Your June Home Maintenance Checklist

With the first day of Summer nearly here, it’s time to get started on your June home maintenance checklist. Many of these tasks are DIY-able with a little help from the interwebs, but if you’d like a referral to a trustworthy pro, I’m happy to provide a reference.

  1. Clean the dryer vent pipe.
  2. Prune shrubs around your Central Air unit; ensure it is level.
  3. Replace AC filter. 
  4. Clean and inspect AC condensation drain line. 
  5. Spray or leave traps for Summertime pests.
  6. Test and adjust sprinkler system.
  7. Wash exterior windows. 
  8. Inspect/clean/repair window screens. 
  9. Pressure wash exterior surfaces/sidewalk/driveway.
  10. Clean and maintain the grill. 

grill

Are you considering Buying or Selling a home in the Denver area this Summer, or this year? Give me a ring – I’d love to represent you in our fast-paced marketplace.

Jack Meyers

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

 

 

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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

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

 

 

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

If You Had a Do-Over…

If you’re like a lot of people, you learn by doing. When it comes to buying a home for the first time, a lot of learning takes place in the form of mistakes. Purchasing a home is a major investment, and first time buyers are more educated than ever thanks to the internet and other technology. Still, you don’t know what you don’t know, and first time buyers don’t always know the right questions to ask, sometimes causing home buying newbies to miss out on useful information. Here are a few tips from first time buyers who will do things differently next time.

First Time Buyers

Talk to a mortgage broker long before you are ready to buy. 

If you make great money, have cash in the bank and an excellent credit score, you are probably well on your way to buying that first home. If you aren’t sure of your credit score, whether you have enough credit, or whether your household income is sufficient to help you qualify for the type of home you’d really like to live in, talk to a mortgage pro now, before you need them. If buying a home is out of your grasp for any reason, a qualified, experienced mortgage professional can guide your next steps and help you gear up to qualify for a home loan; this beats finding out by surprise that you can’t buy a home 3 months down the road, even though your lease will be up and you’d really like to buy at that time.

Talking to a mortgage broker will help clarify items like:

  • How much money should you have in the bank?
  • Are your student loans in good standing?
  • Is your debt to income ratio acceptable? If not, how can you fix it?
  • Is your income adequate?
  • Do you have enough/too many lines of credit open?

If you’re on the fence, buy sooner – not later. 

In many cases, renting your home is akin to throwing money away; you are basically paying your landlord’s mortgage, and not getting anything more than shelter out of the deal. If you can buy, do it. Invest wisely, but don’t wait to buy if you know you’ll be in a particular area for 3-5 years or more. Many first time buyers wish they’d pulled the trigger sooner.

Get prequalified for a loan before you shop. 

Even if you are starting your home search online, as many buyers do, you’ll want to be prequalified before you begin searching in earnest for your first home. It is heartbreaking to find the perfect $350,000 home only to learn you qualify for a maximum loan of $275k. A realistic home search is the right home search for you, and you’ll enjoy the process more (and waste less time) when you know you are looking at homes in your price range. The key term is PREQUALIFIED, not preapproved. A preapproval letter is informal and doesn’t offer the official status of prequalification, which means you are qualified by a bank or other lending institution to borrow up to a certain amount.

Work with an experienced Realtor. 

An experienced Realtor will provide helpful tips on the search process, aides in negotiating the deal, and handles all the details of your transaction. Especially in a fast-moving marketplace, it is vital to have a professional representing your interests in the transaction. Even if you are planning a purchase a year or two from now, it doesn’t hurt to interview Realtors in your area to find the right professional to assist in your home search. Most Realtors can keep an eye out for homes that match your specifications and email you property matches on a regular basis so you can keep an eye on the marketplace as you prepare for your future purchase.

Conduct a home inspection – and ask a lot of questions. 

