Just Listed: 3-Bedroom Home Atop Golden Gate Canyon

You’ll love the remoteness and quietness of this home’s location at 1296 Golden Gate Drive, just 12 miles from downtown Golden! The drone footage at the end of my narrated video tour  at www.FoothillsHome.info captures that remoteness well. Built in 1997, this 2,798-square-foot home on two acres is more than your typical foothills cabin, with its oversized 2-car garage, its great room with its freshly refinished hardwood floor, wood burning stone fireplace and vaulted ceiling. There are three decks, too —  the wraparound main-floor deck with direct access from the master suite, and two smaller decks upstairs, outside both bedrooms and the loft. Because this home’s in Gilpin County, the property taxes are only $718/year. Just listed at $650,000.

After you’ve watched the video tour, come to the open house on Saturday, May 4th, 11 am to 2 pm.  Or call 303-525-1851 for a showing!

Timing the Sale of Your Current Home and Purchase of New Home Can Be Challenging

Have you faced this dilemma? You want to buy a home that better fits your family’s needs, but you are stymied by the need to sell your current home to pay for the next one.  So you stay put in a home that doesn’t quite meet your needs.

There are several ways to tackle the challenge of buying a home when it depends on selling your current home. Let’s look at different scenarios based, first of all, on the amount of equity you have in your current home.

If you own your home “free and clear” and are downsizing to a lesser priced home, the easiest path is to take out a home equity line of credit (or HELOC) on your current home. This kind of loan is easier to obtain than a standard mortgage, especially when done through a credit union. Note: You must do this before going on the market.

When I obtained a HELOC from a credit union, they didn’t even charge for title insurance and did only a “drive-by” appraisal, and the closing took place at the loan officer’s desk with no closing fee. It couldn’t have been easier.

If you have a mortgage on your home but still have substantial equity, a HELOC can provide the cash you need for a 20% down payment, which is what’s required to get the most favorable interest rate on the mortgage for the home you’re buying. You would no longer be a cash buyer for your new home, and the mortgage lender for your home purchase may make the sale of your current home a condition for approving the loan on your new home, depending on the size of your income and the ratio of your debts to your income. But that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed in buying the new home.

Under the right circumstances, a seller and his/her listing agent will consider an offer that is contingent on the sale of the buyer’s current home. I have succeeded in this process as a buyer’s agent by showing that the buyer’s home is ready to be listed immediately and will be priced to sell quickly based on a market analysis.

Don’t expect, however, to win a bidding war against non-contingent buyers. You can avoid bidding wars and succeed with a contingent offer by looking only at homes that have been on the market over two weeks. Your agent can set up an email alert with that being one of the search criteria. Then be sure to include in the contract the price that you are going to list your home and submit with it a market analysis demonstrating that it is priced to sell quickly. That market analysis should include a spreadsheet of comparable homes sold in the last six months, showing days on market, and a price per square foot that is higher than the price per square foot of your home at the listing price specified in your offer. Your agent could even enter the home on the MLS as an “incoming” (not yet active) listing, complete with high quality photos, showing that you’re ready to “pull the trigger” immediately after your contract is accepted on the new home.

The contract to purchase your new home could have a closing date of 45 to 60 days, and if you have priced your current home correctly, you should get multiple offers and be under contract within, say, four days with a buyer who has agreed to match the closing date on your new home.

One of the deadlines in a contract to buy a home is the contingency deadline, after which you would lose your earnest money if you fail to close on your purchase.  That date should not be the day of closing but maybe a week earlier. If the contract to purchase your current home has the same date for that last opportunity for your buyer to terminate and get their earnest money back, you can have some peace of mind about everything working out well.

When I write a contingent contract, I like to add a provision that the seller can terminate if my buyer’s home is not under contract within, say, a week or 10 days after going under contract. That increases the likelihood of acceptance.

(I’ll write about the challenges facing renters who want to become home owners in next week’s column.)

Just Listed: A Rare Mesa Meadows 5-BR Ranch-Style Home

This 5-bedroom, 3-bath home is at 594 Wyoming Circle, Golden. (See below.)It was just listed at $675,000. You’ll love the updated kitchen with hardwood floor, slab granite counters, pantry, and gas fireplace! The updated master bath is also a highlight, with its fabulous shower and free-standing soaking tub. The stamped concrete patio has an inlaid vegetable garden and pergola. Vaulted ceilings give this home a spacious, welcoming feel which you and your guests will appreciate. And it’s in Golden proper! New exterior paint and roof, too. A bicycle-pedestrian trail to Downtown Golden is 1/2 block from the front door, and a trailhead for the North Table Mountain Open Space Park is a block away. Open House is Saturday, April 27th, 11-2. or call 303-525-1851 for a private showing.  See interior pix and a narrated walk-through at www.MesaMeadowsHome.com.

Readers Responded in Great Numbers to Our Offer of Free Neighborhood Alerts

In last week’s column, I offered to set up Free Neighborhood Alerts for any reader who wanted to keep track of real estate activity in his or her subdivision or larger area. The response was overwhelming. I myself have received over 40 requests, keeping me so busy that I’ve had to make time to write this week’s column!

I’m not complaining. My broker associates and I are pleased to make this service available to everyone who wants it, and we’ve become pretty efficient at creating these free alerts.

