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The Rueth Team - Denver's Top Mortgage Company

Your Investment Strategy Starts Here

By Nicole Rueth - November 18, 2020

Last week we talked about defining your retirement income goals using real estate investments and a big picture view of how to achieve it. Now I want to narrow the lens and look step by step on how to start to achieve those goals because everyone wants to live comfortably throughout their retirement. 

First ask yourself … are you willing to move? I talk about this step a lot as it’s one of the best tips I can give to those who are staring off in real estate investing. By moving into each property, you can lock in a lower primary home interest rate and won't need to put nearly as much down, because primary homes only require 3% and have access to down payment assistance. If you don’t care to move and you purchase your property as an investment be prepared to put anywhere from 15-25% down depending on the product. But of course you save yourself the hassle of moving. Keep in mind there is no right  or wrong answer and The Rueth Team has helped countless people invest, both ways.  

Next is figuring out how much you can afford and what type of property you want to purchase.  

 If you’re currently renting and look at purchasing your first property you can likely afford more than you think! For example, if your rent is at $1,850, the top end of your home search could be around $350,000. And if you’re thinking, “I don’t have $11,000 to spend on a down payment!” It’s ok. Many people utilize CHFA or other down payment assistance programs to help them afford their first property. These systems allow you put 0% down if you qualify on a primary home. This would mean only needing to bring closing costs to the table.  

Now let’s jump over to the type of property you want to invest in as there are pro’s and cons to any choice. If you’re looking into living in the property you might want to purchase a single-family home or condo, you can live in the house by yourself for the first year or you can rent out the other rooms creating cash flow right off the bat. And finding roommates isn’t the hassle it used to be. In fact because of online resources, it easier than ever to not only find people, but to help calculate the amount for to charge for each room. For example, when my sons were looking for roommates for their single-family homes, we were able to fill the rooms within 48 hours and they both either live for free or very reduced amounts.  

If you don’t want roommates but you want the possibility of decreasing your own living expenses a multi-unit is your answer. Fourplexes, my preference, duplexes and triplexes are a great product, and you don’t need to qualify for the entire monthly mortage amount just using your monthly income. That’s right! You can use 75% of the projected rental amounts as income. Which means if you’re rent is around $1,800 right now you could purchase a fourplex at $750,000 and use the rental income from the other three units to pay off the mortgage. Better yet if you price it correctly the other three units could help cover the cost of the fourth, your, unit. And to sweeten the deal, you only need to place 3.5% down on the entire property going FHA or 0% down if you’re a veteran.  
There are a lot of choices when it comes to investing in real estate, and there’s no one size fits all rule. You have to determine what you need from your investments and what you’re willing to do along the way. And if you come across any questions while you’re at, give me a call. Helping our clients build wealth through real estate is one of my favorite ways to provide support. 

Nicole Rueth with The Rueth Team. We look forward to serving you.  


Goal-Setting for 2021

By Nicole Rueth - November 2, 2020

After such a challenging year, who could blame you for wanting to set (and achieve!) some substantial goals in 2021? Well, I’ve got some recommendations to share, but first, we need to address and recognize COVID-19. Being optimistic in life is important and a key to success, but a great attitude has to be tempered by realism too. There’s currently no scientific data to believe that the first quarter and likely the second will be much different from the last half of 2020. But, don’t despair! We learned a lot during 2020, so all hope is not lost - quite the opposite. Just be sure to set yourself two sets of goals that do and don’t account for how the outbreak evolves.

So, a recommendation I want to share is that your goals need to be SMART. Not “smart ass,” just smart. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. The best goals are centered on those five things:

Specific - Running a 10K is a goal. “Start jogging,” umm, not so much.
Measurable - When you run a 10K, there is a clear finish line. “Start jogging and quit when I tired,” no again.
Achievable – “I’m in good health, I’ve got some good shoes, and I used to run. I can work my way up to 10K in a couple of months. On the other hand, “let’s see, it will take an hour to run a 10K, and I have a dinner in 90 mins, so I better get going.” There better be first aid nearby.
Relevant – My doctor said I need to drop 10 lbs. So, taking up running and shooting for a 10K is an excellent way to do that. Versus, there’s always something better to do than running.
Time-Bound – “I want to complete a 10K by July.” Versus, I’m going to start jogging this year.

