Just Listed: 3-Bedroom 2-Story Lakewood Home East of Solterra  

Just listed for $850,000

This light-filled home at 2384 S. Holman Circle is in a 1990s subdivision just east of Solterra. Nearby parks include Coyote Gulch (a 5-minute walk away), Green Mountain, and Bear Creek Lake. Cycling and walking trails abound! The home is beautifully updated, as you will see from watching the narrated video walk-through at www.LakewoodHome.info. The backyard has a delightful water feature, a perennial flower bed, and mature trees. There’s a main-floor office/study, and the loft could be enclosed to become a 4th bedroom. The kitchen is a delight with its quartz countertops, under-cabinet lighting, stainless steel appliances, and marble backsplash. The large composite deck (Deckorators brand) was installed in 2020, creating a perfect space for outdoor entertaining and relaxing. This home has been well maintained by the seller and is in immaculate condition. Come to our open house on Saturday, June 11th, from 11am to 1pm, or call your agent or Jim Smith at 303-525-1851 to set a showing.

https://youtu.be/lVW0yzDCUOg

National and State Realtor Associations Make the Environment and Sustainability a Priority Issue  

Many people, I’ve found, assume that Realtors, especially the top producers, must be conservatives who resist social policies, tax increases and liberal agenda items in general. That could include denial of human-caused climate change and opposition to any mandates that interfere with “individual freedom” such as mask or vaccine mandates.

Well, I’m pleased to report that, at the association level, we’re a pretty liberal bunch. Yes, I know a few Realtors who are hard-core Trumpers and live by the words of Tucker Carlson, but they’re in the minority.

Those Realtors would not have been pleased when the president of the National Association of Realtors apologized for NAR’s support of racist policies earlier in its 110-year history in his speech to the annual convention. Compare that to conservatives across the country wanting to ban books and classroom discussion about “critical race theory,” intended to rally the conversative base to vote out liberals on local school boards and elsewhere.

Then I read on pages 16-18 of the May issue of Colorado Realtor Magazine about NAR’s commitment to “ESG+R,” which stands for Environmental, Social, Governance + Resilience.

As the article explains, ESG “is a set of standards for a company or practitioner’s operations that investors (or consumers) use to screen potential investments. Environmental criteria measure how that company or practitioner perform as a steward of nature. Social criteria examine how it manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities where it operates. Governance refers to policies around leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights. In short, ESG evaluates if a company, organization, or practitioner is operating sustainably. Globally, sustainability is rated as an important purchase criterion for 60% of consumers.”

The Realtor associations go beyond ESG to add R for Resilience, which is an aspect of sustainability.

Knowing Golden Real Estate’s (and my personal) commitment to such issues, you can understand how pleased I was to read of NAR’s commitment to the same values.

The fact that the Colorado Association of Realtors (CAR) featured this NAR initiative in their monthly magazine suggests that Colorado Realtors are, through their association, fully on board with this issue.

What follows are some excerpts from the article which spoke to me:

“Sustainability is the evolution of long-term value creation for people, planet, and the economy. If sustainability is the journey, then ESG is how we measure progress,” said Ryan Frazier, CEO of Frazier Global, a Colorado-based management consulting and environmental, social, governance (ESG) advisory business.

“We must integrate a culture of sustainability throughout our association and industry. By building a resilient real estate market today, we can create healthy, vibrant, and diverse communities for generations to come,” said 2022 NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith.

“Leading by example, NAR is driving the real estate industry toward a more efficient and sustainable future,” said NAR CEO Bob Goldberg. “As part of this responsibility, we are strengthening the association’s support of sustainability efforts and increasing engagement on policies and programs that prioritize viability, resiliency, and adaptability. We are working to generate meaningful, lasting change that will benefit both current and future generations.”

Millennials now make up 43% of homebuyers, the most of any generation, according to a 2021 report from the National Association of Realtors—and that number is only predicted to rise. And this generation has a reputation for being values-driven in their approach to their money and their careers. These choices drive where they choose to work, play, and buy a home. About one-third of millennials often or exclusively use investments that take ESG factors into account, compared with 19% of Gen Z, 16% of Gen X and 2% of baby boomers, according to a Harris Poll on behalf of CNBC, which surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults ages 30 to 40 on a variety of topics. The escalating importance of ESG doesn’t just impact homebuyer sentiment. It will also matter to brokerage firms looking to hire the best and brightest agents. Companies that promote strong ESG values tend to attract and retain the best talent.

