Karl Lueders Presents: 1045 Monroe, a Modernist Bungalow in Congress Park

Classic brick bungalow in the heart of Congress Park. Lush landscaping both front and back offers a Zen-like retreat within two blocks of 12th Avenue fun: coffee, ice cream, wine, pizza and, of course, TAG Burger Bar. Inside, enjoy contemporary touches mingling with the original craftsman styling throughout the house. Note the modern updates in the bathroom, fireplace and lighting throughout. Enjoy hardwood floors, a foodies kitchen, extra office space off the back, evaporative cooler, great storage, 220 wiring outside and a huge, welcoming front porch. Opportunities abound!

If you’re ready to sell your Congress Park home quickly and for the best possible price, call Karl to discuss strategy. Better yet, call these sellers to find out how satisfied they are with their results!


…Low Real Estate Inventory Could Mean Higher Home Prices Soon

The Denver housing market is currently both a buyer’s and seller’s market. Here’s how:

  1. Buyer’s market: You have a lot to choose from. As of today, there are 16,174 single family homes for sale that have been on the market – 11,062 of them have been on the market for more than 30 days (not including condos). That’s a lot of overpriced and likely underimproved homes. As a buyer, you can feel confident about this and take a run at these houses with somewhat low offers (lowballing may be a larger part of your strategy). The remaining 5,112 homes? Less so with the lowballing, depending on how long they’ve been on the market, but today’s inventory doesn’t age like wine. The current inventory has been sitting stagnant on the market during one of the lowest supply eras the Denver market has ever seen. One industry wonk calls the amount of Denver real estate for sale for sale “painfully low.” And, with pent-up demand from buyers, it’s clear that this current supply is not that attractive in its current state. Of course, this also means a large amount of disillusioned sellers, so any deal out there will require diligence and perhaps some good timing.
  2. Or, you can avoid dealing with unrealistic buyers and be part of the current madness amongst the new inventory that’s slowly emerging… The Sellers Market. With rental rates skyrocketing and interest rates remaining incredibly low, buyers have finally realized that owning a home in Denver is actually more advantageous than renting. The downside to buyers is that there are plenty of you out there, stalking new listings whenever they hit the market. Low supply + demand = multiple full price offers. We have gotten to a point in Denver where a home seller will know what the market thinks of their house in about 4 days… sometimes less.

The cure for this is more inventory. Correction, more good inventory. If your house is priced correctly with the right appearance and proper lead time, you can be sure to get a flood of qualified buyers through your house right out of the gate. With proper preparation, you might even be able to bypass the sign/brochure/constant cleaning phase of the process and go straight to contract negotiation. Which, for some people, is worth the pain of realizing that market value doesn’t necessarily equal seller’s value.

Karl Lueders is a residential Realtor with The Kentwood Company at Cherry Creek. He can be reached at 720.971.8267, email, Twitter or G+.

Driving Park Historic District Sales Trends 2008-2009

Since my last look into our neighborhood’s sales performance (2007-2008), I was able to conclude that while the rest of the world seemed to be drowning in sorrow, Driving Park Historic District was decidedly middle-of-the-road sales wise. I’ll take normal over recession any day of the week, and that’s pretty where we’ve been for the past 6 months, and that’s where we appear to be right now, even after a few distressed sales.

Based on the latest sales data from Metrolist, Denver, as a whole, has about 6 months worth of inventory currently for sale. What does 6 months of inventory actually involve? For example, within Driving Park Historic District, where I live, 17 homes sold in 2008. That comes out to 1.41 homes sold per month. Currently, we have 9 active listings in DPHD, which, divided by the average sales per month, puts us right at 6 months as time it will take to clear out our current inventory. In actuality, three homes have sold in DPHD so far this year: 571 High, 450 Williams and 484 Lafayette, which means we’re slightly behind the 6 month curve, but the balance is there, which is good.

To get an idea of the houses that are currently for sale, go to my search site and check out the addresses listed in the chart below.

The average sale prices aren’t so much of an indicator of neighborhood performance as the sale price – to – list price ratio is. Currently, we are holding steady at 94% of list price (that’s based on the last list price, sale price – to – original list price is around 90%, which is also normal, but shows the inevitable price drop).

Disregard the average sale prices for 2009, as 571 High really threw off the balance, dropping nearly $500,000 between its original list price and eventual sale price.

If you have any questions about the chart below or about this neighborhood, feel free to contact Karl Lueders at 720-971-8267. You can also reach him at his Web site, www.KarlSellsDenver.com.

Karl lives in Driving Park Historic District on Humboldt St. The neighborhood runs from 4th Ave to 6th Ave, and from Marion to High St. It is surrounded by Alamo Placita, Seventh Avenue and Country Club historic neighborhoods.

