Slevin: Hiring a broker can be key to finding the right property at the right price (column) |

Slevin: Hiring a broker can be key to finding the right property at the right price (column)

It is no secret that inventory levels remain a challenge here in the Vail Valley, mirroring trends from around the country. The confluence of rising prices and interest rates, coupled with the aforementioned low inventory, makes home shopping uniquely different from just a few years ago.

Locally, inventory levels are at a more than 10-year low, with properties priced at less than $1 million dollars in short supply but high demand. This is where local brokers and their corresponding market knowledge can be pivotal for buyers and sellers.

What it means for buyers

For buyers in today’s markets, a local expert (aka broker) can assist in identifying off-market properties that fit a buyer’s criteria, as well as help provide loan options and contract preparation.

Brokers also come with the experience and knowledge base to advise and support buyers through all of the various negotiating and contracts phases, including due diligence, inspection, appraisal and loan details. They can also help buyers with evaluating loans, including monthly payment options, and help buyers better ascertain “market value” of homes to ensure they are not overpaying in a “hot” market.

Laurie Slaughter, broker associate for Berkshire Hathaway HomeService Colorado Properties’ Gypsum office, sites some key benefits for buyers on the value of working with a local real estate professional.

“An experienced broker’s market knowledge includes tapping many resources that enable them to guide and help buyers through all the phases of a new home purchase, particularly in this current competitive market state,” Slaughter said. “Good real estate professionals know of available homes before they come on the market, giving buyers an advantage to be first in line.”

The good news is that the inventory levels should increase in the next few months, providing buyers more options. If you’re seriously looking at buying, then prepare now by getting pre-qualification letters so you can act quickly when the right property becomes available.

What it means for sellers

Sellers looking to sell and then purchase a home in a tight inventory market can protect themselves by creating timeframes to identify and contract for a new property without the risk of selling their home without a place to move.

Pricing to the market remains the No. 1 priority, and the guidance, data and insight a local broker can provide can make the difference between a property generating a lot of activity and one that sits on the market, often overlooked because of price, for more competitively priced homes.

Generally speaking, a new listing that comes to market receives the greatest attention and number of showings during the first two to three weeks. If overpriced, then buyers may dismiss a home, even after price reductions due to length of time on market.

“Sellers should keep in mind that buyers are interested in homes that are well located, well priced and updated,” said Marla Hillerich, broker associate for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties Vail/Beaver Creek. “In addition to being priced right, homes should be clean and de-cluttered. A stager can also be a great asset in getting your house buyer-ready.”

Even in our digital world, brokers remain a cornerstone for homebuyers and sellers. They lean on experience, insight, market data and trends that are often not readily apparent via the internet. Local brokers help clients on both sides by identifying appropriate price strategies by property and neighborhoods so when the timing — and price — is right both parties can act quickly and seal the deal.

Michael Slevin is the president of Berkshire Hathaway Colorado Properties. Learn more at

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