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By Julie Reddington | Agent in Highlands Ranch, CO
  • Landscaping Improvements Protect Property Values

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Highlands Ranch, Home Selling in Highlands Ranch, Property Q&A in Highlands Ranch  |  July 22, 2014 5:47 PM  |  15 views  |  No comments

    Real estate prices may continue to go up. They may retreat. However, you don’t have to be the victim of market whims. There are strategies you can employ to protect your property value. Our favorite strategy is landscaping.


    Landscaping is unlike any other improvements that you do to your property. Improvements like new kitchens or window coverings get dated with time. You can choose the most popular upgrades for a kitchen or bath today and they will feel dated in a few years. Tastes change and, as a result, the value of the interior improvements you do today always decline with time.

    In contrast, landscaping is the one improvement that actually appreciates with age. Landscaping becomes more valuable as it matures.

    You can buy a 4-foot tall Baby Blue Eyes Spruce today for $200 and plant it in a strategic spot. In six to seven years, it has topped out at 12 feet with an 8-foot diameter and provides an anchor for a cozy little patio located away from the house itself. It would cost thousands of dollars to buy and plant that mature tree today.

    Research by Alex X. Niemiera, a horticulturist at Virginia Tech, has shown that landscaping can increase the perceived value of a home by 5.5% to 12.7%. However, not all landscaping is created equal. Here are some tips to get the most from a landscaping project.

    Start with a Master Plan: Niemiera’s research indicates that a well-designed plan is the most important factor in maximizing the value of landscaping. Bob Villa echos this sentiment and advises homeowners to start with a master plan.

    Landscape PlanMany people do landscaping piecemeal. They plant a tree this year. Next year, they add some shrubs with no unifying plan. People buy things they like individually with no thought of how they fit together or if they can even thrive in the place planted due to variables like sunlight and water.

    A thoughtful master plan helps avoid these problems. Even if you don’t have the money to implement the whole plan in a single season, the master plan assures that each item you do today fits in with the larger picture.

    The plan may call for five Red Twig Dogwoods to cover up the back fence and provide a backdrop for other landscape elements. You can spend $180 buying those five dogwoods and plant them this year with confidence, knowing that they will thrive and function well when the yard is completely done.

    Divide Your Yard into Rooms: It makes sense to divide up a yard into several useable areas or “rooms”. You may have a deck right off your back door where many people can congregate. A path from the deck can lead around to the side of the house where you create a small, private patio shielded by shrubs. Two or three people can break off from the crowd and use this intimate area as a separate space. Another path from the deck might lead to the swing set or trampoline. Having several centers of interest in your yard increases its usability.

    Get Professional Guidance: As you can already see, landscaping requires expertise. How do you know whether a given plant will thrive where you want to plant it and whether it will grow to the right size? What is the best layout?

    You can certainly research these things on your own and become an expert if you are looking for a new hobby. However, most of us will benefit by getting help from an expert. Most large nurseries and garden centers provide such expertise. Alternately, you can goggle for “residential landscape designers in metro Denver” to find a skilled designer.

    source: Mike Cooke, Colorado Home Realty

  • The current Supply / Demand on inventory for the Denver Real Estate market

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Cherry Creek, Home Selling in Cherry Creek  |  July 22, 2014 10:19 AM  |  14 views  |  No comments
    You are hearing everywhere that the available home inventory is low. It has also been reported that there have been fewer homes sales so far this year. This makes it look like both supply and demand are down for the year.
    In reality, neither is true. It can all be confusing so here is a blog post to unravel the mystery.
    In short, the decrease in home sales is a bit of a mirage. Due to lags in reporting, the true number of sales for January through June of 2014 will not be known for a few more weeks. When all is said and done, we'll be with a percent or two of last year's numbers.
      Thus, while inventory is historically low, this is not because there are fewer sellers. For all practical purposes, we've had the same number of sellers this year as last year. Supply is steady even though inventory is low.
    At the same time, buyer demand is through the roof and much higher than the sale numbers show. This is because of the "multiple offer" situation. A high percentage of homes that come on the market have multiple offers. For every one that sells, two or three other buyers are left to continue their search. If there was more inventory, we'd have 20% or 30 % or more sales so far this year.
    Bottom Line: Supply is steady, not down. Demand is up, big time. Read more about the whole market situation HERE.
    Remember:I have detailed statistics on what the market is doing in each zip code in metro Denver for both single-family and multi-family homes. Call me if you'd like a report for your type of house in your specific zip code.

