Just Listed: 3-BR, 2½-Bath Home on Quiet Jeffco Cul-de-Sac

Welcome to the “Cottages on Fairmount Lane” in unincorporated Jefferson County. The satellite picture at left shows the entire 22-home subdivision north of 50th Avenue, east of Indiana Street, with the red dot showing the location of 5055 Gladiola Way, (below) just listed for $575,000.  You won’t find a quieter location or a better home. The seller is the original owner of this quality home built by Remington in 2013. Hardwood floors, slab granite countertops, stainless appliances (all included), open floor plan with vaulted ceiling, huge stamped concrete patio with pergola, included hot tub, main-floor study are just some of the features you’ll love about this home. See the magazine-quality photos and narrated video tour at www.FairmountHome.info, then call your agent or Jim Smith at 303-525-1851 to set a private showing.  Open this Saturday, Feb. 16th, 1-4.

Feb. 21st Sustainability Session Focuses on Home Heating Methods

The second  session of Golden Real Estate’s sustainability series is next Thursday, Feb. 21st, 5-6 pm, in our South Golden Road office. Some seats are still available. Reserve yours by emailing  Jim@GoldenRealEstate.com.

At this session you’ll learn about the alternative energy-saving systems for heating and cooling homes and offices including our favorite method, heat pump mini-splits.

Our lead presenter will be Bill Lucas-Brown of GB3 Energy, who installed our mini-split system.

Some Home-Selling Advice Is No Longer Valid; Let’s Review the Literature…

On January 30th, Realtor.com published an article with the catchy headline, “That’s So 2018!  The Most Outdated Home Selling Advice You Should Now Ignore.”  I found it interesting to compare the author’s conclusions with my own opinions, many of which I have shared here before. Here is the author’s list of outdated home-selling advice that should be ignored, along with my response to what she wrote:

1) Wait for spring to sell your house.  I have written numerous times that winter can be the best time to sell a home, and it’s nice to see how other real estate writers have reached the same conclusion, albeit only recently. The writer for realtor.com made the same arguments I’ve been making for years — that there are fewer competing listings at this time of year, yet there are still many active buyers.

2) Price your home high and leave room to negotiate.  This, for sure, is not your best strategy in a seller’s market and even less so in a balanced market like we’re beginning to see in many areas. One agent she quoted in her article said it well: “If you’re not priced at the market, or at least very close, you’re not going to get that many people in the door to begin with. Price your property to sell.”

3) Sell your home as is.  The writer said this may have been true in the now-fading seller’s market, but argues that today’s millennial buyers in particular want a home that doesn’t need any work done on it.  I addressed the topic of what you should and should not do in last week’s column. Read it at www.JimSmithColumns.com or at www.GoldenREblog.com.

4) Amateur photos of your home are fine. The writer states that your smartphone pictures may have been all you needed during the seller’s market, but that you now need to invest in professional pictures. When it comes to high quality images, Golden Real Estate agents used magazine-quality HDR photos on all listings throughout the seller’s market, so this comment doesn’t apply to us.  However, the writer also promoted 3D tours of the home such as those using Matterport equipment, but I’m not a fan.  At Golden Real Estate, we believe it’s much more useful to produce a narrated video tour of a property. We’ve been doing narrated video tours for a decade or more and continue to be surprised how few other brokers have adopted the practice. And the Osmo camera we recently purchased makes those videos even more professional-looking. It’s equivalent to using a movie-quality Steadicam!

5) Holding an open house is a must. The writer says open houses only serve the broker and not the seller, but I disagree. You’ll notice that almost every listing we feature in this weekly ad mentions an open house. Since we price our listings to sell, these open houses serve to magnify buyer interest in our listings. (Indeed, the listing I closed last Friday was to a buyer who came to our open house.)  Open houses also fit into our strategy of not selling listings in less than 4 days. Our time-tested process is to put a listing on the MLS on Wednesday, advertise it on Thursday (with an open house), and to advise agents and buyers who submit early offers that the seller will wait until after the open house to choose the buyer.  Using this strategy, prospective buyers typically bid up the price, which is an obvious benefit to our sellers.  An example is last week’s sale of our Wheat Ridge listing for $561,000, which sold on that 4-day schedule for $36,000 over its listing price.  

