Property Taxes Explained for Buyers and Sellers

What you need to know about how property taxes are handled when you are buying or selling real estate:

In Colorado, the property taxes are paid in arrears, which means that the 2011 property taxes are due in 2012.  Taxes can be paid in either 2 half-payments, due around February 28th and June 15th, or in full on April 30th.  (Confirm the exact dates, which change slightly from year to year.)

If you have a mortgage, the mortgage company will most likely collect a small amount as part of your mortgage payment each month and place it into an escrow account, and then they will pay the taxes when they are due from that account.  (They typically do the same for homeowners insurance.)

Buyers

When you are purchasing a house, you will receive a credit from the seller for any taxes that are not yet due, and then you will be responsible for paying them the next year when they are due.   For example, if you close on your new house on June 30th, 2012, you will receive a credit on the settlement statements at the closing for the pro-rated taxes from January 1, 2012 – June 30, 2012.  Then, in 2013, when those 2012 taxes are due, you will be responsible for paying the entire 2012 property tax bill.

Sellers

When you are selling a home, you will give the credit to the buyer at closing.  This is considered a final settlement, so regardless of whether the taxes increase or decrease, neither party will be able to come back and claim that they are owed money.

Need more information?

For more information, click here for the Boulder County Treasurer’ Office, or feel free to contact us.

Sell Your House in 2012

Is one of your goals for the new to sell your house?

As you probably already know, we are in the midst of a tough market.  It is more important than ever to make sure you are taking all the necessary steps to make your property stand out against the competition.

 

 

Here are 10 steps you can take now to get your house ready and get it sold in 2012.

1.  Declutter – This time of year, everywhere you look there are tips on how to declutter your home and your life.  If your ultimate goal is to sell your house this year, you will eventually be packing boxes anyway, so get a head start on it now.  Go through your home room by room, and look for items that are not necessary.  Remove some of the family photos, books, and knick knacks from the bookshelves, coffee tables and fireplace mantels.  Clean out your closets and sell or donate clothes that you no longer wear.  Box up clothes that are out of season.  Pack up those kitchen gadgets that you only use once a year.  Generally speaking, the more you can put away now, the better.

2.  Get Organized – Ideally, we would all keep nice, neat files of all the documents pertaining to our houses.  But it is more likely that after years of living in the same house, you will need to do some digging.  Pull together whatever you can find, including floor plans, appraisals, manuals, warranties, surveys, and receipts.  These items will be invaluable; first to your agent when you are ready to put your home on the market, and second to your buyers, who truly appreciate a seller who has kept these items and passed them along at closing.

3.  Take care of repairs or maintenance items –  There are many items that will be easier and less expensive for you to take care of before putting your house on the market.  Replace burned out light bulbs.  Fix broken windows or screens.  Patch holes in the walls and touch up paint on walls or boards.  Oil squeaky hinges.  Re-caulk around bathtubs and showers.  Fix that dripping faucet.  If there is a project that you are unable to complete but that you know will come up at the inspection, get bids ahead of time and provide them to potential buyers.  Buyers want to see that a home has been well-maintained.  The more you can fix before they set foot in your house, the better.

4.  Talk to Your Agent – Even if you are not quite ready to put your house on the market, now is a great time to give your Realtor a call and let them know your plans.  They can help with ideas for de-cluttering/staging, and also give you an idea of what the market looks like in your area.  This may be a good time to sit down with your agent and understand the costs involved in selling your house, such as commissions, property taxes, and closing costs.  Likely, your agent will also present a marketing plan so you know how and where your home will be advertised.  (If you don’t already have an agent, it is always a good idea to interview at least a few.  Different Realtors offer different services, and focus on specific areas of the market.)

5.  Understand the Market – In addition to researching recent comparable sales, attend open houses or ask to see homes in your neighborhood that are currently listed on the market, so you know what your competition will look like.  Some real estate websites provide market data and estimates of what your property may be worth – but understand that these are just estimates, nothing beats a true analysis of the market by an appraiser or real estate professional.