    Source : Colorado Home Realty
  • Seller Strategies for Finding A Replacement Home

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Highlands Ranch, Property Q&A in Highlands Ranch  |  July 14, 2014 11:03 AM  |  98 views  |  No comments

    Right now, sellers can sell quickly and for more than their home has ever been worth in many cases and still have options to implement strategies to protect themselves in case they cannot find an appropriate, exciting or acceptable replacement home. Here are some of those strategies:

    • Have home totally prepared, ready to go to market, then find replacement home.  Working with a great agent means the sellers home is staged, pictures taken, brochures done, price determined and an effective CMA ready to present to the listing agent on the purchase of another home (this requires trust and partnership between home owner and agent as agent will have already invested a significant amount in preparation for marketing of the home and seller must be committed to the process).  The moment a seller finds the right replacement home, they get it under contract and immediately place their home on the market. PROS: lower risk of not finding replacement home.  CONS: must be more aggressive in asking price on current home, reduced negotiating power on the purchase of new home, requires lots of explanation and education of agent and seller on other and of transaction.
    • Purchase new home prior to selling current home.  If sellers lender will qualify them to own two homes, use equity in current home to purchase the replacement home.  The seller takes out an Equity line of credit against the current home to use as down payment against the purchase of a new home.  PROS: take time to find replacement home, not rushed to get out of current home, tremendous negotiating power in purchase of new home, assuming appreciation continues at similar pace, the seller actually achieves appreciation on the ownership of both properties.  CONS: must qualify for owning two homes, must carry note on two homes, risk of owning two homes longer than anticipated.  (given the appreciating market we are in, if a seller can afford to do so, this is the most financially beneficial strategy).  Alternative forms of this strategy might include borrowing against retirement and replacing those funds upon sale of current home, or other forms of accessing capital if a seller can afford to purchase prior to selling.
    • Sell current home and take time.  While this is definitely a hassle, when sellers look at this strategy it actually makes a lot of sense.  Sellers sell their home, focus on getting top dollar for that home and put the vast majority of their belongings in a short term storage facility. Sellers then move into a short term rental (which has its own challenges right now, but there are options) and take their time to find the right replacement home.  If someone is looking at a 10-20 year move, is it worth 15 days to 3 months of short term rental and hassle to find the right home?  only the seller can decide the answer to that question.  PROS: most money for current home and appropriate time to find great replacement home.  CONS: hassle.
    • (Most Applicable for Most Sellers) Sellers put their current home on the market and select the offer to purchase that allows the seller the greatest flexibility in finding a replacement home.  Sellers can write into a counter proposal to any prospective buyer for a longer closing time frame AND that seller has 2 or 3 weeks (or whatever seller chooses to ask for) to find a suitable replacement home.  In the event that seller does not notify the buyer that a suitable replacement home has been found and placed under contract by “X” date, the current contract terminates.  PROS: great confidence for the seller to place the home on  the market and know they have opportunity to find a great replacement home.  CONS: lose some negotiating ability with buyers.

    Get excited about more inventory, low interest rates and the opportunity to save a tremendous amount of money over the ownership period of the next home.

    This might be the seller’s perfect storm.

    source: Mike Cooke, Colorado HomeRealty

  • Denver Real Estate Market May 2014

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Highlands Ranch, Home Selling in Highlands Ranch, In My Neighborhood in Highlands Ranch  |  June 23, 2014 8:07 AM  |  127 views  |  No comments

    The metro Denver real estate market is a story of ups and downs. Both the ups and the downs are good, for the most part.

    What’s Up?

