Monday, September 25, 2017

5 Closing Mistakes to Avoid


RE/MAX Blog link

The seller has accepted your offer, the inspector didn't find any underground streams or shaky foundations, and the closing date is set. You're in the homestretch! While you can breathe a little easier, remember, the deal's not done until everyone signs all the (zillion) documents at the closing table. And, your lender can still change their mind. Here are 5 closing mistakes to avoid when buying a home.

1. Don't mess with your income-to-debt ratio

The ratio of your monthly income to your monthly debts is one of the main factors the lender considered when qualifying you. And your lender will probably run your financials two or three more times before closing. While it's tempting, don't take out a big loan for the new deck you want to install when you move into your new place. Don't sign the lease on the new Audi that will look perfect in your new driveway. The bank looks at lease payments like any other debt payment.

2. Don't disappear

Be sure to keep in touch with your lender and be readily available to immediately address any last-minute concerns.

3. Don't change jobs

Lenders love stability. Switching jobs right before closing can make them anxious, and you want to give them every reason to feel confident. Most lenders prefer to have a two-year job history in hand, so making a big career move could slow things down, or squash the deal entirely.

4. Don't open new credit cards

Yes, you'll be buying furniture to fill those lovely rooms. Yes, you might need a new fridge. And yes, new dishes to match the new kitchen would be splendid. But resist the lure of opening new credit cards until after closing. Doing so can affect your credit score. For now, just open catalogs.

5. Don't be late

Even though you may have been riding the real estate roller coaster and life's been chaotic, be sure to stay current with all bill payments. Late payments, too, can affect that all-important credit score.
Wondering what else is involved in the final stretches of a home purchase? Your agent will be happy to answer any of your questions. Find an experienced agent here.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Summit County towns outpace last year in sales tax

#Summit County #Colorado

Summit Daily News Link

Coming into the summer months, Dillon had been the only town in Summit County not tracking ahead of last year's sales-tax receipts, but that changed this July as Dillon caught up to last year's total and all four Summit County towns are now ahead in year-to-date comparisons.
With 2 percent growth in July, Dillon's 2017 sales-tax receipts have caught up to last year's total through July. The town started the year down after lagging — generally about 2- 5 percent — each of the first three months of the year.
Dillon started off with January's tax receipts almost 3 percent behind last year's figures. February and March also saw slight declines, but the town made up ground in April and May.
May is typically the most sluggish month of the year in Summit County for businesses, but Dillon saw more than 11 percent growth in its sales-tax receipts this year compared to May 2016, making it the best May Dillon has ever had.
June's numbers weren't quite so rosy and were off about 1 percent from the prior year. Still, with July's growth, the town sits .05 percent ahead in a year-to-date comparison, making it the first time this year that Dillon has been ahead in a YTD comparison.
For Silverthorne, July's sales-tax receipts came in 9 percent ahead of July 2016, with the month eclipsing $1 million for the first time ever and helping the town get more than 7 percent ahead in a YTD comparison.
The trend of rising sales-tax receipts is nothing new for Silverthorne, and there's been 3 percent to 11 percent growth every year since at least 2013.
At the same time, YTD tax receipts through July have raised from $5 million in 2013 to $6.2 million this year for the town.
For just July, every sector grew in Silverthorne with the service industry leading all others up 57 percent, and the Outlets, which are in the middle of their fall sales campaign and dealing with a bridge-replacement project, posting the most modest gain at 2.8 percent.
Frisco's sales-tax receipts for July had some wild fluctuations, but town revenue specialist Chad Most attributed much of those spikes to corrections rather than actual market conditions.
Take restaurants, for example. The sector was down 6.5 percent compared to July 2016, but Most explained the decline was largely a result of sales taxes for a restaurant with multiple locations being incorrectly reported for just Frisco.
With monies originally collected for Frisco being redistributed, that's why Most said Frisco saw a decline in that category.
Additionally, Frisco's recreation category posted a nearly 50 percent gain, but much of that growth was distributed to Frisco in error, Most said, and the spike shouldn't be nearly so dramatic.
"If we had not received those sales taxes in error … it would have dropped our growth of 3.4 percent in July over last July," Most said of Frisco's overall sales tax collections. "But the real numbers — we would have been 1.4 percent up, and that's a better reflection of the actual growth we saw in July."
Most added that he anticipates the high growth percentages — high single- to double-digit percentages that Frisco's seen as of late — will start to drop to a more measured 2-to-3 percent range.
"All in all, despite the fact growth percentages have come down a little bit, we're still pretty bullish," he said.
Breckenridge is tracking ahead of budget and prior year results through the first eight months of this year, according to the town's most recent financial report.
Altogether, the town is approximately $2.8 million ahead of 2017 budgeted revenues in the excise fund, which is largely being attributed to the real estate transfer tax being $1.7 million over budget and up $873,000 ahead of the prior year.
Additionally, the retail, marijuana, restaurants and bars, grocery and liquor, construction and utility sectors have all grown in YTD comparisons.
Of those, construction has seen the most dramatic increase at just over 12 percent, but July was not the best month for the sector, which dipped 11 percent compared to July 2016.
At the same time, the town saw a slight 2.8 percent decline in taxes from short-term housing in July compared to July 2016. The decline, however, is being attributed to the Peak 2 fire.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