The home inspection is a chance to test drive your future home. Bring a notebook and a pen and don’t be afraid to ask the inspector questions or clarify anything he/she says during your inspection. Before the inspection, confirm whether the inspector will get up on the roof or go into the attic. Hire an experienced inspector, not a newbie and not the cheapest guy you can find. Home inspection is imperative for first time or 10th time buyers. Even if the seller is unlikely to make repairs, I wouldn’t recommend any buyer purchase a home (even new construction) without a detailed home inspection. Make notes about items you need to learn more about and improvements or repairs the inspector recommends, then follow through. You should receive a detailed report afterward; ask the inspector to include notes about recommendations he/she has made about systems within the home, landscaping concerns (such as improper soil grade away from the home for drainage), condition of electrical or plumbing, etc.

Purchasing a home is the most significant investment most people will make in a lifetime, and buying your first home is sure to be a meaningful transaction. Prepare thoughtfully for success and your diligence will pay off.

Jack Meyers

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

What Second Time Buyers Know Now

Home Dreaming

Buying your first home is an exciting adventure! It can also be a lesson in hard knocks as real estate newbies figure out how it all works on the journey toward buying the right home in the right neighborhood at the right price. In hindsight, there are typically a few things first time buyers would do differently if they had a handy dandy time machine to take them back to the beginning of the home buying process.

Learn from these common mistakes and wish-I-wouldas of first time buyers before you sign on the dotted line. 

  • I wish we would have gotten to know the neighborhood better before we bought the house. Without actually living in the home and neighborhood, you can’t know every single nuance of life in that location. But you can do a little side research to increase the odds of landing in a place you’ll love to call home. Take your dog on a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood. Drive by in the morning, afternoon and evening. Stop by a few neighbor’s homes to introduce yourself and ask them about pet peeves and favorite aspects of the neighborhood. Beyond crime statistics, school districts and nearby amenities, a little detective work can go a long way in helping you get to know a potential neighborhood before you buy.
  • I wish we would have paid more attention to the other costs associated with home ownership. Beyond PITI (principle, interest, taxes and property insurance), there are additional costs to home ownership you need to include in budgetary planning. These may include home owner’s association (HOA) dues, private mortgage insurance, utility expenses, home repairs and maintenance, and other potential costs like a home security system.
  • We made several offers on homes we liked before we landed our house. I wish we had been better prepared for disappointment along the way. The Metro Denver real estate market is fast paced and seller-oriented right now, and not every accepted offer makes it to the closing table. It is tempting to fall in love with a house and begin to envision your life there, but with as many as 1 in 5 deals falling through, don’t mentally “move in” until the ink is dry on the closing docs. It’s okay to be optimistic, but that bright-eyed optimism should be tempered with reality, too.
  • Our house was perfect for two years. Five years in and this is tight quarters for our growing family! There is nothing wrong with settling into a cozy starter home, and buying is almost always a financially savvier choice than renting. If possible, it makes good fiscal sense to buy for long term livability, not just the now. Don’t overbuy – if you and your partner have a cat, you may not need a five bedroom McMansion in the suburbs. If you know you’ll have a family or maybe host your aging parents as roomies in the next five or ten years, think past a one or two bedroom place and consider how your needs may change in the future.
  • Our Realtor wasn’t as experienced as we thought. We wish we would have asked more questions. Read more about finding the best professional to represent you in a real estate transaction here. It’s important to ask thoughtful questions. Not all Realtors have the same level of experience, neighborhood knowledge or negotiating skill. Choosing an experienced Realtor is up to you, and there is more than likability to consider. I’ve learned a lot in my 22 years in the Denver real estate market. As a home buyer in this marketplace, you need savvy representation – not a newbie still figuring things out or a part time Realtor who closes a deal or two a year.

If you are seeking a knowledgeable guide in the hot Metro Denver real estate market, I’d be happy to lend a hand. I’ve been helping people buy and sell homes in the greater Denver area for 22 years, and it would be my pleasure to put my experience to work for you.

Jack Meyers

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