Which Decking Material is Best for Resale Value?

Back yard house exterior with spacious wooden deck

Dear Dave,

 We have been considering a deck “make over” in the spring and are undecided about what type of material to use for our decking. We really have no intentions of moving, however always have the “what would be best if we did have to sell?” mentality when making home improvements.  What are your thoughts on composite deck material, like Trex, versus a standard redwood or natural wood decking material? I want something that is going to last, add value to my home and stand up to kids and dogs. I am leaning towards a Trex type decking, but it seems to cost a lot more.

Thanks for the help!

Joel - Orchard Mesa, CO


Joel,

Good question and paying attention to your outdoor living space is VERY smart.  It is nice you can make this decision based on what you want and not have to make the decision based primarily on monetary return will be. Since you are going to keep living there, then the return on your investment is not paramount and getting what you want becomes a larger part of the equation. Outdoor living space has become increasingly important and buyers will absolutely pay more money for a home if the outdoor living area is top notch and dialed in! Decks can be an awesome feature on any home, especially in Western Colorado where we enjoy over 300 days a year of sunshine. A deck can also be a huge liability to any home if it is in disrepair or in bad need of a major overhaul. Much of your decision should be based on your homes setting, price range, and your budget.

What do I mean by your setting? Your home’s setting is a crucial part of deciding how far to take this endeavor. If you back up to wonderful views, a private field, the Gunnison River or Valley floor then spending extra money will pay off and might pay off in a big way. If you have a special setting then the value of an awesome outdoor living area takes on a higher value and will become a significant selling feature in the eyes of future buyers. In turn, if you are located in a typical neighborhood setting with smaller yards and rows of fence line, then the importance of the material is less important as you are not really capitalizing on a special setting. The location of the deck on your home is also a major player in this decision. How does the deck lay out in reference to the rest of your home’s living space? If you have a large deck that extends from your kitchen/eating or main living room and is easily usable in the day to day and for entertaining, then the importance is heightened. If, for instance, your deck is off the side of your home and accessible only through the office then the importance is significantly diminished and I would suggest finding another feature to highlight.  

The price point of your home is also a major player in the decision making process.  The higher the home value, the more likely the extra cost of a Trex decking or more exotic natural wood will be appreciated.

The price point of your home is also a major player in the decision making process.  The higher the home value, the more likely the extra cost of a Trex decking or more exotic natural wood will be appreciated. I have seen some amazing exotic wood and Trex wood decks that were no doubt a serious selling feature and were significant value ads, especially for those who live and covet the outdoor lifestyle. The one thing you do not want to do is over build or over improve your home and the value of homes in your neighborhood. If you add a $10k deck to a $160,000 home it is not as likely you will get all that money back.  In turn, if you add a $25k deck to a $400,000 home there is a good chance you can recover those costs.  

The bottom line is this, if you are looking for durability, low maintenance and can afford the larger investment then I would go with a high quality TREX product. Be careful of going with a copycat product, not all composite decking is created equal. If you are looking for a more budget friendly option, go with natural wood and water seal it every year to ensure it looks great for years to come and does not become a maintenance issue. Even if you go with a pressure treated natural wood deck and keep it maintained it will look great and last for years. You don’t have to go expensive to be fabulous, but you will have to maintain it. I hope you love your new deck and it provides incredible memories for years to come!

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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From a Value Perspective is an Older Home as Good as a New Home? 

Modern new light interior of kitchen with white furniture and dining table.

Dave,

My wife and I are moving this spring. She likes the charm of older homes, but I tend to like new construction homes. We’ve talked a lot about the pros and cons of each but when it comes down to it, we’ve decided that value is the “make it or break it” for us. From a value perspective is an older home as good as a new home? 

Thank you!

Betty & Steve, Grand Junction


Betty & Steve,

Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and very subjective to “what” value means to you. What you value, another may not, and thus the reason true value is a very individual determination and really must be done on a case by case basis. Keep in mind that “value” to some people is measured in happiness, peace, comfort, or a myriad of other things and may only be minimally impacted by monetary considerations! For others, monetary value is the “bottom line”. How much will the value go up on one house vs. the other? For the purposes of this article we will simply look at the monetary perspective, as that is typically the main goal when people are seeking information about “value”.

