Carnivals a comin
It’s getting to be that time of year, and I look forward to Winter Carnival almost as much as I do Christmas.
This isn’t your typical parade and fireworks type of event. This is a carnival where adults on shovels or kids on skis are pulled by horses. It’s where skiers jump through fiery hoops. It’s where donkey jumps are a big attraction. It’s where a candle-lit parade coming down the mountain concludes with a guy covered in twinkling lights and Roman candles shooting out of his backpack.
That’s what I call a real carnival, and you have to experience it to know just how special it is. If you want a taste of what Winter Carnival is like before you go, check out this video.
October 2014 Steamboat Springs Real Estate Stats
Are Steamboat Springs Home Prices Still Undervalued?
For the past two years national home prices have risen sharply, which might lead to the conclusion that they are overpriced. In fact, if we’re to believe the most recent report by real estate website Trulia, they are still 5% undervalued when measured against long-term fundamentals. So will this summer’s home prices in Steamboat Springs be broaching unsustainable levels—or will they be reasonable?
The Problem of Measuring Only Home Price Increases
Real estate price increases by themselves are poor indicators of over- or undervalued real estate. Because of the headlong drop in real estate prices in 2007, throughout most of the country, prices have increased significantly without approaching the previous highs. A well-publicized example is in Las Vegas, where prices have increased by almost 60% over the last couple of years, yet by many yardsticks remain affordable.
How Home Affordability Is Measured
There are a number of different ways of measuring whether home prices in Steamboat Springs could be considered to be over- or undervalued. They include looking at how current prices compare with long-term trends; how prices measure up against average incomes; the comparable cost of renting, etc. The Trulia report used a wide range of these indicators to emerge with a complete picture of the affordability of real estate across the country. Not all research confirms Trulia’s assertion. According to the Fitch Sustainable Home Price Model, national prices are overvalued by something like 15%. Critics note, however, that the Fitch model is distorted by prices in some of the markets selected – particularly California.
Why 2014 Isn’t 2006
I find Trulia’s track record impressive. In the first quarter of 2006, they reported that home prices were 39% overvalued…and by 2011, that number had fallen to 15% undervalued. Its latest finding that current national prices are still 5% undervalued gives weight to those who believe we are far from entering “bubble” territory—at least for the time being. Some contributory factors could explain why. Inventory has been constrained for a number of years, fallout from the weakness of building activity following 2007. Mortgage rate increases have slowed, but since they are still slightly higher than before, they have provided a dampening effect. Also relevant: some of the new lending regulations make it less likely that we will see a repeat of the rampant subprime lending that triggered collapse in 2007.
All of which makes a fairly convincing case for homeowners in Steamboat Springs to be reasonably confident that the price gains made over the past couple of years won’t soon disappear. Of course, individual Steamboat home prices vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, just as they do from house to house. If you’re interested in an accurate home price analysis of your own property, I hope you’ll call me today—I am always happy to schedule a free and confidential evaluation.
In advertising, they call the photo that glamorizes a product its ‘hero shot.’ In the case of a real estate listing in Steamboat Springs, the pictures that accompany the written description can all be hero shots, if enough care is taken.
In one Auburn University study (The Relationship between Property Price, Time-on-Market, and Photo Depictions in a Multiple Listing Service), it was found that adding a single photograph to a listing could lift the final sale price by as much as 3.9%. That’s not surprising, but what is noteworthy is that each additional listing photograph added several hundred dollars to the final selling price. In other words, it’s not just the curbside photo at the top of a Steamboat listing that should be given great care—it’s all of ‘em!
Listing in Steamboat Springs with Professional Photography
Aside from the usual advice to de-clutter, use light appealingly, etc., there are some less well known tips that can help maximize the eye-appeal of a Steamboat Springs, CO listing:
The exterior photograph is considered by most professional real estate photographers to be by far the most important shot. I’m not sure I agree. Of course, it sets the stage for everything else, and has to be attractive enough to rate a second look, but those second looks of the interior and garden can differentiate the listing from the crowd. A superior exterior can often be achieved by elevating point of view (IOW, shoot from a stepladder)…or sometimes by scheduling the shot in early morning or late afternoon light (to catch the most dramatic light).
Back Against the Wall!
For the majority of your listing interiors, you’ll want wide angle shots which emphasize spaciousness. Most work better when the photograph is taken from a doorway or corner with the widest lens (that’s the one with the lowest focal length number)—as long as it doesn’t overly distort the image.
Always ensure that your camera is completely horizontal. Correct the ‘barrel effect’ on vertical lines to ensure that all of the walls appear straight. When you’re looking through a viewfinder or small digital screen, it’s all too easy to overlook the sides by concentrating on the center of the picture. That’s an amateur mistake (and slanted walls make a room look like a carnival funhouse!)
Take at least one extra shot using the on-camera flash or strobe. True, often that will result in an unevenly lit alternative that you will discard…but now and then, the on-camera light will boost clarity and color that’s more pleasing than what natural light provides.
Great-looking Steamboat listing shots make a significant difference in the degree of response a property draws. We always help our clients with Professional listing photographs—it’s one of many tools to ensure their listing gets the exposure and results it deserves!