6.  Price it Right –  Nothing is more important than pricing your home correctly.  You need an agent who you trust that will be very honest with you about what your home is worth.  And it may be worth less than it did when you purchased it.  This may be a tough pill to swallow, but again, you only have one chance with most buyers.  Price it right from the beginning.

7.  Clean – This is the time when you do a deep cleaning of the entire house, from top to bottom.  Have the carpets professionally cleaned.  Dust the hard to reach places, like the top of the door frame or the cobwebs in the corners by the ceiling.  Wash the windows inside and out.  Sweep the front step, maybe put a fresh coat of paint on the front door.  Make sure the yard looks clean and tidy.  If there is snow on the ground, be sure to shovel the driveway and walkways.  Click here for additional staging tips.)

8.  List your property – This is the time when you sign the listing agreement documents, and your property is officially listed in the MLS.  Once your property is listed, showings may start immediately, so make sure that the house is ready before this happens.  The saying “You only get one chance to make a first impression” could not be more true than it is in real estate.  Often times, your best chance of selling is in the first few months, and if the house doesn’t show in the best possible light the first time, you may never see those buyers again.

9.  Prepare for showings and open houses – Now that your house is clean and de-cluttered, try to keep it that way.  This can be especially tough with kids and dogs, but the last minute rush right before a showing is not fun.  And by all means, do whatever possible to allow showings, no matter how inconvenient they may be.  The more people you can get in to your house, the better.

10.  Sell your house! Taking these steps to ensure that your home is presented in the best possible light will surely increase your chances of getting your home sold, regardless of the state of the market.  Stay tuned for an upcoming post explaining the sale and closing process.

Always, if you have questions or are looking for additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We are here to help.

Wishing you the best in 2012!

 

Colorado Landmark, Realtors
2350 Broadway
Boulder, CO  80304
(303) 443-3377
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How to be a great Seller in a tough market

We all know it’s a tough time to be a Seller. Many who are selling right now are doing it because they have to, for one reason or another, not just because they want to. Whatever your reason for selling, here are some tips to be as effective and efficient as possible, so you can get your house sold quickly and move on.

The most important thing to understand is that once you put a “for sale” sign in the yard, it’s no longer your home – it’s a house, that someone else is going to buy and make their home. Let go of the emotional attachment. Take pictures, video, whatever you need to sustain those memories, and then let it go. No one is going to pay a premium because you loved raising your children there. The idea is to start looking at your house like a product that you are trying to sell.

Get the house ready – Clean, de-clutter, and remove most personal items such as family photos, paperwork, children’s artwork, etc. The goal is to make the house as neutral as possible, so a potential buyer can picture their own things in the house.

Get organized – Pull together all important paperwork: surveys, maps, house plans, manuals, warranties, list of contractors/utilities, paint colors or material samples, etc. These things are invaluable to a buyer – and showing that you kept files of these items also shows that you have attention to detail and took care of the property while you lived there. Have these documents available for buyers to peruse at showings, and present it to the new buyers at the closing.

Price it right – Can’t emphasize this one enough. This is the number one “make it or break it” item – price too high, and you won’t sell. Period.

Make it easy to show – Please, let people show your house. I know it’s inconvenient to keep it clean, shuffle kids and pets, etc. And unfortunately, not all agents plan ahead and give as much notice as you would like. But the more you let it be shown, the sooner it will sell. Understand that agents are trying to sell your house – so let them bring their clients in!

Be helpful and available to answer questions – I just closed a transaction (representing the buyer) where the seller was amazing and willing to answer endless questions about the property. This immediately put my client at ease and therefore the entire transaction ran smoothly.

It’s a tough, competitive market. Make sure that you are doing everything possible to make your house stand out against the competition!