The Purple Report on ESG and Real Estate [by NAR] had 703 respondents. 51% live in Colorado and own a home or want to own a home in Colorado and 49% live outside the state but expressed an interest in buying a home in the state.

KEY FINDINGS:

When asked, are you more likely or less likely to work with a Realtor who has a proficient level of knowledge and training on sustainability and sustainable housing practices when it comes to buying, selling, or investing in a home? 70% of respondents were somewhat or much more likely.

When asked, do you agree or disagree with the viewpoint that as the number of severe weather conditions, droughts, wildfires increase due in part to climate change, and with the potential risk to homes and commercial properties, Realtors need to be helping provide solutions that address climate change risks? 67% of respondents said they agree. The number jumped to 80% among those ages 18-24, and to 79% of those earning $150,000 a year or more.

As the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics preamble tells us, “Under all is the land.”  Our planet is the one resource we all depend on, as will our heirs. The best time to care for it — and for them — is now.

Price Reduced on Stunning Denver Tudor  – Now Only $895,000

This brick Tudor at 1301 Glencoe Street was built in 1939 by a neighborhood builder for his own family and it has many unique features.  You have a rare opportunity to own this very special home since this is only the third time in 65 years that it has been offered for sale.  (I know it well, since I lived two blocks from this house in the 1990s.)  You’ll love the vaulted ceiling in the living room and the beautiful main level hardwood floors. What sets this home apart from other Tudors in this area is its large size: 4,030 total square feet (3,526 finished). An extra large master suite with built-ins and private bath, 2 additional bedrooms and a 2nd full bath are on the first floor. Two more bedrooms, a full bath, a large family room and a huge workshop are on the lower level.  Flexible room layouts allow for a home office (or two) or a hobby room. A detached garage is accessed from 13th Avenue.  On a price-per-square-foot basis this home comps out well above $1.1 million, but the seller chose to price it at $895,000 to sell quickly. The narrated video tour at www.MayfairHome.site is like a showing. There will be no open houses, so call your agent or Jim Smith at 303-525-1851 to see this fantastic home in person.

https://youtu.be/lbvQ8Gyzs1I
Living room
Dining room
Kitchen
Master Suite
Breezeway outside Master Suite
Brick patio
Basement family room
Workshop (formerly attached 2-car garage)
Driveway accessed from 13th Ave.

Reflections 7 Weeks After Selling Our Home and Moving into a 55+ Rental Community  

In my March 10 column (read it at www.JimSmithColumns.com), I announced that Rita and I had decided to sell our Golden home and become renters for the first time in 50 or so years for both of us. A year ago, I could not have predicted such a decision so early in our youthful 70s. I thought you’d like to know how that has worked out for us, in case I got you thinking about a similar move yourself.

Our reasoning was simple. We felt that our home, which we could (and did) sell for 2½ times what we paid for it ten years ago, was unlikely to keep appreciating, and the money we would pocket from selling could more than support us for the rest of our lives. Since I’ll continue making a good income as a Realtor for several more years, we could pay all our living expenses without touching the principal, which we have since invested half in equity stocks and half in a Transamerica annuity with downside protection. (Ask me if you’d like references to our two advisors.)

Zillow and other valuation models show our former home continuing to appreciate, which is good news for our buyer, but it’s hard to predict how much longer that will be true.  I feel we may be at or near the peak of the market. The experience with other listings in the past month suggests that, yes, the market is softening, triggered primarily by the rapid rise in mortgage rates.

So, are Rita and I happy in our new 2-bedroom/2-bath rental? The answer is a qualified “yes.” It definitely was an exercise in “letting go” to move from a 2,639-sq.-ft. home with its 3-car garage and its 2,281-sq.-ft. basement full of “stuff” into our 1,096-sq.-ft. apartment.  I made countless trips to Goodwill, plus targeted donations elsewhere. We gave three unused bicycles plus accessories to the Golden Optimists’ Bicycle Recycle program, gave our gas generator to a Habitat for Humanity group, gave our air compressor to our handyman who uses it to blow out sprinkler systems, and, most helpful of all, included virtually all our furniture in the sale of our home.

It was, in short, quite a process of letting go, not just of miscellaneous possessions accumulated over the years, but also of family heirlooms which had been passed down over the years from our two families.

We had boxes and boxes of artifacts and papers in our basement which we spent many hours culling, recycling most of it. (I didn’t quite finish and have a few boxes in storage that I will get to “sometime.”)

