Cosmetic Issues = Buyer Savings

In a high demand real estate market like Denver, Sellers have the advantage. When Buyer demand outpaces available inventory, the Seller is king, and they have the upper hand at the negotiating table. Don’t abandon all hope, Buyers! In any market, there are things you can do to educate yourself so as to gain an edge in the process.

One area Buyers should pay particular attention to is the cosmetic condition of properties they view. In a Buyers’ Market, Sellers have to work harder to appeal to Buyers, including staging and taking care of deferred maintenance. Sellers can get away with minor deferred maintenance or cosmetic issues when the market is in their favor. BUT – these issues can still give the Buyer a little wiggle room at the negotiating table.

The following is a list of items you can use to your advantage when trying to negotiate concessions or a lower price as a Buyer in a Sellers’ Market (or any market):

  • Overly colorful paint, or paint in poor condition. If the basement is hot pink or the exterior paint is flaking off, it is worth asking for a minor break in the price, or a “paint allowance,” to help cover the cost of updating the home. You might not get what you ask for, and you may have to offer full price with a “paint allowance” stipulation, but the answer to a question you don’t ask is always NO.
  • Damaged carpet or other flooring. I once helped clients buy a house that sounds terrible – but was really a hidden gem: listed under FMV (fair market value), but the house needed all new paint, there were no window treatments of any kind, the main level smelled like dog and the finished basement smelled like cat. UGH – right? They bought this home in a desirable suburb for about $20,000 less than it was worth, and by painting and replacing flooring themselves and purchasing quality blinds on sale, they were able to make this house shine and gain instant equity. Don’t pass up an opportunity like this because the house is a little rough around the edges.
  • Fence in disrepair. Wood fencing is a common source of deferred maintenance. I don’t know many homeowners who enjoy staining or painting the fence every year or two. Use this to your advantage. If the Seller has left the fence alone for a few years, or it has obvious damage, ask for a break in price, or ask whether the Seller will meet you in the middle on repair or replacement costs. If you’ve made a fair offer and the Seller is motivated to close the deal in a timely manner, you may be able to pick up a few bucks on an item like this.
  • Road construction or other pesky projects – current or future. Even in a Sellers’ Market, major road construction, noisy building sites, even nearby home construction can be a pain. Noise. Pollution. Ugly views. Extra traffic. None of these things are pleasant to put up with. As a Buyer, do your homework! If there is a new road going in half a block away, the Seller should disclose this information if they have it – but they don’t always do that. Learn everything you can about a city or neighborhood, and if there are projects underway or planned for the near future, use this information to your advantage. A motivated Seller with a smart Realtor on their side knows major construction projects near the home will not improve the market value in the short run, and they will likely want to sell the house before the dust begins to rise. Use this information to negotiate a better price, or possibly concessions on the home.

Buying a house is a big deal, and there are a lot of moving pieces. When you work with an experienced Realtor, you’ll reap the benefits of someone who’s got your back – and knows every in and out that could save you money and give you an edge. In a market like Denver, Buyers need all the help they can get to score a great deal. If you’ll be in the market soon, I’d love to help you find the right home and maximize your potential at the negotiating table.

Jack Meyers

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

 

 

Maintain Thy House

Any time the season changes, it’s time to go through a seasonal maintenance checklist. Keeping up with regular maintenance tasks in and around your home saves money and provides peace of mind. Avoiding basic home maintenance can end up costing you big time – and come back to haunt you as “deferred maintenance issues” when it’s time to sell your home. #justdoit

