Before you Buy Appliances, Read This

This time of year, you can often find great deals on home appliances. Big box stores are clearing out older models to make room for next year’s newest refrigerators, ovens and washing machines. How do you know when it’s time to throw in the towel on your current appliances, rather than contact a repair man?

Below is a guide to how long home appliances should last, on average. The lifespan of contemporary models varies a little based on use, but if you have an appliance on the fritz that is nearing the end of an average lifespan, it may be a sounder investment to purchase a new one, rather than make a temporary fix. Read on for basic information on the life of your appliances.

THE BIG STUFF

Furnace ….. Should last 15-20 Years ….. Cost to Replace $3500-4000

Water Heater ….. Should last 10-15 Years ….. Cost to Replace $800-1000

Air Conditioner ….. Should last 10-15 Years ….. Cost to Replace $5000-6000

Roof ….. Should last 20-30 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $6000-8000

PLUMBING

Pipes ….. Should last 75-100 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $1200-2000

Shower ….. Should last 20 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $800-1200

Toilet ….. Should last 10 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $350-550

APPLIANCES

Microwave ….. Should last 8-10 Years ….. Cost to Replace $250-350

Dishwasher ….. Should last 8-10 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $600-800

Trash Compactor ….. Should last 5-6 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $500-600

Oven ….. Should last 13-15 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $1000-2000

Fridge ….. Should last 12-14 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $1500-2000

Washer + Dryer ….. Should last 10-13 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $1000-1800

OTHER

Garage Door Opener ….. Should last 10-15 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $300-500

Garbage Disposal ….. Should last 10-12 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $400-600

Electrical ….. Should last 10-12 Years ….. Cost to Replace ….. $1300-$2000

Swamp Cooler ….. Should last 15-20 Years ….. $2500-3500

Whether you’re looking for a reliable repair service, the best place to score a deal on a new stainless fridge, or advice on whether to update appliances before you put your house on the market, I’m here to help. Call or drop a line to let me know how I can be of service.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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The Right Way to Work With Contractors

Contractors 2

If you own your home, you’ve probably considered various projects to bring it up-to-date or to upgrade your kitchen, a bathroom, your yard, flooring, etc. While this time of year is a slower season for contractors, in general, there are people who plan projects just before the holidays to wow upcoming house guests, or just to treat themselves to an extra special Christmas gift. This is also the time of year to begin planning projects for next Spring, as this is the busy season for most contractors and you’ll want your project to be on their schedule before they’re all booked up.

Whether you are a newbie to working with a contractor or have completed major renovations with the help of a contractor and/or team of professionals, there are ways to ensure the outcome is positive for both sides. Read on for tips on working with your contractor the right way.

GET RECOMMENDATIONS. Talk to friends and family, neighbors, the folks at the hardware store, building inspectors, the lumber yard, and of course the Realtor who helped you purchase your home.

WEED OUT ANY BAD SEEDS ON THE PHONE. Once you have a list of potential contractors, call each of them with the following questions:

  • Can you give me a list of previous clients?
  • Do you typically accept projects of this size?
  • How many other projects would you have going at the same time as mine?
  • How long have you worked with your subcontractors?
  • Are you available during my preferred timeline?

MEET YOUR TOP 3-4 PICKS IN PERSON. This is when your contractor will take measurements to offer an estimate, and this is your chance to ask questions and get to them a little better. Your rapport with a general contractor matters, and you should be comfortable asking any and all questions (including ‘do you have any concerns about my project’) understanding the timeline and process, and finding out if you are a good fit personally.

DO YOUR RESEARCH. Follow up with references the contractor provides you, check them out with the Better Business Bureau, and if possible — visit a current job site. These or other folks on the team will be in your home if you hire this team, and you’ll want to watch for behavior that seems courteous and careful of the workspace; this is, after all, someone’s home.

DON’T SETTLE FOR A LESS-THAN-IDEAL CANDIDATE BASED ON TIMING. If you come across an amazing contractor, chances are he or she will not be available on your timeline; contractors with stellar reputations and references probably keep a full calendar, and they aren’t waiting for the phone to ring. Once you’ve interviewed a few candidates, don’t settle for the one with the soonest available slot in an effort to hurry your project up. If your top pick has a two year waiting list, you may not be willing to wait that long, but if you settle for a contractor who is less than ideal but has the time, you may not be happy with the finished product.

REQUEST ITEMIZED BIDS FROM YOUR SHORT LIST. For a true cost comparison, ask each contractor you interview in person to provide an itemized bid. This will allow you to compare labor vs. materials. It’s a good idea, if you are considering a variety of materials or finished, to ask for a bid that includes these options. Concrete counter tops vs. marble, hardwood floors vs. luxury wood look vinyl, oak cabinets vs. cherry — a savvy contractor can give you a ballpark idea of how the project cost will vary based on material selection.

