Today’s Brave New World of Englewood Real Estate Marketing

In Englewood real estate as in many other businesses, successfully drawing the public’s attention, then communicating value, are what separate can-do practitioners from the pack. It’s pigeonholed under “marketing” instead of “selling” because the latter sounds more like a one-on-one activity, whereas “marketing” depicts the kind of effort that goes out to the world at large.

The past couple of decades have produced sea changes in the way Englewood real estate brokers and agents need to approach their marketing approach. It’s not just the way all the advertising and communications media have been transformed; it’s also the expectations of the people they are intended to reach—the buyers. When a homeowner intends to put his home up for sale, one way to insure success is to be aware of the elements that make up any marketing plan designed to take advantage of today’s 2015 Englewood real estate marketplace.

  • Technology is at the forefront of good marketing, and today’s Realtors® can choose to put it to their clients’ advantage. A responsive website, striking visuals, good content, and specific details to accompany their business cards, brochures, and other traditional marketing materials build more than their own brand—they launch every client’s Englewood real estate listing across the virtual Universe!
  • Today’s real estate market rewards creativity more than was hitherto the norm. Because the web has made so much information so accessible, having a knack for standing apart from the crowd is more important than ever. Using techniques to attract attention is the first step in guaranteeing marketing success, so understanding search engine optimization (and using that knowledge regularly) is vital. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I make sure to post this blog regularly!
  • A social media presence is a must for anyone conducting real estate in Englewood —and it just so happens that it’s the perfect venue for Realtors® to shine. It’s a very personal (well, not quite an in-the-flesh handshake—but as personal as electronics allow!) way to expand networks and engage people in a diverse cross section of prospective audiences.
  • Using electronic and social media is part of the story, but monitoring their effectiveness (“the metrics”) is a necessity to track how well they are working. By tracking this information and using the results to take advantage of what works best, every Englewood real estate client shares in maximizing their listing’s exposure.

Effective real estate marketing uses ongoing research—and the strategy and energetic tactics that reach out to take advantage of the whole spectrum of today’s communication resources.

If you are thinking of listing your own home, I hope you’ll give me a call to see all that I can do for you!

Kitchen Tweaks Broaden Littleton Homes’ Market Appeal

Kitchen Tweaks Broaden Littleton Homes’ Market AppealJust as the kitchen is a magnet for family activity, when a Littleton home goes up for sale, it’s the one room guaranteed to get rapt attention at every showing. Older Littleton homes can be at something of a disadvantage here, especially when structural design elements prohibit their being transformed into one of today’s popular airy open plan kitchens.

Perhaps you’ve already taken a paintbrush to your cabinets to give them a new look, or discovered the transformative power of inexpensive subway tile on a dingy backsplash. If your kitchen is still looking a bit uninspired, enhance it before the home showings start with a final inexpensive tweak or two.

Where empty wall space is present, you may be able to create additional storage space. Open shelving is a trendy look that’s both aesthetically pleasing and functional. A blank wall can be transformed by installing rustic wooden or sleek metal shelving units…but with one proviso: open shelving does double duty as display space—and that’s no place for mismatched or over-the-hill china and glassware!

A little of the right kind of handiwork can go a long way toward adding some 21st Century features to an aging Littleton home. Where an outlet is handy, transform a cabinet shelf into a docking station for smartphones and tablets. A small wall-mounted flat screen monitor can bring TV (or web video) to liven up the area. Hooks mounted near a back door can be made available for hanging backpacks, grocery bags, keys, or leashes. A bottom kitchen drawer can be transformed into a rollout pet feeding station.

No matter what else, it’s a plus whenever a kitchen space can clearly function as a gathering place as well as the meal preparation hub. It may be as simple as placing stools on one side of an island, adding a pub table and chairs, or transforming a neglected corner into a coffee station (those Keurigs make it a snap!)—giving your Littleton home yet another spot for a family to congregate.

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry reported that kitchens were the top remodeling project in last year. In fact, 82% of NARI members stated that kitchen remodels represent their primary work—and I think we can guess what the results for 2015 will be. It makes a good argument for putting in a little elbow grease and creativity to spruce up the kitchen before you put your Littleton home up for sale.

You can also give me a call: I’m pleased to do a no-obligation walk-through for my feedback on how your listing should fare in today’s market!

Retirees Buying a Home in Littleton Face Fewer Unknowns

2-13-homeloan-300x197One of the advantages of reaching retirement age is that your needs can be much clearer to gauge than they were in the past. When it comes to planning for buying a home in Littleton, for instance, you no longer have to worry about many of the contingencies that created vast unknowns earlier on.

