Colorado Real Estate News

Why Pricing Your House Right Is Essential

In today’s real estate market, setting the right price for your house is one of the most valuable things you can do.

According to the U.S. Economic Outlook by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home prices nationwide are forecasted to increase 4.7% in 2020 and 4.1% in 2021. This means experts anticipate home values will continue climbing into next year. Today, low inventory is largely keeping prices from depreciating. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, notes:

“Looking at the sheer number of buyers, low mortgage rates, and limited sellers, the strength of home prices–which are now growing at the highest pace since January 2018–makes sense.”

When it comes to pricing your home, the goal is to increase visibility and drive more buyers your way. Instead of trying to win the negotiation with one buyer, you should price your house so that demand is maximized and more buyers want to take a look.

How to Price Your Home

As a seller, you might be thinking about pricing your house on the high end while so many of today’s buyers are searching harder than ever just to find a home to purchase. You’re thinking, higher price, greater profit, right? But here’s the thing – a high price tag does not mean you’re going to cash in big on the sale. It’s actually more likely to deter buyers and have them looking at the houses your neighbors are selling instead.

Even today, when the advantage tips toward sellers because there are so few houses for sale, your house is more likely to sit on the market longer or require a price drop that can send buyers running in the other direction if it isn’t priced just right.

Our Trusted Real Estate Professionals Will Help

It’s important to make sure your house is priced correctly by working in partnership with a trusted real estate professional. When you price it competitively, you won’t be negotiating with one buyer over the price. Instead, you’ll have multiple buyers competing for the home, and that’s what ultimately increases the final sale price.

The key is making sure your house is priced to sell immediately. That way, it will be seen by the most buyers. More than one of them may be interested, and your house will be more likely to sell at a competitive price.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about listing your house this fall, connect with a Kentwood broker, to discuss how to price it right so you can maximize your exposure and your return. Find a broker at www.Kentwood.com

Colorado Real Estate News

The Top Reasons People Are Moving This Year

Today, Americans are moving for a variety of different reasons. The current health crisis has truly re-shaped our lifestyles and our needs. Spending extra time where we currently live is enabling many people to re-evaluate what homeownership means and what they find most important in a home.

In 2019, 67,000 people moved to Colorado according to the US Census Bureau. In July, the Front Range Housing Market remained very competitive. Many sellers were collecting multiple offers over asking price as people continue to move to and around the front range

According to Zillow:

“In 2020, homes went from the place people returned to after work, school, hitting the gym or vacationing, to the place where families do all of the above. For those who now spend the majority of their hours at home, there’s a growing wish list of what they’d change about their homes, if possible.” 

With a new perspective on homeownership, here are some of the top reasons people are reconsidering where they live and making moves this year.

1. Working from Home

Remote work is becoming the new norm in 2020, and it’s continuing on longer than most initially expected. Many in the workforce today are discovering they don’t need to live close to the office anymore, and they can get more for their money if they move a little further outside the city limits. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR) notes:

“With the sizable shift in remote work, current homeowners are looking for larger homes and this will lead to a secondary level of demand even into 2021.”

If you’ve tried to convert your guest room or your dining room into a home office with minimal success, it may be time to find a larger home. The reality is, your current house may not be optimally designed for this kind of space, making remote work and continued productivity very challenging.

2. Virtual Schooling

With school about to restart this fall, many districts are beginning the new academic year online. Education Week is tracking the reopening plans of schools across the country, and as of August 21, 21 of the 25 largest school districts are choosing remote learning as their back-to-school instructional model, affecting over 4.5 million students.

With a need for a dedicated learning space, it may be time to find a larger home to provide your children with the same kind of quiet room to focus on their schoolwork, just like you likely need for your office work.

3. A Home Gym

Staying healthy and active is a top priority for many Americans. With various levels of concern around the safety of returning to health clubs across the country, dreams of space for a home gym are growing stronger. The Home Builders Association of Greater New Orleans explains:

“For many in quarantine, a significant decrease in activity is more than a vanity issue – it’s a mental health issue.”

Having room to maintain a healthy lifestyle at home – mentally and physically – may prompt you to consider a new place to live that includes space for at-home workouts.

4. Outdoor Space 

Especially for those living in an apartment or a small townhouse, this is a new priority for many as well. Zillow also notes the benefits of being able to use yard space throughout the year:

“People want more space in their next home, and one way to get it is by turning part of the backyard into a functional room, ‘an outdoor space for play as well as entertaining or cooking.’”

Many urban dwellers remain enamored with the dynamic urban lifestyle and still enjoy condo living. Those that wish to remain downtown are looking at properties with larger patios or building rooftop decks. They look forward to the lock and leave lifestyle again in future months, but want to enhance their current space with a home office and an area to get outside on those lovely Colorado days.

