Lakewood Duplex Just Listed by David Dlugasch

This is a great duplex at 1802-1804 Simms Street! It works for a mother-in-law and family or as a 2-rental unit with great rental income. One unit, 1804 Simms, is 1600 sq. ft. and has 3 large bedrooms with double closets. The primary bedroom has a 3/4 bath. It has a large carpeted living room with a non-functional wood-burning fireplace. The kitchen is open with an eating area and a laundry closet with washer and dryer. 1802 Simms measures 950 sq. ft. Its primary bedroom has new carpeting, new paint, and a double closet. Another room is a non-conforming bedroom and can be used as an office or hobby room.  The entrance has a foyer with slate flooring that leads into a very large and bright living room with hardwood floors. The eat-in kitchen can use some updating and has a newer bay window. Each unit has a well-maintained fenced yard, great for entertaining. The two-car garage is shared, and there is extra parking in the driveway.  There is a basement area under 1802 Simms accessed from the back of the structure. This is a solid brick duplex home with good bones. You can view a narrated video tour below or online at Open this Saturday, March 25th, 11am to 2pm.

Golden Development Site Just Listed by Austin Pottorff

This parcel at 17205 W. 12th Ave. is a multi-family zoned parcel ready for continued rental income, or ripe for redevelopment. Directly adjacent to the city boundary, this 19,300-square-foot parcel could possibly be annexed into the City of Golden. It was just listed at $1.6 million. This land offers proximity to parks, trails, grocery, dining, and public transit. Golden’s King Soopers Marketplace is a couple blocks away, and the Denver West Office Park, Coors Technology Center, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado Mills Shopping area, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Jefferson County Government Center, schools and downtown Golden are all within a few minutes of the site. Bell Middle School and Golden High School are a short distance away. Located within an Opportunity Zone, this parcel is a prime redevelopment option. Take a narrated aerial video tour at Then call Austin Pottorff at 970-281-9071 for more information or to arrange a showing.

Geothermal Heating and Cooling Can Be Practical and Affordable When Done on a Community Scale

When it comes to “kicking natural gas” and reducing a home’s carbon footprint, geothermal heating & cooling is the “gold standard.” But it’s extremely expensive to implement as a retrofit and still quite expensive on new construction.

My friend, Martin Voelker, a leader with the Colorado Renewable Energy Society, recently replaced his gas forced air heating system with geothermal, and the cost for drilling the 300-foot-deep wells in his backyard was $18,000, which included running the pipes into his house but didn’t include the heat pump itself. Even though such a project would garner a 30% rebate under the Inflation Reduction Act, that’s still a heavy lift for any homeowner.

I know of another home which installed geothermal pipes horizontally in their large backyard at far less cost.

New construction is more affordable, because you can have the wells drilled within the footprint of the future home while it’s still open ground. And if it’s an entire subdivision, such as the Geos Community in Arvada, the cost is reduced because all the wells can be drilled one after the other.

In that scenario, each home still has its own geothermal well, but what if you could drill a geothermal well that was extensive enough to feed multiple heat pumps in multiple buildings?

That was the concept proposed by a group of Harvard students in Ivory Innovation’s annual Hack-A-House competition, for which they won first place in the “Environmental Solutions and Construction Technology” category.

Those Harvard students may have known something the judges didn’t — that Eversource Gas, a Massachusetts utility, had already begun a “networked geothermal” demonstration project 17 miles west in Framingham. That project is featured at, short for Home Energy Efficiency Team, which in 2017 started promoting the concept of gas utilities delivering 55º water instead of gas to multiple buildings from a grid of geothermal wells. (The above graphic is from their website.) Think of it as a 21st Century version of what Con Edison still does in NYC, which is to deliver steam from its central boilers to local buildings through pipes under Manhattan’s streets. But steam, unlike water, can’t be used in the summer for air conditioning.

A local vendor that I recommend for both geothermal and air source heat pumps is Sensible Heating and Cooling, (720) 876-7166.

How Does Geothermal Work?

Geothermal heating does not require the presence of a thermal feature such as a hot spring. In fact, if you dig down about 10 feet anywhere at our latitude, you’ll find that the soil temperature is about 55ºF year-round. Circulating a fluid through underground piping heats that liquid to 55º so a heat pump can then raise its temperature to 100º or so for heating purposes utilizing either radiant floor heating, baseboards or forced air.

Geothermal is far more efficient than an air-source heat pump system which takes in outdoor air as cold at 10 degrees below zero and works much harder to achieve the desired temperature for heating.

In the summer the 55º fluid from geothermal requires far less energy to be cooled further for air conditioning your home.

Did You Know? Potting Soil Presents a Fire Hazard

Earlier this month, a Jefferson County home almost burned down. Thanks to a quick response by the local fire department, damage was contained and is estimated at $30-50,000.

Here’s what happened, as documented by surveillance cameras: A person tried to put out a cigarette by sticking it in the soil of an indoor potted plant. Unfortunately, the plant was in potting soil that contained nitrogen, and within a few hours the soil started smoking and quite suddenly burst into flames.