Very often, when you have mastered a tool like SMART, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds. You’ve got yourself a mile-long punch list, and you’re mowing through those suckers and checking them off like a productivity guru. But, be sure to step back and ask yourself if you need to revise or update your plan? Has anything changed? Have you learned something unexpected? If you don’t lift up your head and look forward, you may realize you’re doing a good job of being busy, but maybe that’s not supporting your vision and goals. 

Sometimes you can sincerely want to work toward something and have the strategy to achieve it, but you just don’t have the practical skills or knowledge to attain it. Now is the time to invest in getting SMARTer. Did you know the world’s most successful people tend to be life-long learners? Just because you failed Geometry in 10th grade doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to code a WordPress site today. Leaders are always investing in themselves. Whether you take a class online, attend a seminar, or read a book, be humble, and embrace learning something that will propel you forward.

When you reflect back on this crazy year - that just won’t end - take the time to look back at your calendar closely. It’s easy to remember the big stuff and especially the bad stuff but if you are a high achiever you tend to skip past the little good things. We all dismiss our own accomplishments, right? Well, when you string together a bunch of little good things, you realize you’re already on your way to making 2021 better.

Finally, another thing that many top athletes and CEO’s share is that they aren’t afraid to fail. They take risks and push the envelope. They fail fast, learn, and don’t beat themselves up. They just try again. Do you remember the first several years of Amazon? Wall Street analysts and board members wanted Jeff Bezos to be fired because the company wasn’t profitable. Jeff Bezos didn’t take the easy, safe way forward. Nope, he was acquiring other e-commerce brands and building out his infrastructure. If he had played it safe, I guarantee you he wouldn’t be the richest person in the history of the universe. Now that’s a big goal.

What are you ready to conquer in 2021? Start planning today, string small victories together, and great goals will be achieved.

Don't Let NO Scare You

A Little Creative and A Lot Tenacious

By Nicole Rueth - October 14, 2020

Your home purchase is a BIG deal. So it's perfectly OK to stand up for yourself during the process. The word "NO" isn't easy to say sometimes and can be even harder to be told. But when it comes to your mortgage lender, they should help lead you to your goals and not be an obstacle. 


How the Resurgence of ‘Home’ is Impacting Denver-area Housing

Market Trends Report - October 2020

By Nicole Rueth - October 4, 2020

The 5,301 active listings at September’s month-end represented the lowest amount of active housing inventory available on record for any month of September by 2,215 properties. This translates into the toughest market to buy a home in metro-Denver’s history according to DMAR Market Trends Committee Chair and Metro Denver REALTOR® Andrew Abrams.

In September 2020, there were 3,041 single-family homes available for sale, a decrease from the previous low of 5,693 in September 2017. The median days on market in the entire residential market was six, which was three days lower than the previous record set in September 2015 and 2016. For both single-family and condo homes, there were more closed and pending transactions than ever before reaching 5,850 homes that sold and 6,376 homes in pending status.

Housing inventory can’t keep up with the high level of homebuyer demand. This is further evidenced in that the months of inventory hit an all-time low at 0.91 months, signifying a very strong seller’s market. The previous record low was this past August 2020 at 0.92 months.

Furthermore, the median home price for both single-family and condo homes hit a record-breaking high at $510,000 and $334,752 respectively. The total sales volume of $3.15 billion represents the highest amount for any September on record and the third-highest month of all time.

These records, along with various other contributing factors, set the tone for why metro Denver is increasingly such a competitive market.

According to Abrams, there are several explanations for why the market is so competitive right now; not all of which can be explained by data. He stated, “Home sellers are hesitant to sell as the thought of moving and logistics of that process may feel daunting during a pandemic. The majority of sellers have enough equity to not feel pressured about what will happen with the market if there is a shift in the near future. Homebuyers, on the other hand, may be spending a great deal more time at home and realizing they want more space, while also looking to take advantage of the low interest rates.”

