0.92-Acre Horse Property Has a 5-BR House & 3-Stall Barn

This beautiful home at 16826 W. 57th Ave. is on the eastern slope of North Table Mountain, just four miles from downtown Golden.  It was just listed at $750,000.

A tri-level home with finished basement, it has 5 bedrooms, including a master bedroom with vaulted ceiling that has its own deck with an unobstructed mountain view. The lower level has a 25’x27’ family room with stone wood-burning fireplace and access to both the garage and a large dog run.  Its 3-car garage has one bay which has been walled off as a workshop (currently used for storage), that can still be used as a parking space without removing the walls.

The 24’x28’ horse barn has a tack room and 3 stalls, one with its own outside run, separate from the half-acre pasture. Whether or not you have or want to have horses — you could generate a great income from boarding other people’s horses — you will love this country home so close to Golden, Denver and the mountains. See more pictures and view my narrated video walk-thru at www.JeffcoHorseProperties.com, then come to my open house on Sunday, June 23rd, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — or call Jim Smith at 303-525-1851 for a showing.

Great Western Slope Home Just Listed by Kim Taylor

This house at 740 N. Grand Mesa Dr. in the Western Slope town of Cedaredge combines the old with the new by using high-end upgrades but keeping the vintage look. It was just listed for $425,000. When this  4-bed/4-bath home was remodeled in 2010, it got a new radiant heating system and central A/C plus updated electrical and plumbing. The 1.22-acre property has it all — the creek, the private orchard, the garden area plus garden starts room, detached 3-car garage, additional detached 2-car garage with 240V service attached to a large shop with natural light and door access to the garden/orchard area, cute playhouse or gardening shed with carport, RV pad, creek side deck and hot tub! All this within walking distance to the quaint downtown area of Cedaredge. The surrounding 7.75-acre property and water rights are available for sale to the buyer of this fantastic home. Take a closer look at www.CedaredgeHome.info or call Kim at (303) 304-6678 for a private showing. Kim will be holding it open on Saturday, June 22nd, 11am – 2pm. 

Solar-Powered 5-BR Westminster Home Listed by David Dlugasch

This well maintained 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom brick 2-story home at 4029 W. 104th Place in ‘The Windings’ subdivision is conveniently located near great shopping restaurants, walking trails and lots of open space.  It was just listed for $598,000. Legacy Ridge and Hyland Hills public golf courses, nearby, are top rated. The home is highly efficient with a newer furnace and A/C. The utility bills are low, thanks to its on-demand Rinnai hot water heater and solar panels. The large bright family room has a gas fireplace, vaulted ceilings and skylights. The large covered deck with mountain views is perfect for entertaining. The basement has a large game/TV room, a ¾ bath and a large storage area with built-in closets. The garage is oversized with natural light, a workbench and storage closets. Get more info and take a narrated video tour at www.WestminsterHome.info. Open Saturday, June 15th, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Thoughts From Attending My 50th Class Reunion at MIT

Forgive me for straying from my usual topic of real estate — I took some time off with Rita to attend my 50th reunion at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last week, and I was super-inspired by the experience of returning to the Institute for what was more than just a party. It was an immersion  into the continuing impact that MIT is having on the world of science and technology.

Reunions at MIT are probably unlike those at any other college or university. Yes, there is partying, but roughly half the events were educational in nature, updating alums on current research regarding important topics of the day. This year the dominant topic was climate change — something I wrote about, quite coincidentally, in last week’s column.

Not only was climate change the subject of Michael Bloomberg’s commencement address (there’s a video link for it at http://news.mit.edu), but the 3-hour Technology Day symposium the following morning was all about climate change. The 1,200-seat auditorium was filled to capacity with alumni eager to be updated on MIT research about this important topic, and they were fully engaged to the very end.

Technology Day at MIT – click here for archived 3-hour video.

When I attended MIT 50 years ago, undergraduate men vastly outnumbered the undergraduate women, who barely filled the one dormitory provided for them.  Over the past 20 years, women have risen to comprise 46% of the undergraduate student body and 35% of the graduate student body, spanning every academic discipline. This gender equity was evident in Saturday’s symposium, too. Four of the six presenters, including the moderator, were women.

