Friday, October 26, 2012

Affordable Housing in Broomfield

The Broomfield Housing Authority plans on putting a grant of $100,000 from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to good use by upgrading its affordable housing efforts.  A request for proposals has been issued with a deadline of November 30, 2012.  Eligible activities include:

  • New construction of affordable housing
  • Rehabilitation of existing housing
  • Acquisition of existing housing
  • Predevelopment costs, such as appraisals or engineering
  • Capital needs for transitional housing
  • Special needs housing 
 The Broomfield Housing Authority already helps low- and middle-income residents by facilitating improvements to dwelling conditions through the Housing Rehabilitation and Mobile Home Repair Program, Housing Weatherization Program, and connecting residents to the various county and state homebuyer assistance programs.  If you'd like to find out if you qualify for these programs, start your fact-finding with the many helpful links here.

I would love to help you with your real estate journey. 
Please contact me at 303-917-7143 or

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Tour of North Boulder

It's important to get to know the market you're interested in before buying so that you can recognize a great value when you see it.  I set up listing alerts for my buyers as early as possible in their property search, which allows them to get a good idea of what certain neighborhoods are commanding.  Getting out and seeing homes in person and not just online is another recommendation, even if they aren't exactly what you might want.  I even recommend it to my sellers; it helps to prepare them for what buyers are going to expect at their price level.  This Friday morning, the tour takes me to North Boulder - give me call if you'd like to come along.

Plenty of living space
7303 Augusta Drive - $699,700
Like most houses in this price range, this house has a lot of updates - granite counters, 5 piece master bath with jetted tub and glass block shower,  Trex deck and sprinkler system. With 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths and over 4100 sqft, it also boasts a screened-in porch overlooking an established perennial garden, a three-car garage, and a finished basement.

Adding the finishing touches
1999 Joslyn Place - $795,000
On the market two weeks, this 2900 sqft home claims to be priced for "a quick sale."  The last recorded sale of the property was in 1982 for $145,000.  The sellers are currently going through a punch list of items to be completed before the sale is closed, although the pictures already look pretty good.  4 bedrooms, 4 baths, 2 car garage, finished basement, Bosch stainless steel appliances, wood floors on a corner lot in Courtside.

Spacious outdoor living
 2564 Pampas Court - $795,000
This house backs to a private, 4+ acre park in Centennial Meadows.  It's a 2 story with no basement, but with over 3000 sqft, 5 bedrooms and 3 car garage you may not need the extra square footage below.  With wood floors, 5 piece master bath, see-through fireplace, hot tub, stainless steel and granite, it sits on a .38 acre lot with mature trees and garden.

New "hard" stucco exterior
 4020 Bimini Court - $849,000
Built in the late 90s, this Four Mile Creek home has been recently remodeled with birch doors, maple floors, walnut cabinets, tray ceilings in the finished basement, and updated contemporary kitchen appliances and countertops.  It sits on a smaller lot, as the Four Mile Creek homes do, but it looks to have beautiful landscaping and deck, as well as 4 bedrooms, 4 baths and 4862 total sqft.

Back of the home
636 Linden Park Drive - $850,000
This Wonderland Hill ranch home was built in the early 70s and has only had one owner; it was originally purchased for $52,500 in 1972.  At the foot of the mountains, it has 2750 sqft, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2 car garage and finished walk-out basement with fireplace.  It does appear to need some updating, although adequately maintained and livable, and the covered deck and backyard are "paradise."  The location and lack of an HOA could be a real draw for some buyers.

Attention to detail and finishes
989 S. Terrace Circle - $860,000
Only a decade old, this Dakota Ridge Village 2-story home has incredible views of the foothills but no backyard.  For some, the lack of yard maintenance and the abundant surrounding open space will be a big selling point.  Wood floors, marble entry, cherry cabinets, Viking stainless steel appliances, and 13' wet bar in the finished basement enhance this 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath, 3981 sqft home.

I would love to help you with your real estate journey. 
Please contact me at 303-917-7143 or

Friday, October 12, 2012

It Ain't Easy Bein' Green

As we become more aware of a lack of symbiosis with our environment and educated on sustainable living, we may be finding that it's harder than we thought to be "green."  In real estate, there's more and more attention being paid to using sustainable materials and recycling the old.  Homeowners are building and retrofitting their properties with more efficient systems both to save money and resources and make their homes more desirable upon resale.