Jennifer Fly, REALTOR

Jennifer Fly
(303) 443-3377

Colorado Landmark, Realtors
jenniferfly@coloradolandmark.com

Twitter: @jenflycolorado

Top Ten Holiday Showing Tips for Sellers

‘Tis the season to hang stockings by the chimney, stuff over-sized trees into family rooms and play the dreidel.

However, December is also a season when interested buyers take advantage of vacation time and slower work schedules to attend showings and open houses to gauge the real estate market before the year’s end.

As homes tend to be crammed with decorations, baking and packages, and family and friends drop in without notice this time of year, the holiday season can present challenges for sellers who know the importance of keeping their listed property minimally adorned and tidy.

Good news! Selling a home over the holidays doesn’t mean that you and your family can’t celebrate the season.

Here is a “top ten” list of pointers that will help houses shine in this oft-cluttered holiday season.

1. Festival of lights – Exterior holiday lights can brighten up any house and really increase curb appeal. Less-is-more in this case! Opt for white lights instead of multi-color and/or flashing bulbs to provide a more taste-neutral glow to your home. A few strands of white icicle lights are always tasteful.

2. Fake it – Brightly colored plants and flowers are usually nowhere to be seen in Colorado this time of year, but you can “fake” your garden. Place frost-resistant potted plants, such as flowering kale or miniature trees, in the walkway and garden to brighten up your home’s exterior and give buyers a sense of the landscape potential.

3. Let it snow – Snow can look beautiful on trees, but driveways and walkways should ALWAYS be cleared as soon as the fluffy stuff falls. Don’t forget your back patio or deck and walkways around the sides of the house. Buyers should be able to move freely to all parts of the property. Keep an eye out for icicles on the roof, as they can indicate that your home has inadequate insulation.

4. Toasty and cozy – A warm home is always more inviting than one that has people
reaching for their coats. Be sure to have the heat set at a comfortable temperature for the
entire day. If possible, turn the lights on and have fireplaces and candles lit to create a cozy environment, even during daylight hours, especially for open houses.

5. Sugar and spice – To create an inviting, festive atmosphere, boil a pot of cider with
cinnamon during any open houses or showings.

6. Home sweet home – From fish, to cabbage rolls, to turkey, the holidays can be a fragrant
time of favorite holiday dishes. What appeals to you at dinner may leave an odor in your
home that not everyone will appreciate. Hold off on holiday cooking as much as
possible, especially if you know that a showing or open house is scheduled. Give
yourself permission to take this holiday off from cooking – treat yourself to a meal out at
a restaurant, or dine with family and friends!

7. A home for all seasons – Display several photos of the home’s front and back yards,
gardens, and patios in spring and summer to show potential buyers what the house looks
like when it is not buried in snow, and when there are leaves on the trees and green grass.

8. Size matters – Choose a small Christmas tree and dress it minimally with decorations. A
huge tree will make your room look smaller, and busy decorations can appear messy.

9. It’s presence, not presents – It is important to cut back on clutter when listing your
home. Wrapped presents should not be on display, for aesthetic purposes and also to
ensure that they don‟t “grow legs and walk away”.

10. Less is more – When it comes to decorating and selling a home, less is always more.
When in doubt … don’t.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, something else, or nothing at all, this can be a very stressful time of year, especially if your home is for sale. Keep things simple and remember that the most important things in life are family and friends. Please call your sales
associate at Colorado Landmark if you need advice or assistance during this holiday season.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Colorado Landmark, Realtors!

Colorado Landmark, Realtors
www.coloradolandmark.com
303-443-3377
Facebook: www.facebook.com/COLandmark
Twitter: @COLandmark

Open House Tips for Sellers

Boulder open house tips for sellers from Colorado Landmark, Realtors

An open house is a great way to showcase your home, and an opportunity for many people to view your home at once.

