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

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Ways to Save on Homeowner’s Insurance

It’s time once again for everyone’s #favorite: Homeowner’s Insurance! I know…property insurance isn’t the sexiest Real Estate-related topic out there, but if you’ve found a just-right home, moved yourself in, and filled it with the best appliances, fixtures and furniture you can afford + all your favorite tchotchkes, you’ll want to have a reasonable level of protection in case disaster strikes. The great news is there are ways to streamline the cost of homeowner’s insurance while still maintaining optimal coverage.

6 Ways to Save on Homeowner’s Insurance

  1. Ask your Agent. Chances are good you qualify for one or more discounts, but you don’t get what you don’t ask for. Ask your agent point blank what discounts you may qualify for, or if you can do anything specific to qualify for additional savings.
  2. Bundle to Save. If you are able to insure your home, vehicle or health through the same company, go for it! Shop around to find out which agencies offer the best multiple policy savings.
  3. Raise your Deductible. As with most types of insurance, a higher deductible = lower premiums. Before making this change, educate yourself on how this will impact items like broken windows or minor damage from leaking pipes, as items like this will more than likely be out of pocket with a higher deductible.
  4. Pay off your Mortgage. Are you laughing at that one? As with any major asset, when you pay off your home, your premiums will likely decrease.
  5. Compare Annually to Save. Set a calendar reminder once a year to shop around and make sure you are getting the best rates. It may not be worth the hassle to save a couple bucks a month, but if you are diligent, you may turn up savings of as much as 10-15%, and that adds up. If you’ve stayed with the same company for a long time, ask about loyalty discounts.
  6. Install a Security System. Installing and maintaining a recognized security system may save you as much as 5% with some companies. Before you shop for an alarm system, talk to your insurance provider to find out which products qualify and how much you could save before you sign a contract for services.

Do you have questions that can only be answered by a qualified insurance professional? I’m happy to refer you to a few great providers. Let me know how I can help!

Jack Meyers

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

Property Insurance Check-Up

After Monday’s hailstorm did extensive damage across Metro Denver, damaging shops and homes, and causing car accidents, many people are making calls to their insurance providers. If a disaster happened to your home, do you know, for sure, that you’re adequately covered?

Here’s a rundown of Property Insurance Basics you need to know:

  1. You don’t have to own your home to need insurance. Many landlords require renters insurance, and a minimal investment in rental coverage can offer a lot of coverage, in case an incident occurs. If your apartment building burns down with all your stuff inside, renters insurance can help you replace your property, as an example.
  2. Standard home owner’s insurance policies cover the following: Interior or Exterior Damage due to weather, fire, vandalism or other covered disasters. You’ll be compensated so your home can be repaired or, if necessary, rebuilt. Flood and earthquake insurance require additional, specialty coverage. Garages, sheds or any structures not directly connected to your home, will require an addendum in order to be covered.                                                                              Loss or damage to your personal property, including clothing, furniture, appliances and most of the other contents of your home, assuming the damage occurs as part of a covered disaster. According to the Insurance Information Institute, most insurance companies will provide coverage for 50–70% of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home. If you own high value jewelry, antiques or electronics, you will want to provide documentation of these items to your insurance company prior to the need for a claim.

    Personal liability for damage or injuries caused by you or your family. Liability coverage protects you from lawsuits filed by others, including pet issues. Insurance experts recommend having at least $300k worth of coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

    Hotel or house rental while your home is repaired. This type of insurance coverage is known as additional living expenses (ALE). ALE reimburses you for rent, hotel room, restaurant meals and other costs you incur while waiting for your home to become habitable again.

