Slot homes in Denver

What the heck is a slot home?

Slot homes have been defined in Denver as a group of attached homes that are usually arranged perpendicular to the street they are on. Several of these have been built in the neighborhoods along the light rail that stretches along 11th Avenue from Denver to Jefferson County. Builders have built some slot homes that obviously do not fit within the architectural characteristics of the neighborhood. This has caused a lot of concern from the home owners in the neighborhood. The local TV Station 9News even did a report recently in which I was interviewed about the development of these slot homes. You can check it out here – 9News Story While the story primarily focuses on the negative aspects of the project and how the current homeowners are upset, here is my side to the story –

First of all, I want it to be known that I want to help anyone in this neighborhood. Whether they are looking to sell their home and buy a home somewhere else or even if they want to stay in their home. Some homeowners do not want to move because they have their house paid off, or prices are too expensive anywhere else in Denver, and I want to help these people make their houses more efficient so they are not paying out the wazoo for utility bills! I do know a few developers that would love to move forward buying up more of these homes and leveling them to make way for profitable town home projects (slot homes). The advantage to the homeowner is that they are able to sell without having to worry about the stress of inspections, appraisals and being pushed out. Several of the developers for these projects are even willing to allow the homeowners to stay in the home and rent it back while they search for a replacement property! There are obvious pluses and minuses to both sides of this story. Check out my video blog below to see what I’m talking about.

Keep an eye out!

Your next property could be hitting the market today!

3 Best Practices to help you find your dream home

You have heard it a million times by now if you are thinking of making a move: “The inventory is lacking and it is really hard to find a home you want to buy!” Or you say: “I do want to move, but I’m not going to list my house until I find a house worth buying!” In this fast-paced market, you need a Realtor that is looking out for what you want and able to move quickly and efficiently to increase your chances of getting the house of your dreams. This breaks down into several steps:

  1. Buyer consultation first! You may be thinking that you want to hit the ground running and look at as many properties as possible since they don’t last on the market very long. This is the easiest way to waste your time and energy! The key to a successful purchase is actually taking a step back and really honing in the search into the things that are extremely important to you. Sitting down with a Realtor at their office should help define a clear plan and goal so that when the right house hits the market, you have a strategy in place to hit the ground running and lock up that home!
  2. After the buyer consultation, you should have several methods of finding homes. Not only are you going to go out and drive neighborhoods, but you will probably be searching several different public websites looking for possibilities as well. Hopefully the websites you are searching on are accurate and up to date so you don’t fall in love with a house that is under contract already or sold recently! If you have a great Realtor, you will also have an automatic search set up and the Realtor himself/herself will be scouring the MLS, previewing properties and contacting other agents in your preferred neighborhoods to find houses that may not even have hit the market yet.
  3. Once you find a home, you need an agent that can show you and your offer in the absolute best light. There are many strategies that help with this and a great Realtor will have many tools in their tool belt to go with your offer to increase your chances of getting it accepted. The Denver real estate market is user-competitive and having a concise and thoroughly completed offer package is crucial! Make sure your Realtor goes over your offer with a fine-toothed comb to make sure that the message is clear that you want that home. Don’t be afraid to put a lot of your cards on the table (not all of them – you want to be able to negotiate later)!

Please contact Justin if you are not already working with a top-notch Realtor and getting the results you want.

Contact Justin Phillips today to see what an award-winning Realtor can do for you!

3rd Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest

Carve for cash!

Have you ever carved a pumpkin into a really scary jack-o-lantern or super unique design and thought it would win an award? This year could be your year to get recognized! Just submit a picture of your carved pumpkin

Amazon gift cards

Pumpkin Carving Contest Prize

to Justin’s Facebook page as a comment to this thread: Facebook Page Post. This year’s contest is awarding $25 gift cards for most creative/original and for scariest.

Make sure to get your pumpkins entered into the contest by midnight on Halloween. I will announce the winners the week after Halloween!