August 2017 Housing Report: 3 Things to Know


While inventory disappeared faster than a popsicle in July, slightly fewer (0.8 percent) homes sold, according to the August RE/MAX National Housing Report. The report analyzes real estate data in 54 metro areas across the U.S.
It's not unusual to see a dip in sales in July.
"This summertime slowdown is a national trend that we sometimes see this time of year, even though this month's decrease was razor thin," said Adam Contos, RE/MAX Co-CEO.
Here's what you need to know about July's transactions.

1. Sales prices rose with temperatures.

Up 7.4 percent from July 2016, the Median Sales Price for all 54 metro areas was $239,950. That's the highest price for July in the nine-year history of the report. Prices in seven metro areas shot up by double digit percentages, with the most impressive rates in Seattle, WA (+13.7%); Tampa, FL, (+13.5 %); Milwaukee, WI, (+11.6%) and Charlotte, NC (+11 %).

2. Homes sold at high-speed.

Homes continued to sell more quickly, with the average Days on Market for July just 45, down two days from June and eight days from July 2017. Where did homes move fastest? Omaha, NE; Seattle, WA; Denver, CO and San Francisco, CA had the lowest average Days on Market.

3. Inventory continues to be tight

Inventory dropped 14.1 percent from last year, with 46 metro areas seeing fewer, or the same number, of homes for sale. Inventory has shrunk every month since November 2008. The Months Supply of Inventory set a new July low in the report's history, hovering around 3.1 months. A supply of six months is considered balanced. "Low inventory continues to constrain the market," said Contos. "Successful buyers will have to be prepped and ready to act fast to purchase listings that, on average, are selling in record time."
For a deeper dive into what happened in July, view the infographic below:

Friday, September 22, 2017

Why do leaves change color? The science behind fall foliage and best places to view around Summit County

Summit Daily News

Summit Daily News Link

As the days begin to shorten and crisp mornings bring the anticipation of winter, Summit County takes one last breath of brilliance before succumbing to the snow. The explosion of reds, yellows and oranges from the fall foliage along the trails and across the peaks give the High Country breathtaking views almost anywhere traveled.


