Own a Piece of History, Invest in Downtown, Build Your Rental Portfolio [Fresh Listings, Get 'Em Hot]

The spring selling season is finally here. Phew. Nearly 100 listings hit the market this week!   
As usual, I culled the less than optimal choices from our list. No refreshed listings make the cut. No horrid locations. No ridiculously overpriced listings. As always, the #1 criteria is whether they're worth your time. 

11 worth seeing... lets go. 

To schedule a private showing, which includes a discussion of valuation and price trends, call Osman at 303.746.6896.


655 12th Street | Asking Price: $5.85MM | More Details
Valuation at the high-end in Boulder is tricky. Comps are few, egos are large, and there's a lot of hyperbole thrown around. This one makes the cut for properties worth seeing due to its unique history and exceptional location. You're not just buying a house. You're buying a piece of Boulder itself. Keep in mind that worth seeing doesn't always equal worth buying. 

Due diligence: The high-end in Boulder has much more inventory and fewer buyers. Options are available, both on and off the MLS. Before you get out your checkbook, have your Realtor show you their analysis of sales above $2MM. If they present you with something generic or ramble with happy talk, find yourself a better Realtor. No, real estate does not always go up.

4524 14th Street Unit 7-H | $950K | More Details
The value proposition for Uptown is a quality retail mix, luxury lock and leave, access to popular open space, low student density, and for this penthouse - views. To the north, the new Armory concept plan has zero affordable housing. To the south, Violet Crossing also has zero affordable housing. This part of Boulder is turning into an enclave for well-heeled people who love the lifestyle of Boulder (hiking, cycling, easy downtown access) without any of the hassle of maintaining a traditional house.   

Due diligence: There are some negatives to this location but it's improving quickly - some of the industrial use on the west side of broadway is an eyesore. The homeless shelter results in the daily "Broadway Shuffle" of transients making their way to and from their panhandling spots downtown. Full disclosure: I own an investment property at Uptown and I've lived there personally. I've also recently analyzed the comps and have an adjacent property under contract. This one is priced about right.

1013 Albion Road | $745K | More Details
A decent spot of Table Mesa. You'll still hear the traffic on Broadway, but at least you're not first row to the weekend Harley Davidson parade. The interior finish is mostly dated with some mild updates. The value proposition is the best schools in Boulder, a decent size lot, and potentially good bones to remodel/expand. The mostly southern exposure should help with passive or active solar, helping you meet Green Points. 

Due diligence: We've obsessed over Table Mesa with multiple clients over the past few years. The asking price is about right, assuming no major problems with the foundation or other key systems. Bonus: Easy stroll to Lucky's, Southern Sun, Sweet Cow - something for the whole family. Easy public transit to downtown.     

4350 Monroe Drive B | $375K | More Details
This development doesn't have the best construction quality but the location is primed for solid long-term appreciation. The research side of CU is across Colorado Ave. It's directly on a bike path that leads to downtown. If you've got to commute to downtown Denver or Boulder, there are easy access options. If you grow out of it, you can easily rent it to student or young professional tenants affiliated with CU. The only deficit to the location is the general lack of easy, nearby retail.   

Due diligence: Be sure to compare to the other unit that just hit the market on Monroe, priced at $370K but with dated finishes.  

630 Emporia Road | $1.4MM | More Details
With so-so houses on big lots being snapped up for just under $1MM in Table Mesa, 630 Emporia offers an alternative to hiring an architect and builder (contractors are in scarce supply and charging premiums right now). On paper, the bones look pretty good. The split layout is a deficit, but might be fixable. The walkout basement is an advantage. Current building rules make walk-outs difficult due to the impact on the property height. This one was built before Boulder construction code became Draconian. If the remodeling is mostly cosmetic, it's worth considering.  

4617 Gordon Drive | $615K | More Details
In a normal market, this entry level house might not have made the cut due to its proximity to Broadway. Livable houses below $700K are in short supply and the potential for an ADU could make the difference for entry-level buyers. This one is on a bigger than typical lot.  

Due diligence: Check carefully for flood damage (hint: it's on the Sellers Property Disclosure) and don't ass/u/me anything with the ADU. Have your Realtor take you to the planning department to discuss feasibility with a City of Boulder project specialist. If your Realtor shrugs their shoulders, get a better Realtor.


463 Muirfield Circle | $595K | More Details

A big (but not too big) family house that has a layout most buyers prefer - four bedrooms on the upper level, one on the main. It has easy commuting to Boulder or Denver, well rated schools, and golf course ammenities at an affordable price. That's good because you'll want to save some budget to remodel the kitchen and get rid of the gold trim in the baths.   

Due diligence: The last time this was on the market was 16 years ago. At the asking price, the unlevered IRR was about 6.5% - arguably a little steep but options in this price range are slim. 

919 W Dahlia Street | $500K | More Details
Not as close to downtown as some other recent options on the market, but an affordable price for a family friendly house near entry level. Buyers with price flexibility should consider Muirfield Circle (above) for alternatives. It's a better value for a more substantial house but this one is worth seeing for buyers with a lower price ceiling.


705 Julian Circle | $259K | More Details
Your best entry level option for this week. Waneka Lake is the Wonderland Lake of Lafayette. Only $180/month HOA. Reasonable commute to area job centers. 1 car detached garage for the toys. 

Investment Opportunities

525 3rd Avenue | $2.1MM | More Details
Large historic buildings in central locations of Boulder County are rarely available. If you're a believer in the investment promise of Longmont (I am), you should take a look at this landmark in the heart of the historic downtown. Likely rented under market but should see major improvements in the years to come. Financials require a non-disclosure.  

Due diligence: Longmont is currently evaluating high density in the downtown industrial district. The turkey processing plant (and stink) is gone. High quality housing, retail, and commercial will likely take its place. Opportunity knocks. Are you listening?

1110-1112 6th Street | $1.075MM | More Details
A two unit legal duplex with six bedrooms in a location attractive to a variety of tenants. Seller projects rent at 2,700 per unit, - a little optimistic without some renovations, but it's possible. Students are currently paying $1,000/bedroom for high-end accomodation at U-Club (which already sold out for the 2016 school year). Keep it as a rental in your portfolio or evaluate the potential to redevelop into luxury multi-family for a better return.   

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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 rigorous due diligence and professional advice before buying or selling real estate.    Powered by Realty Unique, LLC.   

Cover image:  Rachael Davis 

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.