Avoid Foreclosure or Loan Modification Scams

 

Watch out for the worst kind of humanity – scammers who prey on vulnerable homeowners facing foreclosure.  These scammers often identify themselves as working on the behalf of a “foreclosure rescue company”.

Two red-flags that suggest homeowners are dealing with scammers:

1)   The foreclosure rescue company, organization or individual promises that they can save the homeowners property.  Of course there will always be a hefty fee attached to this “service” somewhere along the process. 

2)   The foreclosure rescue company guarantees that they can work out a loan modification with the homeowner’s bank. Again a fee will requested from the scammer.

In either scenario, guarantees and promises are worthless. 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides additional tips on recognizing foreclosure scams at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/menus/consumer/credit/mortgage.shtm 

The FTC advises homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure or who are behind on their mortgage payments, call: 1-888-995-HOPE.  This free service offers counseling services through the non-profit Homeownership Preservation. Counselors are Housing and Urban Development (HUD) certified.  Their official website is www.hopenow.com    

Michelle A. Potter

Denver Realtor

Remax Professionals

Michelle Potter, Realtor in Denver
DenverRelocationBroker.com
303-489-4035
5280 Magazine "5 Star Denver Real Estate Agent"

New to Denver Gardening? 10 Plants that Thrive in Denver

Russian Sage Plant in Denver Garden

When I moved back to Denver from California I had to come to grips with a whole new style of gardening.  During my 13 year return to Denver, I have learned to improvise and have adopted a rather “Darwinistic” approach to gardening.

The plants chosen for my list are all perennials (come back each year), require full to partial-sun, and are a USDA hardiness zone 5.  All of these plants are amazingly easy to grow in Denver with minimal effort. I watch the water requirements, occasionally add soil amendments, and fertilize in spring.

1. True Geraniums (Geranium sanguineum) – Alternative names include: hardy geraniums, cranesbill geraniums and bloody cranesbill geraniums – and are not to be confused with annual or florist geraniums.  These early to mid summer garden workhorses are gorgeous at the front of flower beds and come in pinks, magentas, blues and whites.  The “bloody” in the cranesbill name refers to the brilliant orange and red foliage that develops in fall.

2). Roses – There are a good 100 roses growing in my backyard and I have only had two casualties in 13 years.  My absolute favorites are the David Austin roses – these look like old fashioned English garden roses yet have the extended bloom time of modern varieties.  Roses also come in all shapes and sizes from ground covers to shrub varieties and do surprisingly well in Denver gardens.  http://www.davidaustinroses.com/american/Advanced.asp

3). Catmint: (Nepeta faassenii) – The “Walker Low” variety is a great addition to the front or middle of a Denver garden border.  It has a showy lavender bloom that begins in early spring and repeats again later in the summer when cut back.  While it can get up to 2 feet plus, mine rarely do as I keep trimmed back after the first flush of flowers.

4). Salvia – The two perennials salvias that are lovely in my garden include S. x superb “May Night” which is a deep purple/blue color and S. Sclarea “Clary Sage” which produces a pale blue flowers. The “May Night” thrives in the most difficult (hot, dry, lousy soil) stretches of my garden.

5). Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) – Yarrow produces a terrific, lacey looking bloom that comes in white, pink, red and yellow.  Although a long time summer bloomer – yarrow can get aggressive and invasive in well amended and well watered areas. I have learned to limit it to portions of my Denver garden where little else will survive.

6). Daylily (Hemerocallis) – These come in a number of colors and the grass-like leaves add nice texture to Denver gardens.  I like the Stella D’ Oro variety as it can handle some dappled light and produces a intense yellow bloom that is stunning underneath an Austrian pine in my yard.  Admittedly, I do have to dig the day lilies up every three years and divide them to ensure continued blooms.

7). Columbine (Aquilegia caerulea) – Of course this list would be incomplete without a mention to our Colorado state flower.  Columbines can be single or bi-colored and come in reds, yellows, and blue colors.  They can get a bit ragged looking after a few years but many varieties readily reseed.  They bloom in early summer and can be coaxed into a repeat bloom by deadheading (pinching of the spent flower).

8). Clematis Vines (Clematis X jackmanii) – My favorite is the Jackman’s purple variety which produces a rich purple bloom.  Clematis do like cool feet so I have found it works to plant them under a tree to shade the roots and coax the vine upwards to receive the required sunlight.

9). Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifoila) – This bluish/lavender mid-summer bloomer thrives in Denver and produces well into early fall.  It requires almost nothing in terms of attention other that plenty of space.  It does easily reseed into other pockets of the garden but small plants are easily transplanted into a more desirable location.

10). Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) – While they can look unsightly or dead in Denver gardens until late July or August they are a worth the wait.  Not only do they come alive while other plants are growing tired, they do indeed attract butterflies along with an occasional humming bird.

