Golden Real Estate’s Motto: ‘Hometown Service Delivered With Integrity’

Real_Estate_Today_bylineWhen we established Golden Real Estate over 11 years ago, I came up with two mottos for our company which appear on all our yard signs. The mottos also appear on our newest moving truck that we provide free to buyers, sellers and community organizations.

I’ve written more than once about the second motto, Promoting and Modeling Environmental Responsibility,” but this week I want to focus on the first one, which is “Hometown Service Delivered With Integrity.”

I recall how easily those two value statements came to me back in 2007, and now I can testify as to how we have lived up to both of them in the years since and how important and relevant they feel so many years later.

My own relationship to integrity derives from my New England upbringing and specifically the influence of my somewhat aristocratic father, Abbott Pliny Smith II. Dishonesty or lying had no place in our home. I can still hear Dad telling me, “Just because other people steal apples doesn’t make it right for you to steal apples.”

Dad taught me not to pretend to know things I didn’t know or claim to have experience I did not have.  I recall one instance where following that advice really helped me. It was when I owned a typesetting company in New York called Journal Graphics. Because of my journalism training, I wanted to land the account with WNET to produce the transcripts for The MacNeil/Lehrer Report. But I had no experience with transcription and no current clients.

So I took the approach of actually transcribing one of their shows and delivering the transcript to the station the following morning with a cover letter to the executive producer saying I could do this every night overnight, including printing. A month later I was in the office of the woman in charge of transcripts, and she said, “Yes, and would you like to do Bill Moyers’ Journal, too?”

I responded, “Let me do Bill Moyers’ show first, since it’s a weekly show, and once we’ve got that going smoothly, I’ll do the MacNeil/Lehrer Report, which is daily.” Then she asked if we’d do fulfillment. Without hesitating, I asked her, “What’s fulfillment?” She explained that it involves fulfilling the mailed-in orders. “That sounds very clerical, so I’m sure we could handle it,” I said. She then asked if we’d hire the two elderly volunteers who were doing that job for WNET, and I said, “Sure.”

Within a few years, we were doing all the transcripts for ABC News, Oprah Winfrey (and countless other daytime talk shows), 60 Minutes, CNN 24 hours a day, and all NPR programs. And it all started by demonstrating I could do the job, but also being honest about my lack of experience or clients.  And I didn’t solicit thosse additional clients.  ABC asked WNET, Oprah asked ABC, and the rest called us as Journal Graphics became a household name at the end of those other shows.

Fast forward to my real estate career.  In 2012, mass emails claimed that the Affordable Care Act included a 3.8% sales tax on the sale of every home.  It was an outright distortion of a tax that applied only to investment income and only on Adjusted Gross Income in excess of $200,000 in a given year. The email, which became viral as recipients forwarded it to all their contacts, was designed, using false information, to whip up grass roots hatred of Obama during his 2012 re-election campaign.

Recipients of the email were advised to sell their homes before the tax took effect in January 2013.  The headline on my October 18, 2012, column was, “If You’re Selling Your Home Because of an ‘Obamacare Tax,’ You’ve Been Duped.”

At first, I figured it must be an innocent and unintentional misreading of the law, and I replied “All” to each email with the facts. But facts didn’t matter, and the emails continued in hopes of defeating Obama. This lack of integrity appalled me, but nowadays that lack of integrity is magnified by the use of social media, and the manipulation of voters continues unabated. Does it shock and dismay you as much as it does me?

Another wake-up call for me was that at least one of my own agents who received the mass email did not want to respond to it with the truth because she didn’t want to “be political” and thus alienate prospective clients.

One reason I was drawn to joining Rotary was its “Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do.”  I have published the Four-Way Test before, but I’ll repeat it here, and I urge you to consider whether certain politicians would pass those tests of the things they think, say or do:

“First, is it the Truth?

Second, is it Fair to All Concerned?

Third, Will it Build Goodwill and Better Friendships?

Fourth, Will it Be Beneficial to All Concerned?”

Boy Scouts can tell you that the Scout Law also includes telling the truth in the first of its 12 laws.

Realtors subscribe to the Realtor Code of Ethics. Article 12 says that “Realtors shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations.” Sadly, however, I recently reported on one Realtor whose business model includes misleading homeowners with notes taped to their front door saying “I may have a buyer for your house.” Not only does that Realtor not have a buyer, but he admitted to me that when he gets one, he refers the buyer to another agent and earns a referral fee.

