Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Diary of a Realtor - Entry 1 - Cast of Characters

I would like to invite you to join me on a journey. I am representing the buyers in this transaction and over the next month or so we are going to go with them as they purchase their home! 

We recently found a house they wrote on (more on that to come) and went under contract. So for the first entry I want to introduce you to the cast of characters:

-Johnathan, Jennifer, Campbell and Whitley; my wonderful buyers. Recently moved to western Colorado from the front range. This family, I can't say enough good things about them... Johnathan is a middle school teacher (bless you, Johnathan), Jennifer gets to stay home and take care of those two beautiful girls. Speaking of those girls, it was such a kick showing houses to them. I found out that built in niches are for hiding in, grapes on the trellis in one back yard were good enough to eat and one house even smelled like dog. They are super fun and always on the go. Anybody that meets this adventurous group is bound to love them!

-Judy, Listing agent on THE house, she is AWESOME!

-Jayne, Daughter of the Sellers
-Anna, Seller

Here is a glimpse of THE house

400 Cedar Avenue, built in 1954, mid-century modern, ALL original! Check out that Mamie Pink kitchen! The seller is only the second owner!

Is that house not the coolest thing you have ever seen?! 

Next entry I will tell you the story of the house, the seller and the buyers.  

Friday, October 23, 2015

Lifestyle Living

You've heard it said, "Location, Location, Location". Its always been the most important thing when looking for a new home. We, however would like to challenge you to think about another one. "Lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle" Often times when we are working with a client they have it set in their heads that they need 2500 sq/ft with a price of $350,000. What we would then ask is what those clients want in their 2500 sq/ft. Do they need 4 bedrooms? I've seen 1200 sq/ft floor-plans with 4 bedrooms. Do they want two living areas? Large kitchen? Will one bedroom be used as an office? This means one can be a bit smaller than a bedroom. 

Take a look at these two examples that are currently for sale in the area...

This home is priced at $375,000, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms on 7.98 acres. 3003 sq/ft in the North Area. 
Click here for more info on this home. 

This home is priced at $329,900, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms on less than .25 acre 4046 sq/ft in Downtown Grand Junction. Click here for more info on this home

Both of these homes are lovely, not one better than the other. Both offer equal bedrooms/bathrooms with nearly 1000 sq/ft size difference. Which one are you more drawn towards. Does the thought of being downtown make you want to dry heave? Maybe the idea of having nearly 8 acres gets your creative wheels spinning at the possibilities. Or maybe you love the idea of walking to the parades downtown and the isolation of no close neighbors brings back memories of The Shining.

What does your lifestyle look like? Do you spend non-working hours at home or are you on the go constantly and just need a place to crash. Are you a lover of the dirt and as soon as you clock out are you out at the lunch loops? Do you need storage space for your bike/kayak/ski collection but you could care less if your Subaru is sitting out in the cold? Where are your favorite places to hang out? Maybe you eat out on Main Street 3 nights/week and only ride on the weekends. Let's look at houses downtown where you could easily walk to dinner. Maybe all of this sounds like torture to you, do you yearn for wide open spaces but still want to be 10 minutes to town? Could it be possible that a smaller house on a larger lot would be exactly what you are looking for? Maybe your kiddos are in a charter school, you work up valley in the oil field and the lady of the house wants to be connected at the Country Club? Let's think about the North area of town. 

 We know a lot of this boils down to location, however there is really more to it than that. When we work with clients it's not about finding them a house, it's about finding them someplace to LIVE! 

If you want to do a lifestyle analysis we would love to sit down with you. Let's evaluate your lifestyle and see if it matches up with your ideas in a home! 

Give us a call to set up an appointment 970.414.0956 or email kelly@mavesgroup.com

Want to start exploring on your own first? Visit our website to begin your home tour! www.mavesgroup.com

Friday, July 10, 2015

For the Love of a Building

I never knew it was possible to love a building. I grew up in Grand Junction, my parents attended First Presbyterian Church. Built in 1928 it was a landmark building in the Grand Valley. Here she is in her heyday. 

(photo from gjfreepress.com)

As a kid I can remember walking in through the front steps every Sunday. To the left of the doors was a beautiful old wooden pew. Above the pew just a sample of the stunning stained glass that was featured throughout the iconic building. Most Sundays our family would sit in the balcony. We sat on what can only be described as the most uncomfortable wood theater seats imaginable. I loved those seats. If you picked the right one you could move your legs up and down through service and listen to it squeak. From the balcony you could look to the left as the light streamed through the many panes of stained glass. Below you could watch the other church kids coloring on bulletins or maybe even in the hymnals or bibles in the pew backs. To the right was the most wonderful pipe organ. Again, not something you appreciate until you get older. The notes that came out of those big pipes were simply beautiful. As a musical sort of kid it was always a special treat when the Harpsichord was played! Many Sundays I sat in those squeaky wood seats, listened to the Organist and tried my best to stay awake through the sermons. 

Now after the service was when the real fun began. My dad was very involved in the church. From the bell choir to being a deacon we were the church family. As he was doing his deaconly duties my sisters and I along with the other "church kids" went exploring. Do you see the dome on the top of the building. If you knew where you were going you could go through the back rooms, up a rickety roped off set of stairs all the way to the top of the dome. It was AMAZING! There were many, many rooms in that building that I went in that I'm fairly confident we definitely weren't supposed to be in! 

Eventually the Presbyterian Church built a shiny new building with no secret rooms or hidden stairways, no creaky wooden theater seats. The grand dame became a wedding and event hall and finally ended up sitting vacant. No pitter patter of little patent leather shoes running through the halls, no pipe organ filling the sanctuary with divine songs. 

