Seasonal Storytelling

Sellers are sometimes reluctant to list their home for sale during the winter season. In my 21+ years in Denver Real Estate, I’ve come to expect this hesitance. I’ve also celebrated many successful transactions during this time of year with both Buyers and Sellers, and I believe there are positives to Listing or Buying in the “off season,” not least of which is a comparative advantage for Sellers as there are fewer homes on the market, and winter season home shoppers tend to be serious about the process.

Storytelling

One unique way to market a home during the winter months

is by telling your home’s year-round story.

Buyers may struggle to look past an icy sidewalk and snowy facade to the brilliant curb appeal your home will feature in the spring and summer months – but you can help them envision your home year round by sharing pictures and details of how you live during the rest of the year.

If you know you’ll be selling in the next 1, 2 or even 5 years, plan a seasonal storybook of your home for a future sale. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to pull this off – you just need a digital camera and the ability to type up a few sentences about your home.

Step 1: Consider your home’s best angle. Some homes have an amazing back deck or patio and are great photographed from the backyard. Other homes look best with a traditional curb appeal shot. Take an outdoor shot of your home during Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn on a nice day that features leaves, green grass, growing plants or fresh snowfall – depending on which season you are highlighting. Create a file on your computer called Home Sale to store the shots you take. You’ll want to find them easily when it comes time to sell – and you’ll need these photographs in advance to include in your “storybook.”

Step 2: Create a document with information on the joy’s of your home each season of the year to share with potential Buyers. Do you have a raised garden bed filled with blooming perennials every spring? Do you enjoy walking the trails just steps from your home all summer long? Can you watch the sun setting over the Rockies from your bedroom window or back deck? Do your kids love the sledding hill just 2 blocks away? Does your Japanese Maple really shine in the fall, or maybe you harvest apples from the tree in the backyard every year and have enough to share with neighbors. Think of every seasonal thing you enjoy in your home, neighborhood or suburb and write up a few sentences or bullet points with this information under each seasonal header.

This personal approach to selling your home will leave an impression with Buyers every time, because it says, “We care about this home. We’ve loved living here, and you will, too!”

Are you planning a winter sale of your home, or maybe wondering if you should begin your house hunt in our competitive market now, or wait for the spring rush? Call or email to talk about the pros and cons of waiting vs. jumping right in. I’m happy to help you plan your next move, on your timeline.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

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10 Questions to Ask a Potential Realtor

Are all Realtors created equal? Not so much… The truth is, a certain percentage of the licensed agents you come across likely do just a deal or two a year, based on statistics. Hardly what you’d call an expert and at a deal or two a year – barely even a hobbiest; what you need is an experienced professional who can give you a leg up in the negotiation process and help you out of a jam if something goes awry with your transaction – a part time novice simply won’t cut it if things go south.

Job Interview.jpg

To protect yourself and ensure the agent you choose is worthy of your time and financial investment, ask these questions:

  1. How long have you been involved in Real Estate?
  2. How long have you been licensed in the state of _____?
  3. How many Listings did you personally represent in the last 12 months?
  4. How many Buyers did you personally represent in the last 12 months?
  5. How long, on average, do your Listings take to close? How does this compare to the average across this community?
  6. Tell me about your experience in the _____ neighborhood/suburb.
  7. Tell me about a transaction of yours that did not close (either Listing or Sale.) What happened? (Every experienced agent will have a story about one (or more) that got away – their answer will help you gauge their professional maturity level.)
  8. What specifically will you do to market my home?
  9. Who else is on your team? Do you work with a Transaction Coordinator? Professional photographer? Team assistant? Who will I talk to when I have a question or concern?
  10. What makes you a different or better agent than the 3 other people on my interview list?

I’ve enjoyed a fruitful career in Denver, Colorado in part because I am able to give straightforward, honest answers to questions like these. When you hire a Real Estate agent to represent your interests in one of the largest financial transactions you’ll carry out, take the task seriously. I like Real Estate agents – they’re my people! I also believe it is your right (and ultimately your responsibility) to interview and select a talented agent with a proven track record. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and if the answer is, “Um…” or “I didn’t do much last year,” walk away. There are qualified Realtors out there prepared to guide you successfully through a Listing or Sale, and for the sake of my industry, I want consumers to end up with the kind of agent you’d be pleased to recommend to a friend or family member.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

 

Six Fun Ways to Screw up Your First Home Purchase

Whether you are a first time Buyer or just haven’t purchased a home in awhile, I’ve come across a few easy ways to complicate the process and get in your own way over the past 21 years in the biz. Let’s discuss!

Two Thumbs Up

  1. Search for love – not a price point! Why bother to get preapproved by a lender? Find a neighborhood you love and worry about what you’ll qualify for later. That won’t come back to bite you at all. (An alternative to this classic mistake is to complete the approval process with a lender before you begin your search. Try it – you’ll like it!)
  2. Other expenses? Whaddaya mean? Paying for a house includes a mortgage – but you’ll have other expenses to consider as well. Taxes, PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance – depending on the type of loan you obtain), HOA fees, utilities, property insurance (that’s for the house and your stuff – not the same as PMI).
  3. DIY Inspection. Look around a bit, kick the floorboards, run the sink… If everything seems okay to you, it’ll probably stay that way. (OR – hire a qualified, licensed inspector to help you look under the hood of your biggest financial investment ever.)
  4. Buy the lousy (or high priced) house with the pool. It’s a pool, people! Everybody’s got their thing. Yours might be a cozy front porch, a killer man cave, granite counters in the kitchen… You can buy an overpriced (or even lame) house because you are caught up in a single element – or you can look at the whole picture when choosing a house.
  5. Buy the prettiest house in the neighborhood. That’s gotta be a win, right? After all, you don’t have time for a fixer upper (like, painting a couple of rooms and weeding the flower bed.) Of course, your new home won’t appreciate in value the way a home with room-for-minor-improvement will – but go for it!
  6. Fly solo, you captain of your own dreams, you! This is America – the land of the free and the home of the brave. So buck up your courage and go it alone on your search for a home… OR, hire a licensed Real Estate agent who knows the communities and neighborhoods and comparable properties for homes you are looking at. (You know – to negotiate a great price and find the right home for you.)

