Category Archives: Selling

Selling Tips, Fall Things to Do, and More

Hi everyone,

I thought you might enjoy a variety of articles for this post, so check out the links below.

~Andria Allen

303.810.8375


Fall Things to Do in Colorado

Isn’t fall the greatest time of year in Colorado? Whether you’re outside taking in the sights or…Read More


WK Real Estate Wins Best Real Estate Company & Best Customer Service

We are excited to announce that WK Real Estate has been awarded “Best Real Estate Company” and…Read More


4 Reasons We’re Not in a Bubble

Today’s housing market is vastly different than the bubble market of 12 years ago. Here are four key differences…Read More


4 Tips for a Fast Sale

If you’re selling your home, here are some ways to make a great first impression…Read More


 

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How is the Local Real Estate Market?

How is the local real estate market? The article below provides great information about the areas surrounding Boulder County. I personally believe the surrounding areas are increasing in activity and price due to the fact that the average home price in Boulder County makes it unattainable for many Buyers. We have seen the average home price continue to increase in Boulder County. This trend is contributing to the hike in the surrounding areas as well. If you are interested in finding out the market value of your home, give me a call.

~Andria Allen

303.810.8375


Wellington, Berthoud and Johnstown see double-digit home price hikes

Source: Coloradoan.

Home prices throughout Northern Colorado continue to escalate, with some towns seeing double-digit price hikes.

Overall, Northern Colorado’s median home price in August was $425,000, up nearly 15 percent year over year, and $292,000 for townhomes and condos, up 19 percent.

Fort Collins’ median home prices hit $420,000 after the first eight months of the year, another record high in the city which had 1,607 closed sales through August, a slight drop from a year ago…Read More

6 Key Housing Stats to Gauge the Market

Many of you are at or near retirement (or at least hoping you are).  As a baby boomer myself, I keep hearing about how our generation is and will effect the US Economy is many ways. One of those ways is housing. As I show homes to many people thinking ahead, a main floor bedroom is one of the most important criteria for that time when they may no longer be able to navigate stairs. Another desire is proximity to amenities i.e. grocery shopping, medical offices, walking paths and parks.

This article outlines a few important statistics.

— Andria


Existing-home sales were back on the rise in July, marking the third consecutive month of increases, while low inventories of homes for-sale and rising prices were the reason behind first-time buyers falling to their lowest share since January, according to a new report from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Regional Breakdown

Here’s how existing-home sales fared across the country in July:

  • Northeast: sales fell 2.8 percent to an annual rate of 700,000, but are 9.4 percent above a year ago. Median price: $277,200, which is 1.3 percent higher than a year ago.
  • Midwest: sales held steady at an annual rate of 1.32 million, unchanged from June but 10.9 percent above a year ago. Median price: $186,500, up 6.6 percent from a year ago.
  • South: sales rose 4.1 percent to an annual rate of 2.29 million in July, and are 9.6 percent higher than a year ago. Median price: $203,500, up 7 percent from a year ago.
  • West: sales increased 3.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.28 million in July, and are 11.3 percent above a year ago. Median price: $327,400, which is 8.4 percent above a year ago.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Total existing-home sales – which include single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops – rose 2 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.59 million. Sales are at the highest pace since February 2007, and are 10.3 percent above a year ago.

“The creation of jobs added at a steady clip and the prospect of higher mortgage rates and home prices down the road is encouraging more household to buy now,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “As a result, current home owners are using their increasing housing equity toward the down payment on their next purchase.”

Here’s a look at five main indicators from NAR’s latest housing report:

  1. Home prices:The median existing-home price for all housing types was $234,000 in July – 5.6 percent above a year ago. “Despite the strong growth in sales since this spring, declining affordability could begin to slowly dampen demand,” says Yun. “REALTORS® in some markets reported slower foot traffic in July in part because of low inventory and concerns about the continued rise in home prices without commensurate income gains.”
  2. Housing inventories:At the end of July, the inventory of homes for-sale fell 0.4 percent to 2.24 million existing homes available for sale. The inventory now is 4.7 percent lower than a year ago and at a 4.8-month supply at the current sales pace.
  3. First-time home buyers:The percentage of first-time home buyers fell for the second consecutive month, reaching 28 percent in July – the lowest share since January. Last year at this time, first-time buyers comprised 29 percent of all buyers.

“The fact that first-time buyers represented a lower share of the market compared to a year ago even though sales are considerably higher is indicative of the challenges many young adults continue to face,” says Yun. “Rising rents and flat wage growth make it difficult for many to save for a down payment, and the dearth of supply in affordable price ranges is limiting their options.”

  1. Days on the market:Properties stayed on the market for an average of 42 days in July, below the 48 days average from a year ago. Forty-three percent of homes were on the market for less than a month in July. Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 135 days while foreclosures were on the market for 49 days and non-distressed homes sold in 41 days.
  2. All-cash sales: The percentage of all-cash sales rose to 23 percent of transactions in July, down from 29 percent a year ago. The share of individual investors – who account for the bulk of cash sales – was 13 percent in July, down from 16 percent a year ago.
  3. Distressed sales: The percentage of foreclosures and short sales declined to the lowest share since NAR began tracking it in October 2008. Distressed sales fell 7 percent in July month-over-month and are 9 percent below a year ago. In July, 5 percent of sales comprised foreclosures while 2 percent were short sales. On average, foreclosures sold for a discount of 17 percent below market value while short sales sold for an average discount of 12 percent.

“Five years ago, distressed sales represented 33 percent of the market in July,” says Chris Polychron, NAR’s president. “For many previously distressed homeowners throughout the country, rising home values in recent years have helped recover equity and the vast improvement in several local job markets means fewer are falling behind on their mortgage payments.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Your Home’s First Price Should Be Its Best Price

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If you’re putting your home on the market, especially if you live in an area where prices are going up and buyers are competing for homes, you may be tempted to try listing it at a high price just to see if you can get it.

Don’t do it.

Experienced Realtors will tell you that pricing your home appropriately from the beginning is critical to getting it sold quickly and at the best price. Research shows that overpricing your home and then dropping the price several times while it languishes on the market usually leads to selling it at a much lower price than what you originally should have asked for it. The longer a home stays on the market, the deeper the discount is likely to be off the original price.

For example, according to McEnearney Associates, a McLean, VA, real estate company, homes that sold in August 2013 within their first week on the market sold for an average of 2.08 percent above list price. Homes that lingered on the market for four months sold for an average of 11.53 percent below their original price.

How to price your home correctly
Many homeowners want to set their list price based on what they paid for their home, the balance of their mortgage, or on the profit they want to make so they can move into another home. In reality, your home is worth only what the market will bear. If you price your home too high, some potential buyers won’t want to look at it at all, while others will simply walk away without making an offer.

Many homeowners want to set their list price based on what they paid for their home, the balance of their mortgage, or on the profit they want to make so they can move into another home. In reality, your home is worth only what the market will bear. If you price your home too high, some potential buyers won’t want to look at it at all, while others will simply walk away without making an offer.

If you’re interviewing several Realtors to choose a listing agent, you may be tempted to pick the sales professional who suggests the highest price for your property. But sellers, like buyers, need to beware. The Realtor who provides the best comparative market analysis and explanation of how your home should be priced will be more likely to sell your home quicker and for a higher price than someone who tells you only what you want to hear.

A comparative market analysis should include sales prices for similar nearby homes that sold in the last month or two. In addition, many Realtors include prices for homes currently on the market that will be your competition, as well as homes taken off the market because they didn’t sell. Other data Realtors can use to suggest a price range include how many days homes were on the market at various price points and the average difference between the list prices and sale prices on homes that have sold.

Your Realtor can help you estimate who might want to buy your house and what else those buyers are looking at so you can measure your price against the competition.

A knowledgeable Realtor can factor in all of these issues in the context of your local market conditions, including whether home prices are rising or falling and whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market.

Choose the right professional to help you with your home sale and then listen to your Realtor’s advice and your transaction is more likely to go through quickly and smoothly from the beginning.

Five Good Reasons Why You Should Hire a Real Estate Agent

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Whether you are buying or selling a home, you need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you toward your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and Internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.

The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but rather have been strengthened in recent months due to rising interest rates & home prices as the market recovers.

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?
Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?
According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, who knows what these actions are to make sure that you acquire your dream?

3. Are you a good negotiator?
So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?
Not only is it important for your home to be priced correctly from the start, to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market, but you also need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home, to give you the truth as to your home’s value.

According to the National Association of REALTORS, “the typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”

Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?
There is so much information out there on the news and the Internet about home sales, prices, mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to, to tell you how to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a low-ball offer?

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.” – Dave Ramsey

Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line:
You wouldn’t hike up Kilimanjaro without a Sherpa, or replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic, why would you make one of your most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional?

5 Staging projects that buyers love

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Skillful staging can make the difference between a quick sale and a house that lingers on the market for months. But how do you know which staging projects will have the biggest impact?

We’ve teamed up with the style experts at Rue La La to bring you a Trulia-inspired shopping experience to help you stage your home. Visit Rue La La for an exclusive chance to win an interior design consultation with Homepolish’s Orlando Soria. Need an extra nudge? You could also win $1,000 in Rue credit to for your home décor projects! To get you started, we’ve listed below the five most important things you can do to make sure your house shows well.

1. Clean, clean, clean
We all live with a few dust bunnies, but noticeable dirt makes a potential buyer think your home may not be well cared for. If you can’t deep clean the place yourself, hire a cleaning service to give it a good once-over. Pay special attention to things like windows and light fixtures–anything to make the place feel brighter and more cheerful. Before showings, wipe down a few of your home’s surfaces with your favorite cleaning product. Don’t overdo it, but a faint smell of furniture polish or cleanser helps to give buyers an impression of cleanliness.

2. Remove quirky or overly personal decor
It may break your heart to take down your wedding photos, but you want a buyer to be able to imagine themselves filling the home with their own memories. So pack up your collection of vintage punk rock posters and your Precious Moments figurines. This process will also help you let go of the home emotionally as you prepare to pass it on to someone else.

3. Reduce, remove, declutter
Excess stuff makes a home feel smaller, darker and more cramped. Take the time to clear horizontal surfaces–no more piles of mail on the hall table or pill bottles on the bathroom counter. When the odds-and-ends of daily life are cleared away, select one or two attractive pieces that will photograph well, like a brightly colored vase or a few coffee table books. If you’re planning to move soon after the sale, it might be worth it to pack up things like books and off-season clothing and move them out of the house entirely to make storage spaces look larger.

4. There’s nothing like a new coat of paint

Paint brightens things up, masks old odors, and gives a general impression of newness and good maintenance. Even touch-up paint makes a big difference, but it can be hard to match an existing color. If you have leftover paint, keep in mind that the paint on the walls may have faded over time, making the touched-up spots stand out too much. Instead, pick one wall in each of the main rooms to repaint entirely. If you can’t match the room’s original color, use a lighter complimentary color or even white. Even a few repainted walls throughout the home will give buyers an impression of freshness. You want your home to feel like a clean slate.

5. Light things up
This is the easiest thing in the world, but it makes a big difference. When you prepare your home for an open house or a showing, open curtains and turn on a few lamps. This will make the house feel more inviting. A vase or two of fresh flowers also helps to brighten things up, but don’t go overboard.

Finally, don’t try to make your home look too fancy. Ultimately, you want your home to look like the best version of itself, not pretend to be something it’s not. If your home is a solid starter home for a new family, don’t try to gussy it up to look like a luxury pad for well-heeled singles. Some professional staging companies go over the top, with fancy place settings on the dining room table or rose petals floating in the bathtub. Buyers will be quick to notice if you’re trying too hard. Focus on cleanliness, good lighting and clutter-free surfaces, and let your home’s charm speak for itself.

4 Money Musts Before Selling Your Home

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If you’re planning to sell your home, chances are good that you’re seeking a lifestyle level-up: you want to bring your home’s size, shape, features, location, maintenance and financial obligations into better alignment with your life – or your future. Making sure that you execute a home sale that actually does align your home with your life requires a lot of prep work.

For most home sellers, it’s the property preparation work that is top of mind. You’ve got to select an agent,let them come and tell you all the junk that has to go, pack up that stuff and then let the painters and housekeepers do their job. Then, and only then, the stagers can begin, telling you to pack up all the rest of your stuff so they can create a really clutter-free, updated, neutrally-chic vignette of an irresistible life in your home for the next folks. (Be forewarned – sellers have been known to love their post-staging house so much they question their decision to move!)

But there are a number of financial prep steps that also need to happen to ensure your home’s sale actually does improve your life the way you hope it will, without creating any surprise dramas or burdens. Here are four of those money-do’s to add into your list of home sale prep steps:

1. Get clear on your current credit status. I know, I know – checking credit is an ever-present item on a home buyer’s prep checklist. But if you’re selling a home, chances are good that you’ll want to buy a replacement one. The best time to spot credit glitches and hitches – bills you need to pay down, rogue errors and the like – is not when your current home is on the escrow countdown. If you’re thinking you want to sell your home this year, now is the time to check your credit, spot issues and begin fixing them.

Some credit rehabilitation projects take months, even a year, to complete – so the earlier you get started, the more time you’ll have on your side. And this advice is for everyone – even if you think you have stellar credit, check your reports far enough in advance that you can spot and dispute any erroneous information that might have found its way there. Get started by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com – and revisit this post for an even deeper dive into what you’re looking for, and what you need to do.

2. Scope out your minimum desired decrease – or maximum tolerance for increase – in housing costs. Often times, we eyeball these things: rates are still good, you just got a raise, you can well afford your current payment, looks like your home is worth more now and those houses up the hill don’t cost that much more – time to move up, right?

Maybe so. But maybe no. There’s a lot more to account for in this equation. You need to factor in what the actual increase in your mortgage payment will be, but also how much you’ll net on your home, how much cash you’ll need to close on your next one, and how much your utilities, property taxes, insurance and other home-related expenses might increase if you move up.

Same with downsizing: if you downsize from a home you’ve live in for decades to a brand new, but smaller, condo – you could actually see an increase in property taxes in some areas and get an HOA bill you never had before, to boot. By no means does that mean it’s not the right move to make: the increased bills might be offset by decreased heating, cooling and maintenance, and the fact is that the smaller, new place might just be the right size and style for the next stage of your life.

But you can’t know that’s the fact until you have clarity about how much you can truly, sustainably, wisely afford to spend on your next move. To get this clarity before you list, you’ll need to enlist

  • your agent – who can help you understand what sort of downsize or move-up property you can get at various price points
  • your mortgage broker – they can help you understand various financial scenarios for purchase prices, down payments and monthly payments – including property taxes
  • your tax advisor – who can help you understand the differential impact of various next-home scenarios on your income tax situation, and
  • your financial planner – if you don’t have one, it might be worth engaging one to help you make a wise financial move as you carry out your next home move.  A fee-based financial planner can help you get clarity around your current income and expenses, your debt, as well as your savings and investments – this insight allows you to wisely time your move vis-a-vis your other life and financial goals.

3. Get inspections and key reports in advance (then read them). The potential for big, bad financial surprises is the scariest element of any real estate transaction. And when you’re selling your home, that potential comes in the form of surprise property problems that complicate your sale, surprise liens and taxes that must be paid to close the deal and even surprise HOA problems that don’t manifest fully until the buyer gets HOA disclosures.

One way to limit your financial exposure to these sorts of surprises is to simply decide not to wait to gather this information until a buyer is on the hook. In many markets, it’s now standard operating procedure for sellers to actually have home, pest and/or roof inspections – and any governmentally-mandated inspections – conducted before the house even goes on the market. This empowers you, the seller, to either begin conducting repairs or to fully disclose what needs doing and list your home in as-is condition. You might not get the same price for it as you would have without the reports, but you will minimize the likelihood of tense negotiations and falling out of escrow – things that are common when a buyer gets a mid-transaction surprise of negative property condition reports. Ask your agent for advice about whether obtaining any or all of these inspection reports in advance makes sense in your situation.

Additionally, work with your agent to get early copies of your home’s preliminary escrow report and HOA disclosures. If you have outstanding liens or there are HOA issues that will make it difficult to carry out a sale, better to know – and solve for – them sooner than later.

4.  Create a financial plan for your home’s sale. “It takes money to make money,” they say. What they didn’t say is that it also takes money to turn your home into the cash your equity represents. So I’ll say it:

  • When you bought your home, the seller paid both agents’ commissions. Now that you’re selling, it’s your turn – make sure you calculate the average 5-6% of the purchase price that you’ll need to cover your listing agent’s work, and the buyer’s agent’s, too.
  • Depending on the condition of your home, you may need to spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than a few thousand getting it market-ready, whether you decide to do a DIY-fix-it sweep or to hire the best stager in town to showcase your showplace.
  • Depending on how much financial margin you have – or need – and on what your advance inspections revealed (if you did them – see #3, above), you might want to build in a line item for a repair credit to offset the cost of any repairs that come up during escrow.
  • Your agent can help you project other costs of selling your home, like property transfer taxes and paying for the buyer’s home warranty – costs customarily covered by the seller vary widely state-by-state, and even across counties within the same state.  Your escrow holder and agent can also get you up-to-speed on precisely how much of your home’s sale price will go to pay off your mortgage(s), property taxes and any other liens.

Your final money-do is to actually document your financial plan and budget for selling your home. Many agents will sit right down with you and help you do this; if yours will, take them up on the offer. It also creates a perfect time and space to get educated about the flow of the home selling process and standard bargaining practices in your area. The goal is to get a clear, concrete understanding of the dollars that will flow in and out during this major life change, so you can make clear, calm decisions throughout the process that set you up for success long after closing.