All Denver homeowners should be as interested as parents are in the caliber of Denver’s schools.  Parents may look for quality education but all owners of Denver Colorado real estate actually benefit from quality schools.  Good schools help raise Denver property values.

In an effort to determine the quality of Denver’s schools—public, charter, and private, Denver’s 5280 Magazine staff pulled together a panel of experts for an article in the September 2008 issue.  The panel determined that quality goes beyond test scores, class size, and graduation rates.  They looked more to character—educational character.  “In fact, true character can be found throughout the Denver area, in schools rich and poor, public and private, homogeneous and diverse,” 5280 reported.

Today, we will describe several of the private schools in with the best rankings in the Denver metro area.  The schools were selected using a combination of empirical data, panel recommendations, and non-quantitative evidence.  Data was placed alongside strong educational culture and mission, demonstrable leadership, and vision from the school’s teachers and administrators, active parental involvement in and out of the classroom, growth and stability, evidence of learning, personal attention for students, extra-curricular activities, community service and interaction, academic tradition, and student engagement with teachers, parents, and each other.  5280 also utilized information from other reports and rankings.

Escuela De Guadalupe, a private Catholic elementary school.  It is a dual-language school with a diverse student body.  Its award-winning program commits students to full literacy in English and Spanish across all academic areas.  Graland Country Day School elementary and middle schools offer college pre-curriculum.  It is an overall high-performing school that sends graduates to some of the most competitive colleges in the nation.

Herzi/RMHA At The Denver Campus is the largest Jewish day school in the Rocky Mountain region.  It graduates 10 times the National Merit Scholars as an average school.  Almost every student goes on to college.  The lower school features differentiated instruction, grouping students in small groups according to ability, interest, and learning style. 

Kent Denver School is a private middle and high school in Englewood.  Kent offers freedom and independence with an emphasis on the arts and music and extensive volunteerism.  Logan School for Creative Learning offers a curriculum for gifted children ages four through 14 with an emphasis on projects, critical thinking, creativity, peer interaction, and personal growth.  Stanley British Primary School is a hands-on learning center that integrates lessons into daily experiences.

For more information about real estate in the greater metro area, including farms and horse properties, call Michael Paul of Realty Oasis at (303) 268-6052.

Control.  Some owners of Denver Colorado real estate may be feeling out of control these days.  Yet, according to internationally recognized speaker and author Dr. John C. Maxwell, successful people take initiative and gain control of their lives—personal, business, Denver real estate, and investments included.  One way to boost the sense of control is for homeowners to take steps towards keeping track of the mortgage performance on their Denver CO homes.

First of all, some of you may not know that mortgages for real estate in Denver have performance records.  That is understandable.  Traditional mortgages were generally considered financial obligations, not financial instruments.  In today’s fast-paced world, however, mortgages can be designed to either contribute to or detract from financial goals.  Those goals may change during the life of the mortgage.

An increasing number of mortgage professionals are being trained to assist buyers and homeowners to think of their mortgages as financial instruments that can be changed to fit life cycles and market conditions.  A select number of lenders are investing in training, proprietary tools, and technology to deliver the services of Mortgage Planners.  For example, Lori Richardson of Cherry Creek Mortgage Company offers core services entitled Personalized Mortgage Plan, RateWatch Report, and Annual Equity Review that are designed to empower clients to integrate their mortgages into their financial plans.

Control comes from planning, goals, and strategy.  Borrowers who want more control of the money that is pouring into their home loans may want to investigate these tools further.  The Personalized Mortgage Plan assesses every component of each loan option over a period of time, charting the total cost and total benefits.  It is the industry’s most powerful side-by-side analysis, measuring the true financial impact of investing the savings of a given loan into an asset accumulation account and showing the benefits of early payment.

The RateWatch Review monitors the performance of mortgages on an ongoing basis, providing information necessary for ongoing decisions.  The Annual Equity Review is an in-depth look at aspects of the mortgage performance that empowers the owner to optimize equity by assessing the health of the mortgage.  It illustrates the value and power of restructuring debt and equity.

