Many people don’t want to buy or sell in the real estate doldrums of the first quarter. The first quarter (January 1- March 31) is tough in Denver, and most markets. Sales and inventory will take an expected dip, but that does not mean that it is impossible. After all, people always need to find a new home regardless of the time of year. It may take longer than you expected to buy or sell, but the competition is less fierce. These both are considerations you might want to consider.
According to AOL Real Estate, Denver housing was in the top 10 housing markets in the first quarter of 2013. This is expected to continue into 2014 as the jobs market continues to improve in 2014. However, selling or buying in the first quarter has special considerations depending on whether you are buying or selling.
If you are selling in the first quarter in Denver, there are certain special considerations that you may want to make this time of year that you would not have to consider other times of year.
- Make sure that your drive and walkways are consistently clear in the event of snowfall. This will make the home seem well-cared for and accessible. It will also reduce refuse introduced into your home.
- Keep the heat on. Walking into a warm home will make “your home” feel like “their home.”
- Make sure the exterior premises are clean and maintained when it is dry. Dead leaves, leftover holiday decorations, or dust will make your home look unmaintained and ill-kept.
- Leave the lights on. It gets darker earlier and stays dark later. Adding timers or accent lighting will bring buyers out of the dark.
- Change the air filter regularly. Closing up a home through the cold times can make the air stale. If you change your air filter monthly and open your windows on the 60 degree days that we enjoy in Colorado winters will help resolve that stale smell.
- Put a picture of your home in the spring or summer somewhere prominently. This will help the buyers see what their own summer BBQs will be like.
- In the event that your home sale runs into the second or third quarter, have new pictures of your home taken. This will refresh your listing, and make your home ready for the busy season.
- Be patient. Traffic will be slower, but your home will sell.
If you are buying in the first quarter, you have time and opportunity on your side. In Denver, the rather frequent swings in temperature can damage a home, and expose it’s less than desirable qualities, which can benefit you as a buyer.
- Walk the exterior wall of the home to feel for drafts. This can be an opportunity to gage the heating costs and expensive repairs down the road.
- Look out for signs of ice build-up on exterior fixtures like gutters and walkways. This may also help you determine maintenance issues which may need attention, and can aid you at the bargaining table.
- Contact Xcel Energy or the local utility or utilities to find out the most recent heating costs. This can give you a real-time insight into what it will cost to heat your new home in Denver. This information is public record.
- Be patient. It may take long to find your ideal home, but time is on your side.
If you see a home on a snowy day, wait until the snow clears to get an inspection. The snow may hide things you may not have seen.
For more information on buying or selling your home in Denver during the winter, I implore you to reach out to me, Joseph Berry directly at www.indenverrealestate.com.