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Your Castle Real Estate Newsletter May 2023

Updated: Nov 5, 2023


Ghostly Drama – Renovating a Murder House Offends Paranormal Purists

Lance Zaal, owner of the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, has encountered some amusing opposition from fans who are against any changes made to the historic property. The Lizzie Borden House gained notoriety in 1892 when Andrew Borden and his wife were brutally murdered... The main suspect? Their daughter Lizzie Borden.

Zaal purchased the house for $1.8 million in 2021 and has since invested over $250,000 in renovations, much to the dismay of the “Borden fandom”. Even minor changes, like updating a bathroom or moving a vintage stove, have caused controversy among amateur sleuths and dedicated bloggers who believe the house should remain untouched. Despite the criticism, Zaal defends his restoration efforts, citing positive feedback from visitors. The house continues to captivate people who have a unique fascination with murder mysteries, the paranormal, and history. Under Zaal's ownership, the property has seen a significant increase in visitors and popularity. Offering ghost tours, paranormal activities, and enhanced guest amenities, Zaal has doubled the number of visitors and attracted people from over 105 different countries. While some fans argue that the house should be preserved exactly as it was in 1892, Zaal maintains that visitors come to the house to be educated and have meaningful experiences.

If you're interested in staying at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, it's advisable to book in advance, as rooms fill up quickly, especially on the anniversary of the infamous murders. And don't forget to check out the barn's gift shop, where you can find a cuddly teddy bear holding a soft hatchet as a quirky memento.

(Story/Info Source: The Wall Street Journal,


Housing Inventory Increased, Sales Declined The metro Denver real estate market in April showed an increase in active listings by 44% compared to the previous year, with the number of homes up by 33% and the number of condos up by 80%. However, the 4,600 active listings remained well below the historical average of 14,300 for this time of year. If we don’t see an increase in new inventory getting brought to the market, we might see fiercer competition for what few listings we do have available. Under Contract listings decreased by 18% from the previous year, consistent with national trends, indicating a lack of mortgage applications from buyers. Until we see a meaningful uptick in the number of buyers applying for a mortgage (which has been mired at ten-year lows), it is not really possible for this to improve. Overall sales were down 30% from April 2022, with homes and condos performing similarly.

The average home price declined by 6% in Denver as compared to the previous year but remained more stable than in most other western US cities (e.g., Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles). The average price in April was $682,000, with homes at a steep $772,000 average, and condos at $472,000. Properties sold for an average of 0.4% above the asking price, showing a more competitive market than we have had so far this year.

(Info Source: The Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR))


Skyrocketing Property Valuations Spark Concerns

The biggest news for homeowners is that property assessors in metro Denver have reported double-digit increases in property valuations, impacting homeowners' property taxes. Median residential increases ranged from 33% in Denver to 47% in Douglas County. Property owners are encouraged to review their assessments and file an appeal if necessary. However, the new property taxes are A LOT higher for most homes, which will hurt the ability of buyers to qualify for their monthly payments. Lawmakers are discussing reducing the increase of property taxes. We will see if they can agree, and if so, how fast it will take for any relief to be issued.

(Info Source: The Denver Business Journal)


Affordability Remains an Issue - Consider Breaking Tradition

Although Colorado ranks fourth on Moneywise's list of challenging states for first-time homebuyers due to high prices and limited inventory, there are enticing options for savvy buyers. Consider exploring new construction homes, as builders often include incentives for mortgage buy downs, making them attractive financial choices. As a point of reference, in December 2022 newly built homes represented 35% of all homes sold in the U.S., which was a record in that data going all the way back to the early 1980s. Also, consider condos/townhomes, as they are now significantly cheaper on average than detached single family homes. Even if your next home is not your dream home, you would still build equity over the life of your loan and could eventually consider trading-up or refinancing for lower monthly payments. Try to take advantage of these out-of-the-box opportunities to fulfill your homeownership aspirations and build your own equity (as opposed to your landlord’s) and secure a brighter future for yourself in the process.

(Info Source: The Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR), The Wall Street Journal)

*We use reasonable efforts to include accurate and up-to-date information. The real estate market changes often. We make no guarantees of future real estate performance and assume no liability for any errors of omission in the content.

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