Although fall in the mountains is relatively short, the turning of the leaves can be counted on each year.
"There's three factors that influence the leaf color," said Adam D. Bianchi, deputy district ranger of the United States Forest Service — Dillon Ranger District.
Those factors are leaf pigments, the length of night and the weather, he said. "Typically we think that weather really affects the change, but realistically it's more the length of the night. … Every calendar year we can predict when the colors are going to start to change. When the days get shorter and the nights get longer, a biochemical process starts to occur inside the leaves."
The process affects three pigments produced in the leaves: chlorophyll, carotenoids and anthocyanins. Chlorophyll gives leaves their basic green color and is produced in photosynthesis through sunlight. With shorter days and longer nights, the chemical reaction of photosynthesis slows.
"The sunlight that it was using to manufacture some of the sugars that cause photosynthesis begin to slow down, and then it pushes all of those sugars into the root system," Bianchi said. "So when that happens, we tend to see more of this carotenoid pigment that's in the leaf all year round, we just don't see it because how much chlorophyll is there."
Carotenoids are the yellow, orange and brown colors seen in the fall, which is often the pigment seen in carrots, rutabagas and corn, Bianchi said.
While sugars are being pulled down into the root system and chlorophyll is no longer being produced, anthocyanins comes into play because the tree is trying to produce as much sugar as possible to pull into the root system for dormant season. Anthocyanins gives the leaves that red, purple color — the same pigment seen in cranberries, red apples and blueberries, Bianchi said.
"Basically, during the summer growing season, chlorophyll is continually produced, broken down, and so the leaves are green," he said. "As the night length increases in fall, the chlorophyll production slows down, stops and eventually the chlorophyll is then destroyed, and that's why we see the carotenoids and anthocyanins already present."


In Summit County, the vibrant colors are only seen a few weeks out of the year — here one minute and gone the next. How long the leaves stick around in those colors varies by tree species and when they start to turn is based off of latitude in the United States.
"It's kind of genetically inherited when the colors come on and how long they stay," Bianchi said. "In late September in New England states, they will start to change color and move southward across the United States. But at that same time — it's basically based off of latitude in the United States — so at that same latitude here in Colorado and in the high mountain elevation, you'll see stuff changing the same time you might see something change in New England."
How long the leaves will stay in their autumn colors is affected by weather conditions. Warm, sunny days and cool, crisp nights brings more spectacular color displays, because that weather pattern produces more sugars inside the leaves, and cool nights and gradual closing of the veins within the leaves prevent the sugars from moving out quicker. With this type of weather, the colors come on later and last longer into the fall.
"A lot of times you'll see that more with the reds and purples," Bianchi said. "So on the flip side, more of the yellows, the aspens that we see, are more dependent on soil moisture. If we have a late spring, or severe summer drought, it can delay those colors."
A warm period during the fall will also lower the intensity of the colors. So the most favorable conditions for vibrant yellow colors are a warm, wet spring, and warm, sunny fall days with cool nights. In the mountains, the leaves begin to change first at higher elevations, and move down to the valley bottoms.
"If you get a cold snap in, or a nice frost, it could really shut things down quickly," he said.


Acorn Creek
North of Silverthorne
Acorn Creek trailhead can be accessed by driving north on Highway 9 from Silverthorne for approximately 10.6 miles. After you cross the Blue River you will immediately turn right onto CR 2400 (Ute Park Road). At the first junction, continue left following the trailhead sign. Then turn right onto FDR 2402 (Rodeo Drive) and travel approximately 0.6 miles to the trailhead/parking lot. (Directions from US Forest Service website.)
"I really like Acorn Creek. … That to me is a great place to view (leaves)," Bianchi said.
Beaver Creek Trail
Fairplay, Park County
In the summer, Beaver Creek Road is open to traffic, but there are also numerous hiking, biking and 4WD trails in the vicinity to get off the main path. It takes roughly an hour to get to the area from Frisco, but the views even from just the road are exploding with color right now.
Boreas Pass
Elevation: 11,488 feet
On the south end of Breckenridge is Boreas Pass. The road is open to vehicles during the summer, or park in the lot and hike or bike up. The road has a gradual ascent to the summit, making it a relatively easy hike. Boreas offers an expansive view of the Blue River Valley and the Ten Mile Range, and also boasts views of Breckenridge Ski Resort.
Cataract Lake area
North of Silverthorne
This trail is roughly 25 miles north of Silverthorne near Heeney. Getting to Upper Cataract Lake is a hike — it requires about six hours of hiking over 10.5 miles of trail, with an elevation gain of 2,000 vertical feet. Lower Cataract is easier, the trail is about 2 miles long with minimal incline.
Fremont Pass
Elevation: 11,319 feet
Fremont Pass forms the Continental Divide on the border between Lake County and Summit County. Take the Copper Mountain exit (195) and follow CO-91 south — it takes about 20 minutes from Frisco.
Guanella Pass
Elevation: 11,670 feet
Guanella Pass Scenic and Historic Byway is a 23-mile route through Pike and Arapaho national forest land that links Georgetown and Grant. The road is rugged, which means less traffic. Guanella Pass takes about an hour to get to from Frisco.
Hoosier Pass
Elevation: 11,542 feet
Hoosier Pass separates Summit and Park counties. There is a large parking lot at the top of the pass for picture taking, as well as hiking trails. Coming down Hoosier Pass into Park County also lends itself to spectacular views of the valley.
Kenosha Pass
Elevation: 9,997 feet
Getting to this pass takes a little over an hour from Frisco, but it is one of the most popular areas for leaf peeping. This also means beware the crowds — weekends especially — so watch for slowing traffic and pedestrians when getting close to the top.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Tenderfoot 2 Fire caused by power line sparks, officials say

