Tips for selling a home in Denver’s seller’s market
While selling a home is easier in this market, you'll need to be strategic if you want to maximize your proceeds
If you’re selling a home in Denver, congratulations. Denver is home to one of the most desirable housing markets in the country, and homeowners continue to enjoy a seller’s market, where there are more buyers than homes for sale.
But while selling a home is easier in this market, you’ll need to be strategic if you want to maximize your proceeds.
You’ll market differently in a hot market than you will when demand is soft.
How Hot Is Denver’s Housing Market in 2020?
Although Denver’s real estate market slowed down a bit at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, it has bounced back to even better rates than 2019, even as the pandemic continues.
The Denver area set September records for the most homes put under contract, most homes sold, shortest time on the market, lowest inventory, and highest median home price, according to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors.
The median price of a single-family home that sold in September hit a record high of $510,000, up 13.3% from 2019. And median time on market, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), was just 36 days.
So, yes, you can price your home aggressively and probably sell it. That’s just one part of the equation. You can also cut your selling and marketing costs to increase your bottom line even more.
How to Sell a Home in a Hot Market
When housing inventory is low, sellers don’t need to try as hard. And some efforts that are common in a buyer’s market are completely unnecessary (and unnecessarily expensive) when sellers rule. Those experienced in the real estate business know that sellers in hot markets can often sell property “as-is” without having to make major updates. Before you make significant pre-listing fixes to the property, discuss them with a knowledgeable local agent.
There are a few items you might want to skip when selling property in a seller’s market but some practices that are good practice in any market.
What Can’t You Skip When Selling Your Home in a Seller’s Market?
There are pre-listing tasks you’ll want to perform for maximum profits no matter if it’s a seller’s or buyer’s market.
If there are obvious buyer turn-offs in your home that can be transformed easily, just take care of them. Buyers can be leery of ceiling stains, peeling paint, and broken or damaged windows because a run-down appearance makes them wonder what’s wrong with what they can’t see.
Take care of these easier repairs because not doing them can cost you a lot more when you try to sell.
Cleaning and decluttering
One item you really shouldn’t skip is cleanliness, especially when germs are on the top of everyone’s mind during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Don’t list your house without first clearing offensive odors, dirty windows, and clutter. No potential buyer can visualize themselves in a dirty, cluttered home.
Personal Protective Equipment
Whether you’re showing your home yourself or engaging a real estate agent, you’ll need to know local coronavirus rules for home tours. Purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) such as disposable masks, gloves, and foot coverings to keep at the door for visitors, and have plenty of hand sanitizer available.
To protect yourself and others, disinfect surfaces, and allow the air to clear between visitors.
These days, you can get a nice set of stainless appliances without breaking the bank, and they can really make a kitchen look fresh.
If your old ones are mismatched, run-down, or really dated, replacing them can give you the feel of a remodeled kitchen. And a minor kitchen remodel is one project that Remodeling Magazine’s “2020 Cost vs. Value Report for Denver” found could pay off in Denver — especially if the original kitchen is an eyesore.
What Can You Skip When Selling Your Home in the Seller’s Market?
Because there are more buyers than homes for sale in a seller’s market, there are some common seller practices you can skip without worry.
Professionally displaying one or more rooms is a proven way to increase your proceeds and decrease marketing time — in normal markets. But when buyers are begging to buy, it may be less advantageous. The NAR recommends staging for vacant higher-end homes but says you can forgo it if you’re on a budget and not marketing to millionaires.
As long as your home is clean and presentable, you don’t have to pay to have it professionally staged, especially in this hot seller’s market.
Replacement of working systems
If your old faithful HVAC or roof is in good working order, you probably won’t need to replace it before putting your home on the market. Buyers competing for property can’t afford to submit “messy” offers requiring extensive repairs if they want to beat out other house hunters.
That said, if an inspector flags your systems or if you’ve got real problems like health and safety issues, you’ll have to bring things up to snuff or make seller concessions to cover replacements or repairs.
Got carpet? Probably not an issue. Many home purchasers prefer to choose their own flooring anyway and expect to replace old carpet if they see it. Home advice site BobVila.com says that hardwood flooring is desirable but not worth installing just for selling. “While doing so will increase the value of your home,” recommends the site, “it’s unlikely to push it up enough to cover the expense and inconvenience of installing the new floors.”
Of course, you must clean up your front yard and protect your curb appeal. But don’t think you need to spring for expensive upgrades.
In fact, high-maintenance landscaping can scare buyers away if they don’t relish yard work or want to pay for professional help. It’s best to let the new buyers decide what sort of yard they want and give them a tidy canvas for their own creation.
Major remodeling projects
Remodeling Magazine’s report shows that extensive remodeling projects return less than 80% on investment. This is not the time for gut jobs in your kitchen or bathroom or major additions.
Maybe you’d want to remodel if you’re getting ready to sell in a buyer’s market. In a seller’s market, though. it’s a waste of both time and money.
Full-service real estate brokerage
There are many options for home-selling assistance, from full-service real estate agents to the DIY for sale by owner (FSBO) approach. In the current’s seller’s market, you probably don’t need a hefty marketing plan or a lot of advertising. Odds are, your home will still sell quickly without it.
You might need little more than an MLS listing or someone to deal with the paperwork, though. No matter the market, it’s always a good idea to use a real estate agent to sell your house. Not only can an agent ensure your home sells for the right price, they can also enforce COVID protocols to keep your home safe.
A full-service agent, however, might be overkill in a hot market, and you might be able to save significant commission dollars with a discount solution or by negotiating commission with your agent.
Be Realistic About Hot Markets
Just because the market is smoking hot doesn’t mean you’ll receive multiple offers over the asking price, say the experts at Nolo.com. Even if your neighbors down the street had a bidding war for their home doesn’t mean you will, too.
They may have gotten lucky — the house might have been listed at the exact right time. Or their property might have had some highly unique feature that made it sell unusually fast.
House prices can range widely even within neighborhoods. Many criteria that aren’t super obvious from researching the MLS or past sales might make a property very popular. For instance, a great layout, lots of light, designer finishes, or mature trees can trigger a frenzy of high prices and multiple offers.
Your home might not offer these. Be glad that you’re selling in a rising market and will get more for your property than you otherwise would.
If getting top dollar is really important to you, discuss this with your agent when you agree on a marketing plan. FSBO might not be the best option for you because when inventory is low, buyers are more likely to use an agent to find homes for sale. Most of the time, these agents look at the MLS and speak with other agents to find listings for their buyers. For maximum exposure for your sale, consider hiring an agent to advertise your home and market to the most buyers competing for housing.