A Steamboat Springs investor, with plans to build his own home in the future, closed on four lots in Steamboat Barn Village for a little more than $1 million this week. They represent the first closings since the developers announced they would begin to sell some lots at half the original listing price, putting some asking prices as low as $250,000.

Photo by Tom Ross

A Steamboat Springs investor, with plans to build his own home in the future, closed on four lots in Steamboat Barn Village for a little more than $1 million this week. They represent the first closings since the developers announced they would begin to sell some lots at half the original listing price, putting some asking prices as low as $250,000.

Yampa Valley land desirable again

Lots moving at Barn Village, in Hayden, along Yampa River

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— After languishing all summer, land deals are coming to the fore in the Yampa Valley during the fourth quarter of 2010.

Realtor Chris Wittemyer said the developers of Barn Village closed the sale of four single-family lots last week — all four to a longtime Steamboat resident.

Stephan Baden, Wittemyer’s colleague at Prudential Steam­boat Realty, confirmed Thurs­day that all 72 unsold lots at the Lake Village subdivision in Hayden are under contract to a buyer who tentatively plans to re-market them individually. Vonnie Frentress, of Colorado Group Realty, has a co-listing on the property. The asking price for the lots owned by Vectra Bank is $2 million.

Developer Jon Peddie also has a new contract on an exclusive building lot in Boulder Ridge, high above The Sanctuary. The Boulder Ridge lots are co-listed by Pam Vanatta, of Prudential, and David Baldinger Jr., of Steamboat Village Brokers.

However, one of the best land stories of fall goes back to Sept. 9, when Bo Stempel, of Colorado Group, brought the buyer to a pair of large home sites on the Yampa River for a combined $2.99 million.

Stempel didn’t sell the bottomland to his client — he sold it to a friend of his client’s.

Stempel said he had been working with a prospective buyer of the properties for two years and even had them under contract once. When the economy headed south, the buyer understandably became nervous and walked away from the deal, but not so far away that Stempel didn’t get in touch every three months or so.

“Follow up, follow up, follow up. Selling means helping people make tough decisions,” Stempel said. “Selling is not a negative term, it means keeping people on task and helping them make a difficult decision. It’s the difference between succeeding and failing right now.”

When the client terminated the contract, he told Stempel he still had an interest.

“I didn’t push him, but I kept in touch,” Stempel said. “I called him once a quarter. When he told me he was coming to town, I said let’s go fish the property.”

“Can I bring a friend?” the client asked.

“Sure,” Stempel said he told him. “Bring him along.”

Long story short, the first buyer didn’t like that the land straddled the Yampa, but his buddy thought that was the best quality of the real estate and fell in love with it. He called Stempel two weeks later and said he had the permission of the first buyer to pursue it. The deal closed 30 days later for cash.

The selling prices on the two lots were less than the asking prices, Wittemyer said, but higher than what the previous owner paid for them in 2007. The asking price on the larger of the two, at 40.75 acres, was $1.95 million, and it sold for $1.4 million. The asking price on the smaller lot, at 38 acres, was $2.5 million, and it sold for $1.59 million.

Barn Village breakthrough

The purchaser of the four lots at Barn Village is Rick Erb, who paid $1.1 million for the four single-family lots. Erb said he started out looking for a single lot, but after looking at his first choice for a while, he realized it might be wise to buy the lot next door.

“When they announced a 50 percent price reduction in June, it caught my eye,” Erb said. “I thought it was a good location and a good concept. I thought, ‘Why not get the lot next door, enjoy it for a while and control when it gets built on?’”

Erb has had a real estate license here for more than 35 years, but he keeps it active primarily for his own benefit. He said his interest in Barn Village grew to four lots when he recalled passing on an opportunity to buy building lots in the Country Green subdivision for an attractive price in the early 1970s.

“I sort of told myself I wouldn’t let that happen again,” Erb said. He also figured correctly that by negotiating for four lots, he could get a lower price per lot.

Wittemyer acknowledged that Erb was able to get an additional 10 percent discount from the asking price, on top of the 50 percent June reductions.

Pursuant to the sale, Witte­myer said, the developer cleared up outstanding construction liens on the amenity building at Barn Village filed by sub-contractors.

“That was an important part of it,” Wittemyer said. “The liens have been satisfied, and the (property) taxes have been paid. I have a couple of people looking right now for whom that was also important.”

Erb said he had no immediate plans to build on his pick of the four lots, but he looks forward someday to the convenience of bicycling almost anywhere in Steamboat without needing to climb a steep hill to get home.

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