Here are some tips to get your home “open house ready”:

Curb Appeal is Key: The first thing a prospective buyer notices about a home is the front yard. Cut the grass, trim the hedges, rake those leaves, sweep the sidewalks, and power-wash the driveway. If appropriate for the season, include a few potted flowers to brighten up the entryway.

De-Clutter: A cluttered room can appear too small to buyers. Go through each room and divide belongings into two piles: “keep” and “give up.” Items in the “keep” pile will be used to stage the room, while those in the “give up” pile should be stored elsewhere, or better yet given away. You are not selling your things or trying to impress anyone with them. You are selling your space and buyers can’t visualize themselves or their own things there when there is too much of your stuff in the room. Don’t forget about the outdoor spaces too – de-clutter potted plants, kids’ toys, gardening items, outdoor furniture and accessories, etc…as well.

Make your place “Q-Tip clean.” A properly staged home should be immaculate, or “Q-Tip clean,” This could mean using Q-Tips to clean dead flies out of a windowsill or going around the bottom of the toilet on the floor. The purpose of an immaculate house is more than just making it presentable. If a home is messy or dirty, a buyer may wonder what else about this property hasn’t been cared for, like major and minor maintenance items.

Check the temperature. In winter a warm home is always more inviting than one that has people reaching for their coats. On a hot summer day a cool home can be a welcome oasis to weary home buyers. In warmer weather have windows open for fresh air if it’s not hot outside.

Light it up. Open blinds and window coverings, and turn on all the lights. This helps make the spaces feel bigger, and specially placed lighting can showcase special aspects of the home. It may also be appropriate to have fireplaces and candles lit to create a cozy environment.

Say “Yes” to neighbors. Some sellers are against holding open houses as they can be a magnet for “nosy neighbors”. While this may be the case at times, your neighbors are also a great resource to help get your home sold. Make them feel welcome by letting them know ahead of time that the open house is scheduled, and invite them to come check it out. The more eyes that see your house, the better.

For additional information and resources to help get your home sold quickly, feel free to contact us – we are here to help!

Colorado Landmark, Realtors
(303) 443-3377
www.coloradolandmark.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/COLandmark
Twitter: www.twitter.com/COLandmark

Check out our 356 Things to do in Boulder Page!

Top Ten Sales – Boulder/Broomfield Counties – Oct 18 – 31, 2010 – Treat Selling Your Home Like Buying Zucchini – GO Local!

Our economy is still struggling.  Employment is not improving at a fast enough pace.  Colorado’s unemployment rate is still hovering at 8.0% for September 2010, down from 8.2% in June 2010 but up from 7.7% in May 2010 per the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Boulder County stands at 6.2% and Broomfield County is at 7.2% for September 2010.  
Approximately every other week Colorado Landmark provides detailed information on the real estate actvity in Boulder and Broomfield Counties from the past two weeks. Hopefully our analysis will help reveal what properties are selling, at what prices, how long they are are taking to sell, and other relevant information about what’s going on in OUR local area – Boulder County and Broomfield County.

For the two week period from October 18 through October 31, 2010 here are the numbers:

•193 properties sold (up from 142 properties previous reported period)
•Price range of properties sold during this period: $59,000 – $2,400,000
•Median price: $305,000
•Average price: $385,529

•$0-199k = 44 sold this period (33 last period)
•$200-299K = 49 sold (38 last period)
•$300-399k = 31 sold
•$400-499k =  29 sold (13 last period)
•$500-599k = 10 sold
•$600-699k = 10 sold (4 last period)
•$700-799k = 10 sold (4 last period)
•$800-899k = 1 sold
•$900-999k = 3 sold
•$1.0-1.9M = 5 sold (15 last period)
•$2.0M+ = 1 sold

Top Ten Listings Sold during this period:

Information obtained from MLS and public record.

