Price Reduced on Net Zero Energy Home Near DU

Murals    This 2008 home at 1960 S. Gilpin Street, near Denver University, was built to Passive House standards. It is super-insulated and solar-powered, generating more electricity than it consumes. It is grid-connected but with battery back-up so that it can function off-grid. The seller’s monthly bill from Xcel Energy is $5.89.  There is no gas meter and no furnace or air conditioner, because they are not needed. A solar thermal panel provides the home’s domestic hot water. You’ll like the main-floor master suite! And the location is great — four blocks to the light rail station, and four blocks to DU and the Ritchie Center. Wash Park is a short bike ride away, too! There are so many sustainable features to this house that you really need to watch the video tour at  The price has just been reduced to $885,000. Come to our open house this Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Here’s a video of a recent 80-minute class on “Getting to Net Zero & Beyond” taught in the living room of this net zero home:



You May Want to Pay off Your Home Equity Line of Credit

One of the changes in the Trump tax reform legislation was to remove the tax deductibility of HELOCs — Home Equity Line of Credit loans.

My contact at US Bank tells me that their lawyers say the interest is still deductible, but only if the money from the loan was used for home improvement. I used a HELOC to pay for hail damage repairs to my home and car, so I’m guessing that the interest on it will not be deductible starting this year.  If this is confirmed, Rita and I are planning to pay it off as soon as possible. You may want to do the same.

Are You Interested in Urban Farming? Here’s an Introduction and an Opportunity

Real_Estate_Today_bylineAn increasingly popular aspect of living sustainably is to engage in “urban farming.” As shown in another post today, we have an urban farm listing in Lakewood, and in a couple weeks we’ll have a second urban farm listing in Arvada.

In light of these two listings, I asked an expert to enlighten you (and me) on this topic. Her name is Elizabeth Buckingham, and she writes a terrific blog, at

Here’s what she sent me on this topic:


Until the global economy collapsed a decade ago, my husband Nicholas and I were working on private yachts in some of the world’s most glamorous places. He was a deckhand and dive instructor, and I was a chef. We had spent years travelling, and when we returned to Colorado, where I was born and raised, we knew we wanted a little space around us. We found a charming 1960s home in midtown Arvada on about one-fifth acre. In addition to built-in bookshelves and a wood-burning stove, the yard had mature, leafy trees and plenty of space for extensive vegetable and herb gardens, a chicken coop with run, and a beehive.

We’ve spent the past eight years building an exceptionally productive urban farm. Our largest vegetable plot benefits from variable shade; we use it for greens, such as lettuce, kale and spinach, plus garlic and Egyptian walking onions. The northern third, up against the shed, collects quite a bit more sun, so we often plant staked runner beans and eggplant there. The soil in this in-ground plot was in decent shape, but every year we amend it generously with mulch from our leaves and compost that we make ourselves along our southern fence. Whether in a backyard garden or a farm, soil is by far the most important component – it’s essential to take good care of it.

The shaded garden plot was useful, but we needed space for heat-loving summer vegetables, like tomatoes and peppers. Nicholas built two large raised beds, which we filled with a mixture of lush organic soil and worm-rich compost. The beds are light, loamy and easy to grow in. We also constructed five smaller raised beds, ideal for squash, potatoes, peas and flowers, and we’ve planted raspberry bushes and perennial herb beds, including sage, English thyme, oregano, chives, lovage and mint. Every year, we harvest hundreds of pounds of organic food from our backyard.

chickens2Nicholas repurposed some beautiful redwood and built a secure chicken house and run. Instead of flimsy, inexpensive chicken wire, which a hungry raccoon can easily pry open, he used heavy-duty hardware cloth – and buried it nearly twelve inches underground to deter digging predators. Thanks to its solid construction, we never lost a bird to predation, which is the major risk to chickens in an urban area. The hen house itself is thoroughly insulated, eliminating any need for dangerous heat lamps which can kill chickens and burn down structures. Backyard chickens are easy to keep; they need protection from the sun and predators, plenty of fresh water and good-quality food and a clean, safe place to nest and sleep. The eggs are unparalleled.

BeehivesTo bring more beneficial pollinators not only to our garden but also to the surrounding area, we also installed a Langstroth beehive. The bees have overwintered successfully for three seasons and each fall they provide us with about fifty pounds of our own local honey. They’re fascinating to watch, improve pollination in our crops as well as those nearby, and maintaining a beehive doesn’t take much work.

Soon we plan to relocate to a much larger piece of agricultural land, where we’ll start a small organic teaching farm focused on sharing our knowledge with others. We want to encourage everyone to pay attention to where your food comes from and to grow and cook as much of your own food as you can. It’s not as hard as you think, and you’ll be amazed at how much food you can grow and how much money you can save. And it can be done even in an urban area! For more about our journey, please visit

Here are more resources where readers can learn more about all aspects of urban farming:

Learn More About Urban Farming

Does urban farming make sense for you? Find out this Saturday by attending a 90-minute class taught by Elizabeth Buckingham in the living room of our Lakewood urban farm listing. The fee is only $10. You can RSVP at or by calling Chuck at 303-885-7855. The class starts at 1pm on Sat., Mar. 3rd, at 2665 S. Eaton Place. You don’t have to be interested in buying this home to attend this informative class on urban farming.