This contest started out as a client appreciation event but this year I’m opening it up to all people that connect with me on social media! With my architecture background, I like to put my creative talents to the test and carve some pretty sweet jack-o-lanterns. This year I am going to be carving one pumpkin in the spirit of our cousin that lost her battle to cancer a few years ago on my birthday. She posted a picture of a pumpkin she carved with a wooded scene and I am excited to replicate that in my one of my carvings. I’m hoping to do a time lapse video of the carving! Stay tuned! Here is a video with some more details on the contest:

Denver market is shifting

It’s true! As temps drop, so do prices!

The Denver market is seeing it’s typical seasonal slow down a little earlier this year. This is thanks in part to the 1,000’s of buyers that were extremely frustrated this summer and for the past 3 years with rising prices, bidding wars and lack of homes to buy. Usually Denver sees a slow down in home purchases in mid to late November, but this year, the slow down started in July! After dealing with bidding wars and waived contingencies, buyers were so frustrated that a lot of them decided to stay put and possibly remodel or improve their current residence. Craigs Menear, chairman, CEO and president of Home Depot stated, “We were pleased with our results this (2nd) quarter as our customers rewarded us with the highest quarterly sales in company history.” A lot of my buyers contributed as they hung up their “house buying” hat and put on their “house updating” hat. Sellers, of course, reaped the benefits by getting higher prices for their homes, buyers waiving contingencies, and being flexible on the closing date so the sellers could make their moving plans. That historic market has definitely affected today’s real estate in Denver.

For the past 3 weeks, the Denver Metro MLS has shown 1100-1500 price reductions on available properties for sale! This means that sellers (and their agents) have not gotten the message yet about the cooler market. They are listing their homes with summer prices and expecting a bidding war in a very short time, and that is simply not happening. Sellers are also counting on desperate buyers that will do anything just to buy their house, such as waiving their rights to inspection, covering low appraisal values and letting the sellers stay in the house rent-free after closing! Those times are on hold for the moment!

Don’t get me wrong, prices are still going up and all signs point to continuing price increases for the next couple of years. Denver still has a super-low unemployment rate with several companies moving their businesses to Denver and the Front Range in the coming years. We also have an insane amount of activities, concerts and sporting events as well as an awesome view of the Rockies. Our weather is super desirable by those that love sunshine while still experiencing all 4 seasons (sometimes all in one day!).

So what does all this mean to home buyers and sellers? Now is an awesome time to move up in house value! Properties priced under $400,000 are still in pretty high demand, but overall around Denver, buyers can expect to purchase a home at or slightly under the list price. There are always exceptions: for instance, if it is in a highly desirable neighborhood or priced lower than market value. Since their are still some buyers out there trying to get into their first home, selling your home and buying a home at a higher price point where there is less competition, means you can maximize the value of your home and the bargain you can get on a more-expensive home! People looking to downsize will experience the opposite effect and so I don’t recommend doing that this winter! The other factor driving buyers to act now instead of waiting until next spring/summer is the fact that the FED is going to slow down their purchases of mortgage backed securities thus making the interest rates finally start rising as promised.

Historically, Denver has always seen an increase in prices on average. Waiting until next year to purchase your home only means you will have to pay more and may not be able to afford the house that you want to buy this year. This fall and winter will be the ideal time to sell your starter home and buy a more expensive home! If you are thinking about building a home, lock in the price now so that you will close when the market is hot and gain instant equity! I personally have done that and it is a great feeling when you close on a house and know that it is worth more than you are paying! Check out my YouTube Channel to find out more about building a home as that is my speciality!

If you want to get in touch with me to run some numbers, fill out the form below and I will get in touch with you ASAP!

Let’s see what happens to the Denver Market

Should we wait to buy?

I hear that time and time again. I don’t want to buy right now because the Denver Real Estate Market is inflated and I don’t want to overpay. In fact, that is one of the main worries among all the buyers I have talked to in the past couple of years. It is the one worry I do not have a crystal ball for. Buyers are also worried about buying a lemon of a house, but that is what inspections are for.

Everyone wants to know what the market will do in the upcoming years so they can begin to plan their housing strategy now. I know buyers are not getting as good of a deal than if they had bought last year or anytime in the last 10 years, but they are just going to have to bite that bullet if they want to move on.

Here is what we do know:

Waiting to buy is bad

It will cost you more to wait!

