Just Listed: 2-BR Condo in Denver’s Capitol Hill  

    Whether you want this for yourself or as a rental, this condo at 945 N. Washington Street #100 in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is a 1,358-square-foot garden-level unit featuring two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a storage area and a separate outside entrance. Outside you’ll find a large common area backyard with a gazebo. This unit does not come with a parking space, so you’ll have to park on the street. The $294 per month HOA dues cover heat, building insurance, internet, grounds maintenance, exterior maintenance, sewer, trash and water. Take a narrated video tour and find additional pictures at www.DenverCondo.info, then call your agent or Chuck Brown at 303-885-7855 to arrange a private showing. Note: The interior pictures are from when it was tenant-occupied, but the condo is now vacant. Sorry, no open house.  You’ll have to request a showing.

Used Toy and Game Giveaway This Saturday, Oct. 2, at Golden Real Estate

One of our clients has retired from his career as a child psychologist and is giving away 30 boxes filled with a wide variety of toys and games, including board games. Shown here is the contents of just two of those 30 boxes. We hope to give away most or all of these games this Saturday during the EV Roundup and the SuperCruise event that will be filling South Golden Road all afternoon. Bring your kids and help yourself. The toys and games will be laid out on our patio. If you know of a charity that could use the leftover games and toys, please let us know!

How Listing Agents Handle Bidding Wars: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I have written in the past about how we handle multiple offers and bidding wars on our listings using an auction style, which we feel is best for our sellers and most fair to buyers and their agents.

Regrettably, very few listing agents handle multiple offers and bidding wars the way we do. Most are sticking with the “highest and best” approach, in which buyers submit an above-listing-price offer without knowing what other buyers are offering.

Usually agents maintain that their sellers won’t let them reveal the competing offers, but I find that hard to believe. Have they even had an honest discussion with their sellers about that? I have that discussion with every seller who hires me and invariably they agree that full transparency about offers in hand is not only going to net them the highest price for their home but is also fairest to the buyers.

I have written in the past that 4 days on the MLS before going under contract is the “sweet spot” when it comes to netting the best price for sellers, and I have supported that opinion statistically.

However, recently we have modified our policy because of more buyers submitting early offers which are too good to pass up. Do we keep our word not to sell before the 4th day, or take the offer?

Rule #1 is that the seller makes that decision, not us. If the seller wants to accept a particularly sweet offer on day one or day two, we ask for 24 hours’ lead time so that we can notify all other agents who have set showings that our timeline has changed. “We have this great offer, and the seller wants to accept it.” That gives those agents time to accelerate their timeline and compete (or not) with that particularly sweet offer.

Regardless of how an agent handles multiple offers, professional courtesy demands that they communicate with other agents and not just ignore the competing offers. Just call us and say, “My seller has decided to go with a better offer.” Give us a chance to recalibrate and resubmit. That’s best for your seller (to whom you owe “utmost good faith and fidelity”), and it’s only fair to the other bidders.

Sometime soon these bidding wars will subside, and we’ll go back to having a “balanced” market. I’d settle, frankly, for a seller’s market that is not crazy wild!

We are still seeing way too many homes that are selling with zero days on the market, often because the listing agent convinced the seller to accept a contract obtained by the listing agent, thereby allowing the listing agent to keep his or her entire commission instead of sharing it with a buyer’s agent.

The Colorado Real Estate Commission frowns upon this practice and has issued guidance that every listing agent should advise their sellers that they may be leaving money on the table (that is, getting less than they might for their home) if they don’t allow the home to be on the MLS for at least a few days so that all interested buyers have a chance to see it and make an offer.

Along that vein, the National Association of Realtors last November adopted a “Clear Cooperation Policy,” making it a violation to have “pocket listings” not on the MLS so agents can see and show it. On our MLS that carries a $1,500 fine.

Condo in SE Denver Just Listed for $190,000

Click on this thumbnail to view narrated video tour

This condo at 2575 S. Syracuse Way, #A207 would be a great starter home for anyone. This 2nd-floor walkup in Hunters Run Condominiums has berber carpeting, a wood-burning fireplace,   in-unit washer and dryer, and a 6’x13′ balcony with a 4’x8′ storage closet. The HOA dues include use of a swimming pool and 101-degree hot tub a short walk from this unit. Hurry! This unit, like ones before it in this complex, will sell quickly! Visit www.DenverCondo.info to see more pictures and get more information about this complex, this unit, and the swimming pool/hot tub amenity. Then call your agent or Jim Smith at 303-525-1851 for a private showing, or visit our open house on Saturday, June 26th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Legislation Bans HOA Limits on Political Flags & Signage

Before the current session of the Colorado General Assembly ends this Saturday, it will send to the Governor a bill which bars HOAs from limiting the display of partisan flags and signs.

The bill’s prime sponsors are Rep. Lisa Cutter of Jefferson County and Sen. Robert Rodriguez of Denver, both Democrats.

The title of the bill is “Homeowners’ Association Regulation of Flags and Signs” with the subtitle “Concerning additional protections for homeowners’ freedom of expression in common interest communities.”

Sounds like a good idea, right? Who is (or dares to be) against freedom of expression? It has attracted 11 other representatives and 5 other senators as sponsors.

However, let’s consider the unintended (or perhaps intended) consequences of this law. Basically the bill only allows content-neutral regulation of signs and flags, prohibiting only commercial messages.

