Buyers Love Bragging Rights

As a seller, no matter the state of the market – Buyer’s Market, Seller’s Market or Balanced Market, paying attention to your property’s pluses will pay dividends at the closing table. Let’s talk about some of the features and benefits of your home you’ll want to make sure to mention to your pool of buyers.

STORAGE

If you’ve got storage to spare, whether in closets, the basement, your garage or a nifty shed in the backyard, MENTION IT! Current renters and anyone upsizing will be in need of additional storage and “not enough storage” may be one of their chief complaints. “We’ve got way too much storage space in this home!” Said no one, ever! If you’ve got it, flaunt it, and mention it in the listing description.

COMMUTABILITY

Few people enjoy a lengthy or traffic-riddled commute, and traffic in the Denver area has increased over the past several years. If your property is convenient to bus stops, Light Rail service, or convenient routes to downtown or other saturated work areas, shout it from the rooftops. Potential buyers will be more likely to keep you on the list, and to pay asking price or more, if you help paint the picture of all the extra time they’ll have in the home with commuter friendly benefits nearby.

ROOM FOR GRANNY & GRAMPS

If your home has comfortable space to accommodate aging relatives long term, or even just for the weekend, share this information clearly. With an aging Baby Boomer population choosing to move in with family instead of into long term care, having the right space for older loved ones is a priority for many families. Don’t miss the opportunity to appeal to buyers with this need.

GREEN & EFFICIENT LIVING

Highlighting features in this category will appeal not only to the Eco chic, but to budget savvy buyers as well. If you have energy efficient windows, solar panels, water saving toilets/shower heads/sprinkler system, make these details known. Everybody wants to save money. Even noting the savings on heat or AC based on shade trees or the direction your home faces, ie. lots of natural sunlight and lower heating bills for an East or South facing home. And if you can mention exactly how much your efficient features allowed you to cut utility bills, even better! Buyers will eat this stuff up. To attract the Green Scene, make sure you mention built in green features like a compost or recycling bin, organic garden in your backyard or items like a rain water barrel. If you have cleaned and maintained your home using natural substances only, mention this as well.

As a seller, what kind of return can you expect on your investment right now? As a buyer, which features beyond location, number of bedrooms, square footage and such are the best investment for your real estate dollar? I’m happy to help you understand what’s happening in the Denver market, and help you maximize your home buying dollar or make the most of your real estate sale.

Jack Meyers
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

Denver On Speed

According to the Denver Business Journal, last month Denver was the fastest selling housing market in the nation, with nearly half of homes on the market going under contract in just 6 days, down from an average of 11 days from Listing to Under Contract at the same time last year.

If you are listing your home for sale and staying in the Denver Metro Area, you may want to consider putting the cart before the horse, and pursuing your next home before you sell your current home.

Things to consider as a Seller in a fast-paced market:

  • Talk to your Realtor about including a contingency clause in your Contract to Buy & Sell; the Closing Date on the sale of your home will be determined by the forthcoming Closing Date on your next home.
  • Even if you aren’t comfortable making an offer before your home is Under Contract, begin searching for your next home (if you’re staying in the area) as soon as you begin preparing to list.
  • Have a Plan B — and maybe a Plan C for good measure.
    • If your home sells before you secure your next residence, can you stay in a residential hotel, or crash with a friend for a bit?
    • If you need to rent while you continue your search, what will this cost?
    • Where will you store your stuff if it takes time to land your next home?
    • Will temporary housing affect your commute?
    • Will you be able to rent within your current school district, if it takes time to find your next house?

As a Seller, the Denver housing market is highly in your favor, and it’s an exciting (and potentially profitable) time to sell your home. If you’re staying in the area and looking to upsize, downsize or transfer to another area of the city, you’ll want to work with your Realtor to plan the details of your “next” so every aspect of your sale, and the transition that follows, is as close to ideal as possible.

Thinking about making a move? In this marketplace, you’ll need an expert guide! Let me know how I can help.

Jack Meyers

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

A Denver Real Estate Health Check

According to a recent Denver Business Journal article, a report by New York-based financial services firm SmartAsset ranks Denver 9th in the nation among the healthiest urban housing markets. Factors analyzed for the study include stability, risk, fluidity (ease of sale), and affordability.

This is awesome news for local homeowners and those considering investing in the Denver Metro housing market. A couple of nifty highlights accompanying the report:

  • Homes in Denver are selling faster than anywhere else in the country at an average of 8 days from Listing to Contract.
  • The report found only 3.1 percent of Denver homes were decreasing in value, against a national average of 12.5 percent.

The market is hot, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to rest on your laurels. Maximizing your home’s potential as a Listing still matters, and experienced representation is vital for Buyers, who are up against a lot of competition in a market favoring the Seller.

