New Year’s Eve is upon us, and as I look back over 2014, there is so much to talk about.
First and foremost, I am incredibly grateful for an amazing year. Record sales volume, a near-record for personal transactions, and definitely a record for most number of offers written! And I can say with complete integrity that, as a whole, I have never worked with a better group of clients.
The market of 2014 was also the most fevered, competitive and cutthroat marketplace I’ve seen in a long time. There were some terrific victories and takeaways, as well as some things I’d be just as happy to forget about.
Here are some highs and lows of the year that was…
- Successfully helping relocating clients from California, New Jersey, Illinois, Florida, Washington, New York, Minnesota, Louisiana, and Texas make the move to Colorado;
- Hitting a year-end total of nearly 80 “Five Star” reviews on my Zillow profile, currently the fourth highest number for any single agent in Colorado (thank you Zillow Reviewers!);
- Holding a spectacular Client Appreciation Event in September at the Denver Botanic Gardens which drew over 100 friends and past clients on a gorgeous fall afternoon;
- Two outstanding Client Appreciation Events with suites at Coors Field, although our June 8 game turned into an unfortunate mashup of tornado warnings, rain delays and Clayton Kershaw domination of the Rockies;
- The most expensive home I sold this year was a breathtaking $704,000 Willow Springs Spanish style villa in the foothills of Morrison;
- The most unique property I sold this year was a $538,000 custom-built panoramic mountain view home in Evergreen constructed high into the hillside of a 15 acre, south-facing parcel with its own hiking trails and rock outcroppings;
- I turned three “backup” offers into successful contracts by putting together highly competitive, incentivized bids on homes that were already locked up by other buyers who, as it turns out, were not as committed as we were;
- I sold homes three doors apart to two brothers who apparently really wanted to live close to each other;
- I helped a client purchase a historic commercial building in the Baker neighborhood who plans to change the zoning, renovate it, and convert it into an architecturally stunning residential unit;
- While all listings were good listings in 2014, I had three listings draw 10 or more offers (all of which sold $10k or more above list price), sold my listings for 98.9% of original asking price and sold them all in an average of 5.6 days on the market – not 56, 5.6!
- In the red hot market of 2014, I wrote a total of 46 “failed offers”… which probably matches the number of unsuccessful offers I wrote from 2010 – 2013 combined (I had never bothered to count them up until this year!);
- Buyer clients were sometimes forced to deal with low appraisals, sellers who refused to fix anything and unreasonable listing agents who routinely left money on the table for their sellers by cherry-picking easy to work with cash buyers over well-qualified and often more motivated financed buyers;
- Thanks to “Coming Soon” signs and agents more committed to double-ending deals than serving their sellers’ interests, a large number of properties sold without ever hitting the MLS – a serious disservice to most sellers and something flat out unfair to buyers;
- Escalator clauses, taking homes “as is” and letting sizable chunks of earnest money sometimes go hard as early as seller acceptance became necessary practices for committed buyers;
- Too many conversations with listing agents that ended with unprofessional overtures of "take it or leave it";
- Too many prospective sellers who chose to stay put because they were shocked to find out that the upleg homes they wanted to purchase had also gone up in value;
- Too many buyers who threw in the towel after weeks or months on the hunt because the market was just too competitive;
- Too many conversations with everybody that ended with "it's already under contract".
One sad lowlight was sitting at a closing table as my buyers purchased from a young couple who had lived in their home 22.5 months, just 45 days short of hitting “tax free” status on a $60,000 capital gain.
Their agent had said nothing to them about the consequences of selling before their two year anniversary, which led to some anxious moments and uncomfortable contortions at the closing table as the title company informed the sellers of the tax hit they were about to take.
The painful twist is that I had actually brought this issue up the day we submitted the contract, because I pull ownership and encumbrance reports and title history every time I write an offer.
The agent said she didn't know about it, didn't think the sellers would care, and left it at that. Turns out, they didn't care because they didn't know. Next April 15, that lack of knowledge is going to cost them a five-figure check, made payable to the IRS.
Which leads to the best advice I can give anyone looking to buy or sell a home in 2015, because it's the same yesterday, today or tomorrow… get good help!