I am a Realtor in Greeley Colorado and I do most of my real estate investing in Greeley or within 40 miles. I love to write about my rental properties and flipping, but I rarely discuss my market in detail. In this article I want to cover why I invest in Northern Colorado, why I think it is an awesome place to live and what the future may hold. If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in the area this article can help you make the best decisions regarding investments or a personal residence.
How am I qualified to discuss the housing market in Greeley?
I have been a licensed Realtor since 2001 and my dad Jim has been a licensed agent since 1978. I was born in Greeley and the only time I lived anywhere else was when I went to college for four years at the University of Colorado in Boulder. After college I decided to work part-time for my father until I found a finance job and that turned into 14 years! I have been helping people buy and sell houses for the last 14 years, I own 13 rental properties in the area and I have flipped over 100 houses. In order to flip houses and make money with rentals you have to know your market and know it extremely well. You can find more information on me here.
I run a team with five licensed agents on it and a few more support staff. We routinely sell close to or over 200 houses a year and we focus on taking care of our clients and repeat business. We are actually adding two more agents to our team in the next couple of weeks.
Where is Greeley and what is the population?
Greeley Colorado is located about 50 miles North of Denver. The city is about 15 miles from the base of the Rocky Mountains and within 30 miles of Fort Collins (152,000 pop.), Loveland (70,000 pop.) and Longmont (89,000 pop.). Greeley had 96,000 people in 2013 and is connected to Evans Colorado, which adds another 20,000 people.
Greeley is on the plains of Colorado, which is a very dry area. The area receives less than 15 inches of precipitation a year. Although big snow storms can come through the area, the winters can be very mild and I often play golf in January or February.
What is the current housing market like in Greeley and Northern Colorado?
Buying and selling houses in the area is a challenge right now, not because prices are down or there is no demand, but because there are not enough houses for sale. We are working with many buyers who are having trouble finding a house to buy, because there are so few homes for sale in the area. It may seem like a great time to sell with rising prices and low inventory, but sellers are worried if they sell their house they won’t be able to find another house to buy!
Our current inventory is at one of the lowest levels I have ever seen. Things have changed greatly over the last decade. In 2006 Weld County where Greeley is located lead the nation in foreclosures and prices slowly dropped for a number of years. I was lucky enough to buy a few rental properties at the end of that cycle in 2010 through 2012. In 2015 foreclosures are few and far between and Colorado is leading the nation in appreciation.
I believe part of the reason our market is so hot is because there are not enough houses for the population. For ten years there was very little building in the area, but our population kept rising. People relied on forecloses and short sales when buying houses, but foreclosures and short sales have virtually disappeared. New construction has started back up, but the builders cannot build cheap enough to match the median housing price. Most people looking to buy a house are still having problems finding one, even with new construction.
Will housing prices increase or decrease in the Greeley area?
I never like to predict what housing prices will do, because there are so many variables that can affect values. The national economy, the local economy, new construction, foreclosures, short sales and many more factors will determine if values will increase or decrease. Based on the local economy I think prices will stay stable or rise slightly over the next few years. Here is why:
- Low inventory: We have very few homes for sale and many buyers looking for houses. The cheapest new houses in the area are around $230,000 and most new houses are much more. The median house price in Greeley is below $200,000. Builders cannot meet the mow and middle level demand in the area, which tells me prices will not down soon unless something drastic happens.
- Local economy: Greeley and Weld County have a strong agricultural economy and have seen an oil and gas boom in the last couple of years. The oil and gas industry has added many jobs and brought many people to the area. It has been worrisome to some with low gas prices that the economy and housing market would be hurt. However there are many other industries besides oil and gas and low gas prices help out the rest of the economy. I have talked to many business owners who could not hire people during the oil boom, because everyone wanted to work in the oil fields for top dollar. One business had to do most of their hiring out-of-state to find workers. Greeley also has the University of Colorado and AIMs Community College.
- Surrounding cities and towns: Colorado in general has seen a huge in crease in housing prices and Greeley is one of the most affordable cities in the area. The median price for houses in Greeley is $191,000, but cities in the area have much higher prices. Fort Collins median house price is at $287,000, Loveland $248,000, Longmont $265,000 and Denver is $291,000. Fort Collins, Longmont, Loveland are all within 30 miles of Greeley and Denver is about 50 miles away.