    Prices are up. The average price of single-family homes closed in May 2014 was $370,918 and the 12-month average (June 2013 to May 2014) was $341,464, an increase of 10.72% and 8.63% respectively over the same time periods a year earlier.

    The price trends for multi-family properties show the same pattern. The average sale price was $230,160 in May 2014 versus $202,153 in May 2013. This is a 13.86% increase. The average for the June 2013 to May 2014 time frame was $208,335 and that is 10.92% higher than the same 12-month period a year earlier.

    The inventory of homes for sale at the end of May 2014 stood at 8,390 properties, a 2.14% increase over the end of May in 2013. It remains true, however, that inventory is abnormally low for this time of year. We typically had 16,000 to 22,000 homes on the market at the end of May each year throughout the first decade of the 21stcentury. Even in the very strong seller markets of the late 1990s, we’d have over 11,000 to 14,000 homes on the market as the month of May came to a close.

    What’s Down?

    Homes are on the market for a shorter period of time than a year ago. The average number of days on market is in the high 40s right now as opposed to the mid-60s a year ago. This is the length of time it takes to get a home under contract from the first day it goes on the market.

    We all hear the stories of homes going under contract in just 2 or 3 days for more than asking price with multiple offers. However, this does not happen in every part of town or in every price range. This is why it is still taking 45 to 50 days on average to get under contract when selling a house.

    The number of homes sold so far this year is also down a bit. We’ve had 20,335 single-family and multi-family homes sold through the MLS from January 1, 2014 through May 31, 2014. This is 5.11% fewer homes sold through the same time period in 2013.

    What Does it Mean?

    Current market conditions are especially favorable for owners that need to sell without buying a replacement property (those moving out of town or investors disposing of rental homes).

    The low inventory makes it a challenging time for both first time buyers and for people that need to sell one property and replace it with another — and for real estate agents helping such people. Never fear, however! We’ve got great strategies for helping both kinds of buyers be successful in the current market conditions.

    In addition, we’ve got detailed stats on the market conditions in every zip code in metro Denver. Contact your CHR agent for a report on price trends, supply and demand patterns and much more in your particular segment of the local real estate market.

  • Your Top 10 Guide to Buying a home

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Highlands Ranch  |  March 18, 2014 7:19 PM  |  461 views  |  2 comments

    1. Do Expect to Kiss a few Frogs

    This whole process is a bit like dating. You will kiss a few frogs, have your heart broken on a deal that goes south, and then just when you think there are no more fish in the sea, Mr/Mrs Right House will be just around the corner

    1. Pick your favorite SHORT list

    It is recommended when you go out and look at houses, stick to around 6. After this number, they will all start blending into one! It can also be quite exhausting. If you have a lot of house you want to look at, schedule for another day when you will be refreshed. The average buyer will look at around 12 houses before deciding.

    1. Do Take lots of notes, pictures, video tours on your phone

    This will help you remember the properties trust me, you might not forget the neon paint, but you might forget the payout, where the washing machine was etc.

    1. Do Listen to your Gut

    I truly believe that a house can pick you as much as you pick a house. Your instinct can be powerful

    1. Do Allow Enough Time

    Don't buy in haste, repent at leisure. Make sure you allow lots of time on your house hunt, and arrange a second viewing on any potentials. Follow the rule of thumb your first visit with your heart, the second is with your head.

    1. Don't have a Extra Large Coffee before you start your tour

    It is not always the polite thing to us everyones facilities. Plus, some vacant homes may have the water turned off. You don't want to be caught short.

    1. Do wear practical shoes

    Some homeowners may request that you remove your shoes, and especially in when the weather is inclement. Wear shoes that are easy to take on and off, not lots of laces, and wear your best socks.

    1. Do Find a babysitter for the children

    Especially until you narrow down the possible house. Children find the whole process VERY exciting. So rather than worry about if they have knocked over the Sellers best china, find care for them, and bring them in when you have a short list.

    1. Don't be a Wall Flower

    Do be very vocal. As your Realtor, I have many gifts, the power of reading exactly what the mind is thinking is not one of them. This is not my house I am showing, so you will not offend me. And it will truly help me understand what you are wanting in your Dream Home.