I would say, in my experience, appreciation will be greater on newer homes than it will on ones that are older. This is of course a broad generalization and not an “absolute truth”. For example, if you have two homes in the same neighborhood and one is 4 years old and one is 15 years old, the newer home will gain value at a comparatively accelerated pace. This does not mean that the older home is not a good home, it simply means that the newer home is most likely more in tune with current buyer wants, finishes, and floor plans because it is only 4 years old. The house that is 4 years old most likely has oil rubbed bronze or brushed nickel finishes and the older one may have polished brass fixtures. It is simply not as up to date and thus will not gain value at the same pace. 

On the flip side, while we are on the topic of value, your best value in the long run can also be the older home! If you can purchase the home that is 15 years old for a good price, change out some of the dated features and finishes and bring it up to a more current look and appeal then your best “value” may be the older home that just needs some cosmetic updating. Let’s add one more twist, the older home has an incredible view and the newer one does not. Which one will do better given that change in scenario? I would say, all things being equal and age being the only major difference, the home with the view will outperform the newer home!  Homes with unique features or benefits tend to have exaggerated value gains. As you can see, there are so many things that go into measuring value that it gets very difficult to determine which houses will perform best over time from an appreciation perspective.

You have to evaluate each one on a case by case basis and by using all the factors involved to make the best decision possible at that point in time.

You have to evaluate each one on a case by case basis and by using all the factors involved to make the best decision possible at that point in time. Go with the one you love and the one that you will most enjoy living in and don’t focus only on monetary value, but  lifestyle, peace and happiness value! Focus on your house being your home and don’t worry about what you can’t control, like the future of the real estate market! Live happier, live longer! Now that’s what I would call “real” value. Hope this helped a little! Best of luck.

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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5 Tips for Getting a "Good Deal" When Buying a Home

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 recently married and are hoping to start a family in the next year or two and want to purchase our first home before having children. We currently rent, but feel the time is right to begin looking for our first home. It is extremely important to us that we get a good deal. Getting a good deal is number one on our list of priorities, as it will help ensure that our home purchase will not only turn out to be a great place to live, but also a good investment when we eventually need to sell. What tips can you provide for getting a good deal?

Stephanie and Mark, Fruita


Stephanie and Mark,

Great question as getting a good deal is always at or near the top of many home buyer list. First make sure you define your idea of a “good deal”. There is a difference between a “good deal” and a “steal”. Steals are a lot harder to come by and there are many lost good deals in the quest of a getting a steal. I have heard a saying that says, you make your money when you buy, not when you sell and I believe it to be true. There are several things you can do to help ensure that you get a good deal when you purchase.

  1. Get Educated: The more you know about the market and the price range in which you are purchasing, the more likely you are to get a deal when you purchase. Knowledge is power and part of getting a good deal is being able to recognize one when you are presented with it and making a realistic offer.  I have seen many a “good deal” lost because the buyer did not recognize the deal and did not make a realistic offer.

  2. Find a Knowledgeable Real Estate Agent:  Notice I said knowledgeable. Again an agent who can help you not only find, but identify a good deal is a huge asset. You need an advocate who is scouring the market for you, looking for that “just right” deal.

  3. Use a Reputable Local Lender and Get Prequalified: Once you have found your “good deal” you need to be ready to pounce and pounce with confidence that the sellers can appreciate. A reputable lender behind you will help you beat out other bidders. Trust me, sometimes it’s not all about how much the offer is, sometimes it’s more about how likely is it to close. The prevalence of fly by the seat of their pants lenders adds weight to an offer backed by a reputable and trusted lending partner.

  4. Be Decisive: Part of the art of getting a good deal is the skill of being decisive. Don’t hem n’ haw, when you decide to act, act decisively and don’t look back. Steps 1-3 above will help you be decisive. I have also seen many deals get lost, while waiting on a decision.

  5. Get a Good Inspection: Part of getting a good deal is making sure that your good deal is still a good deal after you close. Your good deal, may not be such a good deal if it needs a new roof after living there 6 months.

These are not the only things that you need to do to help ensure you get a good deal, but they are in my mind the most important. If you follow these 5 simple steps, you will be well on your way to getting that deal in which you seek. Much success in your pursuit of the often elusive, but always rewarding good deal! Happy New year! 

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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Would it be Better to Sell or Rent Out Our Home?

Dave,

How do you decide if someone should sell or rent their home? I was recently promoted at my job and we’re scheduled to move to Denver in about two months. Do you have a set of questions we can ask ourselves that will help us know if we’d be better off renting or selling? We’d really appreciate any guidance you have to give!

