Zillow & Zestimate

The nationwide median error rate for the Zestimate for on-market homes is 1.9%, while the Zestimate for off-market homes has a median error rate of 7.5%.  

Now don’t get me wrong, my calling out of the inaccuracy of Zestimate’s off-market pricing is not a dig at Zillow. I am a big fan of Zillow, it’s marketing capabilities, and the forethought the company has to how real estate will be acquired in the future. As an agent, landlord, buyer and seller I too use Zillow and the innovative tools it offers it’s visitors. Homeowners and buyers have become accustomed to the process of engaging with Zillow before they even think about engaging with a real estate agent or lender. Because of the technology and simplicity Zillow provides, sellers can do their own homework on the potential list price of their property compared to other properties in their neighborhood. Buyers are able to visually see what homes they may be interested in purchasing or not purchasing. These are all actionable steps that help an agent down the road when the listing and buying process beings.

There is a gap though. A gap of about 7.5%. On a $400,000 house that 7.5% error in pricing is $30,000. Would you buy a home that is listed $30,000 more than it’s true value? I would guess not. Data goes like this….. junk in, junk out and Zillow’s data shows just that while they are using the information that is currently available to them. So while Zillow is gathering more accurate input, Zillow is working toward delivering a more accurate output. But until the day comes that Zillow can close that 7.5% gap, it is your real estate agent that is going to get you to a listing price that aligns with the market and your objectives.

When working with my clients, Zillow is always a discussion. I come to the table with my numbers and my sellers comes to the table with their (aka Zestimate’s) numbers. It is my job to help my client see the true value in their home. Zillow only uses data, they don’t take into consideration the amount of funding that is going into your community to build new schools, or the concrete plant that is being built between your million dollar home and that breathtaking mountain view that adds a significant premium to your home’s value. Real estate agents are equipped to advocate for their clients, to do the in-depth research that Zestimate cannot and establish realistic prices. Continue to use Zillow and Zestimate, but know that your agent is necessary in helping you set a fair-market price and navigate the process of negotiating against that price. 

Posted on May 27, 2020 at 8:55 pm
Justine Marx | Category: Colorado Real Estate Market, Home Facts, Investors, Sellers | Tagged , , , , ,

Mondays with Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist at Windermere

Matthew shares his thoughts and predictions on how COVID-19 will impact the U.S. and our housing market.

This Monday’s Topics:
– Recession
– Health vs. Housing Crisis
– Supply & Demand
– Home Value

 

 

kind words following last week’s video, it makes me so happy
Posted on March 30, 2020 at 7:51 pm
Justine Marx | Category: Economics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

THE PRICE IS RIGHT!

 

As a seller it’s easy to have your head in the clouds when it comes to pricing your home. Being biased is completely understandable. You did create some of your best memories in this home; you and your son remodeled the bathroom together using the highest quality and most appealing material; your kitchen was recently updated with this year’s hottest trends and you are now the neighborhood’s ultimate host. So why shouldn’t you get  20-30% more on your home than your neighbor’s? The reality is that the market sets the price and depending on your goals you’ll want to be realistic to attract the right buyer at the right time. Research from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors® found that sellers who had to reduce their price experienced an average of 58 days on the market, compared to only 13 days for sellers who never had to reduce their price. Think like your consumer. Understand the market. Be realistic. Work with an expert.

If you are planning on listing your home, spend some time understanding what other comparable properties have recently sold for or save yourself some time and contact me for a complementary Comparative Market Analysis.

Posted on November 18, 2019 at 10:46 pm
Justine Marx | Category: Colorado Real Estate Market, Home Facts, Housing Trends, Real Estate, Sellers, Windsor Real Estate | Tagged , , , , ,

NEW BUILD ON WINDSOR LAKE!

What a view! In addition to the beautiful mountain scenery and glass water that mirrors Colorado’s amazing skies, Windsor Lake offers peace and tranquility to its visitors. The lake is surrounded by a well-maintained paved 2.25 mile trail connecting to miles of extended trails that run through the lovely town of Windsor. Walk your furry friends, run, bike, fish, bird watch, or just simply relax. Spend your summer days boating, swimming, barbecuing, or buying fresh goods at the occasional Farmers Market at Boardwalk Park. Enjoy summer nights accompanied by family and friends with live music, food trucks, outdoor games, and movies in the park. We in Windsor are fortunate to have Windsor Lake as part of our community and home.

Don’t be just be a visitor; live just feet from Windsor Lake and be the first to enjoy the unique opportunity of waking up to breathtaking views in our newly built condominiums. Located on 6th and Cedar in Windsor’s Downtown District you will have immediate access to restaurants, shopping and entertainment. Each unit offers high-end finishes, over-sized double pane windows, and a large patio or balcony to enjoy everything the lake has to offer.