The challenge comes when trying to determine which changes and upgrades are going to be the best value.  In a relatively young industry, terms like "environmentally-friendly" and "sustainable" can be confusing in their application.  Even as new regulations are created to govern the use of these labels, consumers may not know the definitions.  For each homeowner, decisions must be made regarding their specific property, needs and budgets.  Is it enough to replace the old refrigerator with a high-efficiency one or do we also install solar panels big enough to bank excess power for our own use later?

Grey water systems allow you to reuse water in your garden
The real estate industry has been doing what it can to keep up with both the incorporation and promotion of new technologies as well as evaluating their effectiveness and popularity among consumers.  It can be difficult to determine how much a specific market will embrace and value a particular green feature.  There is an expectation by homeowners, for example, that the cost of installing a grey water system will be recouped when they once again sell their home.  But unlike renovating a kitchen or basement, we don't have a lot of data to determine the return on investment yet.

Many multiple listing services - the central databases for real estate agents to market properties and contract with other agents - have added fields to their listings to enumerate a property's green features.  There is also an EcoBroker designation that real estate agents can earn to best identify and value these items for their sellers.  Even so, it is still difficult to get a consensus among the majority of buyers, sellers, agents and appraisers.

To help rectify this, the Colorado Energy Office has recently reached an agreement with the Colorado Coalition of Appraisers and the Appraisal Institute to begin developing studies that quantify the market reaction to certain industry trends.  The aim is to provide appraisers, as well as homeowners, with more data regarding which energy-efficient enhancements give the best return on investment, both for the immediate energy savings and the value for future owners.  If you are considering investing in an energy-efficient system for your home, keep an eye on these organizations (or this blog) for updates on what choices may be best for you.

I would love to help you with your real estate journey. 
Please contact me at 303-917-7143 or

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Toast to the Happy Couple

Well, happier anyway.  All relationships have some struggles in trying to get everyone's needs met simultaneously, but sometimes compromises can be reached that make everyone happier.  That's where the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and condominium developments are going - putting aside old fears and resentments, bringing home flowers, and coming to a more amicable union.

FHA loans are a great option for some homebuyers as they require smaller down payments and usually have lower credit hurdles than other types of loans.  It's also possible to use monetary gifts to pay for closing costs, and even roll the costs of renovations into the financing.  However, there is a downside.  FHA home loans have relatively low limits, and mortgage protection insurance can be more onerous than on a conventional loan.  

Probably wouldn't qualify for FHA financing...
Another consideration is that the FHA looks not only at the person who is doing the borrowing, but the property being purchased.  Homes bought with FHA financing have to go through an FHA appraisal, which can be strict with its requirements.  For instance, with other lenders you may be able to get by with a seller credit to replace the dying furnace, but the FHA will require the work actually be completed prior to loan approval.  Also, it can be more difficult to finance a condominium due to regulations that govern the complex as a whole, not just the individual unit.  It's really important to talk to a professional mortgage broker who can help you decide on the best option for your unique situation.

Some positive changes have been made recently that should help more potential homebuyers, specifically in regards to purchasing condominiums.  In the past, FHA had strict rules about how many investors could own property in a condo development, and what percentage of the whole they could hold in order for the development to still qualify.  The former remains the same; at least half of the units must be owner-occupied to get approval.  However, now a single investor may own up to half of the units and the development will retain FHA certification, up from only 10% previously.

May allow for more business uses...
Other significant changes have been introduced, with more promised.  Condo complexes can now devote up to half of their space to non-residential commercial use, up from only 25%.  In regards to delinquent HOA dues, FHA is now allowing up to 15% of the units to be 60 days delinquent, up from just 30 days.  And while a lot of folks are struggling right now to make the mortgage payment and may not be as current with their homeowners dues, this could make the difference for some projects.

If you are even considering FHA financing for an attached dwelling, it's a good idea to talk with a mortgage professional early on.  While FHA has eased some of their requirements, it may still take a lot of hoop-jumping to get approval, which can delay transactions for weeks or even longer.  If you need a mortgage professional that's tried and true, give me a call.

images:  Robert Tewart, Jeremy Levine Design

I would love to help you with your real estate journey. 
Please contact me at 303-917-7143 or