A condo for sale in Denver's desirable Montclair neighborhood | Listed by Megan Ivy
Denver is now one of the most competitive housing markets in the country. The latest statistics coming from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors doesn’t paint a very rosy picture for home buyers these days. In fact, it can be downright discouraging.
- Inventory at incredible low levels
- Home prices near all-time highs
- Multiple offer situations
- Record time for homes going under contract
It’s not easy to stay optimistic with such conditions in play.
But, here’s some good news for people hoping to buy a home this year and why you should stay the course. You can look at the glass half-empty or half-full, and below you’ll find some reasons to be positive and embrace the process.
There is no question that we have been living in a sellers’ market for quite some time now. The average home price in Denver has been inching up (or sometimes lurching) for well over five years. Inventory has struggled to meet demand and new homes have been slow to come on board.
However, there are steps you can take to improve your chances of landing a home that makes you happy, and fits your lifestyle and budget. Sometimes, just a few tweaks in the process will make the difference between success or disappointment. Even though you may have missed out on opportunities, there are always new properties coming on the market that may be better suited for you. There is no one “perfect” home; keep an open mind and trust the process.
Below you’ll find 8 tried-and-true applications to get under contract.
#1: Set Expectations Right Away
Being able to stay positive comes down to the expectations you have from the get-go. Knowing the market data before you launch into the process can help you with expectations of timelines, tactics, and probabilities. Your Usaj Realty broker will help walk you through your exact home criteria and set you up for success as you begin your home buying journey. They will be able to tell you how quickly homes in your criteria are selling and if they are selling for above asking price. Getting clear with your lender on what you can afford is also a huge first step when beginning the home buying process. Usaj Realty's Kira Fleischer reminds people, "Have a clear idea of what you want and start the loan pre-approval process as soon as possible. This gives you the advantage of being able to act fast when the right property appears on the market."
#2: Focus on What You Can Control | 7 Day Rule
Jenny Usaj, employing broker for Usaj Realty, urges homebuyers to be open to the idea of looking at homes that did not sell the first weekend after listing. When searching for a home in a red-hot market like Denver, going after the “just listed” properties can be fraught with disappointment. Yes, it’s exciting to want to be at the forefront of a potential bid but the competition can be daunting, especially if the home is near or outside your budget. Instead, focus on houses or condos that have been on the market for seven days or more. By taking this approach, you may have better luck in submitting an offer and having it accepted. After a week, the seller may be more amenable to reducing the price and compromising on contingencies and inclusions as well.
#3: Set MLS Alerts for "Back on the Market" Properties
That house you had your eye on that was under contract is now suddenly back on the market. Or, a house you weren’t even dialed into because it was “pending,” is now up for grabs. How will you learn that these homes are available again? Make sure your broker has you set up on alerts for when homes go “back on the market.” In these situations, the seller is most likely even more motivated to get a deal done and negotiate appropriately.
#4: Set MLS Alerts for Price Reductions
Just like “back on the market” properties, sellers who have agreed to price reductions are much more motivated to consider offers and agree to compromises. As we head into the heart of the fall season, people get anxious to move before the snow starts to fly. It’s easier to transition and move when the weather is still nice. Tori Casella of Usaj Realty had recent success with this tactic: "On a recent deal, we waited and found a house that was on the market for over a week. Then the seller reduced the price and we sent in a full price offer that was immediately accepted, which takes so much stress out of the process."
#5: Consider an "Attached" Residence - Condo or Townhome
If you are looking for a deal and want to be able to have room to negotiate, maybe a condo or townhome would be a better fit for you at this time. The months of inventory in Denver for attached vs. detached homes is really a tale of two markets. For example, attached homes priced between $500,000-$749,000 have 2.31 months of inventory; detached homes have 0.58 months, making landing a condo or townhome much easier. (DMAR).
#6: Submit Backup Offers
So you were outbid on your last offer? Just because you think it’s over doesn’t mean it’s over. Go ahead and place a backup offer in case the deal falls through. Even though mortgage rates are at an all-time low, lenders have tightened the rules on loan underwriting. Higher credit scores, consistent employment history (and income) and a solid down payment have become increasingly important and required. As a result, many of the “under contracts” fall out of contract once it’s discovered the applicant doesn’t qualify for a loan. Having a backup offer in place can make you “next in line” and get you closer to homeownership.
#7: Work with a Realtor With Strong Communication Skills
Kristin Boritzke, broker at Usaj Realty, recommends having the expectation from the forefront that the going may be challenging and to focus on patience and persistence to eventually get into a great home. "As a Realtor, I work hard to stay persistent for my buyers and am always in constant communication with them as well as the listing agents which helps to ease nerves and keeps us all on the same page. It can be extremely discouraging to lose out on what may feel like your dream home time and time again in certain price ranges in the Denver market, but I believe everything happens for a reason and that there will always be another home."
#8: Reevaluating Your Criteria
Maybe you’ve had your heart set on a home in the city of Denver? But what about the suburbs and communities just outside the city limits? Often if you widen cast your net in a wider area, there lies more opportunities. For example, Wheat Ridge, Edgewater, Aurora, and the other suburbs that border Denver often offer less expensive properties. Furthermore, you may want to reconsider your size requirements and think about purchasing a smaller home that could be added on or remodeled to fit your needs
Posted by Pat O'Connor
Pat O’Connor has dual citizenship in both Wisconsin and Colorado, having been born and raised in Wisconsin Dells, but later adopted by the Centennial State. A graduate of the University of Colorado (B.S. Journalism, 1980), O’Connor began her career as a sportswriter at the Boulder Daily Camera under the tutelage of the venerable Dan Creedon. Her experience also includes stints in public relations at Aspen Highlands Ski Area, the Colorado Trial Lawyers and the Colorado Division of Wildlife. When she isn’t piecing together sentences, the self-proclaimed “Cheesehead” enjoys traveling, running, playing golf, hiking 14ers, horseback riding and skiing. During football season, she can be found cheering for the Buffs and "whooping it up" when the Packers win. She loves talking sports and giving recommendations on cheese curds.Facebook LinkedIn Twitter