Denver Real Estate Rebound?

Real Estate Reports & How Micro-Markets Define The Case

If anyone saw the S&P/Case-Shiller Composite yesterday, you’d probably ask “what’s new”?  And that “Real estate took another dip nationally”.  Per Composite:
– An annual price fall of .8% (October 2009-October 2010)
– 1.3% price fall from (September 2010 and October 2010)

But Same Old Gloom and Doom For Denver Real Estate?

No — better yet…I should say ”it depends”. as a DC Metro realtor, I had good reason for some some excitement  as the Metro area was just one of four “regions” to see annual appreciation per the report.  San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles rounded out the list of Metropolises.

What Does This Have to Do With Denver?

I noted in a post this morning that “Denver fared well” in this study despite 1.8% depreciation.  In my humble opinion, any area in this study without more than a two percent depreciation rate could argue their market is stronger”.  What was that, you ask? If you’re starting to question my basic familiarity with math, bear with me 🙂

 Real Estate Market Defined By S&P Recent Case-Shiller Composite

When Denver margins demand more definition

The Real Estate “Micro-Market” – The Real Barometer of Market Strength

I understand national data based on comparisons of “mega-tropolises” are engaging but I call them fundamentally flawed.  No, this does not help me communicate optimism in the DC Metro area. But, in my opinion, the large market studies (in which the margins are so nominal) are just “noise”.

There are many outlying DC Metro areas that have seen depreciation over the October 2009/October 2010 time-frame defined in the study.  But much of DC and the surrounding close-in suburbs pulled the averages above par.

I’m not a Denver expert by any means but I’d be willing to bet that a quick market study during this same period would show appreciation in many of the micro-markets.

While it’s exciting to give consumers confidence, in my opinion it’s also important to continue to remind them that real estate cannot market cannot be defined these “mega-tropolises”. They often can’t even be measured by zip codes, or towns, or cities.

Micro-markets can best be defined as a  study in real estate trends on an almost a block by block basis. It’s also heavily defined by property types that lie in particular areas. For example, there is a crying need for large condos in close-in DC. And there are plenty of people willing to pay a premium for it.There are also neighborhoods in high demand because of certain amenities, proximity to public transportation.

So while the S&P/Case-Shiller study may show Denver in the “negative” — even an East coast boy like me realizes that Denver has some neighborhoods that are more than holding their own. And this is precisely what is wrong with the gross generalizations that are the product of these studies.

Thoughts?

Licensed in Virginia, Maryland, and D.C., Kevin Koitz from The Koitz Group @ Coldwell Previews International specializes in Washington DC Luxury real estate and surrounding fine DC Metro suburbs. Visit his Greater Bethesda Maryland real estate blog if you’re looking for more close-in DC Metro info…or just want to say hey!

Banner photo by pbo31, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

An Inexpensive Renovation That Can Go A Long Way !

Thinking of doing a renovation to your home, but know that you may be selling your home in a few years. The goal of any renovation if you plan on selling should to make sure that you do a renovation that will return a large percentage of what it cost you to do.

You can view part of that return as the reward of your home selling faster and standing out in a market crowded with homes for sale.

If you are thinking of selling your home down the road, the same way you may call an architect or a kitchen designing in the planning process, call your REALTOR® and include them as well. Ask them what they think of your plans. Will the investment be a wise one, and make sure to go over your final choices with them. Tell them you won’t be the least bit offend but if the market in heading away from wood floors and leaning towards stone you want to hear the truth, as some day you expect them to bring top dollar for your home.

As of late I have noticed a fairly inexpensive renovation receiving a great deal of attention when potential buyers look at a home. If your hot water heater is on its last leg don’t wait for an accident before replacing it. Any potential buyer will see that old hot water heater as a sign of something that will need repair shortly. Replace your old hot water heater with a new tank less hot water. The unit will save you money quickly on your electric bill. Being a fairly new technology the perception to a potential buyer is that you’re an excellent person to buy a home from. Last but not least, you may pick up some additional storage, which in some cases is the biggest win of all.

Renovations that return the most in any market place are a very regional decision. If you are planning on selling your home, in the next few years, call your REALTOR® before you start any major renovation, they will be glad to help you make decisions and it will serve you both well down the road.

