Affordable Ranch Listed by Jim Swanson  

Listed at $559,000

This move-in ready south-facing ranch home with updates at 3865 W. 63rd Ave. is ready for new owners. It has an Arvada address but is in unincorporated Adams County. The corner lot and low-maintenance yard is great for pets. The open floor plan features a large living room with vaulted ceiling, plus a dining area with French doors adjacent to the kitchen. Quality kitchen appliances are included. There are 2 bedrooms and 2 baths on the main level, and 2 bedrooms, a full bath, and a nice family room in the basement. You’ll like the high ceilings in the basement. Built in 1987, the Arlington Meadows neighborhood has great access to Denver and Interstates 25, 76 and 70. The Tennyson light rail station is only 10 blocks away, as well as the large Tennyson Knolls park. View more pictures and take a narrated video tour at www.ArlingtonMeadowsHome.info, then call Jim Swanson at 303-929-2727 for a private showing.

https://youtu.be/uHPJa1e7uIg

Statistics, Oddly, Seem Not to Support the Idea That the Real Estate Market Is Slowing Down  

We all know that the real estate market has slowed down since the dramatic April increase in mortgage rates — right?

Seeking to document and measure that slowdown, I checked the statistics available to me as a member of REcolorado, Denver’s MLS. Below is a chart of the statistics I gathered for the period Jan. 2021 to present. Analyzing that chart, you can see that while there are fewer active listings this May than a year ago, there are roughly the same number of sold listings — and they went under contract just as quickly, with a median days on the MLS (DOM) of just 4. And, more significantly, the median sold price this May was nearly $100,000 higher than May 2021, with a slightly higher ratio of sold price to listing price. April’s statistics year-over-year were even more impressive.

The smaller chart is a 7-day residential “Market Watch” widget that I copied and pasted from the MLS on Tuesday morning. Although I don’t know how to replicate what that chart would have looked like a year ago, it’s safe to say that it’s much different — and does not paint the same picture as the larger chart above. It definitely shows a vibrant market with lots of new, pending and closed listings, but the number of price reductions must be significantly higher than they were a year ago — and 10 times the number of price increases.

So, what does all this data mean for the average homeowner thinking of listing his or her home for sale?

The number of price decreases suggests to me that too many sellers are starting out with a listing price that might have worked in the past, but that is too aggressive for the current market. While the median days-on-MLS is still only 4, you can be sure that those listings lowered their prices a week or more into their time on the MLS.  At the same time, that low days-on-MLS number tells you that the sellers who price their home correctly outnumber those who do not. Good for them. That’s the group you want to be in!

Another obvious conclusion is that while the dramatic increase in mortgage interest rates has impacted many buyers, there are enough buyers who are paying cash or are not deterred by the higher rates, which are still historically low. (When I bought my first home in 1983, I benefited from a subsidized interest rate of “only” 13%!)

Bottom line: Sellers should price their homes less aggressively. Buyers should focus on homes with a DOM over 10 days. That’s where the best deals can be found.

An Apple ‘AirTag’ Can Help You Locate Your Stolen Car  

News media is full of reports about the increase in the theft of cars and trucks. This is not a problem for owners of internet-connected cars like Tesla, which you can follow on your app and even limit its speed (15 mph is good!), but what if your car is not connected that way and gets stolen?

Apple sells a $29 product called AirTag which you can hide in your vehicle. There’s no ongoing fee. If any GPS-connected smartphone is nearby, it uses that device to transmit its location. We have one hidden in Golden Real Estate’s truck, and I can use it to see where it is at any time.

Pictured here, the AirTag is about the size of a quarter and about as thick as 2 or 3 quarters. Put it under a seat or floor mat or any other place in your vehicle and know that if your vehicle is not where you left it, you’ll be able to tell police where to find it and perhaps nab the thief.

