The Impact of Staging Your Home

For more than 20 years, the benefits of staging a home have been well documented. Numerous studies show that staging helps sell a home faster and for a higher price. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 88 percent of home buyers start their search online, forming impressions within three seconds of viewing a listing. When a home is well staged, it photographs well and makes the kind of the first impression that encourages buyers to take the next step.

Studies also indicate that buyers decide if they’re interested within the first 30 seconds of entering a home. Not only does home staging help to remove potential red flags that can turn buyers off, but it also helps them begin to imagine living there. Homes that are professionally staged look more “move-in ready” and that makes them far more appealing to potential buyers.

According to the Village Voice, staged homes sell in one-third less time than non-staged homes. Staged homes can also command higher prices than non-staged homes. Data compiled by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development indicate that staged homes sell for approximately 17 percent more than non-staged homes.

A measurable difference in time and money

In a study conducted by the Real Estate Staging Association in 2007, a group of vacant homes that had remained unsold for an average of 131 days were taken off the market, staged, and relisted. The newly staged properties sold, on average, in just 42 days, – which is approximately 68 percent less time on the market.

The study was repeated in 2011, in a more challenging market, and the numbers were even more dramatic. Vacant homes that were previously on the market for an average of 156 days as unstaged properties, when listed again as staged properties, sold after an average of 42 days—an average of 73 percent less time on the market.

Small investments, big potential returns

Staging is a powerful advantage when selling your home, but that’s not the only reason to do it. Staging uncovers problems that need to be addressed, repairs that need to be made, and upgrades that should be undertaken. For a relatively small investment of time and money, you can reap big returns. Staged properties are more inviting, and that inspires the kind of peace-of-mind that gets buyers to sign on the dotted line. In the age of social media, a well-staged home is a home that stands out, gets shared, and sticks in people’s minds.

What’s more, the investment in staging can bring a higher price. According to the National Association of REALTORS, the average staging investment is between one percent and three percent of the home’s asking price, and typically generates a return of eight to ten percent.

In short, less time on the market and higher selling prices make the small cost of staging your home a wise investment.

Interested in learning more? Feel free to reach out for more information about the value of staging and referrals for professional home stagers. I’m always happy to help!


Posted on October 3, 2019 at 5:16 am
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Fort Collins Realtor, Sellers | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

You’ve Moved into Your New Home, Now What?

Congratulations on your new home! You made it through the arduous process that is buying a new home. Now it’s time to take on the task of moving in.

You did your research about the neighborhood and you feel like you know the home like the back of your hand. However, there are some things to do as you move in to protect your newest investment, and yourself, from the unknown variables in and around your home.

 

Change the locks garage door codes

Previous owners might have changed the locks, but they may not know who all has a key or a code to open your garage, especially neighbors who they trusted to watch their place while they were away. Changing the codes and locks on all the doors ensures that you have complete control over entry to your home

 

Check or Install Fire and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If the home already has fire and carbon monoxide devices, make sure they are in working order by testing each one with the tester button. Keep a note of when to replace them as well.

If they don’t have them, install a device in each sleeping room, as well as common areas like the living room or kitchen. Hallways are a great place to cover multiple rooms with one detector as well.

 

Install a security system

Enjoy total peace of mind with a new security system. Meet with a consultant on the best ways to protect your home for a system that works best for you and your lifestyle.

There are also app-connected systems that you can set up yourself that notify you of movement on the cameras or doors and windows opening.

 

Meet the neighbors

Build a sense of community and get to know the lay of the land by knocking on neighbors’ doors to get to know them. Bring a small gift as a “thank you” for dealing with the moving trucks. This is a great initial step for figuring out who you can trust to watch things while you’re away should you need a helping hand in the near future.

 

These are just a few ideas on what you should do as soon as you move in. What are some things you do, or suggest to friends and clients on move-in day?


Posted on September 28, 2019 at 12:33 pm
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Buyers, Fort Collins Realtor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mistakes to Avoid when Buying and Selling Real Estate

 

There’s nothing more exciting, rewarding, and fulfilling than buying a home. However, it’s a complex transaction; there are a number of steps along the path that can confuse, betwixt, and befuddle even the most seasoned buyers and sellers.

How can you avoid those potential pitfalls and common mistakes? Look to your real estate professional for advice and keep these guidelines in mind:

 

BUYERS:

 

#1 Review your credit reports ahead of time

Review your credit report a few months before you begin your house hunt, and you’ll have time to ensure the facts are correct and be able to dispute mistakes before a mortgage lender checks your credit. Get a copy of your credit report from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Why all three? Because, if the scores differ, the bank will typically use the lowest one. Alert the credit bureaus if you see any mistakes, fix any problems you discover, and don’t apply for any new credit until after your home loan closes.

 

#2 Get pre-approved

Before getting serious about your hunt for a new house, you’ll want to choose a lender and get pre-approved for a mortgage (not just pre-qualified—which is a cursory review of your finances—but pre-approved for a loan of a specific amount). Pre-approval lets sellers know you’re serious. Most importantly, pre-approval will help you determine exactly how much you can comfortably afford to spend.

