The Best Time of Year to List Your Home For Sale

Best Time To List
The Best Time of Year to List Your Home For Sale

Clients are always asking me what is the best time of year to list their home for sale. I often answer that there will be more buyers out looking for homes in the spring when the weather is nice, but I wanted to see if I could pinpoint an exact timeframe by looking at the data over the last several years.

Zillow recently released a report that homes listed between May 1 and May 15 sold an average of 18.5 days faster than homes not listed in that time span. On average, homes sold during this time also sold for 1% more than average. However, this data was collected from home sales across the country, in varying climates, and markets. How does the five county Denver Metro Area compare?

If we look at the data for the five county Denver Metro Area including, Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties we can see that since 2008 the highest monthly sales price has occurred in the month of June 77% of the time, and in July 23% of the time. With an average 40-day closing timeline, we then can derive a listing date somewhere within the month of May.

Weather does have an impact on the market historically, and with frequent spring rain and snow showers (more than 11 days of precipitation), a spring with more cloudy, rainy and/or snowy days will push the peak listing time to early June instead. However, the data shows that since inventory dropped below 8,500 new listings a month in 2014, a little more snow and rain hasn’t seemed to stop buyers from aggressively pursuing available properties.

In addition to the weather, more buyers are also in the market for a new home in the spring because they have received their tax rebate checks and can better afford their down payment. Family homes also tend to do better in the spring market as many children are just out of school and parents are compelled to secure a new home before the summer is over.

The worst month to list your home according to the data? January as it has the lowest monthly sales price 88% of the time.


Statistical data collected form Metrolist, Inc. RE Colorado – powered by Matrix.

http://www.thorntonweather.com/denver-climatology.php

Dos and Don’ts of Selling Your Home

Selling Your Home

Selling your home can feel like a scary task, but with the right help it can be a pleasant experience. Here are a few important dos and don’ts of selling your home.

Do interview and hire a REALTOR®:

This may seem obvious to some, but there are plenty of people out there who make the mistake of trying to sell their home themselves. Your home may be your biggest asset and you should rely on experienced professionals to make sure that you not only get the best return on your investment, but that the process of selling your home is as efficient and safe as possible. When interviewing potential Realtors be sure to ask a lot of questions including: what kind of marketing of your home will they do, will they take professional photos and what should you expect of the process. A good REALTOR® will walk you through every step of the process and provide you with data on the current market and how your home compares to recent sales in your area.

Don’t hire a non-Realtor or flat fee real estate company:

There are many new flat fee real estate companies in the Denver area and sellers should know that what sounds like a good deal up front might not be the best in the end. First, the majority are not REALTOR®s, only real estate agents/companies and there is a difference. Second, they may advertise a flat fee, but then add on extras like a buyer’s agent commission and additional document and title fees. You are also unlikely to get the same quality of service as you would if you were to hire a REALTOR®. This is because instead of having one dedicated agent who knows your home and can walk you through every step of the process you will instead be assigned to several different (often non-licensed) people, each for a different step in the transaction.

Do clean clutter:

Buyers want to be able to imagine calling your house their home, and it won’t feel like it’s their home if you’re still in it. Getting rid of clutter is one of the most important things you can do to make your home look its best, for photos and for showings. If you’re still living in the home when you list it, consider renting a storage unit to store all but the absolute necessities. Put away your personal items, clear surfaces, and do your best to stage your home for sale with a few items that you already have. Ask your REALTOR® for advice on how to make your home look its very best.

Don’t fill closets with that clutter:

Sure it’s more convenient to stuff everything into your closets or garage, but don’t forget that potential buyers will, and do, look in these areas too. A storage unit may sound inconvenient at first, but think about how much faster your home will sell when it looks its very best.

Do fix things that are broken:

Most homeowners have a handful or more of home repairs that need to be done before they sell. This includes small things like filling in and painting over nail holes, or bigger things like replacing a broken step, or furnace. If you think that buyers will look past these items, think again. Any sign of deferred maintenance can make a buyer think that the house hasn’t been well taken care of and that there are likely major defects hiding in the home. The last thing any buyer wants is a money pit, and even the smallest visible problems can spark the fear that something worse is hiding behind the walls. Even if the buyers are not savvy enough to notice that your water heater has been leaking, rest assured that a home inspector will. It’s better to be proactive about repairs so that your home looks like it has been well taken care of.