Yes, we rented storage space — both a long-term unit at Public Storage and two small cages in our apartment building a short distance from our apartment for short-term storage — stuff that might otherwise go in a pantry or closet if we had a larger unit.

Long before we had decided to sell and downsize, Rita and I had purchased a week-long cruise of the Mediterranean, which began three weeks after our move into the apartment. We had barely settled in by that time, and the cruise allowed us to experience living in 200 square feet for long enough to make our 1,096-sq.-ft. apartment feel rather spacious when we returned.

As I write this, another 16 days have passed, and we are finally settled in and enjoying our new digs. We spend a lot of time on our south-facing balcony with its view of Green Mountain and the foothills. We watch less TV, having “cut the cord” and subscribed to YouTube TV. We watch much less news and more Netflix movies and programs.

We are also beginning to take advantage of the many programs at Avenida Lakewood, although the press of business is keeping me from taking the yoga and fitness classes which are offered. Shown here is a picture of the sign in our elevator listing the various facilities in the building, to give you an idea of what’s offered. A recent census reported by our community manager said that 70% of the 266 residents in Avenida’s 207 occupied apartments have participated in 9 or more activities, and that 57% of February’s programs were created and led by a resident. There were 314 programs on the March calendar.  Talk about “active living”!

Continental breakfast is served daily except Sunday on the main floor and is one of many opportunities to meet fellow residents. Being on the 4th floor, we also meet people in the elevator, and everyone is super friendly. Residents don’t pass each other, indoors or on the sidewalk, without saying “hello.” This is a contrast from our single-family subdivision, where there were few opportunities to meet our neighbors. I already know more neighbors in this building than I knew in that subdivision.

Rita has made use of the full-service salon, where I have already had a haircut. Rita joined a card game and a Mahjong group, meeting additional neighbors that way. I attended the men’s group where we discussed possible events. I will be driving up Mt. Evans with some of the men after that road opens.

At this time, 95% of the apartments at Avenida Lakewood have been leased. (It was only opened in the summer of 2019.) Soon they will start creating a waiting list. Call me if you’d like to know more or be introduced to the sales staff. Don’t call me if you smoke, however. It’s not permitted anywhere in the building or on the grounds — even within your apartment or on your balcony.

In conclusion, Rita and I feel that we made the right decision. Thanks to the nest egg we created by selling our home, plus Medicare and our long-term care policies, we feel that our future is secure and we can even splurge on more vacations.

I don’t know how many communities there are like Avenida, which charges rent with no “buy-in” that would tie up capital that could otherwise be producing income. Jenn Gomer of CarePatrol told us about Avenida and we didn’t look further. I recommend calling her at 720-788-2364 if you want to know other options.

For Rita and me, we like the flexibility of our one-year lease which gives us the freedom to stay or move a year from now.

Here’s Some Advice to Sellers in a Slowing Real Estate Market  

We all realize by now that the real estate market is slowing due to a reduced buyer pool, caused in part by the increase in mortgage interest rates.

Here’s some advice to sellers who don’t want their home to sit unsold on the market.

1)   Reconsider buying your replacement home first, expecting to sell your home immediately. That strategy was based on the difficulty in finding a replacement home. Now you can sell first, have a 45- to 60-day close and reasonably expect to find your replacement home before you have to surrender your current one.

2)   Don’t price your home based entirely on recent comparable sales, but price it slightly lower. Buyers know the market is softening and will be looking for a good deal.

3)   With an increased inventory of listings, it’s more important than ever to stage your home and improve its curb appeal as well as its interior appeal.

4)   Listen to the market. If you get few showings and no offers in the first week, don’t wait to lower the price.

5)   Magazine-quality pix and video are more important now to make your home stand out. Hire an agent who will order professional HDR still photos, shoot a narrated video tour and drone video, and market your home the way Golden Real Estate does.

When interviewing a listing agent, ask him or her to bring their Matrix productivity print-out instead of trusting their verbal description of their level of success with prior listings.

96.9 The Cloud Honored by Golden Chamber of Commerce for ‘Community Impact’

The Golden Chamber of Commerce recently honored 96.9 The Cloud (KKCL-FM) for its contribution to Golden and the greater Golden/Jefferson County area. Golden Real Estate is proud to have been advertising on The Cloud since its first year in business six years ago. I don’t recall the Chamber having such an award before, and its title is so appropriate: “2021 Community Impact of the Year Award.” The subtext reads as follows: “Awarded for creatively and effectively bringing together community members, resources, and organizations to encourage an environment of support, respect, and thoughtfulness within the Golden community.”

