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Answering your real-estate questions

The Denver Metro Association of Realtors are answering the phones for a special Real Estate Line9 Friday morning.
A 'For Sale' sign stands in front of a house (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Denver Metro Association of Realtors are answering the phones for a special Real Estate Line9 Friday morning.

The real-estate professionals can answer most questions about what's going on in the Denver metro real estate market including where home prices may be headed, advice for first-time homebuyers, and advice on how to tell if it's better to rent or buy right now.

One of the most common questions is: Where are home prices headed and how high will they go?

"When you talk about the market, it's really about a supply and demand issue, and right now, we have about 5,000 properties on the market which are active, which equates to about one home per buyer," Realtor Heather Heuer said. "For the market to slow down a bit, we need three homes per buyer. And for it to actually level off, we'll need six homes per buyer, which equates to 30,000 homes."

There was a slight leveling off of prices at the end of 2015, but that was mostly due to seasonal buying trends. When the flowers bloom, the real-estate market booms.

"Even something like an 11 percent increase -- which we have seen in the news -- isn't a lot when you're talking about 5,000 homes compared to 30,000," Heuer said.

There are stories in this real-estate market about buyers approaching home sellers with amazing offers.

"Two things that I've seen that were absolutely crazy. One: The buyers were offering to pay into the sellers' child's college fund -- $5,000 -- and a second situation, there was a picture of the Eiffel Tower in the home of the sellers, and the [buyers] offered them two round-trip tickets to Paris," Heuer said.

It's a busy and challenging market for first-time homebuyers.

"The best advice I could give to a first-time homebuyer is there's two main pieces: There's find a great Realtor that is going to represent your needs, be passionate about the challenges in the market and be able to write a great contract that stands out from the pack, and be great at communicating with the other agent on the other side," Euan Graham with Madison & Company Properties said.

A good lender is important too. They'll be familiar with the types of products that can help you get into a home.

"The lending piece is huge because the number of times we've had cases where the lender has been part of the transaction for the first-time homebuyer, making that call to the listing agent, advocating for the buyer, and helping them along the process and really being knowledgable and intimate with the products that are out there," Graham said. "Because it's not just about having 20 percent to put down on a mortgage, there are many different products out there that can help first-time homebuyers."

Don't get discouraged by the lending procedures.

People have been asking lots of questions about loans, about HOAs, what are the hottest neighborhoods in towns.

The answer to the hottest neighborhoods question is simple: Any neighborhood you can find a house.

"Central Denver neighborhoods are always popular, they're not going to be going away any time soon," Libby Levinson with Kentwood Real Estate said. "Wash Park, certainly Sloan's Lake [since] there's a lot of development going on in Sloan's Lake right now, so that's a hot one."

Driving out to the suburbs is gaining popularity.

"As prices are going up in the city, sometimes you just have to go a little farther outside of town," Levinson said. "Arvada and Lakewood are very popular right now."

As a seller, you still have to be wary of details to make sure you find the right buyer.

"We're seeing multiple offers," Levinson said. "What I'm counseling most sellers on is make all those small, detailed changes that you need to make in your home, make sure that it shows the best way. Paint. Add some new carpeting. But then when you start seeing those offers roll in, you do need to do your homework and make sure you are calling and make sure they are qualified for the loan that they are obtaining."

It's not always about going with the biggest bid. It's about going with someone who is the most qualified.

"Home sellers [should] move out for the weekend," Levinson said. "There are so many buyers coming through. We're talking 40 or 50 showings, so it's better if they can go stay with friends or family and let everyone come in and see the house."

Call 303-698-0999 until 8 a.m.

After then, feel free to contact the Denver Metro Association of Realtors at 303-756-0553.

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