Don’t assume a buyer will buy your home as-is:

Sure, there are buyers who want a fixer-upper and if they can get it for a good price they are willing to buy it in its current condition, defects and all. But, as a seller you likely want your home to sell for the highest price possible. A home that can boast about a brand new roof in its marketing is likely to be more attractive to buyers than a home that looks like it needs a new roof but didn’t get one.

Do look at the data:

Deciding on what price your home will be listed for can be a science. Consult your REALTOR® and they will likely share with you their recommendation on what your home should be listed for, based on their experience, and they should also back that up with data. This data will include recent (180 days or less) comparable sales, how many days (on average) homes are listed for in your area, and the pros and cons of your specific property. They will also share their opinion and data around pricing strategies. Pricing your home too high can result in the home sitting longer on the market and thus creating negative stigma that can result in your home selling for thousands less than it would have if priced slightly lower.

Don’t trust what you find on the Internet:

There are many real estate sites where you can browse homes for sale, and many also include estimates of your home’s approximate value. These estimates are made in broad strokes and do not take into account any specific home. These estimates can also be skewed by listings that never made it to the market but were sold by the owner to someone they know and therefore are not accurate examples of market value. I’ve frequently seen estimates that were incorrect by +/- $10,000 – $30,000.

Do make your home easily accessible for showings:

There may be a variety of different people with different work schedules that would like to see your home. They are unlikely to make an offer unless they can see the home in person, which means that you need to try to accommodate as many potential buyers as possible. I know it might be disappointing and frustrating to leave home every time a buyer wants to see it, but the faster the largest amount of people are able to see your home the faster it will sell. If you have pets this might be extra difficult to accommodate. Consider placing your pets in day care or boarding them in anticipation of agents showing your home while you are at work. If you work from home, make sure to step out during the scheduled showing and give the buyers an opportunity to imagine the home as their own.

Don’t get emotionally involved:

This can be difficult, but it’s best to try and separate your emotions from the process of selling your home. No one can know your home the way that you do and that can lead to misunderstandings or defensive behavior. Try to remember what it was like when you bought your home and the many apprehensions and emotions that you faced in the process. In the end this is a business transaction and your goal is to make someone fall in love with your home. Don’t let your emotions get in the way.

Selling Your Home

Renovations That Add Value to Your Home

Kitchen Upgrade

We’ve all seen those television shows like Love It or List It on HGTV. These television programs have a professional remodel a home that the owners are thinking of selling, meanwhile a Realtor takes them house hunting. Then, when the remodel is complete the sellers have to choose whether to stay in their beautifully remodeled home, or jump ship and buy a new home. Not surprisingly, 74% of owners have a greater desire to be in their home after a remodel. Whether you are thinking of selling or staying, here is a breakdown of the top ten remodeling projects that will add value, functionality and livability to your home.

1. New Roofing:

Estimated Cost = $7,600

Value Recovered Through Resale = 105%

125 E. Maple
45% of Realtors suggest new roofing before attempting to sell, and 1% say that new roofing helps close a sale. *NARI estimated cost of new roofing: $7,600, costs recovered through resale $8,000. 105% of value is recovered in the sale of a home. 61% have a greater desire to be in their home once completed.

2. New Wood Flooring:

Estimated Cost = $5,500

Vale Recovered Through Resale = 91%

http://www.houzz.com/photos/modern/hardwood-flooring
http://www.houzz.com/photos/modern/hardwood-flooring

19% of Realtors suggest new wood flooring before attempting to sell, and 1% say that new wood flooring helps close a sale. *NARI estimated cost of new wood flooring: $5,500, costs recovered through resale $5,000. 91% of value is recovered in the sale of a home. 77% have a greater desire to be in their home since completed.

3. New Garage Door:

Estimated Cost = $2,300

Value Recovered Through Resale = 87%

26% of Realtors suggest a new garage door before attempting to sell, and 3% say that a new garage door helps close a sale. *NARI estimated cost of a new garage door: $2,300, costs recovered through resale $2,000. 87% of value is recovered in the sale of a home. 39% have a greater desire to be in their home since completed.

4. New Vinyl Siding:

Estimated Cost = $12,000

Value Recovered Through Resale = 83%

6% of Realtors suggest new vinyl siding before attempting to sell, and 1% say that new vinyl siding helps close a sale. *NARI estimated cost of new vinyl siding: $12,000, costs recovered through resale $10,000. 83% of value is recovered in the sale of a home. 63% have a greater desire to be in their home since completed.

