RE/MAX Ranked as leading real estate franchise of 2018

We don’t often blow our own horn here, but some things are worth celebrating— and that includes our recent designation as the leading real estate franchise of 2018, by Entrepreneur magazine.

More than 1,000 franchisors applied to be included in Entrepreneur’s annual Franchise 500 survey. Franchisees were evaluated on unit growth, financial strength, stability and brand power during 2018. This marks the seventh consecutive year—and the 16th time in 20 years—that we’ve ranked No. 1in the real estate category.

“RE/MAX leads its competitors year after year in the Franchise 500,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “We truly are the No. 1 name in real estate, and industry professionals want to experience the competitive advantages of our brand power, progressive on-demand training, technology and unmatched global footprint.”

REMAX now includes 120,000 sales associates in more than 100 countries and territories—not bad for a company that began with a single office in Denver in 1973!

Just another reason why I, Joseph Newman – The Colorado Broker, am proud to hang my license with RE/MAX

RE/MAX of Cherry Creek

 

Study shows use of real estate agents highest in 18 years

Study shows the use of real estate agents highest in 18 years

Despite the proliferation of apps and websites designed to help people buy and homes on their own, most people continue to choose traditional, in-person brokers. In fact, a new study shows that use of real estate agents is at its highest level since the study began in 2001.

A recent Harris Insights & Analytics’ housing consumer study polled 1,000 people who had either bought or sold a home in the last six months of 2018, according to Housingwire.com.  Of those, 90% said that they used a real estate agent to buy or sell their homes. The figure represents a 5% increase from the last study, which was conducted in 2014 and a 9% increase from the first study in 2001.

“And despite the fears that Millennials are replacing real estate agents with technology, the study found that this was not the case…” notes Housingwire. Among those ages 18 to 24, 91% reported using a real estate agent.

Gen Xers—those between 35 and 44 years old—were found to use brokers at an even higher rate of 94%

Interestingly, the study reports that more education corresponds to greater usage of agents. Of those with a college education, 94% used a broker to buy or sell their homes, vs. 83% of those with only a high school diploma. Meanwhile, income was also a predictor; 98% of survey participants earning between $75,000 and $100,000 used a broker, vs. 79% of those who made $50,000 or less a year.

If you are in the market for a home and are interested in learning more about my process please feel free to visit TheColoradoBroker.com. I would love to meet you over coffee to discuss your wants and needs!

-Joseph Newman, The Colorado Broker

Photo by José Alejandro Cuffia on Unsplash

Denver International Airport earns accolades

Denver International Airport earns accolades

When it was first built, Denver International Airport (DIA) suffered so many operating glitches that it became the favorite go-to joke for late-night TV hosts.

DIA
DIA

Now the joke is on them: The Wall Street Journal recently named DIA the best “big airport” in the country. 

“Drawing from a survey of 4,800 readers and weighing 15 airport measures, including security wait times, average fares and arrival and departure time reliability, the paper crowned the ‘Mile-High Miracle’ best in its class for air travel,” notes the Denver Post.

To determine an airport’s convenience factor, the Journal studied Wi-Fi speeds, Yelp ratings for airport restaurants, walking distances and the number of destinations patrons can reach on a direct flight. Denver ranked high in these measures, as well as in the price of its airfares. The study found that due to more competition among airlines at DIA, flights are cheaper, with an average fare of $299.

Orlando International Airport finished second in the study, while Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport came in third.

DIA also recently earned the distinction of being the fastest-growing major airport in the country, according to the Denver Business Journal.

In 2018, the airport added “more flights and more seats taking off than any top-ten U.S. airport,” notes the newspaper.

REMAX of Cherry Creek

Photo Copyright: arinahabich / 123rf.com

The Newest Trend in Home Decor is a Secret

Shhhh. The newest trend in home decor is a secret!

Can you keep a secret? Then you might be a candidate for the newest trend in home décor: secret doors.

That’s right – those hidden passages once confined to mystery movies and novels have now made their way to the average home.

According to the Washington Post, it’s all due to manufacturers offering ready-made doors disguised as bookshelves, mirrors and other options. “[A]s pre-built, ready-to-install doors become more widely available,” notes the Post, “people are adding them for aesthetics, for fun or maybe because they watched too much Scooby Doo.”

The Post reports that three years ago Home Depot began offering online pre-hung bookcase-doors from Murphy Door in Utah. “It has become more of a trend than we expected,” Jeff Watchko, interior door buyer for the store told the Post.

The development can be attributed in part to homeowners hoping to hide valuables in secret rooms. But concealed doors can also solve design issues.

For example, in Nicole Buell’s small condo, the doors to her only bathroom were in her bedroom and living area. The door in the living area was taking up space she would have liked for pictures or bookcases. But removing the door and replacing it with a wall would have left the only entrance to the bathroom in her bedroom, making it awkward for guests. A bookcase that doubles as a door was the perfect fix.

