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Denver Real Estate: Using Gift Funds To Help Purchase Your Home

There are plenty of viable financial sources available for conducting real estate transactions. One of the most popular sources involves the use of “gift funds”, which provide a prospective home buyer with an easy alternative for acquiring the necessary money to fund their real estate transaction. The concept for this method is quite simple: Someone “gifts” you the money, which you in turn apply towards your down payment, or the overall value of your home.  While I understand this might not sound like an entirely legitimate process, it’s important to note that roughly 25% of home buyers utilize gift funds as a means of payment.
Obviously there are important limitations and compliance measures for gift funds which can be levied by both the lenders involved in your home’s purchase, and the IRS. These entities will impose limits on the amount of money that can be gifted to you (IRS), and the amount of gift money you can apply towards your home’s purchase (lenders).
In addition to these limitations, you will also be required to document the origin of the money and sufficiently account for how/where it was used. A complimentary “Gift Letter” most also accompany the gifted money, serving as an additional stamp of authenticity.
If you believe gift funds could be a potential source of money for purchasing a home, do not hesitate to give us a call so we can arrange an appropriate lender for you who can ensure the process works accordingly and in a smooth manner.
If you’re interested in gift funds for the near future, but aren’t actively pursuing the purchase of a home, you will still have the option to set aside gifted money in the form of “season funds”, which will also serve in making the process easier and more efficient whenever you decide to buy.
Once again thank you for joining me on my video blog. Please reach out to me with any questions you have regarding the use of gift funds, or if you just want more information about current conditions for the real estate market in Denver. Thanks and have a great day!

Know Your Options with Down Payment Assistance

While enjoying a vacation in Hawaii with my family, I had the opportunity to play golf with a few friends. One of those friends had a question about down payment assistance – there are numerous options available for buyers, including:
  •     City Programs
  •     County Programs
  •     State Programs
  •     Federal Programs
There are income and job requirements that need to be met – this means that it is crucial to contact us immediately. We will examine your scenario and pair you with a lender that will find the best program for you. Not only are there down payment assistance programs, there are also ways to have your closing costs rolled into the loan – or even have them paid! This gives you the ability to come to closing with little or no money down.
Thanks and have a great day!

Tax Deductions: Is the Government Still Holding Your Money?

With tax season upon us, I wanted to review the top six things that people overlook when filing their taxes. Joining me today is Butch Shoup of CliftonLarsenAllen to offer some tax advice! 

  1. Missed property tax deductions. When a seller is closing on their home, as Butch tells us, they often miss property tax deductions that qualify for that year’s tax return. You may receive your interest and tax notice from your mortgage banker, but you forget your closing taxes.   
  2. Charity-related goods/services. Once you have itemized your deductions, you may overlook the
    non-cash deductions that you have available. People commonly think of dropping
    unused goods off at the Goodwill but don’t realize that the mileage they
    accumulate through driving to various events on behalf of the charity is
    deductible at 15 cents/mile. Whether it is buying supplies or food for the
    charity, these can be deducted from your taxes!
  3. Job hunting. Anytime that you are spending money placing a resume online, meeting with people, networking or looking for that next job, those costs are deductible! The caveat is good documentation; track what you’re doing, who you’re doing it with. Good records lead to good deductions!
  4. Childcare expenses. If both parents work, there is a credit offered by the U.S. government (which is better than a deduction). Be careful that you aren’t actually pre-paying for this through your W-2; this would cause the net amount to be used as a credit.
  5. Refinancing. As interest rates have dropped, many people have refinanced their homes. If you pay a point when refinancing, that point has to be amortized over the life of the loan; this makes the actual deduction quite small. However people tend to miss deducting the initial point payment from the last refinance. Keep in mind that there is a three year statute of limitations for amending your tax returns!
  6. Energy efficiency credits. Energy efficient credits have been available up through 2013, but have henceforth been dropped for the year 2014. This is always a hot-button issue for whether the government would renew this or not.
      If you need any more advice, we would love to put you in touch with Butch so contact us if you have any questions. Thanks and have a great day!