 

#3 Know what you want

You and your real estate agent should both be clear about the house you want to buy. Put it in writing. First, make a list of all the features and amenities you really want. Then, number each item and prioritize them. Now, divide the list into must-haves and really-wants.

 

#4 Account for hidden costs

In addition to the purchase price of the home, there are additional costs you need to take into consideration, such as closing costs, appraisal fees, and escrow fees. Once you find a prospective home, you’ll want to:

  • Get estimates for any repairs or remodeling it may need.
  • Estimate how much it will cost to maintain (gas, electric, utilities, etc.).
  • Determine how much you’ll pay in taxes monthly and/or annually.
  • Learn whether there are any homeowner’s or development dues associated with the property.

 

#5 Get an inspection

Buying a home is emotionally charged—which can make it difficult for buyers to see the house for what it truly is. That’s why you need impartial third parties who can help you logically analyze the condition of the property. Your agent is there to advise you, but you also need a home inspector to assess any hidden flaws, structural damage or faulty systems.

 

#6 Evaluate the neighborhood and location

When house hunting, it’s easy to become overly focused on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the condition of the home and its amenities while overlooking the subtleties of the surrounding neighborhood. Take time to check crime reports, school options, churches and shopping. If schools are a key factor, do more than simply research the statistics; speak with the principal(s) and chat with the parents waiting outside.

 

 

SELLERS:

 

#1 Avoid becoming emotional or sentimental about the sale

Once you decide to sell your house, it’s time to strip out the emotion and look at it as a commodity in a business transaction. If you start reminiscing about all the good times you had and the hard work you invested, it will only make it that much harder to successfully price, prepare, and market the home.

 

#2 Fix problems (or price accordingly)

Homes with deferred maintenance and repair issues can take far longer to sell and can be subject to last-minute sale-cancellations. These homes also often sell for less than their legitimate market value. If you simply can’t afford to address critical issues, be prepared to work with your agent to price and market your home accordingly.

 

#3 Don’t overprice your home (and/or refuse to negotiate)

Getting top dollar is the dream of every seller. But it’s essential that you let the market dictate that price, not your emotions or financial situation. Allow your agent to research and prepare a market analysis that factors in the value of similar homes in the area, and trust those results.

 

#4 Use quality photos

The vast majority of prospective buyers today search for homes online first. In order to make a good first impression, you need a wealth of high-quality photos of your home and surrounding grounds. You may also need to consider professional staging in order to position your home in the best possible light for prospective buyers.

 

 

The process of buying or selling a home can have plenty of twists and turns, but with some smart decision making, you can avoid the most common mistakes and pitfalls.


Posted on September 26, 2019 at 12:29 pm
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Buyers, Fort Collins Realtor, Sellers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Benefits, Risks and Things to Consider Before You Add an Accessory Dwelling Unit to Your Home

 

Have you ever rented the unit in someone’s basement? Maybe your spouse’s mother moved into your “Mother-In-Law Unit” above your garage? Or have you ever traveled and stayed in a pool house for your stay? Commonly referred to as “Mother-In-Law” units, homeowners use these as a way to fill the space in their home and gain residual income, either from vacationers or long-term tenants.

The official terms for these units are Additional Dwelling Units (ADU) or Detached Additional Dwelling Units (DADU’s), and are defined as extra spaces in homes and on properties where someone can live completely independent of the main house.

These units can be almost anywhere on the property, but they are usually located in the basement, in the backyard, or above the garage. They have their own bathroom and kitchen facilities, and sometimes they share laundry with the main house.

Thinking of adding a unit to your home? Here are some benefits and risks, as well as important aspects to consider before you build:

 

Benefits

Homeowners can maximize their investment by renting out the extra space to long-term tenants for short-term vacationers. These tenants can help pay off debt or create an extra stream of income to pay for other needs or wants.

Depending on several factors, including the size of the unit, the market in the area, and other factors, each homeowner should decide which option they are more comfortable with. These decisions should be made before they list the unit for rent to best market to the right audience.

 

Risks

An obvious risk is that when you open your space to a stranger, there’s a possibility that things might end poorly. Either the tenants could turn out to be untrustworthy, or unreliable, leading to a financial burden.

To minimize the risks, it’s a good idea to use an application process to check backgrounds and employment history as a tool to get to know the potential tenant. Make sure to adhere to the National Fair Housing Laws and your local regulations.

 

Things to Consider:

  • What are the shared spaces?
    • Would you be comfortable sharing those spaces, and potentially appliances, with a new person each weekend, or would you rather get to know the long-term tenant who would use those on a consistent basis?
    • Rooms like the kitchen can be great for those who want to get more interaction from their vacation renters. However, sharing one bathroom between the homeowners and the visitors can be uncomfortable and risky.
    • Would you be okay with a long-term renter using your laundry facilities? What kind of access would they need to the house in order to use those machines?

 

  • What is the size of the ADU/DADU?
    • Is it truly a space where someone could live, or would it be too tight to fit all the necessary appliances?
    • Does the unit adhere to your local housing codes as a livable space?