In his commencement address, the former NYC mayor observed that the technology for successfully addressing climate change is largely in place (except for bringing it to scale), and challenged graduates to go out into the world not just to expand upon it, but to build the political will to deploy it. I was reminded of that statement the following day while attending a Class of ’69 discussion about anti-Vietnam war activism at MIT during our time on campus. During the Q&A, a fellow ’69 alum said he had interviewed several undergraduates about political activism, which is not currently evident on campus. The impression he got is that the students are all “heads down,” concentrating on solving the world’s problems — such as climate change — undistracted by the politics that excite and divide those of us beyond the walls of academia.  Reflecting on that analysis, as someone who was very active politically as a 1960s undergrad and is still active now, I suspect it’s because nowadays, unlike in the 1960s, the Institute and its students are on the same page about such issues, sharing the same commitment to addressing commonly accepted world problems.

(In the unlikely event that President Trump were to stage a campaign rally in the Boston area, I get the impression there would be a sudden upwelling of activism at all local universities, including MIT, but the MIT activists would be focusing their vitrol on the President’s denial of climate change.)

Climate change, of course, is only one of the “world’s great challenges” which MIT is committed in its mission statement to addressing through academic research. We learned in Saturday’s symposium about ground breaking research on mass storage battery systems and alternatives to blast furnaces for creating steel. Those inventions likewise contribute in a big way to sustaining the livability of our planet.

A deceased member of the class of ’69, Bob Swanson, who cofounded Genentech, is generally credited with creating the biotech industry. Scores of biotech businesses now populate the high rises on Kendall Square, adjacent to the MIT campus. A tribute to his accomplishments during one of the luncheons was most inspiring.

It was hard not to come away from the reunion weekend without a deep appreciation of what MIT and its graduates can and are accomplishing in addressing the planet’s most important challenges.  I consider myself very fortunate to be among those who were given the privilege of being immersed in that environment for four or more years, however long ago.

A videographer asked members of my class what their biggest learning was from MIT.  My answer to that question referenced the chemical process of osmosis, a secondary definition of which, according to Google is, “the process of gradual or unconscious assimilation of ideas, knowledge, etc.” Just being in that environment amidst the faculty, administration and fellow students was its own education through osmosis. This may be hard to understand if you weren’t there, but my classmates would probably all nod in agreement.

I return from my reunion, renewed in my appreciation of science and technology and of all that my alma mater contributes to their positive application to society.

PS: I was honored when MIT chose to feature me in a pre-reunion “Slice of MIT” blog post, focusing on what I have done to transition Golden Real Estate’s office to “net zero energy.” Here’s a link to that blog post.

Here Are Some Questions Sellers Should Ask When Hiring a Listing Agent

Do you know what to look for in a listing agent, and the questions to ask during a listing presentation?

You’ll probably want to know their level of experience, competence and success in selling similar properties, hopefully within your city or neighborhood.

Like you, I monitor the real estate activity where I live, and I’m astonished how many homes are listed by agents I’ve never heard of. As I write this on Monday, there are 50 active or pending listings in my area, represented by 40 different agents!  No agent has more than three listings. And despite practicing real estate here for 17 years, I only recognize the names of 11 of them.

This is typical of every city. Where did the sellers find all those different agents to list their homes? Many, I suspect are friends and family — every agent’s biggest “competitor.” In some cases, the seller had just bought their replacement home elsewhere and was convinced by that listing agent to list their current home — not the best decision if that agent is unfamiliar with your neighborhood, lives far away, and is unable to show the home on short notice, answer questions from buyers, or keep your brochure box well stocked.

Or perhaps the agent sent a letter or taped a note to your door claiming to have a buyer for your home. That earned him or her an interview, in which the agent said that his buyer found another home but convinced you to list with them.

Let’s say, however, that you want to interview  listing agents and make a rational hiring decision.

First, choose the agents to interview based on their location and experience in your neighborhood or city. Second, study their active/sold listings to see (1) their geographic distribution and (2) how well they are presented on the MLS. 

For this you can use a shortcut I created,  FindDenverRealtors.com, which takes you to the page on Denver’s MLS for searching agents by name. In my case, you’d see a profile and my active, pending and sold listings. Search for the agent(s) you’re considering. Read their profile, if they created one. Look at their current and sold listings. Click on one or more of them to see how they described the home on the MLS. Did they list all the rooms, not just bedrooms and bathrooms, providing dimensions and descriptions, or just enter the mandatory fields? Keep in mind that, the best indicator of how they will serve you is how they have served previous sellers.

Looking at those listings will answer the most important questions which you’d ask in person, but you won’t have to take their word — the truth is there in front of you. You’ll learn, for example, whether they did point-and-shoot pictures or had a professional photographer shoot HDR (magazine quality) photos, and whether they created a narrated video tour or just a slide show with music.

Having chosen who to interview that way, ask these questions of those you invite into your home for an interview:

What commission percentage do you charge? Keep in mind, there is no standard commission. It’s totally negotiable, and the industry average is in the mid-5’s, not 6%.

