Get Off The Bench, It's Game Time [Fresh Listings, Get 'Em Hot]

By Osman Parvez
Yeah, we know the Super Bowl is happening this weekend. If you're serious about finding a home or investment property in Boulder, you might want to put down the bowl of nachos and skip the game. Or at least take it easy at the Super Bowl party. 

The real estate game is played each and every weekend in Boulder. Occasionally new listings arrive early (and you have to be prepared for that), most hit the market towards the end of the week. Weekends are prime-time for showings and negotiations. Here at House Einstein, we don't go on vacation without coverage for our clients.  

Market conditions: As of this writing, inventory for houses is down 18.7% year over year in Boulder. Absorption is up to 55%, compared to 32% last year at the beginning of February. Meanwhile, attached dwelling inventory is up 41%, courtesy of a flood of new build from S'park and the Peloton.  

We'd make you a chart, but...

Bottom line: you need to get off the bench if you want to play the game. The best listings to hit the Boulder market this week are below. A discussion on select sold listings is included to help educate you on market conditions. 

Are you ready to buy a house? Let's go. It's game time.
To schedule private showings, which includes a discussion of valuation, negotiation strategy, and market conditions, call Osman at 303.746.6896.

Sold Listings of Note
Recently closed transactions that highlight market conditions.

815 Circle Dr | $4.14MM | Eye Candy
Listed at the end of the selling season in '17 (poor timing), this five bedroom, five bath sold at an 8% discount from asking - a little steeper than the median negotiated discount for the high end. The perch on Flagstaff was, of course, spectacular and the proximity to Chautauqua open space, excellent. 

Due diligence: One potential issue was exposure to traffic noise, which can be hit or miss in this location. Close your eyes, imagine wandering onto the deck of your dream home, and hearing rumbling Harley Davidsons heading up Flagstaff in the summertime. Good thing (for the seller) there aren't many motorcycles cruising around in the winter.

As it happens, we recently analyzed last year's high-end sales in Boulder, arbitrarily defined as $3.5MM+.  It's a low volume slice of the market, where you'll find lot of broker opinions, mostly smoke and mirrors, and few actual facts.  Here's how it actually shook out:

That's right. No bidding wars. No over asking. No pocket deals either (we checked, all deals were on the MLS). If you're in this segment of the market, contact us. We can go as far down the analytical rabbit hole as you'd like.  

2890 Stanford Ave | $1.78MM | Details
The take home lesson from this spec project is (1)  make sure the kitchen isn't too small and (2) price it right for an efficient sale. Frankly, we loved this house and at the sale price, it was a value compared to similar properties in North Boulder.  Unfortunately, the kitchen scared off our buyers.


Originally listed at $2.4 before the project was even complete in September 2016. It finally sold last week to a very patient buyer who wasn't afraid to write a low offer. 

835 Iris Ave |$883K | Details
As we often tell our buyers, just because we think it's worth seeing doesn't mean it's worth buying - especially at the asking price. Originally listed at $1.1 in the spring of last year. The primary issue was that the seller grossly overshot the market. The secondary issue was the traffic from the school. The lot size on this property was a little larger than typical, which might allow the new owner to design flexibility. Almost certainly there will be follow-on investment. We'll keep an eye on it.  

Take home lesson: Not every house is worth a bidding war, much less the asking price.  Intelligent real estate decisions are based on deep market knowledge, there is no substitute.
Fresh Listings
We've sifted through this week's listings and pulled out the most compelling real estate opportunities.  The following are the best listings in Boulder real estate.

933 Kalmia Ave | $3.25MM | Ooh, Eye Candy     
If you're going to have a giant landscaped lot in a semi-arid climate, you better have water rights. This one does and it just happens to come attached to a stunningly beautiful house. Four bedrooms, five baths, generously sized, and priced at $640/F.SQFT, including the basement. Excellent location.  

Due diligence: At this price point, buyers should compare the valuation to the cost of construction, risk premium to avoid construction related time/money overruns, and the value of the lot. 

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

1719 Mapleton Ave | $2.78MM | Details  
An attractive, moderately sized four bedroom, five bath with an oversized two car garage.  Its on Boulder's most iconic street, which carries a premium of it's own, but the joy comes from splitting the distance between downtown and retail centers.  Additional parking slab, included on a separate deed. 