Holding open houses also fits into our belief that you never know what will sell a house, so you should try everything.

You Can ‘Sell High/Buy Low’ and Stay in Colorado

We Coloradans love where we live, and few of us would ever leave it for another place. Our climate appears to be responding less quickly than elsewhere to global climate change, which is, like it or not, yet another reason people are drawn here from other states.  This steady influx of new residents inevitably has the effect of raising local real estate prices.

But there are other beautiful places in Colorado which remain affordable and which are drawing metro area residents. Last fall, a client sold their Arvada home for $385,000 and bought a bigger home on two acres in Cedaredge for only $230,500. A colleague of mine bought a 6-acre parcel with a home and two outbuildings in that same town for $270,000.  If you don’t have to be in the metro area and like living in a quiet (and beautiful) rural community on the western slope, Cedaredge sounds like a great alternative.

I have a client who sold their Lakewood home for almost $600,000 and are currently renting. They’re looking at lower-priced homes around the state and are ready to pounce when the right one pops up. Now that our MLS (REcolorado) serves much of Colorado (including Cedaredge), I set up a search for this client based on price per square foot under $200, and they are considering quite a few properties outside our metro area.

As more and more out-of-staters find the Denver metro area to be a desirable (and more climate-friendly) alternative to their current home, more and more current residents are looking to leave for greener and more affordable locales. This is a trend that is likely to increase over the coming months and years.

For years I have explained to metro area homeowners that they shouldn’t be afraid of high prices if they are buying and selling in the same market. If prices are high, they’ll probably sell high and buy high. If they’re low, they’ll sell low and buy low. (That was my experience in 2012 when I sold a home for less than I had paid for it but also bought my current home for a fraction of what it is worth now). Ideally of course, you’d like to sell in a high market and buy in a low one, something that is certainly possible for those who are willing to relocate. It’s nice to know you can find that lower market within Colorado.

Aurora Tri-Level Home Just Listed by Debbi Hysmith

You do not want to miss this highly desirable 4-bedroom, 3-bath home with a 2-car garage at 6070 S. Quemoy Way. It was listed this week for $418,000.

This home is in the Cherry Creek School District, near Canyon Creek Elementary and the mighty Cherokee Trail High School.  The master suite is on a separate level and features a  master bath and walk-in closet. The outside space features a 16’x18’ deck overlooking a beautiful yard. Book a showing today or come by the open house on Sunday, Jan. 10, 1-3pm. Take a narrated video tour at www.AuroraHome.info.

Remodeling Your Home to Help It Sell May Not Be the Moneywise Approach

Before putting your home on the market, it’s natural to ask for advice on what should be fixed or upgraded before doing so. Here’s how we re-spond when asked.

First, you need to know that every study we’ve seen shows that sellers almost never recoup 100% of the cost of remodeling, so you should only do so for your own enjoyment, years before you plan to sell. Don’t make updates expecting to get a higher price for your home..

Rita and I, or example, recently spent $40,000 to update our kitchen, and we love it! (It was done by Bonnie Kitchen Design in Golden, and we strongly recommend her!)  But that doesn’t mean our home increased its value and selling price by $40,000 or more. We made that improvement for our own enjoyment, just as we did when we spent $20,000 on our master bathroom several years ago.  Yes, it will increase the attractiveness of our home when we eventually sell it, but that will only be after years of happy enjoyment of those two improvements.

We’ll probably make additional improvements in coming years, but it will never be to dress up the home for sale. On top of not recovering the full expenditure upon sale, it’s a huge disruption of one’s life to engage in major renovations.

The most recent study I’ve read about cost vs. ROI (return on investment) was made by Remodeling magazine, as reported by RISmedia.