Learn more about this development by contacting Justine Marx at 970.775.4030, Windermere Real Estate, Windsor.

Posted on October 30, 2019 at 9:00 am
Justine Marx | Category: Buyers, Colorado Real Estate Market, Investors, Windsor Real Estate | Tagged , , , ,

Colorado Real Estate Market Update

The following analysis of the Metro Denver & Northern Colorado real estate market (which now includes Clear Creek, Gilpin, and Park Counties) is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere agent.

 

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

The Colorado economy continues to grow, adding 69,100 new non-agricultural jobs over the past 12 months, which represents a solid growth rate of 2.6%. That said, we are continuing to see a modest slowdown in employment gains, but that is to be expected at this stage of the business cycle. My latest forecast suggests that Colorado will add a total of 65,000 new jobs in 2019, representing a growth rate of 2.3%.
In November, the state unemployment rate was 3.3%, up from 3% a year ago. The increase is essentially due to an increase in the labor force, which rose by 77,279 people. On an un-seasonally adjusted basis, unemployment rates in all the markets contained in this report dropped between November 2017 and November 2018. The highest rate was in Grand Junction, but that was still a very respectable 4%. Fort Collins and Boulder had the lowest unemployment rate of 2.9%. All the regions contained in this report are essentially at full employment.

 

HOME SALES ACTIVITY

  • In the fourth quarter of 2018, 12,911 homes sold — a drop of 13.8% compared to the last quarter of 2017 and down 22% from the third quarter.​
  • The only market that saw growth in sales was Clear Creek, which rose by 3.8%. This is a small market, however, and is prone to rapid swings in price as well as sales. There was a significant drop in sales in the Denver market. I will be watching closely to see if this is an anomaly or a longer-term trend. At this time, I believe the former to be true.​
  • Interestingly, this decline in sales in Denver came as inventory levels rose by 37%. For now, I attribute this to seasonality and expect to see sales growth return in the spring.
  • Inventory growth continues to give buyers more choice, allowing them to be far more selective — and patient — before making an offer on a home. That said, well-positioned and well-priced homes are selling relatively quickly.

 

 

HOME PRICES

  • Despite the rapid rise in listings and slowing home sales, prices continue to trend higher, though the rate of growth is slowing. The average home price in the region rose 6% year-over-year to $454,903. Home prices were 2% higher than in the third quarter.
  • In all, the data was not very surprising. As with many markets across the country, affordability is starting to become an issue. However, the recent drop in interest rates likely stimulated buyers at the end of 2018 and I expect to see good price growth in the first quarter of 2019.
  • Appreciation was strongest in Park County, where prices rose 28.2%. We can attribute this rapid increase to it being a small market. Only Gilpin County saw a drop in average home price. Though this, too, is due to it being a very small market, making it more prone to significant swings.
  • As mentioned, affordability is becoming an issue in many Colorado markets and I anticipate that we will see some cooling in home price appreciation as we move through late 2019.

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in Colorado rose by one day compared to the final quarter of 2017.
  • The amount of time it took to sell a home dropped in four counties: Boulder, Larimer, Gilpin, and Park. The rest of the counties in this report saw days on market rise relatively modestly with the exception of the small Clear Creek market, which rose by 20 days.
  • In the fourth quarter of 2018, it took an average of 38 days to sell a home in the region, but it took less than a month to sell a home in five of the eleven counties contained in this report.
  • Housing demand is still there, but buyers appear to have taken a little breather. I anticipate, however, that the spring will bring more activity and rising sales.

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

The speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.

For the fourth quarter of 2018, I continue the trend I started last summer and have moved the needle a little more in favor of buyers. I will be closely watching listing activity in the spring to see if we get any major bumps above the traditional increase because that may further slow home price growth — something that would-be buyers appear to be waiting for.

 

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.

Posted on April 19, 2019 at 11:15 am
Justine Marx | Category: Buyers, Colorado Real Estate Market, Economics, Housing Trends, Sellers | Tagged , , , , ,

How to Create a More Beautiful and “Sale” Ready Home

RGN_1In today’s market, I am consistently seeing that buyers are looking for the “cream puff” listings. They want a home that is well maintained, “move in” ready, priced well, and in a good location. No surprise there, right?

As I work with clients, whether they are preparing to move now or just looking to improve their home for their own enjoyment, I find a few things that consistently show rewards in the end.

Beginning with maintenance items such as roofing, siding, paint (both interior and exterior), windows, and a couple secret weapons that are often overlooked, which offer a huge impact and are more reasonably priced than you may think, are new garage doors and outdoor fixtures. Remember you never get a second chance to make a first impression!

Outdoor living areas have become all the rage by giving the homeowner an opportunity to add additional entertaining space to their home. The options here are endless depending on your budget and amount of space you have to work with, but this can be a great way to improve the function and finish of your home.