We’re able to fulfill more requests, so feel free to ask for your own neighborhood alert. All our broker associates are able to create these highly personalized reports.  Just give us your address and the boundaries of the area you wish to monitor. The initial alert will tell you all the active, under contract, sold, withdrawn and expired listings in that area, going back 90 or 180 days or longer. Future alerts will come to you within 15 minutes of a new or changed listing being entered on the MLS. You will literally be up-to-the-minute in your knowledge of real estate activity in your neighborhood!

I’m happy to handle every request I get from readers, but if you know one of our broker associates, feel free to direct your request to him or her. They are more than happy to provide this free service.

Send your requests by email only, please. Here are the names and email addresses of our broker associates:

Chuck Brown — Chuck@GoldenRealEstate.com

Kristi Brunel — Kristi@GoldenRealEstate.com

David Dlugasch — David@GoldenRealEstate.com

Debbi Hysmith — Debbi@GoldenRealEstate.com

Norm Kowitz — Norm@GoldenRealEstate.com

Andrew Lesko — Andrew@GoldenRealEstate.com

Carrie Lovingier — Carrie@GoldenRealEstate.com

Carol Milan — Carol@GoldenRealEstate.com

Jim Swanson — Swanson@GoldenRealEstate.com

In addition to setting up the neighborhood alert for you, we will also send you valuation reports on your home using two different software packages that you will find are much more accurate than, say, the Zillow “Zestimates” which home owners are used to seeing. We can also provide a spreadsheet of active, under contract and sold listings that are comparable to your own home as a double-check on those valuations.

Why Be in the Dark About Real Estate Activity in Your Neighborhood? We Can Help.

If you’re like most people, you probably consult Zillow to find out what your home is worth, and you track the activity in your area by watching for yard signs and looking online to learn their listing and selling prices.

At Golden Real Estate we offer a Free Neighborhood Alert, which notifies you by email within 15 minutes every time a home is listed, goes under contract and is sold.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have that information automatically and instantly?

Such alerts cost us nothing to set up, and the emails are sent by computer without any additional work on our part, so please take advantage of this free service. Send your request (by email) to me or any of the other agents at Golden Real Estate, who are listed on our website, GoldenRealEstate.com. All our agents’ email addresses are [firstname]@GoldenRealEstate.com.

What we’ll do is identify your subdivision or neighborhood and send you alerts only for real estate activity in that area. Feel free in your request to identify the boundaries of the area you want to include in your email alert.

By giving us your own address when you request the Neighborhood Alert, you’ll automatically receive two free valuation reports for your own home using different software packages that are considered to be more accurate than Zillow’s “Zestimates.” 

One of them is by Realtor Property Resource (RPR), which is available only to members of the National Association of Realtors. (All of us are NAR members.) The other is the Realist Report, which is part of REcolorado, the Denver MLS on which virtually all local homes are listed for sale.

These two software packages use propriety algorithms which combine public records information about your own house with MLS transactions of comparable homes.  These valuations can be, but are not always, close in their estimation of your home’s value, but, of course, neither knows the condition of your home or of those “comparable” homes. But, then again, Zillow doesn’t know that either!  If you are more than just curious and want to know the true market value of your home, we need to visit your home in person, which we are happy to do.  Just ask us!

Meanwhile, if you ask, we can send you the full MLS listings (including pictures and virtual tours) of the homes that appear to be comparable to yours, so that you (and we) can get a better sense of how your home actually compares to those sold and competing listings.

We also like to provide a single-page spreadsheet of those comparable sales, as well as any active or under contract comparables, so you (and we) can readily compare such variables as price per above-grade square foot and per finished square foot.  We’re happy, of course, to help you interpret that raw information, as we do in actual listing presentations.

If you are contemplating the sale of your home and if we are not the right brokerage for one reason or another, we’re happy to provide a spreadsheet similar to the one shown below for the brokers or brokerages you are considering so you can properly compare and contrast them. 

If we’re not the right brokerage for you, we want to assist you in finding the best broker and brokerage. We can also evaluate and refer you to excellent agents in other markets.

Seats Still Available for Next Thursday’s Information Session on Electric Vehicles

Golden Real Estate’s monthly Sustainability Series continues next Thursday, April 18th, at 5 p.m. with Session #4 about electric vehicles.

Eleven people have already signed up for this session, but we have room for twice that number, so sign up if you’ve been wanting to understand the technology, economics and practicality of owning and driving electric cars.

Did you know that electric cars outsold gas powered cars until about 1915? Drivers (especially women) preferred them until, ironically, the electric starter  made gasoline-powered cars easier and safer to start.

So, electric cars are not new. What’s new is the battery technology which now allows EVs to carry enough stored electricity on board to provide a range approaching that of a tank of gasoline — as high as 300+ miles.

Lead acid batteries were the only kind that the original electric cars could utilize. Today’s batteries are lithium-ion, but within a few years there will be solid state batteries.

This is just some of what you’ll learn at next Thursday’s session. To reserve your seat, email me at Jim@GoldenRealEstate.com.  The session will be at our office, 17695 S. Golden Road, in Golden.

If you can’t attend, you might enjoy a 35-minute YouTube video of my presentation, “Gas Cars Are Obsolete — and Here’s Why.” It’s online at www.GasCarsAreObsolete.info.

The session is followed on Saturday, April 20th, with a “Drive Electric Earth Day” event in our South Golden Road parking lot, where you’ll be able to interview the owners of many different models of EVs about their cars and why they love them. An electric bicycle dealer is also bringing bikes to test ride! Register as either spectator of EV owner at www.DriveElectricWeek.info.