5-BR Brick Ranch Offers Great Sweat Equity Opportunity

Front view 2This Hutchinson ranch with finished basement at 6757 Lee Street is an excellent value in the quiet Arvada West neighborhood. It has an updated kitchen, and covered front and back porches that will be a joy in all seasons.  Landscaping is mature and affords a sense of privacy in this desirable neighborhood close to parks, rec centers, shopping and excellent schools. The home is in need of carpet, paint, updating, etc., but it’s priced to be a great opportunity for sweat equity or a fix-and-flip. See more pictures and take a narrated video tour of this home online at www.ArvadaRanch.info, then come to our open house on Saturday, June 9th, 9am to 1 pm.  Call your agent or broker associate Debbi Hysmith at 720-936-2443 to arrange a private showing.  Listed at $400,000.


New Program Helps Buyers (and Sellers Who Need to Buy) Succeed in This Market

Real_Estate_Today_bylineToday’s “sellers market” can prove challenging for almost any home buyer – including those who have a home to sell.  Here are some examples of buyers and sellers and the challenges they face:

Homeowners who would like to sell but are worried they won’t be able to find a replacement home.

Homeowners who don’t feel they can compete as a buyer because they must make any purchase contingent on selling their current one.

Home buyers relocating to Colorado who would prefer to rent for a while before buying.

Tenants whose landlord is selling the home they’re renting, and would like to buy it but need time to qualify for a loan.

Tenants who see a home for sale on the MLS and wish they could rent it instead.

Golden Real Estate can now meet the needs of such would-be home buyers. Under our innovative program, you need only be pre-approved as a tenant, not as a home buyer. Once approved as a tenant, you let us show you homes (except condos) that are for sale up to $550,000, knowing that we have a cash buyer ready to purchase the home and rent it to you.

Our cash buyer is Home Partners of America. Every agent at Golden Real Estate is an approved agent for them. The process is quick and painless. Here’s how it works. We submit your name and contact information to the buyer. They interview you to determine whether they would accept you as a tenant. Once approved, you visit their website, where all qualifying homes from the Denver MLS are listed, with one important difference – each home displays a rental price in addition to its sale price. Once we’ve helped you find a home you’d like to rent, you are presented with a rent-with-right-to-purchase contract. That contract will contain a grid of rental and purchase prices spanning the next five years. You never have to purchase and you don’t have to rent beyond year one.

Below is an example of that grid for a current MLS listing we found with a purchase price of $475,000.

These figures are only estimates because they assume the home is purchased for its listing price. It could be purchased for more or for less, and there could be other costs, such as repairs, associated with making the home ready for you to move in.

As long as you remain within the terms of your agreement, you will never be asked to leave during those five years.  Move, rent or buy – it’s entirely up to you.

The rent is deemed to be at market rate, so none of your rent is applied to the purchase price. You don’t have to wait until the end of your lease to purchase. You can purchase for the designated price at any time during your lease term, as shown in the grid.

Revisiting those examples of challenged buyers above, this program has the potential to meet all of their different challenges.

The homeowner who wants to sell can now do so without worrying about finding a replacement home or submitting an offer contingent on the sale of their current home. They can sign a rental agreement with Home Partners on a house that they might ultimately want to buy, but don’t have to buy. This allows the homeowner to put their home on the market using Golden Real Estate without worrying about making themselves homeless. The program gets them into an interim home, whether or not it’s one they ultimately choose to buy. They sell their home, get their cash and become a stronger non-contingent buyer with a big down payment, who can then take as long as they need to find their new home.

What about the person relocating to Colorado? This program is perfect for them, because it allows them to “test drive” a home and neighborhood they think they might like without having to fully commit to it until they have familiarized themselves with the metro area.  They have the luxury of time that they might not otherwise enjoy.

What about the tenant whose house is being sold and they have to move? Home Partners might be able to purchase that house and keep them as a tenant – a tenant who now has the security of a guaranteed right to stay for 5 years, plus the right to purchase the home if they later qualify.

