Online home valuations can vary quite a bit. When I looked up my homes value online I found estimates that ranged anywhere from $435,836 to $525,442 (that’s an 18% margin). After looking over a market analysis I prepared the fact of the matter is that my home’s worth somewhere around $435,000 to $450,000.
If you’re curious to know what your home might be worth online home valuations are a fair place to start. Here is a resource that you can use to compare some of the most popular home valuation sites side by side and all in one place: https://www.windermere.com/whatsmyhomeworth
There are several variables that online valuation tools have a difficult time calculating however (condition, improvements/updates, proximity to busy streets, views and current available comparable inventory, etc.)
If you want to get more clarity on your home value it’s important to consult a real estate professional that has experience in your neighborhood. I’ve worked hard to develop my expertise in the Troutman Park market by previewing most of the homes for sale here over the last 10 years and then analyzing the terms of their sales. I’m not just a realtor, I’m also a Fort Collins native and resident of our neighborhood that’s dedicated to this community.
I’m always happy to share what I’ve learned so please let me know if I can answer any questions you might have.
All in for Troutman Park!
Image Source: Canva
Working from home is an aspiration for many of us, but to do so effectively takes effort. A disorganized space at home can be just as troublesome as a hectic office. The most disciplined telecommuters will tell you that you need a structured routine and organization in order to be successful.
Having a designated workspace is one of the most important elements to your success when you make the switch to telecommuting. Even if you live in a small space, you need to find a balance between home and office. People who work from home often have a difficult time separating their work hours from their non-work hours because it’s so easy to keep at it late into the night. But maintaining a balance and shutting down the computer is important for overall wellbeing. What are some other must-haves for a successful home office? Here are the top five:
- Natural Light – Study upon study tells us that natural light is needed to boost productivity and mood. Make sure to set your desk up as close to a window as you can. If being near a window isn’t an option, a natural light lamp is the next best thing. It helps balance your body clock and leaves you feeling rested and refreshed.
- To-Do List or Planner – Start each day off by making a to-do list outlining what you need to get done before the end of the workday. Make sure to set a realistic time frame in which all of that should be completed, so you can check each one off the list and feel immense accomplishment once you’ve completed them all.
- Storage – If you have a big enough space, put in a large bookshelf where you can organize everything (think storage boxes). It reduces clutter and looks stylish. Using your walls and cabinetry is the most efficient use of space.
- Calendar – Many people tend to rely on digital calendars these days because of their convenience. When all of your devices sync together and pop up with reminders, you never have to worry about missing an appointment. However, many people find that it helps to keep a paper calendar handy too so you can easily view your whole month at a glance. Choose which options works best for you by playing with both options, or something in between and see which one lets you be more productive with the least amount of stress.
- Space for Inspiration – It doesn’t matter what field you work in, having a source of inspiration in your workspace is essential. Whether it’s a photo of your family, your dream car, or that vacation you’ve been dying to take, having that inspiration right in front of you provides a constant reminder of why you do what you do.
It is a seemingly simple question. However, discovering the worth of your home is more complicated than it might seem. Sites like Zillow, Redfin, Eppraisal, and others have built-in home valuation tools that make it seem easy, but how accurate are they? And if you get three different answers, which one do you believe? Online valuation tools have become a pivotal part of the home buying and selling process, but they’ve proven to be highly unreliable in certain instances. What these valuation tools have made clear is that real estate agents are as vital to the process of pricing a home as they ever were—and maybe even more so now.
Every online valuation tool has its limitations. Most are readily acknowledged by their providers, such as “Zestimate” from Zillow, which clearly states that it offers a median error rate of 4.5%. That may not sound like a lot, but keep in mind that 4.5% amounts to a difference of about $31,500 for a $700,000 home. For Redfin and Trulia, there are similar variances. When you dig deeper into these valuation tools, it’s no wonder that there are discrepancies. They rely on a range of different sources for information, some more reliable than others.
