Regional Government Affairs Update November 9, 2020 🏡

LOCAL
Boulder County
Democrats Continue Winning Tradition: Boulder County voters elected two more Democrats to replace term-limited Deb Gardner and Elise Jones on the Boulder County Board of Commissioners. LAR-endorsed candidate James Crowder was defeated by Marta Loachamin, who received 76 percent of the votes for the District 2 seat. Loachamin and Claire Levy (District 1) will join Matt Jones on the Board in January 2021. A Republican hasn’t served on the Board for nearly three decades.

Larimer County
Democrats Sweep County Commission: With 53 percent of the votes, Kristin Stephens won the right to represent District 2 on the Board of County Commissioners, replacing term-limited Steve Johnson. Stephens’ election creates a vacancy on the Fort Collins City County on which Stephens currently serves as Mayor Pro-Tem. 

Jody Shadduck-McNally beat Ben Aste in the District 3 race with 53 percent of the vote. She will replace Tom Donnelly, who was also term-limited. 

Why did voters prefer the Democratic candidates? The answer to that question could only be answered by an exit poll. However, “blue wave” has been a phenomenon in Larimer County politics since 2018 when voters chose John Kefalas for Commissioner (District 1) and Bob Overbeck for County Assessor. In this election county voters also chose a Democrat for District Attorney.

Note: The Fort Collins Board of REALTORS® and Loveland-Berthoud Association of REALTORS® had endorsed Bob McCluskey for District 2 and Ben Aste for District 3. 

Loveland
Voters Reject Sales Tax: 59 percent of Loveland voters said no to Ballot Issue 2A, a one percent sales and use tax increase for infrastructure, public safety and City services. This is the second time in two years that the City has unsuccessfully attempted to increase the City’s sales tax, which hasn’t been increased in decades.

Ballot measure 2A was supported by the Loveland-Berthoud Association of REALTORS® and the Loveland Chamber of Commerce.

Property Rights Theme of Council Discussion on Code Amendments: Recently staff presented a list of proposed amendments to Loveland’s Unified Development Code (UDC). The amendments discussed were described as major, relating to substantive, complex issues. All of the amendments had been reviewed and unanimously by the Planning Commission. 

The City Council spent most of its time discussing the recommendation to add a definition of family to the UDC. The definition is important because it is tied to the concept of occupancy limits. Staff explained that the UDC does not include that definition, although the previous development code capped occupancy at 3 unrelated people per unit, based on the notion that the average home has three bedrooms. However, the Council was not persuaded that the current lack of a definition poses a problem or that a residential occupancy limit was needed.

Staff explained that the UDC defines a small rooming house as four to eight unrelated people living together. But the Council did not see the inclusion of rooming house definition as necessitating a definition of family. 

The Planning Commission recommended adding a definition of a family as “any number of persons who are related by blood, marriage, adoptions, guardianship or custodial relationship, who live together in a single housekeeping unit and share common living, sleeping, cooking and eating facilities.” The Commission suggested the related occupancy limit for a home should be “an unlimited number of family members plus two unrelated persons or up to four unrelated individuals.”

Mayor Pro Tem Don Overcash asked if there was a problem the City was trying to solve. Councilmember Steve Olson agreed, saying he didn’t think the City should tell private property owners how many people should be allowed to live in their homes. Bob Paulson, the City’s Current Planning Manager, told the Council the code amendment could be written in such a way to remove occupancy limits for single-family homes.

The other major amendments, accessory structure size limits and minimum lot sizes required to allow the construction of accessory dwelling units also prompted a lot of questions from the Council. Councilmember Andrea Samson said she didn’t want to give neighbors the right to tell her she couldn’t build a larger ADU on her lot, while Dave Clark wanted more information on the Planning Commission’s ADU size limit recommendations, saying he wanted to understand its rationale.

It appears the accessory structure and ADU amendments will move forward in a public hearing process, but the family definition and its related occupancy limits will be “extracted” from the amendment list and subjected to further research. 

Note: Occupancy limits have not been controversial in Loveland. However, in other Northern Colorado cities, this topic has been the source of much discussion, particularly in Boulder and Fort Collins where advocates argue allowing greater occupancy in single-family homes would help housing affordability. Historically, increasing occupancy limits in these towns has been fiercely opposed by residents in some neighborhoods, with parking constraints and neighborhood character cited as reasons to protect lower occupancy limits.  