People often walk into our office and ask if we handle rentals – we don’t.  This program provides an opportunity to many of these walk-ins, who would really prefer to buy but aren’t yet ready for one reason or another. Also, the inventory of homes for rent is even smaller than that of homes for sale. Wouldn’t it be great if nearly every home (except condos) priced up to $550,000 on the MLS was also available to rent?  With this program, that opportunity is yours.

You can’t contact Home Partners directly. If you think the program might be for you, you apply for it through me or one of my broker associates at Golden Real Estate. You are under no obligation to follow through, even after you are approved as a tenant. But if you like what you see, we’ll start showing you homes for sale which Home Partners is willing to purchase for you to rent.

There are other brokerages who participate with Home Partners in this program, but you’ll benefit from using Golden Real Estate, because we offer free moving into your rental — and into your ultimate purchase, if different. Conditions apply, but at the very least you have free use of our moving trucks, boxes and packing materials. Call or email me for details. (See below.)

You’re also welcome to call our office at 303-302-3636 and speak to the agent on duty.  We’re happy to answer all your questions.


2-BR Lakewood Townhome Just Listed by Andrew Lesko

Front of Unit.JPGThis 2-story, 840-sq.-ft. townhome at 7373 W. Florida Ave #2-G, in the quiet Florida Park subdivision, presents a great opportunity for first-time home buyers!  Bring your design ideas and make this home yours. This is currently the lowest priced townhome in all of Lakewood! Features include a main-level living room with wood-burning fireplace, dining area and kitchen space. The entrance is accessed through a fenced patio — great for summertime BBQ’s! Two spacious bedrooms upstairs share a full bath with separated vanity. There is a half bath on the main floor, along with washer and dryer hook-ups. This townhome is move-in ready. Community amenities include a swimming pool and adjoining Lakewood city park with playground and basketball half-court. The Florida Park community is just south of the Belmar shopping and dining district, close to trails and parks. This is a great starter home in a great location, and it has been priced to sell quickly! View more pictures and a narrated video tour at www.LakewoodTownhome.info, then call your agent or Andrew Lesko at 720-710-1000 for a private showing. Andrew will be holding an open house at this townhome on Saturday,  June 2nd, 11am to 3pm.  We won’t sell it before then, but get your offers in!


What Is Title Insurance and Why Do Buyers and Sellers Need It, Anyway?

Real_Estate_Today_bylineIn a real estate transaction, the seller’s biggest single expense after brokers’ commissions is typically the title insurance policy — a little understood cost of selling real estate.  What does it cover, and why is it required?

While most insurance protects you from future risks, title insurance protects you from past risks. Title insurance guarantees that you get title to property free and clear of any liens or claims of ownership. Since we consider this the responsibility of the seller, that is who pays for the title insurance,  although I understand that in some states it is common for buyers to pay for it.

Another difference between title insurance and other types of insurance is that the premium is paid only once for lifetime coverage.

Although it’s unusual for a claim to be made on a title policy, it does happen.  For example, I once had to file a claim regarding a building I purchased in 1991.  A year after closing, I received a “lis pendens” (suit pending) notice from a Texas lawyer. I simply forwarded it to Land Title, which had issued the title insurance policy, and they settled the matter at no expense or inconvenience to me.

Unless it’s a cash transaction, there is a “piggy-back” policy issued to protect the mortgage lender. This policy is for the amount of the loan, versus the owner’s policy that protects the buyer up to the full purchase price. Such policies cost less because they require no additional work by the title company, and are typically issued at the buyer’s expense.

There are two kinds of title companies. There are direct underwriters, such as Fidelity National Title or Stewart Title, while other title companies serve as agents for those larger companies. Since the policies are underwritten by those big national companies, you’re not really at risk by using an agent company. However, you could have a problem if the agent company  holding part or all of your down payment goes out of business prior to closing. Those funds are supposed to be segregated in escrow accounts, but when commingling or misuse of funds occurs — as it has in the past — it can be a big deal.

