Monday, November 23, 2009

Credit Information EVERYONE Needs to Know

If you are thinking about buying a or re-financing now, or anytime in the future, one of the main factors determining your ability to qualify for a loan is your credit score. Understanding what credit scores mean, how they are calculated, and how to improve your score can make the difference in your ability to qualify for a loan and get the best possible terms and interest rates.

Credit scores range from 300-850. Here is how those scores are broken down:

780 and Above: Outstanding
740-780: Excellent
690-740: Good
620-690: Fair
62o and Below: Poor

Typically, the higher your credit score, the better loan terms you will be offered. People with scores below 620 will generally not be able to qualify for a loan.

Credit scores are determined by a number of factors including:

  • Amounts owed
  • Payment history
  • Types of credit in use
  • New Credit
  • Length of Credit History

There are three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These agencies may all have slightly different information, and they each use a different method to calculate credit scores, so your score will be slightly different from each one. Most lenders will pull credit reports from all three agencies when processing a loan. It is important that everyone checks their credit report at least once a year to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date. You can pull a free copy of your credit report once a year through the website This website also offers credit scores, for a fee.

If your credit score has seen better days, there are things you can start doing right away to improve your score:

  • Pay all your bills on time
  • Work to get credit card balances below 25% of their limits
  • Open new accounts only if absolutely necessary
  • Lengthen your credit history
  • Seek credit counseling through the National Foundation for Credit Counseling
  • Opt-out to stop receiving new credit card offers through or call 1-888-567-8688
In Boulder County, we have a fantastic resource for anyone who is thinking about buying a home and has questions about credit or related items. The Boulder County Housing Counseling Program offers free housing counseling and classes These services are available to residents of Boulder, Broomfield, and western Weld Counties.

Brought to you by:

Jennifer Fly
Broker Associate
Colorado Landmark, Realtors
(303) 443-3377
Twitter: jenflycolorado

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Financial Fitness - Your Credit Score - Free Class Offered!

Would you like to know more about credit scores? This class will answer your questions - what they are, who uses them, what actions on your part affect them, what is a good score or a bad score, what kind of score do I need to get a loan to purchase a home or car?

An expert from the Boulder County Housing program will be speaking on these topics to our agents, clients, family and friends.

Colorado Landmark, Realtors is pleased to offer a FREE 1-hour class to our clients and friends.

Wednesday, November 18th
Snacks provided! Door Prize!

Please RSVP to Pam at and you will receive a confirmation email with the location of the class.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Danver Ranking means Good News for Boulder Real Estate, Boulder Jobs

Price Waterhouse/Cooper and the Urban Land Institute recently released a report detailing 10 national cities to watch with regard to commercial real estate recovery and growth. For the third year in a row Denver ranked in the top ten! Given the reasons cited for Denver's ranking it follows that the Boulder area plays a huge factor in the Denver area's economic health.

Why? Because the study specifically cited green initiatives as the main booster in the area's local economy and that the city is a national hub for alternative energy, wind farm manufacturing and natural gas. Many of the companies that play the biggest roles in these local industries are right in OUR backyard, in Broomfield, Golden, and even in Boulder proper, so Denver ... say a big thank you to the Boulder Area for your accolades!

Many of these energy industry companies are growing and expanding, which should be good news for our local employment figures. When companies hire locally and bring in talent from outside the area that provides a boost in consumer spending and real estate sales, thus increasing tax revenues for local municipalities. Conoco Phillips will have a significant impact on our local economy when they start staffing up their facility from 2012-2014.

For the full report click HERE, but if you just want some highlights, here they are. Denver was:

#10 - Multifamily and Commercial Investment
#9 - For Sale Homebuilding
#8 - Apartment Buy/Hold/Sell Recommendations
#8 - Office Property Buy/Hold/Sell Recommendations
#11 - Retail Property Buy/Hold/Sell Recommendations
#12 - Hotel Buy/Hold/Sell Recommendations
More news you can use from Colorado Landmark, Realtors.

Pam Metzger
Director of Relocation and Business Development
Colorado Landmark, Realtors
twitter = @pmcolorado

Friday, November 6, 2009

News You Can Use - Tax Credit, Unemployment, Boulder Housing Market

If you read my blog you know that I will give you the straight scoop - no sales pitch or baloney here! If you dare, read on ....

