Will no bathtub in your master bathroom hurt resale value?

Elegant bathroom with long white vanity cabinet

Dave,

We are in the process of designing our new home and looking over many floor plans and we have noticed that many don’t have a bath tub in the master bathroom. We are now considering only putting a shower in our master bath, as neither of us are “tub” people and rarely, if ever, take baths. Our only hesitation is that this may cause problems down the road with resale and make our home harder to sell when that time comes. Any thoughts or insight would be very much appreciated. 

Dale and Kathy, Grand Junction


Dale and Kathy,

Great question! I often say that only 20% of the population are “tub” people, but those 20% are REALLY tub people and not having one in the master can be a significant hurdle. It is rare that not having a tub in the master bath is a show stopper, but it does happen on occasion. If you decide to eliminate the shower from the master bath, make sure you have a bath tub in one of the other bathrooms. This is your insurance policy and will likely make the impact much less significant for those weird tub people who have enough time to carve out of their lives to soak and relax! How dare they…

Really the tub is of significant importance to families that have young children. There are years that having a tub is really not an option, as showering toddlers is not overly enjoyable for either the parent or the toddler. Just make sure that you have at least 1 tub in the home to appease the hard core tub lovers. I remember when our kids were small and if we were in a position to only give them showers, our home would have been much less savory than it was!

Really the tub is of significant importance to families that have young children.

Here are a couple of parting shots concerning tubs. According to Nerdwallet.com a shower uses only 10-25 gallons of water where a bath uses upwards of 70. Showers are a conservationist’s friend and water conservation is only going to get more important. If you want to turn this around and make your shower a “selling feature” when the time comes, then consider making it LARGE with multiple heads! Spacious showers are in and people love having multiple shower heads. If you want to take it a bit further, turn your shower into a steam shower! Luxury showers are super popular and there are very few buyers who don’t consider them a high end feature and a true luxury. Another option is to take the space that would have been a tub and create a small sitting area! We have a small bathroom, ample but small, and I have long coveted a small sitting area in our bathroom. I would consider that to be a true luxury. To be honest some of the best time my wife and I have to talk is in the morning or evening while in the bathroom! Much of the time our lives are so busy that we don’t really have time to sit and talk where we are not distracted by televisions, cell phones, kids etc. and having a sitting area in the bathroom would be awesome! 

Bottom line, don’t sweat it as long as you leave at least one tub somewhere in the house and consider some of the other bathroom features to really turn your master bath into a selling benefit!! Best of luck!

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team 

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Sell your home this fall our wait until spring?

Dave,

Is it true that waiting until spring to sell your home will get you the best offers? We want to sell our home this fall, but don’t want to get shorted on value. Will we get the best price for our home or should we wait until the spring?

Anthony and Deb, Grand Junction


sell-your-home-this-fall-or-wait-until-spring

Anthony & Deb,

What a great question and one that we hear often, especially this time of year! This is also a difficult question to answer, however, there are good reasons to sell now and also some good reasons to wait and sell in the spring! Keep in mind that there are so many variables to consider that each decision should be made on a case by case basis. Before making your final decision, always contact your real estate professional and meet to decide the best way for you to proceed and maximize your return. I will give you some basics on selling now vs. waiting till spring.   

Selling now has its advantages, particularly considering the lack of competition you will face this time of year. Many sellers are pondering the same question you are and will ultimately decide to wait until spring to sell, thus leaving fewer homes on the market throughout the winter. Showing and selling during the winter months is less appealing to many because of the holiday season. Most families, and mine is one of them, value the holiday season as a time to reconnect and concentrate on friends and family. Trying to show and sell your home during this time can really put a damper on and increase the hassle factor of an already busy time of year! This clearly is a decision that your family will have to make. 

When it comes to competition, less competition is a good thing when selling! If a buyer has fewer options to choose from it significantly increases the chances of your home being chosen…at least that was always my thinking when it came to high school dances (I always hoped for low guy turnout!).

Another advantage to selling this time of year is the unique ability to showcase your house as a home! There is no better time to showcase the warmth and down home feel than winter and “homes” always win over “houses”.   There are several reasons not to sell during the winter and hold out until spring and increasing prices is one of them.

Generally in our market buyers start to emerge from hibernation sometime in mid-March to mid-April and the summer sprint begins. Our team experience is that during the months between April and June we typically generate the most contracts each year, and this is also the time when we will typically see prices really start to rise. You can generally anticipate good demand every spring and thus price your property a bit ahead of winter’s pricing curve. Keep in mind that this increase in demand also brings increased competition. Nothing does more for pushing prices upward than increased demand, thus why we see prices really start to rise throughout summer and level off a bit during winter – basic economic principles. If you are absolutely looking for maximum value, then waiting until spring is probably your safest choice, however, every year we sell many homes during winter that get max value, as they face less competition and show flawlessly. 

