Grey House was our previous home where we raised the kids
Devastating fires are raging even today in Colorado Springs, Waldo Canyon, and up to Woodland Park. I personally watched as did the rest of Colorado Springs as a wall of flames raged down upon Mountain Shadows, one of the city’s most beautiful neighborhoods. I lived next door to Mountain Shadows for over 15 years and my kids went to school in that neighborhood. It was my community and our roots here in the Springs. I’m also a Realtor and from a business perspective this fire has immediate and long term repercussions that will be felt for years.
Obviously we have a charred mountain community and all current contracts this week are null and void. Our Colorado contract states that during contract period more than 10% damage to home gives the buyer the right to cancel- enough said. The contract also states that buyers can terminate based upon subjective evaluation of the home including smells- enough said. Even for those homes lucky to be left standing the entire aesthetics of the area has been damaged and we all know property values have just been altered for the time being. This was one of the area’s most affluent communities with homes ranging from mid 200s to over 900K for those displaying the panoramic views of Colorado Springs.
For the buyers this week thinking they had found their perfect home we have to guide back into the market, help them recover and regroup as well, and find a new property that meets their needs. The question is whether they will be willing, after watching this disaster, to venture into one of our neighboring mountain communities until the shock wears off. Insurance adjusters have warned that new policies in the burn zip codes of 80919 and 80904 will be difficult to obtain- but not impossible. A State Farm representative informed me that new policies for homes on the west side of Colorado Springs will include a visual inspection of the lot to see if landscape mitigation will be necessary prior to implementing a policy. This might delay some closings and become an issue of concern as to who is going to mitigate the property. One new hurdle to deal with on bank owned and distressed properties.
For the owners that have lost their homes I’m going to be dedicating a large portion of my business to helping them find rental homes in an already tight rental market. This is pro bono work but gives me joy to help and I’m there to assist traumatized residents in finding a home for the year or so it will take to rebuild. This is one small way for us as Realtors to step up to the plate and donate our resources to assisting home owners.
As Realtors we will have to readjust pricing to include changes from the perfection the area enjoyed to its current blemished state. I foresee a new wave of foreclosures as financially strapped residents now own property (even with a rebuilt home) that is devalued due to an event beyond their control but has sucked them into a vortex of monumental proportions.
We will rebuild the community and I’m positive the residents will take proactive measures to return the beauty to the area with full grown trees, landscaping rock, grass seed and sod, and other processes to obscure the charred remnants of hillside to a colorful stable environment. I’m proud of how our city has reacted coming together in mass force to provide services addressing the immediate needs of the displaced and traumatized residents and preparing for the long term effects of this historical event. As a Realtor I’m here to engage with my resources to assist where ever and whenever but also understand that the future of Mountain Shadows from a Realtor perspective has taken a dramatic turn.