    10.   Do be Prepared to Compromise

    Just like dating, you might be looking for your Dream Partner, but not everyone or everything is perfect. Create a Wish List and if you are buying as a couple, compare your lists so that you are on the same page. Also discuss your big no-no's. And be prepared, you probably won't find everything on your list so be prepared to compromise on this.

    (c) Julie Reddington Real Estate

  • Benefits of Using me When Buying a New “Build”

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Lone Tree  |  March 18, 2014 7:17 PM  |  462 views  |  No comments

    What can I do for you when buying a new home purchase?

    1. I get Paid by the Builder: The builder will pay the fee due to an agent with no increase to the purchase price of the property.
    2. Negotiation Expertise: Builders, like every seller, may be negotiable on the sales price. I can help you determine when a reduced sales price might be achieved with a builder in given situations.
    3. Contract Review: Unlike Colorado Real Estate Commission approved contract forms that heavily favor the buyers of resale homes, new home contracts are drafted by a builder’s attorney and are extremely biased towards protection of the builder. I can help you understand these differences and suggest legal review as needed. I provide a 17-point checklist to every new home buyer that identifies key differences where builder contracts may put you at a disadvantage. You’ll be more informed about the risks/rewards of a new home purchase and, in some cases, proactive steps can then be taken to minimize contractual disadvantages.
    4. Inspection Guidance: Many new home buyers do not consider having an inspection on a new home. However, almost every new home probably has some construction details that are not to code or that were not done properly. This is true even though city/county building inspectors have conducted numerous on-site inspections. I can help you decide on the need for your own inspector to accompany you on your pre-closing walk-through to make sure you end up with a complete punch list of items for the builder to correct.  
    5. Selection of Options and Upgrades: You may not need a particular option but it might be best to include it to avoid resale disadvantages. For example, you may not need a 3-car garage but you’d probably want to include one if 70% of the homes in the area have this feature. Otherwise, you may run into problems when you sell the property years later. The same applies to upgrades to flooring, countertops, plumbing, lighting and so forth. Some of these items can have broad appeal to a wide range of buyers if selected thoughtfully.
    6. At The Closing Table: You’d think that closings are pretty standardized. However, papers that are missed or filled out incorrectly at closings constantly amaze us. A colleague attended a new home closing recently and discovered that the wrong kind of deed was being used to convey the property to the buyer. The builder had been using the same deed form for over 12 years and key required language was missing! A good agent can review the closing documents and make sure that you get what is required by contract

    Credit:Mike Cooke, Colorado Home Realty (c)

  • Are you buying/selling a home or looking for a new pair of jeans?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Highlands Ranch, Home Selling in Highlands Ranch  |  February 18, 2014 8:11 PM  |  576 views  |  No comments

    You shop around for a pair of jeans to fit. You might be lucky and strike gold in the first shop you go in, it may take you a few fits to find the dream pair. So what has this go to do with buying a house? Well how do you shop for an agent to help you?

    You probably spend more time looking for a pair of trousers than you do finding someone help you with the the biggest purchase or sale of your life. Here are a few thoughts …

    * 'Try a few pairs on'
    I don't mean waste a lot of people's time, but speak to a few until you find someone you have a good rapport with. The next few weeks are going to be fun, stressful, challenging but with (hopeful) huge rewards. You want to work with someone who will make it a comfortable fit

    * Make sure you are getting quality
    Just like applicant for a job, ask why you should employ them. Ask to see their testimonies

    * Are they following the latest trends
    Pick a style that suits you? The old school style might be perfect, or you might want a trendier approach. Remember, one fit isnt always better over the other, as long as they fit you right

    * Are they practical for your lifestyle?
    Make sure 'the fit' understands your lifestyle.

    The chances are we will all own a few pairs of jeans in our lives. Make sure you like (love) them and they have the durability to last the process. And always recommend the brand to your friends and family; they want to be stylist too.

    Jeans will probably always be around, and you may try many fits, but you want the brand that will always be there for you.

    (c) copyright

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