When told of this, David Dlugasch, one of our broker associates, told me that the exact same scenario caused his own house which he had sold in Gunnison to be burned to the ground the day after he sold it.

This issue was new to me, so I wanted to share it with readers. Below is a picture I took of the ingredients in a commonly available potting soil. Nowhere on the package does it mention that it is flammable and could cause a house fire.

The “helpful hardware man” at Ace told me he was aware of the danger and reminded me that nitrogen fertilizer can be used to create a bomb, as in the Oklahoma City bombing.

Comcast’s TV Remote Can Be Programmed to Have a 30-Second Fast Forward Button

Last week I complained that Comcast’s remote, unlike Dish Network’s & DirecTV’s, does not have a button for skipping forward 30 seconds on recorded programs. A reader sent me instructions for reprogramming the 5-minute FF button to 30 seconds. Briefly, to enable a 30-second skip, do the following: “While watching a channel, press the Exit button thrice. Press 0030 on the keypad.”  Click here for more detailed instructions.

With Credit Scores More Important Than Ever, Here’s What You Need to Know

Sweeping changes have been implemented for all FHA, VA and conventional home loans in the past few weeks. In addition to increasing interest rates for borrowers purchasing at the “top of their buying power,” a borrower’s credit score now has an even bigger impact on interest rate than in the past. I asked Jaxzann Riggs, owner of The Mortgage Network to review “credit basics” with me and learned the following:

The five categories of data that impact your score, are: Payment History, Balances, Length of History, Types of Credit, and New Credit.

Your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score. For those who need the bottom line version of this paragraph – pay your bills on time.  Potential lenders want to know if you are paying your current credit accounts when they are due. The timeliness of payments is the biggest factor affecting your credit score, so missing or being late on even one payment will sting. If you have otherwise spotless credit, a payment that is made 30 days after its due date can knock as many as 100 points off your credit score. Clearly, late payments make a huge impact, and even further, they stay on your credit report for 7 years. If there is one thing you remember from this article, it is to make your payments on time! … or at least before they are 30 days past due.

The second largest category is balance owed. Lenders want to make sure that you are not overextended. This category will look at how much debt you have over all, how much is owed on individual accounts, and how many accounts you have with outstanding balances. With revolving credit, like credit cards, keep the amount owed on each card under 30% of the limit. 

The length of history shows whether you’ve had credit for six months or 20 years. Having a long track record without any major slip-ups suggests that your credit behavior will be consistent in the future.  Lenders and credit card issuers like that. Keep old accounts open unless there is a compelling reason to close them, such as an annual fee on a card you no longer use. You might be able to help yourself a little in this category by becoming an authorized user on an old account with an excellent payment record.

Did you know there are different types of credit? Revolving (i.e. credit cards), installment (i.e. student/auto loans), and open credit (i.e. a charge card, actually different than a credit card). Having a mix of credit account types may show lenders that you are less of a credit risk because you’ve demonstrated an ability to successfully manage different types of credit and the payment systems associated with them. Having a mix of credit accounts positively impacts scores.

Lastly, keep in mind that applying for new credit can cause your score to slip. Each application causes a hard inquiry on your credit and will likely take a few points off your score, unless the applications happen to fall withing a certain category of credit and within 7 days of each other. As an example, multiple auto loan inquiries or multiple home loan inquiries all made within seven days of each other won’t hurt your score.

Remember that it’s not a good idea to shop for a new car at the same time that you are shopping for a home loan. Lenders don’t like that.

If you are contemplating a home purchase, keep in mind that there are many steps you can take now to set yourself up for success. If you have any questions about the newly updated guidelines or need lending support in any way, do not hesitate to reach out to Jaxzann Riggs, owner of The Mortgage Network at 303- 990-2992.

Here Are Some Ways to Make Your Home More Accommodating to Seniors

Even if you live in a home with stairs, there are ways to make your home more senior-friendly, so you can age in place instead of moving.

Stairs are the single biggest reason that most seniors want to downsize into a ranch or patio home, but almost any staircase can accommodate a stair elevator — a chair which can transport you from one floor to the next, even around curves. We had a stair elevator on the stairs to our basement in the ranch home we sold last year. We used it mostly for transporting heavy items to and from the basement, including those big purchases from Costco which didn’t fit in our kitchen cabinets or pantry. The seat on a stair elevator folds up so you can walk past it easily.

Some new homes are built with 4-foot square closets one above the other which could be sacrificed later on to install an elevator. If you’re having a custom home built, consider that idea. Even if you never make that conversion, it’s a feature that could raise your home’s resale value.

A handyman can often design and build ramps onto your front porch, into your back yard or from your attached garage into the home.

Rita and I are big fans of “chair height” toilets, which cost no more than regular toilets and can be swapped out by a handyman, making it a pretty affordable enhancement. A handyman can also install grab bars in multiple places around your home, especially in bathrooms.

Other easy and affordable improvements could include installing lever door handles to replace door knobs. Another might be to install a video door bell so you can see who’s at your door from your chair (or from afar when on vacation — a stranger ringing your bell wouldn’t know you’re not home).

