Sunday, December 14, 2014

FOR SALE: 9933 Gaylord Street, Thornton

Brand new listing in Wind Dance! This 2404sqft home sits on a corner lot, affording a huge yard. The property boasts several fruit trees and a huge flagstone patio. Enjoy the Colorado seasons, toasting with friends around the fire pit.

Inside, you'll find the main floor both comfortable and open, with vaulted ceilings, natural light, wood floors, new ceiling fans and decorative lighting. The kitchen has granite counters, new stainless steel oven, built in desk, and a breakfast counter.

With four bedrooms up and an unfinished basement down, there's plenty of room to live and play. The basement has a built-in work bench for your projects with lots of open space to work while still allowing storage. The master bedroom enjoys a 5-piece master bath with walk-in closet.

A small loft office at the top of the stairs allows you to pay your bills and still hear when dinner is ready. The home has been well-loved and maintained, and the location is convenient for access to I-25 and other amenities. At $299,000, can't you see yourself living here? 

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

Friday, December 5, 2014

FOR SALE: 2915 W 81st Avenue G in Westminster

Brand new listing in Cobblestone Village!  A great opportunity for the first time buyer or your next rental opportunity. At 1656 total square feet, it's one of the largest units in the complex, with three bedrooms and a full bath upstairs, eat-in kitchen with island, half bath on the main floor, another three-quarter bath downstairs with a non-conforming bedroom and family room.

Freshly painted, new flooring throughout with a fenced-in patio in the back.  Cozy up by the stone fireplace in the living room or take a dip in the community pool! Listing price is $159,000.

Come out and visit me at the Open House Sunday, December 7 from 12-2pm.  Nothing else for sale in the complex right now - better hurry

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

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A great, big THANKS goes out to all of those who have supported my business this year, from my clients who allow me to help them, to the service providers who always respond quickly and professionally, to my colleagues at Staufer Team Real Estate. I am so very grateful to have you all in my life, and I hope you find yourself overwhelmed with blessings this Thanksgiving!

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

Friday, November 7, 2014

LEED Certifications

The U.S. Green Building Council launched the LEED certification program for homes in 2008, after a successful decade of commercial implementation. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, recognizes four levels of certification for incorporating green principles into the construction of homes without driving up price: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each category consists of prerequisites (required elements) and optional credits. It is an internationally recognized system, constantly evolving to incorporate new processes and materials and encourage adoption globally.

Homes can earn points in an 8-category rating system:
  • Innovation and Design Process
  • Location and Linkages
  • Sustainable Sites
  • Water Efficiency
  • Energy and Atmosphere
  • Materials and Resources
  • Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Awareness and Education
For a few hundred dollars, new construction and renovated homes can apply for a LEED certification at the USGBC website. LEED homes can see energy use reductions of 30-60%, depending on the certification. This translates to savings for owners and increased resale value, as younger generations of homebuyers often site improved energy efficiency as an important factor in their purchasing choices.

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

Friday, October 17, 2014

Home Safety Tips

A real estate agent in Arkansas was murdered recently while showing a vacant home to a prospective buyer. The attacker was a stranger to her, who targeted her because she "was a woman who worked alone."

My husband and I own a martial arts school, Saeng Myong Martial Arts, in Broomfield. We've taught traditional self defense as well as Model Mugging and various seminars over the years, to groups from law enforcement to girl scouts. A big part of self defense is awareness - acknowledging existing threats and coming up with plans to deal with them should the worst happen.

My real estate job comes with risks which agents mitigate as well as we can. The best approach is to think about your lifestyle and prepare for possible dangerous scenarios. Just as your family has a plan of escape from your home in the event of a fire, so should you have a plan to rescue yourself should you be threatened. Then, you can proceed with your life knowing the plan is in the back of your mind should you need it. Any preparations or actions that can add a layer of protection for yourself or your home can be a deterrent to criminals, who are looking for the fastest way to commit their crime and get away without detection.