I hope this helps, but I can’t over emphasize to consult with your real estate professional and come up with an individualized plan and a plan that is best suited to you and your family. 

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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How to Make a Winning Offer in a Seller's Market

Home loan / reverse mortgage or transforming assets into cash concept : House paper model , US dollar hessian bags on a wood balance scale, depicts a homeowner or a borrower turns properties into cash

Dave,

We have been looking to purchase a new home for about 6 months and have written offers on 3 different homes, only to be beat out by other buyers on two of the homes and make an offer to unreasonable sellers who will not back down off their price at all and it has been on the market for almost a year. We are feeling a bit snake bit and just can’t believe we keep missing out. Do you have any secrets you can share with us that will help us get the next home we make an offer on? We know the market has improved, but we seem to keep finding the perfect homes that we can’t buy. We are twice jilted, once stonewalled and needing some help!

Louis and Rhonda, Grand Junction


Louis and Rhonda,

I will admit, it does sound like you are snake bit, but don’t lose faith. You are right, the market has continued to improve this year and we are all better for it, albeit the change has not been as dramatic as many would like. The market improvement you speak of, coupled with the relative lack of good, clean inventory that is properly priced makes shopping for homes difficult. 

Our current market is pretty much a sellers’ market, meaning it does not favor the buyer or the seller in the lower price ranges, but it does start leaning more and more heavily toward the buyer as the price range goes up. Therefore in the lower end of our market, say under $300,000, you often get good competition for new homes on the market that are priced attractively and in good condition. 

Here is a point to consider when you are shopping for a new home: buyers recognize a good deal. Just like when I was growing up, my mom was always careful with our money and what she spent it on. My Dad worked hard for what money our family did have and they would spend it wisely, but I promise when something was on sale, my Mom knew about it. She knew the market for whatever it was she was shopping for and she would watch and wait. Buyers are still the same today as they were back then…a real buyer, regardless of what they are shopping for, knows a good deal and when they see it they will act on it. Don’t be lulled to sleep thinking you are the only one who will see it. If something is a good deal or just the right fit you have to go after it and don’t be afraid of a little competition if it is the right home.

It is not always price… we have taken offers for less money because other terms were more important than a few thousand dollars.

It is not fun being beat out once on a property, nonetheless twice, so next time make sure your agent talks to the listing agent and finds out as much information as he/she can about the seller and the seller’s situation. Craft an offer that is very seller friendly. It is not always price… we have taken offers for less money because other terms were more important than a few thousand dollars. Maybe a long closing, maybe higher earnest money, it may be a preferred lender…the list goes on and on, but sometimes little things matter a bunch. Also, if it is just the right house and just the right fit for your family, don’t be afraid to spend a little more to secure it. Listen, this might sound crazy, but $5,000 over the life of a loan or living in a house for the next 10 years is really not much at all, if it is the right house. It equates to $25 per month, not the end of the world if it really is the RIGHT home. Don’t be afraid to compete and compete to win. My bet is that in 2, 5, or 10 years you won’t regret it. Sometimes we get so caught up on a good deal we lose sight of all the other tangible benefits. I am not saying throw money around and throw caution to the wind, but I am saying don’t be afraid to win a bidding war if it is just the right home. Sometimes, in life, happiness and what you want is worth the fight. 

As for the seller who won’t back down, my guess is it’s not the right house for you at the price they are asking and if that is the case, just move on. You will find the right house, it is waiting on you. When you find it again, you will know it, just don’t be afraid to fight for it!

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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Fix Your Home's Quirky Layout Before Selling?

header of a kitchen with green curtains and table with orange taulips in a vase

Hello Dave,

We removed 2 walls in our bungalow as it was quite dark. Now we are selling and the layout seems to be putting buyers off, my agent tells me to leave things as they are as someone will love it, but I need to sell fast and not sure if I should replace the stud walls. The bedroom doors also open into the living area which is a privacy issue. 

Thanks so much,

Susie


Beautiful Living Area with Coffee Table and Couch of New Home.