Maxwell observes that successful people don’t wait for problems to disappear or for fear to subside.  They overcome procrastination and take action.  From their new-found vantage point, they are better able to navigate through the problem.  That’s good advice for people who are striving to invest in their futures.  Good mortgage planning can give back some control.

For more information about real estate in the greater metro area, including farms and horse properties, call Michael Paul of Realty Oasis at (303) 268-6052.

As we have continued to assert, the Denver Colorado real estate market is doing relatively well.  Its forward movement hinges on a growing population that needs Denver CO homes to live in as well as the supporting commercial real estate in Denver.

In February 2009, Builder Magazine, in conjunction with Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, published its metric for determining the markets with the best and least potential.  The region of Greater Denver real estate achieved the #12 spot in the Healthiest Cities in the United States category, despite recent turbulent news in the local building industry.

The magazine, “The Information Source for the Building Industry,” expects the Healthiest Cities to lead the real estate market recovery.  Measuring trends over a five-year span, Builder concluded that the healthiest markets have similar traits.  For example,

  • Most did not see extreme price increases during the boom and so they have avoided deflation during the bust.
  • They are all in superior locations near mountains, oceans, and/or universities.
  • Home values are not falling drastically.
  • There are a good number of applications for building permits.

During 2008, there were 8,800 building permits pulled in the Mile High City.  Although the number of permits issued is down from 20,864 in 2005, it is close to the national average decline in permit numbers.

The strength, however, is in our commercial real estate market.  As it accommodates an annual 2-percent growth in population, the metro area is expanding retail and service sectors and even courting new headquarters for Fortune 500 companies. 

The central location in the nation is healthy for business activity.  There are numerous interstates, railroads, the Denver International and Centennial airports, thriving downtown and several large business parks, large government presence, world-class universities and research centers, high-tech companies, and a diverse depth of industries. 

The study identified the busiest builders as D.R. Horton, Richmond American Homes, Standard Pacific Homes, Shea Homes, and Engle Homes.  As recent news revealed that builders such as Beazer and Centex have pulled out of the area and Village Homes of Colorado as declared bankruptcy, other builders are glad to take up the slack.  There is still an abundance of land to develop between the mountains and the plains.

While new developments and homes are still going in, existing home sales are selling at a more rapid pace.  In 2008, the median price of an existing home was an affordable $219,300, down only 10.6 percent in the last year.  If all goes well, however, the rebounding sales of new homes will be right behind.

For more information about real estate in the greater metro area, including farms and horse properties, call Michael Paul of Realty Oasis at (303) 268-6052.

Denver’s first-time homebuyers win hands down.  Buyers who purchase their Denver Colorado homes between January 1 and November 31, 2009 get in on the tax and real estate bargains of the decade.  Thanks to great deals for Denver CO homes, a large selection of Denver real estate on the market, tax credits, higher FHA loan limits, and low interest rates, it’s time to encourage every possible first-time buyer possible to stop renting and to start building home equity.  It’s a win-win proposition.

Buyers today have the largest selection of Denver homes that has been available in 15 years.   With FHA loan limits for real estate in the Denver metro area recently increased to $406,250, first-time home buyers may be able to choose more favorable neighborhoods for their families—neighborhoods that looked too expensive a couple of years ago.   Additionally, they may be able to select larger homes with extra bathrooms or bedrooms.  The stimulus package increased the FHA loan limits for the remainder of 2009 and we do not know future plans. 

In a buyers’ market like we have not seen for 8 years, great deals can be found.  Home prices are reduced, having been stripped of inflated equity.  Sellers are also willing to negotiate, to pay down interest rates, and/or to pay many of the buyers’ closing costs.  One more thumbs up!

We are seeing some of the lowest interest rates of our lifetimes.  Moreover, if rates go down even more dramatically, the FHA has a streamlined refinance program wherein buyers will not have to re-qualify.