There are also internet-connected electric deadbolts which you can lock or unlock using a smartphone. Speaking of security, you can also install internet-connected cameras which not only give you a live view of your interior or exterior spaces but also store that video in the “cloud” for later viewing or sharing.

You might have the handyman install motion-sensing light switches in your garage or bathrooms to turn on those lights when you enter. A photocell light switch can turn on your porch light at sunset. You can purchase both types of those switches at any hardware store.

One reader suggests a countertop microwave oven as being more convenient than a wall-mounted one for a wheelchair-bound senior. 

For bathing, you can buy a walk-in bathtub, but that’s a pretty expensive improvement that won’t necessarily improve your home’s resale value. It could even hurt it. Most seniors prefer a shower, and one that you can roll into is best.  At least build a walk-in shower with a bench and hose attachment.

A home with zero outside maintenance is ideal for seniors, but “patio homes” are few and far between and sell quickly when they come on the market. I’ve had clients lose bidding wars for a patio home.

The primary feature of a patio home is that the HOA takes care of all outside maintenance, mowing unfenced front and back yards, removing snow up to your garage door and porch/front door, trimming trees and bushes, etc. Many patio home HOAs even take responsibility for repainting your home’s exterior on a schedule (typically 6 years) and have a master insurance policy covering the structure and your roof. You purchase renter’s insurance instead of homeowner’s insurance.

No patio home? You can hire vendors to mow your lawn and shovel the snow. We had a wonderful Vietnamese family which not only mowed our lawn as needed but did a spring and fall yard cleanup for a reasonable fee. Of course, now that we live in an apartment, we have none of those expenses, and I’m a big advocate of doing what we did — cash out by selling your home if it will produce enough cash to live out your remaining years.

‘Cord Cutting’ Becomes More Common; Here’s Our Story

Over the years, Rita and I have bounced around from cable TV to DirecTV to Dish Network because of the astounding increases in monthly fees. Add some premium channels and the cost can approach $200/month, which is $2,400 per year, just for TV!  Perhaps your story is similar.

A year ago, when Rita and I moved into a 55+ rental that only offers Comcast TV and doesn’t allow satellite dishes, we finally did what so many have done before us: we abandoned both cable and satellite TV, or “cut the cord,” as it’s called.

So now we only stream, and our primary TV provider now is YouTube TV, not to be confused with YouTube. And I recommend it as an affordable solution. We get all the channels we were getting before, both local and cable.

We have Comcast/Xfinity for our home internet, which is a business expense for me, and their basic internet speed is fast enough for streaming YouTube TV (which is $64.99/mo.) and Netflix.

I love two things about YouTube TV. First, it has unlimited cloud DVR storage. (No equipment for us; just connect to our WiFi signal.)  Second, like Netflix, I can watch it on my laptop, phone or iPad, such as at the office or when I’m traveling anywhere in the U.S. (I watched some Denver programs while I was in Hawaii recently.) Rita can watch one program while I’m watching another.

We don’t watch any programs live anymore, because we want to fast forward through commercials. We preferred Dish and DirecTV over Comcast because they have a 30-second fast forward button. Comcast has no such button. YouTube TV has a 15-second button, which is good enough. Here’s a screenshot of from logging in to YouTube TV just now:

Each of those programs (and countless others) are recorded online and we never have to worry about running out of DVR space.

Price Reduced on Your Golden Dream Home

    This solar-powered home at 359 Canyon Point Circle was a model home for the Village at Mountain Ridge, the subdivision west of Highway 93 backing to the Mt. Galbraith Park. (There’s a trailhead to the park’s 5 miles of hiking trails within the subdivision.) The seller has made many improvements to the home since buying it in 2002, including a total renovation of the gourmet kitchen and master bathroom, plus adding 11.5 kW of solar panels which meet all the electrical needs of the home. The main-floor deck was also completely rebuilt with composite decking, metal railings and a breakfast bar for enjoying the sunrises over South Table Mountain and the City of Golden, which are visible even from the walk-out basement. A walking path near this home allows children to walk safely to Mitchell Elementary School via a pedestrian bridge that crosses the highway. The listing price was just reduced to $1,545,000. To appreciate all the features of this 4,106-sq.ft. home, take the narrated video tour at, then come to the open house this Saturday, March 18, noon to 2pm.

Meet Our New Broker Associate, Austin Pottorff

    I have known Austin for over a decade. He’s one of the hardest working Realtors I know, and he has been very successful, especially in finding and listing development sites which he recognizes as having great potential. Previously self-employed under the name Mountain Opportunities Real Estate, he has now joined Golden Real Estate, bringing with him a new development listing which you’ll be reading about in a coming column. He is also a licensed drone pilot, and you’ll be impressed as I was by the aerial photos and videos which you can view on his website,

    Austin’s politics also align with my own, and I am really impressed by his commitment to the banning of assault rifles, as evidenced by his website, I look forward to a great relationship with Austin. You can reach him anytime on his cell phone, 970-281-9071, or by email at Welcome aboard, Austin!