5. New Vinyl Windows:

Estimated Cost = $15,000

Vale Recovered Through Resale = 80%

21% of Realtors suggest new vinyl windows before attempting to sell, and 8% say that new vinyl windows helps close a sale. *NARI estimated cost of new vinyl windows: $15,000, costs recovered through resale $12,000. 80% of value is recovered in the sale of a home. 61% have a greater desire to be in their home since completed.

6. Kitchen Upgrade:

Estimated Cost = $30,000

Value Recovered Through Resale = 67%

Kitchen Upgrade
photo by Laurey W. Glenn
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20809021_30141305,00.html

57% of Realtors suggest a kitchen upgrade before attempting to sell, and 25% say that a kitchen upgrade helps close a sale. *NARI estimates that a kitchen upgrade costs $30,000. 67% of value that is recovered in the sale of a home. 82% want to stay once a kitchen is upgraded.

7. Complete Kitchen Renovation:

Estimated Cost = $60,000

Value Recovered Through Resale = 67%

17% of Realtors suggest a kitchen renovation before attempting to sell, and 12% say that a kitchen renovation helps close a sale. *NARI estimated cost of whole kitchen remodel: $60,000, costs recovered through resale $40,000. 67% of value is recovered in the sale of a home. 90% have a greater desire to be in their home since completed.

8. Bathroom Renovation:

Estimated Cost = $26,000

Value Recovered Through Resale = 58%

http://www.hgtv.com/shows/divine-bathrooms-with-candice-olson/bathroom-renovation-ideas-from-candice-olson-pictures
http://www.hgtv.com/shows/divine-bathrooms-with-candice-olson/bathroom-renovation-ideas-from-candice-olson-pictures

45% of Realtors suggest a kitchen renovation before attempting to sell, and 6% say that a kitchen renovation helps close a sale. *NARI estimated cost of a bathroom remodel: $26,000, costs recovered through resale $15,000. 58% of value is recovered in the sale of a home. 62% have a greater desire to be in their home since completed.

9. New Master Suite/Owner’s Suite:

Estimated Cost = $112,500

Value Recovered Through Resale = 53%

New master suite/Owner’s Suite: 4% of Realtors suggest an owner’s suite renovation before attempting to sell, and 1% say that an owner’s suite renovation helps close a sale. *NARI estimated cost of an owner’s suite renovation: $112,500, costs recovered through resale $60,000. 53% of value is recovered in the sale of a home. 88% have a greater desire to be in their home since completed.

10. Adding a Bathroom:

Estimated Cost = $50,000

Value Recovered Through Resale = 52%

8% of Realtors suggest adding a bathroom before attempting to sell, and 2% say that adding a bathroom helps close a sale. *NARI estimated cost of adding a bathroom: $50,000, costs recovered through resale $26,000. 52% of value is recovered in the sale of a home. 78% have a greater desire to be in their home since completed.

 

Statistical information from the National Association of Realtor’s 2015 Remodeling Impact Report.

*(NARI) National Association of the Remodeling Industry cost survey based on a 2,450 square foot home in good condition.

How To Stage Your Home For Sale

Sellers often ask me if they should stage their homes to sell. In my opinion this is one of the best things you can do to attract prospective buyers to your home. The main reason is that 97% of prospective buyers will begin their home search online. Photos of a beautifully staged home will make it easier for prospective buyers to visualize the property as their future home. If a home is left vacant or is presented poorly it makes it difficult for buyers to visualize the property as their future home and they may pass on the opportunity to see the property in person. Statistics from the NAR and Home Staging Resource show that staged homes spend 73% less time on the market, and 67% of Realtors believe that buyers offer up to 15% more for a staged home.

 

There are companies that specialize in staging a home for sale, but there are also many simple things you can do on your own to stage your home for sale.  Listed below are ten steps you can take on your own to stage your home for sale. The goal is to make your home attractive and welcoming to potential buyers. They should be able to visualize the property as their future home, and not as if they’re invading someone else’s space.