When it comes to your home, there are many steps you can take to remove yourself from the "victim pool:"

  • If you leave your house during the day and return at night, be sure there is adequate lighting. Install motion or light sensing lamps mounted high over entries so that they can’t be messed with.
  • Close your curtains or blinds at night. For full coverage on the first floor, turn blinds up so people outside can only see your ceiling. On higher floors the opposite is needed. Go outside and see if can see in your own place at night.
  • Close and lock your door immediately after entering. While at home, keep your doors locked. Some criminals will walk right in, even if there are people inside. Install a peephole, and remember that answering your door is a choice, not an obligation. Ask who’s there, and be prepared to fight if you open it to a stranger.
  • Install double cylinder locks (the kind that require a key) on any door with a window that can be broken allowing someone to reach the lock.
  • Homes with dogs are less likely to be burglarized. Never shrug off barking, and even keep the dog with you when you answer the door. Do not install doggy doors that don’t lock as people have been known to squeeze through them.
  • Make sure your garage door is completely closed before you get out of the car. When pulling in, put on the high beams, put the car in reverse and press the brake to illuminate the driveway behind you.
  • Close your windows at night. If you must keep them open, make sure they are not open enough for someone to fit through and install a locking mechanism for the open position. 
  • In an apartment building, never let someone in that you don’t recognize, even if the approaching person has their arms full. Your safety and your neighbor’s safety come before convenience. If you see someone suspicious loitering, call the police. They may no longer belong there but still have a key.
  • Change your locks immediately when moving into a new place or after having ended a relationship with someone who has a key.
  • If you have a common laundry room, avoid doing laundry alone, and spend as little time there as possible. Never enter if the light won’t come on. If someone comes in who is making you uncomfortable, leave immediately. 
  • Consider installing a deadbolt on your bedroom door if you have roommates since you don’t control everyone who comes in and out of the apartment. Lock the bathroom to provide one more layer of safety. 
  • Loud radios/TVs cut down on your ability to hear and sense a presence. When showering, turn off the noise so you can detect movement better upon shutting off the water.
  • Pretend to be burglar looking for hiding places and vulnerabilities about your home. Periodically check the exterior for signs of break in or wear and tear. Make your home look occupied; cut bushes back, mow, secure your tools, don’t allow mail or newspapers to accumulate. Project the image that you care and pay attention to your safety and the maintenance of your property.
  • Keep a phone by your bed. Cell phones are okay, but land lines help 911 track calls much faster.
Nothing is guaranteed to eliminate all danger, but the irony of self defense is, the more prepared you are to fight, the less likely you will have to.

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

Monday, September 15, 2014


That's what some internet commentaries are calling the proposed merger between Zillow and Trulia.  Last week, the FTC made another request for information from the companies to determine if antitrust laws would be violated by the move. It seems that the agency is debating whether all real estate advertising - online and off - is viewed equally or if they will regard the online market specifically. A chief executive for Zillow maintains the former which, if the FTC agrees, will pave the way for the merger. I disagree.

I've done many different types of marketing and talked to agents who have been in the business for decades. While there is still value in print advertising in some situations, the National Association of Realtors® reports that 9 out of 10 buyers rely on the internet as a primary data source, with 52% starting their home search there. I believe those numbers will continue to rise with the upcoming generations.

I also think that third party sites such as Zillow and Trulia are hurting the real estate industry and my clients, and here's why.

Imagine I go to a listing appointment at a potential client's home. One of the points I make to him is that I am managing his transaction from beginning to end. I know his home and it's features thoroughly, I bring in experts when needed (who have been tested and proven), and I make it a priority to sell, sell, sell his home. I get the listing, and gain the confidence of my new client. Then I put someone else's sign in his yard and outsource the phone calls and leads that come in. If you were my client, would that make you happy with my services?

If you tool around these home search sites, you'll find a few interesting features. One, the listing agent is never (or almost never) one of the agents that pop up next to the pictures, encouraging you to call for more details. The Premier Agents there have no connection to the property, except for that they've "bought" the zip code that property resides in. That means when a potential buyer clicks on an address, the agents who have purchased the biggest advertising packages will be front and center. And how did they acquire the stars? Zillow says stars are awarded to those who have "contributed the most to the Zillow community."

I've conducted my own small experiment, and I've heard the results echoed by other real estate brokerages who've run the same tests. Give a call to one of those agents and you'll get one of several answers: 1) No, they haven't been in the property themselves and can't answer any questions, but would be happy to take you through it; 2) Yes, they saw the listing and would be happy to schedule a showing for you, along with a few others that they happen to have listed themselves; 3) Yes, they are the listing agent but the property is no longer available. (!!!) Gratefully, this last one only happened once, as most agents I've worked have a higher level of integrity than that.

