Monthly Archives: November 2014

unnamed (4)

Hurray for Wheat Ridge!!!

image006

Wheat Ridge was named one of the best cities in the nation for active retirees.

A company that has been tracking small and mid-sized cities for the past 25 years has named Wheat Ridge as one of the best cities across the nation for retirement.

The ranking was released on Monday by Livability.com.

The city of 31,000 was ranked fifth on Livability’s 2014 Best Places to Retire list – the only Colorado city to make the cut. Wheat Ridge was sandwiched between Honolulu, in sixth place, and Largo, Fla., No. 4.

Livability pointed to Wheat Ridge’s numerous bike trails, fitness centers, proximity to mountains and ski resorts as important amenities for active retirees.

“Retirees looking for motivation to get outdoors will find plenty in Wheat Ridge, which has the highest percentage of residents who exercise out of all the cities on this list,” according to Livability. Wheat Ridge also was one of the healthiest cities it researched for the rankings.

Those who are 65 years or older account for 18.6 percent of the city’s population.

And while duffers may be dismayed there are no golf courses in Wheat Ridge, “there are more than 40 within a 45-minute drive,” Livability noted.

 

unnamed (4)

Shoppers are shown in Wheat Ridge last Christmas season. Shopping and restaurants, as well as its proximity to Denver, made Wheat Ridge a top destination for active retirees, according to Livability.com.

And speaking of short drives, Denver is just minutes away,” the website added. “Wheat Ridge residents take advantage of more urban conveniences and culture found in downtown Denver while enjoying the small-town character of their city.”

The site also factored in Wheat Ridge’s support groups, abundant shopping opportunities, great restaurants, low crime and excellent health care into its ranking.

Also working in Wheat Ridge’s favor is the homestead exemption Colorado provides to eligible residents 65 and older.

In addition, Livability noted that Colorado residents 55 and over receive a retirement-income exclusion from state taxes.

At 7.5 percent, Wheat Ridge’s sales tax is also lower than the national average of 9.6 percent. On the other hand, the cost of living in Wheat Ridge is 10 percent higher than the national average, according to Livability.

“We are thrilled to have Livability recognize the high quality of life that we enjoy in Wheat Ridge,” said Wheat Ridge Mayor Joyce Jay. “For residents who want easy access to both an array of outdoor amenities and all Denver has to offer, we’re hard to beat.”

Debunking 4 Myths about Buying a Home

unnamed (3)

recent study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University revealed when renters were asked why they do no plan to own in the future, financial constraints were a more common response than the perceived lifestyle benefits they may receive from renting. Today, we want to go over those financial challenges and see if we can put some fears to rest and also clear up some misconceptions. Here are the top four financial hurdles that cause renters not to buy: 

1. You Cannot Afford a Home

Well over 50% of renters consider this as a financial barrier to homeownership. However, study after study has shown us that there are major misunderstandings about what is required to purchase a home. The biggest misconception is the amount of a down payment required. A recent survey revealed that 44% of respondents believed that a 20% down payment was required. In actuality, mortgages are available with as little as 5% down (and even 3% in certain situations). The same survey showed that 30% of respondents believe that only individuals with ‘high incomes’ can obtain a mortgage. In actuality, there are several programs intentionally created to help moderate income families buy a home of their own (look at the FHA program for example).

2. You Do Not Have Good Enough Credit to Get a Mortgage

The survey mentioned above showed that 64% of respondents believe they must have a “very good” credit score to buy a home. Most people don’t realize that the average credit score for closed loans has actuallydropped 24 points in the last two years. For more information on credit scores click here.

3. It’s Not a Good Time to Buy a Home

Determining when is the right time to buy a home from a pure financial calculation can be difficult. There are two elements of the cost of a home: the price of the house and the mortgage interest rate. When considering a purchase, you want to have at least an indication where prices and mortgage rates are headed. According to over 100 experts, house values are expected to increase by almost 20% between now and 2018. And Freddie Mac recently projected that mortgage rates would be as much as one full point higher by this time next year. With both prices and interest rates projected to increase, now is the perfect time to buy a home.

4. It’s Cheaper to Rent than Buy

This is a myth that doesn’t want to die. However, Trulia recently reported that, in fact, buying is actually dramatically cheaper than renting. Here is what they said:

“Homeownership remains cheaper than renting nationally and in all of the 100 largest metro areas. In fact, buying is 38% cheaper than renting now, compared with 35% cheaper than renting one year ago.”

Bottom Line

If you are even thinking about buying, get the facts from a trained professional. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you find out.