Will my neighbor's "stuff" impact my land's property value?

Dave,

I own a 20-40 acre lot, zoned agricultural, in Mesa County. There are parcels surrounding my land which have RV's, outbuildings, and various stuff that is somewhat hard to look at. Would those variables affect the value of my land?

Thank you for your professional reply,

Ronald, Area Withheld


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Ron,

Welcome to Western Colorado! One of the charming things about our area is the eclectic collection of properties that neighbor each other in the more rural areas of our valley, but one of the not so charming things about our area is the eclectic collection of properties that neighbor each other when one or more of those properties more closely resembles a junk yard or antique farm implement graveyard than an agricultural property with a residence. All kidding aside, there is a relatively high level of likelihood that it will negatively impact your property value. 

Part of what makes (and has made) Grand Junction and Western Colorado charming is the mix of not only property types and styles but also the potential mix of the socioeconomic status of our neighbors. In my opinion that mix is wonderful and unique, because the lack of socioeconomic segregation that is created by neighborhoods forces us to become neighbors and many times friends with people who may or may not be the same or live a similar financial lifestyle. As Grand Junction continues to grow, this hodgepodge aspect is becoming much less acceptable and frankly not very desirable by many. Before we get into the potential negative impact these properties may have on your home, let’s exhaust positive options to mitigate their potential impact. 

There may be things you can do to minimize the eyesore aspects of your neighbor’s properties! Maybe you can plant a row of trees or large hedge. You might be able to put up a new fence or put up your own outbuilding that will help shield some of your neighbors “stuff’. Before assuming, or letting me assume for you, that your property will be negatively impacted, work on positive solutions that may partially or completely mitigate the visible issues and even potentially increase your property's value. You might also approach your neighbors and discuss with them cleaning up their “stuff” so you no longer have to look at it. My guess is they may not even realize that it does not sit well with you and if they knew, they very well may be willing to clean it up. If that fails and you find that you have few options to mitigate their “stuff” then it is likely you will see some value erosion.

Let’s face it, for most, owning a farm or “real” agricultural property is not high on the desirability scale, however more executive and well-kept estate type settings with large homes are quite desirable and this is where the mix is met with less than open arms by many. If you have properties surrounding you that have collected RV’s, broken down cars, dilapidated outbuildings, dilapidated fences, long forgotten farm implements, etc., there is little doubt that it will negatively impact your properties value, unless you find just the right “butt for your saddle.”

If you find a buyer for your property that intends to collect RV’s, broken down cars, dilapidated outbuildings, worn out fences and long forgotten property implement tools then they are likely not to give it another thought and in this instance you will likely not have a significant, if any, negative impact on your property value.

If you find a buyer for your property that intends to collect RV’s, broken down cars, dilapidated outbuildings, worn out fences and long forgotten property implement tools then they are likely not to give it another thought and in this instance you will likely not have a significant, if any, negative impact on your property value. It may take longer to find that “right” person, but ultimately there lies the theory that would provide you an alternative to the negative property value impact of less than slightly neighbors.

Again, look for proactive and positive options to minimize the impact, but my guess is that if you can’t find ways to mitigate, there will be some negative impact on your properties value! I am hopeful you can find a way to work this out to your favor. Thanks for the question and best of luck.

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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Tips for Selling an Occupied Rental Home

Dave,

We decided to rent out one of our houses a few years ago. Now that the market is doing well and home values are up, we want to sell. The renter that currently lives there doesn’t want to purchase the home, but also doesn’t seem very keen about moving out. We’re worried that he will make the selling process more difficult than need be. What’s your advice for selling homes with tenants?

Thanks,

Rob, Orchard Mesa


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Rob,

Great question! Selling with a renter in place can be very tricky and can provide a significant obstacle if you don’t work to meet them in the middle. You will need their cooperation if you are going to be successful at selling and get anywhere close to market value. First, you must refer to your lease contract and use that as a guide on how to deal with your tenant during the process of selling. There should be language in the contract for how the process will work with your tenant, as far as showing and selling. If you still have months left on the lease, then obviously you will have to honor the remaining time and the new owner will inherit them as a tenant until the end of their lease. If they are under a month to month lease then things get easier as long as you provide ample notice (typically 30 days) of when they need to be out if the new owner does not want to keep him/her as tenants. Regardless of the contract language or length left on their lease, tenants typically (and understandably) are not thrilled about having the house they are renting sold!

Let’s face it, put yourself in their shoes…from a renters perspective, how is showing a home for the landlord and potentially having to move out ever something they are going to get too excited about?