Speaking of the availability of properties, some sites will often leave homes that have already been sold or withdrawn from the market on their website so they can claim to have a larger inventory than their competitors. I've heard from colleagues that they've seen their listings return to the websites again long after they were taken down, and that homes in pre-foreclosure are now being posted For Sale even though they are not yet on the market officially. What do you think your feeling would be if you were researching and calling repeatedly on properties you couldn't have? Would this instill confidence in the process or just aggravate you?

As obvious as this is to those of us who conduct transactions day in and day out, it can be hard to convince the public that these household name sites are really doing them a disservice. Sellers want to see their property pictures on every real estate site they've seen and not seen, but this exposure doesn't necessarily mean a faster sale. The sites measure their "success" in the number of hits received, but data shows that there is no correlation between hits and actual sales. In fact, statistics show that these third-party sites have an extremely low success rate. The growing opinion among professionals in the real estate industry is that sharing listings with these types of sites is doing more damage than good, and the risk of losing exposure by not utilizing them is much smaller than it may seem.

I also find my conversations with potential sellers starting more often with damage control. They've seen an estimate of their property online and they're setting their expectations based on this sometimes grossly inaccurate figure. Whatever algorithm is being used, it doesn't take into account the local market or neighborhood, or even improvements on the home they can't know about. I've seen two nearly identical homes estimated with more than a 15% difference in value, or basement square footage being valued the same as above-ground. Not only does this sometimes create an initial mistrust in the relationship (where the expert is not the one getting the benefit of the doubt) but it sets up false expectations for the seller and can even mislead them to make choices not ideal for their family.

Slowly but surely, real estate firms are starting to recognize this and reexamine their marketing strategies. Those who have pulled out of third-party syndication for their listings have actually seen sales improve by significant numbers; one California firm said their revenue went up by 40% shortly after they made the change, once again receiving the buyer calls for their clients that were once lost in cyberspace. 

If you're looking for a helpful replacement for the sites I've mentioned above, see if you can find the public portal for your local MLS; some places have them but some don't, check with a local agent. In the Boulder area, ours is It's timely, accurate, and will give you the right person to call. Better yet, ask your friends for a referral to an agent they like and ask to be set up on a listing alert. This is a daily, weekly, or hourly search and email  from your MLS customized to the kind of home you're searching for.

I've chosen real estate to build a career, both because I am interested in all aspects of the housing industry and because I get a lot of satisfaction in putting families in homes they love. I like the flexibility in my schedule, the variety in my work days, and I think it's a pretty positive way to make a living. Anyone who's worked with me knows that I really do care about my clients and want to ensure that they get what they need with a minimum of hassle. 

I'm not just a real estate agent, but a Realtor®,which means I subscribe to a code of ethics. I have found that the business practices of many third-party real estate sites are just incompatible with that code. Do we all have to make a living? Sure. Do we all have the same priorities? Absolutely not.

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

Friday, August 15, 2014

Setting the Stage

Staging a property to sell is more than adding a few candles and throw pillows.  It's about maximizing a home's best features and minimizing the less than ideal.  This can involve such things as rearranging furniture to improve traffic flow, harmonizing a room's color palette, removing clutter and distracting items, and guiding potential buyers to see themselves living in the home.

Vacant properties are a wonderful opportunity to bring personality to a clean canvas.  Sometimes, sellers are hesitant to spend money renting furnishings for staging as they aren't sure they will see a return.  However, there is plenty of evidence that staged homes sell faster, and the sooner homes go under contract, the more likely they are to get a higher price.  Properly sized and placed furniture can reveal just how large a room is, and what the best use for a space might be.  Randomly placed plants or chairs add nothing and might even detract from the space.

From a recent showing in Denver - an example of what not to do...
Staging doesn't always have to cost big money, though.  As part of my listing services, I provide a professional stager early in the process to consult with the seller.  We take a tour of the property together, making a list of items that should be repaired or improved, and our recommendations for priority.  The seller can then decide which items to tackle before listing the property.  Paying attention to items before listing usually gets the seller more money - if a seller identifies an item needing attention, he can repair it.  If a buyer finds it during inspection, they may want it replaced instead.