This period’s Top Ten numbers are not very different from previous periods, and reinforce what we have been communicating all along.  Overpricing = BAD!
The four properties with the longest days on market are …. you guessed it … the properties with the lowest ratio of sale to list price.  The home on Neher Lane was listed for over 900 days total and sold for only 39% of its’ original list price.  8828 W. Phillips Road was marketed for almost 2000 days (astounding!), and sold for just over half of its’ original list price.  What was going on with these sellers?  Did they dictate a sales price to their real estate professional, driven by greed, ego, or financial need?  Or did their original listing agent blow sunshine in their face and recommend an inflated list price simply to win the listing?  Shocked?  Don’t be … these things do happen.

So what’s the antidote for overprice-itus?  Two simple things.

#1) Get several professional opinions about what your house is worth from local realtors that have been recommended by someone you trust.  The stress is on the word local here.  No one can do it all.  The Boulder-Denver Metro area is huge.  A real estate professional who lives in Denver and is d in Cherry Creek can’t possibly be completely clued into what the Boulder-Broomfield market is doing.  Pick an agent that not only lists homes in your specific neighborhood, but actually sells them.  Ask for proof of their sales records, and testimonials or recommendations from past clients.  Many of you shop at the Boulder Farmer’s Market for produce because you feel good about “buying local”.  Don’t you think using a local professional to help you sell your most important asset is just as important as buying a locally grown zucchini?

#2) Don’t dictate a selling price to your realtor.  Please don’t take offense to this but don’t think that just because you have a Masters in Engineering, MBA or PhD, or are a high ranking executive at a great company that you know how to price your house.  We know Boulder and Broomfield are full of wonderful highly educated people – what a pleasure for us to work with you!  Just let us do our jobs.  A true real estate professional is on top of the market data, community trends and current inventory and they will know how to price your house appropriately.  Trust their expertise and experience!

This week’s takeway – find a good local professional, and trust them to do their job.

Pam Metzger
Director of Relocation and Business Development
Colorado Landmark, Realtors
800-737-MOVE
http://www.coloradolandmark.com/
www.facebook.com/COLandmark
www.facebook.com/365ThingsBoulder

Musings on Pricing, Sellers and Housing – Boulder and Beyond, Part II

In Part I of my musings I talked about real estate as housing, but a discussion about real estate is not complete without some reference to home prices.

Recently IRES (our local area MLS) had a True-False question on the home screen. Bank-owned homes sell at market prices. True or False? Surprisingly over 60% of respondents (who are realtors by the way …) chose False. Serious hmmmm. Where is the logic in that? When a home sells for a price, that price reflects what a buyer in the market is willing to pay for that home. Isn’t the price a buyer is willing to pay in essence the “market price”? True! Bank-owned homes DO sell at market prices, and one could even say that they set the trend for prices in a given area. Bank-owned homes and the much dreaded “shadow inventory” will likely set market prices in virtually all areas of the country, and certainly in Boulder County, for at least the next 12-24 months. Sellers, are you listening??

The first time home buyer and move-up home buyer tax credits will expire shortly, and will most likely not be extended. The time to act is NOW, for both buyers and sellers. Buyers, get off your fences. You have between today and April 30th to get under contract on a home purchase. You must close before July 1st. Sellers, slash your prices or gird your loins for the upcoming storm. You have between now and April 30th to get your home under contract before one or all of the following things happen: tax credits expire, interest rates jack up, scores of bank-owned homes hit the market greatly affecting pricing (NOT to your benefit), mortgage markets tighten up again, and home prices in our neck of the woods take a much feared double dip. All of these things could happen, making it a “perfect storm” of trouble for home sellers, even in Boulder and Broomfield Counties.  We are not immune here, despite what some would like to think.

Colorado Landmark, Realtors is committed to matching home buyers and sellers at market prices. To this end on April 10th and 11th we are participating in the Nationwide Open House Weekend and having a “Tax Break Home Sale”. We are working with many of our home sellers and have successfully reduced asking prices on some of our existing inventory by 3% or more! Just in time to get a home under contract before the April 30th tax credit deadline. These discounted homes will be held open Saturday and/or Sunday, April 10th and 11th.

