Can We Still Decorate For Halloween When Our Home is For Sale?

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Dear Dave,

 

My family just loves Halloween. We usually like to go all out with decorating, but this year we have our house on the market to sell. It has been for sale for about 6 weeks and we haven’t had any offers. What do you think about decorating a house for a ‘holiday’ when it is for sale? I know that every Realtor probably has a different opinion on this, but I would really like to know yours.

Thank you,

Carrie and Tom - Fruita, CO


Carrie & Tom,

I am a firm believer in enjoying this time of year!  I personally think it would be a crime not to decorate and enjoy the holidays.  In my opinion a home never feels more like a home than it does during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season and I see no reason not to extend that to include Halloween.  No pun intended, however I don’t believe you will scare anyone away by decorating!  I do encourage you to decorate tastefully and try to err on the side of too little rather than too much.  With Halloween, I would make a concerted effort to not decorate with things that are too gruesome or scary and make an effort to decorate with all ages in mind.  Believe me, if your kids love the way you decorate the likelihood is the families that come to look at your home during the holidays will love it also. 

Remember that buying a home is still very much a “feel” thing for most buyers and the more senses you get involved and the more “like a home” you make your home feel the more likely you will be to sell.  I can tell you that more often than not, when a buyer gets a feel about a home and they can picture themselves or their family living there, your chances of them making an offer go up significantly.  Also, don’t be afraid to bake some cookies, pies, cake or at the least light a candle that plays up the holiday season.  We have purchased cinnamon pine cones in the past and for less than 10 bucks it will fill your home with a wonderful aroma.  This is the greatest time of year to have fun and get immersed in the season, enjoy it because it will be gone too soon.  Remember time is the one thing we can’t get back, so enjoy it, have fun and make this a season to remember.

The key take away here is tasteful and not overdone, yet have fun and enjoy the season.  The spirit of the holidays is contagious and my bet is someone will catch the spirit at your house this season.  Don’t be the least bit shocked if you sell between now and the end of the year!

 

Dave Kimbrough

The Kimbrough Team

We're Getting Lots of Showings & No Good Offers...

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Dear Dave,

I had 24 showings been on market 59 days one low ball offer week after listed we did not accept, now no other offers.  I dropped the price of the house 8 thousand off the list price a month ago and still no offers.  Our house is in move-in condition and the neighborhood is very nice. After a price drop only two showings please advise since we still have no offers.

Mary B. No area provided

***We also received a similar question from Robert***

Dave,

I have a home that has gotten over 50 showings with no offers. Our home shows like a model and consistently get compliments about how beautiful and well keep it is. On the advice of our agent, I have reduced our price over $120,000 during our listing period with the same results….  No offers. Having spent my entire career as a senior global marketing executive and with an Ivy League MBA.   Analysis dictates that the marketing is attracting the wrong customer which would account for no buyers. I would be interested in your take.

Robert M., No area provided


Mary and Robert,

Since your questions are quite similar, I am going to try and a new approach and answer both at the same time!  You both have VERY similar scenario’s and I would suggest that both of you have had enough showings that you should have had offers by now.  Also of note is that between the two of you you have had nearly 75 showings and only one offer….. I might suggest that you might start to consider things are not as perfect/pristine as you may believe.  I will also note that both agents are providing ample traffic and must be doing a good job of marketing your properties.

Mary, I am not sure how low your “low ball” offer was, but there is the old adage that often proves true…. “first offer, best offer”.  What that means is that the first offer you receive is often times the best offer you will get.  I have found this to be true more often, than not.   If we put that lost offer in the rearview mirror, we must focus on the present and what lies ahead!  Robert, I would suggest that you should also focus on what is in front of you and not spend much time concentrating on the past.

From what you have both have described your traffic is fantastic, statistically, you should receive an offer within 13-15 showings and Robert I would suggest that despite the $120k in price reductions your value is still too high for what buyers are finding.  With so many showings there is something else going on rather than price.  Buyers are finding out about your homes either online or through their agent's efforts.  Buyers are liking what they see enough to schedule a showing (which generally means that the pictures and price appear to be acceptable), but end up not writing an offer.  This generally (not always) means that there is something else going on.  It might be the condition, floor plan, odors, neighbors, colors, setting, high traffic road, a barking dog next door or any number of other issues that would cause buyers to not choose your home.  Ultimately, all things being equal, there are three things you can control, marketing, condition, and price.  If the marketing is good (Robert I know you are questioning this) then you will get showings and 50 is a lot!   If that many are coming to look you can assume there is something else coming into play if they are choosing other properties….. If you have a condition issue or non-desirable feature, those are typically only cured by either price changes or just waiting for the perfect buyer fit.

 Lastly, it is not out of the question to say that the marketing is attracting the wrong buyers, but to attract 50 wrong buyers and no right ones would be statistically very unlikely unless your home is so specific in features and price that it only will be attractive to a VERY narrow pool of buyers. If this is the case a marketing adjustment needs to be done to ensure the approach is more targeted.  It's hard to get buyers excited about an amazing riding arena and barn if none of them ride horses! 