Cleaning, decluttering and painting to make the best first impression possible is important.  If a buyer sees a lot of repair items - even small ones - they will begin to mentally subtract those costs from their offer price.  Additionally, they may begin to worry that there are other items they can't see that have been neglected, possibly discouraging them from making an offer at all.

The final stage before listing involves the stager coming back to stage the property for photographs and showings.  She will use some of the furnishings that are already there and add to them with other things she feels are in keeping with the character of that particular home.  A well-staged home can make buyers want the lifestyle represented and make an emotional connection with the property.  Remember - the way a home looks while you are living in it is often much different from the way it should look when it is up for sale, just like how your children look when they come back from the park and when you ready them for family portraits.

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

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Can a 1031 Exchange Help You?

For a lot of people, their home is their most valuable asset.  The long-term appreciation and equity in the property is likely to be their biggest investment, so the IRS allows sellers to exclude $250,000 in gains from the sale of their primary residence from taxes; $500,000 for a couple filing jointly.

For investors who use their properties to generate revenue, this exclusion is not available.  However, the IRS provides another avenue to defer the tax liability for a time by reinvesting the sale proceeds into another like-kind property, called a Section 1031 Exchange.  Business entities can also use this vehicle to protect assets.

The simplest exchange is a simultaneous swap of one property for another.  If the exchange does not happen at the same time, a qualified third party will hold the funds from the sale of the first property until they can be used toward the purchase of another.  Several rules govern this process.

First, the seller must identify, in writing, one to three replacement properties within 45 days of the closing of the sale.  All three properties may be purchased in exchange, or they can be treated as back-up options should one of them become unavailable after identification.  The purchase of the replacement property must be completed within 180 days of the initial sale.

There are other rules related to the value of the replacement homes identified and the percentage of the value that is actually acquired in the final sale.  In addition, if there is still additional money left after the purchase of the replacement property, that gain, or "boot," could be subject to taxation.  It is highly advisable to hire an exchange service to account for all funds and handle this sometimes complex transaction.  These experienced professionals can also help you make long-terms plans regarding the best way to handle or even reduce the deferred tax liability.  If you would like a referral, don't hesitate to contact me.

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

Friday, July 4, 2014

Colorado Ranks 6th Best for the "New Economy"

With a score of 81.4 out of 100, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) has ranked Colorado in the top 10 states in the nation for the "new economy." ITIF, a nonprofit think tank, defines the new economy as, "marked by globalization, technological innovation and entrepreneurial development."

ITIF used 25 indicators in 5 categories to asses a state's ability to adapt to more a technological culture and encourage development.  The categories are knowledge jobs, globalization, economic dynamism, digital economy and innovation capacity.  The Foundation indicated that states are better focusing on high quality innovation than incentive packages to bring new companies in.  Policy makers need to support measures that prioritize retaining high-skilled workers, access to education and laboratories, and research and development.

Colorado came in 6th behind Massachusetts (#1), Delaware, California, Washington and Maryland.  Colorado's strengths were listed as workforce education, initial public offerings and high-tech jobs.  If you're looking to move here, I've helped many families get to know Colorado and find a great house in the Denver and Boulder areas.  Through listing alerts, local news articles and property previews, I'd be happy to help you with your search.

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

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Enough to Make a Cat Laugh

Some of my coworkers and I joke about writing real estate memoirs.  From walking in on the naked couple, to the underground grow room, to the headless Barbie doll in the window, there are plenty of situations that keep us on our toes when we enter a home.  As a REALTOR®, we have a great deal of responsibility to the sellers we represent and the houses we list and show.  We're always conscious of making sure the property is secure and taken care of, although some days we're more on top of it than others.

My buyers and I were greeted one afternoon by a curious cat in the front hallway.  He stared at us for a few seconds, and then bolted into another room as cats are wont to do.  He continued to keep tabs on us as we walked through the house, never getting too close.  When we went into the garage, he ran through our legs and bolted out a doggie door into the yard.  He seemed to know where he was going, but just to be sure I called the showing service.

"Yes, hi.  I'm showing the house at 123 Main St.  Are there any specific instructions regarding the cat?

"Hold on a moment, please."  Pause.  "Yes, there are.  Don't let him out."

"Uh...okay.  Thanks."

As my buyers finished checking out the rest of the home, I searched for the cat in the yard, and again in the garage.  When I couldn't find him, I called the showing service back to ask them to call the listing agent and let her know what we had done.