Just Listed: 3-Bedroom 2-Story Lakewood Home East of Solterra  

Just listed for $850,000

This light-filled home at 2384 S. Holman Circle is in a 1990s subdivision just east of Solterra. Nearby parks include Coyote Gulch (a 5-minute walk away), Green Mountain, and Bear Creek Lake. Cycling and walking trails abound! The home is beautifully updated, as you will see from watching the narrated video walk-through at www.LakewoodHome.info. The backyard has a delightful water feature, a perennial flower bed, and mature trees. There’s a main-floor office/study, and the loft could be enclosed to become a 4th bedroom. The kitchen is a delight with its quartz countertops, under-cabinet lighting, stainless steel appliances, and marble backsplash. The large composite deck (Deckorators brand) was installed in 2020, creating a perfect space for outdoor entertaining and relaxing. This home has been well maintained by the seller and is in immaculate condition. Come to our open house on Saturday, June 11th, from 11am to 1pm, or call your agent or Jim Smith at 303-525-1851 to set a showing.

https://youtu.be/lVW0yzDCUOg

National and State Realtor Associations Make the Environment and Sustainability a Priority Issue  

Many people, I’ve found, assume that Realtors, especially the top producers, must be conservatives who resist social policies, tax increases and liberal agenda items in general. That could include denial of human-caused climate change and opposition to any mandates that interfere with “individual freedom” such as mask or vaccine mandates.

Well, I’m pleased to report that, at the association level, we’re a pretty liberal bunch. Yes, I know a few Realtors who are hard-core Trumpers and live by the words of Tucker Carlson, but they’re in the minority.

Those Realtors would not have been pleased when the president of the National Association of Realtors apologized for NAR’s support of racist policies earlier in its 110-year history in his speech to the annual convention. Compare that to conservatives across the country wanting to ban books and classroom discussion about “critical race theory,” intended to rally the conversative base to vote out liberals on local school boards and elsewhere.

Then I read on pages 16-18 of the May issue of Colorado Realtor Magazine about NAR’s commitment to “ESG+R,” which stands for Environmental, Social, Governance + Resilience.

As the article explains, ESG “is a set of standards for a company or practitioner’s operations that investors (or consumers) use to screen potential investments. Environmental criteria measure how that company or practitioner perform as a steward of nature. Social criteria examine how it manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities where it operates. Governance refers to policies around leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights. In short, ESG evaluates if a company, organization, or practitioner is operating sustainably. Globally, sustainability is rated as an important purchase criterion for 60% of consumers.”

The Realtor associations go beyond ESG to add R for Resilience, which is an aspect of sustainability.

Knowing Golden Real Estate’s (and my personal) commitment to such issues, you can understand how pleased I was to read of NAR’s commitment to the same values.

The fact that the Colorado Association of Realtors (CAR) featured this NAR initiative in their monthly magazine suggests that Colorado Realtors are, through their association, fully on board with this issue.

What follows are some excerpts from the article which spoke to me:

“Sustainability is the evolution of long-term value creation for people, planet, and the economy. If sustainability is the journey, then ESG is how we measure progress,” said Ryan Frazier, CEO of Frazier Global, a Colorado-based management consulting and environmental, social, governance (ESG) advisory business.

“We must integrate a culture of sustainability throughout our association and industry. By building a resilient real estate market today, we can create healthy, vibrant, and diverse communities for generations to come,” said 2022 NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith.

“Leading by example, NAR is driving the real estate industry toward a more efficient and sustainable future,” said NAR CEO Bob Goldberg. “As part of this responsibility, we are strengthening the association’s support of sustainability efforts and increasing engagement on policies and programs that prioritize viability, resiliency, and adaptability. We are working to generate meaningful, lasting change that will benefit both current and future generations.”

Millennials now make up 43% of homebuyers, the most of any generation, according to a 2021 report from the National Association of Realtors—and that number is only predicted to rise. And this generation has a reputation for being values-driven in their approach to their money and their careers. These choices drive where they choose to work, play, and buy a home. About one-third of millennials often or exclusively use investments that take ESG factors into account, compared with 19% of Gen Z, 16% of Gen X and 2% of baby boomers, according to a Harris Poll on behalf of CNBC, which surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults ages 30 to 40 on a variety of topics. The escalating importance of ESG doesn’t just impact homebuyer sentiment. It will also matter to brokerage firms looking to hire the best and brightest agents. Companies that promote strong ESG values tend to attract and retain the best talent.

The Purple Report on ESG and Real Estate [by NAR] had 703 respondents. 51% live in Colorado and own a home or want to own a home in Colorado and 49% live outside the state but expressed an interest in buying a home in the state.