Derek, Grand Junction


Exterior of small American house with blue paint

Derek,

Congratulations on your promotion! A promotion generally means there are good things ahead for you and that is exciting. There are so many things to consider when you are deciding whether it is best to rent or sell? I will give you a few questions to ask yourself and these should help you evaluate which decision is best for you and your family. Keep in mind this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless other things to consider, but these are the biggies. 

  1. Are you cut out to be a landlord? Some people are and some are not. You have to accept that your renter will not take care of your old home like you did. For some this is one item proves more stressful than some can handle.

  2. Will the property cash flow and if not, can you afford for it to be short month after month?  Remember If your mortgage is $1,600 per month and you can only rent it for $1,300, you will be coming out of pocket $300 per month (plus maintenance) and that will quickly add up to over $4000 -$5000 per year. Can you afford the payments in full if it sits empty for a month or two or three? 

  3. If your renter does not pay or are constantly late with their payments, are you built to handle conflict? Do you have the personality to evict them? 

  4. Do you have the time to manage a property from out of the area? Renting a property out will take extra time, some more than others. Answering phone calls, scheduling maintenance, repairs, property checks…all this takes time and doing it from afar can be really risky.

  5. Are you pretty sure that the market is headed in the right direction? If you are holding on and the market is trending down the upside for renting it out will only be if you are going to hold it long term. 

Remember, not all renters are created equal. Some are easier than others. If you decide renting is the right choice, but don’t want the potential headache you can always hire a property manager. Trust me, it can be the best 10% you ever spend! Even though renting might be an appealing option, don’t underestimate the upside to just selling and moving on.

If you decide to just sell you can walk away and move on and that can be huge! If you don’t plan to come back, then you are just prolonging the inevitable and in many instances just ripping the band aid off is the best option…even if it is painful at the time! Don’t undervalue the freedom of being able to leave the old house in the rear view mirror. If you have equity in your home, you can use that equity for a down payment on your next home. Selling also relieves you of the stress of dealing with renters and the maintenance of a home that you are no longer living in. 

Honestly, my experience has shown that selling is the most popular choice if you are moving out of the area. If you do decide to rent it out, I would highly recommend you hire a property manager and NOT go the “do it yourself” route. Best of luck with the new gig and Merry Christmas!

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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Bang for Your Buck Winter Renovations

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

Dear Dave,

We are considering selling our home in the spring. Do you have a seller’s checklist or something that you give to people to help them figure out what will add the most value when they sell a house?

We’re just trying to decide if there is anything we can do this winter to help get more money for our house when we do sell.

Thanks for the help!

Don and Linda - Grand Junction, CO


Don and Linda,

YES!  No specific checklist, but you can make a huge difference over the winter! Maybe you should wait until after football season is over, at least until college football is over. Then you can start taking advantage of the cold winter months…INSIDE. Where you can really make a difference and use the "indoor" months to build equity! There are countless things you can do and not break your bank while doing them.

The first two things I always recommend is to evaluate your interior paint and floor coverings. Nothing says “come buy me” like new paint and carpet. Who doesn’t love the smell of new paint and carpet? It is almost as good as the smell of my Moms homemade Pecan Pie!  Mom, I’m just kidding, your Pecan Pie smells slightly better. Anyways, new paint and new flooring are BIG bang for the buck items and if you have a steady hand you can paint most everything yourself. The next big “bang for your buck” improvement is lighting and plumbing fixtures. Again, you don't have to rob a bank to make a huge impact.

Lighting and plumbing can make a huge difference and not break the bank. The beauty of Lowes, Home Depot and other DIY stores is that it has made cosmetic home renovation easy and inexpensive. 
Home_Kimbrough.jpeg

Lighting and plumbing can make a huge difference and not break the bank. The beauty of Lowes, Home Depot and other DIY stores is that it has made cosmetic home renovation easy and inexpensive. Try this on for size, while you are replacing the light fixtures, jump outside the box and get crazy by getting rid of all the old brass door knobs and door hinges.  If that is not enough, paint all those old dark brown doors white and just watch your hallways expand before your very eyes. These easy corrections are all inexpensive and offer a great return on investment.  The last inexpensive fix is to get rid of any and all “vintage style” wallpaper. I am not talking about the new styles that are in vogue, but the old Brady Bunch stuff. You know what I am talking about…get rid of it. Vintage IS coming back in, but not that kind of vintage! You will not have even a minute of fun doing it, but you will be so glad you did when it is over. If you are looking for a more significant and costly project, you have options there as well.