Moving May Be Your Best Option

If you’re clamoring for extra space to accommodate your changing needs, making a move may be your best bet, especially while you can take advantage of today’s low mortgage rates. Low rates are making homes more affordable than they have been in years. According to Black Knight:

“Buying power for those shopping for a home is up 10% year over year, with home buyers able to afford nearly $32,000 more home than they could have 1 year ago while keeping their monthly payment the same.”

It’s a great time to get more home for your money, just when you need the extra space.

Bottom Line 

People are moving for a variety of different reasons today, and for many people, their needs have changed throughout the year. If you’ve been trying to decide if now is the time to buy a new home, contact a Kentwood broker to discuss your options!

Colorado Real Estate News

4 Signs It’s Time to Sell Your Home

Not only is moving a daunting process, but making the choice to sell your home is a decision that requires lots of consideration. If you have been on the fence about whether to sell your home, here are four telltale signs that now might be the time to act.

You’re Bursting At The Seams

One of the main reasons for selling your home is to accommodate a growing family. That house that once fit two newlyweds comfortably feels smaller and smaller by the day. Your family has started to grow and now includes a dog, toddler, and you’re expecting a new baby sometime soon. Your kids will eventually need spaces of their own – bedrooms, work areas, and play areas. The point is, you are quickly out-growing your home and it’s time to start searching for something that is better suited to your needs.

Sell Your Home | Not Enough Space

Your Home No Longer Suits Your Lifestyle

A lifestyle change can mean a wide variety of things depending on the individual. Your kids have grown up and moved out, and now you find yourself with an empty nest that is much too big for what you need or can manage. Maybe you have a new job with a longer commute and want to cut back on your drive time. Anything from retirement or divorce, to an in-law moving in can rearrange the lifestyle you have become accustom to. A happy home is one that syncs up with the current phase of life you are in, and it’s important to make sure that you have the right fit.

Empty Nester | Sell Your Home

Remodeling Won’t Offer Return on Your Investment

Every now and then it’s nice to give your home a face-lift to help re-energize your house and make it feel new again. Small updates to the kitchen or the bathroom might be all you need to decide that you want to stay put for a few more years. But making significant remodels to your home might not always be the best decision. Before taking on any large home improvement projects, understand your neighborhood and know the highest price point in the area. If your home is already similar in style and condition to the other homes in your surrounding area, remodeling might be a bad investment.

Sell Your Home | Remodel

Equity Is On Your Side

After years of paying your mortgage and keeping your home in quality condition, you’ve probably built up quite a bit of equity. After the housing market crash, many people found that their equity had all but evaporated. That is no longer the current climate, and many homeowners are cashing out on positive equity. Selling your home and moving into something less expensive can put some of that extra equity to work for you in other ways. Do some research, have your house reappraised, and see if it’s the right time for you to sell your home.

Equity | Sell Your Home

 

Colorado Real Estate News

How to Use Smart Home Tech to Sell Your Home

It’s time to sell, but how are you going to get the most money for your home? In today’s tech-savvy world, one of the best upgrades to sell your home faster is to turn it into a smart home.

A 2016 survey shows that nearly half of consumers say smart home technology is important for their current home or their next home purchase. It also found that more than one-third of Americans associate smart home technology with a move-in ready home, which is something 71 percent of buyers look for.

But isn’t a smart home super expensive and complicated? Not anymore. In fact, you can make your home “smart” in a weekend for under $1,500; that’s easier, less expensive, and quite a bit more fun than most remodeling projects.

Smart Home

What Is a Smart Home?

A smart home offers enhanced, intelligent control and monitoring of a home’s security, climate, appliances, lighting, and safety systems. But you don’t need all these systems in place for your home to be considered “smart.” The simplest option for staging a smart home is to focus on climate control, lighting, and security, as these are the most visible and user-friendly.

Here is a look at three straightforward smart home systems you can install yourself in a weekend.

 

  1. Lighting

There are two ways to upgrade a home’s lighting to smart lighting: smart switches and smart bulbs. Both give you the ability to set schedules and create custom lighting scenes, as well as turn your lights on and off remotely with a smartphone or your voice (with compatible hardware).

Smart bulbs are Wi-Fi-connected LED light bulbs that replace existing bulbs and can be controlled by an app on a smartphone. Smart switches replace existing light switches (so some re-wiring is required) and control existing LED light bulbs through an app and through the smart switch itself.

A combination of smart switches and smart light bulbs is generally the best solution. Smart switches for rooms where multiple bulbs are controlled by one switch and bulbs for lamps and single light fixture rooms (such as a bathroom).

Estimated cost for a 3-bed, 2-bath single-family home: $700. Price based on the purchase of a Philips Hue White Connected Home LED light bulb set up (22 A19 bulbs, 6 BR30 bulbs and a hub), and two Lutron Caseta Dimmer Switches and a Lutron Hub.

