What's it Worth? [Bidding Wars]

by Osman Parvez

Psst... armchair Boulder real estate analysts. Are you ready to play What's it Worth?

Yesterday, I took a buyer to see 5325 Hickory Ave. My client was running late (sick kid) and while I waited, no fewer than EIGHT people saw the house. It was like watching ants devour a piece of candy. It's hard to believe it's mid December. 

The first group had clipboards and measuring tape. They looked like architects or possibly employees of a design-build firm. The second group came in fancy pickup trucks with out of town plates. I chatted with them while they waited for their Realtor to show up. They too were planning a quick speculative flip. 

The smell of money was in the air. Expect a bidding war.     

After some back of the envelope analysis and discussion, my client decided he isn't interested in writing an offer. Given the lack of support in this location for higher end real estate, it doesn't make sense for his investment objectives. So... we decided to play a game.   

Standing on the sidewalk, we made educated guesses as to the eventual sale price. Whoever more closely guesses the final closing value earns two rounds of beer at the Southern Sun.    

Want to Play a Game?
"The only winning move is not to play."
For fun - I'm opening up our little game to you, dear blog reader.   Guess the sale price and I'll buy you beer at the Southern Sun. If nobody guesses correctly, the closest guess wins. You can revise your guess until midnight on 12/14/14. Offers are being considered on 12/15/14. 

Key Details:  
- Essentially one owner since the home was built in the 1960's. Some transaction history but appears to be within the family. 

- Horribly dated inside, needs windows, a whole new kitchen (including appliances), new bathrooms, a new roof, and more. Other Realtors like to call this "having potential." I'm going to call it "horribly dated." You can see the interior pictures HERE.    

- Tons of deferred maintenance but my professional opinion is that it has good bones. Signs of water leaks in the roof and efflorescence in the basement.   Read the Seller's Property Disclosure for info regarding the condition of the property.

- Giant lot, south facing structure. Includes an irrigation well (rare). Decent layout once you knock down the kitchen wall.  

- Traffic noise from Foothills is not currently an issue at the ground level but could be annoying if you raise the height of the structure for the top level rooms.

- Due diligence: Only three houses have EVER sold above $1MM in this location, one of which was a farm-like estate (unicorn). In short, be cautious on the spec potential. There is no depth of market for $1MM+ real estate in this neighborhood. You're also East of Foothills and North of Baseline. In my opinion, the buyer for this house is going to update/build it out for their personal residence (i.e. not for spec).  

- The roof line has some visible sag and there's a structural engineer's report floating around. I'll update this post with that report if I can get my hands on it, but we didn't see anything wrong with the foundation. This is not an inspection or an endorsement. If you're a buyer for this house, get professional advice and don't forget to read the SPD (linked above).  
- Zillow says it's worth $609,972 (LINK).  Asking is $597,700 (LINK). Tax Assessor says $507,200.

What Do You Say?    
Remember, there's no guarantee of a bidding war. It could sell at a discount to asking, which is more normal for Boulder real estate. The deferred maintenance might also scare away many home buyers, leaving behind flippers and others willing to put in sweat equity. Remember, you can change your bid up until midnight on 12/14/14.   

Survey says...
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The ideas and strategies described in this blog are the opinion of the writer and subject to business, economic, and competitive uncertainties.   We strongly recommend conducting rigorous due diligence and obtaining professional advice before buying or selling real estate. 

Please Note

This document contains forward-looking statements. You are strongly cautioned that investment results are subject to business, economic and other uncertainties. There are no guarantees associated with any forecast and the opinions stated here are subject to change at any time. Always consult your financial advisor before making an investment decision.