Our monthly report also includes statistics and analyses in its supplemental “Luxury Market Report” (properties sold for $1 million or greater), “Signature Market Report” (properties sold between $750,000 and $999,999), “Premier Market Report” (properties sold between $500,000 and $749,999), and “Classic Market Report” (properties sold between $300,000 and $499,999). In September 2020, 336 homes sold and closed for $1 million or greater, down 10.64 percent month over month and up 80.65 percent year over year. The closed dollar volume in the luxury segment in September was nearly $514.1 million, down 12.66 percent month over month and up 72.43 percent year over year. Year to date, the Luxury Market has 15.1 percent more sales volume than 2019.

“Sellers are falling in love with the Luxury Market in Denver!” said Brigette Modglin, member of the DMAR Market Trends Committee and Metro Denver REALTOR®. “With lower mortgage rates, more people working from home and remote learning for kids, buyers can really live anywhere these days.”

Year over year, 80.65 percent more luxury homes sold in September. According to Modglin, more homebuyers seem to be wanting single-family homes compared to condos in this price segment. Year over year, 87.2 percent more single-family homes closed. The luxury condo market is also still showing signs of strength with 31.82 percent more sold compared to 2019.

“Sellers were having to think fast and figure out their next move because the average days on market for a luxury home was down 39.47 percent year over year at 46 days and down 9.80 percent - five days less - from the previous month,” adds Modglin. 

Compared to last year, new listings were up 25.84 percent in the Luxury Market while pending listings were up a whopping 116.15 percent in September. Single-family luxury homes were also hot in September with a 125.3 percent increase in pending sales compared to this time last year. The luxury condo market was just as hot with a 57.69 percent increase in pending sales going under contract from one year ago.  

The highest-priced single-family home sold in September was $5.5 million, representing five bedrooms, seven bathrooms and 9,324 above ground square feet in Cherry Hills Village. The highest-priced condo sold was $2.65 million, representing four bedrooms, six bathrooms and 4,870 above ground square feet in Denver. The REALTORS® representing the buyers in both transactions are DMAR members.

nsions as homes valued $1M+ experienced 55% more homes sold in July 2020 than July 2019, pushing the average single family detached average above $601,863 – a 10% increase over last year.

Speaking of McMansions, the two highest priced home sales in July were a $7-million-dollar home in Boulder and a $5.985-million-dollar home in Cherry Hills Village.

For each week in July, Denver ranked in the top six housing markets in the nation by’s weekly measure of market recovery - and we felt it! 6,664 homes closed in July which came from June’s record number of pending home sales, breaking the previous record of 6,230 homes closed in June 2017. Low-interest rates and pent-up COVID-19 demand pushed record-breaking, short-term stats. Demographic changes will benefit the long-term outlook by further increasing housing market demand.

Low-interest rates not only fueled demand, but gave buyers a Christmas present in July! As I noted, the average closed price for a single family detached rose to $601,863, up from $547,537 in July 2019. If I calculate a payment at today’s 2.99% interest rate with 20% down for the median home price compared to a year ago, home buyers are now saving $43/mo.

Now is the time to stop paying your landlord’s mortgage and move into a position of wealth and stability.

What keeps me up at night? The stock market. As CNN’s Fear & Greed Index moves further into Greed and Citigroup’s Panic/Euphoria Index points towards extreme Euphoria, both point to lower stock prices within a year.

All signs point to an excruciatingly long economic recovery as COVID-19’s death toll increased to 155,000, positive cases doubled with no hint of slowing down, high jobless numbers and unemployment claims, and Yelp’s business tracker shows another 15,742 businesses closed permanently in July.

Real estate, however, continues to show strength. Looking to September’s market trends report covering August’s data, July has a potential record-breaking 7,122 pending home sales - 27.47% higher than September 2019. Dream on.

