As you may already know, Golden Real Estate is a leader in sustainability, as expressed in the value statement printed on all our yard signs: “Promoting and Modeling Environmental Responsibility.” And most of our agents, including myself, are Certified EcoBrokers, having taken extra training in all aspects of sustainability as it applies to real estate.
We’d like to share what we’ve learned with you, so we’re launching a Sustainability Series that will take place on the third Thursday of every month in our office. We can accommodate 20 or more attendees in our office, but we will move it elsewhere if the demand exceeds our capacity, so please RSVP. You can do so now for all sessions.
Each meeting will focus on a single aspect of sustainability. Here’s the schedule for the first six meetings (subject to change):
Jan. 17th — Home Insulation — Walls, windows, foundations, crawl spaces, attics. (This is a bigger topic than you might think, but it’s also the cheapest and most effective path to reducing energy consumption.)
Feb. 21st — Home Heating Methods — Forced air, heat pumps, radiant floor, solar thermal, and other technologies.
Mar. 21st — Solar Power — Rooftop and ground-mounted photovoltaic, solar gardens, solar panels vs. solar roof tiles, and home battery storage/backup.
Apr. 18th — Electric Vehicles — What’s here now and what’s coming soon in cars, trucks, motorcycles and more.
May 16th — Sustainable Renovation — What are the more sustainable and popular materials and designs?
June 20th — Water Conservation — The latest concepts and products for conserving water use, both indoors and outdoors.
All sessions are 1 hour long and begin at 5 p.m. in our Golden office or nearby if a larger space is needed based on the number of reservations received. The sessions will be led by experts in the field, although you can count on me to add my own comments!
Go ahead and reserve your seat for any or all sustainability sessions now by sending an email to Jim@GoldenRealEstate.com. We look forward to producing this informative series!
Golden Real Estate’s Sustainable Practices
1) Our office produces more energy than it consumes. With our 20 kW of solar panels, we heat, cool and power our office and charge our six electric cars. We also provide free EV charging to the general public, yet our Xcel Energy bill is only $11.26/month. At our request, Xcel removed our natural gas meter.
2) We accept polystyrene from the public in our “Styrofoam Corral,” keeping over 200 cubic yards of the material out of the landfill every year.
3) We use only LED light fixtures and have four “sun tunnels” (skylights) for naturally lighting our office.
Click here to read about our transition to “Net Zero” in our Jan. 4, 2018, column, “Promoting & Modeling Environmental Responsibility.”
Not visible from the street is this home’s solar system, which meets most of this home’s electrical needs for only $137/month year-round. It is located at 5674 Fig Way in the Candlelight Valley subdivision adjacent to the Van Bibber open space park. A trailhead is just two blocks away. It’s a super quiet location, as you can tell by watching the narrated video tour at www.JeffcoSolarHomes.com. This home has a finished walk-out basement and has one of the larger lots — over 1/3 acre. Everything about this home is top shelf, including the gourmet kitchen with marble floor, granite countertops and built-in refrigerator. The walk-out basement is a mother-in-law apartment with its own kitchen. The expansive deck and covered patio provide additional entertainment possibilities. Listed at $797,000.
Open Saturday, June 30th, 1-4 pm.
Not visible from the street is this home’s solar system, which meets most of this home’s electrical needs for only $137/month year-round. It is located at 5674 Fig Way in the Candlelight Valley subdivision adjacent to the Van Bibber open space park. A trailhead is just two blocks away. It’s a super quiet location, as you can tell by watching (and listening to) the narrated video tour at www.CandlelightValleyHome.info. This home has a finished walk-out basement and is on one of the larger lots — over 1/3 acre. Everything about this home is top shelf, including the gourmet kitchen with marble floor, granite countertops and GE Monogram refrigerator. The walk-out basement is a mother-in-law apartment with its own kitchen. The expansive deck and covered patio provide additional entertainment possibilities. Now listed at $797,000.
Last week I mentioned how Golden Real Estate was honored for coming in third among metro brokerages of our size in the number of transactions completed in 2016.
In this week’s column, I’d like to share my personal strategy for success in real estate, which has evolved into a company-wide strategy serving all agents — and benefiting clients.
Decades ago I adopted what I thought was a quote by Confucius. My sister had it posted on her refrigerator. Thanks to Google, I discovered that it wasn’t a quote by Confucius, but it could have been. “Concentrate on giving, and the getting will take care of itself.” That philosophy underlies this column and its success in attracting clients for me and our agents. The time most real estate agents spend prospecting, I spend coming up with topics on which I can educate myself and then share that knowledge with my readers.
