5 Tips For Winter Home Selling

5 Simple Hacks

“Nobody wants to move their Christmas Tree”! That’s what I was told by the seasoned pros early in my Real Estate career. The problem is that many people find themselves having to sell during the holidays. The period of time from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day is traditionally slow. The days are shorter, colder, darker and sometimes snowy.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that the inventory levels are also at their lowest point of the year. If a buyer is looking this time of year, they are serious. So, if you have to sell during the winter months, here are 5 tips to make winter selling, more successful:

  1. Shovel: Keep the driveway and sidewalks clear. Don't make potential buyers trudge through snow to get into the house. You don’t want them dragging snow in on their pants, shoes and socks either. Buyers want to imagine what it would be like to live in your house, don’t remind them they’ll have to clear snow.
  2. Place For Shoes: You don’t want potential buyers walking through your house with snowy shoes or boots. Place area rugs or mats for them to place their shoes on. It’s also a good idea to have disposable booties available, as well as a bench or chair, if there is room for one, so a visitor can sit and easily change shoes or boots.
  3. Keep it Comfortable: The inside temperature of the home is important. If the home is cold it feels vacant and uninviting. On the other hand, too hot feels stifling and uncomfortable. Remember the buyers are most likely already dressed for outside. Just keep the inside comfortable, 65 degrees is a good place to start.
  4. Light it up: The days are shorter during the winter months. The last impression you want to create is that your house is “dark”. Keep window coverings open and lights on to make your home light and cheery.
  5. Sniff Out Odors: Holiday cooking, pets and yes people, all create odors. Buyers want to buy your house, not your smells. Clean and vacuum more often when selling your home in the winter months. Fragrances and candles are fine but remember, less is more. Don’t mask odors with overbearing products, they just make it seem like you’re hiding something.

If you follow the five simple rules along with professional pricing and staging, winter can be a great time to sell your home.

Continue reading
2490 Hits

A Decade of Equity Briargate 2006-2016

The Briargate neighborhood is one of our market's most popular areas. This popularity is the result of good planning, good schools and convenient amenities. Briargate prices have always been a little higher because of on-going new construction. New construction is more expensive than comparable resale homes. Home buyers will often push their budget higher or sacrifice somewhere else to live in the area.

During the recession (2007-2010), Briargate saw a -12% decline in median sales price. This was better than the -18% hit The Black Forest Market took. 

The post recession gains in the Briargate market are impressive. The area has seen a 23% increase from 2011-2016. Almost as impressive as Black Forest (26.8%) for the same period. Commercial development and the reputation of Academy School District #20 are fueling this increase.

As of December, 2016 the median sales price in Briargate is $341,250. This is 37% higher than the Colorado Springs median sales price. We feel like this is good news for existing home owners in the area. The only concern we see is this. The Colorado Springs housing market is price sensitive. When prices veer too far from median, we see sales slow. Moving forward, we will keep a close eye on the Briargate market.

BRI MED

Continue reading
1876 Hits

Southern Colorado Insurance Changes

Southern Colorado Insurance Changes

I love it here... so thankful for limited natural disasters like tornado, hurricane, earthquakes. However, Colorado is still subject to blizzards, hail, wind, and fire. 2012 and 2013 were devastating locally when it comes to fire. Much of those homes have been rebuilt. So, let's talk about the unfortunate weather issues of 2016 And how it's changing insurance for southern Colorado. 

A huge part of eastern Colorado Springs was hit hard by a "hail bomb". According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the 6th most devastating weather event in Colorado history. When you use the term catastrophic, you know it's serious. 33,200 property claims of $188.2 million and 51,300 vehicle claims of $164.6 million... I'll do the quick math, that's 84,500 claims to the tune of $352.8 million. There were other storms as well, but this was the worst. So if you think those claims aren't going to cause your rates to go up, think again!

We've all seen hundreds of vehicles driving round with temp tags, damaged hoods, temporary window patches and even some shattered windshields. There are also the vinyl siding homes and townhomes that are covered in patches. Frankly there were areas that looked like a war zone. Homes have seen damage to roof, window, siding, etc. Not all claims on vehicles necessitated full replacement, but shops were/are busy doing major repairs... plus rental cars were hard to come by and I'm sure the dealerships struggled to keep inventory. 

So, now, the insurance... We were able to purchase and investment property this Spring. Thank God it was not hit by this catastrophic storm. I went to our HOA meeting this week and learned quite a bit about how HOA property insurance works. It was eye opening, that's for sure. Thankfully our insurance agent's office took great care of us when we set up our policy.

Here's the gist... many insurance carriers are on a percentage deductible, based on the value of the property. Let's say you have a 5-unit townhome building that is valued at $1,000,000 and your deductible is 2% (they range from 1-10% deductibles!)... that means your HOA will have to pay a $20,000 deductible. So your HOA reserves would have to exceed that deductible. In the case of this storm, there are thousands of "attached" units affected, I'm not sure how many buildings. But I can't imagine their HOAs had the reserves, which means the owners all get a "Special Assessment"... sounds so nice and special, but it's not good, its expensive!! So, homeowners have to come up with thousands out of pocket, even though they are "adequately insured". One of the biggest things that came out of this, and the most important take-away from this blog!!--- if you own a town home/condo go get LOSS ASSESSMENT COVERAGE, right now!!! It is not very expensive and can help cover this "gap"!!! This Loss Assessment Coverage should be in place with every home owner, so the special assessment doesn't kill your family budget! I called my agent's office the day afer the meeting and made sure we were set up, and we were. I upped our coverage anyway, because it's worth it.

I also had a new buyer move here from Wisconsin in November. She was shocked when she called to set up their vehicle insurance. It was about double the amount they had paid for their vehicle insurance in WI. Their agent sighted recent claims, specific to southern Colorado, that caused all rates to rise. 

We heard a lot in 2013 after the Black Forest fire that insurance is really expensive, until you need it. There were many families that were under- or un-insured. My best advice, is that even if it costs maybe a bit more, MAKE SURE you have the coverage you need on all of your belongings, because otherwise it's going to cost you far more out of pocket should there ever be a need to file a major claim!! Also, review your policy notifications every year, because your insurance company could change your policy from flat deductibles to percentage, and it could be pricy to deal with the potential claims! 

Continue reading
1901 Hits

Why you should not rule out selling your home in the winter months

Why you should not rule out selling your home in the winter months

Winter will here before we know it, but that should not give you any concern at all if you are considering putting your home on the market for sale in the next few months.  Here are my reasons why:

1. The winter market can be less competitive for Sellers since many families will wait until Spring to list their home. Economics 101: Supply and demand.  Supply goes down, price goes up. This creates a unique opportunity for a Seller to make a little more money just by selling in the Winter months.

2.  The smaller amount of inventory in the form of active listings will allow Sellers to get more attention from a bigger pool of Buyers. This bigger pool of Buyers creates another unique opportunity for Sellers in the Winter months.  A bigger pool of existing Buyers will typically translate into shorter times before a Seller can expect an offer.  

3.  Many people do not know this, but many larger corporations will transfer existing employees or hire new ones early in the new year. During this time period, and especially in larger metro markets like Denver and Colorado Springs, this activity tends to produce highly motivated Buyers for Sellers listing their homes in the Winter.

4.  Buyers looking to purchase in the winter tend to be more bound and determined to buy. Most folks will not do a great deal of window shopping in the harsher weather months of December and January like they tend to do in warmer months like March and April. Listing your home in the Winter will likely eliminate some of the 'lookie loos' of the Spring months.   

To support my rationale, I found a study that came out in late December, 2013 from the online brokerage firm, Redfin. This study found that Sellers net more above asking price during the months of December, January, February, and March than they do from June through November. Further, homes listed in Winter sold faster than those listed in Spring. The likelihood of selling a home when listing in Denver broke down like this:  If you listed your home in Winter, you had a 77% chance of getting it sold in six months or less, in the Spring, you had a 64% chance, in the Summer, you had a 63% chance, and in the Fall, you had a 68% chance.

Winter is coming friends, and numbers don't lie! If you are needing or wanting to sell your home in the Winter months, you can and with confidence! Feel free to give me a call.

Continue reading
2036 Hits

Tankless vs Tank Water Heaters: What's the Best?

Tankless vs Tank Water Heaters: What's the Best?

I've often wondered, so maybe you have too, what the best style of water heater is for a home. The tankless option which came out years ago to provide more energy efficiency seems to be a great option, because water isn't sitting in the typical stand-up tank being heated and unused. 

However I wanted to get some expert advice, so I consulted with my favorite HVAC pro, Bob Brown of Brown's Heating and Cooling

Here is my long-winded analysis, with his advice. 

Cost Comparison

* The typical stand-up water heater is less expensive to install...$1400/1500 for traditional tank vs $4500 for tankless water heater

Energy Efficiency

* The tankless water heaters have recovery issues, despite their claim to a quick recovery, especially in Colorado where the groundwater comes out of the ground at 52 degrees. It takes more energy/time to get it to a comfortable shower temperature.

* Most tankless water heaters are manufactured for sea level, where the water comes out of the ground at 70 degrees, and obviously then takes less energy to get it to needed temps

* Tankless water heaters generally yield 7 gallons per minute of hot water, and stand-ups yield 11.2-13 gallons

* One tankless water heater might support a small home, but larger custom homes are putting in 2-3 tankless water heaters, obviously adding expense

Retrofitting

* Most homes are built with inadequate natural gas output for tankless, BT rating too low, so existing homes looking to upgrade will also need to upgrade gas service into the home, which is an added expense

* Venting will likely need to be updated/upgraded for tankless heaters as well

Conclusion: Buying a Tank Water Heater vs Tankless Water Heater

Overall, it seems the tankless water heaters aren't a great option at our altitude, as the added expenses and energy needed don't necessarily offset the energy savings. Over time, the 

Continue reading
1967 Hits