Weld County
GARA-Endorsed Candidates Elected to Board of Commissioners: All three candidates supported by the Greeley Area REALTORS Association were elected to the Board of County Commissioners. Perry Buck, who formerly served in the General Assembly representing House District 49 received 62 percent of the vote for the At-Large seat. Incumbent Mike Freeman received 65 percent of the vote. Lori Saine, who previously represented House District 63 was elected to represent District 3 with 55 percent of the vote.

Note: Weld County continues to buck the Democratic trend in Colorado. A Democrat hasn’t served on the Board of County Commissioners since 1992.

Greeley
Voters Pass Ballot Issue 2I: 73 percent of Greeley voters approved the extension of the Food (sales) Tax through December 2026. Revenues from the Food Tax help fund public buildings, parks, streets and recreational facilities. The City Council had been very concerned the ballot issue would face challenges, given the economic repercussions of the COVID pandemic but evidently voters are confident the tax’s revenues are put to good use in Greeley. The Greeley Area REALTOR® Association supported Ballot Issue 2I. 
 
Colorado Association of REALTORS®

CAR Endorsed Candidates Succeed: All of CAR’s endorsed candidates won seats in the Colorado General Assembly. This includes incumbents Joann Ginal (Fort Collins), Hugh McKean (Loveland) who is likely to be the House Minority Leader for 2021, and Jeni Arndt (Fort Collins).

Freshmen legislators endorsed by CAR include Barbara Kirkmeyer, the former Weld County Commissioner, who will represent Senate District 23, new Boulder County House Representatives Karen McCormick and Tracy Bennett, Tony Van Beber (Severance), Mike Lynch (Larimer County) and Dan Woog (eastern and southern Weld County).

Note: CAR was mostly successful with its positions on ballot measures as well. Proposition EE, the tax on vaping and tobacco was approved by 68 percent of the voters. Proposition 117 to require a vote on enterprise funds passed with 52 percent of the vote. Proposition 118, which CAR opposed, was approved by 57 percent of Colorado voters. Prop. 118 will create a tax to fund a paid family leave program.

STATE
Exemption on Manufactured Home Sales: Did you see the November 5, 2020 memo from the Division of Real Estate explaining when a real estate broker can sell a manufactured home? According to Director Marcia Waters, a broker can sell a manufactured home when there is and involved in the sale and the broker does not own the land. This includes sales where a lot lease is involved if the broker is negotiating the terms of. a separate land lease with the owner of the land where the home already sits or will be installed in the future in addition to selling the manufactured home OR the sale of the manufactured home is in conjunction with the sale of the land. 

Read the entire memo here:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OPdDe6mSvPdk7MNcCYNL5ig89XNgWxMg/view

Consequences of the Gallagher Amendment Repeal: By approving Amendment B, voters repealed the Gallagher Amendment, relinquishing its stranglehold on local tax policy and untangling one of the key threads in Colorado’s “fiscal knot.” In the short term, the Gallagher Amendment repeal means homeowners will forgo a projected 18 percent property tax cut in 2021. However, the passage of Amendment B also eliminates one of Colorado’s few laws to mitigate the impact of rising housing prices. As a result, observers predict property tax bills will likely go up for many Coloradans next year due to rising property values. 

NATION
President-Elect Biden’s Housing Proposals: Undoubtedly the National Association of REALTORS® has been quietly analyzing Joe Biden’s real estate-related policy proposals even though NAR steers clear of endorsing presidential candidates. Presumably, we’ll hear more from NAR in the weeks ahead. 

In the meantime, what Biden said during his campaign https://joebiden.com/housing/ may shed some light on what we can expect to see once he takes office in January. Biden called for investing $640 billion over 10 years to provide access for all Americans to housing that is affordable, safe and healthy, accessible, energy-efficient and resilient, and located near good schools with a reasonable commute to jobs. 

He said he planned to do this by ending redlining, discriminatory and unfair practices in the housing market, providing financial assistance to help people buy or rent through a tax credit and fully funding rental assistance, increasing housing supply and improving it by lowering the cost and increasing energy efficiency and accessibility.

