Do You Like Fine Antiques?

A client of mine is downsizing and has some spectacular antiques for sale. Below are pictures of them. Call me at 303-525-1851 if you’d like to make an offer on any or all of them. Thanks!

Also for sale is the huge collections of British curios in this cabinet!
This is one of two matched beds.

Call me to arrange a private showing or ask any questions. Jim Smith 303-525-1851.

We Provide Free Moving Boxes

Buyers and sellers appreciate the free moving boxes which we provide with our free moving trucks. We have a shed behind our office which is used solely to store lightly used moving boxes.

But that shed is getting empty again. If you have used moving boxes that you’re willing to part with, we will pick them up. In return, we promise to give you free boxes when the need arises!  Call 303-525-1851 to arrange pickup (or bring them to us).  Thanks!

Readers Have Donated $740 to Mark Stenberg’s GoFundMe Campaign

As we go to press this week, the total of donations to Mark Stenberg’s GoFundMe campaign has topped $700. Thank you all for your generosity.

This Tuesday, Mark went into surgery to remove the steel bar that kept his broken leg in traction. We’re told he can’t put any weight on that leg for three months, plus additional time in rehab, so his financial need is great. You can see pictures of Mark and his injury on the GoFundMe page. A short web address is www.gf.me/u/qvfut5. Thanks for donating!

Help Mark Stenberg Recover From a Severely Broken Leg

Mark Stenberg is more than just our valued handyman. He has been my friend since I first hired him in 1991. Last week, while serving a past client, Mark fell 12 feet from a roof onto a concrete driveway, severely breaking his right leg in two places. It will be many weeks or months before he can resume earning a living.  He has no family and no savings.

We can’t relieve Mark’s pain, but our agents and several clients have already donated to help ease the financial burden which Mark is facing. Now I’ve set up a GoFundMe page so that others can contribute to his recovery. The web address for the GoFundMe page is http://www.gf.me/u/qvfut5

Thanks for helping us help Mark!

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.

Statistics Show a Slowing Real Estate Market — But Not at Golden Real Estate

The 4½-year-long seller’s market is clearly transitioning into a “balanced” market and may be moving toward a buyer’s market by 2020, judging from statistics garnered from REcolorado, the Denver MLS.

In December, for example, the median days on market for City & County of Denver sales was 20, the highest since Feb. 2014, and the ratio of sold price to listing price was 98.5%, up from 98.3% in November, but otherwise the lowest since Feb. 2012 — nearly seven years ago.

January statistics won’t be available until early February, but a study of the 403 homes sold in the first 21 days of January shows that the median days on market is even higher — 28 days — and that the ratio of sold price to listing price has dropped to 97.2%.

The number of sold listings in December was 783, the lowest for a December since 2011. This compares to more than 1,000 sales in every December from 2014 to 2017. The number of active listings for this December was 1,605, the highest for any December since 2013.

Now let’s look at Jefferson County statistics.

In December the median days on market for Jeffco sales was 24, and the ratio of sold price to listing price was 98.6%. Both stats were the worst (relatively speaking)  since February 2014, nearby five years ago.

As with Denver, a study of the Jefferson County homes sold thus far in January shows that the median days on market will remain above 20 and that the ratio of sold price to listing price will dip even further. With 307 sales thus far and another 308 listings under contract over 20 days, I predict that the number of sold listings will be the same as or higher than January 2018, when 553 Jeffco homes were sold.  The median sold price will continue to climb, though less quickly.

Given these statistics, you can imagine our surprise at how well our own listings have performed this month. 

For example, broker associate Kristi Brunel listed a home on a busy street (usually not a good selling point) for $520,000, which was above what neighborhood comps suggested. She got it under contract for 13% more in four days. There were 60 showings and 13 offers, but there were 20 or more other offers which weren’t submitted once buyers knew how high the bidding had gone. Saturday’s open house, just hours after Friday’s big snow storm, was so busy and with so many cars parked on the street that one neighbor asked Kristi if it was a church function!

I had a similar experience with another listing. I got multiple offers which bid up the home to 7% over its listing price within four days, and the open house was the busiest I can recall. A Golden listing of mine which didn’t sell in December sold readily in January for nearly its listing price, and a $1.1 million listing of mine in downtown Golden sold in less than a week with multiple offers driving the price up by $75,000 following an open house where I needed help to accommodate the flow of buyers. 

So you can understand why I don’t quite know what to make of the current real estate market — except perhaps that Golden Real Estate knows how to sell homes better than other brokerages!

What we do know with certainty is that there are many disappointed buyers who did not win the bidding wars on these Jeffco listings and that homeowners who think they should wait until spring to put their home on the market should consider doing so now — and with us!

As I’ve written in the past, there are multiple reasons why winter is a good time to list a home, but our experience with these few listings is surprising even me. But beware — the reason that the MLS statistics are not as good as our own experience at Golden Real Estate may be that other brokerages are not listing their homes at the right price and not providing the kind of marketing for which Golden Real Estate is famous.

Buyers are definitely getting wiser and not making offers on homes that are overpriced. Give me or one of our broker associates a call and ask us what we consider the right price to list your home.