That’s how journalism works. A reporter is given an assignment, learns all he can about it, and then reduces it to a concise article that summarizes what he learned. That’s what I do every week — learn more than I already know about a given topic, then share what I have learned.
I never run out of topics to write about which educate the public — and thereby myself — regarding some aspect of real estate. Sometimes, I’m able to clarify or contradict statistics or statements which I see in the press or on TV. For example, is the market cooling down or heating up? Are we in another bubble? As a Realtor, I have access to raw data that allows me to address such topics in a way that general assignment reporters can’t.
Giving back is important. Golden Real Estate is a member of two chambers of commerce (Golden & the West Chamber) and one business association. Rita and I are active members the Rotary Club of Golden, and I’m also a member of the Golden Lions Club. Serving in this way is satisfying in itself, and demonstrates our values. [We are also big supporters of Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver (through Jeffco Interfaith Partners, now called West Metro Interfaith Partners) and Family Promise of Greater Denver. Two of our agents are big-time volunteers with Golden’s Christian Action Guild. Myself, I’m a long-time member of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society, Golden Solar Tour (now called the Metro Denver Green Home Tour), and the Denver Electric Vehicle Council.]
Another business principle that underlies my practice of real estate is authenticity. Misrepresenting one’s level of success, for example, is not only a violation of the Realtor Code of Ethics, it is not good salesmanship. I consider myself a lifelong learner and don’t “know it all.”
That principle expresses itself in me by being a news and public affairs sponge. I love listening to music as much as the next person, but my car radio is always tuned to the only all-news radio network we have — NPR. I often hear local real estate stories, since it’s a popular topic these days, but being well informed on other national and world affairs is also important to me.
On the other hand, I have little patience for talk radio, whether conservative or liberal. I’ll listen to analysis and hard news, but I consider opinions a waste of my attention.
In terms of the day-to-day practice of real estate, I know I can’t do it all, so I surround myself with a support team. That team includes, among others, a transaction coordinator, a stager, a photographer, a drone pilot, several lenders, inspectors, and a handyman (who works only for our clients). That said, I don’t over-delegate. I like to get my hands dirty. I’ll put signs in the ground and do my own narrated video tours of each listing, including for my broker associates. Our office manager, Kim Taylor, helps with every aspect of listing and selling homes, but I’m happy to show listings, hold open houses, enter listings on the MLS, create websites for each listing, etc. I don’t just have a team, I’m part of the team.
Another factor in my personal success is surely my full-time accessibility. My cell phone (303-525-1851) is never turned off. I was in Puerta Vallarta all last week, which may come as a surprise to those clients and future clients who reached me on my cell phone and made appointments to meet with me this week. (I also submitted last week’s column from Mexico and will be submitting next week’s column from a ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.)
Experience has taught me that “to make money, you need to spend money,” and I never forget that. One example of an expenditure that paid off was our moving truck. I bought our first one at a convention in 2004 and it has been so useful to clients and has built so much goodwill for us among non-profits and community organizations, that I bought a second one last year. In 2008 I also invested in a storage shed for the moving boxes and packing materials that we provide free to clients.
Another “investment” was the purchase of a 10’x20’ chain link enclosure for collecting polystyrene (“Styrofoam”) for recycling. We take at least one truckload per month to a reprocessing facility in Denver, keeping over 200 cubic yards of that material out of landfills every year. Our investment in 20kW of solar panels not only powers our electric cars and our office, it allows us to provide free EV charging to the general public. Both these expenditures send a statement about our values that resonates with our clients and prospective clients.
Back to real estate, we have been early adopters in sometimes expensive ways to improve the quality and exposure of our listings. Years before they were adopted by other brokerages, we invested in drones to take aerial photos and videos of our listings. We also were early adopters of HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology for still photographs of our listings. This produces magazine quality photographs in which every element of a picture, including the view out each window, is perfectly exposed.
By now, you may be thinking I’m a workaholic, but Rita and I do enjoy a personal life, going to the theatre, traveling often, and watching many entertainment programs at home. But when my phone rings (except in a theatre!), I answer it. I feel my clients deserve that.
Some listing agents put under “broker remarks” (which their sellers don’t see) that “Seller requests no Sunday deadlines.” What they’re really saying is that they don’t work on Sunday. That’s not us!