When we were at the starting line in careers and family life, we couldn’t know exactly where our career would send us, so the level of certainty we had when we bought our first house was sketchy at best. Likewise, the shape of our family, needs of our children (and even those of our parents) loomed as giant question marks. We might have had definite ideas about what we wanted the future to bring, but sooner or later, most of us learned that what happens is up for grabs. In the words of the immortal philosopher John Lennon,

Life is what happens to you
While you’re busy makin’ other plans…

But as more life experience builds, the better we get at predicting what the future holds. But that’s a skill that is only useful if we take what we now know and apply it. As retirement nears, here are four areas where most of us should be better able to make much better informed decisions when it comes to buying a home in Littleton:

1. Choose an Appropriate Size

Many couples seek large houses early in life because they expect to have children. Once the next generation has vacated the premises, though, staying in a home that’s larger than necessary means blown money—not to mention wasted time spent cleaning unused rooms. Retirees may be slow to recognize their new downsizing option: buying a home that better correlates with current needs. They may even want to consider a condo or apartment if minimal upkeep will free up income to direct toward more enjoyable activities.

2. Consider a Single-Level Home

Most people experience mobility issues as they age. Some solve the problem by installing expensive devices in their homes, even though they could deal more directly with those problems by moving to a home configured to present fewer challenges. For some people, moving to a simplified home lets them live independently for many additional years–for example, a single-level home without a front porch eliminates stairs entirely.

3. Find a Convenient Location

At some point, retirees may reluctantly decide that they don’t feel safe driving their cars. If anyone experiences warning signs of unsafe driving, it’s prudent to give up the keys before an accident forces the issue. This causes fewer problems when a retiree has chosen a convenient location. It could mean living close to stores, public transportation—or near relatives who can help with everyday tasks.

4. Stay under Budget

Retirees need to take seriously realistic budget expectations, since it’s usually true that they will have less money coming in than heretofore. An inelastic income may take some getting used to—but knowing what’s coming will make intelligent planning possible.

When it comes to locating and buying a Littleton home that fits your specifications, I hope you will give me a call to discuss the current crop of appropriate available properties!

Patience + a Littleton Real Estate Agent = Job Done!

2-13-agent-300x201Unless you’ve had occasion to buy a corporate jet or office building recently, the sheer size of a home purchase puts it in a class of its own. One indicator is that most people decide to engage the services of a Littleton real estate agent to help them out. This is not a trip to the mall…

It follows that first-time home buyers usually approach the whole process with a great deal of caution—an entirely appropriate attitude. Buying a home is one purchase you will be living with for a long time, so getting it right is worth any amount of effort.

Veterans of the home-buying fray start out with the advantages experience brings. They know the how’s, when’s and why’s of the home inspection and loan application processes, and when their real estate agent supplies them with listing printouts, their eyes quickly fall to the details that are most important in their current quest (which could be anything from property tax figures to details about the mechanicals). If they aren’t yet familiar with all of Littleton’s neighborhoods, they know to quiz their real estate agent about the pertinent local characteristics, especially when some features like school ratings or traffic patterns are likely to be key factors in the final choice. And they know that the first property that looks good on paper may not pan out in person.

For first-timers as well as home-buying veterans, there is one key mental predisposition that is sure to make the experience less stressful—and possibly more rewarding. It’s a mindset that doesn’t always come without effort—especially when time pressures are involved. The virtue in question is straightforward: patience.

Don’t Rush
Don’t give up after the first five (or eight) houses. Home buying is a process, and it can be a glacial one at times. By showing you houses, your Littleton real estate agent gets an ever-sharper idea of what you’re searching for. You may not wind up with the first or even tenth house you are shown. If you prepare yourself for a house-buying process that could take several months, you’re much less likely to let impatience cause you to settle for less than otherwise.

Bid for Value
The offer and negotiation processes are more of an art than a science—and this alone would be reason enough to want a Littleton real estate agent to be on your team. A Littleton agent knows the comps in the area, how truly comparable each is, what they sold for, and how the market is moving. If an offer is countered, your agent can suggest non-monetary inducements where appropriate…and let you know if it might be time to move on.

Don’t Be Discouraged
If you bid on a home but wind up losing it, don’t become discouraged. It’s hard to temper emotions when house hunting, but it works to your interest when you continue to view the entire process as a business proposition.

Even should a house offer fall through, you can rest assured that there are other viable candidates out there. With patience, a businesslike frame of mind, and an experienced Littleton real estate agent by your side, the odds are definitely stacked in your favor. Giving me a call is a good way to start taking advantage of them!

To Sell an Englewood House in Winter, Think Cozy!