If you are seeking a guide in our fast-paced marketplace or know someone who could use a hand, I’m happy to help. Give me a buzz or drop a line to find out what your house is worth in today’s market, or to plan the next move in your home search.

Jack Meyers

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

How Color Can Help (or Hurt) Your Sale

You don’t have to paint yourself into a bland corner or build a beige box to appeal to potential buyers, but there are good, better and best choices to make in paint colors, decor and accessories when preparing your home for sale. Read on for tips on revising the colors in your home to appeal to the most buyers, and choices to avoid if you’re planning a sale in the next 18-24 months.

paint-splash

In a Better Homes and Gardens survey, 58% of those polled listed orange, black and violet as the colors they’d be least likely to decorate with, in that order. One of the biggest fears shared by future homeowners is they’ll grow sick of the colors in their home. Cracking open a can of paint to try a new wall color may be easy for you (or not), but for some people, picking out a new shade, taping off and painting walls, trim and ceilings can be overwhelming. For some buyers, the move-in ready home they seek is a home that won’t require painting projects.

The BHG poll listed the living room, kitchen and bathroom as the most desirable spaces to feature color, with a preference for neutral, less saturated color in the foyer, dining room and master bedroom. If you’re going to leave a slightly “riskier” color in place when you list your home, pops of color in public spaces are safer bets; consider neutralizing high impact colors in the master bedroom or your home’s entryway. Even if your mantra is “nope to taupe,” you may want to choose a friendly shade of neutral beige, with pleasant accent colors or patterns, for your on-the-market bedroom.

Accent colors, rather than maximum color use on walls and in furniture, will please the most buyers. A heather gray sofa with pale gray walls can handle funky orange pillows, if that’s your speed. Buyers will be able to envision their own furniture in a neutral space like this, because even the least imaginative shoppers know your pillows will go when you do. Pumpkin orange walls though…that’s a tough sell for the majority of shoppers, and if they’re not willing to pick up a paint brush, they may cross your home off the list.

blue-paint

The survey revealed favorite colors (in order) are blue, green and neutral. Consider packing up your more colorful decor and weaving blue or green accents throughout your home for a cohesive design that will appeal to the most buyers. This can be done through pillows, picture frames, towels, dishware, area rugs and bedding. If your walls are already a neutral shade, adding accessories in the same color family will help your home feel like a show home rather than a disarray of mis-matchy-ness – a winning strategy for any listing.

red-door

One place to consider a bolder color choice is the front door. Check with your HOA for a list of approved paint color options and consider a classic red, hunter green or ochre (a deep yellow) as an accent shade on your door. A tasteful statement color on your front door (and a brand new door mat) can add to your home’s curb appeal for minimal investment, and enchant buyers from the moment they park the car.

The key to successful on-the-market interior design is to tone down any bold personal choices to make room for your buyer’s style. If your dream sofa is hot pink velvet with black and white striped pillows against a funky accent wall, go for it! In your next house. Take yourself out of the picture so buyers can picture life in “their” home, and you’ll help your sale happen in a timely fashion and for top dollar. At the end of the day, the color you’ll love most when your home sells is green; help your home’s top dollar potential by toning down bold colors and setting the stage for a successful sale.

Jack Meyers

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

Top Home Selling Mistakes

Top Home Selling Mistakes

and How to Avoid Them

Even in a seller’s market, there are things you can and should do to accommodate potential buyers. It can be challenging to set your personal beliefs about your home aside in order to see things from a buyer’s point of view, but that’s exactly the kind of thinking it takes to successfully sell your home. Read on for common seller mistakes that can cost you $$$ – and how to avoid these issues during the sale of your property.

The most common mistakes sellers make, according to Real Estate experts:

  1. Overpricing the Home
  2. Lack of Showing Availability
  3. Clutter
  4. Unpleasant Odors
  5. Deferred Maintenance

PRICE IT RIGHT

price

Ultimately, the price your home will be listed at is up to you. When you choose to work with an experienced Realtor, choose someone you can trust – and trust their ability to research an accurate Current Market Analysis (CMA) on your behalf. Even in a strong market, it is possible to overprice a home – making your property less attractive to buyers, causing the sale of your home to take longer, and probably costing you money in the end.

SHOW IT TO SELL IT

No matter what the market is like, every single showing could be the one that got away. Your Realtor’s job is to help you sell your time in a timely fashion, for the highest price possible. The more showings your property has, the faster it will sell. If your home lingers on the market because your big scary dog couldn’t be moved for showing appointments, or you didn’t feel like taking showings on a Saturday, the final price of your sale could take a hit; buyers will wonder why your home lingered in a hot marketplace, and adjust their offer accordingly.