We continued on to view the rest of the properties lined up for that afternoon, and concluded our tour about an hour later.  I said goodbye to my clients and headed back to the home, hoping maybe the cat was wandering nearby.  As luck would have it, I found him sleeping on the back deck.  He wasn't too happy with my arrival, and fought me a little bit when I tried to get him back into the house, but I was just relieved.

On my way back to the office, I called the showing service again to let them know that the cat had been found and was safely back in the home.  It was a few blocks before I questioned myself, "Wait...what color was that cat?"

I could not remember what color cat had greeted us when we entered the home in the first place, and suddenly I was not at all sure that I had put the correct cat back in this owner's house.  What if I had picked up some stray from their yard and thrown it into their front hallway?  A nice surprise to come home to after a long day at work.  Once again, I called the showing service to notify the agent and suggest that maybe she visit the home before her seller got there.

Shortly after, the listing agent on the property called me back.  She also happened to be the owner, and when she got the last message I had left she busted out laughing.  She mentioned that a stray had been hanging around the house the past few days, and that it was as likely as not that I had gotten the wrong cat.  But luckily, she found her cat safe and sound when she got home - and it was alone.

image: eviltomthai

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

Friday, June 6, 2014


By now, most people are familiar with the little, blue ENERGY STAR logo.  The ENERGY STAR Program was established by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1992, under the authority of the Clean Air Act.  It's a voluntary program to "identify and promote energy-efficient products and buildings in order to reduce energy consumption, improve energy security, and reduce pollution through voluntary labeling of or other forms of communication about products and buildings that meet the highest energy efficiency standards."

That's great - but what does that mean for the average consumer or home buyer?  It means that someone else has already done the legwork for you in identifying the most efficient products and manufacturers.  Visit the ENERGY STAR Certified Products page for an easy way to look up the specific item you are researching.  These items use less energy to operate, reducing utility bills and usually enhancing performance.

Homes can also receive the ENERGY STAR qualification.  These homes use less energy for heating, cooling and water heating - about 20% less.  Comfort and indoor air quality are improved, as well as the reduction of fossil fuels burning which decreases outdoor air pollution.  Homes that are awarded the ENERGY STAR qualification must meet minimum standards in 5 areas:
  • Efficient insulation system
  • High performance windows
  • Tight construction and ducts
  • Efficient heating and cooling equipment
  • ENERGY STAR appliances and lighting
Obviously, then, the presence of ENERGY STAR appliances alone in a home does not necessarily mean that the home itself is ENERGY STAR qualified.  In addition, energy-efficiency standards have changed over the past 22 years; an old ENERGY STAR appliance may no longer meet the current minimum standards to receive the qualification.  The ENERGY STAR qualification is awarded for a specific year and must be requalified yearly to maintain the certification.  Find home builders who are committed to building ENERGY STAR homes HERE.

If your home does not have the ENERGY STAR qualification, there are still things you can do to improve it's performance.  As you replace appliances, windows, insulation, etc., consider ENERGY STAR products that will reduce utility bills over time.  Certain product models also perform better due to their design; for instance, refrigerators with bottom freezers and through-the-door water and ice dispensers are more efficient.  Chest freezers use less energy than upright freezers.  Front-loading washing machines are more energy efficient, use less detergent and get clothes cleaner.  Appliances that don't receive ENERGY STAR ratings?  Clothes dryers, microwaves, ovens and ranges, solar products (other than water heaters), and space heaters.

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

Friday, May 23, 2014

Are You in Your Forever Home?

I sometimes ask this question of clients to give, "someday we'd like to move..." some real thought.  There certainly are times in life when moving just isn't in the cards, but it's also true that, like having a baby, it's almost never an ideal time.  Regardless of what's going on in people's personal lives, the market keeps moving and changing, and it's important to really think through the scenarios.

