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Q&A: Making a move in today’s market

Ask the moving consultant

Created date

January 25th, 2011

If the process of selling a home and moving were an orchestra, Beth Brandenburg would be the conductor. As personal moving consultant for Wind Crest, Brandenburg works with homeowners, carefully overseeing and coordinating every detail of the moving process from start to finish. Since 2005 when Wind Crest first opened its doors, Brandenburg has helped hundreds of people sell their homes and move to the Highlands Ranch community. Recently she sat down with the Tribune to talk about the current Denver housing market and offer her expertise on the keys to a successful home sale in today s market. Q: What advantages does the Denver real estate market have over other areas in the country? Brandenburg: Denver is continuously ranked by many major financial and travel publications as one of the top places to live in the country. Historically we have not experienced the roller coaster ups and downs that many other major city markets have. I think part of the reason for that is here in the Denver/Front Range area we have a very diverse job community which has stabilized much of the local economy. As a result, many experts believe that the Denver market will recover faster than many of the metro areas that were hit harder by the economic downturn. Q: What is the single most important thing people can do when listing their house for sale? Brandenburg: Once the for sale sign goes up in your front yard, you really have to distance yourself from all of the memories and emotions you have attached to your house. I always tell people to put yourself in the mindset of a home buyer, not a homeowner. It s important for buyers to be able to see themselves living in your house and the best way to achieve that is to make your house as neutral as possible. Also, because very few of us live in a model home, when it comes time to sell, it s safe to assume your house will need some level of updating before it goes on the market. Simple and inexpensive updates like decluttering, removing personal items like family photos, and, again, neutralizing your home by removing taste-specific items like wallpaper and colorful carpet and wall colors and replacing or painting with a more neutral palette. The goal is to appeal to as many buyers as possible and to have those buyers focused on your house, not distracted by what s in it. Some homes may require more extensive updates and repairs like new kitchen countertops, updated light fixtures, or a new hot water heater in order to fetch top dollar. Since every house is different, it is important to work with a trusted real estate professional to help you balance the amount of work needed and adjust the pricing to offset other necessary deferred repairs. Hiring a home stager can also make a big difference. Q: Is there one common mistake people make when selling their house? Brandenburg: I think the biggest mistake sellers make is overpricing their home. Many times homeowners try to test the market by setting their initial sales price higher than actual market value, hoping to leave some wiggle room for negotiations. But in the end, this strategy ends up hurting the seller. Because in real estate, timing is everything and statistics show that the longer your house sits on the market, the less profit you ll make. By overpricing your home, not only do you exclude the pool of potential qualified buyers, but many real estate agents won t waste their client s time touring a property that is priced above market value. As your home sits on the market, it becomes more and more difficult to get a good offer, because true or not, buyers often perceive the owner is desperate to sell, therefore offering an even lower opening bid. On the contrary, in my experience when a home is priced correctly, buyers perceive the home as a good value and, consequently, negotiations are often closer to the full asking price. Q: What do you say to people who are worried that their house may not sell in the current housing market? Brandenburg: The good news is when you choose an Erickson Living community like Wind Crest, you can leave behind the hassles of selling your house and moving. Our Erickson Realty and Moving Services team has a proven record of selling houses quicker and for a higher percentage of the asking price than those who go it alone. I will personally assist you in finding a real estate agent, offer advice on downsizing, assist you in preparing your house for sale, and refer you to reliable movers who will unpack and set up your new apartment home. Even better, when you choose services from our list of reputable and trusted realty and moving resources we ll even reimburse up to $2,000 in approved moving costs. And in the rare instance your house has not sold when you re ready to move, we will work with you to come up with a plan that assists you in moving to Wind Crest prior to selling your house.