KEY FINDINGS:

When asked, are you more likely or less likely to work with a Realtor who has a proficient level of knowledge and training on sustainability and sustainable housing practices when it comes to buying, selling, or investing in a home? 70% of respondents were somewhat or much more likely.

When asked, do you agree or disagree with the viewpoint that as the number of severe weather conditions, droughts, wildfires increase due in part to climate change, and with the potential risk to homes and commercial properties, Realtors need to be helping provide solutions that address climate change risks? 67% of respondents said they agree. The number jumped to 80% among those ages 18-24, and to 79% of those earning $150,000 a year or more.

As the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics preamble tells us, “Under all is the land.”  Our planet is the one resource we all depend on, as will our heirs. The best time to care for it — and for them — is now.

Electric Vehicle Roundup in Golden This Saturday, June 4th, 3-6pm

While the cost of gasoline and diesel has hit record highs, the cost of electricity for cars has dropped. Perhaps you’ve heard of the new Time of Use rates from Xcel Energy. Under that rate plan, you pay 10 cents per kilowatt-hour after 7pm and before 1pm and on weekends and holidays. If you opt out of that plan, you pay 14 cents per kWH at all times. The nice thing about EVs is that you can program any EV to start charging at 7pm even though you plug it in earlier. So maybe it’s time to consider getting an electric car! You can meet the owners of more than a dozen makes and models of electric cars and trucks this Saturday, June 4th, from 3 to 6pm in the parking lot of The Net Zero Store, 17695 S. Golden Rd. This is during the monthly Super Cruise event. Pedego Golden will be there with electric bicycles to test ride, too. Below are some of the electric vehicles already registered for this event.

Price Reduced on Stunning Denver Tudor  – Now Only $895,000

This brick Tudor at 1301 Glencoe Street was built in 1939 by a neighborhood builder for his own family and it has many unique features.  You have a rare opportunity to own this very special home since this is only the third time in 65 years that it has been offered for sale.  (I know it well, since I lived two blocks from this house in the 1990s.)  You’ll love the vaulted ceiling in the living room and the beautiful main level hardwood floors. What sets this home apart from other Tudors in this area is its large size: 4,030 total square feet (3,526 finished). An extra large master suite with built-ins and private bath, 2 additional bedrooms and a 2nd full bath are on the first floor. Two more bedrooms, a full bath, a large family room and a huge workshop are on the lower level.  Flexible room layouts allow for a home office (or two) or a hobby room. A detached garage is accessed from 13th Avenue.  On a price-per-square-foot basis this home comps out well above $1.1 million, but the seller chose to price it at $895,000 to sell quickly. The narrated video tour at www.MayfairHome.site is like a showing. There will be no open houses, so call your agent or Jim Smith at 303-525-1851 to see this fantastic home in person.

https://youtu.be/lbvQ8Gyzs1I
Living room
Dining room
Kitchen
Master Suite
Breezeway outside Master Suite
Brick patio
Basement family room
Workshop (formerly attached 2-car garage)
Driveway accessed from 13th Ave.

Reflections 7 Weeks After Selling Our Home and Moving into a 55+ Rental Community  

In my March 10 column (read it at www.JimSmithColumns.com), I announced that Rita and I had decided to sell our Golden home and become renters for the first time in 50 or so years for both of us. A year ago, I could not have predicted such a decision so early in our youthful 70s. I thought you’d like to know how that has worked out for us, in case I got you thinking about a similar move yourself.

Our reasoning was simple. We felt that our home, which we could (and did) sell for 2½ times what we paid for it ten years ago, was unlikely to keep appreciating, and the money we would pocket from selling could more than support us for the rest of our lives. Since I’ll continue making a good income as a Realtor for several more years, we could pay all our living expenses without touching the principal, which we have since invested half in equity stocks and half in a Transamerica annuity with downside protection. (Ask me if you’d like references to our two advisors.)

Zillow and other valuation models show our former home continuing to appreciate, which is good news for our buyer, but it’s hard to predict how much longer that will be true.  I feel we may be at or near the peak of the market. The experience with other listings in the past month suggests that, yes, the market is softening, triggered primarily by the rapid rise in mortgage rates.