About the AuthorFort Lauderdale Realtor, Eric Miller is a broker associate /owner with Keller Williams Realty in Fort Lauderdale. Eric Miller and Associates is an award winning team of Ft. Lauderdale realtors and can be found on line www.FortLauderdaleGroup.com. Thinking about purchasing a home in the Fort Lauderdale area Eric Miller provides complete access to all listed homes at Fort Lauderdale Homes for sale.  Thinking about a Fort Lauderdale Condominium, you can view every Ft. Lauderdale Condo for sale at, Ft. Lauderdale Condominiums for Sale. Eric and his team have worked in the  Fort Lauderdale Real Estate market for over ten years and Eric was a top agent at Prudential prior to joining Keller Williams.

5 Low Cost Ways to Create a Green Home

Going green is becoming increasingly popular. As such, it should come as no surprise to learn that homebuyers are regularly looking for homes with green features as they try to determine which one to buy. Therefore, if you are planning to put your home on the market, you might want to consider implementing these 5 low cost ways to create a green home in order to increase your chances of selling your home quickly and at the price you desire.

Green Home Tip #1: Replace Appliances

If you need to update your appliances, you should seriously consider purchasing those that are EnergyStar qualified. In general, these appliances do not cost any more than those that are not energy-efficient. Yet, they can potentially save hundreds of dollars each year in terms of energy cost.

Green Home Tip #2: Install a Programmable Thermostat

Turning your thermostat down when the weather is cold and up when the weather is warm can save as much as 3 to 5 percent of your bill for each degree that is adjusted. It is also a good idea to make adjustments to the thermostat while away at work or while sleeping at night. To make it easier to make these adjustments and to enjoy the energy savings, installing a programmable thermostat is a good idea that will certainly appeal to potential buyers.

Green Home Tip #3: Install Aerators and Low-Flow Toilets

Taking steps to reduce water usage will go a long way toward winning over potential buyers. To that end, you might want to consider installing aerators on your faucets and replacing the toilets with low-flow models.

Green Home Tip #4: Replace Your Bulbs

Replacing your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs that are EnergyStar-rated will certainly please potential buyers. While this won’t necessarily increase the value of the home, it will help create a positive impression on the eco-conscious buyer.

Green Home Tip #5: Check the Insulation

Replacing insulation that has been compressed or damaged will increase the energy-efficiency of your home while also reducing your chances of getting hit with a bad mark on your home inspection. If you have less than seven inches of fiber glass insulation or less than six inches of cellulose insulation, you should add more in order to increase the overall effectiveness of your insulation. Putting an insulating jacket around the hot water heater and pipes will also help save on heating costs.

Of course, some of these eco-friendly changes might not be noticed by potential buyers unless your real estate agent points them out to them. Therefore, you should be certain to point them out to your agent in order to make sure he or she accentuates these features when showing them to a potential buyer. By making a point of showcasing all of the little steps you took toward making your home more eco-friendly, you will leave a positive impression on those who are looking on your home. In the end, these green features might be just the thing that sways a buyer to make an offer on your home instead of the other ones that are being considered.

Author:
John Allen
www.BuySarasota.com

The Housing Market: A Choppy Recovery or a “Double Dip”?

Despite a year of government effort, the recovery in the housing market that many pundits have convinced themselves is here appears to be stalling. It’s true that for a short while home sales rose, but as many predicted that was simply buyers getting in ahead of the expiration of the temporary government tax credit. To be eligible, buyers had to be in contract by April 30th and closed by June 30th. Once that deadline passed, sales went back into the doldrums. So the government extended the deadline. Sure enough, as the new deadline approached sales climbed again. But once again the boost appears to be only temporary. As a result, home prices have now fallen consistently for the past six months.

The government has tried everything it could think up to help. Obama hoped to prevent defaults with a plan designed to encourage banks to refinance the mortgages of those unable to pay. The Fed held down mortgage rates by buying up mortgage-backed securities. And Congress offered that enticing tax credit to qualifying buyers.

But even taken all together, these initiatives have not made any lasting inroads—in part because they can’t get to the real root of the problem, namely that affordability is no longer the driving factor behind many foreclosures. The problem now is negative equity. Everyone thought the typical individual most in need of help was the homeowner deeply underwater on his mortgage (owing far more than the house is worth in this market) and who then, say, loses his job. However that’s less and less frequently the case. Now we see a growing number of underwater borrowers who are merely making a practical business decision. They are simply walking away from mortgages that they can in fact afford, but that is on property they can’t see ever selling at anything but a huge loss. On top of that, banks are balking at rewriting mortgages, despite incentives to do so since too often borrowers default later on anyway. A nationwide spike in home sales would help reverse all this, but those tax credits seem to have done little more than move sales around—speeding up sales that would have happened anyway.

