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  #11  
Old 02-25-2009, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by sgtpeper View Post
Actually, a year ago the Highland neighborhood saw double digit increases in property values - that whole area has gone up consecutively for something like 15+ years though.

Whittier is now seeing the same thing begin. Very old neighborhood that needs a lot of rehab. Lots of great houses that look like they belong in Wash Park if they were cleaned up properly. As such one can find a house with great bones for about a 100 that once fixed is worth 300. A couple of guys in my office do this exclusively.

Pretty incredible!
I lived in highland and it's disgusting to see what's happening there.

Nice old houses being torn down to put up giant, ugly, poorly built boxes.

I agree with blighted areas being rehabbed (highland isn't blighted) but what is happening there is just greed. Flippers and developers ruining what made that neighborhood nice to live in; nice older homes in a pedestrian friendly, diverse area that wasn't too expensive.

I know Mr. Markofsky has a different opinion, but we're all entitled to them.
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  #12  
Old 02-25-2009, 12:16 PM
sgtpeper sgtpeper is offline
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I have mixed feelings about development in Highland.

Last year they downzoned the side of 32nd toward Sloans Lake from R2-R1. Now they are petitioning to do the same from 32nd to 28th. In my opinion this was/is a bad idea. Why?

So far it has made property values drop. Everyone says well now they can build large single family homes. But the neighborhood isnt ready for that. Without some of these duplexes being built, the money isnt going to just keep coming into the area. And right now the lots are worth too much for single family homes to make sense unless they are in the million dollar range.

The other part of this is that a LOT of the homes in Highlands are falling apart in a non-repairable way. TONS of homes in the area have cracked or sunken foundations that might cost the buyer $10-100k to fix depending on severity. Add to that that some of these homes were built/designed poorly to begin with and you get to my point of why are homes such as these worth saving?

I completely understand not tearing down a beautiful Victorian or Bungalow thats been well cared for and is in good shape. But a house that is literally falling down just hurts the block its on.

If the ones that are truly messed up can't be developed any longer, no one will buy them - at least not for anything a seller not in foreclosure would want to sell for. At which point a lot of these messed up homes will become cheap rentals which will pull the value of the entire neighborhood down quite a bit. Its a fact that the more houses on a block that are being rented on a block, rather than being owner occupied, the lower the value of that block.

Would you rather have a $700k well built duplex next to you, or a dilapidated house with screaming college kids living in it, clogging up the street with cars.

Also, keep in mind even if large single family homes start coming in with the downzone, does that really mean developers wont build junk? No.

I agree a lot of developers built some absolute crap recently. I work for one who does not build crap - his projects are green built and everyone on the block comes by to tell us how beautiful our project looks. In fact we sell out of ours before we finish building them every time (knock on wood).

Just because the house is 100 years old doesnt mean the developer back then wasnt building crap as well .

I do believe in preserving a neighborhood, but as a home owner in the area I would also love to see my property continue to appreciate radically. In my opinion for this to happen, a lot of the garbage houses need to go.

Thanks,
Jeff
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  #13  
Old 02-25-2009, 01:18 PM
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How does zillow.com asign values to a home and are their figures somewhat accurate?
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  #14  
Old 02-25-2009, 01:28 PM
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I think Zillow accesses public data regarding home sales in the area within a given time window, and has some sort of algorithm to figure out the value of your home based on square feet, rooms, lot size, etc.

I haven't looked in a while, but in my estimation it was somewhat hit or miss in terms of accuracy. Some towns and neighborhoods seem to have better data than others.
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  #15  
Old 02-25-2009, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDH33 View Post
I lived in highland and it's disgusting to see what's happening there.

Nice old houses being torn down to put up giant, ugly, poorly built boxes.

I agree with blighted areas being rehabbed (highland isn't blighted) but what is happening there is just greed. Flippers and developers ruining what made that neighborhood nice to live in; nice older homes in a pedestrian friendly, diverse area that wasn't too expensive.

I know Mr. Morkofsky has a different opinion, but we're all entitled to them.
We are one of the folks driving up property values in old Littleton. But it is far from poorly built, it saved as much of the original home as possible (a 600sq. ft. railroad bungalow, but a charming one, and former home to a Littleton mayor), and it was designed to FIT IN with the neighborhood which is still pedestrian friendly and one block from the park. The design hides the size from the street, in direct opposition to what most architects aim for (bigger = 'curb appeal')...

Still didn't make us popular with a couple neighbors, but the vast majority like it. Don't know that these kinds of design goals are in the forefront of developers' minds though. I DO know that I am upside down on investment to value (though not on loan to value... thanks be...) so that is part of the equation.

Before:


'After' (still not done in this photo, as we are doing all the finish work):


The porch columns are now finished, and UB, there is actually finish trim in the front living room. But a home is not primarily an investment, so no regrets.

Folks who do this should hire an architect (a good one obviously) to make sure it is done with an eye to the neighborhood's history... IMHO of course.

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  #16  
Old 02-25-2009, 01:35 PM
sgtpeper sgtpeper is offline
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I'm not exactly sure how they asign values to a home. I'm sure its just from closed numbers without actually looking at the house.

