We are often asked, How hard is it to sell a house in a market where houses don’t stay but 1-2 days before having multiple offers? It is hard, trust us! FSBO are tricky and here are 5 reasons why from Realtor.com

For-Sale-by-Owner, or FSBO, transactions are commonly seen in seller’s markets or whenever homeowners want to maximize their profits by not having to pay commission.

However, statistics show that selling your home with the assistance of a professional real estate agent will garner you a higher profit, enough to cover the commission as well as put more money in your pocket. According to the National Association of Realtor®’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average FSBO sales price was $185,000, while the average price for a home represented by an agent was $245,000. That’s a difference of $60,000!

If you choose to sell your home on your own, you’ll be negotiating and relying on your own skill to finalize a contract, leaving yourself open to potential legal problems and a smaller profit when all is said and done.

Here are some of the top reasons why FSBO home sales can go very wrong.

1. Marketing your home online isn’t as easy as you think

Buyers always start online, and FSBO sellers are unlikely to get the exposure they need on a number of listings websites to reach their audience, says Realtor® Wendy Hooper with Coast Realty Services in Newport Beach, CA. Sticking a sign in your yard or trying to pull off some DIY social media marketing hardly has the same effect.

How an agent can help: Using an agent automatically offers widespread exposure for your listing through the multiple listing service. Your real estate agent will also have the means to promote your house to fellow agents to share with their clients. FSBO sellers would have to shell out big bucks for advertising and still might not reach the most important audience.

2. You could price your home wrong

Those who put their homes on the market as FSBO tend to set a price based on an online assessment tool or the lofty sum that the neighbor down the street claims they were offered—two methods that are liable to put the listing price way off.

“Using a free online valuation tool is like bringing your doctor a printout of your Google search about symptoms and possible cures,” says Jon Sterling, a real estate consultant with Keller Williams Realty in San Francisco. “There’s no substitute for actual market knowledge.”

The danger in overpricing a home is that it will languish on the market, and buyers will wonder why, even if you lower the price later, says Mark Ferguson, a real estate agent with Pro Realty in Greeley, CO.

“The home becomes stigmatized, and buyers are likely to pay a lower price when the home has been on the market an extended period of time,” Ferguson says.

How an agent can help: A real estate agent will provide an accurate home value based on a comprehensive market analysis to help you arrive at the right listing price. The goal is to make sure you’re pricing your home in the sweet spot—not too high so that you are turning off potential buyers, and not too low so you are leaving money on the table.

3. You could underestimate (or overestimate) how much money to spend on curb appeal

“A novice home seller is unlikely to view their home objectively or know how to stage it to appeal to the broadest audience,” says Hooper. That means you might be turning off potential buyers with an amateur paint job, an overgrown yard, or even a broken doorbell.

On the flip side, you might end up investing far more money than is needed. Hooper had sellers who were convinced they had to totally overhaul their 35-year-old kitchen and floors to the tune of about $50,000. Instead, she advised a $10,000 investment for paint, staging, and minor repairs, which still netted $45,000 above their target price.

How an agent can help: Even if you’re not up for a full home makeover, your agent has an eye for detail and can recommend simple, budget-conscious swaps that can translate into real dollars when it comes negotiation time.

“We know how to spend the least amount of money to get the best outcome and home presentation possible,” Hooper says.

4. Showings are a drag

FSBO sellers don’t realize how draining it can be to set up showings. And on top of scheduling actual potential buyers, you also have to deal with both looky-loos (gawkers with no intention of buying the house) and “sharks,” (investors looking to flip your house for a profit).

“Sellers who advertise their FSBO will quickly be inundated with calls from real estate investors who are looking to save the same commission the seller hopes to save,” Sterling says. Unfortunately, typically these offers are very low and could likely lead to no sale.

How an agent can help: Your agent will handle all the scheduling and staff the tours for you, so all you have to do is quickly tidy up and vacate.

