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

 

 

Choosing the Best Agent in a Fast Paced Marketplace

Denver is in a snooze-you-lose real estate situation, with homes selling sometimes in hours instead of days and weeks. A fast paced market like this requires an experienced Realtor up to the task of helping you move at lightning speed to snag the right home for you. When seeking the right agent for your home search, look for the following qualifications:

race car

Speedy

When interviewing agents, pay attention to how quickly he/she responds to your questions. Ask, “How long do you spend searching with a typical buyer? How many homes do most of your buyers see before making an offer? What kinds of stumbling blocks do you see for buyer clients, and how are you working through them?”

Tech Savvy

Technology has changed how business is done in the world of real estate, and you need an agent comfortable and confident with the latest technology including eContracts, mobile search and client communication on the fly. Lightning speed real estate requires more than a laptop. Ask potential agents what types of technology they use in their business. A part time or hobby agent may not have the tech experience you need to succeed.

Available

Don’t be afraid to get very specific about your potential agent’s availability. You will need a focused search experience, and you’ll need someone who can help you pre-search well so the on-the-ground home search process is maximized. Since homes are moving quickly, you need to be prepared to see only the best-fit homes and to move quickly when a home matching your specs enters the market. If your agent is not available on the fly, they may not be the agent for you.

Responsive

Ask a potential agent, “How long does it take you to respond to email? Do you respond to email on evenings and weekends? Does a text receive the fastest response?” If a home meeting your must-have list pops up, you need to know your agent will help you get in the door and answer your calls or emails quickly.

Knowledgeable

How long has your potential agent worked in this area? Which suburbs does he consider himself an expert in? Does he have a wide network of experienced pros in areas like inspection, mortgage, landscaping or other contracting? Ask, “How many of your deals fell through over the past year?” If the answer is, “None,” run the other direction. Active, knowledgeable agents in this market have deals falling apart now and then due to the speed and competition of the Denver market; an agent in the mix will have several failed deals to tell you about, and they can also share what happened next and how they helped their client find the next great house after losing a deal.

I have over 21 years of experience in the Metro Denver real estate market and it would be my pleasure to help you navigate this fast paced, sometimes tricky marketplace. Get in touch to let me know what I can do to support your success across this beautiful city, or to help you find a qualified professional to meet your needs across Colorado or out of state.

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

Denver’s at the Bottom of this List

yippee

How long have you been around to watch what happens in the Metro Denver real estate market? As a 21 year veteran of the biz here in Denver, I’ve seen highs, lows and somewhere-in-the-middle, and I watched my industry, and homeowners, struggle hard during the recession as both incomes and home values dropped right along with the stock market.

I invite you to join me in celebrating a wonderful new statistic about our fair city: according to a Denver Post article published this week, “Metro Denver reported the lowest share of distressed home sales out of 25 major metro areas in March, according to a report from CoreLogic.”

A “distressed sale” may be either a foreclosure (wherein the bank resumes possession of the property) or a short sale (wherein the bank allows the homeowner to sell the property for less than what is owed.)

In March of this year, about 1 in 43 home sales across the city was a distressed sale. Compare that figure to this staggering statistic from January 2009: at the peak of the housing recession, a whopping 32.4 percent of homes across Metro Denver (nearly 1 in 3) was a distressed property.

Buyers in this marketplace face challenges in the form of intense competition, low inventory and high prices compared to years past. They are feeling the squeeze as they try to find homes with the features, specifications and location they consider ideal. Consider, though, the alternative. For my part, I’ll take a bustling local economy and a thriving real estate market any day – and not just because I’m an active participant in the housing industry. Competition can be a healthy thing, and when you look at the numbers, 1 in 43 homes falling in the “distressed” category is a far happier place for our community to be than 1 in 3.

I’m grateful every day for the robust economy we’re enjoying here and the thriving Colorado individuals, couples and families represented by those numbers.

Happy Father’s Day fellow dads, papas and granddads! And if you, your buddy, your cousin or your own dear old dad need an expert guide in the competitive Denver real estate market, I’m here to help.

Jack Meyers

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

Quality Control Tips from a Home Builder

Even when you purchase a brand new home, there are items to pay special attention to in order to make sure your home has been finished well and every detail accounted for. 

Examining a Home

We recently came across a nifty checklist a particular home builder uses to ensure customer satisfaction and to double check that all the details are taken care of. Here are a few highlights that can be applied to any home – whether your purchase is a new build or existing construction. These are items you may want to take a peek at as you shop for homes, or may want to examine more closely at during your home inspection:

  • Are all appliances functioning properly? Run the dishwasher, turn on the microwave, see if the ice/water functions are working in the fridge door, etc.
  • Are all cabinet doors/drawers in the kitchen and bathroom functional?
  • Flush each toilet and turn on every faucet to ensure proper function. 
  • Are all light fixtures functioning? Are there any tough to reach fixtures in need of cleaning or light bulbs? What about exterior lighting?
  • Inspect stairs/railings for secure installation.
  • Inspect ceilings and walls for sagging, bowing or signs of water damage. 
  • Test the heating, cooling and water heating unit to ensure proper function. 
  • Are there any signs of excess moisture in the basement or attic?
  • Are gutters and downspouts properly installed to direct water a minimum of 4 feet away from the house? 
  • Does the ground around the foundation slope away from the house? 

