t is no secret that Denver is a hot real estate market. As the population of metro Denver increases, we don’t have enough homes to satisfy the amount of people. Ultimately, supply is low and demand is high for homes. Therefore, listings typically receive multiple offers and a higher price as homebuyers compete for a house. Each year, it seems homebuyers up the ante with what can keep them relevant and competitive. Buyers often send “love letters” to the seller pleading for the home and to play to the seller’s emotional side. Homebuyers end up waiving an inspection and sometimes even bring money above appraised value. In this competitive environment, it is useful to understand the psychology of these homebuyers.
They love shiny objects. Homebuyers all seem to clamor around the homes that look nice: the ones that have professional pictures, neutral colors, popular upgrades and are staged nicely. Issues with the home often get overlooked if it looks nice. Homes like this typically get bid up.
Short Attention Span: Since the market is so competitive, homes go under contract very quickly. If a home doesn’t go under contract in the first weekend, homebuyers lose interest and they will move on to the next round of new homes that come on the market the next week.
They seem to be more open to competing for a home versus negotiating. Maybe it is the energy of a good competition but buyers seem to want the gratification of winning the home. In the last 6 months, I have had two examples of this while representing a seller. In both cases, once we dropped the price slightly, we received multiple offers, getting the price back to close to the original list price.
Fatigue is a real thing and a major concern. Buyers seem to come out earlier each year while sellers do not. This makes the most competitive time of the year in real estate March to June. Buyers come out in full force in the winter while sellers don’t seem to list a home until the summer. Often, Homebuyers find themselves bidding on multiple homes and not getting any of them. This takes a toll and some decide to sit out the rest of the year.
Now that we can see inside the psyche of a homebuyer in Denver, how can buyers and sellers use this information?
Buyers need to stay open to homes that may not be perfect. Paint, carpet and tile go a very long way to make a house a home. Also, take rests when needed but don’t stop.
Sellers need to remember that we are a very visual population and prior to listing their home, they need to make it look nice. Professional pictures and video will not only get more people through the door but more offers. Pricing is crucial and buyers seem to respond better to the milestone prices such as 400k or 550k and will raise the price, if needed. Additionally, to catch the most number of buyers, sellers need to consider listing their home between March and June.
We have lived through seven consecutive years of rapid appreciation in the real estate market in Denver and more buyer’s continue to join the ranks and compete for a home. As in any cause of supply and demand, if supply is low and demand is high, the buyers will raise the price of the good. By understanding the psychology of current homebuyers, both home sellers and buyers can use the psychology of Denver homebuyers to win in this market.
Most neighborhoods are still popping despite COVID concerns and protests. However, there is one that has somewhat stalled out with inventory increasing and not a lot of demand. What neighborhood is that? It is the Downtown Denver real estate market. These changes in the market are a result of a few factors:
Amenities are Closed. Living in Downtown Denver has a lot of perks, including, close proximity to just about all amenities – gyms, parks, museums, public transportation, restaurants, shopping, bars and so much more! However, due to COVID, all of these amenities are closed which means there is no advantage to live Downtown currently.
Harder to get loans at higher prices. Over the past seven to ten years Downtown Denver has grown and gotten very desirable, i.e. EXPENSIVE. Lately, jumbo loans (loans larger than the conventional limit) have been very difficult to obtain and many financial institutions have limited or discontinued jumbo products through the uncertainty of this market and virus. This means interested buyers may have a more difficult time obtaining a mortgage for an expensive home Downtown.
People are not working Downtown now. On any given day before COVID, there were thousands of people that worked Downtown Denver, making living Downton very desirable for many. However, now a majority of these employees are working from home and unsure when they will be back in the office.
Boards up on Businesses. As the protests started, many businesses shutdown (again) and put boards up. With businesses and other amenities shutdown, many people don’t have a reason to go Downtown.
Some are Concerned about Shared Spaces. Most of the real estate Downtown Denver is shared being either condos or townhouses. As we navigate COVID, some buyers are reluctant to buy shared spaces and would prefer a single-family home (with a yard).
The result is a significant amount of inventory Downtown with not as much demand. This means homes for sale are taking longer to sell and may have to reduce their price to entice buyers. If you always will be a city dweller and love to live in the in the center of everything, buying a home Downtown Denver now may be a great option!
Have you heard the term house hacking before? It seems to be gaining in popularity and talked about among many different real estate investor forums and podcasts. House Hacking is when you buy a home (single family or multi-family) and rent out a portion of this home or units. Examples of house hacking, include:
Buying a duplex and renting out one side while living in the other.
Buying a home and renting out the bedroom(s).
With Airbnb increasing in popularity, renting out a portion of your home or bedroom as a vacation rental can also be considered house hacking.
Renting out (short term or long term) a mother-in-law unit.
Unbeknownst to most, some people find themselves doing a version of house hacking and this serves as the first step in their real estate investing adventure. The benefits of doing a house hack vs. a rental are plentiful but some of the big reasons are financial and emotional. First and foremost, when buying a primary residence (which is what you would purchase if you are house hacking because you will live there), you need as little as 3% down with a conventional mortgage or 3.5% down with FHA). The “renter’s” rent would then go to pay a portion or all of your mortgage, allowing you to live mortgage free.
House hacking also allows you to try your hand at being a landlord. Land lording within its self is a business and house hacking can help you set up rudimentary systems on how to maintain your rental and tenant(s) that can be applied to additional rentals. If you find you do not like it, house hacking provides an easy to get out once the tenants lease ends.