See whether the agent volunteers that they reduce their commission when they don’t have to pay 2.8% to a buyer’s agent. If you have to ask them, consider it a red flag. They hoped you wouldn’t.

Ask the agent whether he or she will discount their commission if you hire them to represent you in the purchase of your replacement home.

Hopefully the candidate will have researched the market and make a sound recommendation of listing price. Beware of agents who inflate their suggested listing price so you will list with them.

When setting the appointment, ask the agent to bring a spreadsheet of their sold listings with dates, days on market, listing price and sold price.

Lastly, how will they promote your listing?  Measure their promises against what we do, published at www.HowWeMarketListings.info.

Climate Change, Our Planet’s Most Pressing Issue

Colorado has been blessed with probably the least impact of climate change, but eventually it will catch up with us.  Meanwhile, we watch, stunned, not only by the tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires and flooding in other sections of the country, but also by the failure of the major networks to mention climate change as the culprit and to point out that it will only get worse over time.

Over 5 years ago, in 2014, the headline on my column was “We May Have Already Passed the Tipping Point on Climate Change.”  Here is what I wrote back then:

Each January, political leaders shower us with speeches on the State of the Union, the State, the City and other jurisdictions.  No one presents a State of the Planet speech, but if someone did, I suspect climate change would be topic #1 — and for good reason.

My friend and mentor, Steve Stevens, sent me a chart (below) showing the decline in late summer Arctic sea ice. It’s a wake-up call regarding climate change.

I don’t have a degree in science, but I do understand science enough to know this chart’s significance.

If you studied any science — or own an automobile — you know that white surfaces reflect solar heat, whereas dark surfaces (open ocean, for example) absorb it. The loss of sea ice does not just indicate global warming, it accelerates it, which makes one worry whether it’s already too late to reverse the effects of human-caused global warming.

Climate change deniers may celebrate the fact that the Arctic Ocean is becoming increasingly navigable in the summer, but they need to connect the dots between global warming and the whipsawing we now see in our day-to-day weather. 

I’d be curious to see the statistics on how many times the network news programs featured severe weather reports in 2013 versus previous years.  I can’t remember an evening in which weather wasn’t a major or lead story.

Our earth’s climate has been de-stabilized. Had you heard of the polar vortex before this year?  I hadn’t.  The uninformed will say that our cold weather proves that the earth is not warming, but how naïve is that?  It’s global warming that is causing extremes, both of temperature and precipitation — which is caused by warming. I don’t hear them questioning El Nino, in which natural changes in ocean temperature affect climate.

Is there time to reverse this situation?  Maybe not. But we certainly don’t have time to debate its existence with climate change deniers.

[End of my 2014 column]

Night after night, we see news reports of unprecedented severe weather around the country, but rarely is the connection to climate change mentioned. Our president’s failure to address climate change may be part of his legacy.

Finding the Right Senior Living Community for You Can Be Confusing!

Buying and selling a single family home can be confusing enough, but it pales in  comparison to shopping for the best senior living community.

According to Jenn Gomer of CarePartrol (more about her later in this article), there are no fewer than 400 senior communities in the Denver metro area, and the variety of living options and business models can be overwhelming.

There are pure rental facilities and rentals with buy-ins. The size and terms of those buy-ins can vary greatly, too.  Some facilities are on a campus with continuous care options as your health changes, ranging from independent living to assisted living to nursing home care, to memory care to hospice.  Personally, I like the idea of not having to move again if my health changes, but not all senior communities include that feature.

Financing, of course, is a huge consideration. If you own your current home and have lots of equity in it (little or no mortgage), that can provide a nest egg that could hopefully outlive you, if managed correctly and spent on the right facility. But not everyone has that luxury.

It’s important to get the right advice from someone who is not looking to drain more of your limited funds. We think we have found that person in Jenn Gomer. Jenn and her associates at CarePatrol don’t charge for their services.  Jenn’s company is paid by the communities that she helps you visit, analyze and ultimately select. She has all the important information about those 400 senior communities that I mentioned above. She knows their safety records, their health records, their reputation in the industry, their financial conditions, their charges, their amenities, and so much more.

If you own a home which you’ll want to sell, it makes sense to bring Jenn and me together to meet with you in your home and discuss your options.

Everyone’s situation is different. Let us learn your specific needs and wants. If working with Golden Real Estate and/or CarePatrol isn’t a good fit for you, we’re going to tell you so. Such a meeting carries no obligation to work with either of us.

Call me at 303-525-1851 to arrange such a meeting.