#Dillon #Colorado
Courtesy Summit Daily

Summit Daily News Link

Officials said Wednesday that an exploded power line insulator cap caused the Tenderfoot 2 Fire near Dillon Monday evening, creating sparks that ignited nearby grasses and setting off a roughly 25-acre wildfire.
The fire was first reported at around 5 p.m. Mondaynear U.S. Highway 6 and Corinthian Circle, coinciding with a roughly two-hour power outage in Dillon.
An early air attack with two fixed-wing tankers and two helicopters quickly slowed the fire's spread, and hand crews contained 50 percent of it by Tuesday evening.
A spokesman for Xcel Energy, which operates power lines in the area, said the company needed to review official reports and complete its own inquiry before providing comment.
The U.S. Forest Service, which took over command of the blaze from Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue Monday evening, does not yet have a cost estimate for the air attack.
On Wednesday, about 120 firefighters continued to extinguish hot spots and monitor the fire should it start to spread. High winds have buffeted Summit County with gusts up to 50 miles per hour since Tuesday, but so far they haven't whipped up the fire.
The Oro Grande and Tenderfoot Mountain trails remained closed until further notice. The Forest Service also asked the public to avoid the Tenderfoot Mountain area between Straight Creek Road and Frey Gulch Road for safety reasons.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tenderfoot 2 Fire now 50 percent contained, officials “cautiously optimistic”