Now, about the tax credit for first-time homebuyers:  If a home is purchased before December 2009, the buyer may receive up to $8,000 or 10 percent of the value of the home in tax credit.  The tax credit starts phasing out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes over $75,000. 

A tax credit is not a tax deduction.  It is equivalent to money.  For example, a homeowner who owes $8,000 in income taxes for 2009 may not have to pay a dime.  If the taxpayer doesn’t owe anything, he/she could receive a check for $8,000—just for buying a home this year.

Somewhere between impatient sellers, the roller-coaster economy, and the stimulus package, first-time buyers look to be in the most advantageous position.  Through FHA, they can still get into a home with 3 percent down, a job, and reasonable credit.  They have the added flexibility of not needing to sell their existing homes in order to move.  Sound like first-time homebuyers are the all-around winners this year.

For more information about real estate in the greater metro area, including farms and horse properties, call Michael Paul of Realty Oasis at (303) 268-6052.

Just minutes away from downtown Denver real estate, the National Western Complex is once of Colorado’s premier show places with more than 600,000 square feet of space for staging almost any kind of event.  Coming up in March 2009, the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo and the Denver Home Show are being held at the National Western Complex—not too far from horse properties in Foxfield, Littleton, and Sedalia CO real estate

The National Western Complex is one reason why, owning Denver horse properties, local equestrian fans will find numerous competitions and social events, clubs, and associations in the Greater Denver area.  At the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo this weekend, everyone from 4-H students to old-time ranchers will enjoy a Sanctioned WRCA Ranch Rodeo, Extreme Cowboy Race, speakers and clinicians, Horseman’s College and Trail Rider conference, Green Ranch & Home Show, Green University, and lots of entertainment.

From Shire horses to working ranch cowboys, from cowboys racing through obstacle courses to test communication and athleticism of horse and rider, to a rich western rock/swing sound released by Carlos Washington and The Steel Horse Band—the exciting line-up for this weekend kicks off the next season and generation of horse activities.

Ty Pennington will make a rare appearance during the Denver Home Show scheduled March 19-22, where more than 500 experts and thousands of products and services will be on hand to help with homes, home remodeling, home décor and more.  Partnering with the producer of Marketplace Events, Ty explains, “People always ask me where they can buy the cool products they see on our show, and the truth is that the best place to find all the basics, plus all the hot new products—all in one place—is at the type of home shows Marketplace Events produces.”  

The modern, user-friendly facilities at the National Western Complex recently saw the completion of a $30 million expansion program.  The 2 million people in the metro trade area seem to be quite pleased with the results.  Facilities now include the Events Center, Expo Hall, Hall of Education, Stadium Arena, and Stadium Hall.

So, think about it.  The high-energy Mile High City boasts a gently thriving economy and a central location at the intersection of Interstates 25 and 70 along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountain recreational playground.  It is one of the most accessible cities in America and meeting places such as the National Western Complex continue to drive herds of interest our way.

For more information about real estate in the greater metro area, including farms and horse properties, call Michael Paul of Realty Oasis at (303) 268-6052.

Yesterday the Obama Administration unveiled the Making Homes Affordable Program, which will be helpful for many owners of properties in the Denver area.  It is designed to assist nine million American families to refinance or modify their home loans so that house payments fit into their monthly budgets, including those struggling with loans for Denver real estate.

Beginning with the Refinancing Initiative, we will discuss two initiatives that may directly affect owners of Denver Colorado real estate.  The refinancing initiative is designed to assist responsible homeowners who:

  1. Own and currently occupy a one-to-four-unit home in Denver or elsewhere
  2. Have a mortgage that is owned or controlled by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
  3. Are current on mortgage payments (See Modification Initiative below if payments are delinquent.)
  4. Owe the same or slightly less than the current value of the real estate (The first mortgage must not exceed 105 percent of the current market value of the property.  Borrowers with more than one mortgage may also be eligible.) 
  5. Have a stable income that will support the new mortgage payments

Refinancing may not lower payments.  However, all of the loans being refinanced under the plan will have a 30- or 15-year term with a fixed interest rate.  Consequently, homeowners may be able to avoid future mortgage payment increases and reduce the amount of interest paid over the life of the loan, thus saving quite a bit of money over time.  No extra costs, such as the cost of an appraisal, may be included in the refinanced amount. 

Now a few words about the Modification Initiative:  This program begins with a trial modification at a new interest rate and payment.  If everything works out, after 3 months a permanent modification will agreement lower the interest rate to a fixed rate for five years.  In year six, the rate increases gradually until it reaches a rate cap that is determined by the market interest rate on the date that the modification is finalized.

To apply for a Home Affordable Modification, homeowners must own and occupy a one- to four-unit home, have taken out the loan before January 1, 2009, and have unpaid principal that is equal to or less than $729,750 (for one unit properties).  The mortgage payment, including taxes, insurance and association dues, must be more than 31 percent of the gross monthly income.  Because of extenuating circumstances, these homeowners must no longer be able to afford the mortgage payments. 

We advise all interested homeowners to seek the advice of their lenders or talk to Lori Richardson of Cherry Creek Mortgage to ferret out the options available in the Stimulus Package.  As usual, homeowners must be prepared to provide recent pay stubs, income tax return, any information pertaining to a second mortgage, account balances and minimum monthly credit card payments, account balances and monthly payments on other debt.

For more information about real estate in the greater metro area, including farms and horse properties, call Michael Paul of Realty Oasis at (303) 268-6052.

Foxfield Colorado real estate outside of southeast Denver includes Colorado horse properties close enough to metropolitan amenities and employment.  The rural home sites in the Town of Foxfield are situated off Arapahoe and South Parker roads.  All are at least two acres and offer fabulous views of the Rocky Mountain Front Range.

Foxfield neighborhoods extend over 1.3 miles.  They feature street names as varied as the architecture of the Denver CO real estate:  Sedalia, Andes, Costilla, Telluride, Easter, Richfield, Waco, Pitkin, Buckley, Quintero.  That’s probably because the community of small Colorado ranches only recently incorporated when the town of 750 sought to preserve their little bit of countryside so close to the big city.

To prevent being annexed by Aurora or Greenwood Village, the community rose to the occasion and protected their country values.  To this day, townsfolk continue to communicate through a monthly newsletter called Communiqué, form neighborhood watch groups, volunteer, gather for a Fourth of July Parade and BBQ, and trot through the ten miles of country streets.  The board regularly meets at the Parker Fire Station #2 over budget and any concerns.

Foxfield is specifically located at an elevation of 5,755 feet at the southeast tip of Cherry Creek State Park and Valley Country Club.  It is east of Highway 83, well within the 470 circle.  The Centennial Airport and Denver Tech, Inverness, and Meridian business centers lie to the west.

Hiking trails in the area are located as close as Cherry Creek State Park, Aurora Reservoir, and Smokey Hill Ridge.  Horseback riders explore trails systems along the Platte River South Trail, The Colorado Trail, and into the Rocky Mountains.  Centuries ago, the Kiowa, Cheyenne, and Arapaho likewise traversed the area.  And there are numerous ways to enjoy the Colorado sunshine out on the golf courses at South Suburban, the Meridian Golf Club, Inverness Golf Course, Highlands Ranch, and the Family Golf Nine Hole.

Residents find ample opportunities for employment, recreational and cultural activities, and interesting shopping at places such as the Park Meadows Mall or five miles into Downtown at trendy pavilions and at LoDo.  But Foxfield’s business district does mighty fine for most residents with its Barn Store that brings in 1-percent tax revenues to fill the coffers.

For more information about farms, horse properties, and real estate in the greater metro area, call Michael Paul of Realty Oasis at (303) 268-6052.