Colorado Landmark, Realtors is at the cutting edge, setting the market in Boulder and Broomfield Counties, and beyond. Check out our Open House schedule at http://www.landmarkopenhouse.com/ on RELO Homesearch, at our company website Open House page, and in the Boulder Daily Camera real estate section both April 10th and 11th.

Hope to see you at one of our open homes!  Please contact me if you have thoughts or questions about the tax incentives for 1st time and move up buyers.  I welcome your feedback.

Pam Metzger
Director of Business Development and Relocation
Colorado Landmark, Realtors
twitter = @pmcolorado
pam@coloradolandmark.com

Musings on Pricing, Sellers and Housing – Boulder and Beyond, Part I

Back in the early 1990’s my husband and I tried to buy our first home in Southern California. That market was experiencing some challenges at the time, and we thought we would be able to swoop in, and snap up a great house with no money down using our VA loan. We made at least 4 low-ball offers without success. One home was offered at $215,000, we offered $185,000 and the seller countered back at … $215,000. His rationale? That was the price he “had” to get in order to make any money on the deal. Ultimately we weren’t successful in purchasing a home in SoCal. Good thing! Within a couple months my husband’s company offered him a transfer to Boulder, CO and we have happily been here ever since, and have indeed been homeowners.

But a few things from that time in our lives have stuck with me. One was an article I saw in the LA Times back then that lambasted sellers who have what they called a “gotta get” mentality. “I have to get $300k for my home, or I can’t buy my replacement home.” Or “I’ve got to get $450k for my home because, if I don’t, after my mortgage and transaction fees I won’t break even.” Or “I have got to get $275k for my home because that is what I paid for it 6 years ago.” Guess what sellers – WHO CARES??? As a buyer I could CARE LESS about your situation, what you owe, what you paid, and what YOU think your home is worth. As the home’s current owner, yours is the most biased opinion possible! What matters to me are MY housing needs, MY budget, and what your home is worth to ME.

Something else that stuck with me was a conversation we had with a friend of my parents, Dr. Alan Kreditor. At the time he was the Dean of the School Urban Planning and Development at the University of Southern California. Very Smart Guy. His wife Marcia was also the real estate agent assisting us in our home search. At a gathering one night we expressed frustrations about our home search – we were very concerned about resale and not paying too much, exasperated by unreasonable sellers, our inability to find the perfect deal. Time for the tough love. He said some things we will never forget.

Here they are, here are your take-aways from this post … You can’t always look at a home purchase as a money-making venture. This is housing – this is where you will eat, sleep and dwell, with your family, pets, belongings, etc… When you quit looking for what you THINK is the perfect investment and start looking for a place to LIVE, you will find the right home. When you sell this property in the future maybe you will make money on the deal, maybe you won’t. You have to ask yourself … Did we enjoy living here? Was it affordable for us? Did it compliment our lifestyle? Did we feel safe here? Did we create lasting memories in this home? A profit on the deal is the icing on the cake. This is housing. Period.

Stay tuned for Part II and what my company and I are trying to do to ensure that our buyers housing needs are met, and that our sellers come to terms with current market dynamics.

I whole-heartedly welcome ANY and all comments on my musings! (Because of course that is what they are … MY musings. However Alan Kreditor is a really smart guy so take (my recollection of) his words for what they are worth, which is substantial, IMO.)

Pam Metzger
Director of Business Development and Relocation
@pmcolorado
pam@coloradolandmark.com
303-443-3377

Part 2 – State of the Real Estate Market in Boulder – Words for Home Sellers in Boulder County

This is Part II of a 3-part series. Stay tuned for Part II!