Regarding the tax credit proposal, Biden indicated he wants to help first-time homebuyers by creating a new refundable, advanceable tax credit up to $15,000. The tax credit would be provided when buyers make the purchase rather than when they file taxes the following year.

At the same time, it has been reported that Biden intends to eliminate 1031 exchanges as part of his “Plan for Mobilizing American Talent and Heart to Create a 21st Century Caregiving and Education Workforce.” The Plan will cost $775 billion over 10 years and will be paid for by “rolling back unproductive and unequal tax breaks for real estate investors with incomes over $400,000 and taking steps to increase tax compliance for high-income earners.”

See this Forbes article for some interesting comments on Biden’s Plan: https://tinyurl.com/yxjepzok

Gardner Loses Senate Race: Cory Gardner, who served as one of Colorado’s two Senators lost his bid for a second six-year term. He was defeated by former Governor John Hickenlooper, who received 54 percent of the votes. NAR had endorsed Gardner, who had been consistently strong on real estate-related issues and was ranked as one of the least partisan members of Congress.

Note: NAR also supported incumbents Rep. Joe Neguse (CD-3), who won with 62 percent of the votes and Rep. Ken Buck (CD-4) who won with 60 percent of the votes.

IRES Matters | Episode 4

Are You “In The Know?”

This month we sit down with Dave Howe, Vice President of MLS Operations at MetroList Services in Sacramento CA and incoming Chair for CMLS 2021 to discuss the new “In The Know” marketing campaign. This campaign was created by a team at CMLS to address a very specific issue – that consumers don’t understand what an MLS is, and how it benefits them.
We discuss the benefits to the consumer and marketplace of the MLS, the philosophy and stats behind the campaign, and how YOU can leverage the extensive marketing materials to increase your value statement to your clients.

Congratulations to the 2021 IRES, LLC Board of Managers

Please join us in congratulating the newly elected managers for IRES, LLC. We are excited to welcome these exceptional industry leaders to IRES. They bring to the table their varied and vast experiences.

We would also like to recognize those leaders whose terms end with 2020: Mary Bengford of RE/MAX Alliance-Greeley, Rich Dana of Live West Realty, and Chris Lombardi of Velocity Real Estate & Investments. We applaud their service and leadership. Thank you for your contributions.


Meet Our 2021 Managers

John Asmussen

John Asmussen (2020-2022)
MB/Asmussen & Associates
4845 Pearl East Cir, Ste 101
Boulder, CO 80301
(303) 440-6464
Fax: (720) 306-3156


Kevin Barrier (2021-2023)
Cobblestone Realty
3131 South College Ave
Fort Collins, CO 80525
(970) 430-5150 Phone


Wendy Conder

Wendy Conder (2019-2021)
Windemere Realty, Inc.
600 5th Ave,
Longmont, CO 80501
(303) 651-2300
Fax: (303) 651-1530


Cecilia DeVilliers

Cecilia DeVilliers (2020-2022)
Shasta Realty Inc
615 Clarendon Dr
Longmont, CO 80504
(303) 875-3045


Fran Hardman

Fran Hardman (2019-2021)
RE/MAX Advanced, Inc.
1018 Centre Ave.
Fort Collins, CO 80526
(970) 221-5995
Fax (970) 221-5999


Chris Hardy (2020-2022)
Elevations Real Estate, LLC
106 E Oak St
Fort Collins, CO 80524
(970) 988-6319


Brad Inhulsen

Brad Inhulsen (2019-2021)
Sears Real Estate
2021 Clubhouse Dr Ste 100
Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 330-7700


Dan Kingdom (2021-2023)
Wright Kingdom
4875 Pearl East Cir, Ste 100
Boulder, CO 80301
(303) 443-2240


Stephanie Lyon (2021-2023)
Trilogy Real Estate, Inc.
357 S McCaslin Blvd Ste 200
Louisville, CO 80027
(303) 666-7101


Gary Maggi

Gary Maggi (2019-2021)
RE/MAX Town & Country
340 Mountain Ave
Berthoud, CO 80513-1859
(970) 532-5096
Fax (970) 532-5094


Scott Nitzel

Scott Nitzel (2021-2023)
Rouse Realty
4673 W. 20th St., Unit A
Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 353-5006