  1. Historically, prices have been increasing on average since homes were first being bought and sold by our ancestors. There may be some downfalls in price and season slow-downs, but overall they will continue to increase.
  2. Denver continues to see more large companies moving their operations here. People are enjoying more of our parks, mountains and many other outdoor activities and finding they want to stay here.
  3. More people are moving to Denver than there are houses being built. We have an incredible shortage of homes for sale. As the law of supply and demand shows us, the constant high demand for housing creates more value in the houses that are available and in turn the prices go up.
  4. Interest rates on mortgages are going to increase. The government has warned us over and over that they are raising rates. While their rate increases do not directly affect mortgage rates (as seen by the recent reduction in interest rates), we do know that eventually they will balance out and increase.

If you have ever thought about buying a home, now is the time. Please let me help you or anyone else you know that is considering buying a home in Denver. You may not be the early bird catching the worm, but the longer you wait, the harder it will be to swallow the worm you get!

 

Should you go solar?

Solar panels on roof

I currently have a listing with a rooftop solar panel system, so I have dived head first into learning as much about solar panel systems so that I can educate any potential buyers about the system and the benefits. In Colorado we get a over 300 days of sunshine per year and so we have several solar companies that install these systems here. There are a couple of options when you decide you do want a system installed on your house. Purchasing vs. leasing and how the down payment and tax rebates are going to be settled. Here is a breakdown of the process of getting solar installed on your home.

Green light:

So you have decided to get a solar panel system installed on your home. The first step is to consult with a solar company for a consultation. This sounds easier than it is. I have seen these companies at Costco, Home Depot and Lowes. They are usually soliciting to people as they are shopping for other things. This can be annoying, but then when I was on a mission to talk to them, they were nowhere to be found! I left my card with Home Depot’s service desk and talked to the lady behind the counter for a while about the systems but never got a call back from the actual solar company. I also tried calling Costco home services and they wanted a ton of my information before even getting to the point where someone would call me back. I ended up calling my cousin Ryan down in Phoenix that sells these systems and is extremely knowledgeable. If you have any additional questions after reading this, let me know and I will get you in touch with him.

Sizing the system and the contract:

Once you finally have an appointment set up with a solar consultant, they will come out to your house and measure your home and check your home’s sun exposure. This will help them determine the size system that you need so that you can exactly cover your average electricity costs. They are not allowed in Colorado (and maybe elsewhere) to install a system that is “over-sized” so that you generate more power from the sun that you typically use. They will then determine the value of the power the system will produce. Then you have to determine if you are buying the system or just leasing it. Similar to buying a car, leasing the system allows for lower payments and you may have to give up your tax rebate incentive to the solar company if you are not putting any money down. Purchasing puts more money in your pocket in the long run, but some people can not afford that option. It is important that you understand all of your options during the contract and what will happen when the contract expires.

Living with the system:

As your solar panels generate power, that power is used in your home for all of your electronics including lights, entertainment and other important electrical functions. If you use less than the system produces, then you may be able to sell that power to the power company. If you use more, you will owe the power company for any power you have to use of theirs. Different solar companies pay your power bill for you and then you just pay them for the power the solar system produces. There are many different ways to work out the billing so make sure you ask a lot of questions and get everything in writing so you know what to expect.

The verdict:

Should you get a solar panel system put on the roof of your home? Sure! If you don’t mind or even like the way they look, you are doing a great thing by producing power from the sun so that power companies don’t have to cause as much pollution creating power for everyone. I think solar is a great option, just remember to make sure you double-check the solar contract and know exactly what you are getting into. Not everyone or every HOA likes the way solar panels look. If you decide you may sell your home in the near future, you will need to find a buyer that shares your love for solar power as well and is willing to assume your contract.

I’m sure I have missed some points about solar panel systems, so I welcome you to leave a comment below and help me out with what you want to share about this topic. This is written from my research of solar panel systems so that I can give the information to potential buyers for my listing.

Top five tips when building your home

Your perfect home does exist!

Our real estate market is crazy right now!