If you’re ready to start your journey toward home ownership, I’d love to be your guide. Drop a line to learn about trends in your favorite neighborhood or to get started on your home search today.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

 

 

$39.4 Billion in Equity Gains

Woman with pile of money

According to a recent Denver Post article:

“Metro Denver homeowners gained $39.4 billion in additional equity this year, lifting total home values in the area to $347 billion, according to estimates from Zillow, an online real estate marketplace and research firm.”

This kind of information is pretty incredible, and anecdotal evidence from my own clients supports impressive equity gains across the Metro marketplace. But let’s add further context to this data.

According to the article (backed by data from Zillow):

  • Denver is the nationwide home price leader at 12.8% increase in total home values.
  • Zillow reported a median home price of $318,000 across Metro Denver in November (a 15.5% increase year over year).
  • The 20 city S&P/Case-Shiller index showed a 10.9% year over year increase in Denver area home prices in October; national home price increases for the  same period of time were less than half that number at a still impressive 5.2%.
  • Denver is putting up incredible numbers, despite being smaller than many major US cities: Denver area total home value = $347 billion; in comparison, the city of Houston (twice the size of Denver) has a total home value = $381 billion – just a 10% increase over Denver’s value.

It’s hard to quantify what billions of dollars look like laid out on a table (and who has a table that big???), but what all of this translates to for Denver area home owners is strong home values, a bright future for the equity of your home, positive prospects if you are looking to sell, and for Buyers – you’ll need a savvy, experienced negotiator by your side to help you score the best deal possible in our blazing marketplace, because Sellers have the advantage in this scenario.

This is a great time to be a home owner in the Denver area! As a Colorado native and 21 + year veteran of the local real estate market, it would be my pleasure to be your guide in the sale or purchase of a home.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

Loving thy Neighbor

There is an old adage you’ve probably heard:

Grumpy Cat Fence

Great fences make for great neighbors. 

Until you run into a less-than-pleasant situation with one of your own neighbor’s, you may not really know what that means. You can scrapbook and Pinterest and cruise around town for months searching for your dream home – even have a home built from scratch to your exact specifications – and still end up feeling like you lost the neighbor lottery. That’s the thing about people – we are an unpredictable lot, and when you put all kinds of us in a blender and pour us out into a neighborhood, a few of the personalities in the mix may not work well together.

So what do you do when you run up against a neighbor who eyeballs you daily from across the street or next door, but you just can’t see eye-to-eye with them? Here are a few tips on how to make a peace treaty (even if you are the only one who knows about it) with the curmudgeons or party animals down the block, across the street or on the other side of the wall.

  1. Before taking action of any kind, embrace the Golden Rule. Consider how you might feel, and how you would want to be approached, if you were the perpetrator of a neighborhood annoyance. (And consider as well that many “annoying neighbors” have no idea they are offending the rest of us.) If your barking dog woke up your neighbor’s newborn at midnight, would you want a visit from your neighbor with a polite request to control your pup overnight, or a visit from the police? Neither answer is the right choice – but proceed with the choice you’d most appreciate if the shoe was on the other foot.
  2. Kill ’em with kindness. This is good advice from the moment you move into a neighborhood or any living situation. Before anything unpleasant can mar your neighborly relationship, be the neighbor who stops by to introduce yourself and offer a plate of cookies, or at least your contact information. Invite new neighbors over for coffee or lemonade. If you have pets or children, share about them. If you are established and welcoming a newcomer, let them know what you love best about the neighborhood. Having an established relationship – even a very casual one – can help smooth out wrinkles that pop up later on.
  3. Communicate often; seek first to understand. If your dog bit a neighbor’s child or you heard through the grapevine that so-and-so was annoyed with the noisy late-night barbecue you hosted last weekend, don’t wait for your neighbor to complain. Address the issue with them as soon as you are aware there is a problem, be open and honest and resist the urge to go on the defensive. This will send a clear message that you are aware of your neighbor’s grievance, and are willing to address the situation.
  4. Take notes. If you do run into an ongoing situation with your neighbors – whether they have instigated a problem or they see you as the nuisance – record the dates and details of your discussions. Chances are you’ll be able to work out your differences amicably, but if there is a legal complaint filed against you, you’ll want to have a running tally of the incident(s) that have taken place. *Note that I am not a lawyer. If you are in need of legal advice, consult an attorney.
  5. If necessary, bring in a third party. Contact your Home Owner’s Association (HOA), condo board or a professional mediator if need be. Some issues, like property lines, are straightforward and defined by legal documents such as property surveys. Sometimes the lines surrounding neighborly issues can be blurred, though, and it is wise to mediate an issue through an objective source.

A sense of community is a valuable, fun aspect of owning a home – whether that home is a condo, townhome, or single family home. Practicing the art of neighboring can help ensure you are happy in your new digs for a long time. And when it comes time to borrow an egg, a cup of sugar, or a babysitter for your cat – you’ll be glad you’ve invested in developing these bonds.

Are you searching for the ideal neighborhood to call home? I’m a Colorado native with over 21 years of experience in the Real Estate industry, and I’d love to help.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate