Pricing and prepping your home to sell at the highest price requires strategy, even in a red hot market like Boulder County.
The best strategy is the one that suits your personal needs and local market conditions. For those reasons, your Realtor is the most reliable advisor for pricing your home. Your Realtor also can offer insights on improvements that will boost your home’s appeal and value.
If you’re just beginning to consider selling, take a look at these pricing and prepping strategies reported by Realty Times. Depending on your local market, your Realtor may recommend these approaches to selling your home.
Price Just Under a Price Break
For a home valued at $600,000, list at $599,000 to increase the number of searches your home appears in and the potential buyers that see your home. Even better, prices that aren’t typical, such as $597,400, increase the perception of value.
Price to Drive Demand
The same $600,000 home could be priced at $575,000, which is slightly undervalued. This might seem risky, since all offers could come in right at $575,000. As the seller, you can counteroffer or decline any offer you don’t want to accept. The advantage is that an under-value listing creates a sense of urgency, potentially motivating more buyers to make an offer. If enough people do this at once, this creates a buyer frenzy and increases the likelihood of multiple offers and escalated prices.
Review Comparable Listings
Review a comparative market analysis of recently sold homes and those currently active, expired and off-market. Remember, it’s important to look at what isn’t selling, as well as what is. Your Realtor will prepare this report for you and recommend how you should price your home relative to the comparable listings nearby. Generally, it’s recommended to price you home within 10 percent of the average home price in your area.
Make Select Home Improvements
When choosing which home improvements to make, go with those that will make a positive first impression and sell your home quickly for the lowest investment.
Two proven updates to make are:
Replace carpet that is more than five years old or looks worn or stained. Consider replacing the carpet with hard floors such as wood, bamboo or cork. Here’s an extra tip: Using the same material throughout each floor of your home makes it look bigger and creates the impression your home is worth more.
Apply a fresh coat of neutral paint to brighten your home and cover up scuff marks and dirt. Neutral grays and earth tones will appeal to a cross section of buyers. You can even freshen your kitchen with chalk paint, instead of going to the expense and inconvenience of fully remodeling. Chalk paint looks great and is hard to distinguish from the original finish.
Decisions on how to price and prepare your home for sale are important and influenced by local factors. So once you get past the considering stage, consult your Realtor for the best professional advice for your neighborhood.
Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018 at 2:16pm.
Denver International Airport ranked No. 1 in the U.S, reports international air transport researchers at Skytrax in the 2018 annual airport awards.
In a separate Skytrax ranking of regional airports by continent, Denver is the No. 1 airport in North America and No. 5 regional airport in the world.
More than 13 million international air travelers around the world surveyed for the awards voted Singapore Changi the top airport in the world for the third year in a row. Denver – ranking 29th in the world – claimed the top ranking spot for U.S. airports. Denver is followed by No. 34 Cincinnati, No. 48 Houston International, and Nos. 50 and 51 Atlanta and San Francisco, respectively.
Travelers were surveyed from August 2017 to February 2018, covering 550 airports worldwide and evaluating traveler experiences including check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security, and immigration through to departure at the gate.
But that’s not all. In a separate airport satisfaction survey conducted by J.D. Power Ratings in 2017, DIA pulled a score of 763 out of 1,000, ranking fourth. Orlando International Airport ranks highest in satisfaction among mega airports, with a score of 778. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (767) ranks second, and McCarran International Airport and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (765) tied for third.
The survey found overall passenger satisfaction with North American airports has reached an all-time high.
“Capacity has become a huge challenge for North American airports, with many reporting 100% of available parking spots being filled and large airports, such as Orlando International, setting passenger volume records each month for more than three years straight,” said Michael Taylor, Travel Practice Lead at J.D. Power. “Despite these difficulties, airports are responding with new technology and old-fashioned personal skills to win over harried travelers. These range from smartphone apps that tell travelers where to find a parking spot to therapy dogs—and in one case, a therapy pig—mingling with travelers to relieve stress and improve the overall airport experience.”
Nearly every U.S. airport – faced with high passenger capacity and ongoing construction projects to address increased demand – is using technology to help address these issues. Sacramento International Airport developed a smartphone app that tells travelers where to find a parking spot, and airports nationwide have invested heavily in improving phone-charging stations and internet access in their terminals.
The J.D. Powers study, now in its 12th year, measures overall traveler satisfaction by examining six factors: terminal facilities; airport accessibility; security check; baggage claim; check-in/baggage check; food, beverage and retail. It is based on responses from 34,695 North American travelers who traveled through at least one domestic airport with both departure and arrival experiences during the past three months.
For more on the Skytrax Awards see: http://www.worldairportawards.com/Awards/world_airport_rating.html and http://www.worldairportawards.com/Awards/worlds_best_regional_airports.html
For the full J.D. Power ratings see: http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/jd-power-2017-north-america-airport-satisfaction-study
Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Monday, May 14th, 2018 at 2:49pm.
March home sales signaled a robust and active home buying season ahead for Boulder County.
“The Boulder-area market rocketed forward in March with strong sales that improved significantly,” says Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association.
Following modest positive movement in February, housing surged forward in March, according to March sales statistics. Boulder Valley buyers showed up strong, undeterred by a market pattern of low inventory and rising prices. This pattern has characterized the countywide housing market for several years running.
Single-family home sales in the Boulder-area jumped 43.3 percent in March compared to February 2018 – 344 units sold vs. 240. Condominium and townhome sales also rose, marking 28.4 percent growth month-over-month with 122 units sold vs. 95.
Year-to-date, single-family home sales increased 8.7 percent through March 2018, with 829 Boulder-area homes sold vs. 763. Sales of condominiums and townhomes increased 1.6 percent year-to-date with 312 units sold compared to 307 for the same period in 2017.
Inventory also improved, though modestly. The number of single-family homes for sale grew by 10 percent – 651 units compared to 592 – while townhome and condo inventory grew 5.3 percent – 140 units vs. 133 – month-over-month.
“The inventory level is about a two-month supply of single-family homes and a one-month supply of condominiums and townhomes. A healthy market is thought of as a five- to six-month inventory supply,” says Hotard.
Nationally 40 percent of housing sales occur during March, April, May and June.
Hotard says the consistent buying activity we see in our housing market speaks volumes for the desirability of the area and health of the market.
“It’s a strong, positive market for sellers. We need a significant amount of new product in the market to meet the demand, particularly the demand for housing suited for young people and a broad demographic of ages and incomes.”
With Boulder’s walking, biking and hiking trails, it’s no surprise the city made the SmartAsset top 10 list of places for physical fitness.
But here’s what is surprising: as fitness and healthy-eating oriented as Boulder’s culture is, the city ranked only No. 10 on SmartAsset’s fourth annual study of the most fitness-friendly places in America.
According to the study, nine other cities are more fitness-friendly than this biking-hiking-running-skiing-walking-climbing loving town.
SmartAsset describes fitness-friendly cities as those that tend to be walkable, offer few fast food eateries and plenty of healthier eating restaurants, and present plenty of places to workout in. Having ample workout facilities overcomes crowded or far away gyms that can deter people from exercising regularly.
Boulder scores in the top 15 for the percent of residents who walk or bike to work and the number of fitness professionals per 10,000 residents. In fact, Boulder has a top 25 score in the number of fitness businesses. However, the cost of getting fitness help from a professional lowered Boulder’s overall score. The city ranks 337 out of 340 for the affordability of professional fitness help.
In No.1-ranked Missoula, Montana, residents walk or bike to work at a rate of around one in 11. The city’s transportation design makes walking or biking not only possible, but enjoyable.
With two Iowa cities in the top 10 – No. 3 Iowa City and No. 9 Ames – it’s clear that Iowans are doing a lot right when it comes to fitness. Around 11 percent of Iowa City residents walk or bike to work – the fifth-highest rate in the study, according to SmartAsset.
The top 10 cities are:
- Missoula, Montana
- La Crosse-Onalaska, Wisconsin-Minnesota
- Iowa City, Iowa
- Ocean City, New Jersey
- Bend-Redmond, Oregon
- Napa, California
- State College, Pennsylvania
- Harrisonburg, Virginia
- Ames, Iowa
- Boulder, Colorado
Data for 340 metros was analyzed by SmartAsset to determine America’s most fitness-friendly cities. Metrics include the percent of those who walk or bike to work, number of fitness jobs, cost of hiring a personal fitness instructor, number of fitness establishments and prevalence of fast food restaurants. The final factor – fast food eateries – is calculated as a negative.
Get all the details on each city at https://smartasset.com/mortgage/fitness-friendly-places-2018
Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Friday, April 20th, 2018 at 10:40am.
The real estate market in Boulder County is red hot, which makes maintaining your mortgage approval a must if you’re shopping for a home.
“It can be a lot of work to get your mortgage approved. Once it is approved, it is important not to make any major financial changes until you sign your final disclosure and the loan is closed,” says Jessica Shanahan, loan officer with Premier Lending.
To keep your mortgage approval, you need to know the financial moves not to make.
Your mortgage approval is primarily based on documenting your income and assets, your equity stake or down payment, your credit history and the cash you’ll have left over after the deal is done, according to Tuttle’s Real Estate Update.
After your mortgage is approved, don’t change any one of those qualifiers without first consulting your loan officer or you could lose your mortgage.
Here’s Real Estate Update’s list of what not to do:
Avoid Big Purchases
Don’t buy a new car or another large possession, or change the lease on your current car. It could show up on your credit report or bank statement. The new loan or purchase amount could tilt the debt-to-income ratio the lender used to approve your home loan, and your mortgage could vaporize.
Don’t Get New Credit
Don’t sign up for any new credit cards or other lines of credit, even for a zero interest rate. Resist all of those credit card offers that flow in after you get your mortgage approval.
Don’t Miss a Bill Payment or Pay Late
Pay your bills on time without fail, even if you dispute the charge. If you stop paying a bill, it can end up on your credit report and cause a problem with your mortgage.
Don’t Change Jobs
Now isn’t the time to start a new job or lose the job you have. It is okay to take a second job, as long as you keep the job you have. However, if you should be so fortunate as to get a promotion and raise, your mortgage shouldn’t be jeopardized.
Don’t Spend Your Cash
Don’t use your cash reserves, transfer large sums between bank accounts, or make undocumented transactions in your back account – either deposits or withdrawals. This activity can cause your mortgage approval to be reversed.
Just remember to control items that affect your financial picture, and barring any uncontrollable life events, your mortgage should be fine.
For more information see: https://bit.ly/2JzU2lx
By Jay Kalinski —
That’s right, based on the latest available data from the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, the average net worth of a homeowner is $231,000, a whopping 44 times greater than the average renter’s $5,200 net worth. What makes the situation more dire is the fact that the gap is widening. From 2013 to 2016, the average net worth of homeowners increased 15 percent while the average net worth of renters decreased by 5 percent. The situation for renters is bad and getting worse.
More than any other factor I could identify, homeownership best explains the gap between the haves and have nots. People seem to understand this fact, as a Gallup poll showed that Americans chose real estate as the best long-term investment for the fourth year in a row. So, why aren’t more renters buying homes?
It could be that renters do not want to own homes. Anecdotally, we hear stories about how Millennials prefer to rent to give them a more flexible lifestyle, but the research tells a different story. In fact, Millennials represent the largest share of homebuyers today and only 7 percent of respondents to an NAR survey said that they did not want the responsibility of owning. More generally, 82 percent of renters expressed a desire in the fourth quarter of 2017 to be homeowners and about the same percentage said that homeownership is part of the American Dream.
What is driving this desire for renters to become owners? According to a recent survey, the main reasons renters would want to buy a home are: a change in lifestyle such as getting married, starting a family or retiring; an improved financial situation; and a desire to settle down in one location.
Renters seem to know that owning a home is a great investment, and they overwhelmingly express a desire to do so, and yet something is preventing many of them:
Based on a recent NAR survey, it appears that ability (perceived or actual) is the biggest obstacle to homeownership. In fact, 66 percent of renters reported that it would be somewhat or very difficult to save for a downpayment on a home. Only 16 percent said that it would not be difficult at all. Of those who said saving for a downpayment was difficult, 49 percent identified student loans, 42 percent cited credit card debt, and 37 percent cited car loans.