Part 2 – Mortgages, Prices and Interest Rates
While there is hope that the government’s Making Home Affordable Program for loan modifications will help, the current numbers indicate that of the 3 million people that requested help in 2009 only 31,000 received permanent modifications. In short, at this time the program is doing little to stabilize home ownership.
While we don’t want our clients and friends to panic and overreact, we do want to make sure that all of our Colorado Landmark listings are priced correctly for today’s market. If you want or need to sell your home, waiting out the market is NOT the right strategy. Ken Hotard, senior vice president of the Boulder Area Realtor Association, thinks that the worst is likely over, but home sellers cannot expect a quick recovery. “Jobs are still a problem,” he said. “Until we see job growth there will be no significant recover in the housing market.” Phyllis Resnick, lead economist for the Center for Colorado’s Economic Future, projects that unemployment in Boulder-Broomfield will hit 7.1% this year and “It’s going to take us close to five years to recover,” to pre-decline levels. Boulder Valley’s high-end real estate market (homes priced over $1.0M) will continue to lag behind in 2010.

On January 8, 2010 the Wall Street Journal reported on the Fed’s plan to stop buying mortgages by the end of March 2010. The article quoted Ronald Temple, portfolio manager at Lazard Asset Management, who sees mortgage rates rising by a percentage point when the Fed stops buying. A withdrawal of government support, combined with high unemployment and rising mortgage foreclosures, could push home prices down 20% he said. What does that mean for you as a homeowner? If you are waiting for the market to improve, don’t hold your breath, unless you can hold it for about 4 years! Price your home to sell now, before home prices slide any further.

All this being said, real estate continues to be one of the best long term investments out performing the Dow, S & P, and the Nasdaq over the past 10 years. We are encouraging our clients to buy now before interest rates spike up, and do so quickly.
Stay tuned for Part III!

Part 1 – State of the Boulder Real Estate Market – Essential Words for Home Sellers in Boulder

This is Part I of a 3-part article. Stay tuned for the sequels!

Part I – INVENTORY

Colorado Landmark, Realtors is proud to approach 33 years in business in Boulder and Broomfield Counties, and we are filled with gratitude for the wonderful clients we have been fortunate to work with throughout the years. While our nation and our community faces many challenges, those of us who are fortunate to live in this area have many blessings to be thankful for.

We hope market conditions will improve over the coming months. Regardless of what happens we must make thoughtful decisions d on the way things are and what can be best projected for the future. If you are selling a home, Colorado Landmark’s primary focus is to see that your property is sold in the next 120 days for the highest and best price. Locally in 2009 over 68% of properties in our area sold with a market time of 120 days or less. If your property has been on the market for more than 120 days you need to seriously visit the market activity and reconcile that with your pricing strategy. To wait and “test the market” almost always guarantees a lower sales price, longer time on the market, and fewer dollars in your pocket when you walk away from the closing table.
Inventory in Boulder and Broomfield Counties declined over the last 24 months by 11-20% depending on the area, yet we still have 6-7 months worth of active properties on the market as of today, and that is if NO new listings are added. According to historic trends, a market with 5-6 months of supply is considered a “normal” market where prices hold steady, while markets with 7-8 months of supply experience single digit depreciation. As of today Boulder and Broomfield Counties have 6.7 months of inventory on the market, meaning that our markets will be luck to show any small amount of appreciation this year. Prices will likely stay flat.

The bigger issue looming is the mountain of foreclosed properties that banks have held (7 million units across the US) that will be released to the market starting in the first half of 2010 that will put even more downward pressure on home prices. There is clear evidence of a contagion discount effect on neighborhood pricing trends due to the impact of nearby foreclosures. In Boulder and Broomfield Counties there are many bank-owned properties which have not hit the market yet.

George Feiger, chief executive officer of Contango Capital Advisors, expects housing prices in our area to continue to fall as more foreclosed homes come on the market. Foreclosures also should rise, he said, not only because of unemployment, but from strategic defaults – people walking away from mortgages that are deeply underwater.
Stay tuned later this week for Part II – Foreclosures and Mortgages!