“With the help of her father,” notes the Post, “she constructed shelves and mounted them on the ball bearing hinges to create a bookcase that swings open to reveal the loo.”

Some, however, admit they don’t care about practicalities. Sometimes, the $850 to $1,750 price tag just pays for fun.

“We were redoing our master bathroom and closet, and I don’t know where I saw hidden doors,” Leigha Basini told the Post, but I was a big mystery reader as a child, and when I saw we could have a hidden door, I wanted one. It was probably three-quarters fun and one-quarter storage.”

In all, it’s an exciting trend hiding in plain sight. But, remember: you didn’t hear it from us.

If you need help finding any properties feel free to reach out to me directly!

The  Colorado Broker, Joseph Newman

REMAX of Cherry Creek

Photo Copyright: Katy Belcher/Unsplash 

Movember Foundation!

This November, I have joined the movement to help raise money and awareness for men’s health. Together we can make a difference for men’s health – in prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. HELP ME STOP MEN DYING TOO YOUNG.

I have joined up with my buddy Eric Elkins and we put on a MOVEMBER Happy Hour at Interstate! $1 from each Horse’s Neck cocktail purchased was donated to the Movember Foundation, $40 in total.

Put your money where you Mo is! Visit my page to donate. We still have more days to donate to reach our goal!
https://mobro.co/13852872?mc=1

In the United State, 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.

More from the MOVEMBER FOUNDATION

THE MOVEMBER FOUNDATION
Stopping men dying too young

Our fathers, partners, brothers and friends face a health crisis that isn’t being talked about. Men are dying too young. We can’t afford to stay silent.

THAT’S WHY WE’RE TAKING ACTION.

We’re the leading charity changing the face of men’s health. We’re addressing some of the biggest health issues faced by men: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.

We know what works for men, and how to find and fund the most innovative research to have both a global and local impact. We’re independent of government funding, so we can challenge the status quo and invest quicker in what works. In 15 years we’ve funded more than 1,200 men’s health projects around the world.

By 2030 we’ll reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25%.

Again, I really appreciate your support. Visit my page with the MOVEMBER Foundation.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Joseph Newman, The Colorado Broker.

6 Near- Genius Ways to Fool Burglars Into Thinking You’re Home

School Districts are More Important to Denver Home Buyers than other Amenities

School Districts are More Important to Denver Home Buyers than other Amenities

We all know home buyers desire high-performing school districts. But what are they willing to sacrifice for this priority? Plenty, according to a recent survey by Realtor.com.

The survey found that 78% of home buyers place a good school district above other amenities. “School districts are an area where many buyers aren’t willing to compromise,” Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale noted of the survey’s findings, as reported by CBS MarketWatch. “For many buyers, ‘location, location, location’ means ‘schools, schools, schools’.”

According to MarketWatch, more than half of home buyers (59%) studied test scores to determine a school district’s quality. Others considered whether the school had a gifted and talented program (53%) and art and music education (49%).

Among the amenities they were willing to sacrifice for great schools: a garage (19% were willing to let this go); updated kitchen (17%); number of hoped-for bedrooms (17%) and outdoor living space (16%).

“Of course, buying in a good school district comes with a significant premium as well,” adds MarketWatch, which cites a 2016 Realtor.com study noting that homes in higher-rated school districts were 49% more expensive on average than the median-priced home nationwide.

Reach out to me at The Colorado Broker and I would be happy to provide you with a school district map so you can see what district is right for your family.

 

ReMax of Cherry Creek

Photo Copyright: Pan Xiaozhen / Unsplash.com

The Colorado Broker – Computers vs Humans Home Appraisals

Computers can do home appraisals. But humans are better

In our computer-oriented world, decisions driven by data and algorithms have become commonplace. This raises the question: Is there still a need for human input to get the right outcome?

It’s a question many are asking regarding home appraisals.

“With these [technological] advances, will computers inevitably replace appraisers when it comes to valuing homes?” asks John S. Brenan, director of appraisal issues for the Appraisal Foundation. He explored the idea in a recent Realtor Magazine article.

Computer models, called automated valuation models (AVMs), are used by websites like Zillow, tax assessors, lenders and others. Most experts agree that AVMs have their place in today’s world. For example, they are useful in situations where the appraisal isn’t critical.

Brenan offers the situation where a person owns a $2 million home free and clear and wants to take out a $50,000 line of credit. “I’d be irate” he notes, “…if I had to pay a large fee” for an appraisal. In this case, an AVM would work nicely and save the homeowner as much as $700 in appraisal fees.

Computer algorithms also work well when evaluating average homes with no special variations. But few homes are “cookie cutter.”  AVM’s don’t consider whether the home is located on a busy street corner, if it has been updated or is in major disrepair, and so on.

As Brenan writes: “[C]omputers don’t buy houses; people do. An AVM does a great job of analyzing tangible features, such as a property’s age, number of bedrooms and baths, square footage and lot size. However, a property’s overall appeal is something that has been, at least to date, extremely difficult to quantify.”