Bathrooms and kitchens top the list for “whole room” remodels. A renovation of these two rooms will have the most significant impact on both the look and feel of your home, but also your wallet. You can make big changes with new counter tops, back splashes, tile, sinks etc. If you can stay away from having to completely replace the cabinets you might just have some money left over for retirement. The goal here is to make an impact but spend your money wisely. You want to make high impact changes for low impact cost.  Follow these guidelines and I will almost guarantee you will be thrilled with your return on investment.

Hope this helps and I would bet that by using the winter to "prepare" your home for sale you will love the results!

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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Tips for Making a Strong Offer on a Home

Large American beautiful house with red door.

Dave,

We’ve got a few questions on home prices. Do Realtors list homes at a higher price knowing that most offers will come in below asking price or are homes listed for close to their estimated value? We are going to be looking for a home in the upcoming months and are wondering how we should determine what to offer on a home if we find one we like. How do you determine value and what to offer? Furthermore, what happens if an offer gets rejected? We are just trying to figure out how this part of the home buying process works. We love reading your column each week!

Thanks,

Jody and Tom, Grand Junction


Jody and Tom,

Ok, you do have a few questions, but they are all good ones! I will do my best to answer them all, but excuse my brevity as my space is limited. The way Realtors price homes varies from agent to agent and market to market. Some agents will do just what you are talking about, price the home above market value expecting a lower offer. With this technique the agent builds in cushion to come down when the lower offer arrives, but also risking that the price is far enough above market value that it gets skipped over by prospective buyers. Other agents will try to price the home in line with sold comparable properties, within the past 6-12 months is best, and then adjust up or down depending on market conditions and competing listings.  Pricing is at least as much art as is it is science and there are a hundred ways to skin a cat. The more you try to figure it out, the more confusing it will likely be. Your primary goal should be to not try and decide how they priced the property, but have your agent help you determine a fair price for the home from comparable property sales and similar active properties and make what you believe to be a fair offer.

When you find a property you want to make an offer on, your agent will be able to help you determine a fair offer price.

When you find a property you want to make an offer on, your agent will be able to help you determine a fair offer price. I find that most buyers look at quite a few homes before purchasing. By the time they decide to make an offer, they have a good feel for the market and know what asking prices are and are not appropriate for the market conditions. If you and your agent determine that the price is higher than it should be then feel free to provide the comparable properties you used to determine your price when you make your offer. Many times the list price is not the agent’s suggested price, but the price the seller “needs” or “wants” in order to sell. Keep in mind that price may or may not be in line with the market, but providing a thought out analysis for why you are offering your price might help “make your case” with the seller and the seller’s agent. Whenever you make an offer at less than asking price you always run the risk that it will not be well received and even rejected.

Rejected offers are never the goal, but depending on your offer price sometimes they are the only way for a seller to respond. If the offer is insultingly low (greater than ten percent) then a rejection may be the best way to respond. A rejected offer by the seller can be received by the buyer in one of two ways. It will either be received as “take a hike” or it will be received as “reload and try again with something closer.” On a rejection, the choice of how you respond will be up to you and dependent on how much you really love the home. You can either reload and try again with a higher offer, or move on to your next choice! Keep in mind there is no playbook for how these things work and that is why the agent you choose to work with is of the utmost importance.

Choosing an agent who is experienced and has a proven track record is a critical part in helping you pre-determine your desired result. If you are out to sea and find yourself in the middle of a storm, big or small, would you rather have a captain that has been there, done that and survived or a green horn who not only does not know what to do, but is looking to you for answers and direction? The answer is obvious. Experience is undervalued when the going is easy, but there is no doubt about its value when the going gets tough! How about that for some free life advice while answering a real estate question! It’s because of questions like yours that this column exists, so thanks for reading. Best of luck.   

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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Should I Repair My Roof Before Selling?

red door and cat

Hi Dave,

I am planning to put my town home up for sale in the next 12-18 months. I’ve done a lot of remodeling on the inside and am happy with the results. Over the 5 years I’ve lived in this town home, the roof has suffered from the frequent high winds. 

In your opinion, would potential buyers be turned off by this (it’s most noticeable from the rear of the home and not so much in the front), even if I offered a lower price to reflect the need for a new roof? Or should I bite the bullet and spend the money now, even though my experience with local roofers was a nightmare when I had to have a minor repair done earlier this year? I dread dealing with replacing the whole roof, but I don’t want to turn buyers off either. Your input would be appreciated.