CONSIDER MORE THAN PRICE. Some of the best advice you can follow in terms of contractors — or any service provider: Throw out the lowball bid. If one bid is significantly lower than the others, there is reason for it, and probably not one that serves your interests in the long run. You don’t want a contractor who is flat broke, or may cut corners to get your job done. Either that or additional costs will pop up along the way and you’ll be unpleasantly surprised at the final cost of your project, compared to the initial bid. If a bid seems to good to be true — it probably is.

SET A PAYMENT SCHEDULE. A typical payment schedule is 10% up front, 25/25/25 during the project, and the remaining 15% when you consider every detail of the project to be in place as promised. A contractor who wants 50% up front, or whose payment schedule makes you uncomfortable in any way, is probably one to avoid.

GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING. Casual conversations do not make for great legal protection. If you discuss a change or addition to the project or the terms of your agreement with the contractor, get it in writing, with signatures and dates from each party involved. Don’t be afraid to ask for an addendum to the contract; a trustworthy contractor will follow through on his or her word, but if a misunderstanding or dispute should arise at any point, you don’t want to rely on either party’s recollection of a conversation — you’ll want clear terms in writing that all parties have agreed to. A solid professional will want this as well.

If you need a referral to a quality contractor (or a butcher, baker, candlestick maker, plumber, etc.), I’m happy to help! I’ve been helping Denver-area residents Buy, Sell and Invest for over 20 years, and I’d love to put my professional phonebook to work for you.

Drop me a line,

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

 

 

 

 

 

6 Reasons Your House Isn’t Selling

Not Selling 2

In an ideal world, you stick a sign in the yard, a pre-qualified Buyer shows up, and bada-bing-bada-boom — SOLD! In the real world though, home sales rarely happen that way.

The market in Metro Denver, and much of the country, remains strong; you can’t expect your home to sell overnight, but if your listing lingers on the market and showing activity begins to slump, chances are it’s not the market — it’s your house. 

Read on for 6 potential reasons your house isn’t selling.

Reason #1: Bad photography.   Your home needs to present beautifully in person, and online. The majority of Buyers begin their search online, and if your home photos are grainy, dim or unattractive, you may not pique enough interest to clinch a showing.

Reason #2: Lack of staging. Even in a Seller’s market, you can’t rest on your laurels and assume Buyers will fall for your home. Staging matters! Whether you pick up advice online and do your own staging, work with tips shared by your Realtor, or hire a pro — arranging your furniture, decluttering and depersonalizing your home will help your property appeal to more Buyers, and can ultimately lead to a higher selling price.

Reason #3: What’s that smell? Do not underestimate the potential for odors from pets, strong cooking smells or cigarette smoke to derail the sale of your home. Don’t rely on scented candles to cover up unpleasant smells; have your carpets and if necessary your furniture professionally cleaned, consider painting walls or ceilings in the kitchen or other problem areas to freshen the space, use unscented Febreze as necessary (especially before showings) and be diligent about tackling the litter box of other sources of odor while your house is on the market.

Reason #4: Ancient appliances. You don’t have to present Buyers with this year’s top of the line model refrigerator, dishwasher or stove, but if your appliances haven’t been en vogue since The Brady Bunch was new, you may want to consider an Appliance Allowance for potential Buyers. Dated appliances can drag the value of your home down.

Reason #5: The big “D.” Deferred maintenance is not an attractive look for any home. Cracked windowpanes, broken shower doors, wonky HVAC systems…when Buyers see a home in need of repair, they begin to wonder what larger issues lurk below the surface, and no one wants a risky investment. Replace broken items and have repairs made before your listing goes live to avoid these issues.

Reason #6: Your home is overpriced. If comparable homes are selling faster than yours, or several offers have come in significantly below asking price, it’s time to get real about the list price of your home. You, the Seller, don’t really set the price for your home; the market sets the price. If showings have slumped and homes similar to yours are selling, you need to take a look at comparable sold homes and adjust the list price accordingly.

DON’T SETTLE FOR A LAME DUCK LISTING. Drop me a line to let me know how I can help your home sell for top dollar and in a timely fashion.

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

5 Classic Home Buying Mistakes Millennials Make

New generation…same old financial mistakes. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Chances are good, your parents didn’t take you and your siblings aside to share the finer details of the sale or purchase of your family home when you were growing up. Hey — I get it! Mortgage terms and price-per-square-foot are details lost on adolescent minds, but now that you are ready for #adulting, it’s time to figure out how this stuff works so you can do your home purchase right. Here are 5 mistakes home buyers often make — but you can avoid!