Brenan notes that while AVMs can help appraisers in their valuations, the human element is still critical in most situations. “[U]nless and until AVMs can better emulate the human factor, an ethical and competent appraiser remains indispensable.”

I have been in the industry for a long time and have established relationships with reputable appraisers in Denver throughout the years. Contact The Colorado Broker, Joseph Newman,  if you would like contact information for our trusted appraisers in the area.

ReMax of Cherry Creek

September Market Report

Market Insights for Fall 2018

Housing inventory increases to the highest level in four years giving homebuyers more selection and signaling increased days on market and a slowdown in the rate of price growth.

Is this the time to sit on the sidelines waiting for the market to turn?

With interest rates expected to go to 5.1 percent in 2019 and forecasted appreciation softening but continuing to remain strong at 5.6 percent year over year in Denver, the cost of waiting is significant.

Don’t fall into the trap of rumors about the Denver Real Estate market. Contact me directly and I will help guide you through the buying or selling process.

A $425,000 home today will cost an estimated $23,800 more in purchase price in one year and $286 more a month in your mortgage payment – that’s a 13 percent increase or cost for waiting a year.

With that being said, don’t wait to purchase until next year. The time to buy is now. Contact me directly to get the buying process start. I have an excellent team backing me that will make sure home buying is as seamless as possible.

Quick Stats:

  • Average active listings for August is 17,020 (1985-2017).
  • Record high August was 2006 with 31,664 listings and 2016 represented the record low with 7,327 listings. August 2018 had 8,228 active listings.
  • The 20-year average change in active listings from July to August is a .16 percent decrease. 2018 represents an increase of 7.65 percent. This is the highest percentage increase ever recorded.

DMAR Market Insights

If you have any real estate questions or needs please feel free to reach out to me directly at Joseph@thecoloradobroker.com.

 

IRS Now Allows Tax-Free Payment of Moving Expenses

Good news for employees with moving expenses!

Last year’s tax reform law, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Act), eliminated the rules allowing individuals to exclude from taxable income amounts an employer pays for some job-related moving expenses, except for certain active-duty members of the armed forces. Additionally, job-related moving expenses paid for by the individual and reimbursed by an employer are taxable. This change applies for tax years 2018 through 2025. (The Act terminates by its terms after 2025, assuming there is no extension.)

The IRS has now indicated an employer can directly pay or reimburse an employee’s qualified moving expenses in 2018 if the expenses were incurred prior to Jan. 1, 2018. In other words, in determining whether employer-paid moving expenses are nontaxable, the IRS will look to the date the expenses are incurred, not when the amounts are paid or reimbursed by the employer.

What were the rules prior to 2018?

Prior to the change made by the Act, an employer could pay or reimburse tax-free an employee’s qualified moving expenses. No dollar limits applied to the amount of moving expenses that could be reimbursed tax-free (subject to the amounts being reasonable), no nondiscrimination rules applied under the tax code and the moving expense program was not subject to ERISA.

Lockton comment: Any amounts not paid or reimbursed by the employer could be deducted when the employee filed his federal tax return. IRS Publication 521 provides the details on the parameters of tax-qualified moving expenses incurred before Jan. 1, 2018.

Qualified expenses were those incurred for moving household goods and personal effects to a new residence, including related travel expenses but not meals. For moves outside the US (foreign moves), qualified expenses include moving personal effects in and out of storage.

For employment-related moves, the employee’s new workplace had to be at least 50 miles farther from their former home than the old job location was from the former home. If there was no previous workplace, the new job location must have been at least 50 miles from their old home.

Example: Joe moved to new home less than 50 miles from his former home because he changed employers. Joe’s old job location was 3 miles from his former home. Joe’s new job location is 60 miles from that home. Because his new job location is 57 miles farther from his former home than the distance from his former home to his previous job location, Joe meets this distance test and could have been reimbursed tax-free for his moving expenses, assuming he meets other requirements spelled out in IRS Publication 521.

New tax law changes the rules

The Act disallowed the tax-favored treatment of moving expenses beginning in 2018. However, the law was not clear whether the change applied based on when the moving expenses were incurred by the employee or paid (or reimbursed) by an employer. Based on the new IRS guidance, both of the following would be tax-free to the employee:

  • An employer directly pays a third-party moving service after Dec. 31, 2017, for moving services provided to an individual prior to Jan. 1, 2018.
  • An employer reimburses an individual after Dec. 31, 2017, for expenses incurred in connection with a move by the individual prior to Jan. 1, 2018.

If an employer treated the payments or reimbursements noted above as taxable to the employee and withheld taxes, it can use the IRS-sanctioned adjustment process or refund claims process to correct the overpayment. The employer will want to make any such corrections prior to the issuance of the employee’s W-2 in early 2019.

If you happen to be moving to the Denver area and are in need of a real estate agent, feel free to contact me directly The Colorado Broker

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