I showed a property the other day that was listed for $374,500 and over the weekend they received 24 offers bidding all the way up to $450,000!! Like I said – CRAZY! It is a very hard pill to swallow that you are going to have to overpay that much for a house! Buyers are also sometimes waiving their right to ask for things to be fixed from inspection and possibly coming up with extra money to cover any shortfall in the appraisal! If you have time on your side as a buyer, you may want to consider building a home instead. There are a lot of advantages to building a home as opposed to buying a “used” home.

Building your home is not an easy process by any means, but does give you the ability to lock in a price for a house and finish it the way you want. I would definitely recommend working with a Realtor that is very experienced with new home construction when speaking to your builder. There are a lot of steps and risks when building, so it is crucial that you have someone looking out for your interests when facing off with a builder. Having recently built my own home with a builder, and having been an architect, I love helping people during this exciting and challenging process!

First, you are going to have to use the builder’s contract. This is not written with your best interests at heart. It is written in complete favor of the builder. It is a big commitment to build a home, so it makes sense that the builder will need to protect themselves from all the wishy-washy buyers out there. On the other hand, if they don’t do as instructed you have to know your options and what is going to happen with any deposits you have provided. It can be hard to stomach a lost deposit, but that will always be better than buying a home you are not happy with and paying for it for the next 30 years!

Second, it will help to know all your options. The design center (where you pick all of your finishes and some structural options) can be very overwhelming! Sometimes you are faced with a design consultant that does NOT have a great sense of your style. A lot of the structural and finishes options will need to be selected fairly quickly so they can be ordered and installed without delaying the build.

Third, make sure you observe, document (pictures and video) and ask lots of questions. This is your biggest purchase and you are paying a premium for everything to be new. I took a lot of videos and pictures of my house during construction to make sure I knew where all the pipes and wires were located in the walls for future decorating and remodeling projects.

Fourth, manage your expectations. There is a shortage of sub-contractors (masons, electricians, plumbers, framers, etc.) for hire right now in Colorado. The ones hired by the superintendent may not jive with your standards. Let them do their job and then point out the issues as they arise. I am not an expert on their methods, but I do know what the finished product should look like. Also, don’t worry if the construction site looks like a dumpster exploded. Subcontractors are notoriously messy with their excess materials and lunch remains, but the general contractor that oversees the project should be hiring several different clean up crews towards the end of the process to make sure everything is finished correctly.

Fifth, embrace the warranty! Once you have closed on your new home, had some sort of orientation and are beginning to feel settled, you will notice certain things the builders have forgotten or done incorrectly. Make sure you are well-versed on how to submit warranty requests and communicate with the warranty department and allow them the time needed to get those items fixed. Some builders have a great quality control department to help mitigate some things you might typically find wrong with your new home, and some obviously do not! Builders and contractors are human, but definitely need to take care of the things that you expect to work in your brand new home.

There are several other things to think about when building a home. Please reach out to me if you have come across anything with your new home or are thinking of building a home and aren’t sure where to start. As a former architect and an 11-year Realtor, I really enjoy helping people make the most of their new home construction!

New listing in Morrison – Open House Saturday

Even though the weather has turned cold and cloudy for a day, this property is bright and sunny! Boasting one of the biggest and best lots of the entire neighborhood, this 2236 square feet house backs open space and has a 1/4 acre of landscaped yard and open decks and views of the mountains! Inside you will find new hardwood veneered floors, a remodeled kitchen, and a newer master bedroom addition that will leave you wanting to move right in! Tomorrow (Saturday, March 25th) is supposed to be sunny and in the 60’s, which makes for great weather to come check out the open house in the afternoon! Come and enjoy some fresh-baked cookies, the beautiful scenery and the custom finishes on this beautiful house in Morrison! You can call me directly for your own private tour before or after the open house. Just call Justin Phillips at 303-514-7889 for more information! The address is 12765 W Temple Dr, Morrison, CO 80465.

Virtual tour of 12765 W Temple Dr, Morrison, CO 80465

Upcoming Denver Listing

I have been contacted by the owners that have inherited this little house in Denver to possibly sell it in the near future. It is a very small 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom ranch house located on the edge of the College View Neighborhood just south west of downtown Denver. There is a ton of potential in this house for whoever fixes it up and then re-sells it. Please subscribe to this blog and send me a message if you want to be kept in the loop about this one!