If you have a home to sell, the current low inventory will offer you an opportunity to get the price you want.  Homes that are well-priced and even moderately updated are going under contract within days.  And while the lack of inventory can affect your replacement home search, interest rates are still historically low and offer maximum purchasing power.  The chart below shows how much your options can be affected by waiting until next year to make a move:

Purchase Price
(with 20% down)
Fixed Rate
Monthly Principal
and Interest
Monthly Cost
to Wait
Cost Over
Life of Loan
Purchase Now $450,000 4.5%
(4.523% APR)
(rates rise)
$450,000 5.125%
(5.274% APR)
$1,988 $164/mo $59,040

Or, looked at another way, if you wanted to keep your monthly payment the same while the interest rate rises, your purchase price would be reduced to only $418,758.  That $30,000 jump can mean significant sacrifices to your wish-list.  It's also going to reduce the buyer pool for the house you are trying to sell.
Staufer Team has a great reputation in the Louisville/Superior area, and often our agents have clients who are waiting for the right opportunity before they become serious about their move.  There are several homeowners in Louisville who would sell their home if only they could find another replacement nearby.  If this describes you, please let me know.  Our team may be able to match you up with another seller or buyer just waiting for you!

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

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Music of the Street Faire

Every summer, the Louisville Street Faire attracts guests from all over the area to enjoy food, drink, vendors and most of all - great music.  This year's lineup is setting a new bar:

June 13 - BoDeans

June 20 - Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience

June 27 - March Fourth Marching Band

July 11 - Los Lobos

July 18 - Young Dubliners

July 25 - Iguanas

August 1 - Chuck Prophet & the Mission Express

August 8 - Samantha Fish

August 15 - Subdudes

The event runs from 5-10pm at 824 Front Street, with live music from 6:30-9:30pm.  Come out and join us!

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

Friday, May 2, 2014

Coming Up For Air

Louisville is 17.3%.  Boulder is 11.2%  These are the increases in the median sales price for the first quarter of 2014 over the same time period in 2013, according to the Boulder Area REALTORS® Association.  The S&P/Case Shiller Denver Home Price Index is reporting a year-over year increase of 9.13% in residential real estate prices.

Property values are recovering, more quickly in some markets than others.  This is greatly affecting about a third of the nation's homeowners who are currently in the process of foreclosure - they are discovering that they may no longer be underwater.

During the first quarter of 2013, 26% of all homeowners were seriously underwater (debt equal to or more than 25% of their home's value).  This year, that number is down to 17%.  According to RealtyTrac, that equals almost 2 million homeowners.  That positive equity may help some of them avoid foreclosure with a refinance or short sale.  The Denver metro area is a population where perhaps half of the homeowners in foreclosure may actually have gained equity again.

Many homeowners may not realize their good fortune, some of them having vacated their properties already.  If you'd like to find out if your home's appreciation is significant, please contact me.  My team of experts will get you the right information and help you navigate the process of getting back on the shore.

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

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

FOR SALE: 411 Smith Circle, Erie

Brand new listing in Grandview!  Close to downtown Erie and I-25, this spacious townhouse backs to a common area, is close to walking paths and two parks, and has mountain views!

Freshly painted, custom drapes, 2 bedrooms up with 2 full baths plus a half bath off of the kitchen.  Listing price is $180,000.

Come out and visit me at the Open House Saturday, April 5 from 2-4pm.  Inventory is low - this unit won't last long! 

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

Friday, March 21, 2014

HERS® Ratings Explained

The HERS® Index, or Home Energy Rating System, is how a home's energy efficiency is measured.  The Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) is responsible for creating and maintaining training and national standards for ratings and industry professionals.  Obtaining a HERS rating can help you determine if you need to make changes to improve your home's energy efficiency, and a good rating can help you get more money when you resell.

As in the game of golf, the lower the number, the better the performance.  A standard new home is given a score of 100.  Each point decrease corresponds to a 1% reduction in energy consumption.  For instance, a home that receives a score of 70 would be 30% more efficient than a new home.  A typical resale home usually scores around 130, or 30% less energy efficient than a new home.

To calculate a home's HERS Score, a certified RESNET Rater looks at many factors, including exterior walls, ceilings and roofs, floors, attics and crawlspaces, windows and doors, HVAC systems and ductwork.  He will conduct several tests to look for issues such as air leaks and the effectiveness of insulation, and compares the data to a "reference home" - a designed model home the same size and shape of your home.

If you'd like to have your home rated, you can find an accredited HERS Provider HERE.

If you're looking at financing energy performance improvements either for your existing home or one you are considering purchasing, energy mortgages can help finance the upgrades using the monthly energy savings.  Tax credits for certain home improvements also exist that can provide significant savings on your annual return.  Need to speak to a mortgage lender or accountant to find the best approach for your situation?  Give me a call, I know a guy.

