Buying in a Seller’s Market

There is no denying Metro Denver is in the midst of a hot-hot-hot Seller’s Market. So where does that leave you if you want or need to buy a home right now or in the near future? A Seller’s Market is defined by a number of houses for sale that is less than the pool of available Buyers: low inventory of any commodity + high demand = seller’s market, whether the commodity is houses or cars or apples.

Sellers Market

As a Buyer in this marketplace, there are ways to prepare for the best transaction possible, and to give yourself a bit of an edge in a market that favors the Seller over the Buyer in most cases.

  • QUACK! QUACK! Get your financial ducks in a row. In a Seller’s Market, it is not only advisable that you be prequalified for a home purchase – it is imperative. Sellers have every expectation of significant interest in their home, and possibly even multiple offers. They will not be impressed with an offer that is missing the all important prequalification letter. If you are serious about buying a home, come prepared to play ball – not play around.
  • Hire an experienced Realtor. You probably wouldn’t hire the teenage neighbor boy to detail your Porsche. Don’t hire an inexperienced agent to help you purchase a home. You deserve excellent representation, and in a Seller’s Market, you will need the help of a keen professional to negotiate on your behalf. Ask your potential agent questions about his or her track record, how many transactions they closed last year, how long they’ve been in the business. Ask them to tell you about the most challenging deal they’ve closed, and how their efforts contributed to a successful outcome.
  • Prioritize your home search. You don’t have to take a month off of work to find your next home, but you may need to take a long weekend. And you definitely need to keep your showing appointments and be prepared to seriously consider each home you look at. You likely have competition in the form of other Buyers for every single home you see, and once you find “the one,” you need to be ready to jump. Searching online beforehand and narrowing down a top 5 list of features you can’t live without (location, number of beds/baths, square footage, yard size, etc.) is a must.
  • Decide which contingencies are a must before you shop. Everything in Real Estate is negotiable, but there are some aspects of the deal you may not be flexible on, such as the home inspection. I would rarely recommend that a home be purchased without a thorough inspection – even in a Seller’s Market. One example of a contingency that may be challenging in a Seller’s Market is a Sale Contingency, wherein you require a Seller to stay on the line while you wait for your current home to sell. A strong offer (full price or over the asking price) may convince a Seller to accept a contract of this nature, but when a Seller has other Buyers on the line, they will likely not tolerate the extra risk of waiting for your home to sell.
  • Flexibility matters in all market conditions. Whether Sellers or Buyers are at the top of the heap in your marketplace, your transaction will go more smoothly if you are prepared for friendly flexibility along the way. Contract negotiations may be tense. Dates and details change. Inspections sometimes uncover surprises. Waiting for the appraisal to come in can be stressful. You hired an experienced Realtor to advocate on your behalf for a reason. Resolve to be patient, ask lots of questions, and don’t panic.

Are you considering a Metro Denver home purchase, or in need of a referral to a qualified agent out of state? Drop me a line. I’ve been helping Buyers and Sellers navigate the marketplace for 21 years, and I’d love to assist you in your next Real Estate transaction.

Jack Meyers

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

Why your Home Isn’t Selling

Believe it or not, any home will sell in any market – at the right price. Most of the time when showings lapse or a home languishes on the market while other homes sell, price is the answer, and a price adjustment is the fix. The Denver Real Estate market is one of the hottest in the country, and right now Sellers are experiencing some of the lowest days on the market we’ve seen in a few years – and properly priced homes are selling within a percentage or two of list price, typically.

WHY

But what if your house isn’t selling? Let’s take a look at common barriers to getting your house sold when price is not the culprit:

  • The house is all about you – and Buyers can’t envision themselves living there. You should truly live in your home while you own it, and that includes hanging pictures of your family and pets, displaying mementos of travel and favorite memories, and painting your dining room scarlet red and apple green, if that’s what you’re into. Once your house is on the market, part of your job as the seller is to help the Buyer see themselves in your home; that includes removing personal artifacts like family photos, sports memorabilia, religious items, overly taste-specific paint colors and clutter. Sellers who haven’t done this tend to wait longer for a sale and accept a lower price.
  • Location matters. I once had clients buy a beautiful home in Parker with a long view onto green space, fields and trees. A few years down the road, their lovely view turned into Chambers Road in Parker – now a major thoroughfare hosting a significant amount of traffic. The location of their home was still good, but when it came time to sell, Buyers absolutely factored the location near a major road into their offer. This issue couldn’t be controlled, but if you can buy a home in an ideal location, do it. You can make changes and upgrades to a so-so home, but you can’t pick it up and move it to a better location.
  • The Floor Plan feels UNplanned. Consumer taste in floor plans can change over time. Some people love open concept, some people would rather have a separate, formal dining room than one large great room. If your home has a choppy floor plan though, it may take longer to sale and your price should reflect the desirability of your style of home. You don’t have to call in a contractor to fix it – but you do have to be realistic about what Buyers will pay if your floor plan is less than ideal.
  • The house is in obvious need of TLC.  Fix-and-flip shows are fun to watch on HGTV, but not every Buyer is willing (or financially able) to make a variety of repairs or updates to a newly purchased home; some Buyers prefer a move-in-ready property, and if your home needs work or feels rough around the edges, it may take longer to sell, and the final price is likely to reflect the condition of the house. Do what you can to bring your house up to snuff, and if there are issues in need of a little love from the next owner, be prepared to pay for them through a lower sales price.
  • Buyers are turning up their noses – literally. If your home features any sort of unpleasant odor, for any reason, take care of it before you put your home on the market. You don’t have to get rid of the cats, but do perform litter box duty daily, and invest in a plug in air filter for that space. If you have dogs or diapers or musty smells lurking, use unscented Febreze on carpet, furniture and other fabric surfaces daily. Don’t try to cover up smells with perfumed sprays or candles though; litter box + Forest Meadow still smells like litter box, and you’re not fooling anybody. Try this cool trick: pour a splash of vanilla or almond extract (or both) into an oven safe dish and bake at 375 degrees for a few minutes. After turning off the oven, leave the door open to allow the aroma to waft through the space. Your whole house will smell like you’ve been baking for a few hours.
  • Your house is giving Buyers the cold (or hot!) shoulder. For winter showings, crank up the thermostat a couple of degrees beyond where you normally set it. In the summer, run the AC and/or fans throughout the house to welcome Buyers in from the heat. The physical comfort level in your home can either enhance the viewing experience for Buyers, or distract from it. A cold and drafty house is a turnoff for Buyers, and so is a hot and stuffy house. Help them remember your house as “the cozy one” or “the cool one,” depending on the season.

Are you thinking about spiffing up your digs in preparation for a spring Listing? Call the Meyers Group. We’re here to help you sell your Denver area home for top dollar on the timeline that fits your needs.

Jack Meyers

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

Wheel of Fortune

Wheel of Fortune

Much like Pat Sajak and Vanna White’s Wheel of Fortune, the Real Estate market is a cyclical phenomenon.

The good news is, unlike the famous wheel, the marketplace is of a somewhat predictable nature at any given point in time. It may feel like you’re rolling the dice, but statistics hold true that certain circumstances – say, the sale of your home, are likely to fit within a somewhat predictable set of parameters based on the behavior of the rest of the marketplace. That’s where statistics come in.

REColorado has the following data points on file among Metro Denver housing market statistics for December:

  • Month-over-Month, the median sold price of Denver-area homes rose 9.3%.
  • There were 5,501 Active listings across Denver in December; this number is down significantly from December 2013 (7,345 Active listings that month), but up 3% from the same period in 2014.
  • Year to date figures for the total number of listings in Denver rose 7.3% over the year before. Homes are still selling like hotcakes, but more of them are coming on the market.
  • Year to date average days on market (the period from listing to under contract) was a whopping 48 in 2013, down to just 26 in 2015. That’s sign in the yard to SOLD in less than a month!

Even with the aid of statistics, the Real Estate market can and does change, and no crystal ball can tell us what’s next. What I do know though, is that Real Estate has always been and will continue to be cyclical in nature. The hot Seller’s market we’re enjoying right now continues to benefit homeowners and the entire economy, but at some point the market will begin to cool, and at some point in the future Buyers will once again hold the advantage.

The question I have for you is, “What are you doing about it?”

Right now is an incredible time to sell a home in the Greater Denver area. Prices are strong, homes are moving quickly, buyers are aplenty. If you’re on the fence, think about taking the leap. Your property will sell in any marketplace – so long as the price is right. In our current marketplace, many factors are in your favor, making this a great time to plan your next move.

