Steamboat Springs David Josfan broke ground on a new spec home in Boulder Ridge this week and he already can visualize the car the likely buyers will drive up in.
“He’ll probably drive a Lexus SUV or a nice new SUV,” Josfan said. “It’s going to be something smart. He’s a person like you and me, only he did better in the stock market than we did.”
Josfan isn’t psychic. He just has a finely tuned sense of the Steamboat market for a $1.695 million home in late 2010 and 2011.
Nobody has had the temerity to undertake a new spec home in the Steamboat market for a couple of years in this economic slowdown. Ask a banker — they won’t lend money on a spec home project. Josfan isn’t concerned.
“I think it’s being smart about the current market,” he said. “And spec homes are all I’ve done. I did my first spec home when I was 18, and I’ve only done a handful of contract homes.”
Josfan moved here from Los Angeles more than a decade ago. He was working as a house painter and was hanging wallpaper when he got his uncle to co-sign a loan and step in to replace an investor who had backed out on his boss’s fixer-upper project near La Brea and Melrose in Southern California.
The budding entrepreneur cleared $10,000 on the job and moved on to the next one.
Josfan has something much more ambitious in mind at Boulder Ridge, where he is an investor in the subdivision and building the first house there. He overcame the unavailability of bank financing when a third-party investor, an existing client of Boulder Ridge co-developer Jon Peddie, came forward and pitched the idea of a spec house. The listing Realtor for the 3,500- to 3,600-square-foot home is Stephan Baden, of Prudential Steamboat Realty.
In Boulder Ridge, where three lots sold this summer, David Baldinger Jr., of Steamboat Village Brokers, and Prudential’s Pam Vanatta have the co-listing on the remaining 15 lots in the subdivision.
Baldinger said he thinks Josfan’s development team will find a new niche with a little bit smaller home that has all of the features and high level of finishes that previously could be found only in larger homes.
Josfan said he consulted Baden, Vanatta and Baldinger before homing in on his price points.
“Most of them said they show high-end condos and townhomes near the base of the ski area,” he said. He took it as a sign that a significant number of the homes in the $1.5 million to $2 million range didn’t meet expectations.
Baden said he thinks the pre-existing homes on the market, which are unavoidably older, will have a tough time competing with a spec home built for the coming decade.
“This house will be more efficient, well designed and easier to take care of,” Baden said. “If you look in that target price range, you’ll see some level of compromises. If you buy next to them, it inevitably reduces the value.”
Peddie said the difference between the house Josfan has undertaken and spec homes begun five years ago is that it will offer all of the luxuries in fewer square feet.
“We have as much usable space as many larger homes,” Peddie said. “It’s not that existing homes on the market aren’t nice homes. There are nice homes in Mountain View Estates filing three. This is Mountain View Estates filing four, and it’s 15 years later.”
The avoidance of unnecessary staircases and wide hallways in the Josfan project are just one example, he said. Yet, Josfan insisted on providing separate office/hobby space for two people in the home. And he will completely wire and plumb a 700-square-foot room beneath the garage so that the future owners could grow into the home in any way that suits their needs.
Josfan said he worked side by side during the span of six to eight months with architect Keith Kelly, of Kelly & Stone Architects, to eliminate any squandered square feet in the house. One of the design wrinkles he’s most proud of is the positioning of the main-level deck off to the side of the great room instead of centered on it. That accomplishes two things, he said.
The building lot is steeply pitched, allowing views that look over the tops of aspen trees to Sleeping Giant. But it took several iterations of the plans to design a two-story home with the main floor at street level, a flat driveway with enough space to park guests’ cars, and a short paved walk to the front door without the need for any stairs.
The lots high on Boulder Ridge, located between the Sanctuary and Fish Creek, are situated ideally for solar gain, but Josfan will prep the home for active solar panels. He points to visible communication towers on Emerald Mountain and Mount Werner and makes the point that telecommuters will have no problem getting broadband. With that in mind, all of the lots in Boulder Ridge are ready to run six to eight pairs of telecommunication lines into the structures.