So, are Rita and I happy in our new 2-bedroom/2-bath rental? The answer is a qualified “yes.” It definitely was an exercise in “letting go” to move from a 2,639-sq.-ft. home with its 3-car garage and its 2,281-sq.-ft. basement full of “stuff” into our 1,096-sq.-ft. apartment.  I made countless trips to Goodwill, plus targeted donations elsewhere. We gave three unused bicycles plus accessories to the Golden Optimists’ Bicycle Recycle program, gave our gas generator to a Habitat for Humanity group, gave our air compressor to our handyman who uses it to blow out sprinkler systems, and, most helpful of all, included virtually all our furniture in the sale of our home.

It was, in short, quite a process of letting go, not just of miscellaneous possessions accumulated over the years, but also of family heirlooms which had been passed down over the years from our two families.

We had boxes and boxes of artifacts and papers in our basement which we spent many hours culling, recycling most of it. (I didn’t quite finish and have a few boxes in storage that I will get to “sometime.”)

Yes, we rented storage space — both a long-term unit at Public Storage and two small cages in our apartment building a short distance from our apartment for short-term storage — stuff that might otherwise go in a pantry or closet if we had a larger unit.

Long before we had decided to sell and downsize, Rita and I had purchased a week-long cruise of the Mediterranean, which began three weeks after our move into the apartment. We had barely settled in by that time, and the cruise allowed us to experience living in 200 square feet for long enough to make our 1,096-sq.-ft. apartment feel rather spacious when we returned.

As I write this, another 16 days have passed, and we are finally settled in and enjoying our new digs. We spend a lot of time on our south-facing balcony with its view of Green Mountain and the foothills. We watch less TV, having “cut the cord” and subscribed to YouTube TV. We watch much less news and more Netflix movies and programs.

We are also beginning to take advantage of the many programs at Avenida Lakewood, although the press of business is keeping me from taking the yoga and fitness classes which are offered. Shown here is a picture of the sign in our elevator listing the various facilities in the building, to give you an idea of what’s offered. A recent census reported by our community manager said that 70% of the 266 residents in Avenida’s 207 occupied apartments have participated in 9 or more activities, and that 57% of February’s programs were created and led by a resident. There were 314 programs on the March calendar.  Talk about “active living”!

Continental breakfast is served daily except Sunday on the main floor and is one of many opportunities to meet fellow residents. Being on the 4th floor, we also meet people in the elevator, and everyone is super friendly. Residents don’t pass each other, indoors or on the sidewalk, without saying “hello.” This is a contrast from our single-family subdivision, where there were few opportunities to meet our neighbors. I already know more neighbors in this building than I knew in that subdivision.

Rita has made use of the full-service salon, where I have already had a haircut. Rita joined a card game and a Mahjong group, meeting additional neighbors that way. I attended the men’s group where we discussed possible events. I will be driving up Mt. Evans with some of the men after that road opens.

At this time, 95% of the apartments at Avenida Lakewood have been leased. (It was only opened in the summer of 2019.) Soon they will start creating a waiting list. Call me if you’d like to know more or be introduced to the sales staff. Don’t call me if you smoke, however. It’s not permitted anywhere in the building or on the grounds — even within your apartment or on your balcony.

In conclusion, Rita and I feel that we made the right decision. Thanks to the nest egg we created by selling our home, plus Medicare and our long-term care policies, we feel that our future is secure and we can even splurge on more vacations.

I don’t know how many communities there are like Avenida, which charges rent with no “buy-in” that would tie up capital that could otherwise be producing income. Jenn Gomer of CarePatrol told us about Avenida and we didn’t look further. I recommend calling her at 720-788-2364 if you want to know other options.

For Rita and me, we like the flexibility of our one-year lease which gives us the freedom to stay or move a year from now.

Do You Own an EV?  Bring it to Our EV Roundup on June 4  

It’s going to be the electric vehicle event of the summer — an opportunity for non-EV owners to meet 30 or more owners of different electric cars and trucks, to “kick the tires” and get their questions answered. If you have an EV you’d like to show to non-EV owners (and fellow EV owners), email me at Jim@GoldenRealEstate.com.