Susie,

Shoot…it’s hard when you make changes to your home that you are confident will make it better only to find out that you actually might have made things worse. If your feedback has been consistent that the change you made is now a hindrance to the house selling, then you might consider putting the walls back up. Before you make any hasty decisions, make sure that the layout feature that is putting buyers off is indeed the wall removal and not the fact that the bedroom doors open to the living area! I have seen it time and time again, if the master bedroom is visible from the living area when the bedroom door is open it is a major buyer turn off. A “funky” floor plan is worse than a floor plan that shows dark, but identifying exactly what is causing the hesitation is crucial. The last thing you want to do is fix the wrong problem! Regardless of the floor plan quirk that is holding the house back, often times it is hard for a buyer to see how to fix the problem. Actually, even if the buyer can identify it, they do not have the expertise or know anyone who can make the changes for them to make the home more livable. Obviously, as your agent suggested, you always have the option to just wait it out, rather than fixing the problem.

I understand your agent’s perspective and advice as I always say, “there’s a butt for every saddle” and if you wait long enough, you will eventually find the right butt and that butt will love it! 

I understand your agent’s perspective and advice as I always say, “there’s a butt for every saddle” and if you wait long enough, you will eventually find the right butt and that butt will love it! Sometimes waiting is not the best option, especially if you can easily correct the issue and make the property more sellable and “now ready.” This time of year waiting takes on a whole new meaning, especially for those who wish to sell quickly, since we are headed into the winter months. As we creep closer to the holidays, patience can start to take on a whole new meaning and playing the “waiting game” can be a bit of Russian roulette. A house that shows dark is not a good thing, especially in a bungalow where space is at a premium. In smaller spaces it is always a best practice to try and have it show as bright as possible! One, cost effective, way to add more natural light to dark spaces is by adding solar tubes. A solar tube can bring lots of natural light to any dark area at a very affordable price. If you decide to put the walls back, then adding solar tubes may be an effective answer to your “dark” problem. 

Regardless of what the problem is, you are doing the right thing by listening to your feedback and proactively trying to correct the problem. Identify the real problem. Get it fixed. Add a solar tube. Watch it sell! Best of luck! 

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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Common Closing Costs for Home Sellers

Dave,

We are currently in the process of selling our home and it just went under contract—yay! We want to know what to expect financially from this point forward. What are common closing expenses for sellers?

Thanks!

Cheryl, Palisade


Real estate investment

Cheryl,

Oh my gosh, this is such a great question and one that I get ALL the time! As a seller you have the privilege of paying the sales commission you agreed to with your listing agent, assuming your home is listed with a Realtor. The other costs associated with selling your home (outside of the real estate commission) that are the seller’s responsibility are varied, but you can almost always calculate an additional 1% if your sales price is UNDER $300,000 and about .7% if your home is over $300,000. If you calculate it that way you will, almost always, come up with a slight over estimate of your closing costs. 

The most common cost that is overlooked is your property tax. What most people don’t fully realize, as I did not prior to becoming a real estate agent, is that our property taxes are paid in arrears. It’s probably something most folks just don’t think much about and it often times is a bit of a surprise. How it works is, the title company will pro-rate the current taxes from January 1 to the day of closing and you will have that amount debited on your settlement sheet. The two largest debits you will see (outside of real estate commissions and your mortgage payoff) will be the taxes and the title insurance policy. Title insurance simply indemnifies that the title to the property will be passed from you to the new owner in good standing and free of any liens. For a $250,000 home you can expect this expense to be in the $900-$1000 range, these costs are on a sliding scale based on purchase price.

The most discussed fee on the seller’s settlement statement is often the charge for water & sewer. The bills for water and sewer, if left unpaid, can be held as a lien against the property and thus MUST be settled at the time of close to ensure the passing of a clean title.

The most discussed fee on the seller’s settlement statement is often the charge for water & sewer. The bills for water and sewer, if left unpaid, can be held as a lien against the property and thus MUST be settled at the time of close to ensure the passing of a clean title (as discussed above). In order to ensure that the amount that is owed is covered, the title companies always hold out an amount significantly over (generally around $200) your typical water and sewer bill. This ensures there is enough to pay it off and they will refund the difference back to you shortly after close. This one always creates a fair amount of discussion about how you never have had a bill that high, but believe me they will refund you the difference in short order. Always remember that your other services like gas, electric, telephone, television, etc. are your responsibility and you should call 24–48 hours prior to close and let them know you will be moving and the service will be transferring to a new owner on the date of close.

One last tip. Your mortgage statement always provides a payoff for you to reference, however the day it is printed you start accruing interest so your payoff is always higher than what is printed on your statement. I always tell our sellers to just add one extra payment to the amount on the settlement statement and that will provide a safe payoff amount. In my experience when closing day comes people are happy they overestimated and get a little money back, rather than under estimate and have to go digging for that little extra! I hope this help and by following these guidelines you should have a safe estimate of your closing costs.  Congratulations on getting your home under contract and best of luck on your new journey!

