Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Surprise! A Nice Flip on Lower Chautauqua [Worth A Look]

by Osman Parvez
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You may have noticed that I rarely write disparaging remarks about specific properties. Occasionally, I see something so horrendous (or hilarious) that I'll share it with you. You'll find my collection of these pics under the staging label in the sidebar.   

Why don't I throw more listings under the bus? They're obviously out there.   

The reason is because I regularly negotiate with other agents on behalf of my clients. My goal is to help buyers and sellers get the best deal possible. Walking into a negotiation, the most important quality I have is trust.  
Now, if we're seeing property together or you ask me privately, the gloves are off. You'll get my unfiltered list of pros and cons. A big part of my value-add is guiding clients through property selection, which always includes a discussion over resale potential and appreciation rates. The former investment analyst in me just can't turn that off. 

Let me tell you about a property I saw at the other end of the spectrum: 1829 Columbine Avenue. It's a 1226 SF two bedroom, two bath bungalow in Chautauqua. Unlike about half of the listings on the market, this one is actually available for purchase. 


From the moment you walk in, the property oozes quality and attention to detail. The finish choices are excellent and appropriate for Colorado. It feels like a little Aspen cottage (at less than half the price).  


Due diligence: 

  • It's a flip - the owner only paid $426,300. The asking price is $819,700.
  • Don't judge it by the listing photos. They don't do it justice. It shows great in person.
     
  • Unlike most cosmetic flips, this is a complete renovation. Virtually every aspect of this house has been touched, from frame to roof. This includes foam insulation, electric, mechanical, appliances, kitchen, high-end finishes, baths, fixtures, and landscaping.
  • The neighborhood is excellent, with easy access to open space, bike paths, public transit, and it's walk-able to retail. Put the Chautauqua concert schedule on your calendar.
  • Because of high nearby student density, it's imperative to visit the neighbors on either side and determine which houses are student occupied. At a minimum, check for red cups in the recycle bins in the alley.
  • The biggest issue is the size of the property. With only 1226 SF and 2 bedrooms, this is a bungalow. It's very well designed, with intelligent indoor and outdoor spaces. It has excellent flow for entertaining friends and family. It's just not the space if you have a lot of stuff that needs storage. Think minimalism.
     
  • I can easily image this property would suit a professional who regularly travels but wants a fully buttoned up home and doesn't have time to deal with deferred maintenance. It would also work well for a couple who visits Boulder and would like a second home. This would also make a great short-term rental property (AirBNB).
  • Although I don't have photos from before the renovation, it's clear the owner put substantial time and money into this project. When the landscaping is complete, it meets the definition of turn-key. Given the risk taken and time invested, the asking price starts to seem more reasonable.   

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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. 

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