So the market stays becalmed. The steady drumbeat of foreclosures continues as the glut of available homes grows. By some estimates, it will take more than eight years of steady sales to clear the backlog of houses already held by banks, even if no more homeowners default. This overhead holds down prices, which in turn makes it that much harder for the homeowner with negative equity to “climb out” of it.

There are plenty of scapegoats—this administration, the previous administration, lax financial oversight, lenders too willing to lend and buyers too willing to borrow. But looking backward won’t get us anywhere. Historically, sustained housing recoveries are far more dependent on job growth than on anything else including interest rates, widely thought to be some kind of silver bullet. So disappointing jobs figures will always equal bad news for the housing market.

So will we stagger ahead with fitful progress, or slip back into the dreaded “double dip” recession? The answer lies in the jobs numbers. Keep a close eye on them. If millions of Americans continue to remain out of work, a turnaround could be a long time coming.

Dylan Taft is a tech savvy Ulster County, New York real estate professional, working with a small but, dedicated staff. Visit Dylan’s professionally optimized website for more information on the latest property marketing strategies, and details on the Ulster County real estate area.

Denver Luxury Homes See an Increase in Buyer Activity

According to Peter Niederman, who is the CEO of Kentwod Real Estate in Denver, it appears as if million dollar homes are faring quite well in the Denver Market.

“While our overall showing for all price points were down 10.1 percent in June, compared with June 2009, our million dollar-plus showings were up 8.2 percent,” said Niederman in a recent Inside Real Estate News article.

This observation is quite important to note, as this data gives a clearer idea of where the market is headed rather than focusing on where the market has been, as is the case with the Case-Shiller report that was recently released.

“I like the Case-Shiller report and I am happy that they compile it, but it looks backwards, and I’m interested in looking forward,” continued Niederman. “Traffic through homes is a leading indicator and one we are following closely.”

To that end, Carol Ihli, who is the co-managing broker at Kentwood, took a look at the showings that took place during the month of June. She found that there were 422 showings of houses priced at the $1 million or higher mark, which is far more than the 390 showings that took place in June of last year. Interestingly, she also found that 38% of these showings were in Cherry Hills Village, which is where some of the area’s most expensive homes are located. In keeping with these findings, previous reports also indicated that more six-figure homes were sold in June of this year than during the same time period in 2009.

So, just why are luxury homes seeing so much action? While there is no definite answer to this question, it is likely that many buyers are seeking out the bargains that the struggling economy has provided. After all, sellers are far more realistic today than they were during the boom days of the past.

“I think sellers are much more likely to be realistic of what they can sell their homes for in today’s market,” said Niederman. “ I think last year, they were holding on to unrealistic prices, while now they are willing to meet the market.”

Another reason for the growing interest may be the fact that there is now more money available for so-called jumbo loans, which are also available at much lower rates than last year. In fact, qualified buyers can now snatch up these loans with a 5 percent rate as opposed to the 6.125 percent rate they were facing last year. When applied to a million dollar mortgage, this rate difference translates to a savings of about $720 per month. Assuming the buyer hangs onto the home for the typical seven years, that is a savings of over $60,000 during that time frame.

“That provides a real incentive for someone to buy,” said Niederman. “And that is $60,000 that is tax free. If you were thinking of buying a home in the next year or two, and you can afford it, it probably makes sense to buy now to take advantage of depressed home prices and low rates.”

Rental Rates in Cherry Creek Shopping District Remain High Despite Vacant Retail Space

Although the Cherry Creek North retail district is still bringing in the business, there are still nearly just as many retailers closing their doors in the district as there are opening them up for business reports the DenverPost.com. Why? According to many experts, the cost of renting a retail space within the district is simply too much to justify opening up a store there. Nonetheless, owners of the retail space would much rather keep the space vacant than bring down their rent expectations.

“Cherry Creek is still the strongest retail submarket in the metro area,” said Mary Beth Jenkins, who is the president of The Laramie Co. “This is a destination area that draws from a six-state region. Regardless of the economy and the vacancy, this is the one location in town that will be the last to crater.”

In other words, despite the economic downturn, retail space in the Cherry Creek North shopping district isn’t likely to see a rent decrease any time soon. With the popularity of the shopping district combined with the fact that the Cherry Creek North business Improvement District is moving forward with plans to invest $18.5 million into the district in order to install new benches, lighting, signage and landscaping, retail space in the area is simply far too valuable for the owners to justify bringing down the costs.

“Owners in Cherry Creek are sticking to what they used to be getting and saying they’ll just keep the space vacant,” said Susan Karsh, who is the managing director at Frederick Ross Co., which specializes in retail leasing. “Rents are all over the place because there are a lot of independent (building) owners in Cherry Creek North who can do what they please. Different landlords have different financial considerations.”

