Sunday, February 28, 2010

What You Don't Know Can Haunt You: Shovel Your Walks, Please!

Section 19-1 of the Commerce City Municipal Code is a ZERO Tolerance Ordinance

Exhausted, we pulled up to the front of our home on January 2, after an 18 hour cross country drive.  We had not stopped to rest overnight, preferring to get across Iowa and Nebraska in the frigid temps as quickly as possible.  Plus, at one point over the Winter Holidays, I80 had been shut down due to snow and ice, and we did not want to risk spending several days on a hotel lobby floor or in a truck stop with a young child and a dog.

But, we came home to plenty of snow.  We had been gone for over a week and had no idea when the snow came, or how many times it had snowed, but a makeshift path had developed on the sidewalk beside our house where people had gone on their daily sojourns.  I removed the "warning" slip from the city and the next day diligently shoveled our sidewalk.

Too little, too late.

About a month later came the court summons.  This was no joke, no minor oversight.  My husband and I spent about 3 hours in court on Thursday morning finding this out.  Before we went before the judge, the City Attorney called us into his office to talk about our plea.  He was very serious about the matter.  this is a ZERO tolerance issue.  It does not matter that we were out of state.  It does not matter that that was the side of our house and our neighbor had kindly taken care of the front walk, so half of it was done.  Here is what the  Commerce City Ordinance reads:
Sec. 19-1. - Duty of owner, occupant, etc., as to maintenance of sidewalks.
The owner, occupant or agent of the owner of any building, property or lot in the city shall maintain the sidewalks for the property including those on public rights-of-way in a clean condition and remove snow and ice from the sidewalks within twenty-four (24) hours after each snowfall.
I had never even heard of this ordinance, but I know it now.

We were lucky though.  The judge gave us the minimum fine of $25 because it was our first offense, and after court costs it came to about $60.  And I can guarantee that there will be no further offenses of that sort.  So shovel your walks, neighbors.  Then go out and play!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Belle Creek: a Community with Open Hearts and Open Arms

The goal wasn't lofty.  It wasn't insurmountable.  But to a young man undergoing intensive chemotherapy and trying to support a young family, $2500 is a lot of money to pay out of pocket for his deductible.
Enter Belle Creek residents and friends.  When Jamie Latham Shaw put together the spaghetti dinner fundraiser to help our her friend, she was hoping for about 250 people at $10 a plate.
"I figured that was a reasonable goal." says Jamie.  "Between the neighbors and Levi's church, we could likely get that many here."
And how.
As the sun was setting on that February evening, people began to pour into the Belle Creek Family Center to show their support.  Donations of food poured in in the weeks leading up to the event from community members and restaurants alike, including food from Olive Garden.
A silent auction was arranged, with everything from babysitting services to Arbonne gift baskets to gym memberships.
"It looked almost like a flea market in here," commented Jamie afterword.  "People were amazing.  Every last item was bid on.  The people in this neighborhood are awesome!"
She went on to say that most people who won their auction items wrote checks to support Levi for more than their winning amounts.
The look on Levi's face was priceless.  If you have ever met Levi, you have seen his infectious grin.  It was like a beacon of warmth and light that night.  "People were incredible," he said. "I met people from the neighborhood that I never even knew.  They made a point of coming up to introduce themselves and say they just wanted to help out.  I feel so incredibly blessed."
At last count, Levi thinks there were about 500 people here, not counting kids.  "But I still haven't gone through all the pictures," he says with another one of his smiles.
And that goal of $2500?  "Well, let's just say that we went well beyond that," Jamie says with a laugh.  "Levi won't have to worry about his deductible, and he can concentrate his energy on getting better."
This is why Belle Creek residents love it here.  Levi was just beside himself at the turnout.   But Jamie put it best when she said, "people just want to give.  When so many people out there are trying to make ends meet, people want to be a part of something larger than themselves and give whatever they can.  Every little bit makes a difference."

Want to help out?  Chick Fil A, one of the generous donators at Levi's dinner, has taken it upon itself to host another fundraiser, February 20 at 5pm.  