Jack Meyers

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

 

Home Maintenance Tip: Keeping Tabs on Your Roof

Although no one expects homeowners to climb atop the roof every single year to check for damage or concerns, this multi-layered surface of your home protects from insects, animals and the elements – and the structural and surface integrity of your roof is vital to the health of your home.

Depending upon the age and make-up of your roof, the climate you live in and the prevalence of pests in your region, it may be worth having a qualified inspector take closer look at your roof every 2-3 years.

roof_inspection

Here are areas to keep tabs on:

Weathering                                                                                               Damage from hail, heavy rains or snow or other storm damage, also called “weathering,” can affect the integrity of your roof’s surface, even if there aren’t obvious issues like missing shingles, shakes or slate. Strong winds and major storms can weaken attachment points, allowing moisture to reach the roof’s underlayment or increasing the likelihood of shingles turning into projectiles during a storm, possibly causing damage to the rest of your home’s exterior. After a major storm, it’s a good idea to take a peek at your roof to the best of your ability, always making safety your top priority. Taking care of a minor issue now could help you avoid major repairs down the road.

Animal /Pest Damage
Carpenter ants, wasps, termites. Squirrels, raccoons, birds. Insects and other pests can wreak miniature havoc that grows over time, and larger animals will sometimes tear through shingles and roof sheathing to build nests and raise young. They often attack the roof’s eaves first, especially on homes that have suffered decay to the roof sheathing due to a lack of drip edges or from problems caused by ice damming, because decayed sheathing is softer and easier to tear through.  If you hear any activity of wildlife on your roof, check inside your attic for evidence of pest intrusion, such as damaged insulation, which pests may use for nesting material.  Darkened insulation generally indicates that excess air is blowing through some hole in the structure, leading the insulation to become darkened by dirt or moisture. Before you attempt a DIY on pest removal within the structure of your roof, contact a professional. You may need backup to get rid of pests and ensure they don’t come back.

Tree Damage
You know that big beautiful tree in your side yard that you suspect is a little too close to the house? If you hear it scraping against the roof or the side of the house on windy days, chances are it is damaging the exterior of your home. Wind blown or falling branches can create issues with your roof, siding or windows, and branches that overhang the roof should always be cut back to avoid damage from both abrasion and impact, and to prevent the accumulation of leaf debris on the roof and in the gutters, which will interfere with proper drainage and lead to pooling rainwater and snowmelt. It’s especially important to make sure that tree limbs near the home’s roof and exterior are a safe distance away from utility and power lines.

Shaping a shrub  in your side yard from ground level gets a big thumbs up, but major tree-trimming is a  task that should be undertaken by qualified professionals, as it can lead to accidentally cutting off the service or power from an overhead line, being electrocuted by an energized line, being struck by an unsecured tree branch, falling off the roof or a ladder, and any number of similar mishaps.

Biological Growth 
Algae, moss, lichen and even bacteria are types of biological growth that may be found on asphalt shingles under certain conditions. This growth  may be merely a cosmetic problem, or it may become destructive.

Almost all biological growth on shingles is related to the long-term presence of excess moisture, which is why these problems are more common in areas with significant rainfall and high relative humidity. But even in dry climates, roofs that are shaded most of the time can develop biological growth. If you believe there is a persistent moisture problem taking place in your roof, work with an inspector to determine the source of the problem and choose a qualified roofing contractor to make necessary repairs.

“Tobacco-juicing” is the brownish discoloration that appears on the surface of shingles, under certain weather conditions. It’s often temporary and may have a couple of different causes. After especially long periods of intensely sunny days, damp nights and no rain, water-soluble compounds may leach out of the asphalt from the shingles and be deposited on the surface. Tobacco-juicing may also appear under the same weather conditions if the air is especially polluted.  Tobacco-juicing won’t harm asphalt shingles, although it may run down the roof and stain siding. Although it’s more common in the West and Southwest, it can happen anywhere that weather conditions are right.  You can spray-wash or paint the exterior of the home to remove tobacco-juicing.

Are you ready to own the roof over your head, or to sell your current home? Give me a call to find out what your home is worth in the hot Denver real estate market. I’m here to help!

Jack Meyers

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