#Dillon #Colorado
Summit Daily News Photo

Summit Daily News Link

The winds came with fury on Tuesday, but they were too late to rouse the Tenderfoot 2 Fire near Dillon. By the afternoon, its once-fearsome plume of smoke had reduced to pale wisps, and in the evening fire officials declared it 50 percent contained.
Firefighters and aircraft hammered away at the fire early in the morning when the day was still calm, and their work paid off, keeping the blaze from growing even when the wind howled as fast as 50 miles per hour.
"We had a solid box around the fire before the winds picked up," U.S. Forest Service incident commander Eric White said Tuesday evening. "We had an incredibly successful day on the fire line today."
As a rule, fire officials avoid calling fires "out" prematurely; embers can continue smoldering for weeks after the firefighting stops, and smoke from Tenderfoot 2 will likely stick around for several days.
"We're looking at another day of very high winds and dry weather (Wednesday), so we're really on our toes," White cautioned.
But by Tuesday evening the fire looked cowed, if not quite whipped. A red flag wind advisory remained in place until 8 p.m., but hours of gusts throughout the day had failed to fan the flames back to life.
"I've been fighting fires for 40 years, and this is how a wildfire needs to be run," said Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue chief Jeff Berino. "We need to be very proud of ourselves."
The fire started at around 5 p.m. on Mondayright next to U.S. Highway 6. Like the Peak 2 Fire near Breckenridge in July, Monday's blaze got a healthy dose of air power within hours of igniting.
"When we looked at he values at risk and the risks to firefighter safety, we pretty quickly realized we needed a heavy air attack," White said.
Before the sun was down, two air tankers had strafed the fire at least half-a-dozen times with flame retardant slurry, and helicopters dropped bucket after bucket of water from Lake Dillon.
"That initial attack went very smoothly, but when we left (Monday) night there was still a lot of heat in that fire, so we knew we needed to continue with air support," White said.
In the morning, the tankers dropped a few final loads before packing it in, and the helicopters followed later in the afternoon.
Investigators are still looking into the cause of the fire, but it coincided with a power outage in Dillon that lasted as long as two hours in some homes. Incident spokeswoman Tracy LeClair said she was not aware of any additional outages on Tuesday.
Since the blaze also sprang up in the midst of power transmission lines, officials say that what caused the outage could have started the fire as well.
"The fire may have been related to the cause of the outage," LeClair said. "It's very possible given the proximity of the fire to the power lines, but investigators still need to go in and figure out the exact origin and work from there,"
The fire was hair-raisingly close not just to power lines but also microwave communications repeaters, a water plant and the Corinthian Hill and Oro Grande neighborhoods. They could be in danger should the fire stir again.
The topography, however, looked favorable from the start, and no neighborhoods were ever placed on pre-evacuation notice. If the fire was going to grow, officials predicted, it would grow uphill and into the wilderness.
The landscape was also fairly accessible for firefighters, although the power lines and patches of standing dead beetle-kill posed safety risks.
The entire Tenderfoot Trail system was closed on Tuesday and likely to remain so until the fire is mostly out and crews have felled some of the burned-up standing snags.
In the late afternoon, crews could be seen in the distance starting the mop-up effort, mostly by extinguishing smoldering patches within the fire zone.
"We are cautiously optimistic," LeClair said. "Crews have done a really great job and once they come down tonight we'll have a much better idea of what the percent containment is and what conditions are looking like up there."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

3 Things to Consider Before Registering Your Home on a Short-Term Rental Site

Michael Yearout Photography

RE/MAX Blog link

Once upon a time, the idea of renting out your home to a stranger while you left for vacation was considered quite odd.
Enter changing consumer attitudes, the "sharing economy" and online services such as Airbnb, FlipKey (owned by TripAdvisor) and VRBO (owned by HomeAway, which is now owned by Expedia).
Today, renting a room in your house (or the entire house) to unknown travelers isn't an outlandish concept. Short-term rentals provide an income opportunity for owners and a unique way for visitors to experience a city. What better way to get the local experience than staying with – or renting from – locals?
If you think you're up to being a host of a short-term rental, here are three things to keep in mind.

1. Legality

The rise in popularity of Airbnb and other sites hasn't been without its controversy. There are concerns that short-term rentals threaten the jobs of hotel workers, and that a short-term rental doesn't have to pass the same certifications and inspections of regular hotels. Finally, many investors are buying properties with the intent of renting them out, which takes housing off the market in areas with already limited inventory (check out this article from The Los Angeles Times to learn more).
Some cities have enacted restrictions against short-term rentals. You may need to register and get a permit or a license – or you may not be able to host at all. Check with your local government to make sure you understand the laws.

2. Taxes

You don't need to report the money earned from the short-term rental of your home if you meet both of these requirements:
1. You rent it out for fewer than 15 days a year AND
2. You live in it for more than 14 days or more than 10 percent of the total days you rent it out during the year (this determines if the property is seen as a residence or a rental property by the IRS).
Still unclear about the taxes on your short-term rental? Forbes and TurboTax provide some more information, or you may want to consult with a tax professional.

3. Additional Costs

Renting out your home could mean an extra insurance bill. Check with your insurance agent to learn what your current policy covers regarding short-term renters. They may recommend increasing coverage. Airbnb does provide free primary liability coverage for up to $1,000,000 per occurrence, and many of the other sites have partnerships that make it easy to take out additional coverage, if needed.
In addition to insurance, you'll have to pay a percentage of the rental income to the website: Airbnb and FlipKey both charge a 3% host service fee, VRBO has an option to pay-per-booking or an annual subscription fee.
Looking for a permanent home in your favorite vacation spot? Search for properties on