Rita and I have come to know Chuck Lontine, the owner of this radio station and a 7th generation native Coloradan. He is a remarkable man with quite a background, including as National Sales Manager for KOSI 101.  Although KKCL’s signal only reaches Jefferson County from its transmitter on Lookout Mountain, you can stream it on www.TheCloud.FM.

In addition to our regular advertising spots on The Cloud, I also record a weekly 5- to 10-minute report on the real estate market that the station carries.

The Sharing of Listing Commissions With Buyers’ Agents Is Being Challenged  

The way real estate agents are compensated differs from that of any other industry, thanks to the creation of the Multi-List System or MLS, the essence of which is “cooperation and compensation.” Imagine going back to the days before the MLS when a real estate broker could only sell his own listings. The only way to have brokers show you listings of other brokerages is if each brokerage agrees to cooperate with sales agents from other brokerages by sharing their listing commission if they produce a buyer.

Litigation against the National Association of Realtors by the Department of Justice and other plaintiffs threatens to outlaw that system, which would have huge negative consequences not only for the industry but for buyers and sellers.

I like to contrast how we are compensated with how car salesmen are compensated. Imagine if you were in the market for a car and went to a Ford dealership and spoke with a sales person who listened to your desired features and told you that a Chevrolet or Toyota would suit you best. On his computer, he finds a dealer who has that model or models. He takes you to the other dealer’s lot, find the vehicle, get the key out of a window lockbox and take you for a test-drive. He or she could then write a purchase contract for that vehicle and earn the same commission from that dealership as from his own.

But it doesn’t work that way. The sales person at each dealership can only sell that dealership’s cars.

As an aside, there are auto brokers who are hired by car buyers. These brokers can find a dealer with the car you’re looking for and get compensated by the car dealer and not by the buyer. I used an auto broker myself in 2012 to buy a Chevy Volt, which was a brand new model and hard to find at any Chevy dealer. He found one that was en route to an Aurora dealership, which paid him a commission after I took delivery. But auto brokers are an exception. The car sales persons working at the typical car dealership cannot broker your purchase from another dealer the way I can broker your purchase of a real estate listing from any real estate brokerage.

This system of enabling any real estate broker to sell any other broker’s listing and earn a “co-op” commission is at the heart of our industry’s success, but some parties are trying to convince the Department of Justice and the federal judiciary that buyers, not sellers, should compensate their brokers.

But here’s a point that is being missed in this debate — the seller is NOT paying the buyer’s agent.  Yes, it’s the seller’s money that goes to the buyer’s agent, but the listing agent is the one who is paying the buyer’s agent out of the commission which the seller has agreed to pay him or her.  It says right in the listing agreement (Sec. 7.1.1) that the listing brokerage “agrees to contribute from the Sale Commission to outside brokerage firm’s commission as follows: __% of the gross sales price….”

Of course, at the closing table the seller’s settlement statement shows both commissions (to listing broker and selling broker) debited to the seller, but the total equals that specified in the listing agreement.

If the courts agree with the plaintiffs and with the Department of Justice in this matter, it would be a sad and unnecessary disruption of a process which has benefited both buyers and sellers and contributed to our healthy real estate market.

The outlawing of co-op commissions would be so disruptive that, yes, the industry could adapt but it’s hard to imagine that it would be as easy to buy and sell real estate.

Don’t Fall for This FSBO Scam Regarding Vacant Land 

     There have been reports of scammers pretending to own vacant land that has no mortgage on it. They advertise it “for sale by owner,” seeking a quick close at an attractive cash price.  They claim to be out-of-state and do a mail-out closing providing forged IDs to an out-of-state notary.  They communicate only by text or email.

     A licensed broker could be fooled into listing such a property with the fraudster, giving it an additional air of legitimacy.

     Both brokers and prospective buyers can protect themselves by checking public records for the name and address of the property’s legal owner and reaching out to them. Some of us (including me) have an app to find the real seller’s phone number.

When Can Buyers and Sellers Talk Directly With Each Other?  

    There’s a well-established protocol that buyers and sellers are to communicate with each other solely through their agents and not directly during the course of a transaction to buy and sell a home. Here are two things you may not know.

    Sellers can talk with buyers and/or their agents at open houses as long as they only discuss features of the house and not price or terms. They can also give their cell number to inspectors to answer questions that may arise during the home inspection.

    At closing, buyers and sellers are advised to exchange contact info so they can be in direct communication later on for any reason. During a pre-closing final walk-through, I like to make the seller available to provide an orientation to the buyer to explain how things work.