David W. Powell

David W. Powell (2020-2022)
RE/MAX Alliance-Loveland
750 W. Eisenhower Blvd Ste 100
Loveland, CO 80537
(970) 669-1234
Fax (970) 669-3030


Dave Werner

Dave Werner (2021-2023)
Smartlist Real Estate
5131 S College Ave, Suite B
Fort Collins, CO 80525
(970) 223-7770


Lauren Hansen

Lauren Hansen
CEO of IRES, LLC
2725 Rocky Mtn Ave, Ste 450
Loveland, CO 80538
(970) 593-9002
Fax (970) 593-0900

IRES Becomes First MLS to Partner with RealX, the First and Largest Online Property Rights Exchange

Innovative partnership allows real estate professionals to connect local property owners with companies looking to secure land  leases for solar, wind, timber, oil and gas, cell towers and more

LOVELAND, Colo. — (October 29, 2020) — Information and Real Estate Services (IRES) today becomes the nation’s first multiple listing service (MLS) to partner with RealX, the country’s first and largest online property rights exchange.

IRES serves Boulder, Weld, Larimer, Logan and Morgan Counties and also holds partnerships with other regional MLSs to expand access across Colorado. Through this agreement, IRES will now provide members with access to the RealX exchange, which allows landowners to register their property and the rights they are willing to sell or lease. Professionals looking to place leases are then able to search the database and make offers directly to landowners faster and more efficiently than ever before possible.

As a result of this partnership, IRES members have access to information that can provide valuable insight to help inform a land purchase transaction.

“When I learned about RealX I thought it was a brilliant concept and a perfect match for our region in Northern Colorado,” said Lauren Hansen, CEO, IRES. “The IRES MLS territory stretches from University towns to the mountains, plains and wide open spaces — and let’s not forget we have an average of 300 days of sunshine annually in Colorado.”

RealX gives land brokers an opportunity to reconnect with past clients to determine if they would be interested in leasing their land for the placement of a variety of uses, from the placement of solar panels or wind turbines to traditional energy exploration or cell towers. In many cases, these leases can provide both public benefit as well as additional income for the landowner. As a result, RealX has experienced an average month-over-month user growth rate of more than 50% in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Until now, matching interested landowners to those looking to lease space for energy, communication and other projects was a manual, time-consuming process,” said Luke Glass, RealX CEO. “Our exchange automates the process, allowing brokers to focus on sales and deals rather than on cumbersome research,” he added.

The need for land to host infrastructure in industries like communication and alternative energy is expected to continue grow rapidly. For example, solar and wind will need access to millions of acres in order to reach aggressive renewable energy goals. Additionally, cell towers supporting the much-faster 5G system will require far more physical placement, so finding leasable land will be critical in order to deliver competitive service outside of major metropolitan areas.

IRES members will be able to access the RealX database directly through the MLS, allowing real estate professionals to discuss potential rights leasing opportunities with prospective buyers and sellers as a part of their sales process. 

For more information about IRES, visit ires-net.com. For more information about RealX, visit www.realx.io.

About IRES MLS

Information and Real Estate Services, LLC (IRES) was formed in 1996 as the regional Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for northern Colorado by five Boards and Associations of REALTORS® in Boulder, Fort Collins, Greeley, Longmont and Loveland/Berthoud. In addition to these five Boards and Associations, IRES is the MLS provider for the Estes Park Board of REALTORS® and Logan County Board of REALTORS®. ColoProperty.com® for consumers is owned and operated by IRES. Its office is centrally located in Loveland, Colo.

About RealX (www.realx.io)

RealX, America’s first and largest property rights online exchange, is revolutionizing the way surface and subsurface property rights are bought, sold and leased. By leveraging digitization, globalization and virtualization across all marketplaces, RealX unlocks the value of every property, empowering landowners and energy companies to maximize the return on their investment. Through organizing and modernizing a highly fragmented marketplace, RealX more easily connects landowners and companies in energy (solar/wind/oil/gas), communications (cellular towers), building materials (timber), agriculture (farming) and many others.

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What You Need to Know About the IRES / REcolorado Data Share

The time has finally arrived!   REcolorado listings are now fully integrated into the IRES MLS system (and IRES MLS listings are fully integrated with the REcolorado Matrix system)!

