Downtown Steamboat house sells sight unseen in a buyer’s market

Offer written on 12th Street home before it was shown to buyers

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The wrong photograph ran with an article about good values in the real estate market in the May 15 Steamboat Pilot & Today, giving the mistaken impression that longtime Steamboat Springs residents Mark Fischer and Mary Beth Norris had sold their home, which they have not. The correct home is at 455 12th St.

— You have to give Kathy Steinberg credit. In this difficult market, she managed to land an acceptable offer on her clients’ home in Old Town Steamboat Springs without showing it to the buyer.

The two-bedroom home on 12th Street sold for $427,000 on April 1. It’s an interesting price point for single-family homes that has cooled off with the market since 2006, when decent family homes in that range often attracted competing offers within 10 days of being listed.

What made this transaction special was the unusual circumstances. Within days of listing it with Steinberg at Prudential Steamboat Realty in August, the owners began to feel tentative about their chances of selling and quickly leased it to tenants who had the right to refuse showings.

“As soon as I listed it I began getting calls from people who wanted to see it, but I couldn’t get them in there. I had to tell them, if you’re interested, it’s a great house, make an offer.”

Fortunately for everyone in­­volved, a buyer came along late last winter who recognized the 1,728-square-foot home built in 1976 as a rare Old Town home with views of the ski trails at Howelsen Hill and Mount Werner.

“He called me from Fort Collins, and he made an offer on the home sight unseen,” Steinberg said. “We totally negotiated the sale of the house sight unseen.”

As far as Steinberg is concerned, real estate deals should go that way more often. In this case, it didn’t hurt that the husband and wife who bought the home were graduates of nearby Colorado Mountain College, and he is an active Realtor in Fort Collins. The buyer represented himself in the transaction.

“He realized they had an opportunity to strike at a good time in a buyer’s market,” Steinberg said. “If it looks like a good business decision, you jump; you don’t sit on your hands. You put your foot in the door.”

Of course, the prospective buyers wrote a contract that gave them an out and toured the home soon after their offer was accepted.

“He told me that it exceeded their expectations,” Steinberg said.

And wouldn’t you know the house closed on April Fools’ Day, which happens to be Kathy and her husband Erik Steinberg’s wedding anniversary.

$300K to $500K homes

Search the multiple listing service for single-family homes in Steamboat with asking prices of $300,000 to $500,000, and you may not turn up as many as you had expected.

A May 12 search within those parameters and encompassing the ski mountain, the Fish Creek neighborhoods, Old Town and west Steamboat produced 13 hits, with most of the action concentrated between $400,000 and $475,000.

Broaden the search to include the U.S. Highway 40 corridor just west of the city limits and extending to Milner, and the search results increased substantially to 27. Of the 27 family homes, 18 have three bedrooms and 15 are three-bedroom, two-bath homes.

Coincidentally, 27 is the number of residential sales among all types of homes, including condos and townhomes, in the $300,000 to $500,000 price point sold in the first quarter of 2011, according to research by Land Title Guarantee Co. It’s admittedly an apples to oranges comparison, but the 2011 numbers for first quarter residential sales compare favorably to the same quarter of 2009 and 2010. In each of those years, 11 homes in that price point sold in the first quarter.

— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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