In fact, that is another key reason to have an agent: Buyers can get uncomfortable with a seller hanging around during a showing, says Ferguson. Agents also will weed out unsuitable offers and collect feedback that potential buyers might be unwilling to share directly with the seller, which can make subsequent showings even stronger.

5. Preparing your own paperwork can be tricky

Unless you have a background in contracts or law, you might want to leave the paperwork to the pros. The closing process can entail more than 20 pages of complicated paperwork, including the contract and addendums designed to cover all of the situations that could go wrong, says Ferguson.

For example, houses built before 1978 require an addendum regarding lead-based paint and some states need a release confirming the presence of carbon monoxide detectors.

How an agent can help: Your agent will take care of all property disclosures and corresponding documentation to avoid future liability.

“If the seller does not use an agent and doesn’t know every law and required paperwork specific to their community, they open themselves up to lawsuits,” warns Ferguson.

This article was written by Cathie Ericson is a journalist who writes about real estate, finance, and health. She lives in Portland, OR.

On May 1, 2017, property tax valuations were mailed to all homeowners. The taxes are assessed every two years per Colorado Law, and with the sales price increase in homes around the Denver/Metro area, you are sure to see higher taxes. We have some FAQ’s from the Arapahoe County Website about the property tax valuation and if you want to file a dispute it has to be done in the month of May (see question 6) in the county your home is located.

1.How is the value determined on my property?

Values are most often determined by comparing your property with properties that are similar in location, design, size, age and amenities. The value placed on your property for the year 2017 was based on sales between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2016, utilizing the Sales Comparison Approach. A copy of this method for your residential property is available from our office and will be included in your Notice of Value. Compsheet Layout and Time Adjusted Sales Prices

2.How often is property revalued?

Colorado law requires all assessors to reappraise all real property including land and improvements, every two years during the odd-numbered years.

3.What is the difference between actual value and assessed value?

The assessor determines the actual (market) value for all real and personal property. Then a percentage (assessment rate) is multiplied by the actual value to determine with the assessed value. In Colorado the residential assessment rate is currently 7.96%. For all other properties including commercial, personal property, vacant land and agricultural land, the assessment rate is 29%.

4.How are property taxes calculated?

The actual value is multiplied by the assessment rate which is then multiplied by the mill levy. The residential rate in Colorado currently is 7.96%. The assessment rate for all other property, including vacant land, is 29%. Example: $150,000 (actual value) x 7.96% (residential assessment rate) x .081265 (mill levy) = $ 970.30 (annual tax dollars). Please note this is only an example. Your value and mill levy maybe different.

5.Why don’t all properties increase or decrease by the same percentage?

Each property is revalued to a June 30, 2016 value regardless of the percentage change. Some people think the previous (2016) values are simply multiplied by an inflation factor, but in a reappraisal year, new data from relevant time frame is used, along with the latest mass appraisal techniques.

6.If I do not agree with the actual value, what steps should I take?

You may come into the office during May to speak to an appraiser about your value. Or, you may file an appeal online, or mail an appeal to our office. This appeal must be postmarked by the first business day each June. It is important that if you choose to appeal the Assessor’s value, you should provide pertinent information supporting your estimated value. If you appoint an agent to act on your behalf, that person needs your written authorization.

If you would like to read all of the FAQ’s from the,

Arapahoe County Website click here.

Jefferson County Property Info: Click Here 

Douglas County Property Info: Click Here

Denver County Property Info: Click Here

If you would like for us to answer any questions or concerns, please give us a call at 720-314-6861.

How do you find a neighborhood when you are moving away from the city or town you know? Your Realtor can only give you so much information based on schools, resale statistics, and their personal opinions as to which neighborhood they think is the best. Do you start stopping strangers on the street asking their opinion? Do you ask the local coffee shop barista what he or she thinks is the best area? Do you enlist an FBI agent? Do you Facebook stalk someone?

Actually, all you have to do is read this blog post!  We have 10 steps to find out about a neighborhood when you have never been there.