Redfin’s tool pulls information directly from multiple listing services (MLSs) across the country. Others negotiate limited data sharing deals with those same services, relying on public and homeowners’ records alike. This can lead to gaps in coverage. These tools can serve as helpful pieces of the puzzle when buying or selling a home, but the acknowledged error rate is a reminder of how dangerous a heavy reliance on them can be.
Nothing compares to the level of detail and knowledge a professional real estate agent offers when pricing a home. An algorithm can’t possibly know about the unique characteristics of neither a home nor its neighborhood. Curious about what improvements you can make to get top dollar or how buyer behaviors are shaping the market? They cannot provide an answer there, either. That can only be delivered by a trusted professional whose number one priority is getting you the best price in a time frame that meets your needs.
If you’re curious about your home’s value, Windermere offers a tool that provides a series of evaluations on your property and the surrounding market. And once you’re ready, I’m happy to help clarify this information and perform a Comparative Market Analysis to get an even more accurate estimate of what your home could fetch in today’s market. Just let me know how I can help!
The home at 731 Benthaven St is now listed for sale at $515,000 and there is a good chance it will set the all time high price for the Troutman Park neighborhood!
Our community just saw it’s first property sell for more $500,000 when the home that was flipped at 3807 Benthaven sold for $505,000 in December 2019.
If you’ve seen both these homes then you might be intrigued with the recent price drop at 731 Benthaven (was previously $529,500).
With the freshly remodeled kitchen, baths and interior paint this home shows very well. The professionally finished basement features timbered window wells, a sweet rec room and a 5th bedroom that would be a teenagers dream. Outside this home has a great deck for bbq’s in a yard that’s over a 1/4 acre and adjacent to open space.
It’s also 135% of the finished square footage that 3807 Benthaven had and it’s been remodeled at a much higher level of quality and craftsmanship.
If you or someone you know are interested in taking a look at this home just let me know and I’ll be happy to set that up.
The home at 731 Benthaven St is listed for sale by Kevin Barrier of Cobblestone Realty.
Electing a full sale or a property management situation is a life-changing decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. In choosing whether or not becoming a landlord is right for you, there are a number of factors to consider, but primarily they fall into the following three categories: financial analysis, risk, and goals.
The financial analysis is probably the easiest of the three to perform. You will need to assess if you can afford to rent your house. If you consider the likely rental rate, vacancy rate, maintenance, advertising, and management costs, you can arrive at a budget. It is important to both be detailed in your projections and to have enough reserves to cover cash-flow needs if you’re wrong. The vacancy rate will be determined by the price at which you market the property. Price too high and you’re liable to be left vacant. Should you have applicants, they’ll often be a group that for some reason couldn’t compete for more competitively priced homes. Price too low and you don’t achieve the revenue you should. If you want to try for the higher end of an expected range, understand that the cost may be a vacant month. Any way you slice it, it’s difficult to make up for a vacant month.
Consider the other costs renting out your property could accrue. If you have a landscaped or large yard, you will likely need to hire a yard crew to manage the grounds. Other costs could increase when you rent your home, such as homeowner’s insurance and taxes on your property. Depending on tenant turn-over, you may need to paint and deal with maintenance issues more regularly. Renting your home is a decision you need to make with all the financial information in front of you.
If your analysis points to some negative cash-flow, that doesn’t necessarily mean renting is the wrong option. That answer needs to be weighed against the pros and cons of alternatives. For instance, how does that compare to marketing the property at the price that would actually sell? Moreover, you’ll need to perform additional economic guesswork about what the future holds in terms of appreciation, inflation, etc. to arrive at an expectation of how long the cash drain would exist.