Here are a few helpful tips and frequently asked questions around this listing data exchange. 

  • What is included in the data share exchange?
    • Residential, Attached, Income, Land and Farm & Ranch.   All property types EXCEPT Commercial Sale and Commercial Lease. 
    • Statuses include Coming Soon, Active, AB, AF & Pending listings, plus 3 years of Sold, Withdrawn & Expired.  
    • Our Agreement also embraces cooperation and compensation.  
  • What about photos, open houses and uploaded documents/supplements? 
    • All property photos are available to users as well viritual tours and Open House information. 
    • We are targeting the addition of uploaded documents/supplements before the end of the year.  
  • What is not ncluded in the exchange?
    • Rentals are not part of the exchange at this time, but may be considered down the road.
    • We do not share other “Non-MLS” properties such as Vacation Rentals, Business Opportunities, and Moblie Homes without Land at this time.
    • As noted above, Commercial Sale and Commerical Lease are not part of the exchange.
    • Our focus was to  provide the majority of listing inventory which is predominantly Residential and Attached.
  • Is this a merger?
    • No.  Both companies remain independently owned and operated.  This is a collaborative effort between the organizations to benefit our respective subscribers. 
  • Do I need to remain a subscriber of each MLS?
    • The choice has always been and remains yours and your managing broker’s.  The listing data exchange represents a majority of the inventory from each system, but not all.   Historical records beyond 3 years, and some property types (noted above) are not exchanged.  Services also vary with each MLS (e.g. Cloud CMA is included in IRES fees).   We suggest you weigh your options and services offered to help with your decision.  
  • Can I include REcolorado listings in Cloud CMA reports?
    • Soon!  While not immediately available with the initial release, Cloud CMA integration is on the horizon.  Look for an announcement on the Start Screen as soon as it is available.
  • Will REcolorado listings be included in Public Records?
    • Realist Public Records on IRESis.com include all 64 Colorado counites.  Deeper integration of REcolorado listings is anticipated in November.
  • What is the “Additional Info” section on Data Share listings?
    • Not all features are apples-to-apples when it comes to data mapping.  When we were unable to find a clean fit for REcolorado data, we still wanted to be sure to display the information on the listing.  To accomplish this we created a section on the listing detail (and print/email reports) labeled Additional Info.  Here you can see the information that was provided by REcolorado, but didn’t quite match our features or fields.
  • What other places will I have access to REcolorado Data Share listings?
    • In addition to the full IRESis.com system (including MySite and Contracts), the agreement between IRES and REcolorado allows for listings to be included in Cloud CMA, Homesnap, InfoSparks, Realist, and ColoProperty.com®.  Note these are slated for later phases of the collaboration agreement and announcements will be made as each becomes available.

Key points to keep in mind

When it comes to searching, LESS IS MORE. The fewer criteria you use, the more results you’ll get. Be aware that, while mapped to the best of our ability, features vary between systems. Also, keep in mind that searching by map shape is a best practice. Over 99% of properties are mapped which is far more precise than any other geographic definitions (such as MLS area).

You can import MLS data into IRESis Contracts.  Automatically integrate the following fields on contracts and forms written in the IRESis Contracts System by adding the REcolorado MLS number to the transaction folder. (This is a function available to IRESis listings also!)

Still have more questions?  Let us know!  Reach out to our customer care team today.  We’re always grateful to hear from our customers!

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More information on this collaboration:

It’s BAAAAAACK!

Data Share with REcolorado Available Now

IRES, REcolorado launch comprehensive data-sharing agreement

Customers subscribing to either IRES or REcolorado are now empowered with expanded access to a greater breadth and depth of listing data across Colorado

LOVELAND, Colo. — (Oct. 22, 2020) — Information and Real Estate Services (IRES), a Loveland-based regional multiple listing service (MLS) that serves Boulder, Weld, Larimer, Logan and Morgan Counties, today launched a new data exchange and integration agreement with REcolorado that includes more extensive information and additional integrations into products beyond each MLS system.