 

1.     Get Rid of Clutter-

You may want to rent a storage space for the time that your property will be listed. Get everything off the floor that is not a piece of furniture or a rug. You only want to leave items in your home that are beneficial to the presentation of your home. For example, you may have a bookshelf that is packed with books and other items. Even though this is how the bookshelf works as a functional object in your life, it won’t serve you well in the staging of your home. A bookshelf in a staged home should be minimal and neutral. Remove any titles that could be controversial, and only save books and objects whose colors compliment the color scheme of the room. Make sure there is vacant space on every shelf, a little breathing room can go a long way.

uncluttered bookshelf

2.     Remove The Personal-

Remove any personal photos, or items with your name. Remember that the whole idea with staging is to help prospective buyers visualize the property as their future home. Photos and other personal items left around the home can instead make a buyer feel unwelcomed or that they are intruding on someone else’s space.

 

3.     Boost Curb Appeal-

You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and that’s why curb appeal is so important. Make sure your yard is clean and tidy. Refresh landscaping, and add new mulch where needed. Inspect the exterior of your home for peeling paint, crumbling concrete or other signs that may need your attention. Power wash, and apply fresh paint to doors, shutters, and trim. Be sure that your property address is easy to locate and that other items like your mailbox, planter boxes or patio furniture are clean and presentable.

 

4.     Clean Your House-

This one may seem obvious, but it is very important. Prospective buyers at a showing will open drawers, kitchen appliances, closets, and shower curtains. Be sure to give your house a deep clean and to keep it as clean as possible during the time that your home is on the market. By keeping a clean home you make your home more welcoming to prospective buyers.

 

5.     Touch Up-

Take a close look at your floors, trim, molding, grout and walls. If you see any imperfections, worn areas, or holes make these small repairs or hire someone else to address them before you list your home. These may be things that you have overlooked for years because they are so minor, but when these things are left unaddressed, it may suggest to a potential buyer that there are more serious repairs lurking in the home.

 

6.     Beware of Odors-

If you have pets be sure that your home is clear of pet odor. This can be a big turn off to buyers. There is also the potential of other off putting smells like smoke, mildew, or heavy perfumes. If you are unsure if your home has a weird odor, invite your Realtor or a friend over to your home and ask their opinion. If a property is staged and clean but still smells bad, you may lose prospective buyers.

 

7.     Pay Attention to Light-

You may not usually open all of your shades, but when you know that buyers may be stopping by for a showing be sure that your home is well lit and open to natural light. A buyer will likely not take the time to open shades at a showing, so be sure to do this before they arrive. A well lit home is welcoming, and can feel more spacious and warm.

 

8.     Gender Neutral Master Bedroom-

There will be an assortment of buyers looking at your property. And you need to try to appeal to all of them. By staging a master bedroom with gender-neutral colors and linens, you can appeal to a larger population of buyers.

gender neutral bedrrom

9.     Closets and Garages-

Prospective buyers will want to see the insides of garages, storage sheds and closets. Rather than stuffing them full of all of the things you removed from the rest of the property, rent an offsite storage unit instead. Closets and garages should remain accessible, clean and organized – just like the rest of the property.

 

10.   Show The Best Use For An Awkward Space-

Buying a home is a difficult task, and it is often too much to ask a buyer to imagine the best use of an awkward space. Don’t leave these areas unaddressed. Instead stage them in such a way that you can show buyers their best use.

Why Choose a REALTOR® Instead of a Real Estate Agent?

REALTOR®

Did you know that there is a difference between a REALTOR®, and a real estate agent? When I first became a real estate agent I thought that if you were a real estate agent you were also a REALTOR®. I was wrong, there’s a big difference.

The real estate industry in Colorado is regulated by the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). There are licensing requirements and common law obligations that must be adhered to in order to hold a real estate license, but there is not a code of ethical standards in which real estate agents must uphold. In short, this means that if you are dealing with an unethical real estate agent who is not a REALTOR®, your only recourse may be to file a complaint with DORA or the courts.

A REALTOR®, in comparison, is a real estate agent who chooses to subscribe to and follow a strict code of ethics and standards of practice as developed by the National Association of Realtors. If a REALTOR® is accused of violating the Code of Ethics they agree, as a condition of membership, to arbitrate contractual disputes and specific non-contractual disputes. New REALTORS® must take an ethics course and pass an ethics exam, and continuing REALTORS® take an ethics refresher course every four years. In short, REALTORS® are real estate agents who want to play by the rules, treat all parties honestly, and submit to disciplinary action if found to be in violation of these ethical standards.