Risk is a bit harder to assess. It’s crucial to understand that if you decide to lease out a home, you are going into business, and every business venture has risks. One of the most obvious ways of mitigating the risk is to hire a management company. By hiring professionals, you decrease your risk and time spent managing the property (and tenants) yourself. However, this increases the cost. As you reduce your risk of litigation, you increase your risk of negative cash-flow, and vice versa… it’s a balancing act, and the risk cannot be eliminated; just managed and minimized.
In considering goals, what do you hope to achieve by renting your property? Are you planning on moving back to your home after a period of time? Will your property investment be a part of your long-term financial planning? Are you relocating or just hoping to wait to sell? These are all great reasons to consider renting your home.
Keep in mind that renting your family home can be emotional. Many homeowners love the unique feel of their homes. It is where their children were raised, and they care more about preserving that feel than maximizing revenue. That’s ok, but it needs to be acknowledged and considered when establishing a correct price and preparing a cash flow analysis. Some owners are so attached to their homes that it may be better for them to “tear off the band-aid quickly” and sell. The alternative of slowly watching over the years as the property becomes an investment instead of a home to them may prove to be more painful than any financial benefit can offset.
Before reaching a conclusion, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the landlord-tenant-law specific to your state (and in some cases, separate relevant ordinances in the city and/or county that your property lies within) and to do some market research (i.e. tour other available similar rentals to see if your financial assumptions are in line with the reality of the competition across the street). If you are overwhelmed by this process, or will be living out of the region, seek counsel with a property management professional. Gaining experience the hard way can be costly. With proper preparation, however, the rewards will be worth it.
If you have questions please feel free to reach out, I’m always happy to share what I know and I have some great investment analysis and other resources for home owners.
Fall is an ideal time to tackle maintenance projects both inside and outside. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Control where the water goes: Water in the wrong place can do a lot of damage. Start by ensuring that gutters and downspouts are doing their job. (Don’t attempt this talk yourself if you have a two-story house with a steep roof; hire a professional instead.) If your home is surrounded by deciduous trees you may need to clean out your gutters a few times a year, especially in the fall. Check to make sure your gutters are flush with the roof and attached securely, repairing any areas that sag or where the water collects and overflows. Clean out the gutters and downspouts, checking that outlet strainers are in good shape, and are firmly in place. Finally, check that your downspouts direct water away from your house, not straight along the foundation.
If you haven’t already, you may want to consider installing gutter guards. Gutter guards create a barrier- so water can get through to your gutters, but debris cannot, limiting gutter buildup (and the time you spend cleaning out your gutters). There are DIY installation kits available or you can always hire a professional to install a premium system.
If you have a sump pump under your house, now is a good time to test it. Run a hose to be sure draining water travels directly to the pump (dig small trenches if needed), and that the pump removes the water efficiently and expels it well away from the foundation. For more information about how sump pumps work go to howstuffworks.com.
When it comes to leaks, early detection is crucial: Check your roof for leaks. The best opportunity to catch leaks is the first heavy rain after a long dry spell, when roofing materials are contracted. (You can also simulate rain with a gentle spray from a hose.) Check the underside of the roof, looking for moisture on joints or insulation. You can mark these spots on the underside, and then- unless you have a lot of experience, have a roofing specialist locate and repair the leak. Don’t wait for leaks to show up on your ceiling. By then, insulation and sheet rock have been damaged and you could have a mold problem too.
Just say no to rodents: Rodents are determined and opportunistic, and they can do tremendous amounts of property damage (and endanger your family’s health). As temperatures cool, take measures to prevent roof rats and other critters from moving in. Branches that touch your house and overhang your roof are convenient on-ramps for invaders, so trip back branches so they’re at least 4 feet from the house. If you do hear scuttling overhead or discover rodent droppings in your attic, crawl space or basement, take immediate action. The website www.thisoldhouse.com has several helpful articles on the topic.