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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Contingent Offers—To Accept or Decline?

Real estate agent offer hand for customer sign agreement contract signature for buy or sell house. Real estate concept contact agreement concept

Dave,

We recently, about a month ago, turned down an offer on our home that was contingent upon them selling their current home. They asked us to take our home off the market for two months while we waited for their home to sell. They had already had their home on the market and we decided we did not want to risk having our home off the market while we just waited for their home to sell. We asked our Realtor last week if they had sold their home yet and found out they did have it under contract, but have decided to purchase a different home. 

We are very frustrated and feel like they should have come back and put a contract on our home, as they said they would surely bring us another offer when their home was sold. We just feel like we have been left at the alter and now are starting over. What should we have done differently? 

Jake and Laura, Grand Junction


Jake and Laura,

This is one of those classic darned if you do and darned if you don’t, that is the lesson learned from contingent offers.  When we receive a contingent offer, it boils down to a calculated risk. You have to work with your agent and determine, to the best of your ability, how probable it is that their home will sell? If the buyer is coming from the Denver area, it is HIGHLY likely their home will sell quickly, so the risk is VERY limited, as that market is very hot! When deciding to take a contingent offer, it also is dependent on how good the offer is. If it is a good offer, then sellers are generally willing to take on a little more risk. As it is with every contingent offer, you must decide if the probability of their home selling outweighs the risk of taking their offer and waiting to see if their home sells. Remember, you always have options.

Your first option, the option you chose, is to not accept their offer with a contingency and count on them coming back when/if their home goes under contract. My experience is that few people come back after they have been spurned. Remember, buying a home is an emotional process and you want to capture that buyer while they are emotionally invested in your property. When you turned down their offer, they may have felt like they had been spurned and started to look around again at competing homes, in essence, looking for a new partner. Bad analogy, I know, but you get my point. I have found it a better option to find some common ground to work with them on, which indicates that you want to sell the home to them, but you also need them to recognize your need to continue trying to sell your home if someone else comes along and wants to buy it.

 I have found it a better option to find some common ground to work with them on, which indicates that you want to sell the home to them, but you also need them to recognize your need to continue trying to sell your home if someone else comes along and wants to buy it.

This leads us to other options, the 48 hour and 72 hour first right of refusal. This means that you continue your efforts to sell and if you get another offer, they have 48 or 72 hours, you determine the length of time here, to remove the contingency on the sale of their home. If they cannot remove the contingency, then you can sell it to your new prospective buyer. Most buyers appreciate the fact that you, like them, are looking to sell your home and understand your need to take the first ready, willing and able buyer who will meet your terms for sale. You have now shown them that you want to sell your home to them and they are likely to receive this response in a positive fashion. They are now still emotionally connected to your home and feel like the next showing on their home may deliver a contract and get them into your home. They are still invested and still working toward the goal of getting their home sold, so they can purchase yours. Again, it has to make sense and it is a calculated risk.  

The key to everything is the ability to continue marketing the property and solicit other offers. There are several creative ways to create a win-win for the buyer and seller and have everyone involved, agents included, working toward a common goal. 

Remember, you turned down their offer, there is nothing that says they can’t change their mind and that is exactly what they did. You ran that risk when you turned them down and played hard ball. I do, at times, recommend taking a contingent offer, but often leave the seller with the contractual ability to continue to sell their home should they receive another offer and in my mind this is key. Sometimes you have to be willing to take on a little risk, as long as it does not leave you out of the game. I hope this helps and I am hopeful another offer is right around the corner.

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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We've had dozens of showings, but our home just won't sell...please help!

Front door with welcome mat

Dave,

We’ve had our house on the market for several years - with four different realtors. We’ve raised the price; we’ve lowered the price. According to our current Realtor, it is priced right. Comps are difficult because our house is unusual; most people seem to want a cookie cutter house. We’ve followed all the usual recommendations - cleared clutter, reduced furniture, painted, opened windows, turned on lights, have great photos and hired a stager. We’ve had dozens of showings and three main complaints: it’s a wood frame house, it has too many stairs (it’s 3 stories, 4100 sq. ft.), and it’s a reverse layout (millennials do not want children on a different level than parents). None of these can be changed without a major remodel. Our house is old (40 years - with us as original owners) and needs updating, but it is carefully maintained. I would appreciate any suggestions. If we lower the price anymore, we will be giving it away.