According to that report the 5 projects with the highest ROI in the mid-range cost category are:

Manufactured Stone Veneer (94.9%)

Minor Kitchen Remodel (80.5%)

Deck Addition (Wood) (75.6%)

Siding Replacement (75.6%)

Entry Door Replacement (Steel) (74.9%)

The 5 projects with the highest ROI in the upscale cost category are:

Garage Door Replacement (97.5%)

Window Replacement (Vinyl) (73.4%)

Grand Entrance (Fiberglass) (71.9%)

Window Replacement (Wood) (70.8%)

Bathroom Remodel (60.2%)

Lastly, here are the 5 projects with the lowest ROI in the mid-range cost category:

Backyard Patio (55.2%)

Master Suite Addition (59.4%)

Bathroom Addition (60.6%)

Roofing Replacement (Metal) (60.9%)

Major Kitchen Remodel (62.1%)

Master Suite Addition (50.4%)

Bathroom Addition (58.1%)

Major Kitchen Remodel (59.7%)

Bathroom Remodel (60.2%)

Window Replacement (Wood) (70.8%)

So, clearly you should only remodel when it’s intended to be enjoyed by you for years to come. If you know you’ll be selling this year, we advise our clients as follows.

First, only make improvements that eliminate a defect or an issue which will turn off prospective buyers.  I call these “eyesores,” things that stand out like a sore thumb, and not things that are simply “dated” or out of tyle.

Here are some examples:

Do refinish hardwood floors that are seriously and obviously in need of refinishing.

Do replace carpeting that is seriously old, such as 1970’s shag carpeting, or carpeting that is seriously worn or stained. (Again, think “eyesore.”)

Do replace damaged countertops.

Do repair damaged walls and replace damaged doors that can’t be repaired.

Do replace those 1990’s glass-and-brass lighting fixtures. (They’re so unappealing that Habitat’s thrift store won’t accept them as donations!)

Do replace burned out light bulbs.

Do repaint (inside and out) where there is peeling or discolored paint.

Do replace rotted timbers on your deck, then power wash and re-stain or repaint as necessary.

Do improve curb appeal (always the first impression), including weeding and pruning and freshening the front door. (It’s true that red doors sell homes…)

Do have someone with “fresh eyes” walk through your house and identify other turn-offs. (Our stager performs that function.)

Do not replace undamaged countertops or bathroom fixtures just because they are “dated” — even those pastel colored bathtubs and sinks. (I tell buyers “You can’t buy these anymore!”)  The exception would be the toilets. A white chair height low-flow toilet can be replaced for a couple hundred dollars and installed by our handyman for $50 (but he only works for our clients).

Beyond the above advice, I tell my sellers to be strategic about major issues which they know need to be done. If these are likely to become inspection issues, don’t fix them prior to listing your home if they’re not the kind of eyesore which would deter a buyer from making an offer.

For example, I have a listing, currently under contract, which had damage to the concrete driveway. The seller was thinking he should repair it before putting the home on the market. We knew it would be an inspection issue, but by leaving it undone we could use it as a bargaining chip. Sure enough, we got under contract (well above listing price because of competing buyers), and the inspection demands included repairing the driveway. Because it was such a big expense, the buyer didn’t ask for a bunch of other repairs.  If the seller had fixed the concrete prior to listing the home, you can sure the buyer would have asked for those other repairs, but instead they were delighted that the seller agreed to pay for the concrete repair.

I have used the same strategy to save other sellers money on inspection items. For example, one seller knew that radon needed to be mitigated, but we knew that this issue (which we properly disclosed) would not deter buyers from competing for the home. Yes, it became an inspection demand, and the buyer was delighted that the seller agreed to mitigate it.

Your situation will be different, of course, and we are happy to meet with you in your home and discuss what’s needed and strategic to fix before listing. We consider such advice part of the free staging consultation we provide sellers.

Coming Next Week: Broomfield Ranch on a Big Lot

This 3-bedroom, 2½-bath home at 1303 Loch Lomond Ave.,  listed at $456,000, is on a corner lot, with RV parking around the corner. Built in 1987, the sellers have owned and loved this home since 1996. The lot measures 9,148 square feet, and the living space is 1,808 square feet. There’s a large master suite with walk-in closet and master bath. It has a spacious family living area with cozy fireplace and large windows. There’s plenty of storage in an unfinished basement and dedicated laundry room. It is within walking distance of the Bay Water Center, library, community center, grocery stores, gyms, restaurants, and home improvement stores!  Boulder School District has incredible educational opportunities for growing families. For more information, call listing agent Debbi Hysmith at 720-936-2443.  View more pictures and a video tour at www.BroomfieldHome.info.