  3. Different types of coverage include: Actual Cash Coverage (the current value of your home and its contents, minus depreciation); Replacement Coverage (actual cash value without subtracting depreciation); Guaranteed Replacement Cost (comprehensive coverage for the actual replacement cost of your home and personal property – including inflation).
  4. What ISN’T included? Natural disasters, acts of God, acts of war
  5. How much does it cost? The average yearly premium cost for U.S. homeowners insurance in 2013 (the latest year for which data is available) was $1,096, according to a 2016 report by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, but premiums vary widely and depend on multiple factors, including your state. Price will of course be determined by how much coverage you buy, a decision you can only make after evaluating the market value of your house, completing a household inventory, and deciding how much liability protection you want.Other variables include your zip code. If you live in a high-crime area, for example, insurance premiums will be higher. Companies also take into account the size of your house, how close it is to a fire hydrant, the condition of your plumbing, heating and electrical systems, how many claims were filed against the home you’re seeking to insure, and even details like your credit score that reflect on how responsible a consumer – and, therefore, a homeowner – you are.

    Shop around and do your research when it comes to homeowner’s insurance coverage. Ask questions like, “If a sprinkler head breaks in the yard and my basement floods, will I be covered?” You might be surprised by the answer, and you don’t want to be caught off guard. This exact scenario happened to a friend of mine, and the insurance company denied the claim because the sprinkler head was outside the home, and not, in their view, technically attached to the property.

Stay tuned for a discussion of ways to save on your insurance coverage!

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

Increase the Value of Your Home on a Shoestring

You can add a wing to the manse to add value, but if you’re short on butlers (or bucks), there are minor improvements you can make to increase the value of your home. These tips are great for staging to sell, a spring home refresher, or any time minor  home improvements.

  • Purchase new shades for lamps, and do a bit of research on the right bulb for healthy + happy lighting in each particular room. Some spaces benefit from bright, cool light, some are better with warm pools of light. A lampshade switcharoo and the right bulb in lamps or overhead lighting can make a big difference.
  • Add sparkle to cabinets and cupboards with new hardware. Cabinet pulls and drawer pulls are the jewelry of your kitchen and bathroom cabinets and can upgrade the look of the room for just a few bucks.
  • Paint is one of the fastest, cheapest, easiest ways to add value to your home. If you’re planning to sell in the near future, go neutral. If you’re staying put for awhile, go as bold as you want!
  • Plant a tree, shrub or flower bed. Just as good? Trim overgrown bushes or invest a little time in your lawn.
  • Purchase a new kitchen faucet. You can modernize the look of the entire room with this small change.
  • Buy a new rug for your living room, dining room or master bedroom. Make sure you purchase the right size rug for your furniture layout and the space available.
  • Re-caulk sinks and tubs. This boosts the cleanliness factor and can make the room feel newer.

Need advice on which projects to tackle before you list your home, or which projects are the best long term investment? Give me a call – I’m happy to help.

Jack Meyers

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

Spring Lawn Care

Nothing says “I love my home” like a well kept lawn. 

hand lawn

Seasonal transitions mean it’s time to treat your lawn to a little something extra, and if you’d like to be the envy of your block and the pride of your HOA, now is the time to take care of business in your yard.

5 Tips on Caring for Spring Lawns: 

spring lawn

  1. Hold your horses! Don’t aerate until your lawn is mostly green; tackling this task too early can damage young grass shoots.
  2. Rake it like you mean it. Dead grass, leaves, and other detritus can put a choke-hold on your lawn, slowing new growth and preventing proper moisture absorption + evaporation. Give your yard a thorough combing, or hire a power raking pro.
  3. This is your lawn on ACID… Winter conditions can increase the pH level of your soil, making it too acidic for grass to thrive. Spend a few bucks for a soil testing kit to determine the acidity level in your yard, and if levels are high, spread a bit of lime to balance out the acid.
  4. Did you fertilize in the fall? If so, your grass is likely still happily processing the nutrients you applied at that time. If not, consider fertilizing now to prepare your lawn for the growth season.
  5. Pre-treat for weeds. This step is ideal for fall, which lets you prevent gnarly weeds before they happen. It’s not too late for a pre-emergent weed killer in the spring, but apply sparingly: you don’t want to harm tender young grass. Tackling weeds before they spread will mean fewer full grown weeds in summer.

Do you need a referral to a lawn care specialist or other home pro? I’ve been in the biz for 22+ years, and I’ve got a guy for just about every home-related task. Just ask!

Jack Meyers

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

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