I have an appraisal background as well, and they say first thing in the classes that Zillow is not a great tool for finding value of a property.

Just like anything else its just another tool but take it with a grain of salt. I have seen Zillow say a property was worth 150k more than it really was - this was for a loft in the Titanium lofts downtown.

Also keep in mind appraisals are BS right now too. Most appraisers are SOOOO afraid of losing their licenses that even if a house is worth WAY more than what its under contract for they still only show it as being worth maybe 3k over the contract price.

My best advice is to work with a really good realtor who really knows your area. Honestly there are SOOOO many bad realtors out there its scary. I'm not necessarily advocating you work with me, but you should definitely really interview any realtor you plan on working with. Make sure they REALLY know the are, make sure they have a really good idea of what youre looking for and look for other qualifications. For example I have a double degree in finance and real estate, an appraisal background, and a construction background from ultra custom to rehab homes.

Look for people that are very well rounded
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  #17  
Old 02-25-2009, 01:40 PM
sgtpeper sgtpeper is offline
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Oh another part I should add to the debate of new builds -

I sat down with my developer boss to help design a new large building were going to be starting this summer. I said why don't we build something with classic aesthetics and charm. He said he would LOVE to build something like that. The problem is, the people willing to pay good money for a new built home in the city seem to only be buying modern. He said if there was a market for classicly designed and built properties he'd instantly design/build those.

Builders just have to keep building whatever the market calls for unfortunately.

BUT I still agree, it doesnt mean they should build crap.
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  #18  
Old 02-25-2009, 03:04 PM
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I took a beating on our townhome in Frisco selling it last November. Summit County property values fell plenty last year.
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  #19  
Old 02-25-2009, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by sgtpeper View Post
Oh another part I should add to the debate of new builds -

I sat down with my developer boss to help design a new large building were going to be starting this summer. I said why don't we build something with classic aesthetics and charm. He said he would LOVE to build something like that. The problem is, the people willing to pay good money for a new built home in the city seem to only be buying modern. He said if there was a market for classicly designed and built properties he'd instantly design/build those.

Builders just have to keep building whatever the market calls for unfortunately.

BUT I still agree, it doesnt mean they should build crap.
Then why was/is Wash Park so hot?
I think folks would certainly buy classic architecture with modern under the skin. Problem is, it is a bit more expensive to build.... and true old is expensive to refurbish. I think folks buy what is marketed to them, and in the back of their minds has been "but I could get so much more house for that coin, in the suburbs...". But IMHO you won't lose marketing 'classic' to older baby boomers who are downsizing.
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  #20  
Old 02-25-2009, 04:38 PM
sgtpeper sgtpeper is offline
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That is true. Classic to baby boomers sounds great. Unfortunately thats not the target market for most new built in Denver. Its mostly 30-40 yuppies. They are the market that cause "lofts" to be overbuilt in Denver and why downtown is now very very slow - but not taking too hard of a hit yet. The baby boomers are not moving into Highlands nor are they moving to Wash Park. If they are downsizing, they are moving downtown. Where there really is no room for new builds at this point. In fact a lot of the homes in Wash Park that are not redone yet that are for sale seem to be for sale by baby-boomers downsizing and moving downtown OR young couples selling a small bungalow to move to areas like Observatory Park and have million dollar + monsters.

Wash Park is very hot because of the stigma that comes with Wash Park. I find that most of my out of town clients that are moving here have already heard of Wash Park and as such want to move there. Also, keep in mine Wash Park has far less structural issues than Highlands. It has also been an expensive neighborhood for a LOT longer period of time than Highlands.

A little history on Highlands. The area at one point was a burb of Denver. 32nd and Lowell is where the trolly car station used to be. It was a HEAVY Italian area with a lot of mafia influence in the early 1900s. Then in the early 80s people began moving out of the area and moving into the suburbs. Many of the homes became very run down and property values dropped. Now, as Denver is growing once again, people are moving back to areas closer to Downtown and thus the property values have been going up once again. Its just a big circle.

Drive around highlands, then drive around Wash Park and tell me which are has more old houses that look like they are worth saving. Wash Park wins by a landslide. Some of the homes built in the 50-80s are just plain ugly in Highlands. Whereas in Wash Park there are far fewer homes built past the 40s. Wash Park went in phases late 1800s were the Victorians, 20s and 30s were the Tudors, and 30s and 40s were the Bungalows.

On top of that Wash Park is known as one of the Premier parks of Denver.
Still that doesnt mean there arent some awful new builds in Wash Park as well. I looked at over 100 properties in Wash Park in the last few months, and I can tell you there are some AWFUL new builds and remodels that people want absurd amounts of money for.

As for cost of building, its really fairly negligible to build a classic style vs a modern style - IF you are building a high quality product that is. It is FAR cheaper to builder modern if you are building crap. Our porject near Sloans lake employs the use of a bit of stucco, lots of Cedar and Aluminum to create the facade - to give an example of a modern home built with lots of quality expense - as it should for 700k a pop!

Again, these are just my observations from being in the business. I don't necessarily disagree with any of your points, its just not what I'm seeing on a larger scale.
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