Ron and Jill Olds were hoping for the best when they put their Castle Rock home on the market this April.
After being told by a real estate agent a few years back they couldn't get a penny more than $179,000, they decided to wait for the market to come back. Earlier this year, they decided they were ready to find their retirement home out in the country, and their agent encouraged them to list their three-bedroom Founders Village home at $225,000.
They were hoping going in that high, they could get somewhere around $217,000. They also hoped they wouldn't be sitting on it too long as they were starting to see properties they liked and weren't sure how long those homes would stay on the market in what has quickly become a seller's market.
The Olds didn't realize how much of a seller's market it truly has become.
The first day their house was on the market, the couple headed out for the day as a steady parade of real estate agents brought eight potential buyers to the house in the morning and their agent saw another 20 prospective buyers during an afternoon open house.
At day's end, the Olds had four offers on their home, all above list price. The highest bid had an escalation clause built in agreeing to pay as much as $240,000.
“I was shocked,” Ron Olds said. “I didn't believe it. Things don't work like that for me.
“I'm the one that buys high and sells low. A couple of years ago houses were selling for around $150,000 here and we couldn't move, we couldn't do anything.”
Highlands Ranch-based broker Sean Reilly said he has seen more and more of these types of situations recently. Having been on both sides of the phenomenon, Reilly has watched a house he's listed pick up 11 offers in three days, and he's also had clients who have missed out on homes despite offering more than $15,000 over list price.
“It's a great time to sell, but a challenge to buy right now,” Reilly said. “If it is priced right, it's going to go quick. If it's in the ballpark, you better make a strong offer or otherwise you are going to miss out.”
With confidence in the market having returned, people getting priced out of a stronger-than-ever rental market and interest rates still not that far north of all-time lows hit a year ago, Reilly sees the current trends in the market continuing and said people are clamoring to get in while the getting is still good.
The number of new listings in the first quarter of 2014 in Douglas County is down just 2 percent from a year ago, according to Metrolist, but average sales prices are up 6.4 percent as active inventory has dropped 20.1 percent and the average days on the market have dipped from 69 to 54. The latter number would likely be lower, Reilly said, but many people are “trying the market, knowing that the buyers are going to be there” and listing higher than the home is worth.
On the whole, homes in the county are selling for 98.9 percent of list price, and many people, like the Olds — who are busy packing up for their new 10-acre spread in Kiowa — are finding themselves in a situation where they are getting more than they ask for.
Douglas County Housing Statistics
First Quarter of 2013 2014
• Average Sales Price $383,169 $407,711
• Active Listings 1,451 1,159
• New Listings 1,868 1,830
• Avg. days on Market 69 54