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.”

Golden Real Estate Welcomes New Broker Associate, Tyler Scrable

Tyler Scrable has joined Golden Real Estate as a broker associate. Ty (as he likes to be called) has been a licensed broker for 7 years. Within that time, he has gained extensive experience in the property management business. He also is well versed with fix-and-flip projects.

Ty and his wife live in the 12th Street Historic District of Downtown Golden. They welcomed their first child in March. He got to know us when we donated a Black Lives Matter banner to Golden United. Ty is a co-chair of the Golden Anti-Racism Collective and his group led a community effort to hang the banner under the Welcome Arch in downtown Golden.

After much community discussion, the council decided to hang a Golden specific banner that reads “Golden Stands with Black Lives” for sixty days (not all consecutive).

Like his fellow agents at Golden Real Estate, Ty will specialize in residential real estate, but is open to helping renters and landlords. If the right opportunity presents itself, he may open a property management division under our name and license. In a previous management position, Ty oversaw 240 units in 12 buildings in Downtown Denver.

My broker associates and I welcome Ty to the Golden Real Estate team. You can reach him anytime at 720-281-6783 or at Ty@GoldenRealEstate.com.

A Reader Asks How to Handle Inspection Objections

Inspection is the first and biggest hurdle in any contract to buy and sell a home. It’s an area in which experience by your agent really counts!

Usually the buyer will only ask for serious issues to be addressed by the seller. The seller rarely agrees to all the demands, nor is that expected. A common practice is to fix the easy items but give the buyer a price reduction or credit toward closing costs in lieu of making the big dollar repairs. When the buyer wants older appliances that are still working replaced, one solution is for the seller to purchase a home warranty covering those and other appliances.

Good luck with your inspections!

Price Reduced on Golden Home on 0.78-Acre Lot

4820 McIntyre Street – Listed at $874,000 – Open House Sunday

This beautifully updated home sits on a large corner lot with breathtaking views from the balconies off both bedrooms. Enjoy views of North Table Mountain and the Boulder flatirons. The sellers realize that the best use of this parcel may be redevelopment, such as has happened both north and south of it, since the 0.78-acre lot is large enough for several homes or condos. Meanwhile, this is a lovely home with a gated driveway with lots of space for all your toys! With three sheds, including one that is 20’ x 50’ with heat and electricity, you have lots of covered storage. Inside the home you will love the gourmet kitchen and fabulous tiled bathrooms. Originally a 1901 farmhouse gutted and rehabbed in 2011, this home has all updated electrical and PEX plumbing throughout. It comes with wine fridge too!  More details, picture and video tour are at www.FairmountHome.info. It will be open this Saturday, Sept. 27, 11am to 2pm.

This Lakewood Patio Home Is Now Ready to Show

9695 W. LaSalle Avenue = Listed at $525,000

This 3-bedroom, 4-bath home, which was listed several weeks ago, is now vacant and ready for showing starting this Friday, Sept. 25th. It’s located in the gated Primrose Above Bear Creek subdivision, west of Old Kipling Street adjacent to the Bear Creek Greenbelt. Take a narrated video tour at www.LakewoodPatioHome.info, then come to our open house this Sunday, Sept. 27th, noon to 2 p.m. or call your agent or Jim Smith at 303-525-1851 for a showing.  Enjoy care-free and maintenance-free living in this lovely and peaceful gated community. In addition to a main-floor master and laundry, there’s a second master and loft upstairs, a home theater and third bedroom in the finished basement. On the website, you’ll see pictures of the subdivision’s clubhouse and swimming pool, plus the nearby trails and amenities of the greenbelt.

Despite Global Pandemic, Our Real Estate Market Was the Hottest Ever for August

Much to the consternation of observers, the real estate market in metro Denver was hotter this August than it was in any previous August, according to the Market Trends Committee of the Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR). At this rate, 2020’s statistics at year end will likely exceed 2019’s statistics.

The report covers an expanded metro area, including 11 counties instead of the 7 urban and suburban counties that you and I think of as “metro Denver.” The non-urban counties included in the report are Clear Creek, Gilpin, Elbert and Park.

Detached single-family homes sold like crazy in August—up over 6% from August 2019, despite 50% fewer active listings at month’s end. The average sold price was up 13.8% from last year, and average days on market was down 23%.

Attached homes sold on a par with last year, although their inventory was also down — 19% fewer listings at month’s end. They did sell quicker, though, with days on market down by over 27%.

Unlike DMAR, I like to define the metro Denver market as within a 25-mile radius of the state capitol, as shown here, instead of by county. Using that method, the number of detached homes sold this August was up 13.7% from August 2019, and the sold price per finished square foot (my preferred metric) was up 7.0%. Average days on market dropped by 31%, but median days on market plunged 57% from 14 days in August 2019 to 6 days this year.

Even more interesting to me is that median days on market was in double digits until March 2020 — the first month of Covid-19 lockdown — when it dropped by 40% to 6 days, and remained in the 5- to 7-day range through August. It could be said that “Stay at Home” and “Safer at Home” really meant “Buy a Home” in the real estate business!

Average sold price within that  25-mile radius rose by 13.4% to $597,290, while median sold price rose by 11.6% to $505,000. The gap between average and median is attributable to a large number of million and multi-million dollar closings. I wish others would stop focusing on average stats for that reason.

The number of active listings (what we call “inventory”) plummeted from 6,483 in August 2019 to 3,444 in August 2020, a 47% decline.

Another measure of market strength is how many listings expire without selling. That number was 777 in August 2019, but it fell by 37% to 493 this year.

The average ratio of sold price to listing price was 100% both last August and this August — suggesting that roughly half the listings sold above full price. With half the homes selling in 6 days or less, it’s to be expected that there were multiple offers and possibly a bidding war on many listings.

This week my downtown Golden fixer-upper closed at $665,000, which was $40,000 over listing price. My Lakewood listing from last week is already under contract at $55,000 over full price. Clearly, the seller’s market is still hot despite the pandemic.

If you have considered selling your home, there couldn’t be a better time than now to put your home on the market. And you couldn’t do better than call one of us listed below to talk about it. Your home would, of course, be featured in my weekly Denver Post column and on this blog.

If you let us represent you in the purchase of your replacement home, the listing commission could be as low as 3.6% and qualify you for totally free moving!

Jim Smith— 303-525-1851

Jim Swanson — 303-929-2727

Carrie Lovingier — 303-907-1278

Chuck Brown — 303-885-7855

David Dlugasch — 303-908-4835

Carol Milan — 720-982-4941