Foxfield CO homes for sale

A purported life buoy is being thrown to struggling owners of Denver CO real estate through the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan.  This section of the new “stimulus” legislation includes initiatives that promise to assist some residents of Denver CO homes to keep their Colorado properties.  In addition, to head off future foreclosures, the U.S. President is encouraging another plan that targets struggling borrowers who are not yet behind on mortgage payments for their homes.

The government plans to explain details of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan on March 4, 2009.  What we do know now is that it outlines three initiatives for owners of real estate in Denver and the U.S.A.

  1. Refinancing program targeted for those without 20-percent home equity
  2. Program to lower monthly payments
  3. Support for low mortgage rates

The refinancing program is specifically targeted to people without 20-percent home equity—those who are not able to refinance because they do not have enough equity to qualify.  In order to take advantage of the historically low interest rates, this segment of homeowners is being thrown a life buoy.  According to an e-communication by Lori Richardson of Cherry Creek Mortgage Company, the people must be “creditworthy” and “responsible” folks who do not have 20 percent or who owe more than their home is worth.

These people will be able to refinance their mortgages into 30-year or 15-year fixed-rate loan products based on current market rates.  The provision is open to homeowners who have conforming loans which are guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and who owe up to 5 percent more than their home is worth.  This could help homeowners reduce house payments by hundreds or thousands of dollars each year. 

There are limitations and fine print as usual including the exclusion of prepayment penalties and balloon payments.  We’ll wait for more information on March 4.

The purpose of the Stability Initiative is to reduce foreclosures and to stabilize home prices in neighborhoods.  It does not apply to investment properties, however.  Struggling homeowners who have wanted to sell their homes may be helped with this initiative.  Homeowners do not have to be delinquent to apply for this program.

As the homes have dropped in value, the initiative rewards lenders who help reduce the amount that borrowers must pay each month.  Lenders are encouraged to lower interest rates to as low as 2 percent or to reduce payments by extending the term of the loan.  They may also choose to lower the principal owed and the government will share in the expense. 

In support of low mortgage rates, the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan will increase funding to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to help maintain mortgage affordability for responsible homeowners and confidence in the mortgage market.  Many homeowners will hopefully be saved by these measures.

For more information about farms, horse properties, and real estate in the greater metro area, call Michael Paul of Realty Oasis at (303) 268-6052.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will help some new buyers of Denver CO homes with tax relief if their Denver real estate is purchased between January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.  Coupled with government-backed loan limits of $368,000 for homes in the Denver metro area and low interest rates, first-time buyers can more readily take advantage of the great selection of Denver Colorado real estate that is now on the market.  A proposed new FHA-backed limit of $406,250 is also on the table.

The “stimulus bill” legislation only applies to first-time homebuyers, however.  In the strict definition of “first time,” the purchaser and the purchaser’s spouse may not have owned a principal residence in the three years prior to purchasing this real estate in Denver

Buyers must purchase these Denver homes for their primary residences.  The good news is that any type of primary residence qualifies, including single-family homes, condominiums, co-ops, and townhouses.  Another perk inserted into the legislation allows purchasers to utilize revenue bond financing. 

Purchasers may reduce or eliminate income tax liability for the year of the purchase.  The qualified homeowner may receive as much as $8,000 as a tax credit.  Any unused amount of tax credit will be refunded to purchaser after the tax return is filed.  And these monies do not have to be repaid.  However, if the home is sold within three years of purchase, the entire amount of the credit will be recaptured by the government upon the sale of the property.

Income limits will restrict some first-time homebuyers.  Individuals with an adjusted gross income of no more than $75,000, or $150,000 on a joint return, can access the full amount of the credit.  The benefits phase out above caps at $95,000 for a single filer, and $170,000 for a joint return.

The legislation benefits will be applied to purchases retroactive to January 1, 2009 and continuing to December 1, 2009.

For more information about farms, horse properties, and real estate in the greater metro area, call Michael Paul of Realty Oasis at (303) 268-6052.

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