In August 2011 my then fiance, now husband and I were having engagement pictures taken and much to my surprise the photographer suggested White Hall! My old stomping grounds! 

Thank God we did it, just a month later on September 15, 2011 she went up in flames. Devastating flames. 

 (photo courtesy of The Daily Sentinel)
Heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking. 

Again, she sat empty, half burned, chain link fence surrounding the lot. About 2 years after the fire they demolished the sanctuary part of the building. And there she continued to sit until this past week when the demolished the rest of the building. 

I received an email this morning from a photographer that took a final picture of her just before the finished demolition. I found beauty in the broken stained glass, the different levels of doors and windows smiling at the memories of running through the halls. Even the graffiti brings beauty to the picture. The old radiator that is in the middle of the picture is so cool! It made me smile and it actually made me cry. 

As a real estate agent with a heart for infill development projects I look forward to the next phase of life for the 600 block of White Avenue. 

As for the grand dame... she will be missed. My memories of her are held dear. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Innovation vs. Marketing in Real Estate

I recently ran across this article on Forbes.com

As a real estate professional I am constantly balancing my innovative ideas with marketing and how my branding and marketing can go hand in hand. Having a marketing background it is easy for me to go over the top with my marketing ideas. However, recently I was told one of my "awesome" ideas was not as easy to produce or as cost effective as I had anticipated (aka hoped!). Does that mean I'm not going to do it for my client? No, in fact it drives me even more to make it happen because I truly believe in the power of innovative marketing. To successfully represent your client these days it takes much more than just general real estate contract knowledge. Oh how the times have changed since I was first licensed 12 years ago! 

I've thought about the skill set that I use daily for my clients and it looks something like this:

This is very generic and definitely just a snapshot of my business. This varies greatly depending on the specific client and transaction needs. Working with Buyers always requires much more local market knowledge and negotiation skills than marketing and innovation. Listing more unique properties requires much more marketing and innovation. Your property is unique, the marketing should be equally so!

Here is what I recommend when considering hiring a real estate agent. Ask them what they do that is innovative. How will they market your property to SELL it? How do they utilize social media? Ask for specific examples of unique marketing they use. Ask for the most difficult contract they have dealt with recently and how they overcame the issues. Often times it takes innovation to hold a deal together! Ask about their last deal that fell apart. You can always learn a lot about a person from their failures and what they learned from them. How do they plan on dealing with potential appraisal issues? (Yes, there are still appraisal issues. Anybody that tells you otherwise is a liar) 

This quote is from the Forbes article and 100% sums up my philosophy...

“What can I do today to provide my clients with a greater advantage or benefit, to get them closer to the ultimate result they desire?”

Once you have interviewed everybody else, give me a call and let me show you the true power of marketing and innovation! There is a difference, it is tangible and solid!

Kelly Maves 970.589.7775

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Price per Sq/Ft Sham

I have been in real estate for over a decade. For most of that decade I have had real estate agents and appraisers force feed me the "Price per Foot Kool-aid". To be honest all the while I have been skeptical.

For the past 3 1/2 years I have been married to a builder. Inevitably the first question he is always asked is "What is your average price per foot?". He hates that question almost as much as I do. 

Let's start with the basics. When building a home the most important thing is materials, design and craftsmanship. Think for a moment of the old adage "You get what you pay for". 

Take a look at these two examples:

Let's first take a look at the Kia Optima 
  • pricing starting at $21,690 
  • Width: 6'1"
  • Height 4'9"
  • Front Leg Room 45.5"
  • Interior Volume 117.6 cu/ft
  • Curb Weight 3237 lbs
  • Cargo Capacity 15.4 cu/ft

Now we will look at the Audi A6

  • pricing starting at $46,292
  • Width: 6'1.8"
  • Height 4'9.8"
  • Front Leg Room 41.3"
  • Interior Volume 112.1 cu/ft
  • Curb Weight 3803 lbs
  • Cargo Capacity 14.1 cu/ft 

If we use the real estate industry way of determining value it would look something like this:

Kia Optima
Based on Curb Weight, $6.70 per pound
Based on Interior Volume, $184.45 per cu/ft

Audi A6
Based on Curb Weight, $12.17 per pound
Based on Interior Volume, $412.95 per cu/ft

Yet every day across the country people are buying the Audi A6. The prices are not discounted. People don't walk into the Audi dealer expecting to get Kia pricing. They don't ask the Audi dealer why their pricing isn't comparable to Kia pricing. It's apples and oranges. People pay more money for the Audi because the materials are better, the craftsmanship is better, their quality, customer service and reputation are worth paying more for. 

Both cars have similar features, similar engines and are of similar size. Banks don't question the cost of the Audi when giving loans for one. 

Much like these two cars when you are looking at homes the materials, craftsmanship and quality of the home are worth paying more for.

We currently have a new tiny house listed in Fruita, CO. It is 836 sq/ft priced at $275,000 or $329/ft as I am reminded on a daily basis by my colleagues. 

The tiny house movement is a big deal across the country for those people who want to reduce their environmental impact and footprint, enjoy living their lives in their off time rather than being slaves to their house, they still want to entertain so that space is quite important. 

The house we have listed is much like the Audi. Aesthetically pleasing, quality built, top end finishes throughout and yet people continue to compare it to the Kias in the neighborhood. Cheaply built, won't hold up over time, nobody to stand behind it when things go wrong. 

Quite honestly, this house is an Audi. If you as a buyer are happy with a Kia then buy a Kia. But don't come to the Audi dealer expecting Kia pricing. 

Your Audi will have your friends talking, they will gawk over it, it will be beautiful. They will want one.