July Newsletter

 

As one of the most dynamic housing markets in America, Denver has seen home prices rise significantly in the past few years. This leads people to ask whether now is a good time to buy a home. To help break it all down, here are some things to consider as you enter the home-buying process:

Price Point—For homes priced between $250,000 and $450,000, there’s fierce competition, which leads to bidding wars. Sellers in this price point will comb through several offers at or above list price to determine which buyer to proceed with. To be successful, buyers must be well-qualified and separate themselves in a crowded space. What sets some offers apart from others are increased earnest money (at or above list price offer), cash vs. financed sales, agreeing to go above appraisal, and agreeing to waive inspections.  

Economics—Interest rates in Denver remain near historic lows, which should be conducive to home buying. However, wages aren’t keeping up with home prices, so it is harder for the average family to qualify for and afford a home. And home prices have continued to rise, which, along with a projected rise in rates, means that it will be more difficult to qualify for the home—a mere 1% change in interest rates can drastically reduce the loan amount you qualify for. 

Supply—A healthy home market has around six months of supply of homes for sale. In Denver, we have approximately one month of supply. This only adds fuel to the fire, as there are far more buyers than available properties.  

Days on Market—Days on market is an expression of how long a home is on the market before it is sold. Depending on the price point, this can vary widely. As an example, a million-dollar home will be on the market for a longer period than a $350,000 home.  

Qualification—When you’re ready to buy a new home, the first step is to find a lender and get prequalified. Your lender will review your credit, income, and assets and determine how much home you can qualify for. They’ll give you a lender letter, which will outline what you qualify for so the real estate agent can set up appropriate search parameters. Once this step is completed, you can start to shop. 

Deferred Maintenance—Deferred maintenance includes projects like painting, reroofing, or replacing necessities like a furnace. These expenses are often unplanned and can be significant. It’s best to have a cushion of savings, and you might consider a home warranty plan to help cover these costly repairs.  

As always, Bellco would love to speak with you and answer any questions you may have. Stop by any Bellco branch, call us at 1-800-BELLCO-1, or visit us online at Bellco.org/Mortgage to get started.

Remember to check out our Facebook page for upcoming home-buying seminars and our #AskBellco videos, which feature topics like this and more.

Colorado Entertainment on a Budget

For many families, summer is a great time to relax, explore something new, or just enjoy some entertainment. And even if you’re on a tight budget, there are plenty of places and events you can enjoy in the Centennial State. 

Fine arts and cultural pursuits can teach us about our community and neighbors; the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) offers free entry to many facilities it supports. For botanical beauty, check out Chatfield Farms on July 3 or the Denver Botanical Gardens on July 19. If you’re interested in art, admission to the Denver Art Museum is waived on July 7. The Longmont Museum, which features changing exhibits in history, art, and science, is open for free on July 14. Other facilities are routinely free of admission, such as the Arvada Center Galleries, the Aurora History Museum, Hudson Gardens, and more.  

Street fairs and festivals offer a festive experience that can include art or other vendor exhibits, children’s activities, and occasional bands. 
• The Louisville Street Faire runs eight Friday nights throughout the summer and features live music. Upcoming bands include Gasoline Lollipops, The Young Dubliners, and Lee Fields & The Expressions. 
• In Fairplay, the annual Burro Days event will feature burro races, llama races, arts and crafts booths, and much more. 
• July 20 through July 22, the Mile High Global Bazaar will celebrate international cultures, arts, food, and music at Skyline Park in Denver.
• A celebration of Asian culture, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival is a can’t-miss on July 28 and 29. You’ll have a chance to observe Japanese Obon dance, cheer for your favorite dragon boat in the races, explore vendor booths, and more.   

Live outdoor concerts bring a great vibe to the music. Many venues offer concerts each week. 
• Parker Arts presents summer concerts every Thursday starting at 6 p.m. 
• City Park Jazz offers jazz concerts every Sunday starting at 6 p.m.
• The new Levitt Pavilion in Ruby Hill Park in Denver offers a broad array of musical styles on various dates throughout the summer.  
• Enjoy Wednesdays on the Waterfront in Broomfield—you can hear the music of a variety of cultures each Wednesday starting at 7 p.m. while you enjoy the pleasant waterfront view. 
• On Thursdays from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m., you can listen to outdoor concerts at Southlands Mall in Aurora during the Sounds of Southlands event. 

Here in Colorado, there’s lots to see and do that won’t break the bank. Get out there and check it out! 

Managing Finances for Millennials

By CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”)

If you’re a millennial (born between 1981 and 1997), you may be facing a unique set of financial challenges, including a competitive job market and significant student loan debt. As many young adults have learned, poor money management can lead to debt, stress, and dependency on others. Fortunately, good money-management skills make it easier to accomplish your personal goals. If you become familiar with the basics of planning now, your future self will thank you.

SET FINANCIAL GOALS
Setting goals is important, particularly when it comes to your finances. Start by asking yourself the following:

• What are my short-term goals (new car, vacation)?

• What are my intermediate-term goals (new home)?

• What are my long-term goals (retirement, child’s college education)?

• How important is it for me to achieve each goal?

• How much will I need to save for each goal?

Once you have a clear picture of your goals, you can establish a budget that will help you reach them.

BUILD YOUR BUDGET
A budget helps you stay on track with your finances. To establish your budget, start by identifying your current monthly income and expenses. This is easier than it sounds—simply add up all of your sources of income. Do the same thing with your expenses, making sure to include discretionary expenses (like entertainment, travel, hobbies) as well as fixed expenses (like housing, food, utilities), and compare the totals. If you are spending more than you earn, you’ll need to make some adjustments to get back on track. On the other hand, you may discover that you have extra money that you can put toward savings. Pay yourself first by adding to your retirement account or emergency fund. Building up your savings using extra income can help ensure that you accomplish your financial goals over the long term.

ESTABLISH AN EMERGENCY FUND
It’s an unpleasant thought, but a financial crisis could strike when you least expect it. Protect yourself by setting up a cash reserve so you have funds available in case you’re confronted with an unexpected expense. Otherwise you may need to use money that you have earmarked for another purpose—such as a down payment on a home—or go into debt. A good way to accumulate emergency funds is to earmark a percentage of your paycheck each pay period. When you reach your goal, don’t stop adding money—the more you save, the better off you’ll be.

The bottom line is that good money management comes from sound financial advice. A financial advisor is someone who can help you determine the best course of action based on your individual circumstances.

CONTACT CFS* TODAY!
Call 303-728-3443, email cfsinvsrefs@bellco.org, or stop by any Bellco branch to schedule a personalized, complimentary appointment with a CFS* Financial Advisor.

Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. Bellco Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members.

CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (CFS), does not provide tax or legal advice. For such guidance, please consult your tax and/or legal advisor.

DAVA

During July, Bellco will collect donations for Downtown Aurora Visual Arts (DAVA), a locally-based nonprofit organization that provides arts education programs to urban youth, ages 3 to 17. Students experience the transformative power of high quality, out-of-school programs based on the core principles of artistic excellence, sustained programming, and social justice. 

For ways you can donate to this worthwhile cause, visit Bellco’s Charity of the Month page. To learn more about DAVA, visit them online at Davarts.org.