Let’s face it, put yourself in their shoes…from a renters perspective, how is showing a home for the landlord and potentially having to move out ever something they are going to get too excited about? Cooperation is NOT in their best interest and let’s be honest again…the entire showing process (allowing stranger after stranger to march through your home) is the most stressful and inconvenient part of selling any home and your tenant is the one that will have to deal with showing process. It’s hard to take even when you are motivated to sell! With that in mind, there are many tactics you can use to help ensure that your renter is cooperative with the sales process. One way we encourage tenant cooperation is by showing them respect. Really respecting a tenant and treating them as if they were the homeowner goes a long way to gaining their trust and cooperation. Do your best to work around their schedule and family time, as long as their expectations are realistic and still allow ample days and times for showings. Being grateful is also a great way to gain their cooperation. Acknowledge that the process can be a painful one and that you are appreciative of their cooperation. Empathy is a powerful tool, especially when teamed up with respect. If respect, gratitude and empathy don’t get what you are after, you can always offer them incentives to cooperate. Just like kids, tenants love incentives.

selling-rental-property

If their rent is $1500 per month, offer to lower their rent by $300-400 a month until the home closes and watch their cooperation level increase significantly. $300-$400 a month is real money and a significant amount. It’s like a free car payment! You must tie this incentive to keeping the house clean and show ready and allowing showings to occur without resistance or the deal's off. Let them know you are going to check with the listing agent each month to evaluate their cooperation so you establish some accountability, but this tactic generally works well. You can also offer moving incentives, a one month buy out of their rental contract etc. Trust me, if you offer the tenant a month’s rent in payment upon move out, that’s pretty good incentive! Don’t be afraid to get creative with your incentives to encourage their cooperation. You can offer to hire a house cleaner, yard maintenance crew, daycare 3 days a week…whatever it takes to get the cooperation needed to sell. 

The bottom line, set up a win/win and you will generally get a better outcome. If it turns out to be only you who gains, expect resistance. A win/win is always the best way to get your desired result! 

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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Common Home Buying Questions Answered!

Baby we're moving in!

Dave,

I’m going to start looking at purchasing a home this fall and I have a few questions about the process. About how long does the home buying process last for most of your clients? I know you’ve worked with a lot of people and will have a pretty good idea of what the average time frame looks like. I’m planning several trips this fall and winter and want to make sure I’m settled into my new home before leaving. Also, about how many houses should I look at before making an offer on one I like? Is there a good number to use as a gage? If I find a home that checks off most items on my list, should I continue looking to make sure it is the best option or just put in an offer? I’ve heard you should go with your gut, but I’m not sure if that’s the best advice.

Thanks for your guidance!

Jeff, Fruita


Jeff, 

All great questions. The home buying process can be overwhelming if you let it, but you are starting the process by asking some great questions and clearly will be entering the fray with a laid out plan! Keep in mind that you are entering the housing market at a time that is moving quite briskly. When you are shopping for a new home in a hot market you have to throw some caution to the wind or you will constantly find yourself on the outside looking in and missing out on home after home. 

The length of time the home buying process takes depends on each individual. Everybody learns at a different pace and everyone evaluates homes and the market just as differently. It’s funny, sometimes we see a husband who is very cautious and a wife that is eager to pull the trigger! Their yen and yang is probably why they work great as a couple, but the same yen and yang can prove very difficult during the home buying process if they are not working synergistically. I would recommend you don’t put a time limit on yourself, but do make sure to spend enough time to get educated about the market and the houses in, above and below your targeted price point. This may take one day for some or 30 days for others. It purely depends on the person. 

Exterior of small American house with blue paint

The number of houses you look at is also individually subjective, but you need to see enough houses in and surrounding your targeted price point to make sure you can identify a good (or bad) deal when you see one! Your agent should be able to help you identify what is a good deal and what’s not, but you want to make sure you have a good feel for that on your own. 

Once you feel like you have a good feel for the market and start looking in earnest don’t be afraid to jump if you find the right one quickly! Listen, if my wife had not jumped when she did, I am confident I would have been swooped up by another looker shortly thereafter! All kidding aside, the good ones go fast (and that’s what I keep telling her) and if you wait, someone will swoop in and snag it! If you have educated yourself properly about the market then this is where you should trust your gut. Trusting your gut is easier to do, with confidence, when you have spent the time educating yourself about what you are doing.

If you find a house that checks off most, but not all of the items on your list, don’t just overlook it and pass it by because it may very well be the one.