Starting your home search before pre-qualifying for a mortgage. You check your bank balance before hitting the grocery store, right? Don’t go shopping for a home before you’ve lined up home financing. And not a guesstimate, but an official letter from a mortgage company stating your qualification to purchase a home up to $XX with XYZ terms. Don’t fall in love with a house you can’t afford, or a house you’ll lose out on to another buyer because your financing isn’t in place yet.

Shopping without a list. If you had all the time and money in the world, you could shop and shop (and shop) for your home, and wait until you find the perfect home before making an offer. In the real world, there is probably competition in the marketplace, and you should shop with a top 5 list of non-negotiable wants and needs, including factors like the number of bedrooms and/or bathrooms, square footage, location, lot size, car storage, and possibly amenities like a gourmet kitchen, finished basement or fireplace.

Buying for right now — without thinking about 3-5-7 years from now. When you are ready take your first steps as a homeowner, think beyond your housing needs this month, this year, or even next year. Ideally, you’ll purchase a home you are likely to be happy in for 5+ years. Circumstances may change, and you might move on from this home before 5 or more years have passed, but you want to buy a home to suit your needs long enough that you’ll be able to gain equity over time, and if you buy a home and end up selling it a couple of years down the road, you may miss out on the maximum equity potential of the property.

Overbuying. You might qualify for a $450k mortgage, but does that mean you should buy a house for that amount? Not necessarily. Buy the best house you can afford, that will put you at a monthly payment you are comfortable with. Don’t max out your home purchase just to spend; max out your checklist items and the long term potential of your home purchase, and make sure you leave enough wiggle room in your ongoing budget to make the updates you want to in your new home, too.

Underbuying. By the same token, if you qualify for the same $450k and buy a lackluster 1 bedroom condo in a so-so neighborhood out of fear — you are selling yourself (or is that buying yourself…) short. Run the numbers, and certainly don’t set yourself up for failure a year or two from now if you can’t pay the monthly mortgage, but if you are too conservative in your purchase, the tiny pad you buy now might not meet your needs 2-3 years down the road, and you won’t have had time to build much equity in the property before it’s time to sell and move onward and upward.

Are you looking for a guide to help you find a great deal on the right home for you? I’ve been in the Denver Real Estate game for over 20 years, and I’m here to help. Drop me a line to let me know how I can make your home purchase plans a reality.

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

7 Ways to Make UR New House a Home

You’ve moved into your new place, unpacked enough stuff to make toast and get dressed for work this week, and the kids’ favorite stuffed animals are in play…

Now what? 

Successfully settling into a new home takes a lot of doing, but not every item on your list should be a chore. Here is a list of 7 easy ways to embrace your new neighborhood, and take steps toward truly making your new house a home.

Fam Restaurant

RESTAURANTS…..Make a game of finding everyone’s favorite restaurant, or style of food, near your home. Let every member of the family choose the restaurant on a special night each week until everyone has had a turn. If your kids are young and moving has been a big transition, take a picture and make a big deal of it. It’ll be a fun memory, and you’ll get to know your new area while enjoying a night out with the fam.

Grocery Shop

GROCERY STORES…..Look up “grocery stores near me” on your phone, and be sure to visit each one before you settle on your go-to destination. You may find the Safeway near your new home has a more convenient layout than the one you used to live near, or that the King Soopers down the road has an amazing deli section. Finding the best store near you for deals and dinner ingredients is a big deal!

Friendly Neighbors

NEIGHBORS…..There is an unspoken deadline for meeting the neighbors that, once you’ve passed it, makes things a bit awkward on trash day or when it’s time to mow the lawn. If you’re an introvert, putting yourself out there to meet the neighbors may be outside your comfort zone, but it’s worth it to get this task out of the way within a couple of weeks of moving in. Take along a notebook and pen to write down names and jot down a few details of those you meet, and if you have kids/pets/a concern for the well-being of those around you — consider exchanging phone numbers in case anything comes up. This is called “community.”

Active Fam

PARKS & REC…..Get to know the green spaces, playgrounds, dog parks, swimming pools and rec centers near you as soon as you have a chance. The Denver Metro area is chock full of delightful parks for people, pooches and sporty-types, and you might be surprised to find jogging trails, a lovely stream or an awesome pool close to home. This kind of information is a great conversation starter with those new neighbors.

Library Guy

LA BIBLIOTECA…..Set your inner book nerd loose on the public library to find out about local events, sign the kids up for free education/entertainment opportunities and (you might have seen this coming) check out books! So many communities in our area host incredible libraries with good things for the entire family, and if you don’t pop in to sign up for your library card, you’ll miss out on a lot. It’s also a nice way to meet people in your new community.

