Sustainability, Starting With Solar Power, Can Be Your Key to a More Affordable Lifestyle

The first Saturday of October is when the Metro Denver Green Homes Tour happens, and this year the tour is better than ever because it’s virtual. What that means is that instead of having to visit some or all of the homes between 9 am and 4 pm on a single day, you can watch short videos of each home. It’s possible you could “visit” all 16 homes and the one business in just one or two sittings at your computer and likely learn more about their sustainable features than if you had visited them in person. That’s what I call a green tour of green homes!

Since I shot all those videos myself and thereby learned all those homes’ sustainable features, you can consider me an expert on what’s new and exciting as well as what’s old and proven when it comes to making a home sustainable.

The theme this year is the Best Homes From the Last 25 Annual Tours. The home owned by Rita and me is on the tour, and since I just turned 73 I’d like to share with you how making our home sustainable also secured for us an affordable retirement — if and when I retire!

It all starts with solar power. Nowadays you can install enough solar panels on your home for under $20,000 so that you never pay Xcel or your other electrical provider more than the cost of being connected to their electrical grid. With Xcel Energy, that’s under $10 per month. The electricity you use is free, created from the sun.

You need to be connected to the grid, because the grid functions as your “battery.”  Your electric meter runs backward during the day when you’re creating more electricity than you use, and it runs forward at night. Your goal is to have it run backward more than it runs forward.

Plan ahead and buy enough electrical panels so that over time you can replace your  gas-fired appliances with electrical ones — a heat-pump water heater, a  heat-pump system for heating and cooling, and an electric range — and replace your gas-powered car with an electric one. Now everything in your life is sun-powered!

You can buy a used electric car for under $30,000 or even under $10,000 (Google “used electric cars” and see for yourself) and never buy gasoline or pay for an oil change or tune-up again and probably never have an expensive car repair either. Buying a used electric car is smarter than buying a new one because there’s hardly anything to go wrong with an EV — no transmission, timing belt, motor or hundreds of other expensive parts that could fail. See the article at right about our electric vehicle event. It’s the only in-person part of the tour.

So there you have it. Once you’ve paid off your mortgage (or transitioned to a reverse mortgage), the only costs of living in your home will be your property taxes and water bill, plus $10 per month for being on the electrical grid.

Be sure to “attend” this year’s tour of green homes. Register at www.NewEnergyColorado.com/home-tour. It’s free, although you will be asked for a donation. Another feature of the tour this year is three video presentations.

Hear Bill Lucas-Brown from GB3 Energy on “Reducing your Carbon Footprint with an Electric Mini Split”; John Avenson, from PHIUS.org and Steve Nixon from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory discussing “New Home vs Renovation: 2 alter-native Paths to Zero Energy”; and Peter Ewers from Ewers Architecture Golden presenting “All Electric Buildings, the Key to our Energy Future.”

Below are twelve of the videos in the YouTube playlist which you’ll get to view when you register for this year’s tour.

Find Out This Saturday Whether an Electric Vehicle Is Right for You

For the 7th consecutive year, Golden Real Estate is pleased to host an Electric Vehicle Round-up in our parking lot at 17695 S. Golden Road this Saturday, Oct. 3rd, from 2 to 5 pm. It’s part of the National Drive Electric Week in addition to being the only in-person component of the Metro Denver Green Homes Tour.

Over 20 owners of EVs have registered at www.DriveElectricWeek.info to bring over 10 different models of EVs and answer the questions of people who may be considering the purchase of an electric vehicle.

EVs already registered include 3  Tesla models, 3 Chevy models, an Audi e-Tron, both Nissan Leaf models, a Fiat 500e, and the Hyundai Kona. I expect others to register, too.

In addition, we expect to have some electric bicycles and a unique electric tricycle, which you’ll be able to test drive. I’ll bring my 2012 Chevy Volt (242 lifetime MPG), which Rita and I have decided to sell for $7,500.  (It cost $40,000 in 2012, and runs as well as new.)

We’ll observe state rules regarding COVID-19, taking the temperature of all visitors on arrival and requiring masks, which we’ll provide if necessary. Everyone will get a shot of hand sanitizer, and we will get contact info of all attendees solely for the purpose of contact tracing (another requirement for such events).

If you drive a car for business, you really need to look into buying an electric vehicle. Why? Because the only cost of driving an EV is 3 cents per mile for electricity (unless you get it free from the sun, as we do) and the wear on your tires, yet the IRS is happy to give you the same 57.5 cents per mile deduction when you use your car for business.

A previous Electric Vehicle roundup event at Golden Real Estate.

Price Reduced on 3-Bedroom Golden Townhome

416 Gladiola Street – Now priced at $344,000

Originally priced at $350,000, this 3-bedroom, 3-bath townhome is now priced at $344,000. It has many virtues, including the best mountain view in the subdivision. With its low turnover, you can tell people are happy living here, and it’s super convenient. Colorado Mills, a medical center, a community swimming pool and tennis court, Kyffin Elementary School, Red Rocks Community College and light rail are all close by. These townhomes are well built too and suprisingly quiet, given the proximity to I-70 and U.S. 6.  See more pictures and a narrated video tour at www.GladiolaTownhome.info.

Just Listed: Solar-Powered Golden Home Behind Hogback

515 Crawford Street, Golden – Listed at $850,000

Tripp Ranch is a 1990s subdivision located in South Golden between Heritage Dells and Stonebridge at Eagle Ridge. This home is located across from the Kinney Run trail and a short walk from the Apex Open Space trailhead. Shelton Elementary School is just a few blocks south. US Highway 6 and Interstate 70 are less than two miles away, providing convenient access to Denver, Boulder and the mountains. Inside, this home has some great improvements, including hardwood floors, a gourmet kitchen with slab granite countertops, and two offices. The backyard features a large deck with included hot tub. Best of all it’s super quiet here because of its setting behind a hogback. Homes here sell quickly, so check out the narrated video tour online at www.TrippRanchHome.info, then come to the open house this Sunday, October 4th, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Or call your agent or Jim Smith at 303-525-1851 for a private showing.

Just Listed: 5-Bedroom Northeast Arvada Ranch

5362 W. 83rd Ave., Arvada – Listed at $400,000

This ranch home has 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. It is located between Denver and Boulder with easy access to mass transit. The basement is finished with a 37’x13’ carpeted room to use as you wish plus two bedrooms (non-conforming), a three-quarter bathroom and laundry room. On the main floor, the living room and three bedrooms are carpeted with hardwood floors underneath. The eat-in kitchen opens to a large deck and park-like backyard. The wood deck is 36’x19’ and is a great place to entertain. There is an oversized one-car garage and outside space for a camper, RV or another car. Take a narrated video tour at www.ArvadaRanch.info, then call your agent or David Dlugasch at 303-908-4835 for a private showing.  Open this Saturday, October 3rd, 11am to 2pm.

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.