Remember house hunting is full of trade-off’s. You will NEVER find the perfect house. Show me someone who is looking for the “perfect” house and I will show you someone who is wasting their (and their Realtor's) time and will likely end up very frustrated. If you find a house that checks off most, but not all of the items on your list, don’t just overlook it and pass it by because it may very well be the one. I believe when you see the one, you will know (or at least have a good idea) it’s the one! When I found my personal house it was a disaster, but I knew it was the one! It had many, many flaws, but they paled in comparison to its strengths and I could see the end result even back then. 

Bottom line, when you shop for your new home, be aggressive. Being passive won’t get it done if the house is new to the market. Sometimes it does take time, but don’t be afraid of fast because sometimes fast is the most fun and packs the biggest reward. You are going to do great and I have no doubt you will find the perfect house.

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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What does a price reduction mean from a home buyer's perspective?

loving couple looking at their home

Dear Dave,

We are actively shopping for a home. We have been looking for about 3 months now and just haven't found the right place for us. As we keep looking, we have noticed the price drop on a couple of the houses that we have looked at. What do you think it means if a house drops $10,000 in price? Would now be the time to go in and make an even lower offer on the house? Is it worth it to settle on a house that might not be exactly what we want, if we can get it for a really good deal?

There sure is a lot to consider when deciding to buy a house! Thanks for any feedback you could give us.

Jack and Stephanie, Grand Junction, CO


Jack and Stephanie,

Shopping for a home can be painstaking sometimes and requires the patience of Job to find just the right home. It is great that you can afford to be patient and have the time to really look, however, sometimes you can start to overthink things and get caught up in a vicious cycle of “It’s just not quite right." Be careful not to get so caught up in finding the “perfect” house that you miss out on the “perfect” home! There is a significant difference between a house and a home.

Searching for any home is a process of give and take and I would say that there is never a “perfect” house, but there are “perfect” homes!! There will be sacrifices and knowing that everything will not be perfect from a house perspective might help open up some avenues to finding your perfect home. In some price ranges, mainly over $400,000 in our market, you can see price reductions as there is a bit more inventory in those upper price points. In the price ranges under $400,000, our market is still moving quite brisk. 

Many times buyers interpret that a price reduction means a seller is desperate or there is a problem with the house. That is sometimes true, but typically it simply means that the seller is listening to what the market is saying.
Small cute craftsman American house wth green and white.

Many times buyers interpret that a price reduction means a seller is desperate or there is a problem with the house. That is sometimes true, but typically it simply means that the seller is listening to what the market is saying. I say it all the time, selling real estate is not rocket science! If a home is for sale and it is getting showings and no offers, the price is likely too high. If a home is for sale and is getting no showings either the marketing is bad or the price is too high. I will not get into all the reasons the price may be too high, as there are too many to list, but it is safe to say that if a house is a good deal there will always be someone there to buy it. Almost regardless of the market conditions. Price reductions are generally a sign that a seller is listening to what the market is saying, nothing more.

After a price reduction is a great time to make an offer, as generally price reductions open the door to a new pool of buyers and generate increased activity. Ultimately, when priced right, conditioned right and marketed right, any house will sell and being the first to make the offer increases your chances of getting it. After a price reduction, you may be met with some seller reluctance to reduce even further, however, if you don’t try you won’t know. Make the offer and see what happens. The worse that can happen is they say no. 

Your last question is a good one, should you settle if the deal is good enough? I always say that the house does not make the family, the family makes the house a home! If this is true then it does not matter in what or where you live. I am aware this is being overly simplistic so before you settle you have to ask yourself, “Can we truly be happy and at peace in this home?” If the answer is yes, then go for the good deal and you won’t look back. If the answer is no or I am not sure, then no deal is good enough or worth the risk! There is a lot to consider and it sounds like you are asking all the right questions. I bet you find the “right” home soon! 

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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Hire professional cleaners before listing your home?

Dave,

We’re putting our home on the market in the next couple of weeks and we’re wondering if we should have it professionally cleaned beforehand. It has a little dust here and there—nothing major—but we’re wondering if a good, deep clean will make it really shine (and hopefully sell faster). What would you tell your sellers to do?

Thanks!

Amber


Housewife cleaning carpet.

Amber,

Great question! There is no doubt about one thing that matters to every seller. Clean means MORE money and less time on the market! Our team sells homes faster (over 30% faster) and one reason is because we stress to our sellers, "Get it clean, clean, clean!" The more show ready your home is, the faster it will sell and as a bonus (literally), it will likely bring a higher price! So the answer to your question is yes, clean it yourself (if you are good at cleaning) or hire professionals to get it “over the top” ready for your initial blast of showings. This clean will also come across in your electronic footprint (photos & virtual tour) and most likely translate to more showings. Lastly, don’t just clean the inside, also pay attention to the outside of your home. 