Family Movies

MOVIE THEATERS…..Whether you catch a flick every other year or love to be first in line for new releases, you’ll want to know where the local movie theater(s) are in your area. Make sure to check out theaters in your zip code, but also theaters within 30-60 minutes of home. There are unique theaters across Metro Denver playing hit films, hipster films, classic films and indie flicks you might not see anywhere else. On the South end of town you’ll find a couple of great dinner-and-a-movie options where the tickets are cheap (the movies playing have typically been in theaters for awhile, not new releases) and you can order pizza, burgers, and all sorts of full-on-dinner options to enjoy at a table while you watch the big screen.

Mini Golf

ENTERTAINMENT…..Beyond movies, scope out art galleries, indoor playlands, pottery and canvas painting shops, laser tag, mini and full-size golf and more near your new home. If you have kids, make a list of all the places you’d like to visit during your first year in your new place, and try to check off one or two each month.

Ready to Buy, Sell, Invest or just have questions about Denver Area Real Estate? I’ve been at this game for nearly 23 years, and I’d be happy to help you find you navigate our competitive marketplace.

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

6 Signs it’s Time to Buy (or Buy Up)

There are a variety of signs and signals it’s time to consider buying your first home, or beginning the search for your next one. Sometimes the place you live now can be rearranged a bit to meet your needs — but sometimes, the best solution is a first (or next) home. Read on to learn some of the clearest signs it’s time to consider a move.

  1. You need a home office. If your home was just right for you once upon a time, but now you work from home or have started a business, it may be time for a home search. Your career matters, and whether you are investing in a new business or transitioning your workplace from office to home, you need the practical, functional aspects of an actual office – not just a corner of the kitchen table. businessman in small office working on laptop
  2. Your career is on fire! One of the coolest things about workplace success is the improvement in lifestyle that can come along with it. Living within your means is always a wise choice, but if you’re renting a thrifty apartment or the starter home you bought several years ago and your job (and paycheck) have grown, it’s time to consider an upgrade, or investing in permanent roots if you are renting. Stuffed Closet
  3. Your closet-mountain is threatening an avalanche. If clutter is taking over your life, you may need to pare down a bit — but you may also genuinely need more space. Don’t rent a storage unit — invest in a right-size home. If you’re living in 1200 square feet, 1500-1800 may be a better fit. If you’re around 2,000 square feet, you may need 2,400-2,600 to give yourself a bit of breathing space. Buying a new home provides a brilliant opportunity to take stock of what you have, unload what you no longer need, and start fresh.                                                 Grass
  4. The grass seems so much greener anywhere but your neighborhood. If your daily life, career or social life are in a rut, it may be time for a new scene. Maybe you’re tired of the hubbub downtown, and you’d be happier (and you’ve heard you’ll get more bang for your buck) further out of the city center. Maybe you work in the city and you’d like to shorten your commute and live closer to the action. Maybe your kids are entering school, and the home you bought as a couple before the kids, is not in a great school district. If you find yourself in a scenario like this, it’s definitely time to consider a move.                                                                          crib aby
  5. You need another bedroom for baby or the in-laws. If your family has grown (or Mom is moving in), you can weather a lot of different growing pains, but you can’t create an extra bedroom or bathroom out of thin air. You might be surprised to find the perfect home, in a great neighborhood (or the neighborhood you already live in and love), with an additional bedroom, or finished square footage on a lower level that suits your expanded housing needs. If your need for additional beds/baths is short-term and you can handle a year or less of tight quarters or shared space, your current digs may do. If, however, new arrangements are long-term or even permanent, it’s worth finding a home that will effectively meet everyone’s needs. Adequate personal space = a happier family.                                                              Dinner Party
  6. You would so love to entertain — but not in this place! You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to want to take a turn hosting Thanksgiving, inviting colleagues for drinks (somewhere besides a bar), or throwing together a dinner party once in awhile. Face it — at a certain point, #adulting means more than a meet up at the Olive Garden, and it’s an awesome feeling to know you can gather friends + family, neighbors + colleagues, around a table for a meal, or in the living room for a casual soiree. If your current digs feel more Friday-night-kegger and you’d like to send out more of a cocktails-and-canapes vibe, it’s time to toss out the commemorative shot glasses from your college spring break in Cancun (that one year) and get thee a grown-up house.

So, what’s stopping you? I’ve helped both newbies to the market and old-hat buyers upsize, downsize and right-size their homes for over 30 years, and I love what I do! It would be my pleasure to introduce you to your first (or next) new home. Drop me a line to let me know how I can help you in the busy Greater Metro Denver housing market.

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

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