Maintain your heating and cooling systems: Preventative maintenance is especially crucial for your home’s heating and air-conditioning systems. Fall is a smart time to have your systems checked and tuned up if necessary. Don’t wait for extreme temperatures to arrive, when service companies are slammed with emergency calls. Between tune-ups, keeps your system performing optimally by cleaning and/or replacing air filters as needed.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, a professional inspection and cleaning will help prevent potentially lethal chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Even if you don’t use your fireplace often, always keep a supply of dry firewood or sawdust-composite logs so you have a backup heat source in an emergency.
Catch some air: Insulating your home is a cost-efficient investment, whether you’re trying to keep the interior warm in the winter or cool in the summer. Aside from more major improvements like energy-efficient windows and insulation, there are some quick fixes that do-it-yourselfers can tackle. If an exterior door doesn’t have a snug seal when closed, replace the weather stripping; self-adhesive foam stripping is much simpler to install than traditional vinyl stripping. If there is a gap under the door (which can happen over time as a house settles), you may need to realign the door and replace the vinyl door bottom and/or door sweep. Air also sneaks inside through electrical outlets and light switches on exterior walls. Dye-cut foam outlet seals are a quick and inexpensive solution; simply position them behind the wall plates.
The home at 642 Larkbunting Dr. is a great barometer of Fort Collins local real estate market. The sale of this home from last month (Oct 2019) gives us a great example of today’s real estate market compared to our market back in 2016 (It’s previous sale date was 6/16/2016).
On 6/16/2016 the property at 642 Larkbunting Dr.
Sold for $330,000 (List Price of 299,000)
With 13 different offers competing for the home.
The buyers purchased the property in “As-Is” condition and guaranteed the appraised value by agreeing to bring extra $ to closing if necessary to satisfy any discrepancy between sold price and appraised value. These were typical strategies buyers would use to beat out other competing offers at that time.
In September of 2019 the same home hit the market and sold on 10/16/2019:
With updates made by the current owners (New Wood Flooring, Carpet, Kitchen Counters and Interior Painting) as well as an agreement to replace the furnace based upon buyer’s inspections.
Only one offer on the home this time but it did go under contract in just 4 days!
Sold for $375,000 (List Price of $375,000)
What all this shows us is that we’re still in a market that favors sellers but the supply and demand is starting to shift towards a little more balance. With less competition now buyers are often able to secure a property without having to waive inspection and appraisal provisions.
There can be great opportunities for both buyers and sellers when a market starts to shift. If you would like to know more about how to position yourself to take advantage of that feel free to reach out. I’m always happy to share.
Listed by 8z Real Estate
Let’s take a look at Troutman Park’s single family sales data for the last several years through the 3rd quarter of each year. This includes homes in Willow Park, Four Seasons, Larkborough, Woodlands, Park South & South Glen.
2019 Q1-Q3 – 52 Homes Sold for a total of $20,279,983 Average Price $389,999 Average Days on Market 43
2018 Q1-Q3 – 41 Homes Sold for a total of $14,857,550 Average Price $362,379 Average Days on Market 37
2017 Q1-Q3 – 43 Homes Sold for a total of $14,885,269 Average Price $346,169 Average Days on Market 44
2016 Q1-Q3 – 46 Homes Sold for a total of $14,933,100 Average Price $324,632 Average Days on Market 41
2015 Q1-Q3 – 63 Homes Sold for a total of $18,187,045 Average Price $288,683 Average Days on Market 37
Right now there are 8 homes available for sale in Troutman Park giving us just 1.5 months supply of inventory. Anything less that 6 months supply is considered to be a sellers market while anything over 6 months would favor buyers.
It’s still a sellers market but we’re seeing far fewer competitive situations with homes for sale throughout Fort Collins right now. The situations where there is competition tend to be a lot less intense (fewer offers) than they were a couple years ago.
What all this means is that home sellers will have to be a little more patient these days and buyers have a little more time to think while considering their next move.
If you have questions about your property or your home search feel free to reach out. I’ve been through the vast majority of homes for sale in Troutman Park and I’m always happy to share what I’ve learned.