Steamboat Realtor: Improvements could help move property |

Steamboat Realtor: Improvements could help move property

Upgrades may help set homes apart in slow market

— In a housing market where most homes bought in the past six years are worth less than what the owner paid for them, it's understandably difficult for sellers to invest in all but the most necessary improvements. However, one veteran Steamboat Springs Realtor says in the competitive million-dollar-plus market, tackling a major upgrade can set a home apart from the competition.

"Even when times are good, people say, 'I hate to spend the money,'" said Marci Valicenti, of Sotheby's High Mountain International Realty. "But today's real estate market is price-driven, as we all know. Buyers are savvy, a lot of them very focused on a price per square foot. They certainly expect more for less."

With the amount of inventory on the market, sellers are competing for buyers' attention, she said. 

"They either have to have a better price or a better product or both," Valicenti said. "Even though prices have come down and sellers are not getting the returns on their investments that they once could have, many sellers are sinking money into their property to get it ready for resale."

Valicenti has listed a large log home in the south valley on Elk Lane for $2.95 million. Her clients have been willing to spend $100,000 to $200,000 to build a new domestic water well and increase the curb appeal of the home that was designed to host large family gatherings.

The log home sits on 41 acres just south of Agate Creek Preserve and has six bedrooms and 5 1/2 baths and a bunkroom in its 9,426 square feet.

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"It has unbelievable views," Valicenti said. "If you want views of the ski mountain, if you want views of a golf course, if you want views of a river, it has them all."

In addition to the main house, the Elk Lane home has a 1,400-square-foot caretaker's house with its own two-car garage. The current owners have an on-site manager who resides there.

In addition to drilling a new well, the owners installed dark hardwood floors with the hand hew look, a new flagstone patio, new landscaping and a new shower in the master bedroom.

"They built a whole new entrance to the home with rock columns and decks," Valicenti said. "The entry has quartzite flooring."

While the clients have owned the home, they have been content to pay for domestic water deliveries, but Valicenti knew there was a misperception in the real estate community that the home had "water problems." Some fellow Realtors weren't as eager to show the home because of that.

The issue was rectified by drilling a new well in fall, with positive results, even though it was the time of year when the water table is naturally at its lowest.

The home was previously on the market for a short time, and she also knew that Realtors had formed an opinion about the home built in 1993.

Now it's time to coax Realtors back to see the changes wrought by more than $100,000 in upgrades.

"This is the ideal home for families to congregate in," Valicenti said.

— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or e-mail

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