  1. General Demographics: The first census was required by the constitution in 1790, and U.S. Census Bureau workers have been counting the population—now more than 322 million people—every 10 years ever since. It’s all easily accessible, and you’d be amazed at the depth of detail.Their latest count, the 2010 Census, breaks down the nitty-gritty of age, race, population density, and even average commute times to work by neighborhood. The bureau’s maps also offer a graphic overview of select demographics.
  2. For what is unique: Type any address into NeighborhoodScout and its proprietary search algorithm provides a ton of data—median home price, crime rates, ease of commute—in one easy-to-digest snapshot. And beyond that, the site can tell you what makes a neighborhood unique. For instance, you may learn that a certain area has a high percentage of brownstones, or gay/lesbian families, or homeowners who don’t own cars.
  3. Walkability: Since “walkability” is such a buzzword, especially among millennials, it makes sense that there’s a site devoted to telling you how easy it is to get around by foot. That’s where Walk Score comes in. How easily you can you hoof it to a coffee shop, grocery shopping, and parks gets crunched into one overall rating showing how conducive an area is to walking. You say you’d rather spend your time getting around on two wheels instead of two feet? Bike Score gives you a sense of a neighborhood’s bike-friendliness from the extent of its bike lanes and trails.
  4. Neighborhood Stroll: The free walking app Walc shows you what you’ll actually see on a jaunt, rather than the nondescript compass directions used for every other directional app. Simply enter a potential address into Walc, add a destination, and take a leisurely stroll in a neighborhood, without ever stepping foot on a street. You’ll get a sense of place from the landmarks that pop up: Do you turn right at an alehouse or a Pilates studio?
  5. Public Transportation Access: Each day, 35 million Americans use public transportation, making access to it a must for, well, at least 35 million people. To check out an area’s accessibility to trains, buses, and light rail, David Reiss, a professor of law and research director at the Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship at Brooklyn Law school recommends researching the Transit Score. “These scores are great, really giving you a sense of how important it is to have a car in a particular community,” he told Realtor.com.
  6. A big one when you have kids: School Quality- Sure, a seller may tell you a local school is great. But don’t rely on bias when it comes to your child’s education. Instead, go to the nonprofit Greatschools.org and type in a potential ZIP code. You’ll have a chance to read school report cards crafted by reviews from teachers, parents, and even the students themselves.
  7. Crime Rates: To see how safe it would be to set foot outside your home, enter your address into My Local Crime to pull up any recent local crimes from vandalism to shootings. Click on the map function to see where exactly those crimes were committed (in other words, maybe certain blocks to avoid after dark?).
  8. For the lay of the land: When Professor Reiss asked students to find interesting web resources to learn about neighborhoods, they discovered that topological maps are a cool tool. Most maps show only a two-dimensional rendering. Topographical maps, which add the third dimension of elevation, show the surface and physical features of a given neighborhood. Besides highlighting hills and valleys, topography is important when it comes to weather events (just ask anyone in a flood plain).
  9. What do people do for fun? You know Yelp can help you discover local restaurants, and that Moviefone can let you know what theaters might be near you. But what about entertainment, culture and nightlife? Enter Gravy, a website and app that gives you the rundown on an area’s events, from rock concerts to church suppers.
  10. You want a neighborhood just like the one you are in now: Love your neighborhood, but feel it’s time to move? Head back to NeighborhoodScout once more. Users can find their ideal neighborhood by selecting filters that take into account their lifestyle preferences—whether family-friendly or suitable for first-time home buyers. Alternatively, if you love your current neighborhood, enter your address to find comparable towns throughout the country.

If you are need of help in your home search please call Andersen Realty today and we could be looking at your next home tomorrow!

Last week we wrote about the cost of a renovation and this week we want to inform you about renovations that produce the highest return on your investment. Everyone loves to make the most money when they sell their house, right? Many times we walk into clients homes with tile from Morocco (don’t get us wrong, it is BEAUTIFUL) and they have spent thousands. The market cannot justify a $5000 price increase to the value of their home because they wanted the beautiful Moroccan  tile. The cost might only be an increase of $2500 which isn’t that great of a ROI.

