Home giveaway could kick-start project
GYPSUM Jeff Brode thinks he knows how to kick-start a project: Give away a $400,000 duplex in Gypsum.Brodes company, Alpine Land & Homes, is the new sales broker for the Aspen Ridge project, just south of the Eagle County Regional Airport at Gypsum, and wants to get the spring construction off to a solid start. The giveaway is the biggest splash Brode knows how to make.Of course, there are some strings attached. The biggest is that the home will be won only by someone whos already signed a purchase contract, qualified for a mortgage and put down a nonrefundable $10,000 deposit on one of the 20 available duplexes by April 15. The winner will be drawn from that group of committed buyers.The winner will be responsible for paying the taxes and various other fees and dues. But theres a big difference between owing thousands and hundreds of thousands on a new home.If youre in the market, you should go for it, and if youre not in the market, you should still go for it. It would be a great investment, said Sam Garton Gale, one of the partners in the Buckhorn Valley development. And at one chance in 20, those are pretty good odds.Aspen Ridge isnt being developed by the Garton family, but it is subject to the developments rules and regulations, and owners belong to the Buckhorn Valley homeowners association.People still think its a Garton project, so we really want it to succeed, Garton Gale said. It will help us at Buckhorn, too. The home giveaway should generate a lot of attention, she added. Brodes company is also a partner in a deal to buy the remaining unbuilt lots at Buckhorn almost 600 lots so generating buzz at Aspen Ridge will provide a lot of momentum for those plans, too.If the deal closes no deal is truly done until the closing documents are signed Brode is confident hell be able to repeat the Aspen Ridge lottery idea.Thats just part of the plan to revitalize Buckhorn Valley, which includes developing a school site, building a day-care center and sprucing up the entry to the project off Cooley Mesa Road. We want to make that a little more obvious so people know whats coming, he said.But to get people to buy, Brodes also talking about some creative ways to get people into homes even as credit becomes harder to get.Ideas Brode and his partners are talking about include putting solar panels on the roofs of homes and and then applying the tax credits that come with the panels to the down payment.Brode has a history of creative financing. He put together construction-loan/mortgage packages for the first homes built at the Chatfield Corners subdivision in Gypsum.As the nations subprime mortgage market has imploded, packages like the ones that built so many homes at Chatfield just arent available anymore. People who qualify still can get a loan for 95 percent of a homes price, but even 5 percent down on a $400,000 home is $20,000.It wasnt always this way.We couldnt keep homes in stock when we started Buckhorn Valley, Garton Gale said. Wed sell the homes as fast as we could put them up.When the market at Buckhorn slowed with the advent of Chatfield Corners in 2003, the Gartons could do a little custom work on the factory-built homes going up at Buckhorn. As the project slowed, the Gartons would sell 10 or 15 lots at a time to builders and other developers. Buckhorns location also has worked against it for the past few years. While Chatfield Corners was built within easy walking distance of a brand-new elementary school and middle school, Buckhorn for several years hasnt been close to much of anything. Gypsums Costco store has started to change that, as other retail businesses move into the giant stores neighborhood.Besides shopping, the long-planned Saddle Ridge development will bring a golf course to Buckhorns neighborhood. All that, along with a link to the new recreation path between Eagle and Gypsum, should make Buckhorn more appealing to buyers. But while the current real estate market is slow, dont expect to find any bargains, at least not at any of the units Brodes company is selling.Price drops hurt everyone, he said. To live here, youve got to work harder, and youre going to pay more.
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