The 10 Commandments of Springtime Home Maintenance

  1. Inspect thy roof. Conduct a visual inspection of the roof, using binoculars or the zoom feature on your phone to get a closer look. If you see missing shingles or anything suspicious, call in a roofing pro for an inspection.
  2. Beware regional pests. Examine the exterior of your home as well as attic and basement for pest issues. Get a jump on concerns before the weather really heats up, and call in an expert if you don’t know what kind of creepy crawly you’re dealing with or how to get rid of it.
  3. Reseal thine exterior woodwork. Wood decking, fencing, trellises, shutters, etc. will hold up longer and stay looking great with a fresh coat of stain or sealant every 12-14 months. This is also a great time to repair or replace damaged exterior woodwork.
  4. Clean thy gutters and downspouts. It’s not a fun job, but it’s a necessary one. Ignore this task at your home’s peril. Backed up gutters can cause the eaves to rot, allowing critters in and leading to further damage. Downspouts lead water away from the house; if they’re not flowing freely and in the right direction, your home’s foundation could be compromised. If you aren’t up to the task, hire someone to get the job done for you.
  5. Thou shalt inspect your driveway. Freezing moisture and temperature extremes can cause driveway damage, and damage that starts small can grow over time. If you notice widening cracks or crumbling sections of your driveway, talk to an asphalt or concrete pro about repair or replacement options.
  6. Thou shalt give thy sprinkler and irrigation system a run through. Before summer weather hits, turn your sprinkler and/or irrigation system on and check all zones. Make sure all of the sprinkler heads are in good shape, and adjust spray to hit the appropriate targets in your yard – not the house or street.
  7. Thou shalt deny mosquitoes free breeding grounds. As weather warms, standing water in your yard, in bird feeders or even pooled in natural low spots provides ideal conditions for mosquito larvae. Mosquitoes can carry diseases and they’re just plain gross – don’t give them free rent in your yard! Fill in low spots in your landscaping where water collects, and consider dry landscape features or those with moving water, which discourages mosquito growth.
  8. Thou shalt inspect all windows, patio doors and screens. Before bugs are rampant, replace or repair damaged screens. Check window glass, sealant, and tracks. Now is a great time to have windows professionally cleaned as well, allowing more sunlight in and making your home sparkle from the street.
  9. Thou shalt schedule AC service. Central air conditioning can be expensive to run, and it is definitely expensive to replace. You’ll get more life out of your system if you have it inspected and maintained once a year. Don’t assume it’s in great shape just because it makes cold air. It may not be operating at peak performance, which means money down the drain and less life out of the system.
  10. Thou shalt invest in thy lawn.  Depending on the current condition and make-up of your lawn and landscaping, springtime calls for various treatments to set your lawn and plants up for success throughout the growing season of spring, the heat of summer and the cooler temps of autumn.

With a seasonal checklist in hand, you can knock out quarterly home maintenance over the course of a week, or in a single afternoon. Tackling these chores helps keep your single largest tangible investment – your home – in excellent shape and can help you avoid the complicated problems and higher costs that sometimes accompany deferred maintenance.

Do you need a referral to a qualified service pro, or advice on which issues to tackle before putting your home on the market? Give me a call or drop a line, I’m happy to help.

Jack Meyers

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

Lowest Inventory in the History of Ever

According to statistics compiled by the Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR), the inventory of available homes in Metro Denver hit an all-time record low since the numbers have been tracked. 

This is great news for Sellers! People want to live in and around Denver, they’re willing to pay a premium to do so, and there aren’t enough houses, townhomes or condos to go around. It’s called a Sellers Market for a reason: the odds are in your favor, and this is an excellent time to maximize your homes potential and gain a return on your investment by selling your property, if you are in a position to do so.

The hot market we’re in right now is challenging for Buyers. Prices are strong. Inventory is low. Interest rates are on the rise. Factors like rising interest rates will eventually put a dent in the insane level of demand in our area because as financing becomes more expensive, fewer buyers will enter the marketplace. In the meantime though, if you are a buyer in the Metro Denver housing market, you need to do everything in your power to give yourself an edge.

Here are a few tips savvy Metro Denver Buyers can use to win at the game: 

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Secure financing first. Don’t begin the hunt until you are fully approved for a loan, and don’t wait to apply. If you want to move in 6-12 months, apply for financing now.

Know your timeline. If you want to move in a year, don’t assume you can wait 10 months to begin your home search. Even if the market cools a bit as the Fed raises rates, Denver will likely still be hopping in a year. Plan for the possibility you’ll be searching for a home for several months, and don’t put off the process until the moment you want or need to move.

Don’t go it alone. Unless you are an expert negotiator and familiar with the ins and outs of real estate contract law, seek expert representation to secure a legal, smooth-as-possible transaction. Things move quickly in a market like this, and if you aren’t prepared, you’ll lose out and possibly hit legal snafus along the way. Work with an experienced real estate professional to avoid pitfalls.

Whittle down your must-haves. Wouldn’t it be nice if your next house had freshly painted walls, beautiful hardwood floors, newer appliances (included, of course) and stylish high end draperies in every room? In a Sellers Market, you may have to give up on some of your wishes and hopes in order to snag a deal. You can paint, upgrade the flooring or appliances and install fancy curtains later; if you aren’t able to successfully close on a house, none of those details will matter. Choose 5 absolute must-haves and mentally prepare yourself to look past minor imperfections.

Steel yourself – there will be disappointment along the way. The reality of a competitive real estate marketplace is this: you will likely make offers (notice I said offers – plural) that are ignored completely or rejected. You may come back with a higher/better offer on a house you love and be rejected a second time. It will probably bum you out every single time – at least a little. The key is not to let yourself fall in love on the first date. Not even once you are under contract – because sometimes contracts fall through. The time to really let loose with a victorious hoot-holler-we-did-it victory dance is the moment you walk away from the closing table with keys in hand. That’s when the house is really yours, and that’s when to breathe a sigh of relief and start dreaming big dreams about your new digs.

Are you thinking about selling, and wondering if it’s worth your while? Thinking about moving closer to work, into the city, or further out into Suburbia?

Call me or drop me a line in email. I’ve been helping people buy and sell homes across Denver for over 20 years, and I’d love to help you make your next move.

Jack Meyers

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