Since Colorado has a somewhat antiquated regulatory environment in this arena; it is recommended that buyers and sellers obtain a “Closing Protection Letter” (which typically costs $25) to better protect their monies throughout a real estate closing.

All title insurance rates and closing settlement fees are regulated by the Division of Insurance. However, these filed rates and fees can still vary substantially, because of various discount programs offered by each company. The cost of title policies can vary by $100 to over $1,500, depending on the transaction; and the fee for conducting a closing can range from $100 to  $750.  Because of these variations, I recommend that sellers visit www.CompareTitleCompanies.com before selecting their title company.


Daniels Gardens Fixer-Upper or Development Site

IMG_3526Daniels Gardens is a transitional neighborhood featuring a mix of early 20th century bungalows and more recent construction/architecture.  This home, at 1190 Vivian Street, and the recently-constructed modern duplex next door are a good example of that transition.  Although this 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom home with a full basement is livable as is – the sellers have been here for over 30 years – the 0.3 acre parcel certainly makes it a candidate for new construction.  With this in mind, other than replacing the hail-damaged roof (which was finished just last week), I’ve advised the sellers to not make any improvements to the home prior to placing it on the market. There is no garage, but the two sturdy sheds in the fully-fenced backyard offer plenty of storage space. Interior photos, as well as a narrated tour are available at www.DanielsGardenHome.info.  If you’d like to see the home, my co-listor, Norm Kowitz, will be holding an open house this Sunday, 11 to 2.  If you can’t make the open house, call Norm at 303-229-3891.  Listed at $295,000.


Just Listed: Solar-Powered Candlelight Valley Home

DSC_0346Candlelight Valley is a high-end subdivision located in southwest Arvada, bordered by Indiana  Street and 52nd Avenue and by the Van Bibber Open Space Park on the south. A trailhead to that park is just a couple blocks from this home at 5674 Fig Way. Built in 1999, this 4-bedroom, 4-bath home has a finished walk-out basement and sits on one of the neighborhood’s larger lots — over 1/3 acre. Everything about this home is top shelf — from the gourmet kitchen with marble floor, slab granite countertops and GE Monogram built-in refrigerator-freezer. The walk-out basement can serve as a mother-in-law apartment with its own kitchen. The expansive deck and covered patio with included hot tub provide additional entertainment possibilities. The little details are equally impressive, from the dark wood fireplace mantle to the temperature-controlled wine cellar and the wainscoting in the billiards room. Even if you’re just window-shopping, visit this home’s website at www.CandlelightValleyHome.info to be inspired by the magazine-quality interior photographs and the narrated video tour with drone footage. I’ll be holding it open this Saturday, May 26th, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.   Listed at $840,000. 


Answering a Reader’s Question

Q. I want to get above my listing price. If I get a full-price offer, do I have to accept it?

A. My sellers occasionally ask this question because my listing strategy involves pricing a home at or near current, real-world market value, as opposed to some hoped-for higher price. Sometimes a seller says they don’t want to sell for any amount that’s not above the listing price and asks if they’re required to accept a full-price (or any) offer.

The answer is “no.” Sellers cannot be compelled to accept an offer, irrespective of the offered price.  I always explain this up front to prospective buyers (through their agent, if represented) who submit a full-price offer.  The Colorado real estate contract states that if the listing agent produces an offer that matches the terms specified, the seller owes the commission to the agent. To better serve my clients’ interests I insert an “additional provision” stating that they, as the seller, will not owe me a commission on any rejected offer.

At the same time, however, I point out that if the only offer(s) we receive are for full-price (or less), then we didn’t underprice the home, did we?


Do you have a question you’d like answered here? Send it to Jim@GoldenRealEstate.com.