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

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Lowdown on DELO

DELO, or Downtown East Louisville, is an urban infill project on the site of an old concrete batch plant, adjacent to the train tracks between Griffith and South Streets.

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244 townhouses and condos are planned within the development, as well as 15,000 sqft of commercial and office space.  The atmosphere is intended to be open and balanced, with pedestrians, bicycles, cars, retailers, residents and renters all sharing the same space with walkability to downtown's restaurants and shops.

The site was originally going to include a FasTracks train station, which may remain as part of the final plan in the hopes that future decades may still bring the commuter rail through DELO.

The developers promise to feature green and/or LEED construction standards and recycled materials whenever possible.  The preliminary plans have been submitted to the city, who could give final approval as early as April for a May start.

Residents of Louisville have voiced concerns over the impact DELO and other potential developments will have on the city, specifically on enrollment at Louisville Elementary and Middle School.  Discussion over short- and long-term options for rapid growth included continued restrictions on open enrollment, portable classrooms and even boundary changes.  For more specifics, click HERE for recent City Council meeting summaries and minutes.

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

Friday, February 7, 2014

To Renovate or Not To Renovate?

One of the issues I am running into with my Louisville clients who want to upgrade but stay in the city is that they have nowhere to go - the low inventory keeping them from finding a replacement home is also keeping them from listing their own house and perpetuating - yes, the low inventory.  I am not above knocking on stranger's doors and asking them if they are willing to sell, and have created several letter-writing campaigns to ferret out dormant sellers.

At some point in the house search, potential buyers have to decide if it's worth it to keep going or stay where they are.  I always advise my clients to seriously consider their best alternative to the desired solution - if you can't find a new place, what are you really willing to live with instead?  I also give this advice when we are knee-deep in negotiations.  It's easy to get emotional and upset with the other side, sometimes digging into a position.  But if you're alternatives are worse than the offer on the table, it's important to revisit your goals and not cut off your nose to spite your face.

One solution to the low inventory is renovating a current property.  This can make your home meet your family's needs better, even temporarily, and also add sweat equity for when you can finally make that move.  Potential sellers always want to know which improvements will give the most bang for their buck - what makes their home more marketable, and which renovations actually recoup the most for their investment?

Check online or design books for current color trends.
At the inexpensive end, paint can make the biggest impact for the least cost.  While it won't add dollars to the price of the home, it will make it more attractive to buyers.  Replacing hardware on cabinets and doors is another small investment that refreshes the space and gives the impression that the house has been maintained and updated.  Spending a few bucks on the front landscaping is generally a good idea, as well.  Improving the curb appeal doesn't have to be expensive and is important for getting people in the door - they won't buy if they don't go in.

For bigger projects, the answer will depend to some degree on the specifics of the particular house - the location, the price range, the market trends.  For instance, if you have an older home that only has one bathroom, figuring out how to construct even another half bath is a smart investment; many people won't even bother to look at homes with only one bath.  But if you already have three bathrooms, adding a 5-piece luxury master bath may not be the best place to put your bucks.  

An expensive upgrade may be overkill
when a gas insert will do the trick.
There are some guidelines to help you decide which projects are worth tackling.  For a midrange home in the Denver metro area, the renovations that will give you the biggest return for your money are kitchen remodels, basement remodels, deck additions, window replacements and garage door replacements.  Generally speaking, these improvements will recoup 70% or more of their initial investment upon resale, not counting any energy savings that might be realized through replacing low-efficiency materials and appliances with high-efficiency ones.  Again, you need to do your research (or talk to your Realtor® who already has) to determine how far to take the renovation.  Do buyers in your neighborhood expect to see cherrywood floors, triple-glazed windows or media rooms?  You may choose to do these upgrades anyway because you like them, but it's good to know what to expect from the market.

Wood shake shingles are a red flag for buyers,
and some cities are already banning them.
Bathroom remodels, roof and siding replacement, garage additions and front door replacements fall into the next tier, usually recouping 55% or more.  Another consideration when deciding on your renovation priorities - is the current situation functional and adequate or broken and obsolete?  In other words, if the roof is at the end of it's life and buyers are going to request a new one anyway, you might as well get it done before it becomes an inspection and negotiation item.