Take a minute to ask yourself, where do I spend most of my time in my home? Kitchen, kitchen, kitchen! We all love to eat and hang out in the kitchen. As a result, improvements here are always a good place to start.

RGN_2

 

Owner’s bedroom suites and bathrooms are also very popular areas for improvement.  The range of options for these areas is vast based again on size and budget.

Consider replacing hard surfaces, base and trim, fixtures, and doors. Think outside the box and ask an expert for help choosing something that might set your home apart. Why use the same six-panel door that everyone has? Change it up a bit. Starting with the solid bones using neutral tones and embellishing with accessories to add a splash of color and your own flair is always a winner!

RGN_3

 

The more open, clean, and well maintained your home is, the greater your return on your investment will be. Buyers in today’s market have access to an abundance of information and have a good eye for short cuts. Work done just to “flip” a home will be called out very quickly! Always ask a professional for advice. You will find your favorite contractor or real estate professional will be more than happy to spend some time helping you make educated decisions that will meet your needs and show long term return.

RGN_4By Aimee Shriner

Windermere Real Estate/Northeast Inc.

Kirkland, WA

Orignially posted on RGN Construction’s blog.

All photos are from www.rgncon.com

Posted on April 17, 2019 at 2:35 pm
Justine Marx | Category: Housing Trends, Sellers | Tagged , , ,

Which Market?

Well, it depends!

First, let’s define each market. According to research, a buyer’s market exists when there is more than 4-6 months of inventory on the market.

If it would take longer than 4-6 months to sell out all of the inventory currently for sale, then it is a buyer’s market.

This calculation is obviously a function of the amount of inventory on the market and the current pace of sales.

A seller’s market exists if it would take shorter than 4-6 months.

So, which is it?

It depends very much on the price range.

Here are the numbers for Northern Colorado:

• $300,000 to $400,000 = 0.9 months
• $400,000 to $500,000 = 1.9 months
• $500,000 to $750,000 = 2.3 months
• $750,000 and over = 5.8 months

So, most price ranges are a clear seller’s market. It’s not until $750,000 and over that the market starts to approach a more balanced state.

 

Posted on April 15, 2019 at 11:31 am
Justine Marx | Category: Buyers, Buyers & Sellers, Colorado Real Estate Market, Economics, Housing Trends, Real Estate, Sellers | Tagged , ,

How’s 2019?

Here’s one thing we notice…

There are more homes to choose from, which is great news for buyers.

In January alone 4,821 homes came on the market in Metro Denver.

That is a 14% increase compared to one year ago.

At our annual Market Forecast, we predicted a more balanced market in 2019, so far it looks like we are trending that way.

Below is the recap of our Denver Annual Market Forecast!

Posted on February 11, 2019 at 7:21 pm
Justine Marx | Category: Buyers, Buyers & Sellers, Colorado Real Estate Market, Fort Collins Real Estate, Sellers | Tagged , ,

Why No Bubble

There are several reasons why our Chief Economist does not believe there is a housing bubble today in the U.S.

Below is a slide he shared at our recent market Forecast events.

It shows U.S. Home ownership rate, which is simply the percentage of the population who own their home (versus renting).

The long-term average is 65% represented by the red line.

In the graph you can clearly see the bubble forming. Starting in the mid-90’s, driven by several political and economic factors, more people than ever before became homeowners.

 

 

Then, starting in, 2008, the bubble burst and the percentage tumbled back down.

Now, as you can see, we are back at a “normal” level that resembles the long-term average.

________________________________________

If you would like a copy of the entire Forecast presentation, go ahead and reach out to me. We would be happy to put it in your hands.

Posted on February 5, 2019 at 7:01 pm
Justine Marx | Category: Economics, Real Estate Outlook | Tagged , ,

5 Home Improvements That Will Boost Your Property Value

A home is the largest investment most people will make in their lifetime, so when it comes time to sell, homeowners often wonder what they can do to get the most return on their investment. Many have the misconception that remodeling is the way to go, but that isn’t always the case. Rather than going all-in on upgrading your home, you should know which home improvements are worth it, and which ones aren’t.

We’ve sifted through the research and come up with a quick list of five home improvements that’ll help buyers fall in love with your home when it comes time to sell.

1. Add a little curb appeal 

Curb appeal is critical. As the name suggests, it’s the first thing buyers see when pulling up to the front of any home so it needs to be in nearly pristine condition. Start with the garage door for the most immediate return. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2018 Cost vs. Value report and Money.com, the cost of updating your worn builder-grade garage door with an upscale steel model is about $3,470, and it’ll boost your home’s value by 98.3 percent of the installation price, which means you’ll lose about $60 when it’s all said and done.