SCALE BACK YOUR STUFF

Clutter

If all buyers see upon entering your home is a parade of collectibles, family portraits going back 25 years or piles-upon-piles of any kind of stuff, they won’t be able to picture themselves in your home. You don’t have to stage your home to sell it (although staging can positively impact the sales price of your home), but you should box up obvious clutter, tone down any taste-specific decor, and remove all but a bare minimum of family portraits. Buyers aren’t looking for your home – they’re looking for their home – and you need to get out of the way so they can picture themselves living there.

UNPLEASANT ODORS 

The sense of smell is one of our most powerful connections to memory, and there is nothing pleasant about stinky litter boxes, wet dog, indoor smoking or even certain strong cooking odors. Yuck! You don’t have to banish Fido or stop using your kitchen, but you should do everything in your power to minimize or eliminate odors. Consider having your carpets and furniture cleaned, hire professional cleaners to freshen the place up, use natural deodorizers like lemon, vinegar and baking soda, and give your house a good airing out on a nice day. Don’t spray gallons of noxious scented air freshener or burn flowery candles in every room; these are dead giveaways of an odor problem. Do buy a few bottles of unscented Febreze and lightly spray in affected areas of your home before work or a few minutes before a scheduled showing, if you are home. Ultimately, flooring and other surfaces affected by pets, etc., are likely to come up in sales negotiation. If you have furry family members and they make messes, you may pay a bit of a premium at the negotiating table. Don’t let your pets (or smoking or cooking) stink out potential buyers, and do be prepared for it to cost you a few bucks when you sell.

PROJECTS LEFT UNDONE

honey-do

Some homeowners keep meticulous files on every major appliance and system in their home, conducting maintenance at regular intervals and noting exactly what happened when, from furnace filter replacement to blowing out the dryer vent. The rest of us… well – not everybody is so on top of it. You may not change your furnace filter quite as often as you should, or fix a leaking faucet the day you spot the drip-drip-drip, but you should take care of minor maintenance issues before listing your home for sale. When buyers come across non-working appliances, broken sprinkler heads, cracked windows, etc. – they wonder what else you haven’t kept up with. Don’t give buyers a reason to cross your home off their list or lower their offer over home maintenance fears. Either tackle the honey-do list yourself, or hire a handyman to do it. Don’t assume the buyer will be happy to overlook minor issues with your home because you have. Would you buy a car with a flat tire or cracked rear view mirror? Probably not – and buyers won’t want the bother of completing chores you’ve been avoiding for months or more, either.

The cool thing about selling your home is – it isn’t rocket science! But it does help you net more for your home to work with an experienced professional who knows the market where you live, knows how to help you prepare for a sale, and can negotiate a deal that benefits both your timeline and your bottom line. It also makes a difference to check items like this off your list before you invite buyers through the door.

Call me or drop a line – I’m happy to give you the information you need to successfully buy, sell or invest in the greater Denver home marketplace.

Jack Meyers

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

Home Improvement MISTAKES for Future Sellers

Mom & Pop may have lived their entire lives in the same cozy home in Pleasantville, but chances are good the home you live in now may not be your forever home. The average American will move 11.4 times in their lifetime (maybe that “.4” is just switching bedrooms!), although figures vary depending on age and income level. When you are considering a permanent update to your home (flooring, appliances, structural changes or additions, landscaping, etc.), you should consider not only your budget and preferences, but the likes and dislikes of future buyers. Not every improvement will net you a 100% return, and some renovations may even hurt your chances of a top-notch home sale down the road. Here are a few home improvement mistakes to avoid:

Home Renovation

  1. Painting over desirable vintage surfaces. If you’ve got ugly wood paneling from the seventies and can’t afford to replace it, by all means bring out the paint. If you have charming exposed brick, think long and hard before you paint if white for your preferred “shabby chic” look. Many people love the look of exposed brick, and paint is nearly impossible to remove from brick. If you will likely move in less than 10 years, consider leaving it alone and focus on other updates.
  2. Choosing a garish shade of paint or siding. There are ways to win the color war in terms of your home’s exterior. Brick red with crisp white shutters, sunny yellow in the right neighborhood, navy blue … these shades can be winners in the right settings, but in the long run your safest bet is neutral shades like taupe, gray or neutral greens.
  3. Covering up hardwood flooring. If your home has hardwood flooring in refinishable condition, consider going that route rather than covering it up with wall to wall carpeting. More than half of buyers prefer hard surface flooring to carpet, and a professional refinishing job will last for years. If you love the feel of carpet underfoot, buy the largest rug you can afford. You’ll enjoy the soft texture on your tootsies and protect your hardwood floor as well.
  4. Installing a backyard pool. Pools make for all kinds of family fun – but they also come with liability concerns and increased homeowners insurance. Buyers that are initially lured in by the cool factor may have second thoughts when they consider the upkeep and undesirable extras that can accompany poolside living. The same goes for hot tubs. A small percentage of buyers will see it as a bonus, but buyers with germaphobia (or small children) will only see it as a headache.
  5. Forgetting to let the light in. You may enjoy blackout darkness in your bedroom when the sun rises and you’re trying to catch a few more zzz’s, but prospective buyers will best picture themselves in a sunny, well lit home. Don’t neglect lighting in your interior projects. Include plenty of ambient and task lighting in the form of dimmable overhead lights, undercabinet lighting and lamps. When your house is on the market, lighten up window treatments if necessary and keep them open to let in as much natural light as possible.
  6. Go easy on accessibility. If you have outfitted your home with stairlifts, step-in bathtubs or entryway ramps to accommodate your own needs or those of a loved one, consider minimizing these elements at the time of sale. For individuals or families who don’t require or desire these items, they can be a distraction and add age to the feel of a home. In some cases these elements may be necessary to the safety or comfort of the people living in your home. If that’s the case, renovate as necessary – but do so knowing you may need to undo these changes at the time of sale or accept a longer period of time on the market or lower price at the closing table.
  7. Ignoring outdated fixtures. Gleaming brass is so 1989 – and not in a fun retro way, either! Replacing dated knobs and fixtures on doors, bathrooms and in kitchens can add up, but if you know you’ll sell in the future, pick a classic finish like polished chrome or satin nickel and replace your knobs and fixtures over time as you can afford to do so. Start with most-used spaces (master bedroom, public bathroom, kitchen faucet) and work your way through the home a room or space at a time.
  8. Splurging on high maintenance countertop materials. You may love high end carrera marble or soapstone countertops, but these materials have a high level of maintenance to match their hefty initial price tags. Consider instead engineered quartz or granite counters, or if you have your heart set on marble, use it as a bathroom tile backsplash rather than a kitchen counter that will see a lot of use. Future buyers will thank you for this wise decision.
  9. Nixing a bedroom in favor of a larger master suite. Three bedroom homes will almost always command a higher sales price than two bedroom homes of similar square footage. If you can afford to build the master suite of your dreams and can live without the additional bedroom, consider renovation options that will allow you to turn the additional space back into a bedroom for a future sale, such as adding a door without removing an entire wall to turn the guest room next door into a killer closet. You’ll likely save on reno costs and be glad you set yourself up for success when it is time to list.

If you have questions about buying or selling in Metro Denver, give me a ring. I’m here to help however I can, and I’ve been helping people buy, sell and invest in Denver for over 21 years.

Jack Meyers

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

 

Should you Sell Your Own Home?

In a fast moving market like we’ve got in Denver, it can be tempting to skip the “middle man” and sell your own home. As a longtime agent in Metro Denver (21 years and counting) I get it: commission cuts into your bottom line, and when you know the house will probably sell, why pay someone else to assist the process? There are many good reasons to consult a licensed Realtor to ensure a successful sale, and most of them have to do with your bottom line, too.

FSBO sign

According to statistics compiled by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the national median sales price for homes For Sale By Owner is $210,000. The national median sales price for homes sold with the assistance of an agent is $249,000 – nearly $40,000 more. (NAR, 2015 national home sales data)

If you are avoiding representation in a bid to save on commission, consider how much you are likely giving up in terms of sales price. An experienced Realtor is more than a paper pusher; I work hard to market each individual property // seller I represent, and statistics show having a pro by your side makes a big difference in the closing price.

Eighty-nine percent of all homes sold in 2015 were listed with the assistance of a professional. (NAR, 2015 national home sales data). 

If you are among the 11% of sellers flying solo in this challenging real estate market, your competition is more than the other homes on the block – it is the other homes on the block + the savvy professionals representing those listings. You owe it to yourself (and your home equity) to invest in quality, professional service in the sale of your home. 89% of the sellers in your community will tell you the same thing.

Beyond the statistics, I have seen increasing challenges from sign-to-sale in this marketplace. 

The paperwork and legal details surrounding a real estate transaction can be daunting, and when a deal moves forward only to crash and burn – well, disappointment hardly begins to cover it. Starting again from square one takes resilience, knowledge, and an ability to move forward quickly in order to regain positive momentum and (hopefully) close the next one. It is my job to handle challenges of this nature on behalf of clients and carry the deal forward – sometimes through more than one roadblock of this nature.

The truth? You can definitely sell your own home. You can download the necessary forms, put a sign in the yard, post your info several places for free and a few places for cheap and hold your own showings. But do you really want to? And when push comes to shove, do you want to pick up the pieces by yourself if a deal goes south?

If not, I’m here to help. No pressure – just call or email to chat and get answers to your questions, and if you aren’t ready to list or you still choose to go it alone, I wish you the very best of luck. If, however, you have visions of $40,000 going down the drain and you’d like to enlist my help, I’m here, ready to answer your call.

Jack Meyers

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