Should You Sell Your Home With the Holidays Approaching?

Should You Sell Your Home With the Holidays Approaching?

I am often asked around this time of year whether or not sellers should list their home with Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching. The market does slow down during the deep winter and holiday, but that doesn’t mean houses aren’t selling. Typically, buyers are transferring from out of state and eager to buy a home and sellers who have recently sold their house are looking to move in quickly. If you need to sell, it is a great time to do so especially with interest rates as low as they are.

Thanks and have a great day!

Sewer Line Inspection


When working with a buyer to purchase a home, we always recommend they find out what’s going on down under. What we mean is, get a sewer line inspection.

This inspection is important because it is one of the most costly fixes you’ll experience, yet no value is added to the home if a new sewer line is installed.

During a sewer line inspection, a small camera is run through the pipe. A monitor will show if the pipe is clean and unclogged or if it is damaged.

Remember, the time to get this inspection is before buying the home!

We hope this video was helpful. Thank you for coming back to our blog and if you know anyone who would benefit from our real estate service, please pass our information along!

Curb Appeal Tips That Will “Wow!” Buyers and Get Your Home Sold In a Hot Minute


Sure it’s a sellers market. But that doesn’t mean you can just let your house go and expect buyers to swarm in and take over. The truth is, in our marketplace and many others across the nation, sellers still have to do their part to get their homes sold. They have to make sure they are getting good advice about pricing the property right. They need to make sure any loose ends are taken care of and they need to maintain the home in good condition to show it in its best light.

But one aspect of presenting a truly “show-ready” home is to make it inviting from the moment buyers set their eyes on it. Curb appeal can be achieved without spending large amounts of money and it does not have to mean backbreaking loads of work either. With a few simple steps you can present a truly gorgeous home that will pull buyers in and keep them interested.

Clean Up the Leftovers

Moving from the winter into warmer months often leaves behind dirty, grimy leftovers and lots of unsightly lawn debris from all winter long. Exposed pine needles, unkempt flowerbeds, messy walkways or untrimmed trees all contribute to a negative impression that some buyers might find difficult to overlook. Spread new mulch in areas that need a refresher, trim trees and bushes, clean up walkways and neaten up the exterior or your home to spruce it up.

Hide What You Don’t Want Buyers to See
It may seem like a small thing but the simple act of storing your garbage and recycling containers in a shed or your garage can make a world of difference to how your home is perceived.  Unopened bags of mulch or other garden materials are also unattractive and distracting. These items can make a space look more cramped than it is and can make it seem the buyer would have a lot of work to do once they moved in.

Make it Beautiful, Then Maintain It

Mow your lawn and keep it mowed – especially before showings. Plant outdoor flowers then keep them watered and looking fresh. If you have landscape lighting, make sure it’s in working order and each fixture is standing upright and set up attractively. Add some accessories to your front entryway so that as buyers wait for the door to be unlocked they have something nice to look at. Clean light fixtures, sweep up dirt or cobwebs, add splashes of color and even consider a fresh coat of paint on the front door to jazz things up.


As you can see in our video – it doesn’t take much but with just a few little things you can make a very big impression on buyers. Call us today if you’d like a walk through to learn how your home would do in the marketplace these days – we’d love the opportunity!

Staging – Before and After

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, chances are you spend some time watching HGTV reruns of House Hunters.  Ever notice the look on prospective buyers’ faces as they walk through the really dumpy properties?  The fact is that so many people neglect to prepare their properties before showing it to potential buyers.  Overstuffed closets, stained carpets, dirty bathrooms, dull kitchens and family rooms with so much junk scattered all over the place that the buyers can barely see the space – all these things are a huge hindrance to selling successfully.