Choosing to work with a REALTOR® also means that you are working with a professional who strives to remain informed on issues affecting real estate and, as knowledgeable professionals, they willingly share the fruit of their experience and study with others. REALTORS® acknowledge that cooperation with other real estate professionals promotes the best interest of those who utilize their services. If you are looking for a real estate agent with integrity, you will find it in a REALTOR®.

Being an honest and reliable person and professional is important to me. I take my commitment to professional and ethical business very seriously and that is why I am a REALTOR® and serve on the Professional Standards Committee of the Denver Metro Association of Realtors.

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 5.58.42 PM
The Code of Ethics was adopted in 1913 with the Golden Rule as its theme.

Why You Should Have An Open House

Some may argue that open houses exists only for the listing agent to recruit new clients and can be a waste of time and energy for the seller. My experience has taught me the opposite. Each time I have held an open house for a seller it has resulted in the sale of the home, often faster and at a higher price than anticipated. Here are the reasons why I think you should consider having your listing agent hold an open house for you.

 

  1. Visibility and Accessibility: Prospective buyers rely on their real estate agents to send them internet listings of homes they might be interested in so that they can arrange a showing of the property. But what about those buyers who might not yet be working with a real estate agent or buyers whose agents are out of town or too busy when your listing hits the market? Open houses are a great way to give access to these buyers, neighbors, and any passerby who has interest in your neighborhood or home but might not have the time or resources to schedule a showing appointment.

 

  1. A Chance to Set Your Home Apart From the Rest: An open house is meant to be a welcoming, social and informative occasion where potential buyers can mingle with neighbors, receive more information about a home, ask questions and really get to know the unique aspects of a property. This is not available to prospective buyers at a typical showing appointment. It’s also a great way for people to see for themselves that your home is a welcome, and relaxed environment where they might imagine their future.

 

  1. A Faster and Easier Sale: An open house means that more prospective buyers will see your home at one time instead of stretched across weeks of individual showings. This can save you lots of time and energy narrowing the time you have to keep your home “show ready” or having to haul your kids and/or pets in and out of your home each time there is a scheduled showing. Buyers who really love your home may also become more motivated to put in a strong offer simply by seeing others who are interested in your property.

Move-Up Buyers Win in Denver’s Market

Movin_on_up

I keep telling those that inquire about the real estate market in Denver that it is insane, unless you are a “move-up buyer”.

This week realtor.com ranked Denver fourth in their list of The 20 Hottest Housing Markets in the US Right Now, and with good reason. Last month sales prices in Denver leapt 6.3% over sales prices in February and the average list price per square foot rose from $166 to $235. This is due to the increasingly strong demand for homes in the Metro Denver area and continued low inventory. Population growth, job growth, and low mortgage rates are putting more and more people in a position to buy a home. But, even a surge is new spring listings it is not enough to keep up with the high demand for housing in Denver.

Dozens of buyers are fighting over each available property, and this is where it gets “insane”. In an effort to beat out multiple offers, home buyers are not only offering $10,000 – $30,000 over the list price but are also agreeing to purchase homes “as-is” and to pay cash for any difference between the purchase price and the appraised value of the home. This puts first-time home buyers, and those without large cash reserves, at a great disadvantage. These acts may seem crazy, but they are becoming the new normal, especially for those searching for a home under $400,000.

As stressful and discouraging as this market can be for buyers, there may be one kind of buyer that can greatly benefit from the current market: move-up buyers. Move-up buyers are existing home owners that may have outgrown their current home and are looking to move-up the property ladder.

How Move-Up Buyer’s Win in Denver’s Current Real Estate Market

  1. Profit: Take advantage of your position as a home owner and list your home now. Home prices are at record highs in Denver and that could equal a higher payoff for you.
  2. Timing: In the current market you won’t have difficulty finding buyers who will agree to a lease-back that allows you to stay in your 1st home while you look for your 2nd. It is not uncommon for sellers to ask to remain in their home for up to 90 days after closing. This gives you time to search for your 2nd home after you have a nice down payment in your pocket to work with.
  3. No Waiting: A current average of 36 days on the market means that you won’t have to wait long for your 1st home to sell.
  4. Financing: Continued low interests rates means that you can get a great rate on the new mortgage for house #2.
  5. Finding a New Home: Inventory of homes listed $400,000 – $1,000,000 have shown a slight increase since 2013. If your second home is in that price range, not only will there be more to choose from when you look for house #2, but you won’t have to suffer the same competition as those looking under $400,000.

Movin_on_up