Friday, February 5, 2010

Market Update in Belle Creek

Belle Creek has been hopping this week!  Here's the rundown for the first week of February:

  • There are currently 6 actively listed properties in Belle Creek
  • In the last week, 3 properties have gone under contract!
  • In the last week, there was 1 newly sold property:  10967 Beeler Street sold for $212,500 on February 1.
To see available properties in Belle Creek, or in any Denver metro neighborhood, 24 hours a day, please visit my website.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What's Going on in Your Neighborhood, Belle Creek? Update for February 2010

What a difference a quarter can make.

It is now 3 months since I blogged about the Real Estate Market in Belle Creek.  Since then a lot has happened, not the least of which were Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Couple that with a few snow storms and it would seem to be a dismal time to sell property in Belle Creek.

Maybe.  Belle Creek, as any neighborhood, is situated in its own little Real Estate world.  You've heard the adage "location, location, location." A look at the numbers over the last 12 months reveals what is happening in this particular location:

  • 20 Homes have sold in Belle Creek over the last 12 months.
  • The average Price per Square Foot of sold homes was $108.59
  • This represents a decrease in per Square Foot sold price in 2009 over 2008, as a whole
  • Price per Square Foot increased greatly in the 3rd quarter of 2009, then dropped modestly in the 4th quarter of 2009
What this all means for Home Buyers is that it is still a great time to buy in Belle Creek.  Prices are down  in general, but seem to be recovering.  If you are looking for a well built home in a thriving community, now is the perfect time to get into your Belle Creek dream home.

For Sellers, the news is still encouraging.  Months of Inventory in Belle Creek are at 4.8.  This means that based on sales over the last 12 months, it will take about 4.8 months to sell off the existing inventory.  Put simply, the Belle Creek Real Estate Market is fairly balanced, with a slight lean toward being a Seller's Market.  As the economy as a whole stabilizes, we will see our home prices come back up.

This is good news for all of our neighbors.

To see available properties in Belle Creek, or in any Denver metro neighborhood, 24 hours a day, please visit my website.

What's Going on in Your Neighborhood, Belle Creek? Originally Published November 2, 2009

Because I live in Belle Creek- and because I purchased my home in 2001 when the market was insane- I have a vested interest in what our micro-market is doing.  I regularly check out the solds, under contracts, new listings.  Being a runner, I usually notice when something new pops up in the neighborhood.

So, when I blogged last about what has sold recently in the neighborhood, I admit, I wasn't showing you the whole story.  Being a mixed-use community, we have townhomes, cottages, series 1 homes and series 2 homes.  Being in close proximity to the development world has taught me about some of the builder-ese that is used in a master planned area.  Buyers may know their homes as a "Logan" or one of the "Wellshire Collection".  I just know my house is in the 2 series...

Enough blathering, let's get to the meat of the issue.

In the past year, 20 homes have sold in Belle Creek.  Prices were holding steady until just recently.  On average, Belle Creek homes were getting about $105 per square foot overall.  This was regardless of which model was sold. 
In the past 3 months, however, we have seen that number take a nose dive.  Price per square foot is now at a frightening $90 per square foot!  There would have to be some sort of reason why.  That reason may surprise you.  I know it did me.

As it just so happens, until a month or so ago, there was still builder inventory available.  There were a couple of homes that were built but never closed back when BC was just forming.  These 2 homes were on the market for quite awhile- over 650 days, as a matter of fact.  Quick math- nearly 2 years.

So, when you are a retailer (of sorts), and you have inventory that doesn't move, what do you do?

Slash prices!  Have a Clearance Sale! 

The good news about this is that they sold.  We now have 2 formerly vacant houses that will have nice neighbors living in them.  That brings our home values as a neighborhood up. 

The not-so-good news is that they were reduced so severely that they dragged the value of the neighborhood (in price per sqft) down.

The verdict:  if you don't have to sell now, maybe you'd be better off waiting for awhile.  But if you know of someone who has been wanting to live in Belle Creek, it is a great time for them to buy.

Next:  UPDATE: How's the Market Doing Now?