Karl Lueders presents 2008 sales stats for Driving Park Historic District

Karl Lueders presents 2008 sales stats for Driving Park Historic District

All data compiled from Metrolist, Inc. Karl Lueders cannot confirm its accuracy.

Highlights from 2008 No. 1

So I just stumbled upon (not Stumbled Upon) this virtual tour link from a listing of mine that sold in less than 30 days just a couple of months ago.

This home sold in less than 30 days

This home sold in less than 30 days

(Check out Virtual Tour here.) So what? So, let’s dance! Check out where this really cool patio home is located:

See the A? Half block from the speedy part of 6th. Sold in 30 days.

See the red A? Half block from the speedy part of 6th. Sold in 30 days.

Frankly, I’m only partially surprised. My client did an amazing job of maintaining and upgrading it, which proves that a good remodel can overcome quite a few challenges, even location. Buyers are picky and sellers’ memories can get awfully short when it comes to when they last updated their home (trust me, I have one of those memories). When you’re ready to sell/list a house, know that the up-front work does pay off!

Karl Lueders is a Realtor with the Kentwood Company at Cherry Creek. You can visit him at his Web site, Karl Sells Denver, or by calling him at 720-971-8267.

Another satisfied customer

From Tara and Jason, whose Stapleton home sold in less than a week.
“Karl Lueders was a pleasure to work with.  He was professional and extremely honest in this tough market.  He fulfilled all of his promises in marketing, photography, showings… and in turn, sold our house in 6 days. Thanks to Karl, we had a wonderful house-selling experience and I would highly recommend his services.”
For more testimonials, click on the Testimonial tab above or click here!
Karl Lueders is a Realtor with the Kentwood Company at Cherry Creek. You can visit him at his Web site, Karl Sells Denver, or by calling him at 720-971-8267.

Summer’s Over, But Not the Buying Season

When I travel out of state, I inevitably strike up the same conversations that I do when I meet new friends here in Denver. Which start with something like this: “How’s the market in Denver? Is it bad as it is here in (enter another city here)?”

Usually, my answers are, “Not as bad you think,” and “Definitely not as bad as (enter same city here).”

Let’s not look past the fact that 2008 is acting consistently to 2007 in terms of homes sold per month.

This August

  • 765 homes were sold in the city of Denver, a dip of 8.3% from this time last year.

But, this past July

  • 925 homes were sold in the city of Denver, an increase of 11.3%!

While there was discrepancy between the months as they compare to those same dates in 2007, the overall tally remains effectively the same over the past 60 days! And the drop-off from July to August is considerably higher than the rally the Denver market usually runs through from August to September.

The MLS reported 613 homes sold in September 2007. Let’s try to break that, starting with one of these:

2749 South Cook Street

2465 South Sherman Street

613 Brentwood St.

1008 Corona St. #306

Karl Lueders is a Denver Realtor with The Kentwood Company at Cherry Creek. He can be reached at 720-971-8267.

Are You Picking Up What I’m Setting Down? Denver’s Doing Work!

I’m not sure if Colorado has truly deserved the maligning it’s received for being a cesspool of foreclosures and slimy lending practices (there’s plenty of blame to go around for either topic) but when you’re a national punchline for so long, regardless of whether it’s true or not, sometime it’s nice for the truth to come out. CNBC just named Colorado as one of the top 5 states to do business in the US!

Wow, how do you go from the outhouse to the penthouse in one fell swoop? First off, it’s not one fell swoop. Second, Colorado was hardly in the outhouse to begin with… first and foremost, Colorado’s faulty definition of a foreclosure is partially to blame for what now could be said are inflated foreclosure rates. According to the Colorado Springs’ Gazette, the state records a foreclosure when the lender files the paperwork, not when the property is sold. The difference is that when a lender files, the homeowner (or lienholder) still has ample time to redeem.

Of course, this is the same state legislature, that up until the beginning of 2008, didn’t require any sort of licensing for mortgage brokers operating in this state. I remember finding a home for a couple that moved here from Chicago and was going to use one of their “boys” to do the loan. When I spoke with this lender to get a pre-approval letter, not only was there no letterhead from his company, but he spelled the name of my firm (at the time, the most recognized real estate company in the world) incorrectly.

When I called him out on it, his reply was, “Hey, it’s Denver. It’s the Wild West out there. Who cares?” I asked my clients if they wouldn’t mind finding a local lender, which they did, and everything went smoothly from that point forward. That was a couple of years ago, but you get the point. Reputations die hard. Which is why CNBC’s article, combined with the DNC’s impending arrival is giving this town a much-needed shot in the arm. I’m reserving judgement on how the city and state capitalize on these invigorations (think Chicago after their DNC hosting, not Montreal after their Olympics).