The above, however, only focuses on one aspect of home affordability. Another side is home price appreciation. That is, if homes were more affordable, it would be easier to save for a downpayment. Unfortunately for local renters, Boulder County has appreciated more since 1991 than any other area in the country — more than 380 percent! The average single family Boulder County home topped $708,000 in February 2018, which is almost 20 percent higher than two years ago.
In addition, interest rates are on the rise in 2018, and we’ve already covered how a 1 percent increase in interest rates can reduce your purchasing power by 10 percent.
There are two takeaways from this. First, for renters, you may be familiar with the adage “The best time to buy a home was 30 years ago. The second best time is now.” That is true now more than ever. If you have been considering making the jump to homeownership, now is the time. At this point, each day delayed likely equals less home for the money.
Second, for local government officials, if you truly support the idea of affordable (market rate) workforce housing, you have the power to encourage it. Without you, the affordability situation will only continue to deteriorate.
Jay Kalinski is broker/owner of Re/Max of Boulder.
Labor statistics are officially confirming what we all know – Colorado’s population is on the rise, with newcomers lured by a strong job market.
By the end of 2017, Colorado had a record year with its fastest rate of growth in almost 20 years, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Statistics.
Coloradans participating in the labor force increased 141,700 for the year, adding 5,100 nonfarm payroll jobs from November to December for a total of 2,671,500 jobs.
The increase was noticeable compared to the previous month when employers added 1,800 jobs. In fact, November’s gain was higher than the state’s 12-month average gain of 3,817 jobs, and higher than the previous four months average gain of 4,800, according to CDLE data.
By sector, most of November’s added jobs are private sector payroll jobs, which increased 4,300 and government increased 800. Average hourly earnings also rose, going from $26.93 to $28.09.
Even so, the state’s unemployment rate increased two-tenths of a percentage point from November to December to 3.1 percent. The rise in the unemployment rate correlated with an increase in the number of people actively participating in the labor force, which grew 14,800 over the month.
Colorado’s unemployment rate is still lower than the nation’s December rate of 4.1 percent, which declined from 4.7 percent from December 2016 to December 2017.
The biggest private sector job gains in November 2017 were in construction and education and health services, while over the course of the year, the largest private sector job gains were in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and construction.
The jobs added resulted in a 2 percent job growth rate, with Colorado outpacing the U.S. growth rate of 1.4 percent, as it has for the past seven years.
Colorado Department of Labor measures the unemployment rate, labor force, labor force participation, total employment and the number of unemployed is based on a survey of households. The total employment estimate derived from this survey is intended to measure the number of people employed.
All Colorado estimates from the establishment and household surveys, including greater geographic detail, are available at: http://www.colmigateway.com.
Estimates for all states and the nation are available at: http://www.bls.gov
‘Home for Sale’ signs are popping up like spring tulips in Boulder County, showing early indications the selling season is likely to emerge strong this year.
Those early positive signs are supported by February’s Boulder Area Realtor® Association sales stats that mark improvement in inventory and sales for single-family and attached dwellings.
“February showed good recovery in sales and inventory from last month’s slow start to the year,” says Ken Hotard, vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association. “It sets buyers and sellers up well going into the top home-selling months of March, April, May and June.”
Inventory increased for single-family and attached Boulder County dwellings in February compared to January. Single-family home inventory increased 7.6 percent – 592 units versus 550 – while townhome and condominium inventory improved 2.3 percent – 138 units versus 130 – month-over-month.
Month-over-month sales of single-family homes in the Boulder-area improved 9 percent compared to January – 240 units versus 220. Condominium and townhome sales rose 7.9 percent month-over-month – 95 units versus 88.
Year-to-date, single-family home sales in the Boulder-area increased 12.3 percent through February 2018, with 467 homes sold versus 416. The number of condominiums and townhomes sold also rose, marking a 26.2 percent year-to-date jump with 183 units sold versus 145 units for the same period in 2017.
Hotard says Boulder County’s real estate market hasn’t changed from last year, noting that “given the market we have, there is no denying demand is strong and there continue to be active buyers.”
The one shifting fundamental is increasing interest rates.
“Interest rates are over 4.5 percent now and projected to go higher. The question is just how high they will go,” explains Hotard.