- Historic housing market: Although Weld County lead the nation in foreclosures in 2006, prices did not drop as much as many other areas of the country. Greeley saw less than a 20% total drop in prices even with an incredible amount of foreclosures on the market. The market has historically been very stable with steady appreciation.
I think the biggest concern for most people in the area is the oil and gas industry leaving due to low oil prices. However the oil and gas industry is not the only employer and the area is still doing very well even after prices dropped. There have been layoffs, but many of the workers laid off came from other states and were not buying homes or even renting homes. Our housing situation was so tight that every hotel room was full in the town and they are building new hotels (I would be worried if I were building a hotel in the area).
How can you buy a house in the Greeley area with low inventory?
Even though inventory is super tight right now, you can still buy a house. I have bought two rentals in 2015 and I have a couple of fix and flips under contract as well. One reason I can get great deals is I am a real estate agent and I can act very fast. That doesn’t mean you can’t get a great deal if you are not a real estate agent or at least find a great house. Here are some tips:
- Get pre approved ASAP: Almost all sellers will want to see that any buyer is pre approved or pre qualified for a loan. It can take a few days to get pre approved so make sure that is done before you start looking at houses.
- Do not rely on Zillow: Zillow shows houses for sale, but they do not show every house for sale and the houses they do show can be delayed. Find a great real estate agent who can search the MLS for you and set up email alerts when a home that meets your criteria comes up for sale (My team can do this very easily).
- Find a great real estate agent: You will need a real estate agent who can show you houses quickly and write offers quickly. We have a team of great agents and someone who specializes in writing contracts for buyers.
- Don’t be afraid of multiple offers: Many times we see houses that are priced well get multiple offers. It is not fun bidding against other buyers, but if you want a good deal it is sometimes necessary.
How can you sell a house for the most money in a rising market like Greeley?
Many people think it is easy to sell a house when the market is doing well like it is now. The truth is it can be easy, but you don’t want to just sell your houses, you want to get the most you can for. You have to make sure your home is priced perfectly to attract buyers. You don’t want to be priced too high or it will chase offer buyers and too low means you might leave money on the table. What do you need to do to sell your house for the most money?
- Use a real estate agent: Selling a home yourself means setting up showings, paperwork, inspections, appraisals, marketing, pricing and many other tasks must be done yourself. An agent can help with all of that and get you more money for your house at the same time. Plus an agent can get your home in MLS.
- Price your house right: A low price means you leave money on the table and a high price means your house will sit on the market and become stagnated. My team does 100’s of house valuations a year and know what market prices are.
- Make as many repairs as you can: Not every has the means to fix up their house before they sell it, but if you can make your house show great it will sell for more money. New paint, new flooring, new fixtures all make a huge difference. You also need to make sure any repairs that would cause an appraisal problem are repaired.
- Be flexible for showings: Buyers and agents like to see houses on short notice and at all times of the day. Try to have the house clean and ready to show all the time.
Can investors make money in Greeley and Northern Colorado?
I have been buying rental properties in Greeley since 2010. It was a lot easier to buy when I started than it is now,but you can still make money. My last rental property was purchased for $120,000 and rents for $1,300. That is a great return, but it is also important to know those deals are not readily available. I had not bought a rental for six months before that, because there have been so few houses for sale in the area. One great advantage to Greeley and Colorado is very low property taxes. The taxes on my rental properties range from $400 to $800 a year.
If you wanted to buy a house in Greeley in the next week or two you could probably pay around $150,000 for a home that rents for $1,100 or $1,200 a month. You would have to be willing to make an offer ASAP and if you wanted a better deal be willing to wait months and deal with a lot of competition.
If you want to buy a flip in Greeley it will be even tougher. I know about twenty investors looking for flips in the area and it is very tough. The last flips I have bought have needed a ton of work and most of them have not been in Greeley.
As you see in the picture, some of my flips are not just paint and carpet!
What is the next step if you want to buy or sell a home in Greeley?
If you are looking to buy or sell a home in the Greeley area my team would love to help you. We have a ton of experience in the area and my agents live in Greeley, Fort Collins and Windsor, not just Greeley. We know how important it is to price homes correctly, get contracts submitted quickly and we are experts at the entire buying process. You can find my team at FergusonGreeley.com or you can email me personally at [email protected]
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