Your Partner in Building Wealth through Real Estate,

Nicole Rueth
The Rueth Team of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation

DOWNLOAD the report here!


Nicole's Top Tips for Homeownership Success

By Nicole Rueth - October 1, 2020

Homeownership comes with many benefits and exciting opportunities, both for the personalization and security of having your own home as well as building the foundation for long-term financial prosperity. The road to homeownership can be a wonderful endeavor, but there are certain steps you can take to optimize your outcome.
If you are a first-time homebuyer, here are my top 5 tips to set you up for success:
1. Talk to a Mortgage Lender BEFORE you shop for a home
You know the old expression about not putting the cart before the horse? Well, when the cart is a 3,000 sq ft mid-century modern that should literally have a lawn sign saying “home of your dreams,” maybe it would be best to pre-qualify for it before putting a ring on that horse’s finger. If they had fingers of course. This sounds obvious but you’d be shocked by how many people pull up to houses they think they can afford and start measuring for the addition to the kitchen only to discover even a mortgage magician can’t make the loan happen for them. Besides, your real estate agent is trying their very best for you, so rather than wasting their time, help them focus on exactly what is possible because good places are selling faster than ever. 
2. Don’t take “no” for an answer
Sometimes in life, no really does mean no. You can be the most persistent person in the world and keep asking in new ways, but the outcome just doesn’t change. Well, this situation is different. An outright no is an unacceptable answer so don’t accept it as such. A bad lender will just look at you on Zoom and say no. What that means is they must not care about doing business with you tomorrow because they didn’t pay you the respect of explaining the news today. A strong, creative lender on the other hand will say “not yet.” Make the lender work as hard in not making the deal as closing it. 
3. Don’t be afraid to get a 2nd opinion
You talk to multiple professionals before you choose anything important right? A wedding florist. A surgeon. A car salesman. So why on earth would you just go with the first mortgage broker you talk to, whether you like them or not? Maybe they’re not going to try their hardest for you. Maybe they’re having a bad day and just want to get home. Brokers use Tylenol too, you know. The point is, this is one of the most important, if not the most important financial decision in your life. Your mortgage isn’t a Vegas roulette wheel so don’t let it all ride on one person’s opinion or personality.
As a side note to that, buyers are reluctant to talk to multiple lenders because they think they are hurting their credit score by having more than one person pull their credit. That might have been true back in the days of the FAX machine but it’s not anymore. Credit companies are much more competitive and customer-centric in their thinking. Now they treat multiple pulls from the same industry (in this case lending) within a month to be like one inquiry, all because they want to protect your score and inspire you to shop. 
4. Keep your lender in the loop on any changes to your credit history, job status, or financial status.
You’ve been pre-approved. Congratulations! You can exhale. But just because you’ve checked off that huge box don’t forget to keep communicating with your lender. Keep them in the loop on anything important, good or bad, like a change in job status, a promotion, or unexpected financial obligations. Put yourself in their shoes. Wouldn't you want to know that stuff if you were part of a million-dollar transaction? All in all, people in my profession are not big fans of surprises -- unless they involve jewelry or a plane ticket -- especially because a successful close for you is the best gift!  
5. Lenders don’t get paid more to frustrate you
Speaking of surprises, this may come as a shock if that first lender you met with (see above) was less than a delight but lenders really don’t get paid more to frustrate you.  We’re kind of like pilots. We will try our best to tell you when there’s turbulence up ahead, but we’re not perfect, so best to strap-in. Sure, you might be asked for some information or details or documents that you think are ridiculous, and trust me, we often do agree with you. We understand that you're annoyed. We’ve had the exact same experience when applying for our own loan! Bottom line, if we ask for it that means we need it. You do want the loan right? Our job is to keep you informed, educated, and most importantly to facilitate a successful transaction. We promise we'll try to keep the frustration to a bare minimum, like the turbulence.

These steps can help you navigate the process to homeownership, but if you are looking for more in-depth guidance from a trusted real estate partner, we at the Rueth Team are always available to provide advice, resources, and support to ensure that you are able to secure your dream home efficiently and smoothly.