Just Listed: An “Urban Farm” Home in South Lakewood

2665 S Eaton Place

Broker Associate Chuck Brown has just listed this solar-powered home at 2665 S. Eaton Place in Lakewood for $650,000. If it looks a little overgrown in this photo taken last summer, watch the three video tours at At that website you’ll find two narrated video tours, because the tour of the gardens alone, led by the seller herself, took 24 minutes!  The video tour of the interior is much shorter.  A third video gives an aerial view of the home and its surroundings. The house has four bedrooms and 3½ baths spanning 3,175 above-grade square feet, plus an unfinished 1,703-sq.ft. garden-level basement. Built in 1996, it is in the Thraemoor subdivision, but, unlike other homes in that subdivision, the front, south and rear yards are devoted to providing year-round food for the owners.  This home will be the venue for a class on urban farming this Saturday, March 3rd, 1:00 to 3:00 pm,, which will include a seller-led tour of the gardens themselves. The house itself will be open for touring the following day, Sunday, March 4th, 1 to 3 pm. Call Chuck at 303-885-7855 to reserve a seat at the urban farming class or for more info.



We’re Holding a Class on ‘Getting to Net Zero Energy’

You may recall we recently listed a “net zero” home at 1960 S. Gilpin Street, near Denver University. This coming Sunday, March 4th, we are hosting a class on “Getting to Net Zero & Beyond” in that house, where you’ll not only learn the concepts that go into building a net zero home or retrofitting a current home to net zero, but you’ll be able to see many of those concepts and products in place and working to make that particular home have a total energy bill of under $6 per month. The house is for sale, but you don’t need to be a homebuyer to attend. See

1960 South Gilpin best picture

Teaching this 90-minute PowerPoint presentation are two of Colorado’s leading experts on this topic: Lance Wright, “the green energy man,” who built 1960 S. Gilpin Street and two other net zero homes, and John Avenson, who keeps improving his net zero home in Westminster. The class is Sunday, March 4th, from 1 to 2:30 pm.


Follow-up Regarding Last Week’s Article on Capital Gains Exemption

Last week I wrote about the capital gains exemption of $250,000 for single taxpayers and $500,000 for married taxpayers. I failed to mention (because I didn’t know) that a widow or widower has 2 years after the death of their spouse to sell their primary residence and still take advantage of the higher exemption amount. I thank the readers who brought that to my attention.


Have You Owned Your Home for a Long Time? Here Are Some Ideas on Limiting Your Capital Gains Liability

Real_Estate_Today_byline   If you bought your primary residence back in the 1960s or 1970s, there’s a good chance that you’ll be pushing the limits of the capital gains tax exemption when it comes time to sell.

Fortunately, the recently enacted tax reform bill retains the $250,000 exemption from capital gains tax for a single person, and the $500,000 exemption for a married couple. If you bought your house for, say, $30,000, in the 1960s, it’s quite possible that it’s worth 10 or 20 times that amount now, resulting in the possibility of capital gains taxation.

I am not a CPA or tax advisor, but I can share some of what I’ve learned about strategies to avoid capital gains taxation on the sale of your home.

If you’re a couple thinking that you might want to sell before you both die, consider selling before one of you dies, or your $500,000 exemption will be cut in half. Remember that you have to have lived in your home for at least two of the five years prior to sale date, in order to have that exemption, so if you recently moved into, for example, an assisted living facility, you’ll need to sell it within three years of your move or you’ll lose the exemption.

Do not add your heirs to the title of your home as a “joint tenant” with rights of survivorship.  Why not?  Because, although it may simplify the passage of ownership to them upon your death, it simultaneously adds to their tax liability.  This occurs because they inherit your original purchase price as their cost basis, whereas if they inherit the property through your will, the basis for them is stepped up to the fair market value of the home at the time of the inheritance. Again, this requires that you not move out of the house more than 3 years prior to passing.

If one of a married couple moves out, the $500,000 exemption is preserved by the other spouse as long as the absent spouse is still alive, providing the couple sells the house within 3 years of the last spouse moving out.

Again, I am not a tax advisor, and am only recounting what I have been told by tax and estate-planning professionals. Consult your own tax  professional before acting on anything I have said in this article. If you don’t have a tax advisor, I can help you find one.

If you’d like to know what your home is currently worth, or what it might sell for, call Golden Real Estate at 303-302-3636 for a free market analysis.  Our agents are also available to meet with you in your home.

If you’re considering moving into a senior community — whether independent living or assisted living — we know experts on such facilities, which are usually rentals.

Downsizing could take the form of moving into a low-maintenance or zero-maintenance condo, townhome or patio home, in which case we, as Realtors, can serve you ourselves. If you are worried about selling your current home and then not being able to find a replacement because of the low number of active listings, we have strategies for avoiding that situation. Call us for a free consultation.