Making your yard and landscape “shine” will complete the look both inside and out and indicate to the buyer that your home is not only well cared for inside, but also on the outside. Buyers love homes that they believe are well cared for and a dialed in home makes an awesome first impression! Clean it up and get ready to move!

Best of luck,
Dave Kimbrough

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If Our Home Sold in One Week Was it Underpriced?

Dave,

We listed our home for sale about three weeks ago and it sold in the first week for what we were asking. I was elated, but my husband keeps saying “we sold it too cheap.” I keep telling him it was just the right buyer, but he says it was underpriced. If our home sold in the first week, does that mean that it was underpriced? Just curious of how you view this, as I am sure you have run across this very situation. 

Jackie, Grand Junction

P.S. I am happy we sold it quickly, even if we could have gotten a little more.


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Jackie,

I have run across this many times over the years and this is one of the real estate questions that is almost always debatable. There is no doubt that every time we sell something quickly that I ask myself the question, “Did we price it too cheap?” I am here to tell you that sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes the answer is no and sometimes the answer is impossible to know. I can absolutely tell you that just because it sold quickly, does NOT necessarily mean that you sold it too cheap. 

There are times that we have sold a property within the first few days with multiple offers and in that case the answer would be, more than likely, yes. If something sells that quickly, with multiple offers then you probably could have gotten more money for it, because there are multiple people vying for the same product. The good news is that most of the time in multiple offer situations, we are able to get more than asking price. It usually works out to be about the same as it would have brought if priced higher originally. I really do believe that most of the time you are correct, it is just the right buyer and not because it was underpriced.  

I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t tell one of my customers, “There’s a butt for every saddle, we just have to find the right butt!” A little talked about fact, which I might point out is underappreciated, is that there is always a school of buyers in the market and they are circling, just like fish in a pond.

I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t tell one of my customers, “There’s a butt for every saddle, we just have to find the right butt!” A little talked about fact, which I might point out is underappreciated, is that there is always a school of buyers in the market and they are circling, just like fish in a pond. When new bait is thrown in, they all swim over to check it out and either take it or wait for something better. In our current market, there are more buyers than one would think. They are circling and waiting for just the right bait. When they see it, they will strike, but only if the price is right. Today’s buyers are not dumb, anything but. They are very smart and well educated on the market. When a property of interest comes up but is not priced appropriately, it will sit.  

I say it all the time, houses are like any other good to be sold. At a certain price all homes will sell and sell quickly, but the tricky part is establishing the market value for each one when no two are the same. That makes establishing a top of market value much more difficult than one might think. It is much easier to establish a market value for a particular item when there are thousands to be sold and they are all identical. In that case, it is simply the law of supply and demand, but when EVERY item is different with its own characteristics, good and bad, it becomes much more difficult. Even the same house in the same neighborhood has a different lot, view, finishes, condition etc. As you can see every house is different.

Honestly, sometimes I get it just right, sometimes I set the price too high and sometimes too low, but every time it is based on comparable sales in the area and my professional assessment of the unique values the property offers and I am sure your agent did the same. It really is as much art as it is science and you do not get them all right. If your home had not sold in the first week and been 60 days and no offer, your husband would have said it was priced too high. My best advice would be to be thankful it is sold, remind him that he agreed to the sales price and be thankful you can avoid the countless showings and constant cleaning! The bottom line is, it is sold and that is a good thing. 

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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Handling Showings When You Have Small Children

Handling Showings When You Have Small Children

Dear Dave,

We are preparing to put our house on the market in the next month or so and I need some advice. I have two small children and...can you guess where I might be going with this? We need to sell our home, but we also need to still live in it! I think our home is in an area that is going to attract buyers with their own kids, but I am just worried that I will get a call and have to be out of the house in 20 minutes. What are the main things to do if we get a really short notice about a showing?

I would appreciate any advice you might have for how best to handle showings and small children.

Thank you!

Jill and Danny


Jill and Danny,

This is a woman’s question!  I am going out on a limb here and guess that Danny is not the one who penned this question. Guys ask questions like, "what do we do if they call for a showing during the Bronco game?" or, "Do I really need to keep the garage clean?" Women are forward thinkers and this is just one more proof positive. Trying to sell your home and juggle a family with two small children can be difficult under the best of circumstances, however, trying to juggle your family’s life and still accommodate showings on short notice can be nearly impossible and often prove very frustrating. One thing to remember when establishing the showing instructions for your home is that you set the parameters and it is your Realtor’s job to enforce them.