Upgrade option: Add motion sensors to rooms such as bathrooms and hallways so that lights turn on and off automatically, saving energy when they’re not in use.

Smart Home | Lighting

 

  1. Climate Control

A smart thermostat gives a home an instant modern look and provides substantial energy savings for a homeowner by optimizing the efficiency of most standard HVAC systems. With remote access and intelligent sensors, smart thermostats from companies like Nest and Ecobee can sense whether a home is occupied or not and adjust itself automatically.

Smart thermostats also let the homeowner control the temperature remotely with a smartphone or voice control, whether they’re at work, on vacation or just sitting on the couch. The Nest smart thermostat can also create and adapt to a heating and cooling schedule for you, taking the pain out of the programming process.

Estimated cost for a two-zone HVAC system: $300 – $500 for two thermostats (one for each zone)

Upgrade option: Smart vents can integrate with smart thermostats to further optimize savings and increase comfort by selectively opening and closing based on your schedule, so rooms aren’t being heated or cooled when they’re empty.

Smart Home | Nest

  1. Security & Safety

Smart door locks are an easy and very visible upgrade for a home. Just switch out an existing deadbolt for a smart one and dispense with the annoyance of keys—although keys are still an option. Smart door locks offer one of two entry systems:

  • A touch-to-open functionality, such as the Kevo by Kwikset, which uses your smartphone and Bluetooth to grant access by placing a finger on the lock. (You don’t even have to take your phone out of your pocket or bag!)
  • A keyless touchpad entry system.

Smart locks can also integrate with smart lighting and smart climate control, and do things like automatically turn the lights off and the temperature down when you leave and lock the door behind you.

Estimated cost for a 3-bed, 2-bath single-family home: $400 for two locks

Upgrade option: Smart smoke alarms are an easy and effective safety upgrade. A home must have enough working smoke alarms to be up to code, so if you are buying new ones in preparation for selling, consider investing in smart ones. The main advantage is the ability to alert the homeowner of potential danger when they are not at home. Brands such as Nest and First Alert OneLink integrate with other smart features in the home. For example, Nest’s Protect smoke alarms act as sensors for its smart thermostat, and both can activate smart bulbs in the home to act as an added warning.

Smart Home | Locks

Smart Home Setup Tip

When you install these smart devices in preparation for selling your home, consider setting up a separate email account for your house. That way, you can just hand the email address and password over to the new homeowner, and they will have info on all the devices without the need for any complicated resets or transfers of ownership.

There’s little doubt about it—adding smart home technology will make your home stand out from the crowd, and for a substantially less upfront investment than many traditional upgrades.

Jennifer Tuohy writes about the latest tech and smart home advancements for The Home Depot. She covers topics such as programming LED light bulbs and choosing the latest smart home security options. To view a wide selection of LED light bulb and other smart home options, visit The Home Depot.

Colorado Real Estate News

Your Home Staging Guide

When it comes to selling your home effectively and efficiently, home staging can truly make a difference in how the buyer places value on your home. A well-staged home can not only urge buyers to be more inclined to walk through the home that they viewed online, it can also help them visualize the property as their future home. Staging is an excellent tool that can give buyers the extra nudge that they need to purchase a home. Following is our guide to a successfully staged home!

Home Staging | Your Guide

Say Goodbye to Clutter

Home Staging

The single most important home staging element is to clean and organize your home in preparation for showings. Be sure to clean your home thoroughly, scrubbing the tile in the kitchen or bathrooms, steam clean carpets and drapes, and mend holes and cracks in the walls. You want your home to shine! A major contributor to a house feeling cluttered is too much furniture. Take a good hard look at your home and evaluate what things you can live without and how to create a feeling of spaciousness in your home.

Another important step in the home staging process is to depersonalize your home. When showing your house, you want your prospective buyers to be able to imagine themselves living there. This becomes a lot harder to do when they are in a space that has echoes of the current owner. So, remove family photos, personal collections, medications…etc. Be sure to secure your valuables and relocate your pets for the time being.

Lifestyle Appeal

Home Staging

Often, when someone buys a home they are also buying into a lifestyle. We are seeing these small neighborhoods popping up, all with their own unique cultures. When decorating your home for a showing, use bright colors, along with artwork and accent furniture to create a space that brings out the vibe of your neighborhood and bring life to an otherwise vacant and sterile room. Give them a glimpse of what it’s like living in the unique area!

Going Green

Home Staging

Going green is all the rage in real estate these days. Finding a way to reflect that trend in your home staging could give your home an extra boost over the competition. Some common green accents could be twigs or flowers from your backyard, wooden pallets to create an accent tray or coffee table, or an old bucket to use as a vase or on your front porch. Re-purposing antique furniture to create unique or hidden storage options in another great way to bring in a green element to your home.