2-13-winter-300x186Some folks live for our Englewood winters. For them, the brisk air is a tonic; longer night times are invitations to enjoy the warmth and cheer of fireside camaraderie; the prospect of winter sports is something they look forward to all year long. For everyone else it may be more of a drag—particularly when a succession of storms seem to conspire to make their lives miserable.

It can also be a tough time to sell an Englewood house—but only if you allow it to be! Winter does tend to make most Englewood houses look drab and barren; and, in general, potential buyers tend to be scarce for a number of reasons. But those who are in the wintertime hunt are apt to be quite serious, so it’s worth remembering that sales can be kindled on even the bleakest February day—especially for owners who keep in mind some simple guidelines:

1. Create your own warmth

Whether it’s turning up the thermostat, lighting a crackling fire, or arranging for that batch of chocolate chip cookies to have just emerged from the oven, thinking cozy is the antidote to gloomy days. The object is to make the entrance from the cheerless outdoors a passage into a welcoming environment brimming with welcoming ambiance. To sell a house in foul weather, make the contrast with the outdoors as stark as possible!

2. Light their way

To compensate for the dimmer sunlight on some winter days, dispel the gloom by turning on all the lights: lamps, overheads, chandeliers—any and everything to brighten the place. To sell an Englewood house (especially in later afternoon showings), be certain to open shades and curtains, too.

3. Have summertime pictures on hand

Be sure to lay out a picture or two of the property in more attractive months. While potential buyers may not be able to see the home when the sun is shining, a picture can help them envision what the house is like during most of the year.

4. Plus—the regular drill!

And don’t forget the basics: carefully tidied, sparklingly polished, spotlessly cleaned, etc. It may be a little bit more of a chore to disperse the clutter (it does seem to multiply when you’ve been cooped up for days!), but it’s every bit as important as ever. Aromas are important anytime you sell a house, so obliterate stuffy winter air with strategically placed potpourri and candles.

The fact is, when it’s properly priced, you can sell a house in Englewood at any time of the year. To get the ball rolling, I hope you will make my number the first one you call!

Inquiring Minds Want to Know: When to Publish Englewood Listings

2-4-whentolist-300x201It is a good bet that the first place the public will spot your house for sale will be the Englewood listings. If 90% of those who actually do buy a home go to the web during their search (researchers at the National Association of Realtors® say so), they will either go directly to the Englewood listings or find them through a Realtor’s site.

If you think like an advertising director, you might wonder when, exactly, the best time would be for your new listing’s premier? Is it in the dead of winter? Springtime? Summer? And is there a perfect day of the month, or (come to think of it) day of the week?

The NAR® has weighed in with some concrete answers. Well, actually, not really answers per se—more like information to help satisfy our curiosity. It turns out there really is no single best time for Englewood listings to debut, for a couple of reasons; nonetheless, in case you’re curious (I was) about the findings, here they are:

The most popular home listing debut last year was Thursday, May 1, 2014. Second, April Fools’ Day. April and May were sprinkled liberally through the Top 25; but June, and March were all up there, too. But although the 20th was one of the top days of the month for listings launches (as well as the 24th through 30th), the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd ranked often enough to tilt the overall results toward early in the month.

As for the most favored day of the week, there really wasn’t a clear winne­­r—though there were definitely a couple of losers. Saturday and Sunday were all but ignored as days anyone first listed their homes, possibly because most real estate professionals are out in the field most weekends. Launching listings is a job best performed at an office desk.

Closings—the days that home sales are signed and sealed—­­­had the same unpopular pair of days: weekend closings were predictably rare, as were Federal holidays. Two strange exceptions did pop up last year: Sunday, November 30, and Sunday, August 31. That has to be because of the natural inclination for people to pick the end of a month when they need to come up with a deadline. Often enough, we have to scramble to meet any deadline…if it happens to fall on a Sunday, too bad!

But although we have all this information about what the most common days to inaugurate a listing or finalize a home’s sale, that ­­really doesn’t answer what’s the best time to do either. After all, just because more people pick similar dates, that doesn’t mean it is necessarily advantageous. You might even argue that the best day to begin Englewood listings would be the least popular one, since your listing would be more likely to stand out when it’s the newest. Lonely, but brave!

There is one good answer to when is the best time to list your home: it’s whenever you’re ready. There are plenty of prospective buyers at all times—and as has been well-documented, a lot of them start looking in the dead of winter, when outdoors activities are at a minimum. As for when is the best time to give me a call? Anytime!

