Denver-based, flat-free brokerage Trelora is conducting a small-scale study right now to find out.

Dumpsters are often a neighborhood eyesore, but can they can actually be a useful predictive tool for real estate professionals? Flat-free brokerage Trelora is running a small-scale small study right now to test the idea.

The study cataloged roll-out dumpsters in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood in early to mid-June by driving electric cars around the neighborhood.

“One of our assumptions is that most people, if not all, are looking to maximize their home’s market value at sale, and as a result, they will do some improvements to the home ahead of putting it on the market, whether light or heavy improvements,” the study says.

A map of the dumpster breakdown within sub-neighborhoods of The Highlands | Photo credit: Trelora

Members of Trelora’s data team found that there were 108 dumpsters in the selected area, 60 of which were coming from a remodel versus new construction. Homes that had not been sold in seven years were labeled “red hot,” as the study says the average person switches homes every seven years.

“Of the 60 homes that have a dumpster and are ostensibly being remodeled and not just throwing out CD collections, 41 of these homes had their last sale more than two years ago,” the study says. “And of those 41 homes, we have labeled 31 of them as being red hot and likely, if our predictions are correct, destined for the market after these renovations are complete.”

The sample size here is small and speculative right now — the study admits the data needs time to “bake” and see if some of these homes with dumpsters do actually come to market — but the team behind the study believes it could represent greater dynamics at play in the market.

“If our predictions are accurate (or close), this cluster of homes is about to come online at a much-needed time for desperate buyers,” the report says.

Email Patrick Kearns

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