I am putting out good vibes for both of you and am hopeful that your journey will come to an end soon but try to remain patient.  Remember it only takes one showing to completely change your outlook!  Thanks again for writing in.

Dave Kimbrough

The Kimbrough Team

What's Best Sewer or Septic?

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Dear Dave,

We live in an older neighborhood and our house is connected to a septic system. The system is about 30 years old and we suspect it may be nearing the end of its lifespan. The public sewer line has been brought into our neighborhood, but the cost to hook up to it is about $10,000. 

We need some advice on the route we should go - septic or public sewer system?

Thanks for answering questions each week - we look forward to hearing how you answer ours.

Thanks in advance,

Mick and Jamie – Grand Junction, CO


Mick and Jamie,

 

This one is easy!  Keep your septic system running as long as you can, because when it fails you will HAVE to hook up to the sewer system.  Once sewer has been run to your neighborhood you are obligated to hook up if/when your septic fails.  That means, keep your septic running as long as you can to avoid the sewer installation and plant assessment fees, but be prepared for expenses either way.

 

Here are some common signs of septic system failure:

1.      Slow drains or “stuff” backing up into your home.  If you have slow draining you should call and have your septic tank pumped out.  Your tank may be overloaded with solids and just needs to be pumped out to restore proper flow and allow it to properly drain into the leech field.

2.      Unpleasant odors inside or outside your home.  You will know the smell when you smell it.  It most likely won’t be a, “honey do you smell that?” smell, it will be a “Honey is that you?” smell.  All kidding aside, it will be a noticeable sewage odor.  Make sure to have this looked into before your next neighborhood party!

3.      Soggy areas or puddles in your lawn, when it has not been raining.  This is likely telling you that your drain field is going bad and not properly draining.   If you notice this, it needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

 

If you have slow drains, gurgling sounds, waste backup in the home or foul smells in your home, it very well could be a clogged main line or issue with your tank.  If you have not already done so, I would have Goodwin’s Septic come out and pump your septic tank and have it inspected to see if you have any issues that can easily be corrected.  It is my understanding, keep in mind that I am no septic expert, that if your tank and lines check out and you have puddles, standing liquids or drain field issues, you are likely to need a new field.  This means you would have to abandon the existing field and install a new one.  If your field or tank has failed and you have sewer in your neighborhood, you will have to “hook up” to the sewer system and abandon your septic. You realistically will not have a choice.

 

Keep in mind, the nice thing about Sewer is, you flush it and forget it… for the most part. The bad part is the ongoing costs associated with monthly sewer bills.  Bottom line, If sewer has come to your neighborhood, it is just a matter of time till you become a part of it. 

 

Dave Kimbrough

The Kimbrough Team 

We Feel Lied To...

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Dave,

After moving into our house, a neighbor told us that a few years before a man had committed suicide in the kitchen.  We would not have purchased our home had we know this had happened in the house.  Do we have any recourse other than simply selling the house and moving on or accepting what happened and making the best of it? Surely someone should have told us about what happened!

William, Grand Junction


William,

 

I am sure the news came as a shock to you and your family and I have no doubt that it may make it more difficult to live there, knowing what happened in the home.  Unfortunately, in your case,  Colorado has no requirement to disclose such details about any property being sold.  Under and Exclusive Right-To-Sell Listing Contract, Section 5.2.5 deals with situations like this.  It specifically states the broker shall NOT disclose “any facts or suspicions regarding circumstances that could psychologically impact or stigmatize the property”, without the informed consent of the seller. 

 

It is at the sole discretion of the seller to disclose or not to disclose.  It is likely that your agent did not have any knowledge of the act and quite possible that the listing agent did not know.  Even if the listing agent had knowledge, he/she can not disclose it without the sellers consent.  Bottom line, if the seller chooses not to disclose, it is highly likely a buyer would not find out till after the fact.  

 

I believe the intent is to not stigmatize a property because of a senseless act that was not the “fault” of the home and thus seriously impact the marketability and value of the home.   You will have to decide what is best for you and your family and I would remind you that you do not have to disclose what happened if you choose to sell.  My suggestion would be to make the best of it.  It is you chance to give this home a “second chance” at being a happy home and making it a home that is filled with peace and love and turning a bad past into a bright future!!  A home is what you make of it, moving forward, not what happened in the past.  Obviously you will choose which way to proceed, but you might find it an opportunity for your family to choose a path of healing and turn the page on a past which was filled with hopelessness and fill it with hope. 

I hope this helps and I will bet you can give this home a new start!!

 

Dave Kimbrough

The Kimbrough Team

RE/MAX 4000, Inc.

Is Now a Good Time To Buy?

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Dear Dave,


It looks like interest rates are going pretty low. We are thinking about taking the jump and buying a house. Do you think that now is a good time to buy considering the rates or should we wait until after the first of the year?