Due diligence: Don't get too excited. It's not in RMX-1 zoning. The odds of turning the carriage house into a residence (legally) are pretty low. See map below. Also, the build date is 2004, so your due diligence should include a visit to the planning department. What should you ask the city staffer when you go? Talk to your Realtor.

806 Hawthorn Ave | $1.68MM | Details      

West of Broadway, three bedrooms, three baths and a decent location.  On the small side, but the SQFT doesn't include the detached office/studio.  

Due diligence: Check the permit status.

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

2390 Vassar Dr | $1.63MM | Details  
Painfully dated, with smudgy photos but if you're in the market for a renovation project in Table Mesa, go see it. Table mesa has Boulder's best schools, great access to open space, and it's west of Broadway. Bring your architect and builder to the showing, the most attractive build projects attract cash and bidding wars. From a valuation perspective, this is all about understanding the constraints imposed by lot size, set backs, compatible development, solar access, and height limits. If your agent hasn't mentioned any of those things, pro tip... get a better agent

275 Pearl St 14 | $875K | Details     

Snooze you lose. This generously sized (likely underpriced), three bedroom, three bath condo with vaulted ceilings is already under contract. Downtown Boulder attached dwellings are very limited, especially on west Pearl.  If you're serious about buying one, your Realtor needs to prime you to move fast. That means helping you become educated on market conditions, familiar with the contract, and knowing the right levers to pull in the negotiation. 

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

1521 48th St, Boulder | $597K | Details  

This will probably be under contract by the time this blog post is published. Multiple offers are on the table. We saw it earlier this week and were underwhelmed. For our minimalist buyer, the nice looking built-ins would need to come down, less they become shelves of things never used. Plus, veneer floors. Due diligence: Compare to the other active listing and then review the solds from the last few years. 
642 University Ave | $949K | Details

If you're buying on University, you want to be west of Broadway.  Believe us. The further west, the better. The student density is very high as you move closer to CU, which means occasional petty vandalism and late night noise. This particular property is in a good spot and the lot size is reasonable. It was built in 1909. It's definitely worth seeing, but save some budget for the updates.  Pro tip: Before you write your offer, be sure to discuss the process of historic review with your agent. Your inspection should also be done by a company that specializes in historic properties.  Be sure to take a close look at the foundation, most homes of this vintage were constructed on whatever large stones happened to be around. Cobble foundations often need repair.

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

1008 Jefferson Ave | $875K | Details     
Historic, four bed, four bath in close proximity to downtown.  Split layout but with some tasteful updates. To assist a potential seller, we've been obsessing over market conditions in downtown Louisville for the last few months. Sales volume is a fraction of Boulder, which is why you should be weary of a "Louisville" specialist.  It's a very small market. Serious buyers should understand the valuation differences between buttoned up, completely remodeled or effectively new construction, partially remodeled, and old, dilapidated clunkers.  It's quite a spectrum. This one is definitely worth a look. 

To schedule a private showing, which includes a discussion of valuation, negotiation strategy, and market conditions, call Osman at 303.746.6896.
8033 Countryside Park 209, | $355K | Details 
Countryside is in a great location. Stroll down the street to Niwot's thriving historic downtown. From an investment perspective, this location attracts high quality tenants and might have some upside as tech workers look for housing with short commutes. It's a easy drive or bike ride to Google. From a livability perspective, in minutes you can escape Boulder and be in location that allows you to leave the car behind on the weekends. Full disclosure: This is our spectacular listing. We were very tempted to buy it ourselves, but Oliver told us never to do that. 

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

10064 Empire Dr| $1.25MM | Details 

Land, land, land. With a view. Surrounded by open space. Obviously, this is a rare gem. You may need to relocate the historic 2 bedroom, 1 bath farmhouse structure to build your dream home, but with almost 9 acres, there should be plenty of space.  There are three lots currently for sale. If you have the capital, snag them all and create your family compound. Unlike crypto, they're not making any more Boulder land.  

Due diligence: Just because it's outside of Boulder proper doesn't mean permitting will be easy. Don't give away too many contingencies if there is a bidding war. Absolutely bring a local, experienced architect to the showing. 

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

1612 Waneka Lake Trl | $660K | Details     

Waneka lake open space is a hidden gem. Most Boulder natives don't even know about it. After the showing, go for a stroll on the trails. It's a locus for community and well being. The house itself is a fairly typical, family friendly mid-90's two story with three bedrooms, three baths, and an unfinished basement.  Three car garage is a bonus.  At this price point, it's definitely worth a look. 

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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: Martin Reisch

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.