Monday, November 29, 2010

Top Ten Holiday Showing Tips for Sellers

'Tis the season to hang stockings by the chimney, stuff over-sized trees into family rooms and play the dreidel. However, December is also a season when interested buyers take advantage of vacation time and slower work schedules to attend showings and open houses to gauge the real estate market before the year's end.

As homes tend to be crammed with decorations, baking and packages, and family and friends drop in without notice this time of year, the holiday season can present challenges for sellers who know the importance of keeping their listed property minimally adorned and tidy.

Good news! Selling a home over the holidays doesn't mean that you and your family can't celebrate the season.

Here is a “top ten” list of pointers that will help houses shine in this oft-cluttered holiday season.

1. Festival of lights – Exterior holiday lights can brighten up any house and really increase curb appeal. Less-is-more in this case! Opt for white lights instead of multi-color and/or flashing bulbs to provide a more taste-neutral glow to your home. A few strands of white icicle lights are always tasteful.

2. Fake it – Brightly colored plants and flowers are usually nowhere to be seen in Colorado this time of year, but you can "fake" your garden. Place frost-resistant potted plants, such as flowering kale or miniature trees, in the walkway and garden to brighten up your home's exterior and give buyers a sense of the landscape potential.

3. Let it snow – Snow can look beautiful on trees, but driveways and walkways should ALWAYS be cleared as soon as the fluffy stuff falls. Don't forget your back patio or deck and walkways around the sides of the house. Buyers should be able to move freely to all parts of the property. Keep an eye out for icicles on the roof, as they can indicate that your home has inadequate insulation.

4. Toasty and cozy – A warm home is always more inviting than one that has people
reaching for their coats. Be sure to have the heat set at a comfortable temperature for the
entire day. If possible, turn the lights on and have fireplaces and candles lit to create a cozy environment, even during daylight hours, especially for open houses.

5. Sugar and spice – To create an inviting, festive atmosphere, boil a pot of cider with
cinnamon during any open houses or showings.

6. Home sweet home – From fish, to cabbage rolls, to turkey, the holidays can be a fragrant
time of favorite holiday dishes. What appeals to you at dinner may leave an odor in your
home that not everyone will appreciate. Hold off on holiday cooking as much as
possible, especially if you know that a showing or open house is scheduled. Give
yourself permission to take this holiday off from cooking – treat yourself to a meal out at
a restaurant, or dine with family and friends!

7. A home for all seasons – Display several photos of the home's front and back yards,
gardens, and patios in spring and summer to show potential buyers what the house looks
like when it is not buried in snow, and when there are leaves on the trees and green grass.

8. Size matters – Choose a small Christmas tree and dress it minimally with decorations. A
huge tree will make your room look smaller, and busy decorations can appear messy.

9. It’s presence, not presents – It is important to cut back on clutter when listing your
home. Wrapped presents should not be on display, for aesthetic purposes and also to
ensure that they don‟t “grow legs and walk away”.

10. Less is more – When it comes to decorating and selling a home, less is always more.
When in doubt … don't.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, something else, or nothing at all, this can
be a very stressful time of year, especially if your home is for sale. Keep things simple and
remember that the most important things in life are family and friends. Please call your sales
associate at Colorado Landmark if you need advice or assistance during this holiday season.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Colorado Landmark, Realtors!

Colorado Landmark, Realtors
Twitter: @COLandmark

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from Colorado Landmark, Realtors

At Colorado Landmark, Realtors, we are so thankful for the beautiful place we live, and the wonderful people we are privileged to work with on a daily basis.

Wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!

Colorado Landmark, Realtors
(303) 443-3377
Twitter: @COLandmark

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Top Ten Sales - Boulder/Broomfield Counties - Oct 18 - 31, 2010 - Treat Selling Your Home Like Buying Zucchini - GO Local!

Our economy is still struggling.  Employment is not improving at a fast enough pace.  Colorado's unemployment rate is still hovering at 8.0% for September 2010, down from 8.2% in June 2010 but up from 7.7% in May 2010 per the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Boulder County stands at 6.2% and Broomfield County is at 7.2% for September 2010.  
Approximately every other week Colorado Landmark provides detailed information on the real estate actvity in Boulder and Broomfield Counties from the past two weeks. Hopefully our analysis will help reveal what properties are selling, at what prices, how long they are are taking to sell, and other relevant information about what's going on in OUR local area - Boulder County and Broomfield County.

For the two week period from October 18 through October 31, 2010 here are the numbers:

•193 properties sold (up from 142 properties previous reported period)
•Price range of properties sold during this period: $59,000 - $2,400,000
•Median price: $305,000
•Average price: $385,529

•$0-199k = 44 sold this period (33 last period)
•$200-299K = 49 sold (38 last period)
•$300-399k = 31 sold
•$400-499k =  29 sold (13 last period)
•$500-599k = 10 sold
•$600-699k = 10 sold (4 last period)
•$700-799k = 10 sold (4 last period)
•$800-899k = 1 sold
•$900-999k = 3 sold
•$1.0-1.9M = 5 sold (15 last period)
•$2.0M+ = 1 sold

Top Ten Listings Sold during this period:

Information obtained from MLS and public record.

This period's Top Ten numbers are not very different from previous periods, and reinforce what we have been communicating all along.  Overpricing = BAD!
The four properties with the longest days on market are .... you guessed it ... the properties with the lowest ratio of sale to list price.  The home on Neher Lane was listed for over 900 days total and sold for only 39% of its' original list price.  8828 W. Phillips Road was marketed for almost 2000 days (astounding!), and sold for just over half of its' original list price.  What was going on with these sellers?  Did they dictate a sales price to their real estate professional, driven by greed, ego, or financial need?  Or did their original listing agent blow sunshine in their face and recommend an inflated list price simply to win the listing?  Shocked?  Don't be ... these things do happen.

So what's the antidote for overprice-itus?  Two simple things.

#1) Get several professional opinions about what your house is worth from local realtors that have been recommended by someone you trust.  The stress is on the word local here.  No one can do it all.  The Boulder-Denver Metro area is huge.  A real estate professional who lives in Denver and is based in Cherry Creek can't possibly be completely clued into what the Boulder-Broomfield market is doing.  Pick an agent that not only lists homes in your specific neighborhood, but actually sells them.  Ask for proof of their sales records, and testimonials or recommendations from past clients.  Many of you shop at the Boulder Farmer's Market for produce because you feel good about "buying local".  Don't you think using a local professional to help you sell your most important asset is just as important as buying a locally grown zucchini?

#2) Don't dictate a selling price to your realtor.  Please don't take offense to this but don't think that just because you have a Masters in Engineering, MBA or PhD, or are a high ranking executive at a great company that you know how to price your house.  We know Boulder and Broomfield are full of wonderful highly educated people - what a pleasure for us to work with you!  Just let us do our jobs.  A true real estate professional is on top of the market data, community trends and current inventory and they will know how to price your house appropriately.  Trust their expertise and experience!

This week's takeway - find a good local professional, and trust them to do their job.
Pam Metzger
Director of Relocation and Business Development
Colorado Landmark, Realtors

Friday, November 5, 2010

Open Houses this weekend!

Fall is a great time to see what's on the market in your neighborhoods of interest.  Check out the open houses this weekend!