We have heard many different opinions on the time of year to buy a home and just aren’t sure of when to proceed.

We would like to know what you think. Thanks for the time- 

Jim and Sherri - Grand Junction, CO


Jim and Sherri,

Yes, I believe it is a great time to purchase a home!  We talk about it all the time with our clients and prospective clients.  If you believe you are going to be staying in your home for over 3-5 years then I believe buying at today’s interest rates (again at a multi-year low) is a really good idea.  As for the time of year…. I believe any time of year is a good time of year to buy, as long as it is the right time for you and you find the right home!  I believe the home you live in should be more than an investment, it should be where you want to shape your life and create memories and if you find that place, then that trumps the right/wrong time to buy! 

Who knows what next year will bring… higher prices?  Lower prices? Higher rates? Lower rates? Economic stability? Economic turmoil?  Who knows?  That’s why I subscribe to the “if the time is right” philosophy.  On a personal note, I have many times been hesitant to make a move because of future uncertainty and come to later realize that the uncertainty I was concerned about never materialized.  It was more my own concern about making the wrong decision that I got in the way of making the right one!  Often times the right decision is simply the decision we make, because each of us has a significant impact on the outcome of our decisions!  I will say this in close, don’t pass up on wave after wave looking for the perfect ride, make the most of the wave you catch and you just might get the ride of your life!  Good luck and make the most of whatever path you decide to take.

 

Dave Kimbrough

The Kimbrough Team

Have a question? Ask Dave!

Can We Perform Our Own Home Inspection?

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Dave,

My husband is a home inspector, can he inspect our house we want to purchase?

Anita, Grand Junction


Anita,

Absolutely!  There are no rules regarding who can and can not inspect a home!  In fact, many of the inspections performed on our listings each year are done by the buyers themselves or one of their relatives.  You can choose whomever you want to do your home inspection or even waive the inspection all together.  We always encourage buyers to perform a home inspection by a reputable home inspector so if you are married to one then you probably know one! : ) 

I hope everything checks out great and you love your new home! 

 

Dave Kimbrough

The Kimbrough Team

Have a question? Ask Dave!

How Should I Prepare My Home For Winter?

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Dear Dave,

 

I am new to Western Colorado, coming from the East Coast. I am used to winter weather, but am wondering how much I should prepare my home for winter conditions here in Grand Junction.

Do you have any recommendations on whether or not I need a back-up generator in case of power outages? What about sprinkler systems - is there anything special I need to do? I would appreciate any suggestions you might have for me.

I look forward to hearing from you-

Joan - New to Grand Junction, CO


Joan,

 

Welcome to Western Colorado, where the people are nice, the living is easy and our winters are really not that bad!  I don’t believe you will find our winters anything like what you are used to.  We do get snow, but it generally melts in a few days, if not later that afternoon when the sun comes back out!  Having a backup generator is not a bad idea, however I have never had need for one in my 25 years of living in Grand Junction.  Power outages are generally short lived and few and far between, as we don’t get ice storms here.  As you know, ice storms are generally the culprit of long power outages.  Although we see little severe winter weather, there are a few thing you do need to do to get ready for winter.

 

Your irrigation system needs to be winterized and blown out.   Your evaporative cooler (if you have one) needs to be drained and the water supply line blown out.  While you are at it, you need to make sure it is covered or at least the cooler vents are covered so you don’t lose heat through your vents all winter long.  It is also a good idea to close your crawl space vents (if you are on a crawl space) and cover them with insulation.   Clean out your gutters, roof valleys and downspouts to help reduce your chances of getting an ice dam and allow proper drainage when we do get snow and it is subjected to the freeze/thaw cycle.  These items should cover most of the things you need to do to prepare for winter that might be different from back east. 

 

My bet is, you will love it here and wonder why it took you so long to move west!  Welcome!

 

Dave Kimbrough

The Kimbrough Team

Have a question? Ask Dave!

Are Skylights a Good Idea in Older Homes?

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Dear Dave,

I own an older home that doesn’t have very many windows. I have been throwing around the idea of putting in a skylight or solar tubes. I have heard of people having problems with these things leaking, but I have also heard stories where people didn’t have any problems with them. What is your experience with skylights and/or solar tubes? Would you recommend putting them in a house?

Thanks for the help-

Bob - Grand Junction, CO


Bob,

 

I love them!  I love Skylights and solar tubes.   A dark home is NOT a good thing and bringing in more natural light is always a good thing!  You can’t get too much natural light, especially if your home tends to come off dark.   Skylights and Solar Tubes are a wonderful way to brighten up any home with few lingering issues.

There is always a chance for leaking when you penetrate your roof with a hole and then attempt to seal it up, however if installed properly I think you will find few, if any, lingering problems.  The added benefits certainly outweigh the risks and introducing more natural light will not only add value to your home, but also increase your quality of life!  Trust me, it will be some of the best money you can spend on your home.  It is time for you to come into the light!

Dave Kimbrough

The Kimbrough Team

Have a question? Ask Dave!