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Bargains are in the eye of the beholder, and that is especially true when it comes to home listings in many parts of the country, including metro Denver, according to a new study from Trulia.
Trulia looked at real estate listings on its website between 2013 and 2015 that included the word "bargain" to determine what kind of discount the property offered versus comparable listings.
In 45 of the 100 markets studied, "bargain" listings came with no difference in price, making the term meaningless. Metro Denver was in a group of cities where there was a discount, but not much of one.
Denver tied with Dallas for the eighth-smallest discount, at 3.9 percent. Colorado Springs was the only other Colorado city on the list, with a 5.5 percent discount.
At the other extreme are cities, mostly in the Northeast and the Rust Belt, where listings that said bargain came with price discounts from 10 percent to 20 percent below comparable properties that didn't use the term.
Dayton, Ohio, had the largest discount in bargain listings at 19.6 percent, while Toledo, Ohio, was at 18.1 percent. In those markets, "bargain" meant a bargain.
Real estate experts warn buyers to do their own research when they see terms such as "bargain," "below-market" or "substantial savings" or to obtain independent appraisals.
"It is a relative term," said Kevin Risen, executive vice president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Denver.
Distressed sellers needing a quick sale sometimes will offer a substantial price reduction, he said. But in a hot market such as Denver, where lower-priced homes can sell quickly, sellers haven't been as motivated to discount.
Risen said he hasn't heard the term "bargain" pop up much in metro Denver listings, and Trulia found in its study that less than 1.2 percent of listings contained the word.