International Home Buyers Might be Englewood’s Next Prospects

1-28-intlbuyer-300x225Englewood homeowners could benefit if the influx of international home buyers continues to expand. According to a study from the National Association Realtors®, the trend in that direction has been accelerating. In the most recent release covering the twelve-month period ending last March, foreign nationals are reported to have spent more than $92 billion in the United States for the year.

That’s growth at a blistering pace: an increase of 35% over the $68 billion spent in 2012!

How Englewood homeowners stand to benefit from the increase in foreign buyers has a lot to do with today’s changing real estate marketplace. Since international home buyers need to learn as much as possible about a property from afar, the improvements in online presentation serve a very necessary purpose. When one of our Englewood listings includes an extensive selection of photos or video footage, it becomes a legitimate part of the emerging international marketplace. Combined with today’s easy-to-navigate links to detailed information about Englewood’s neighborhoods and local amenities, a local property is realistically accessible to buyers from anywhere in the world.

Last year’s foreign sales were split almost equally between foreign buyers whose primary residence is outside the country and those currently living here. Not surprisingly, the greatest number of sales—19%—came from Canadian nationals, closely followed by the Chinese (16%) and Mexicans (9%). Both Indian and United Kingdom nationals weighed in with 5% of last year’s purchases, while lesser percentages of international home buyers hailed from Germany, followed by the French, Brazilians, and Japanese.

The NAR study also delved into the reasons international home buyers increasingly favor U.S. properties—although the answers were wide-ranging. For some, it was the investment potential that was the biggest draw: owning U.S. properties is seen as a solid way to diversify foreign portfolios. International buyers value the relative economic stability and attractive prices present in our real estate market. Other buyers are relocating to the United States for professional reasons, while still others purchase a property for children attending college.

One aspect that Englewood property owners might find interesting is that international home buyers tend to purchase higher-priced houses. That might be due to the impact of the Chinese buyers, whose primary focus is in areas like New York and California where properties are more expensive. In contrast, Canadians are more likely to purchase in lower-priced areas of the country. This is one reason why, although Canadians purchased more properties last year, the amount they spent ($13.8 billion) represented a slight decline from the previous year.

International buyers have another standout attribute that Englewood home sellers should find attractive: they are more likely to pay entirely in cash! About 60% of all purchases made by international home buyers required no financing—that’s up a third from 2007. When you consider the average sales price, it represents a fairly hefty cash infusion.

If your own Englewood home will be on the market soon, I hope you will give me a call to discuss how we can create a strong presentation for local and international home buyers alike!

Moves to the ‘Burbs? Conflicting Trends Shed Little Light

1-28-burbs-300x164Littleton real estate trackers stay informed via the most recent listing and sales numbers, which is the most solid information of all. It’s helpful for planning purposes—even though what has happened in the past is only a suggestion of how real estate in Littleton will perform in coming months. To get another indicator of future activity, the broader national trends are worth watching, along with the analyses and predictions of the top real estate experts. But it’s not always clear which trend is emerging, or which expert is right.

Case in point concerns younger families abandoning more urban areas to take up residence in the suburbs. Everyone acknowledges this group has been slow to settle into their first single family homes; but now there is a trend that has them selling their expensive condominium in downtown core areas, then using the proceeds for down payments on a house in the suburbs.

Real estate commentators who see this trend can bring convincing logic to their argument. Condominiums in most major downtown city cores have become increasingly expensive. For the lucky owners, it means they have gained significant real estate equity. However, especially for those with growing families, the downside is that they can’t afford to grow into a larger condo in their current neighborhood. Their best option is to sell the condo and move to the suburbs, where their money will get them more real estate.

Urban Studies Professor Joel Kotkin confirms that the first group of millennials, now entering their 30s, “are beginning, like preceding generations, to move to the suburbs.” It’s a trend that sounds reasonable enough…but not to everyone.

Others disagree, convincingly. In fact, it’s more than a disagreement: they propound the opposite—a movement is toward city cores. The 36th edition of the seriously respectable Urban Land Institute/PricewaterhouseCoopers Emerging Trends in Real Estate report says, right there in Chapter 3, that “vibrant urban centers are almost a universal trend” in all 75 markets surveyed. That’s quite a few markets (compiled by 1,400 contributors). Lest anyone be unclear about the emerging trend itself, those quotes come from the section called “Continuing Urbanization Trend.”

To be fair, both perceived trends are subject to qualifications and footnotes that, it’s fair to say, muddle the picture. Under the Urban Land Institute/PwC’s Continuing Urbanization Trend heading, for instance, lies the statement, “Interviewees…cited activity in the traditional downtown area and also in suburban nodes.” In other words, perhaps the Urbanization Trend could also be sort of suburban, sort of. Littleton real estate watchers, hoping to spot a trend, could conclude that young families are moving to and fro…

In any case, you don’t have to fall into the Millennial, Gen X, GenY, Boomer or even the Greatest Gen category to follow one distinctly local trend: if you will be looking for a new home in Littleton—or have one to list—giving me a call is the thing to do!