Cathi, Grand Junction


Cathi,

One thing I have learned over the years is, there are a few basic characteristics every home buyer expects as a “given” or “minimum expectation” when purchasing their home and having a functional roof is one of those expectations. Buyers expect, and rightly so, that the roof is in good condition with a minimum of 3-5 years remaining on the anticipated life expectancy. Because this is a basic expectation for any buyer, you can assume that very few, if any, are going to be willing to pay significantly more for the home because the roof is new or newer. In my experience a new roof has roughly the same value add as a 15 year old roof! If your roof is new the buyer may appreciate that it is in better condition than a competing house and this may help it sell somewhat faster, but as long as the life expectancy is more than 5 years don’t expect to reap any real tangible monetary benefits. However, conversely a roof in poor condition will likely cost you thousands more than the actual replacement costs! 

After 17 years of experience, here is what I would do…First, get the roof inspected by a licensed roofer of your own, before you go to sell. See if he can provide a 5 year life expectancy statement. Many roofers will not want to provide any life expectancy quotes as there are so many variables in life expectancy, but find one that will give you a “not going to hold you to it” ball park expectancy so you can make an educated decision. If you are 6+ years (since you will be selling in 1 year) just have him provide you a quote on replacement. Even though the quote will no longer be good, you will at least have an idea of the cost moving forward if it later becomes an issue. I believe it is always in a seller’s best interest to get a roofing quote when there is NOT a for sale sign in the front yard. This just lessens the potential for a conflict of interest and provides the best opportunity for straight up cost quote without a potential sale hanging in the balance. Ultimately if you get a licensed professional that says that it should last another 6+ years under normal conditions then I believe you are good to not replace and just move forward assuming that it will be non-issue, but prepared if it becomes a sticking point!

On the other hand, if the roofer says it is nearing the end of its useful life, then you have a couple options!

On the other hand, if the roofer says it is nearing the end of its useful life, then you have a couple options! If you know it needs to be replaced, just replace it! By replacing it you avoid a myriad of potential issues that can arise down the road and also eliminates the possibility that it becomes an issue during the inspection or appraisal. Even if you agree to replace the roof at the time of inspection it can cause a buyer to hesitate and re-think their purchase and it is best not to even open the “re-think your decision” door. Don’t even give a home inspector the opportunity to tarnish the buyer’s opinion of their new home, nip it in the bud now! I know, buying a new roof is about as sexy as putting in a new septic system or hooking your home up to city sewer…trust me, I know it’s not at the top of anybody’s list. When I had my home hooked up to city sewer it literally felt like flushing $15k down the toilet. A necessary cost that will never be recouped when/if we go to sell. If you know that it will need to be done, remove any chance of it becoming a point of contention down the road and bite the bullet now and have it replaced.

Just like anything there are good contractors and bad contractors. Don’t let your past experience dictate your decision or influence your future. You have time, ask around and find a reputable roofer who will provide a fair price and do a great job. If you are unable to find one, call us and we can provide you with several names and help you find the right one! Or you can check out our listed of trusted professional at PeopleWeTrust.net. I hope this helps!

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

Selling Your House—Holiday Decorating Tips

decorating-for-Christmas

Dear Dave,

We have had our home on the market since the beginning of October. Now that the holidays are upon us, we would really like to be able to decorate for the holidays—but we don’t want to scare away potential buyers. We would typically set up a couple of holiday blow-ups in our yard, as well as decorate our house with Christmas lights—our kids just love this. Do you think that is too much? What do you recommend when someone is trying to sell their home during the holiday season?

Thanks in advance and Merry Christmas!

Jack and Linda, Fruita, CO


holiday-decorating-when-selling-your-house

Jack and Linda,

I say, 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. I don’t believe you will scare anyone away, but remember to decorate tastefully and try to err on the side of too little rather than too much. Believe me, if you 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 better off you are. 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, a cake or at the least light a candle that plays up the season. Note that a little Christmas music will not hurt your cause either. We purchased our cinnamon pine cones this weekend for less than 5 bucks and they smell wonderful. 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.

The key take away here is tasteful and not overdone, yet have fun and enjoy the season.

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. Have a wonderful Christmas and don’t be shocked when your home sells because it looks so good!

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team