Aspen: Deed-restricted home on the market for $1.45 million |

Aspen: Deed-restricted home on the market for $1.45 million

An Aspen, Colorado, doctor placed his North 40 home on the market last weekend for $1.45 million after he was ordered by the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority to try to sell it.

Dr. Kenton Bruice and his wife Donna placed a yellow “For Sale” sign in front of their residence. The telephone number on the sign is Donna’s. The Bruices are trying to sell the home themselves rather than pay a commission to a real estate agent, Donna Bruice said.

“If we get a full-price offer, we’d be happy to sell,” she said.

They have been looking at free-market homes in the Aspen area. Now is a good time to be looking because prices have fallen during the recession, she noted.

The housing authority board of directors ordered Dr. Bruice to list the North 40 house after it determined in a hearing that he doesn’t spend enough time in Aspen to meet residency requirements for deed-restricted housing. North 40 homes must be resident-occupied, meaning that owners must live in Aspen at least 275 days per year and meet requirements for the amount of time worked. Bruice contended he met the qualification, despite practicing some of the time in Denver. The housing authority board found he violated the residency requirement and voted 3-1 on April 21 to make him try to sell.

Donna Bruice wasn’t on the deed at the time, so her residency and work hours weren’t considered at the residency hearing. Bruice said at the time that his wife spends more time in Aspen than he does, and would meet the authority’s residency requirement.

Since the April 21 meeting the Bruices used a quit-claim deed to add Mrs. Bruice as an owner. However, Donna Bruice said Tuesday they wouldn’t try to cure the alleged residency violation.

“I don’t feel like going back and begging them, ‘Please let me back in my house, please let me back in my house,'” she said.

The Bruices’ five-year-old house has four bedrooms, 3.5 baths and an open floor plan that boasts large, south-facing windows with views that take in the Continental Divide, Aspen Mountain and Aspen Highlands. The house is about 3,500 square feet. The Pitkin County Assessor’s Office has priced the actual value of the property at $1,359,900.

The Housing Authority website shows a house in North 40 similar to the size of the Bruices’ home is listed for sale at $1,373,290. It’s been on the market for more than 100 days.

The listing of the Bruices’ house at $1.45 million creates an interesting challenge for the housing authority, Director Tom McCabe said. He contended the house should be listed at its appraised price “or a little less.”

“From that point of view, that wouldn’t be a serious price,” he said of the listing price.

Donna Bruice said the authority hasn’t contacted her family since the April 21 meeting to provide direction on what must be done to sell the house.

McCabe said a reasonable effort must be made to try to sell the house. Defining reasonable is the tricky part.

“Listing it or putting a sign up doesn’t necessarily mean you’re trying to sell it,” McCabe said.

But he also acknowledged that the depressed state of the real estate market because of the recession makes it tough to sell a home. “It’s a moving target,” McCabe said. “It’s not easy. The market is in a state of flux.”

It is unclear how much leverage the housing authority has to force a homeowner to reduce a price to try to spur a sale. McCabe said the authority might commission a new appraisal of the Bruice house and direct them to price it accordingly.

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