As a real estate agent, I realize that although you are trying to sell your home, you and your family are still living there. It is important that you maintain your house as your home and keep the showing interruptions at a tolerable and family-friendly level. You want to make your home as available as possible, but you don’t want it so available that it turns into a big frustration and becomes stressful on the family. I am of the opinion that to accommodate every showing is not completely necessary. My recommendation would be to request a one-hour showing window and that notice is given about the showing at least four hours in advance. You can also add to the showing instructions that you would prefer 24-hour notice, if possible. Keep in mind, that if the timing of the showing doesn’t work great, you can also offer another time that is preferable and more convenient for you. It is likely that they will be able to shift their showing time to accommodate your needs, especially if you give them a couple of options. The most important part of the process is to make sure that the ground rules are clear and that the ground rules you set are enforced. One other note, ease the showing burden by making sure you’re showing instructions spell out times that it would be best to have no showings. If the kids go to bed at seven, then saying no showings after 6:30. This type of parameter will often remove those showing requests that prove the most untimely and frustrating.

Although you always want to be prepared for a showing, most buyers are more forgiving than you think. If a buyer understands that you have a couple small children, they are likely to be very forgiving for an unmade bed or toys that are not picked up off the floor etc.

Although you always want to be prepared for a showing, most buyers are more forgiving than you think. If a buyer understands that you have a couple small children, they are likely to be very forgiving for an unmade bed or toys that are not picked up off the floor etc. It might help to make one of the rooms a toy room while you are showing your home and have the kids help with keeping toys in the toy room. Keeping your home consistently clean while showing will help ease the stress for sure. Do the dishes as you use them, make the bed right when you get up in the morning, put your dirty clothes in the hamper instead of on your favorite chair when you take them off. Remember, little things add up to big things and doing the little things consistently will make a big difference when getting ready for showings. 

Let’s be honest, showing your house to strangers is not going to be fun under any circumstance, but setting realistic expectations for the showings will make your life much more enjoyable as you go through the process of selling. I have no doubt you’re going to do great because you’re ahead of the curve by thinking of these things now. Hope this helps.

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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Bang for Your Buck Rental Property Updates

Elegant bathroom with long white vanity cabinet

Dear Dave,

I have a rental house that needs a little updating. I’m considering working on the kitchen, but not going overboard. Do you have an opinion on the key features someone would be looking for in a modest rental? Or, are there other features that renters might find to be more important? The house is in an older downtown neighborhood and has a wide appeal to a number of different types of renters.

Thank you,

Dan - Grand Junction, CO


Dan,

The key to your “little updating” is making absolutely sure you do not go overboard. One of the biggest mistakes I have been guilty of making over the years is going overboard with updating both inside and out. My wife reminds me, you’re not going to live there. The tendency is to make them as nice as I can, within reason, so the renters want to stay longer and hopefully have a pride in living there. What ends up happening is, I over improve. My suggestion is to not follow my lead and make sure your updating is modest!

Renters like the same features and finishes as buyers so figuring out what will be appealing is simple.

Remember renters are buyers who just can’t buy. Renters like the same features and finishes as buyers so figuring out what will be appealing is simple. Kitchens and bathrooms are always a hot-button upgrade, as is new flooring and paint. If you are going to do some updating in the kitchen try making light fixture changes along with updated cabinet hardware and potentially a new backsplash. Those changes can be a nice bang for the buck return. If the cabinets are in bad shape, try painting them instead of replacing. Any changes you can make with a more contemporary vibe or a modern look is very popular right now. Another upgrade that can be cost-effective and should not be underestimated is outdoor living space. 

The addition of a back patio area or outdoor entertaining area is a very popular feature. It does not have to be extensive or expensive, but just a simple place to gather and entertain and if you are lucky it will also cut down on the yard that needs to be maintained. Outdoor entertainment or gathering areas are a great feature. As always keep in mind that flooring and paint always provide a great return on investment for any rental. All renters, but especially good renters always love to find a rental that has new flooring and paint. Just like buyers, the smell and look of new flooring and paint is very appealing and might just be the hook you need to reel them in. 

When it is all said and done, make sure that you keep it on the modest side and focus on these features to really maximize your bang for the buck return. Keep it simple and as always remember that clean and presentable are always your best renting feature and the cost of clean is VERY affordable. Hope this helps and best of luck!

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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