Charm the Senses

Home Staging

Sight

This is the sense that is most associated with home staging, and rightfully so. The placement of furniture, decor, plants, and everything else is central to successful staging. But the most fundamental piece to catching a prospective seller’s eye, which often goes overlooked, is lighting. Not only does a dark home come off as unwelcoming, it will also make it hard to show off the unique qualities that could help you sell your home. So, if your home has a floor plan that doesn’t allow for much natural light, be sure to add vibrant lighting to help your home feel bright and inviting.

Sound

Music can have a powerful effect on our emotions, mood, and comfort levels; and can also be deeply evocative of memory. Therefore, playing music around your house during a showing can do wonders for filling a space as well as giving a touch of personality to your home. You want to be careful to stay away from anything too disruptive or loud that might take away from the staging or make it difficult to discuss with your prospective buyers.

Smell

Smell is the strongest, most personally connected sense that we have. It is also the sense that is most closely tied to memory. We often associate certain aromas with experiences we’ve had to a degree that different scents can make us feel nostalgic, comfortable, cozy, or just the opposite. In home staging, it’s important to use natural or neutral smells like sage, pine, or lavender to create an atmosphere that feels like home.

Taste

Let’s be honest, everyone loves a snack! Food is inviting and makes people feel welcome and comfortable in a new space. Not to mention it can add a feeling of sophistication to your home. Keep in mind that not everyone will be interested in your hors d’oeuvres, but most people will appreciate some fresh fruit, mild cheese, and even a glass of wine while they take a glance around your home.

Touch

The chance that your prospective sellers will go around touching every minute detail of your home such as walls, floors, and tiles is unlikely. But touch is our main exploratory sense, used to gauge everything from temperature to softness and quality. Outfitting a home with comfort and quality is important, but the main concern should be with temperature. If a home is too hot or too cold, it will make your prospective buyers uncomfortable and distract them from the other aspects of the home that you would like to show off.

Colorado Real Estate News

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

In a robust real estate market, the seller usually holds the winning hand because there just aren’t enough homes on the market.  In a seller’s market, sellers usually get multiple offers and can often get bids that are over the listed price.  House hunting is challenging enough at any time, but shopping in a seller’s market is a whole additional difficulty level.

The supply of homes is low across the country and demand is high. So with lots of competition out there how do you survive the house-hunting and hopefully land that home you’re after?  While there are no guaranteed ways to succeed, here are a few tips to help increase your chances of getting a home you truly want at a reasonable price.

Work With a Real Estate Professional

There’s a myth among some novice home-buyers that it’s only the sellers who need a real estate professional, which couldn’t be further from the truth.  Having someone who knows the local market well, is experienced with evaluating homes, knows how to successfully negotiate, and who will be your advocate through the entire process is absolutely critical.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Know the Signs

If the majority of houses have been sitting on the market for more than six months, it’s not a seller’s market.  If it’s only those ultra-luxurious properties which have been on the market for over a few months, that indicates that houses are getting snatched up quickly.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Get Pre-qualified For a Mortgage 

Getting prequalified lets you know how much home you can afford and it also shows sellers that you’re a serious buyer who is much more likely to be able to close escrow.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

 Do Your Research 

Although your real estate agent will provide lots of help in your home search, it’s important to do a little homework on your own up front.  It will help the home-buying process if you know which areas you’d like to live in, what you can afford, and the type and size of the home you would prefer.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Commit to Being On Call 

To succeed in a seller’s market, you have to make house hunting a priority and always be available.  Treat house hunting as you would job hunting.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Be Prepared to Compromise 

Everyone wants that big, gorgeous home in the best neighborhood, but you may have to compromise a bit, especially when the market is competitive.  This doesn’t mean settling for a home you dislike; it just means going after homes with the features that you really need, rather than what you simply want.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Waive the What-Ifs

Typically, when home buyers make an offer, they do so only with contingencies.  For example, they would buy a home if the inspection goes well or if they can secure financing.  However, in a seller’s market, it may behoove you to drop one or two of these caveats to stand out to sellers, who generally would prefer very few hurdles on the way to closing.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Make a Strong Offer

Work with your real estate professional to put together a strong offer for the home you’re after.  You may also want to work with the seller on a closing date and contingencies.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Don’t Play Hardball

In your typical home-selling scenario, buyers make an offer below the seller’s asking price, then negotiate upward from there.  But in a seller’s market, there is often little or no room for price negotiations.  It’s almost always a waste of time low-balling a seller.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Connect With the Seller

If two offers are close, it may help your chances to try to personally connect with the seller or by write a letter detailing how much you love their home and how much you dream about living there.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Widen Your Search

In a seller’s market, it’s not unusual to feel out-priced in your favorite neighborhood, but that may merely mean you need to start scouting farther afield, such as visiting an up-and-coming neighborhood nearby.