According to Remodeling magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report, you’ll recoup an average of 64% of what you paid for a renovation if you sell your home this year. To arrive at these figures, Remodeling asked consultants in various markets to estimate the average cost for 30 home improvement projects, from adding a bathroom to replacing a roof. Then, they asked real estate agents nationwide to estimate the expected resale value of these renovations so that readers could compare their out-of-pocket costs to how much money they’d get back when it came time to sell their home.

Realtor.com asked, what projects gets you the most bang for your home renovation buck? It may not be nearly as sexy (or fun!) as adding a chef’s kitchen or glam bathroom, but attic insulation gets the top spot. That’s right: Stuff some fiberglass insulation into the walls of a 35-by-30-foot attic, and you’ll pay an average of $1,268. But when you sell, you will rake in $116.90 for every $100. For you math-challenged out there, that’s a recoup of 116.9% of your costs. It’s the only home reno on this year’s report that redeems more money than you spend!

The next best-paying renovation on the list: manufactured stone veneer, offering a respectable 92.9% return. Meanwhile—sorry, luxury tub fans—the home improvement project that reaps the worst ROI is the addition of a bathroom, at 56.2% (although the “added value” of an extra bathroom for anyone who’s ever had to wait their turn for one is, of course, priceless).

remodeling-012 remodeling-022

As you can see, small projects produce the greatest return on your investment while room additions might not give you that much money back on your investment.

If you need our help determining if the remodel project will produce a high return on investment, please give us a call for a consultation. We can look at sales numbers in your neighborhood and compare it to your cost of renovation. Happy Renovating!

Every time you turn on HGTV someone is flipping a house, renovating a house, or fixing a house to sell and then buying a house they have to fix up. They never really tell you how much the renovations cost, so this blog post is going to shed some light on home renovation costs.

How much does it cost?

To get a rough idea, Than Merrill, founder of FortuneBuilders.com, says the general costs associated with a remodel look like this:

  • Low ($25,000 to $45,000): Interior and exterior painting, small repairs (like refinishing cabinets) and new landscaping.
  • Medium ($46,000 to $75,000): The low-cost upgrades above, plus a total kitchen renovation and minor bathroom upgrade.
  • High ($76,000 and up): Low- and medium-cost upgrades, plus fixing any foundation issues, roof and sewer line problems.

With this rough estimate realtor.com featured an article that broke down costs by room. We all know that kitchens and bathrooms cost the most to renovate, but most of the cost is due to appliances and cabinets. You can go crazy on appliances; which makes the cost of the renovation sky rocket. The same goes for a bathroom. If you want a standard tub, your renovation cost is going to be average. If you want a jetted tub or a clawfoot cast iron tub, then the renovation cost just doubled.

Realtor.com says this is what you can expect for a home that has 2500 square feet.

  • Kitchen: The national average cost of a kitchen remodel is $20,474. If a kitchen only needs minor upgrades, renovations should start at around $10,000. A full gut can reach more than $50,000, depending on the quality of materials and appliances installed, says Merrill.
  • Bathroom: A bathroom upgrade typically costs about $9,000 and tops out at $20,000. (Of course, you could spend more by adding such spalike touches as a steam shower.)
  • New roof: The cost of protecting all your upgrades from the elements will run you around $20,000.
  • New floors: Installing new wood floors will cost about $4,400, while laminate, which is less expensive, will set you back about $2,800.
  • Electrical updates: If you’re replacing an old panel and a home’s worth of outdated wiring, expect to spend $3,000 to $5,000.
  • Replacement siding: Putting new exterior siding on your home runs an average of $14,000.
  • Replacement windows: If you plan to replace 10 windows and frames to save on your energy bill, the cost will range between $8,500 (vinyl) and $20,000 (wood).
  • The contractor: Unless you plan to oversee the renovation yourself, a budget should include the cost of a general contractor. They usually charge 10% to 15% of the project’s total budget. So for a $50,000 renovation, expect to pay a contractor $5,000 to $7,500.