 

  • How close are the units and what noise level are you comfortable with?
    • As a long-term landlord, tenants have the right to quiet enjoyment without the landlord barging into their space or controlling their activities. If the unit is in the basement and the tenant has friends or family over, that noise could permeate into your unit in the late hours of the night. A way to prevent this is to be sure to layout quiet hours and expectations before they sign the lease or make an agreement so that you and the tenant are on the same page.
    • The same goes for the rules in the vacation rental listing. Managing expectations is the first way to create a relationship with the tenants, even those there for the weekend.

 

  • What improvements are required to make the unit livable?
    • Do you need to add a kitchen or a bathroom? What are the costs associated with those improvements and would the market-rate rental prices make up for those improvements? You might not get your money back within the year, but if you’re dedicated to making the space worth it to rent it out over the next few years, these improvements, and financial obligations are necessary.
    • If these initial investments aren’t viable for your situation, it might be a good idea to look at other options to earn rent from your home, including adding roommates with whom you’re willing to share all the common spaces.

 

Whatever you decide, it’s important to be familiar with the rental market and regulations in both your local region and your neighborhood.

 

Do you have an ADU or DADU on your property? How do you use it? Let us know in the comments.


Posted on September 25, 2019 at 12:23 pm
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Fort Collins Realtor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Million plus

We have our pulse on the high-end luxury market.

The activity in price ranges over $1,000,000 is an effective indicator of the health of the overall market.

If buyers for luxury properties are active, it tells us that “smart money” is confident about real estate in Northern Colorado.

So far this year, 107 luxury properties have sold in Larimer and Weld Counties. Last year at this time 93 had sold and in 2017 it was only 56.

It seems “smart money” is confident.

If you want to see even more insights about the Colorado market so that you can make really good decisions about your real estate, you are welcome to watch this complimentary webinar, just click HERE.


Posted on September 25, 2019 at 3:22 am
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Buyers, Fort Collins Realtor | Tagged , , , , , ,

How Much?

So how much real estate is sold in Northern Colorado?

As it turns out, a lot!

Last month alone there were 1,099 single family homes that sold in Larimer and Weld Counties

The average price was $429,144 which means the total sales volume for one month was $471,629,129 (almost a half a billion)!

Over the last 12 months, just over $4.5 billion worth of single-family homes have sold.

That’s a lot of real estate!


Posted on September 20, 2019 at 11:47 am
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Fort Collins Realtor, Market Data | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

A Closing Window

 

Most people know that the Spring and Summer are the most active months for real estate and that activity trails off into the Fall and Winter.

Here are the specific numbers behind this…

The number of homes sold along the Front Range in November tends to be between 15% and 29% lower than September.

That means the best window of time for current sellers to obtain a contract from a buyer and close by the end of the year will occur over the next 45 days.

For sellers who have homes on the market today, it is time to ensure that:

  • The home is priced right versus the competition
  • All of the marketing elements are in place
  • It is easy for a buyer to make an offer on the home

Posted on September 19, 2019 at 1:23 pm
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Fort Collins Realtor, Sellers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fort Collins Appreciation Rank

The latest report from the Federal Housing Finance Authority is hot off the press. They rank 241 major metropolitan areas across the U.S. for yearly home price appreciation.

They show that, nationally, home prices have gone up 4.99% over the last 12 months.
Here’s how the major cities rank in Colorado among the 241:
 
#22 Greeley = 7.94%
#27 Colorado Springs = 7.64%
#63 Fort Collins = 6.34%
#133 Denver = 4.83%
#188 Boulder = 3.41%
 
** Interesting fun fact: In the WORST economy of our lifetime (2008 recession), home appreciation in Fort Collins only went down 2.2%. Compare that to places like Las Vegas that went down by over 35%! Now that’s a stable economy.**

Posted on September 18, 2019 at 3:36 pm
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Fort Collins Realtor, Market Data | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Home Price Index

The Case-Shiller Home Price Index is a well-known report in the real estate industry and a valuable way to gauge what is happening in various markets across the Nation.

The report tracks home price appreciation in the 20 largest markets in the country.

Their most recent report shows that, Nation-wide, home prices are up 2.1% year-over-year.

Last year prices were rising at 6.3%.  So, prices are still going up but not as fast as they were.

The city with the highest appreciation over the last 12 months is Phoenix with 5.8% growth followed closely by Las Vegas at 5.5%.

Denver came in at 3.4% which makes it tied for 8th place out of the 20 cities.


Posted on September 15, 2019 at 12:30 pm
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Fort Collins Realtor, Market Data | Tagged , , ,

How’s the Market?

If you are curious to know the current stats, trends, and dynamics in our market, this online workshop is for you!

See exactly what is happening in our real estate market today so you are clear about where it is going.

The questions we will answer for you:

– Are prices still going up?
– Is there a housing bubble?
– Will interest rates ever go up?
– Is now a good time to buy or sell?
– Where are all these people coming from?

Please reach out to your Fort Collins Realtor Brandon Bidwell today if you have any additional questions or wish to receive a complimentary home pricing analysis. I can be reached at (970) 215-1573 or bidwell@windermere.com

 

 


Posted on September 13, 2019 at 6:35 pm
Brandon Bidwell | Posted in Fort Collins Realtor, Market Data | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,