Feel free to take this list to your local Denver Garden Center.  My favorite garden centers include: Tagawa’s in Parker, Paulino’s in Denver and O’Toole’s in Littleton, Lakewood and Westminster.

High Country Gardens is my favorite on-line resource for ordering Denver plants: http://www.highcountrygardens.com/

Wondering what not to plant in Denver?  See: http://denverrealestated.com/2009/05/11/moving-to-denver-proceed-with-caution-prior-to-selecting-these-5-plants-for-your-garden/

Michelle A. Potter

Denver Realtor

ReMax Professionals

Michelle Potter, Realtor in Denver
DenverRelocationBroker.com
303-489-4035
5280 Magazine "5 Star Denver Real Estate Agent"

8 Tips for a Flawless FHA Loan Closing


FHA Limits by FHA.com

 

FHA loans offer a favorable financing option for first-time buyers and repeat buyers alike. A little knowledge in understanding the FHA home buying process can go a long way to get buyers to the closing table.

1).Here is a good starting point for gleaning FHA basics: http://www.hud.gov/fha/

2). Understanding FHA loan highlights:

What are FHA loans? Loans that are insured against borrower default by the Federal Housing Administration – they don’t actually provide the funds for a loan – they simply insure them so lenders will make loans.

FHA qualified buyers need only a 3.5% down-payment

Closing costs are typically 3% of the purchase price and can usually be built-in into the monthly payments – or better yet ask your Realtor to structure the real estate transaction so closing costs are paid by the seller.

Allowable properties are 1-4 structure units – each state has a purchase price limit.

FHA loans are assumable – this is an attractive benefit when selling your home. Of course whoever is purchasing your property must also qualify for an FHA loan.

3).Pick your lender or mortgage broker wisely. Find an experienced, well versed FHA approved lender. In fact, use someone who is not only FHA approved but who specializes in FHA loans so as to save possible aggravation during the under-contract process.

4).Have your lender run a comparison to make sure an FHA loan is preferable to a conventional loan. Jeff Belonger offers excellent comparisons based on different variables like down-payment and credit score at: http://activerain.com/blogsview/1017156/FHA-Loans-vs-Conventional-Loans-A-Rude-Reality-Check-A-Comparison-with-20-down

5). When you start searching for homes make sure your real estate agent checks to make sure the homes or condos are approved for FHA financing. Not all properties are eligible.

6).If purchasing a condominium check to see if it is HUD approved: https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/condlook.cfm 

Also, thoroughly investigate the  financial health of the Condo board (i.e. they should have at least two months in reserves; is there any litigation pending; have there been repeated special assessments in the past five years…).

7).Is the property livable? Can it pass muster with an FHA appraiser inspection? In particular – make sure the property doesn’t have any safety issues.

8).Finally, communication between buyer, lender, and real estate agent is always a factor to ensure a smooth closing – regardless of the type of loan product used.

And, by the way, buyers can use an FHA loan with the first-time buyer credit first time buyer tax credit.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Michelle Potter, Realtor in Denver
DenverRelocationBroker.com
303-489-4035
5280 Magazine "5 Star Denver Real Estate Agent"

Washington Park in Denver Photo Tour

 

These photos of Washington Park in Denver were taken on yet another unusually rainy day for this time of year. The Wash Park homes shown are in various stages of  “renewal” - from a complete scrape to a major overhaul.  Of course there are a number of homes that are move-in ready. 


 

To see additional information on the Washington Park neighborhood

of Denver as well as homes available for sale, visit:

http://www.denverrelocationbroker.com/neighborhoods/washington-park

Feel free to contact me should you be interested in viewing these homes.

Michelle A. Potter

 

Denver Realtor

Re/Max Professionals

Michelle Potter, Realtor in Denver
DenverRelocationBroker.com
303-489-4035
5280 Magazine "5 Star Denver Real Estate Agent"

Denver Pavilions on 16th Street Mall

denver pavilion sign

The Pavilions in downtown Denver is located on the southern edge of the one mile stretch of the pedestrian friendly 16th Mall.  The Denver Pavilions canvases 347,000 square-feet and offers 3 levels of retail shops and entertainment.

While the Pavilions recently celebrated its 10 year birthday, a $25 million face-lift is currently underway. Local and relatively new owner – Gart Properties LLC – recent monetary commitment provides a welcome re-investment of one of Denver’s favorite shopping, dining and entertainment hubs.

The cash infusion is aimed at upgrading entry areas, landscaping, fashioning a more open-feel on the ground floor and improving shopping access

Michelle A. Potter

Michelle Potter, Realtor in Denver
DenverRelocationBroker.com
303-489-4035
5280 Magazine "5 Star Denver Real Estate Agent"