This week we just listed a home for one of our clients and the way they set up their space is perfect.  As you can see in the video, the homeowners have taken the time to arrange furniture in a way that highlights the home’s gorgeous features and open floor plan.  Plenty of tasteful accessories have been used to dot the space with color, interest and life.  There are even some touches of their personal life, though not overdone by any means.

The key to preparing a show-ready home is to put yourself in the buyers’ eyes.  Going back to House Hunters episodes – how many times did buyers’ eyes light up when they walked into an open, well-lit home that was obviously cared for by its owners?  And if you pay attention, you’ll notice that more often than not, the homes that don’t seem to cared for by their owners are usually the ones that get passed up.

Tips on How to Make Sure Your Property Shows Well

Nothing turns off buyers more than a home that is dirty.  As they walk through the house they are imagining living there but dirty bathrooms, unclean windows, or unkempt rooms are unattractive.  Rather than risk buyers only remember that aspect of your home, make sure you clean the space, have carpets professionally steam cleaned, power wash windows, clear up driveways and make the home presentable.

Clutter acts as an obstacle that does not allow buyers to see the actual features of your home.  If possible, box up things like extra shoes, overflowing closets, unkempt toys or messy areas in the home.  Keeping the space clear of clutter will not only make the space inviting, it will also allow the prospective owners to imagine their own things in the space.  A common turnoff that many sellers neglect to take care of before showing their home is a fridge filled with personal notes, pictures, schedules and other traces of the current family’s life.

If your home’s best feature is the great room, be sure to emphasize it by lighting it well and clearing all to and from areas for easy flow through access.  If the large backyard is a favorite selling feature, remove all leaves and landscaping clutter.  It is important not to ignore maintenance details such as mowing the lawn or tidying up the hedges.

How you set up your home will have a major impact on how it is received.  By setting up the furniture and arranging other items in a way that highlights the desirable aspects of your home while working with the space encompassing the area, buyers will want to see more.
Imagine your home is going to be photographed for a magazine.  What would you do to prepare before the photographer arrived?

Introducing the Newest Member of the Hansford Team

We are always trying to find ways to maximize the efficiency and enjoyment of our clients’ experiences and that’s why we’ve taken the step to join forces with Sue, our newest member on the Troy Hansford Team. With great joy, we welcome her to our amazing group and assure you that as our clients you will find nothing but the best of the best experiences while working with her.
She cites several reasons for wanting to join our team, including being able to give you the level of service that you deserve as part of the team concept that really appeals to her. She also loves the way the Hansford Team does business.
With less time needed to tend to administrative tasks, we know that Sue will be an even greater asset to our clients and our team since that extra time will give her the added freedom to focus on excellent client service.
Among other great assets, Sue also brings a unique perspective having been a transplant from out of state herself. When it comes to relocating individuals or families, she shares a common understanding of the challenges at hand for those situations and offers a great beam of support when making that transition.
But that isn’t all that Sue offers. One of the greatest traits she possesses is of being personally connected to her clients. More so than just the typical real estate agent relationship carried with clients, Sue cares to know more about those she is working with. She makes a strong connection and prides herself in knowing and understanding who she is working with and understanding their needs.
So here’s to a fabulous 2013! With new relationships, new experiences and a great team, as always, committed to providing you with the best real estate experience possible!
As always, please feel free to contact for any of your real estate needs – we are happy to help!

Myth Buster – Why Selling in the Wintertime is NOT a Bad Idea

Most homeowners believe that homes simply do not sell unless they are on the market during the busiest times for real estate, spring and summer. And though those are the busiest times to sell real estate that certainly does not mean that homes do not sell during the cooler months of the year.

Consider this: Homes sales drop during the winter. But by the same token, the number of available homes on the market also drops.

So if yours is a home that is on the market that does not mean you stand to have an unsold home for much of the season, rather it translates to fewer competing homes and more serious buyers out there looking.