As long anticipated, the House and Senate have both approved an extension to the homebuyers tax credit of 2009. The credit will now be extended to April 30, 2010. First time homebuyers will get a credit up to $8000 depending on income level, and veteran homebuyers who have been in their home for at least 5 years can receive up to $6500 depending on income level. The original tax credit was set to expire November 30th. Every realtor in the country is now going to be emailing their clients saying "now is the time!" Is it??

This IS good news for homebuyers who want to keep some cash in their pocket after their purchase. The other good news is that interest rates are still at near-record lows. I researched rates in Colorado today and for a $250-299k conventional loan with no points borrowers can get rates between 4.75-5.125% with varying fees. A jumbo in the $500-549k range will be at 4.875-6.4% with varying fees.

The bad news is that unemployment figures continue to be discouraging. At the national level CNN reports that we hit 10.2% in October 2009, the highest level reached since 1983 and indicating 22 straight months of declining employment. Worst case forecasts for the first two quarters of 2010 are in the 10.5% range. Among the hardest hit sector are teens ages 16-19 whose rate rocketed to 27.6% in October. Teens now have to compete with adults for jobs in industries like food service and retail, typically dominated by the teen demographic. Obama has signed a bill allowing the jobless to receive up to an additional 20 weeks of unemployment benefits which is sure to help out many households, even in our relatively stable and affluent Boulder area.

In Colorado we are hovering around a 7.0% unemployment rate. The state's unemployment figures for October will come out on November 20th. In our immediate area, for September 2009 Boulder County was at 5.5%, Broomfield County was at 6.6% and Weld County was at 7.5%. Some major area employers (IBM, Sun) have announced pending layoffs but it is unclear how many of them will come from our area. And of course our white knight Conoco Phillips is scheduled to bring jobs to our area but the initial build-out of 2012 is suspect, and could be pushed out by a couple years. That's a chicken we can't count until it hatches!

The term "jobless recovery" is being thrown about, but how our nation or our local economy can experience a real recovery without putting more people back to work is beyond me.

All that bad news being said, in Boulder (MLS sub-area 1) median home prices remain stable in the low-mid $500k range. Louisville (MLS sub-area 2) median home prices have jumped all over the place, ranging from $310-425k over the course of 2009 so far, coming in at $$324k in October. Longmont is steady in the low $200's. Superior is a robust market seeing median home prices range from $342k all the way up to $675k! Proximity to transportation, employment, open space, good schools, etc... continue to bolster the Louisville-Superior area's housing market.

So ... to buy or not to buy ... Speaking from purely my own opinion if you have some confidence about your employment situation and intend to stay in your house more than 2-3 years then this really IS the time to buy. And that's honestly not realtor-speak, because I am not one! The late fall-winter selling season typically gives buyers the least amount of inventory to look at, but the most negotiating power. The combination of the tax credit and crazy-low interest rates makes this a perfect storm for you (in a good way). If you have dreams of becoming a fix and flip artist though, think again. Probably too risky given that we don't know exactly where housing prices are going to go.

If you are a seller, consider putting your home, or keeping your home, on the market this winter. Yes, there are fewer buyers, but those in the market are serious. Relocation buyers (job transfers, life changes, etc...) are still out there too in addition to the local prospects. And your home will look so pretty decorated for the holidays! BUT (and there is always a "but") these buyers are going to be looking for a deal, if not a steal. If you want top dollar for your home then frankly don't list it. (And expect to wait until around 2014 to get your price! again, my opinion)

As a seller, if you have some room to negotiate and just want out, then price it fairly given it's condition, age, and location. Offer a buyer something for "free", like a view, or landscaping. How do you do this? Price it similar to a recently sold home or another currently listed home that perhaps didn't have your location backing to open space, or your soothing backyard pond. This way the buyer thinks they are getting a freebie. Let go of that "gotta get" mentality and the ego that compels you to want to get more than your neighbor did for their home. This is not time to worry about stuff like that. I have trained many of my agents on "price positioning" and we are seeing great results.

Stay tuned for more information and insights from Colorado Landmark, Realtors - your Boulder and Front Range experts.

Pam Metzger
Colorado Landmark, Realtors
twitter = @pmcolorado