You are probably wondering how one can save money on a renovation? One easy way to save money on renovations is to negotiate to pay actual builder costs on finish materials, says Jesse Fowler, president of Tellus Build, a green custom-build firm in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties.

The contractor you choose should be getting a discount on retail prices, and Fowler says that this can benefit you, too, in that you can “capture some or all of those savings.”

Return on Investment (ROI)

In the end, all homeowners want to know is if they put all of this money and time into a home renovation what is my return on investment?

A typical kitchen remodel typically yields an 83.1% return on investment. That means for every $1,000 you spend on those cabinets and countertops, you’ll get back $831.

Meanwhile, a bathroom renovation boasts an ROI of 65.7%, and if you go for those pricey wood-framed windows, you’ll enjoy a high ROI of 72.1%.

Let’s face it, all renovations help sell your home. If you bought a fixer upper you hopefully paid less and have it in the budget to do all the renovations needed or wanted. Renovations help and are needed in the market today. Home buyers want a move in ready home and as a home seller you want to stand apart from the competition with the best renovations. The one thing you don’t want to do is over renovate with tile from Morocco, because you are more than likely not going to be able to recoup those costs.

In the next blog post we will talk about renovation costs versus ROI.

My home will sell without a Realtor! I don’t need to be out all of that money for commissions! What do Realtors do that I can’t do? Why do I need a Realtor?

In today’s market many homeowners feel that their home will sell itself and they do not need to pay out 6% (5.8% in Denver) in commissions for Realtors. This is why flat fee listing companies have been growing in the area. We are here to help you understand why you NEED to hire a Realtor to sell your home.

What does it take to be a Realtor? There are many factors that go into being a Realtor and many financial obligations. You have to take a test and pass the test after going to Real Estate School. That costs money. You have to join different associations and adhere to strict ethical standards. That costs money and you have to have a moral compass. If you want to be the broker, then you have more school and more responsibility. The broker (Kristen Andersen is a broker) oversees all of the agents in the office, therefore you have more responsibility which equals more money out of your pocket. When a Realtor lists a home, there are many costs associated and here is a quick breakdown. You have MLS fees, advertising costs, marketing costs, employee costs, printing costs, standard business costs, insurance costs, car costs, and many more costs of doing business. They are self employed and working hard for you, the homeowner.

What it takes to be a flat fee company? Nothing….well you need a computer, MLS fee, and that is about it. Companies hire a real estate agent and a real estate broker so they can list properties on MLS and maybe help with some of the contract questions. Most of these companies are based outside of Colorado and have no clue what the market is like. You will never meet the person and only talk on the phone to whoever answers. How do you know that person is helping you get the best deal on your investment? You don’t know and have no real connection to this customer service agent that is either paid an hourly wage or a commission. They don’t care how much you get for your house or how fast your home sales. They probably don’t even live in the area so they don’t know your neighborhood. They can’t help you when it comes to recommending a reputable company to make repairs after inspections, if that is needed. They can’t do much and that is why they only charge a flat fee.

Why does it take less time to sell a home with a Realtor than with a flat fee company? If you list with a flat fee company, be prepared to have your house shown a lot or not a lot depending on the area and not get any offers. Why would that happen? This happens because the buyers agent will steer the client to a home that they know the other person is represented by another Realtor. Why would the agent do that? First of all, money and second of all, the buyers agent doesn’t want to do all the work. If another Realtor is involved that means the process is smoother and works well for both Realtors. All the deadlines are being met of the contract and everyone knows what they are doing.

We could go on and on about the benefits of using us, a Realtor, but we want you to know that it isn’t about the commission for us. We truly care about each client and want you to sell your home quickly and for the most amount of money! We consistently get 102% of the sales price on each transaction and are under contract in 7 days on average. The amount we get over your asking price almost pays for our commission and your home isn’t sitting on the market for months in this hot market.

We would love to talk to you about our services and see if we are a good fit to list your home. Give us a call today at 720-314-6863.