About your author.


How Dare You Low-Ball My Overpriced House?

Have you heard this tender real estate axiom before? “If buyer and seller both feel like they’re getting screwed, then it must be a fair deal.” This horribly depressing statement works on the principle that if I’m not getting mine, at least you’re not getting yours. Take it from me: I’ve been miserable before and hanging out with other miserable people doesn’t make me feel any better.

What could possibly set a homebuyer or homeseller off like that? Well, in this market, it apparently doesnt’t take much. A buyer’s incredulity when a seller refuses to fix nickel-and-dime inspection items; delays in response time (albeit within the parameters of the contract); a seller’s reluctance to allow a showing at a certain time or a buyer who won’t back off their 2-hr window. And on and on and on…

… however, during a testy market, such as the one we’re all basking in right now, the big “diss” usually comes down to price. For buyers, it’s seeing a house with a price tag that’s out of whack with the neighborhood (sellers aren’t serious, hence they won’t negotiate); for sellers, it’s getting a low-ball offer (“Are they high?” is a common refrain from some of my clients). My colleague Betty Jung in Portland, OR has some sage words on this topic, which you’ll find in Betty’s blog, but the answer, once again, lies in what how well your Realtor can read between the lines of a listing. And trust me, it’s not that hard in this market.


As I alluded to in my “This Lovely Market” post, if you’re selling in this market, it’s likely you HAVE to sell, which means that the SALE of the house is the top priority vs. the PROCEEDS from that sale. (Getting in touch with how your house ranks on the market could mean touring the other active listings with your Realtor.) If the comps reveal a $300,000-$310,000 list price, why would you list your house at $325,000? To end up at $310,000? That’s not a great strategy, unless you’ve been keeping up with your updating and you’re presenting a turn-key house to the buying public. Otherwise, when you go market with a stale, overpriced product, buyers can see you from down the block. There’s also no law against holding firm to your price if you feel it’s competitive; just don’t ignore buyer feedback.


Having been to Las Vegas a few times in my life (when I say few, I mean quite a few), I can attest to the dull ache of “winner’s remorse.” The pain of losing is swift and painful, don’t get me wrong, but I think the syndrome of wishing you had bet more on a winning hand, game or roll is the true business model that supports Vegas. Ever been the guy/girl at the craps table who had the puniest bet during a hot roller’s streak? Everybody around you is raking it in and you’re getting stack envy. So what happens? You get out fo your comfort zone, stop listening to reason and overcompensate to the point where you actually think you understand horse racing. Today’s buyer is not unlike the modest Vegas winner; the market has provided him with a healthy buy opportunity but he’s pretty sure he can squeeze these “desperate sellers” even more.

The problem is that while sellers shouldn’t be angry at low offers on their overpriced house, buyers can’t expect sellers to roll out the red carpet for any offer, especially when they’re priced fairly.

Good Realtors understand how the market has moved and where it’s headed; at least, they’re in a position to react quickly to it. And since the goal of real estate is to sell and buy homes, not win, reacting to the market is a very good skill to have.

-Karl Lueders

How to sell your house from the driver’s seat

I happen to live in Denver’s Driving Park Historic District, which encompasses all houses north of 4th, south of 6th between Downing and High. We moved into a 1400 sf Victorian in 1999 for way more than we wanted to spend, and struggled for at least 2 years wondering how we would spend the remaining $14.32 that we didn’t plop down on our mortgage payment every month. Eventually, our income caught up to our house, and now we can go to the movies together, as opposed to taking turns.

One of the nice things about living in Driving Park and near Denver’s Country Club neighborhood is that we’ve remained relatively bubble-proof, although for reasons different than most neighborhoods.

At first glance, it appears that our section of central Denver is not unlike the rest of the metro area. Currently, there are 47 homes on the market; 31 of these are currently listed for more than $700k. And, when you consider that only 6 houses are under contract and 14 homes have sold in the past 6 months, that amount of inventory seems even more daunting.

Yes, there are homes that have been on the market for more than a year and there’s a large handful of homes that have near or below the seller’s original purchase price (yes, even in Country Club do sellers take it in the gut). But, as I said before, these statistics are not only misleading, but they can provide everyone with valuable lessons about homeownership and how to prepare for selling.

For example, only 3 of the homes sold or are about to close this year are under $700k and several homes above $2million (!) have sold well below the average days on market (DOM). (To get an idea of how the Denver market is performing in general, read my respected colleague Gayle Glucksman’s entry in the Realty Times about market saturation.)

But how does this help you? Read on. Once you know the rules of selling a house in Country Club and apply those rules to sellling your own home, you will realize that or your neighborhood, the numbers begin to make perfect sense.