A common lapse of integrity by real estate agents is the exaggeration of their success.  In past columns I have advised readers on how they could verify an agent’s record, and I even created a shortcut, www.FindDenverRealtors.com, which takes readers directly to the page on Denver’s MLS where they can get that information.

So, yes, within my own industry I also confront a lack of integrity.  But Golden Real Estate’s motto is to practice “Hometown Service Delivered With Integrity” and I hold my nine broker associates to that commitment.  Indeed, I can think of four broker associates I fired for reasons related to their lack of integrity.  Please let me know directly if you ever sense that I or one or my broker associates has not lived up to that commitment.

If You’d Like My Political Take…

This column is about real estate, not politics, but, as you might suspect, I have a lot to say about integrity in politics. You’ll find that content at www.JimSmithBlog.com.

 

Downtown Golden Townhome Just Listed by Carol Milan

IMG_4482Here’s an opportunity to own a sought after unit in a building close to the Colorado School of Mines campus on the corner of 11th Street in downtown Golden. The address is 1104 Maple Street.  It is being listed this week at $635,000.  Front and double rear balconies provide stunning views of the foothills. Built in 1996, this 2-bedroom, 3-bath townhome has been beautifully maintained inside and out. The detached 2-car garage provides separate access to the main and lower levels of unit, which is unique to this unit. With this access, the bottom level could be rented separately from the top level. Don’t miss this rare opportunity in the heart of Golden. Take a narrated video tour at www.GoldenTownhome.com, then come to the open house on Friday, Oct. 19th, 4 to 6 pm or Sunday, Oct. 21st,  11 am to 1 pm.  Carol Milan can be reached at 720-982-4941.

Here’s a whole-building picture of this complex, called Clearbrook:1104 Maple Street.png

 

Price Reduced on Newer Northwest Denver Home

3932 Tejon StNow priced at $669,950, this gorgeous 3-bed, 3½-bath home at 3932 Tejon Street in the Sunnyside section of Denver was built in 2004 and has over 2,000 sq. ft. and everything you have been waiting for, plus a 2-car detached garage! It has gleaming hardwood floors, wonderful open layout, newly remodeled master bathroom, and a built-in Murphy bed in the fully finished basement — perfect for friends/family or roommates! You can walk to hot spots like Gaetano’s Italian restaurant and Illegal Pete’s just to name a few! You will enjoy everything Northwest Denver has to offer here, including breweries, shopping, entertainment and more. Watch my video tour online at www.SunnysideHome.us, then call me at 303-525-1851 for a private showing. Open Saturday, Oct. 20th, 11am-2pm.

The Seller’s Market May Be Cooling, But Not As Dramatically As Reported

Real_Estate_Today_bylineIt was reported last Wednesday that the 11-county Denver metro area real estate market had cooled dramatically in September.  However,  my research of the 5-county metro area on REcolorado.com (Den-ver’s MLS) did not confirm that.

The article, which was based on a market trends report from the local Realtor association, reported that the high-end market had experienced the largest decline, yet I found the opposite to be the case.

Comparing this September to September 2017, sales of homes over $500,000 increased slightly from 989 to 993 in the  5-county metro area. The number of active listings in that price range at the end of September was up 5% from September 2017, at 3,605 vs. 3,434.

The article reported that the number of homes that sold for over $1 million plummeted by 44.4% in September vs. August, but my research indicated that the number of sales was nearly identical to that of September 2017 — 104 vs. 105 sales. The number of active listings was also nearly identical to Sept. 2017 — 860 this year vs. 870 last year. I computed the decline in million-dollar home sales from August of this year at 37.8% for the 5-county metro area. Last year the August-to-September drop was 14%.

The fact is that the summer months this year were significantly hotter than last year, with July and August sales up more than 30% from last year.  I would suggest that what we saw in September was really a return to the levels of last year, not a sign that the seller’s market has ended.

In the sub-$500,000 metro market, we did see a 20.6% decline in sales, from 3,516 in Sept. 2017 to 2,793 this year. Active listings at the end of September were up 12% from 2017, giving buyers more listings from which to choose.

In the 5-county metro area, the median sold price for detached single family homes hit a high of $450,000 in April then declined over the summer to $425,000 in September. This might sound troubling until you realize that, even with the summer slow-down, this represents a 5% increase over September 2017, which also had lower numbers than every month since March 2017.

