Downtown, Uptown, Get the Low Down [Fresh Listings, Get 'Em Hot]

When you're shopping for a home, time is always of the essence. Over 100 listings hit the real estate market in Boulder this week. I've analyzed them, culled the overpriced and bad locations, and identified the most compelling properties. The following are the very best homes on the market. 

A Note on Market Conditions
Before you consider writing an offer, talk to your Realtor about market conditions. It varies dramatically by neighborhood, right down to the street level and property type. 

This year is not shaping up to be the same as last year. For example: while total inventory of houses in Boulder is about the same, the percentage under contract has fallen. In the first half of Feb 2016, absorption ranged from 39% to 45%. During the same period this year, absorption ranged from 32% to 38%.  We appear to be in the beginning of a significant slow-down - at least in Boulder. 

Remember: If your Realtor uses alt-facts to substantiate their opinion on market conditions, find a better Realtor. Intelligent real estate decisions are based on deep market knowledge. Ego and BS are not substitutes.

Ready to get started?  Here's what's worth seeing. 

To schedule a private showing, which includes a discussion of valuation, due diligence, and negotiation strategy, call Osman at 303.746.6896.

Sold Listings of Note

907 12th St. | $1.24MM | More Details 
Listed in September, this property went under contract in November after 50 days on market. The buyer waited patiently and then lobbed in a low offer. They got a heck of a deal.

After a month with no reasonable offers, sellers know they overpriced. They feel the pressure, showings slow, and assuming they have equity, they often capitulate. 

This gorgeous home proves the point. It sold for 16% below the asking price. Pro tip: If you can't find what you're looking for in the new listings, consider homes that have been on market for at least one month. That's the point when sellers start to become more reasonable.

780 16th St | $1.2MM | More Details 
A handsome Tudor with a legal ADU in a good part of lower Chautauqua. ADUs are accessory dwelling units, permitted as rentals by the City of Boulder. Under current regulations, they are also limited by density. They make for very attractive income generators for owners who wish to significantly subsidize ownership costs. Often used as mother-in-law apartments or in-home care for an au pair or other family assistant, the versatility of an ADU is an attractive feature. This home was in a solid location and appeared to have been well maintained. It adds up to a smart move on the buyers part. It sold for asking, was under contract within a week, and the buyer paid cash.

790 W Moorhead Cir | $425K | More Details 
Expect middle of the road condos like one to see significant appreciation in coming years, driven by CU's South Campus development. Currently, there is some degree of neighborhood opposition, so investment is not without risk.  It's worth tracking - which of course, we're doing. See: Tantra Lake Holds Steady.

Even if the CU South Campus idea gets quashed, this location should play out well in the future. It's far from the party zone on the Hill. It has easy access to the CU campus or for commuting to Denver or downtown Boulder. Early 70's construction isn't the best, finish quality is often poor, but the layouts are usually functional.

To schedule a private showing, which includes a discussion of valuation, due diligence, and negotiation strategy, call Osman at 303.746.6896.

Fresh Listings


1527 Pine St | $1.65MM | More Details 
This one stands out as the best listing to hit the market this week. It's in a prime spot, with easy access to downtown Boulder. Classic and simple four square architecture resonates with many buyers, now and likely into the future. Zoning is RMX-1, which is favorable for adding a new secondary dwelling or studio over a garage.

Due diligence
 If your investment thesis requires the secondary dwelling, ask your Realtor to bring their architect. Development in Boulder is not for the faint of heart and requires a thorough analysis for feasibility. What's that? Your Realtor doesn't offer that as as a service? Find a better Realtor.

Note: If you were my client, I would have already sent this to you.

To schedule a private showing, which includes a discussion of valuation, due diligence, and negotiation strategy, call Osman at 303.746.6896.

429 Dewey Avenue | $1MM | More Details 
Some of you may scratch your heads on this one.  How can a run down ranch house be worth so much money? The answer is that it's not. The value is in the dirt.

The lot is west of Broadway, close to downtown, and directly adjacent the historic district. It's also north/south oriented and somewhat larger than average, which will allow a generous build-out. Assuming nobody famous ever slept in the house, the 50's era structure will also likely be of little interest to the city, streamlining historic review.  Ranch style homes are also arguably the easiest to build-upon.

Due diligence
: given the small square footage of the house, expect significant construction to trigger the affordable housing fee. Construction in Boulder is also not cheap. By the time you move in, you will likely end up paying +$400/SQFT.  And my architects tell me that's the starting point. This is why it's often more cost effective to cosmetically renovate a home with larger square footage than to add square footage to an old house - even if it means modifying the floor plan.

1420 Zamia Ave | $900K | More Details 
The Holiday Neighborhood isn't for every one. Over the years, I've noticed that when I show it to potential buyers, they either love it or they hate it.  It's called New Urbanism and it  features bright colors across a diversity of town homes, condos, and cottages.