He says it’s too soon to tell if rising interest rates will put a damper on home sales or the area’s ever-rising real estate prices.
All told, not much has changed in Hotard’s view. “We still live in a beautiful place that offers an exceptional quality of life, Colorado job growth continues to be strong, and the areas surrounding Boulder County are experiencing rising real estate prices.”
So bring on the 2018 home selling season, it’s budding with promise.
Boulder is readying to change the paradigm of transportation mobility as a result of being named one of 35 Champion Cities selected as finalists in the 2018 U.S. Mayors Challenge. The competition is based on city leaders proposing bold solutions to each city’s toughest problems.
Three Colorado cities – Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins – were selected from a pool of more than 320 applicants. Selected cities now begin a six-month testing phase supported by a grant award of up to $100,000 for each to conduct a public prototype.
In Boulder’s application, the city proposed to combat climate change through accessible and affordable transportation alternatives for low- and middle-income residents. City officials will conduct experiments on mobility options – including ridesharing, subsidies, and an electric car loan program – to determine the most effective way to improve low-income residents’ mobility.
Currently, more than half of Boulder’s low- and middle-income residents depend on fossil-fuel, single-occupancy vehicles.
Denver will use cutting-edge air pollution sensors to create a city-wide air quality monitoring program at public school buildings to make better informed decisions on policies. The city aims to address the negative economic and health impact of air pollution. Denver families spend an average $3,100 a year on asthma-related medical costs.
Fort Collins will make more energy efficient rental housing for low and middle-income households to reduce health and economic disparities. Nearly 50,000 Fort Collins households are energy-inefficient.
“We received hundreds of bold and creative ideas from cities around the country in response to the 2018 Mayors Challenge, and these 35 really stood out for their potential to improve people’s lives. The next six months are a great opportunity for the cities to test their ideas and make them even more innovative and effective,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City.
During the six-month “Test, Learn, and Adapt” phase of the competition, Boulder and the other Champion Cities will refine their ideas, and then submit new applications in August. In October, five selected cities will be awarded funding to put their ideas into action – four will receive $1 million and one will receive $5 million.
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. In 2016, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $600 million.
For more information and a list of all 35 Champion Cities, visit mayorschallenge.bloomberg.org
Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Monday, March 19th, 2018 at 9:37am.
Early in 2018 the real estate outlook for Boulder County looks strong, even while sailing into the same headwinds that prevailed last year: low inventory and rising prices.
But this year promises additional gusts in the form of rising interest rates.
“None of the fundamentals in the market have changed, except a small rise in interest rates and the anticipation of additional increases,” says Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association.
“January data shows year over year single-family home sales are about the same as last year, and condos and townhomes are up significantly.”
Single-family home sales for Boulder County are down a single unit or .05 percent with 220 units sold in January 2018 compared with 221 in January 2017. Month-over-month, January sales dropped 39 percent for the first month of 2018 compared to December’s 363 units sold.
In condominium/townhomes, 88 units sold in January 2018, a 44.3 percent improvement compared with 61 units sold a year ago, but a 26.7 percent drop compared with the 120 units sold in December.
“December finished strong and the totals for 2017 pushed over and above 2016 slightly, which makes having a strong January challenging,” says Hotard.
Inventory continued its persistent decline. Single-family homes for sale in the Boulder-area declined 1.3 percent in January 2018 compared to December 2017 – 550 units vs. 557.
Meanwhile, condominium and townhome inventory improved 8.3 percent in January compared to December – 130 units versus 120.
Hotard notes that rising mortgage rates is a new factor for real estate markets that have seen a long run of low interest rates. He says the question is whether rising rates, while still historically low, will have a dampening effect on pricing or sales.
“Affordability is already an issue in Boulder, Louisville and Niwot. If interest rates go up people may have greater difficulty affording higher priced homes,” he adds. For 2017, Boulder’s median sales price came in over $800,000, Niwot’s roughly $750,000 and Louisville’s nearing $575,000.
With minimal data to consider this early in the year, Hotard is reluctant to predict this year’s market.
“For now, the data is over a small number of sales, so it’s difficult to identify trends. But this market has been strong for years and it is likely to continue to be strong.”
Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Monday, March 5th, 2018 at 9:37am.