hoped that with a little help from developers, the area will come back to life and provide people with the things they’ve been missing for quite some time – a slice of Japan right in the heart of downtown Denver.