By MARK SAMUELSON | [email protected] | Denver Post
PUBLISHED: February 23, 2018 at 6:50 pm
John and Marriott Smart had reached their 80s before they knew for sure that their home of 38 years in The Knolls near the Streets at Southglenn wasn’t working for them anymore. “We decided in 2015 that it was time to think about a different style of life,” recalls John. But it was a full year before the couple arranged a coherent plan to make it all happen – including finding a new place and getting their old one ready to sell.
After a couple of false starts on real estate agents, their financial planner recommended a call to Conrad Steller and the Steller Group at Keller Williams DTC, LLC. Smart recalls that Steller did a quick tour of their home, recommended some updating in the baths, then pointed out something that the previous agents had totally missed – a basement wall was showing some bowing due to a drainage issue, something that would likely be a deal-breaker during a sale. “You’ve got to have that taken care of,” Steller told them.
“We were impressed,” says John Smart. Their confidence grew as The Steller Group brought in specialists to handle a variety of other issues that are stumbling blocks to carrying out a complex, downsizing move – not just the basement wall (Steller has an in-house contractor that quickly remedied the issue), but deciding what to get rid of and what to keep; making some low-cost improvements likely to yield a better sale; finding an alternative place to live; and arranging that move in sync with the sale of the house.
Now the Smarts are out of their 2,500-square-foot home (“It sold in a couple of days, and we got more than we asked,” says Smart), and are into a 1,500-square-foot, two-bedroom-plus-study apartment in Wind Crest by Erickson Living in western Highlands Ranch. Smart says he was particularly pleased by the initiative the Steller Group agents took in key aspects of the transition, including staging their home for sale at no added cost.
“We try to talk with people while they’re in the planning process,” says Steller. “It could be years ahead — some people would rather enjoy the house a little before they actually move.” Steller has a division that coordinates any required pre-sale work, including a fully licensed contractor who can act as a super. “In this rising market, buyers often don’t have cash left over to make improvements, and when they see those problems, it can be a deal-breaker,” he adds. “If we set it up so that it’s turnkey, the buyer rolls the improvements into the mortgage and you draw a much wider market.”
The end objective is to recover the highest yield possible. Steller notes that the team just took on another downsizing client, a woman who’d been offered $180,000 by investors for her dated home, before her son convinced her to call The Steller Group. They carried out an updating of the basement and baths, plus fresh carpet, for around $12,000. The final sale set off a bidding war, yielding a contract at $350,000.
Steller’s team are experts on ranch and low-maintenance communities, including nonpurchase ones, and have a free seminar scheduled on “Property Values and High-Yield Improvements,” Tuesday, March 13, 11 a.m. at HighPointe, 6383 E. Girard Place in Denver; also on reverse mortgages and fraud prevention, Wednesday, March 28, 9:30-11 a.m., with a mortgage broker and a consumer fraud expert from the Denver district attorney’s office, at Southglenn Library, 6972 S. Vine St., Centennial. To reserve a spot, call 720-593-9355.