I purchased my first home when I was 25. it was a 1,600-sq. ft. condo with two full bedrooms and bathrooms. As I started to consider changing careers and moving to Denver, I realized that extra bedroom and bathroom was my biggest asset and a way to make extra money. For 18 months, I rented out the bedroom and bathroom to another young professional woman. It worked out great, especially since she ended up paying my mortgage. Due to New Hampshire’s high property taxes, the only payment that I was responsible for at the time were the taxes. I was able to build up a savings account that made me feel comfortable leaving my corporate job and moving cross country.
Tips and Tricks.
Make sure you can afford the mortgage without a renter. There will be vacancies, unforeseen events that come up (such as a pandemic) and/or you may find out that you do not like being a landlord.
I am a firm believer that house hacking could be for anyone. However, I think it is incredibly great for single people (a single income source makes it harder to afford a home), anyone looking to offset some of the mortgage payment and/or save funds, anyone considering being a landlord and/or a family that has an ADU or mother-in-law that isn’t being used.
Treat the rental agreement like a business, even if it is just a room. Use a lease, do a thorough background and credit check and employment verification.
House hacking has many perks, including, more money in your pocket. Who doesn’t like more money? If you house hacked, what would you use the extra cash for? I may be crazy but I would save it to purchase another rental. 🙂
The last few months have left many uneasy, concerned and feeling out of control with how the corona virus would impact both the nation and our city. Now that we are about a month into the safer at home model and home showings were able to resume, I am happy to be able to report some good news.
Inventory is as an all-time low, however, demand is not. Although, not great for buyers, we seemed to slide right into the busy season without missing a beat. Homes on the market experience multiple offers and go under contract within days. The best explanation to why we have seen such extreme volatility in the stock market but not in the real estate market is a simple: supply and demand. Nationally, we still not have enough supply of affordable homes.
Long Term Rentals.
This one was a doozy from the start of corona virus as renters felt the immediate impact of the sudden shutdown. In April, many landlords were very concerned about their ability of receiving rent over the next few months. Anxiety continued to rise as eviction moratoriums were put into place for government backed mortgages and many states. This put a lot of pressure on landlords as mortgage payments continues while rents may have stopped. However, nationally, 91% of rents were collected in April and 93% were collected in May. Stimulus checks and unemployment most likely contributed to May rent collections.
Almost immediately the world saw the impact of corona virus and short-term rentals as a travel ban was passed. Overnight, short-term rentals saw guests cancelling reservations and were left wondering how they would continue to make their mortgage payments. Some were lucky enough to be able to pivot into a long-term rental. However, as states reopen, we are seeing a surge in demand for Airbnb’s. Colorado has seen an increase in hyperlocal travel (2-3 hours away from home) and ‘glamping‘.
Overall, we have seen some great progress, however, we still aren’t in the clear. Colorado has not fully reopened and there are still a few unknowns. As things progress I am keeping an eye on a number of indicators, such as, interest rates (the Fed is still pumping QE into the bond market buying up bonds which results in lower interest rates for consumers), the impact of unemployment especially when it ends this Fall/Winter, and forbearances and deferred mortgage payments coming due over the next 6 months. However, the progress that we have made so far is incredibly positive!
Even through a pandemic, the Denver real estate market still remains a strong seller’s market. As we navigate these new restrictions to showings it is even more imperative that seller’s employ a great marketing strategy that includes pricing the home right, professional photos and more. With the current health concerns, buyers are doing a lot more research online before actually stepping into a home.
Think of the presentation of the home like a first interview. You are taking the time to get to know it, a buyer is trying to determine if it is a good fit. Will the layout work? Are the features what they want? When you go on an interview, what are you going to wear? In corporate America it would be your nicest suit (please!). As a entrepreneur, you may not need to have a suit but you definitely want to look your best, correct?
According to realtor.com 92% of buyers use the Internet for their home search. Since most people start their home search online, professional pictures are the first thing that sells a home. Without professional pictures, fewer buyers will step foot into your home which results in less interest and less offers.
So, how do professional pictures sell real estate?
The right angle. Photographers are trained to find the features of the home and capture it in a way to exemplify the feature. One does not need 500 pictures of the home to sell it but rather a handful of pictures that capture the right angle.
Lighting. There is not enough emphasis placed on the strength of good lighting in a picture. Again, it can help bring focus to the home’s features.
Composition. Photographers will define the subject and the elements that need to be in the picture. This allows the pictures to tell a story and create more appeal.
Editing. After the shoot, the photographer will choose the best pictures to help you sell the home.
With a majority of the home search occurring online, professional pictures are a mandatory part of the marketing plan. As a seller, ensure your agent is keeping their iPhone in their pocket and not snapping pictures to use to sell your home.
6980 S Lee Way Littleton CO 80127 | $625,000 | 3,554 Sq. Ft | 4 bedrooms, 4 Bathrooms
We are back! Showings have resumed and this home certainly piques my interest! This walk-out ranch offers main floor living with vaulted ceilings, gorgeous hardwood floors, built-ins and a gourmet kitchen. The main floor master is the perfect spot to unwind with private access to the hot tub and a master bath with a soaking tub and an oversized walk-in shower. Think of all the possibilities with a walkout basement that already has a bedroom, laundry, game room and living room. It’s the perfect place for parties, mother-in-law suite or a rental?