Seeing Englewood Showings the Way Prospective Buyers Do

1-28-prosbuyer-300x222Getting properties ready for open houses or other showings in Englewood takes a bit of determination—especially when it comes to paring down all the ‘stuff’ that has accumulated through the years. It’s a push-pull between I still use that every day! and this room still looks too crowded! You may update the paint, add some fresh landscaping, but it’s the emptying-out part that sometimes takes the most resolve.

So, after that’s all done, are you ready for showings?

Not quite.

Showings and open houses are a bit like concerts and plays. They’re presentations which (hopefully) result in an experience that is pleasurable. In order to make that happen, there have to be workers who prepare behind the scenes. When successful, their efforts are invisible—a “hit” show seems to progress by itself, effortlessly. Englewood showings and open houses have that in common with theatrical productions, and to be successful, one other thing has to be present: the focus should be on the audience, not the cast members or crew. For home showings, that means thinking about what the prospective buyer (the audience) will encounter as he or she walks from room to room.

Allowing yourself to imagine how someone not familiar with your house will experience it is an exercise that yields another useful side effect. It reminds you that showings and open houses are staged to invite strangers onto the property—and that should prompt a few additional precautions.

First, think about children. You can’t keep Lookie-loos from showing up occasionally, but Englewood prospects who bring their children usually mean business. You should ensure that your home is free of potential child hazards before showings. Just as you would child-proof for family member visits, eliminate unnecessarily long extension cords, tempting (and sharp) fireplace pokers, knickknacks small enough to be choking hazards (should have packed them up, anyway!) and any other dangerous thing that might attract little fingers.

Not only because of children, clear as much of the half-used debris from cabinets and shelves as possible. Make them look like the spacious ones you see on HGTV—your “audience” will be impressed with the abundance of storage. Don’t forget the medicine cabinet. Secure all medications, so you don’t have to worry when you are gone or out of the room. Clean out the “junk drawer” or the place where you keep mail or bills. Everything will look organized and your private information will be secure from over-curious eyes. For these and for jewelry, you may want to get a lock box for added security.

When you do walk-throughs like a first-time visitor, you will find that you’re much more able to relax while your trusted real estate agent is conducting showings. Showings are just part of what will make up an effective marketing effort for your Englewood home. Give me a call to discuss how we can make all the parts fit together!

Forming an Effective Team Puts Your Littleton Agent to Work

1-21-agent-300x300One of the most effective ways to maximize your chances of achieving the best residential real estate deal possible lies in your ability to partner effectively with your choice of Littleton real estate agent. Your agent is your local guide through the complexities of Littleton’s market—your assistant, tutor, and trusted right arm in the enterprise of buying and selling a residence. It’s your Littleton agent’s job to make the team an effective one—but for all parts to truly work as a unit, some basic elements should be in place…and clearly understood by everyone:

For prospective buyers, when your real estate agent fully understands your search criteria, the end product is a more focused search that yields the intended results most efficiently. It will conserve an under-appreciated asset (your patience)—and free your schedule by eliminating properties that aren’t right for you. Shopping for a home can lead to a bewildering jumble of options. Simply searching online for properties, or driving around likely neighborhood choices looking for “For Sale” signs is an inefficient and time-consuming stratagem. What’s more, tapping into a Littleton agent’s comprehensive understanding of the market—past and present—makes you much more likely to unearth the best value/price offerings as they become available.

For those who are selling a Littleton home, an experienced agent wades through less-than-serious inquisitors, keeping you from getting bogged down with fruitless showings or unreasonable offers.

A move into an unfamiliar area comes with a certain level of risk. A trusted agent equips you with the insights you would otherwise be missing. It can mean the difference between landing your dream property and buying into a subpar situation—one you might regret for years. You only need imagine buying a home in the warmer months only to be blind-sided when access becomes iffy during the rainy season. An agent will have a more complete understanding of the benefits and disadvantages of all of Littleton’s neighborhoods—as well as the ability to help you make an informed choice, irrespective of when you are available or ready to buy.

Establishing a candid relationship with your Littleton real estate agent will not only afford you a buying or selling experience that’s as untroubled as possible, it will also provide you with a resident’s comprehensive knowledge of all the local factors long-time residents take for granted. Buying or selling, I hope you will consider giving me a call for a no-obligation chat about the current market!