According to Julie Bender, who is the president of the Business Improvement District, a growing number of merchants are also deciding to purchase their buildings. Just last year, for example, Stephanie and Lee Prosenjak purchased the 10,500 square foot building that currently houses their Cherry Creek Dance for $4.96 million. Similarly, Max Martinez and Scott Seale recently paid $2.6 million for the 6,200 square foot building that used to house Smith & Hawken. The pair plans to relocate Max’s women’s clothing boutique into the building. Interestingly, the former owner, John Sheridan, never intended to sell the building. But, after Smith & Hawken closed its doors and he was unable to release the building, he decided to go ahead and sell the building.

While some owners are selling their buildings, yet others are taking steps to prepare for the future. Don Sturm, who is the landlord of the JoS. A. Banks, is planning to extend the storefront in order to make the buildings fronting Filmore Plaza more inviting and accessible by pedestrians. Others are reinforcing their buildings in preparation for adding condos on top once the housing market turns around. Of course, moving forward with some of these plans will largely depend upon the residents and the changes they allow to be made to the neighborhood.

REALTOR® Carolyn Capalbo Works to Overcome Name Confusion

Many have heard of Carolyn Capalbo. But, much to the chagrin of REALTOR® Carolyn Capalbo, the lady that springs to mind when hearing the name is not her. In fact, if one were to perform a Google search of the name Carolyn Capalbo®, they are likely to find numerous photos of a bikini-clad woman as well as numerous unscrupulous news articles. Why? Because REALTOR® Carolyn Capalbo shares her name with the mother of Ashley Dupre, who was the “escort” at the center of the Eliot Spitzer scandal.

Unfortunately for REALTOR® Carolyn Capalbo, the scandal has left a lasting impact on her and her career. Although the other Carolyn Capalbo was only the mother of the woman at the center of the scandal, she still managed to grab headlines and to have her name included in numerous articles about the scandal. Since many of these articles and the accompanying photos were posted to the Internet, they have remained online for several months. The result? Any potential client who performs an Internet search of the name “Carolyn Capalbo” are still greeted with unflattering photos and news articles that are certain to leave a negative impression.

Although Carolyn Capalbo the REALTOR cannot be sure of the impact this mix-up may have had on her business, there is no doubt that it has caused a great deal of confusion in her personal and professional life.

“The initial burst of phone calls surprised me,” said Carolyn Capalbo the REALTOR® in an interview with Real Estate Industry Watch. “Reporters were calling me directly looking for information regarding Ashley. Reporters were also contacting my Broker’s office looking for information. My own buyer’s agents asked me if I had another child from a previous relationship. My children were also questioned at school if they had an older sister or half sister.”

Fortunately, Carolyn Capalbo is part of a close family that has been able to weather the scandal nicely. Married for twenty years, Capalbo and her husband are the proud parents of triplets. Once a stay-at-home-mom, Carolyn Capalbo waited to start her career until after her husband retired from the Army. After enjoying significant success during her first year in the business, Capalbo knew real estate was her calling. Although she has a long road ahead of her in terms of cleaning up her name, Carolyn Capalbo the REALTOR® is certain to continue to enjoy the same success in the years to come as well.

Using Video to Sell Your Denver Home

As real estate agents look for more innovative ways to market the homes they are trying to sell, it should come as no surprise that an increasing number are choosing to create videos of the homes they are handling. After all, if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth a million! But, is creating a video of your home the right marketing strategy for you? And, if so, how do you go about shooting a successful home marketing video?

According to most industry experts, creating a video of the property for sale is appropriate with nearly every listing. Even those properties that are lacking curb appeal can benefit from a video, as the videographer can shoot the video in such a way to draw attention to the most positive aspects of the property. In fact, the only properties that really won’t benefit from a video presentation are those that are expected to move quickly without the help of extensive marketing.

While you might thing that producing a professional video is too costly, the reality is that the process is less expensive than most people think. Compared to traditional marketing media, such as producing television and radio ads, creating print materials and utilizing billboards and benches, shooting a professional video and posting it to the Internet is far more affordable and can fit within virtually any marketing budget.

Of course, in order to enjoy the benefits of using a video as marketing strategy, you need to know what characterizes a good Web video. In short, a Web video needs to focus on three primary areas:

  • Providing an authentic presentation
  • Delivering an interesting and compelling message
  • Presenting a quality production that is enjoyable to watch

As with any ad campaign, your Web video also needs to encourage the viewer to take action. Clearly, your goal is to get the viewer to contact you for more information or to set up a viewing of the home. As such, your video needs to show the viewer enough to generate interest while also answering the key questions the potential buyer might have. At the same time, a video that is clearly nothing more than a sales pitch is going to turn off potential buyers. After all, when it comes to Web video, the viewer has no incentive to watch the entire video unless he or she is truly interested in learning more about what the home has to offer.