None of these details are make-or-break in terms of a home purchase, and in a Seller’s Market like Denver is currently experiencing, you may have a challenging time getting the Seller to agree to fix items of this nature if they turn up on the property inspection. Whether you cover the cost of repair or replacement as the Buyer or you negotiate full or partial coverage from the Seller, it is in your best interest to enter into a home purchase knowing the state of these and other details about your next home.

Jack Meyers

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

Denver Tops the List

Denver on the Map

The U.S. News and World Report this month ranked Denver at the top of the list of 100 best places to live in the USA!

Rounding out the top 5 cities are:

  • Austin, TX
  • Fayetteville, AR
  • Raleigh-Durham, NC
  • Colorado Springs, CO

For perspective on what this ranking actually means, consider the rank on this list of San Diego, CA – a city purported by many to be “the best place they’ve ever lived” by many (just ask anyone who’s lived there!) and a place former residents often long to return to. Sunny San Diego ranks 16th on the list – a full 15 spots down from Denver. That’s pretty incredible.

Factors used to determine this list include home values, the job market, average commute times, desirability and net migration (whether people are actually moving to a particular metro area.)

So, Denver – the rest of the country likes us. They really, really like us! And all the factors affecting our rank on this list are what continue to draw new residents to the Denver Metro area, lending additional strength to the Seller’s Market we continue to experience in Real Estate. According to the Denver Post, Denver’s population jumped by 101,000 between July 1, 2014 and July 1, 2015, and was outpaced nationally only by continued record growth levels in North Dakota due to the localized oil boom happening there.

Right now is an incredible time to sell a house – the market is strongly in your favor. And if you are on the hunt to find your next home in Denver or any surrounding suburb, you’ll need an experienced guide to help you negotiate the best deal possible, because there is a lot of competition and too few properties for sale for the demand we are seeing.

If you’re thinking about relocating to Denver or moving from one end of our fair city to another, drop a line. I’ve been helping people buy and sell Denver area real estate for over 21 years, and I’d be pleased to help you navigate our real estate marketplace.

Jack Meyers

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

 

 

Buying in a Seller’s Market

There is no denying Metro Denver is in the midst of a hot-hot-hot Seller’s Market. So where does that leave you if you want or need to buy a home right now or in the near future? A Seller’s Market is defined by a number of houses for sale that is less than the pool of available Buyers: low inventory of any commodity + high demand = seller’s market, whether the commodity is houses or cars or apples.

Sellers Market

As a Buyer in this marketplace, there are ways to prepare for the best transaction possible, and to give yourself a bit of an edge in a market that favors the Seller over the Buyer in most cases.

  • QUACK! QUACK! Get your financial ducks in a row. In a Seller’s Market, it is not only advisable that you be prequalified for a home purchase – it is imperative. Sellers have every expectation of significant interest in their home, and possibly even multiple offers. They will not be impressed with an offer that is missing the all important prequalification letter. If you are serious about buying a home, come prepared to play ball – not play around.
  • Hire an experienced Realtor. You probably wouldn’t hire the teenage neighbor boy to detail your Porsche. Don’t hire an inexperienced agent to help you purchase a home. You deserve excellent representation, and in a Seller’s Market, you will need the help of a keen professional to negotiate on your behalf. Ask your potential agent questions about his or her track record, how many transactions they closed last year, how long they’ve been in the business. Ask them to tell you about the most challenging deal they’ve closed, and how their efforts contributed to a successful outcome.
  • Prioritize your home search. You don’t have to take a month off of work to find your next home, but you may need to take a long weekend. And you definitely need to keep your showing appointments and be prepared to seriously consider each home you look at. You likely have competition in the form of other Buyers for every single home you see, and once you find “the one,” you need to be ready to jump. Searching online beforehand and narrowing down a top 5 list of features you can’t live without (location, number of beds/baths, square footage, yard size, etc.) is a must.
  • Decide which contingencies are a must before you shop. Everything in Real Estate is negotiable, but there are some aspects of the deal you may not be flexible on, such as the home inspection. I would rarely recommend that a home be purchased without a thorough inspection – even in a Seller’s Market. One example of a contingency that may be challenging in a Seller’s Market is a Sale Contingency, wherein you require a Seller to stay on the line while you wait for your current home to sell. A strong offer (full price or over the asking price) may convince a Seller to accept a contract of this nature, but when a Seller has other Buyers on the line, they will likely not tolerate the extra risk of waiting for your home to sell.
  • Flexibility matters in all market conditions. Whether Sellers or Buyers are at the top of the heap in your marketplace, your transaction will go more smoothly if you are prepared for friendly flexibility along the way. Contract negotiations may be tense. Dates and details change. Inspections sometimes uncover surprises. Waiting for the appraisal to come in can be stressful. You hired an experienced Realtor to advocate on your behalf for a reason. Resolve to be patient, ask lots of questions, and don’t panic.

Are you considering a Metro Denver home purchase, or in need of a referral to a qualified agent out of state? Drop me a line. I’ve been helping Buyers and Sellers navigate the marketplace for 21 years, and I’d love to assist you in your next Real Estate transaction.

Jack Meyers

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