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The 5 Biggest Mistakes Home Sellers Make in Denver

If you're selling your home in Denver, you may think there's not much to it. It's a seller's market, so I'll just slap my house up on market and receive 10 offers, all over asking? Right?


While it's easier to sell than buy in Denver (and Colorado Springs and all across the state), the wrong move by you or your agent can cost you thousands of dollars and months of wasted time.

If you want to get top dollar in Denver, you have to avoid these mistakes when selling your home.

1. Not Paying for Professional Photos

This is the biggest mistake we see people make when selling their home in Denver. Remember: Everyone's looking online for houses nowadays, and if your's doesn't make a good first impression, then you get passed by.

Let's jump right into an example. The below photos are from a listing here in Denver. It is a two-bedroom, two-bath condo that had been under contract twice for $264,000 and fallen out of contract both times.

When we took the listing over from another listing agent, these are the three photos the listing agent used.

Dark, fuzzy, and maybe most importantly, not showing some of the key features of the place -- like two balconies!!

We took over the listing, paid $150 for our preferred photographer to come out and 24 high-definition photos that highlighted the best qualities of the condo. Here are just three for example.

We went under contract within a week and closed a month later for $275,000, more than $10,000 more than previously listed. When it comes to listing your property for sale in Denver, photos matter.

2. Listing Your Home Too High

I call this the "let's see" fallacy. As in, "Let's just see if anyone is interested at this price." Let me save you some trouble. They're not.

While Denver is one of the hottest markets for seller in the United States, it is still a market responding to market forces. It doesn't matter how cute your place is, if you've priced it $50,000 above other similar cute places, no buyers will bite.

Then your home sits on the market for awhile, and because it's a hot market, buyers start to wonder why it's been on when other homes are going so fast. By the time you've dropped your price, your home is stigmatized in the eyes of buyers. Now you're likely to have to accept below market price for your place.

Work with your Denver real estate agent to price your Denver home right the first time and save yourself money and hassle.

3. Refusing to De-Clutter Your Space

If you don't de-clutter, then you will lose money on the sale of your home.

There is a rule of thumb in interior design to remove 25% of all furniture and other "stuff" before photographing. For some people, that's probably more like 50%.

Check out the photos from the below Denver home listing.

This condo was listed for $15,000 less than comparable properties and still it took a month before going under contract.

Be sure to create a sense of spaciousness. Remove everything -- yes, EVERTYHING -- from the kitchen counters. Pare down your overstuffed closet. And discard all but a few of that giant stack of magazines on the coffee table.

4. Mis-Timing the Sale for Tax Benefits

There are certain benefits to owning a home, but if you sell a property -- in some cases even one day late -- you could be on the hook for thousands in taxes that you wouldn't otherwise be liable for.

For example, if you sell a property in Denver that you lived in at least two of the last five years, you avoid paying 15% capital gains taxes. This is important for people who move out of their primary residence and make the previous place a rental. If you move out and then don't live there for just three years and one day more before selling you have to pay 15% on any gains.

Talk to your tax advisor to learn how to avoid this and other tax issues when selling a property in Denver.

5. Not Making Minor Repairs

It's just one light switch not working, right? And a sliding glass door that kind of jams. Oh, and the mini-blinds that are missing their cord.

Small problems add up. And pretty quickly buyers see a place as dingy and not well-kept. Work with your real estate agent to decide what needs to be fixed and what doesn't. If you don't, you're going to get lower offers and probably still have to negotiate over the minor repairs during inspection.

In the end, selling a home in Denver is not a difficult task, but it takes some diligence and attention to detail. Even in a hot market, not taking the right steps can mean thousands of dollars lost.

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