The median days on market this September for the sub-$500,000 sales was 13, compared to 11 days in September 2017.

Metro area homes priced over $500,000 sold more quickly and for more money than in September 2017 — 19 days vs. 24 days on market, with an increase in median sold price to $630,000 from $618,500 a year ago.

Unlike the single-family homes, condos and townhomes took a little longer to sell this September — 11 days vs. only 7 last year — but the median sales price jumped by 14.7%, from $260,760 to $299,000. This also represented an increase of 2.7% over August 2018.

In conclusion, although our seller’s market may be getting old, reports of its demise are, shall we say, exaggerated.

Now let’s look at Denver statistics

Denver_stats_for_September_2017-2018Since “all real estate is local,” I studied the active, under contract and sold statistics for five Denver neighborhoods which I chose for their diversity. At right are two charts, one for last month and the other for September 2017.

Comparing this September’s statistics to those of September 2017, the only neighborhood showing much softening is Barnum, whose huge run-up in values in recent years may have run its course.

 

Now let’s look at Jefferson County.

Jeffco_stats_for_September_2017-2018I also studied the active, under contract and sold statistics for various Jefferson County addresses. At left are the same two charts, one for last month and the other for September 2017.

The most significant change you’ll notice in comparing the two months is that there are notably fewer listings under contract this September compared to September 2017, as well as a decrease in active and sold listings:

 

Wheat Ridge Ranch Just Listed by Chuck Brown

4175 S BalsamThis 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom brick ranch home at 4175 Balsam St., just listed at $410,000, has been completely renovated and is in move-in condition. The 10,000- sq.-ft. lot features a well-tended yard and beautiful landscaping with mature trees, flower and vegetable beds, a small greenhouse and automatic sprinkler system. Recent updates include double-pane windows, a modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances, oak hardwood floors throughout, striking tile work in the kitchen and main bath, a new forced air furnace and A/C as well as a new roof. There is plenty of storage in the attached one-car garage and the 2 large sheds. The light, airy sunroom is fully enclosed and insulated for year-round use and makes a great artist’s studio. Great location on a quiet street in an established neighborhood and close to Lutheran Medical Center, the 38th Ave. commercial district, and easy access to main arteries at 44th, Wadsworth Blvd, and Interstates (I-70, I-76). This home is 990 sq. ft. (not including the 132 sq. ft. enclosed sunroom). Be sure to view the narrated video tour at www.WheatRidgeHome.info. Open house is this Saturday, Oct. 13th, from 11am to 2pm.

 

Price Reduced on 4-BR Brick Ranch in Lakewood

2000 Lewis StreetThis home at 2000 Lewis Street, now priced at $448,000, has a cozy feel featuring unique spaces including entry sitting room and a huge south facing sunroom. There are two main-floor bedrooms, dining room plus an eat-in kitchen. The living room has a glass door gas fireplace. Downstairs are two non-conforming bedrooms plus a great room with wet bar and dinette. A covered patio overlooks the fenced backyard. There is a 10’ x 10’ garden shed. This home has been well cared for through the years. Mechanicals include a 95% efficient Lennox furnace and an updated Honeywell swamp cooler. There is a 2-car garage and extra parking spot next to the driveway. It’s just across 20th Avenue from the Lakewood Library and convenient to Kestrel Pond and Crown Hill Park, with easy access to Kipling, Colfax and I-70. Take a narrated video tour and see interior photos at www.LakewoodHome.info. Open house is Sat. Oct. 13th, 11-2:30.

 

Annual Chili Cook-Off & Beer Tasting Is Saturday

A favorite tradition among Jefferson County residents is the annual chili cook-off sponsored by the Golden Chamber of Commerce. It returns this Saturday, Oct. 13th, 1 to 4 pm.  The  cook-off has a new home this year — downtown Golden’s Parfet Park.

EventPhotoFull_LogoTranscriptAd   General admission tickets can be purchased at www.GoldenChamber.org for $40.  For that price you can sample fare from over 30 chili competitors and 90 different beers (courtesy of Coors Distributing), plus enjoy a live show by country star Buckstein. Tickets for this popular event are likely to sell out, so I recommend  buying them online, since you may not be able to buy them at the event itself.