Landscaping can also go along way for a minimal upfront investment. Six rounds of fertilizer and weed control will set you back about $330, but when it comes time to sell, you’ll see an ROI of about $1,000 according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors.

Other improvements you can easily make to your curb appeal include:

  • Pressure wash the exterior
  • Liven up your front door with a fresh coat of paint
  • Replace hardware such as doorknobs and knockers
  • Install updated house numbers
  • Make your walkways pop with new greenery or flowers
  • Plant a succulent garden
  • Update your porch lights
  • Add a little charm with window flower boxes
  • Stage your porch

2. Install hardwood floors 

Installing or upgrading hardwood floors is pretty failsafe as most buyers love it. Ninety-nine percent of real estate agents agree that homes with hardwood floors are easier to sell, and 90 percent of agents say that they sell for a higher sale price, according to the National Wood Flooring Association. Similarly, research from the National Association of Realtors shows that 54 percent of homebuyers are willing to shell out extra cash for homes with hardwood.

As for your return on investment, NAR’s 2017 Remodeling Impact Report projects that homes that already have hardwood floors will likely see 100 percent return. On the flip side, installing hardwood flooring pays off almost as well with a 91 percent return on investment. It can cost about $5,500 to install, and it’s projected to add about $5,000 to the home value. These estimates may vary depending on the type of flooring you install.

3. Upgrade your kitchen

According to the National Association of Realtors, real estate agents believe that complete kitchen renovations, kitchen upgrades, and bathroom renovations will add the most resale value to a home (in that order). However, complete kitchen renovations can be costly and unnecessary. In fact, kitchen remodels have some of the worst return on investment stats. Remodeling Magazine’s 2017 Cost Vs. Value report found that a mid-range kitchen remodel cost exceeds its resale value by more than $21,000, and that number more than doubles in an upscale remodel. Rather than spend a ton of cash and weeks (or months) on renovating, put a little elbow grease and a small budget into it.

Instead of doing a full renovation, focus on these smaller updates:

  • Clean
    • Organize your pantry
    • Use a little Murphy Oil Soap and hot water on all of your cabinets
      • Polish cabinets with Howard Feed-In-Wax
      • Tighten all hinges
    • Clean grout and tiles
    • Shine your sinks and hardware until you can see your face in it
    • Deep clean your stove
  • Give your kitchen a fresh coat of neutral paint
  • Update lighting fixtures, and replace light bulbs
  • Spring for a new cabinet and door hardware
  • Make your countertops look new
  • Upgrade your appliances

4. Go green

Today’s younger generations are embracing eco-friendly living, and millennials are leading the pack. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2018 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, millennials make up the largest segment of buyers, holding strong at 34 percent of all buyers.

When it comes to attracting buyers who are willing to pay top dollar, going green makes sense. A Nielson study found that, of more than 30,000 millennials surveyed,66 percent are willing to shell out more cash for conservation-conscious, sustainable products. Depending on where you live, consider installing solar panels, wind turbines, and eco-friendly water systems.

No matter where you live, attic insulation replacement and weather stripping are safe bets. Attic insulation replacement was a top home improvement upgrade last year, and homeowners saw a 107.7 percent return on the investment. Weather stripping, a fairly inexpensive DIY project, costs, on average, about $168 nationally.

5. Create a summer retreat

Homes with pools can fetch a higher selling price if done properly. There are in-ground pools and above-ground pools. To truly add value, you’d want to go with an in-ground pool. It’s a permanent investment that costs more upfront, but above-ground pools don’t really add anything to a home other than a nice personal oasis from hot weather.

Pools cost about $1,000 on average to maintain between the seasonal openings and closings, necessary upkeep and utility bills, according to Houselogic.com and financial consultant Dave Ramsey’s website. Some buyers might not be up for that cost. However, pools can help sell a home especially when you live in a higher-end neighborhood where everyone has pools and in warmer climates like Florida, Arizona or Hawaii.

Ramsey wrote that a well-marketed in-ground pool can boost a home’s value as much as 7 percent, but he stresses the importance of making sure the style of the pool matches the house and surrounding property. Be sure that any pool doesn’t completely consume the outdoor space. Pools that make sense locationally and complement the property are the best. If the pool is just an expensive eyesore, it’s probably better to remove it.

With these upgrades, your home will surely see a higher price tag when you go to sell because, as the numbers show, buyers swoon for an outdoor retreat, a like-new kitchen, classic hardwood flooring, and green upgrades.

Our guest author is Sarah Stilo, the Content Marketing Coordinator for HomeLight, which helps pair homebuyers with agents. They can be found at HomeLight.Com.

Posted on November 15, 2018 at 6:43 pm
Justine Marx | Category: Home Improvement, Housing Trends, Real Estate, Sellers | Tagged , , , ,