This particular house manages to squeeze in four bedrooms and five baths in only ~2,600 SQFT.  It also has a full two car garage and features a legal ADU, currently rented at $1350/month. That's a nice subsidy to your ownership cost.  The location is more or less central to the neighborhood, but you'll probably still hear a bit of rumble from US 36. There's plenty of interesting retail in walking distance. The SKIP runs downtown every 15 minutes, too.  Worth a look, but don't wait.  It should go quickly.

To schedule a private showing, which includes a discussion of valuation, due diligence, and negotiation strategy, call Osman at 303.746.6896.

4524 14th St. 7F | $855K | More Details 
The listing photos don't do it justice.  The view from the south side of Uptown Broadway is spectacular and should also be protected (it overlooks an area unlikely to ever be developed). Protected views and easy access to open space aren't just emotionally satisfying, they help property hold its value better during downturns and spring back sharply when real estate markets recover. Built in the late 00's, the condos and town homes at Uptown Broadway are essentially lock and leave. Finishes are high quality. The nearby retail mix is adequate and improving steadily. This particular unit has 2 beds and 3 baths across a generous 1,729 SQFT.  

Full disclosure:  I own an investment property at Uptown Broadway.  It's also the location of our new office (opening mid summer 2017).  In other words, I'm a believer. Call me to discuss further. 303.746.6896.

To schedule a private showing, which includes a discussion of valuation, due diligence, and negotiation strategy, call Osman at 303.746.6896.

2890 Shadow Creek DR #309 | $420K | More Details
When it's not catching on fire, Gold Run is desirable for its access to the Boulder Creek Path, CU Campus, and 29th Street. I rode up the bike path just yesterday and it took me less than 8 minutes from downtown. And I'm slow.

For investors and serious buyers, your comp analysis should make note of which units front to the creek, and which units have garages and elevators (or do not). Top floor is generally preferred for the vaulted ceilings and better light. Some even have open decks, like this one.  Due diligence: potential special assessments and fire risk. Also, if you're not paying cash, expect to use a portfolio lender. Owner occupancy is below 50%.

4769 Tantra D8 | $378K | More Details
A nice, plain jane, 2 bedroom, 1 bath condo in South Creek. For why the Tantra Lake area might be a solid long term investment, see the links in the Notable Sales above. Unlike Gold Run, dogs are allowed and this unit has a desirable private patio garden area.  Finishes need an update.  Another good CU kiddie condo or investment option.

2932 Shadow Creek #207
A one bedroom unit at Gold Run with a balcony over a wooded area. 2nd floor unit, no garage.  See 2890 Shadow Creek above for more information on Gold Run. The market for one bedrooms units in Boulder is thinner than 2 bedroom properties, so they often take a little longer to sell but prices appreciate in parallel.  I know because we analyzed it for an investor a couple of years ago.  What's that?  Your Realtor wasn't a former investment analyst?  Find a better Realtor.


803 Tenacity | $665K | More Details 
Wow, this is the value play of the week. It's under market for Prospect, especially considering what Markel is asking on the new construction side of the neighborhood. Nine years ago, the owner paid $430K, which puts the appreciation rate at about 5% for the asking price. You may want to benchmark that against what the news is reporting.

As for the house itself, it's well designed and features 4 beds and 4 baths on 2,400 finished square feet.  The full unfinished basement allows additional build-out potential. The french doors, outdoor living spaces, and studio are a big plus. Hate the color?  The neighborhood HOA will also gladly let you paint the exterior.

As it happens, I have several friends and clients in this neighborhood.  It's an awesome spot and I wouldn't hesitate to live there personally. The restaurants are nice, family friendly events regularly bring the neighborhood together, and kids seem to round around everywhere. 

To schedule a private showing, which includes a discussion of valuation, due diligence, and negotiation strategy, call Osman at 303.746.6896.

5221 Bella Vista Dr | $600K | More Details 
A larger, traditionally designed family house in a great neighborhood.  Whole Foods is nearby, schools are decent, and the neighborhood has bike paths that lead to the most popular cycling routes in the county. Finishes in this house are still entry level builder grade.  Full disclosure:  I own an investment property in Renaissance and I lived in the neighborhood for a year.  The investment thesis is the easy commute to Google's new offices, but expect flatter prices if the market slows. Nearby new construction is your competition for the next 3-5 years. 

Vacant Lots and Land 

5239 Pierre St | $476K | More Details 
It's a small inside corner lot in Dakota Ridge. The view should be open space and protected, but thorough due diligence means you should verify ownership of the front parcels. The concrete drainage manufacturer across US36 in the distance will likely go away in coming years. Nearby trail access is spectacular. The big challenge is how to construct your dream home on only 4,170 SQFT that truncates towards the back, but luckily Dakota Ridge doesn't have the draconian zoning requirements of older neighborhoods in Boulder. Compare location quality and build potential to 429 Dewey above. Have your architect do a feasibility analysis prior to writing the offer. 


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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.

image:  Worthy of Elegance

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.