IMHO, many Country Club Historic District homeowners - broadly, everyone north of 1st Ave, south of 4th between Downing and University (it’s slightly more detailed than that on the east side of the neighborhood, but anyway) – do not see their homes as their primary investment. In order to buy a home, you have to be able afford it, but, more importantly, you have to be able to update and maintain it. This rule increases 4-5x with $1M+ homes.

Like you and I, CCHD homeowners develop a strong emotional attachment to their home, but unlike you and I, they aren’t “house poor” like many people were or are. The result is that there is less emotion and more strategy when it comes to pricing their house. Specifically, two distinct strategies:

  • PLAN A: when you live in a great neighborhood and there is no pressure to leave, you can move on your terms. What ends up happening is that many sellers will price their house according to optimal market conditions (FYI: currently we’re not living in “optimal market conditions.”) and let the market come to them. But not all of it! Most Country Club homeowners don’t – and shouldn’t – allow unqualified buyers to tour their homes, thus filtering the number of “tourists” from coming through their houses. Depending on motivation, there are times when houses north of $3 million will stay on the market for more than 2 years!
  • PLAN B: There are times, however, when job, family or some other circumstance will change the motivation of a homeowner. When you lose control of your situation, Country Club homeowners are just like any other homeowner. More often than not, buyers can take advantage of sellers that relist their house within a couple of years of moving in - especially in this market – or sellers who failed to upgrade a house hoping that the great bones and great block would keep it up with the competition. Regardless of where you live, if your house doesn’t show well because you failed to update or (gasp) your taste isn’t as mainstream as the next house, you can almost see the calculator in a buyer’s head deducting huge chunks off your list price. Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t one homeowner on the planet who is going to be happy about taking a loss on their home, but it’s not a coincidence that successful people often possess a healthy mix of reality, proactivity and a desire to move forward with their lives. And it’s no coincidence that many people that live in Country Club and Driving Park have already found success or are well on their way.


Regardless of your neighborhood, you as a homeowner have several options on how to market your property when you need to sell. If you’re electing to move, you can certainly choose Plan A, but eventually you’re going to have be honest with yourself about whether you’re seeing what your house is really worth in this market or if you really want a change of scenery. This market is very quick to respond to your opinion of your house’s worth, so if there’s part of you that thinks you’re not going to get what you want, you may reconsider listing your house (that’s another post altogether). Plan B is never the optimal alternative, but it reflects reality, and as many people are wont to admit, life ain’t fair. The best way to ease the pain of B, especially in this market, is to make a run at a price you’d like to get but be ready to accept what a buyer will bring you.


There is Plan C, which I find to be the optimal route for selling a house, but it also forces you to resist the urge to procrastinate and – yuk – do some work around the house.

  • PLAN C: I have clients that will contact me in March/April, letting me know that they’d like to be in a new house by September. While that conversation is nothing new, these clients are prepared to make it happen. They’ll expect me to come by the house and consult with them on what needs to be done to the house in order to have it sold in 4 months.

Sound impossible? Not at all. (Maybe, if they need to gut their kitchen. But if these people are calling 6 months ahead of time, they’ve already made significant updates to their house.) They also recognize that the ultimate goal is to be in a new house, not trying to squeeze every nickel they can out of their current home. These people have either made a profit on their house and won’t led greed disrupt their lives, or their life change is more important than an extra 1-2% of sales price (now that’s another post for another day!) in a bad market. In either case, they’re moving forward with their lives.

What’s my role in moving them forward? To bring as many buyers as possible to the house, present as much feedback as possible, and give the seller the opportunity to react to the market’s criticisms.

Remember, most of us don’t live in the Country Club, but with a little planning, we can be just as savvy when it comes to selling our houses. And when you’re ready, be sure to visit me to get a little more insight as to why I can get you in the driver’s seat.




Housing inventory down; price points up… story at 11?

If you’re expecting any of the data here to make the front page anytime soon, don’t hold your breath. These numbers aren’t bleeding, so they’re not leading.

But there are embedded glimmers of hope for people clamoring for positive real estate indicators.

Housing inventory is up over last month, but compared to this time last year when our market was saturated, the trend is absolutely positive. The combination of sales, unreasonable sellers and more motivated bank activity has certainly contributed to this overall decrease. Housing prices have decreased in the past 12 months, down close to 10k since 2006. But month-to-month numbers have shot upward, as have the under contracts on the single-family side. The condo market still isn’t the greatest, but the month-to-month upticks are still pretty encouraging.

So when can you expect a local talking head to report on the eventual uptick in the Denver housing market? When their house sells for more than what they paid for, I’m guessing. If you’re curious what houses are selling for in your neighborhood, go to this search tool to find out. To find what they sold for, go here