Projects that are probably best avoided?  Anything too unique or custom that won't appeal to a larger audience.  Wine cellars and hot tubs may be an integral part of your lifestyle, but just as many people will rip them out as keep them when they move in.  Also, large room additions like master suites or family rooms generally prove too costly to pursue.  However, if the homes around you are popping the top and getting top-dollar for it, your home may be an exception to this rule of thumb.  If you'd like a professional contractor to give you estimates and advice on the projects you're considering, give me a shout; I've got several trustworthy recommendations I can give you.

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

Friday, January 31, 2014

Geothermal Explained

Heating and cooling expenses are the largest part of most homeowners' budgets.  High-efficiency methods such as solar roof tiles and tankless water heaters will continue to become more commonplace, and buyers who get familiar with the newest technologies will be able to select the best performing systems and homes.

One technology that is spreading is geothermal heating and cooling.  In most parts of the world, the top 10 feet of the Earth's surface maintains a constant temperature between 50° and 60° F.  A geothermal system circulates water through a continuous loop of pipes with wells buried below the frost line.  A heat exchanger extracts the thermal energy to heat or cool the home through conventional ducts.  In the summer, the heat removed from the indoor air can also be used to heat water for the home.  Industrial systems can access heat from deeper underground and power turbines to generate electricity.

Geothermal radiant heat floor being installed
While it's obviously easier to install geothermal in new construction, retrofits to existing heating systems can be done.  The easiest system to adapt is hydro-air - replace the boiler with a heat pump and the rest of the system just needs minor adjustments.  Electric baseboard heat is more difficult, especially if there is no central air conditioning.  In this case, new ductwork will also have to be installed throughout the home.  Installing the underground pipes is not difficult, and while your grass will need some time to recover, the system will not interfere with trees or any other plants.

The US Department of Energy estimates that about 50,000 geothermal systems are installed in the US each year, and most of those are in the western states, Alaska and Hawaii.  The average savings over a conventional air conditioning system result in a return on investment in about 5 years.  For more information on geothermal technology, visit the National Renewable Energy Laboratory website.

I found a ball park savings calculator here, and after digging out some old utility bills I went through the couple dozen questions about my home and yearly energy usage.  While it's only an estimate, it seems that it would take about 30 years for me to recoup my investment.  Keep in mind, though, that I have a small home and we've worked to keep our energy consumption down.  It's also cooled by evaporative cooling, and there isn't a field to enter that factor, so I don't know how much of an effect that would have.  There is a 30% federal tax credit for installing one of these systems, however, which may not be around forever, so it might be worthwhile for you to take a few minutes with the calculator to see if geothermal would benefit your home.

image: VIUDeepBay

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

Friday, January 24, 2014

Dutch Creek Update

Last week my sellers closed on 208 S Jefferson Avenue in Louisville.  With a selling price of $350,000 and no seller concessions, it was the highest dollar per square foot amount for Dutch Creek going back to at least 2008, likely farther.  (This excepts ranches, as the above- and below-ground square footage are valued differently than a 2-story or bilevel without a basement.)

Leading the Pack

Between 7 and 10 homes have sold per year in Dutch Creek since 2009 - that's out of 290 total homes in the subdivision.  Inventory in general is expected to continue to be low in 2014, so sellers in the area can expect to sell quickly and likely get multiple offers.

Why the dearth of listings?  There's several reasons, none of which are expected to change much over the next couple of years.  For one, new construction starts decreased during the recession, and with the population continuing to increase we are looking at a national shortfall of 14 million housing units over the next decade!  

Locally, the flooding last fall paused some sales and potential listings in Boulder and surrounding areas.  Houses had to be rescued and repaired and, in a few cases, taken off the market for an extended period of time.  Additionally, while home prices are starting to rise again, there are still some sellers who are waiting for their home's value to fully recover before they sell.

Another factor that is increasing demand and creating a sellers' market are the "boomerang" buyers.  These are people that lost their homes during the recession and have been working on repairing their credit and saving money and are now re-entering the market to purchase.  Louisville is a popular city with it's charming downtown area and great school system, and interested buyers are hovering over their favorite neighborhoods, anticipating new spring listings.  If you've been thinking about selling your home, contact me for a free market evaluation and neighborhood sales.  Preparing yourself with local historical data (not to mention this Real Estate Professional's expertise) will enable you to pick the best strategy to prepare your home for sale and negotiate with hungry buyers.

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