Once you have mastered the art of producing compelling Web videos, the distribution opportunities are virtually endless. While YouTube is an obvious option for posting your video, you can also place your videos on other social media Websites such as Facebook. You can even put your videos on your real estate Website or you can send them via email to potential buyers.

The bottom line is that a large number of potential buyers are now starting their property searches on the Internet. By providing them with as much Web-based information as possible, you will be certain to generate more leads and to satisfy the needs of a broader range of interested buyers.

Author:
John Allen
www.BuySarasota.com

Marketing a Denver Home: Five Essential Tips

Thankfully the property market is beginning to look up, with real estate experts advocating that we are well and truly in a buyer’s market. However, that is not to say that those selling their homes do not need to employ the latest tactics and marketing strategies. Denver home sellers certainly need to be able to use the best possible tactics to achieve a maximum fair market value for the sale of their property, with Denver home buyers being particularly up on the market. As a result, you may need a few hints and tips to get you started and ensure that success is within easy touching distance.

The five Denver home marketing tips will get you started and ensure the best possible level of success:

* Accurate Value Assessments – When marketing your Denver home, you must establish an accurate price for your home to ensure that you do not have to undertake price reductions at a later date. Setting the right price for your property will attract buyers without putting them off with apparent reductions that indicate initial overpricing or even worse – that your property is unsellable.  Avoiding reduction marketing campaigns at all costs is an absolute must so making sure you get the price right first time is the best solution for all involved.

* Choose a Good Day for Marketing – A Multiple Listings Service (MLS) is a fantastic tool to use when marketing your Denver home but does not achieve success on its own. Instead, you have to choose when your listing is to go up to achieve the maximum impact possible. The more people that see your listing, the more likely your property is to sell quickly. The best day to list your property is Friday to grab weekend browsers, with other weekdays being relatively undesirable.

* Get Web Savvy – Home buyers all over the world are becoming more and more reliant on the Internet to find the best possible properties. As a result of that though, those sellers that are not Internet savvy may suffer as a result. This is why you should hire a local Denver real estate expert that has experience in marketing strategies to sell property online.

* Use the Categories Extensively – If you have ever been on a property website then you will be fully aware of the fact that prices tend to fall into specific category ranges and buyers use them to search effectively. As such, your property should fall within the best possible category for maximum sales impact. For example, if your comparative market analysis (CMA) recommends listing your home as $376,000 then you should take it down to $375,000 to ensure that it is listed in the $350,000 to $375,000 category.

* Check Out the Market – Although you will not need to do this during the good times, if the local market is under conditions that may harm your chances of selling your home you may need to scout the local area to see if there are any foreclosed properties up for sale in your area. A local real estate agent can do this for you. If there are foreclosed properties available for a low price to gain a quick sale then you may want to consider waiting to list your property.  The likelihood of you attracting a good price for your property in such conditions is low so wait until the market picks up.

With these marketing strategy tips in mind, you will find that your Denver home will sell much more effectively and quicker than would otherwise be possible. Adhering to them will definitely get you the best possible deal so make sure that everything is in place in line with these tips.

Dylan Taft is an experienced Hudson Valley real estate professional working in home sales and purchases. Visit Dylan’s professionally optimized website for more information on property taxes, and details on the Ulster County real estate area.

Luxury Home Sales Jump 62% in Denver Area

Sales in the Denver area of homes priced at $1 million or more jumped 61.8 percent in May from a year earlier, the Denver Business Journal reported, based on Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s monthly report on high-end sales. The median price of Denver luxury homes sold in May was $1.28 million.

The Coldwell Banker report also stated the following luxury home comparisons of May 2010 to May 2009:

  • 55 homes priced at $1 million or more sold in the metro area, up from 34
  • Average of 122 days to sell, down from 131
  • Average 93 percent of seller’s asking price, up from 83 percent

“The increase in million-dollar sales in the Denver area is an encouraging sign that the mid- and upper-end of the local housing market continues to recover from last year’s sharp downturn,” Chris Mygatt, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Colorado, said in a statement.

The federal homebuyer tax credit deadline probably helped boost sales of luxury homes last month, he said. The improving U.S. economy, rising consumer confidence and mortgage rates at historic lows also seem to be encouraging many buyers to get into the market.