Considering the political divide in our country and the extremism on each side of it, do we really want to allow unfettered display in our communities of right-wing and left-wing signs and flags?

I can live with the fact that a neighbor might be a QAnon follower, but I don’t want his lawn festooned with conspiracy messages or even Trump 2024 flags and signs without any limitation on their number or duration of display.

Currently it is common for an HOA to bar flags or signs of a political nature unless they are for a particular candidate or ballot measure and to limit their display to 45 days prior to an election and a short period afterwards. The effect of HB21-1310 would be to bar HOAs from enforcing any such limitation on the display of any political message at all, even if the membership voted for such a limitation.

If this bill becomes law, look for signs cropping up in your neighborhood for “Stop the Steal” or “Black Lives Matter” or “White Power” or even hate speech that’s reduced to a slogan. Do we need that much freedom of expression right under our noses every, day year round?

This can only serve to rile up divisions among neighbors who were heretofore happily ignorant of each other’s political beliefs. I can picture neighbors removing or destroying signs and flags they disagree with. These actions will be caught on cameras leading to criminal complaints and sometimes violence.  Do we really want to go in this direction?

Homeowners and renters are entitled to the quiet enjoyment of their premises. Unleashing this “freedom of expression” through flags and signs will only work against that principle.

I hope Governor Polis vetoes this bill when it gets to his desk.

Don’t Let Service People Take Advantage of You

It makes me angry when I hear of service providers telling a homeowner they need a new furnace, water heater or other major repair when they don’t. I got a call recently from a single older woman who has owned her home for a couple decades, the type of homeowner who is often targeted by sales persons to spend money they shouldn’t on repairs and replacements.

In her case, she was told she needed both a new furnace and new water heater, but, knowing I am in real estate, she called me for advice. I listened to her describe the issues she was facing, and recommended she call vendors I trusted. The result? She needed only some minor fixes and no big expenditures.

Women often encounter this problem when it comes to auto repair as well, since they tend not to be mechanically minded or experienced. It burns me up to hear about such stories, so here’s a little advice, in case you can relate to this situation.

If you need (or think you need) a home repair, whether it’s plumbing, electrical, painting, roof replacement, or anything else, call me or your favorite real estate agent (preferably a Realtor), and ask them to recommend a vendor. We deal with such vendors so often, and they count on our referrals for future business. If we refer you to a vendor — and you tell the vendor we did — he or she is less likely to take advantage of you, even if they wanted to, because they know that would jeopardize future referrals. We don’t get a referral fee from such vendors, so you can trust our recommendations.

Use this same strategy when, for example, you need service for your car. Call a Realtor you trust to get a referral to a trusted mechanic to enjoy similar protection against being taken advantage of.

Updated West Denver Home Just Listed by David Dlugasch

642 S. Perry Street, Denver – Just listed for $398,000

This newly remodeled starter home has great curb appeal and comes with stainless steel appliances. It has a gas range, granite counter tops, tile flooring, and new carpeting in both bedrooms. There is nice wood laminate flooring in the living room and lots of natural light. The washer and dryer are included. The detached 3-car garage is oversized, with an office or flex room in the same structure. The back yard is fenced in and private with a patio area to relax on and two grassy areas to play on.  It’s move-in ready! Watch a narrated video tour at www.DenverHome.info, then call your agent or David Dlugasch at 303-908-4835 for a private showing.

Don’t Fall for This Gift Card Scam

This Monday, people on my contact list received an email that looked as if it was from me, asking for “help.” If they responded to the email, it went to a scammer pretending to be me who said I was in a meeting but could they help me purchase some Google gift cards for me and I’d reimburse them.

This kind of scam doesn’t hurt the person who’s being impersonated, but it hurts his/her friends and contacts who fall for it. Tell your family and friends about this scam and don’t let them fall for it.

Experts Are Predicting a Surge in Foreclosures, But I See the Situation Differently

With the continued high unemployment rate and the expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), many homeowners are hurting, so it makes sense that we may have a foreclosure crisis in our future.

CoreLogic reported recently that back in June (when the Feds were still sending $600/week in PUA to Americans) the share of mortgages with payments 90 to 119 days late had already risen to 2.3%, “the highest level in 21 years.” A rate that high could result in a foreclosure crisis, the report said. Not only could millions of families potentially lose their home, but that would also create downward pressure on home prices.

But I see the situation differently, and after consulting with Jaxzann Riggs of The Mortgage Network, here’s why I don’t expect that flood of foreclosures.

First of all, foreclosure should only happen when a seller owes more on their home than it is worth. That’s because sellers lose all their accumulated equity in a foreclosure, and most people have accumulated a lot of equity thanks for the sellers’ market we have been experiencing.

Secondly, federally mandated forbearance is in effect, which is unlike the forbearance which delinquent borrowers may have enjoyed in the past. Under the current plan, lenders add extra payments at the end of the loan instead of requiring any kind of catch-up payments. This mandate could be extended, too.

The only people likely to face foreclosure will be those who recently took out 100% VA loans or 96.5% FHA loans or conventional loans with only 3% down payment, and for whom there is hardly any equity to lose in a foreclosure action.

Being on forbearance doesn’t affect one’s credit rating even though you are not making payments (again, part of the federal mandate), but once you resume payments, you need to make a minimum of three on-time payments to qualify for a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan, which will restrict your ability to sell your home and purchase a replacement home. Some lenders require six months post-forbearance loan payments.

That, too, will slow down any surge in what are known as “distressed listings.”