Here are some numbers that further corroborate this:

Homes Sales in the 4th Quarter

In 2011, the number of sales in the 4th quarter versus in the 3rd quarter dropped 15% from 11,460 homes sold to 9,992. We are expecting the same to happen this year too however we reported a surge in sales across the board throughout each quarter in 2012. The third quarter sales for this year are 13,610 with a projected number of sales for the 4th quarter of 2012 coming in at 12,200.

Inventory Levels Drop By the End of the Year

Looking at the end of June, in 2011 we had about 21,000 homes on the market but then in December that number had gone down significantly to 14,000 – representing a whopping 66% slide in inventory levels. The same statistic in 2012 shows a huge decline from the previous year at 14,000 homes on the market in June 2012 and just 9,400 available in December 2012.
In addition to these very notable changes year over year, it is important to keep in mind that the average sales price has also changed for the better this year from $279,858 in 2011 to $302,956 in 2012, an 8% jump. Home sales have gone up 16% year over year too, which means we are far more active in our marketplace than just twelve months ago – something we can look forward to even during the cooler months of the year.

Keep in mind that as inventory levels continue to decline and buyers keep seeking homes, prices will start to rise. So if you are considering selling your home, now is a great time especially given the swift sales we’re seeing in our marketplace today.

Contact us today for a customized listing appointment.

Key Questions To Ask Yourself Before Deciding To Buy A Brand New Home

Without a doubt, most of the nation is coming off what has been one of the rockiest roads in real estate history. After an unprecedented crash in the housing market five years ago, until today things have been shaky and buyers have not had a consistent idea of what to expect.

Today, things are shaping up and we are starting to see an improvement in the market. Still, many buyers may not know if the time is now to buy new construction or rather stay with buying a resale home. Here are some important questions that buyers considering a brand new home most frequently ask. The answers will help you in making your decision about whether new construction is right for you.

Do Realtors work with new home builders? Do they have their own in-house agents that buyers must work with?

As a buyer, you have every right to choose which agent to work with in any sale transaction. In fact, when you go to view a model home with a builder, you will likely encounter one of their salespersons. While they are knowledgeable about their products and can share valuable insight into the building of their properties – keep in mind that they have their company’s best interests in mind. The ideal scenario is for you to mention you are just looking and to hire an independent Realtor to manage the transaction and look after your best interests.

Why haven’t there been as many new build homes the past several years? Why are there more now all of a sudden?

One of the aftereffects of the housing crash was a market with a surplus of inventory. As a result, buyers had far too much to choose from, prices stayed down and the cost of purchasing a resale was usually less that what it would cost to build a new one. But now that inventory levels have dropped and demand continues to climb, we are seeing prices go up again and builders staring to build again.

Are builders willing to negotiate on price?

Most houses that are built from scratch go hand in hand with current demand, leaving the builders in a fairly comfortable spot without the need or motivation to haggle on price.

There may be some instances where a home that was built for a buyer that backed out for whatever reason might be available. If so, the builder may offer a discounted price on the home. Keep in mind though that you would have to accept the home with the customization choices of the original buyer.

One of the ways that buyers of new construction get deals is through the amenities and features. Though there may not be too much wiggle room in the final price you may very well be able to negotiate additional upgrades at no cost. This will depend on the cost of materials, the builder’s current inventory and other factors.

Will builders accept a contingency offer to accommodate the sale of the buyer’s first home?

Most builders will allow you to have a contingency in the offer but they will provide for a certain period of time within which your home must be sold. The builder will not initiate any building permits or begin work until the closing is done.

The builder wants me to use their own preferred lender. Is that a good idea?

In most cases, buyers will be able to get the best deal when working with the builder’s preferred lender. There will likely be additional incentives offered. Sometimes that means the buyer’s closing costs will be covered. Other times a builder’s lender might give you some discount points or there may be an additional home warranty offered on the property.
If a newly built home may be in the cards for you – contact me today. I welcome the opportunity to assist in making this and all of your real estate goals a reality and I look forward to working with you!