Lynn, Location Withheld


Lynn,

Where to start? Your dilemma is one I have seen more times that I would care to admit and unfortunately it is somewhat likely you will not appreciate my solution to your situation. Although your current Realtor thinks your home is priced right, I will also assume that the previous three agents thought it was priced right and were apparently wrong since it still has not sold! One thing about your situation that is a little different is that typically in our market if a home is not priced correctly the market will eventually catch it. What I mean is that the market has been appreciating steadily and that over time it will eventually catch even the most overpriced homes…unless the pricing is just totally unrealistic. As I provide information to help you evaluate your situation keep in mind that when selling a home you can only control three things: how well your property is marketed, how well it is priced and the overall property condition. That’s right, when you boil down all the extraneous things people want to make selling a home about, these are the three primary things you can ultimately control, or have influence over, that will positively or negatively impact your ability to sell. 

Covered front porch of theold craftsman style home.

It sounds as though from a condition standpoint you have gone to great lengths (clearing clutter, reducing furniture, painting and hiring a stager) to ensure your property is in great condition and is well prepared for showings. I am also going to read between the lines that since you have had “dozens” of showings that your Realtor(s) have marketed it sufficiently enough and your photos are good enough for buyers to find it and choose to come take a look. Ultimately a market stat that I have heard and used over the years is “for every 13 showings you should have an offer." I realize that that number may be 9 showings for some houses and 16 showings for others, but ultimately if you have had “dozens” of showings and no offers, you likely have a pricing problem.

To be totally honest, unique and dated can be a lethal combo. You narrow your buyer pool by having a home that has a “unique” layout and one that is in need of a cash infusion. The complaint about kids being on a different level is a very real issue for families with young kids (under 10). If a family has 3 teenagers then they are much more open to having them on a different level, but young kids and stairs everywhere is just not desirable, regardless of the generation. Let's also put into perspective the idea of updating a 4100 square foot house. The bigger the house, the more expensive it is to update. Updating a 4100 square foot home is much more expensive than updating a 2500 square foot house and to a younger family (and that is who buys large homes with multiple levels) the cost can be very intimidating and keep them from pulling the trigger. In order to “lure” them to buy, there has to be some significant monetary upside to putting in the work and money to bring it up to current tastes.  

I believe your answer is relatively simple if your willing to hear it. You can keep the price where it is and eventually the market will catch you and you will find just the right butt the saddle or you can lower your price to make it more appealing to your target buyer.

I believe your answer is relatively simple if your willing to hear it. You can keep the price where it is and eventually the market will catch you and you will find just the right butt the saddle or you can lower your price to make it more appealing to your target buyer. To really solve the puzzle you must also find out what the buyers are buying instead of your home. Knowing what they are buying will tell you a lot about where you stand in relation to your competition and what you need to do to become more competitive. Remember, it is a competition and your perception of “giving it away” is clearly not the perception of the buyer pool thus far or your home would already be sold. Several years on the market, in this market, is too long. Stop and listen to what the market is telling you! Don’t hold it against me, I warned you that you might not like my answer! Make some adjustments to get more competitive and view your home through the eyes of your buyers and I bet your results will change.   

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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Should You Leave Up Trophy Mounts When Selling Your Home?

Dear Dave,

My husband is a big game hunter and he has some incredible mounts in our home. Should we remove them or is it ok to leave them up? Of course, I think we have too many and he thinks they look awesome and they are prized possessions.

Betty, Fruita


Deer antlers on old wooden table outside.

Betty,

This is a common theme for homes in Western Colorado. The fact that we live in Western Colorado and not Chicago, not that there is anything wrong with Chicago, makes trophy mounts more acceptable but there is a fine line of too much. Hunting is a way of life and not just a hobby, but in many cases, it borders on obsession. Many hunters like to showcase their mounts and in most cases, I am great with it.

If your home has vaulted or volume ceilings then having a “mount or two” will generally be fine. Again, look at your home through the eyes of a buyer and ask your real estate agent what they recommend. 

The key here is to make sure the mounts do not overpower your room. If you have low ceilings, there is no doubt it is better to remove and store them. If it is truly a “trophy” and you have low ceilings, it will make the room appear much smaller and more closed in. 

If your home has vaulted or volume ceilings then having a “mount or two” will generally be fine. Again, look at your home through the eyes of a buyer and ask your real estate agent what they recommend. The idea is to accentuate or complement your room and decor, not overpower it. Happy home selling and continued happy hunting!! Just sell it before he has a chance to add another one this fall! : )

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team- RE/MAX 4000, Inc.

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