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Ask a Realtor: What’s a seller to do?

Marla Hillerich and Rick Messmer
On Real Estate
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Dear Rick and Marla: I am a current homeowner in the Vail Valley and keep reading about all the buyer demand and low inventory. Given low interest rates and it being a seller’s market, my wife and I are tempted to list our existing home and move into something that can accommodate more family and friends for visits. That being said, we’re leery of home options and also how we can go about selling our home (and buying one) with all the COVID-19 restrictions. — What’s A Seller To Do

Dear What’s A Seller To Do: Your question is very timely and one we are addressing on a regular basis. There are a pool of potential sellers, such as yourself, facing the same dilemma. As you have assessed, this is a great time to list your property due to low inventory and interest rates.

While the low inventory does have buyers nervous, those who come to the drawing board well prepared are still able to find homes. The same holds true for sellers who are looking to sell. Everyone needs to be prepared in advance to attract the right buyer as well as act when the right home comes along.



While COVID-19 has presented a new set of challenges, it has also presented a new set of opportunities. The resort and downvalley markets are very much open for business and we’re on a record-setting pace. Existing safety precautions still allow for home tours and we are also seeing a growing number of buyers purchase homes without ever stepping inside them due to new video, Zoom, and Matterport tours. There really is no better time to list or buy.

This 3,828-square-foot, 5 bed/5 bath home in Eagle Ranch’s Aidan's Meadow sold for $974,000 in October 2020. The expansive basement build-out, an immaculate interior, as well as views of five different holes of the Eagle Ranch Golf Course and the Sawatch Range as the backdrop, made this an easy sell.
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Following are some key elements for both selling and buying a home that will put you in the best possible position. These include:



  • Learn the true worth of your home with a current Comparative Market Analysis.
  • Get with your financial advisor/lender to better understand your buying ability with or without the sale of your existing home.
  • Have a prequalification letter, or verification of funds, in your possession that can be easily modified based on the home you find.
  • Learn about the market for the home for which you are searching. Determine if there are homes that check enough boxes so you know a move is warranted.
  • Prepare your home to the best of your ability so when you hit the market, there are little to no objections. This could include a presale home inspection and addressing any and all items that are discovered. It also includes completing all of the “to-do list” items that have existed for months or years, and potentially, investing in smart upgrades that will make your home stand out.
  • Get all the marketing for your home set up prior to listing so if you find a replacement property, you can be on the market within a day or two.
  • Be willing to sell high and buy high. We are seeing sale numbers higher than we ever have in the history of the valley. Be willing to pay more if you can sell for more. The idea of selling high and buying low needs to be put on the shelf.
  • Be willing to sell now, and if needed, rent until the property that fits the majority of your needs comes to market. Many buyers are also willing to consider rent back and flexible move out options in order to get the house they want. This holds true for you as a buyer. Keep the offer as clean and simple as possible with some flexible options for the seller.
  • Know what you want in a new home and community while also being open to looking at different options. A good broker can present some hidden gems you might not have considered that are well suited to your lifestyle and proximity interests.
  • Be patient. A good broker can find the right buyers for your existing home and properties for you to buy that fit your needs and budget.
  • When you find the right home, be ready to make an offer.

Most importantly, remember that if you have the need and desire to sell and move, there is never a bad time. There is no time like now to start living your dreams!

Located at 1880 W. Gore Creek Drive East in West Vail, this recently remodeled 4 bed/4 bath deed-restricted duplex was ideally suited for the buyer, a full-time resident and Eagle County employee, who always wanted to live in Vail. The property closed in October 2020 for $1,250,000.
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Good luck with your sale and search.

Marla Hillerich and Rick Messmer are Vail Valley residents of more than 20 years and award-winning broker associates with locally owned Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties. Marla’s expertise is in the resort market, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Arrowhead, Edwards and Cordillera. Rick’s knowledge and experience spans from East Vail to downvalley markets, with a specific focus on Eagle, Eagle Ranch and Gypsum, including ranch properties. He also serves as the managing broker for the Eagle Ranch office. Both are consistently ranked among the top producing brokers at the local and national levels. Marla can be reached at 970-390-7049 or marla@vailbeavercreekproperties.com and Rick at 970-376-0041 or rick@bhhsvail.net.


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