“Both IRES and REcolorado share similar visions for empowering real estate professionals with not only the most accurate and up-to-date picture of the market but the ability to better service their homebuyer and seller clients,” said Lauren Hansen, CEO of IRES. “In today’s world of real estate, everyone has access to more data than ever before, and this extensive agreement seamlessly enables cooperation and compensation, ensuring our state’s industry tools are more effective for industry professionals and consumers along Colorado’s Front Range.”

Encompassing listings that include up to 40 photos for each listed property type, the shared data includes all statuses and fields from each system and more historical data than before. Additionally, the shared data is being integrated into additional products and services, including the mobile version of IRES.  Expanded integration is on tap for the near future in additional products and tools both organizations utilize.

The launch of the exchanged data provides the two organizations’ combined 32,000-plus subscribers the ability to view listing data from the other MLS in their own system. IRES subscribers will have access to REcolorado data in IRES’ custom in-house system, and REcolorado customers will be able to access IRES data in the REcolorado Matrix™ listing database by CoreLogic.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with a neighboring MLS whose mission and vision aligns with our own,” said Gene Millman, president and CEO of REcolorado. “Together with IRES, we aim to provide the most accurate and complete data and information to the market, ensuring brokers, appraisers, and consumers alike all have the most complete and accurate information at their fingertips to streamline and enhance the home buying and selling process.”

In Q1 2021, additional services will be added that include shared data, such as statistical reports. For more information on IRES or REcolorado, please visit ires-net.com or recolorado.com.

About IRES MLS

Information and Real Estate Services, LLC (IRES) was formed in 1996 as the regional Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for northern Colorado by five Boards and Associations of REALTORS® in Boulder, Fort Collins, Greeley, Longmont, and Loveland/Berthoud. In addition to these five Boards and Associations, IRES is the MLS provider for the Estes Park Board of REALTORS® and Logan County Board of REALTORS®. ColoProperty.com® for consumers is owned and operated by IRES. Its office is centrally located in Loveland, Colo.

About REcolorado

Since 1984, REcolorado has been focused on providing the most accurate and up-to-date real estate information for professionals and consumers. REcolorado is the largest Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in Colorado with more than 25,000 professional subscribers who operate throughout the state. It is REALTOR® owned and serves Denver Metro Association of REALTORS®, Mountain Metro Association of REALTORS®, REALTORS® of Central Colorado, South Metro Denver REALTOR® Association, and Steamboat Springs Board of REALTORS®.

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Interested in learning more? Read our postWhat You Need to Know about the IRES / REcolorado Data Share

Photo Captions Expanded!

IRES expanded listing comments and broker remarks from 500 to 1000 characters in the past, but now you can be even more specific with your descriptions and comments! IRES expanded photo captions from 50 to 256 characters.

You will be able to see captions:


Report Window:

  • Under the main photo
  • On the HD photo viewer

MySite:

  • Under the main photo
  • On the photo viewer

My Listings

  • Under the main photo
  • On the photo viewer

Carts Manager

  • Under the main photo
  • On the photo viewer

Mobile:

  • Under the main photo

And… Coming Soon: ColoProperty!

  • Under the main photo
  • On the photo viewer

How to Use Captions:


The kitchen photo might show off the granite countertops, but now you can be more specific about the lazy susan behind door number one. Or maybe you can mention the pull-out drawer microwave that may not have jumped out to users from the photo. Now, you can highlight features of each room and each photo you choose!

For instance, look at the photo below. Can you pick out any special features this kitchen has? About what size is it? Are those counters granite or faux? Can I charge my phone/tablet while I’m looking a recipe online?

Kitchen listing photo with no description
Kitchen listing photo with no description

What if there was more information?

Kitchen listing with descriptive captions
Kitchen listing with descriptive captions

Captions are Accessible


Do you want to cater to a broader audience, such as the vision impaired? Screen readers can read your captions about your photos where your vision-limited audience cannot see a picture. Be sure to use descriptive text when writing your captions, and make your listings stand out to a larger crowd.

Pro tip: Use periods in your captions to add a pause for screen readers. Just as you would write a sentence using a sentence, you can write photo captions to be “readable” by screen readers too!

We hope you enjoy another useful feature brought to you by IRES MLS.

Regional Government Affairs Update October 5, 2020🍂

LOCAL


Boulder County


Longmont

Late Fee Moratorium: The City Council decided to move forward with an ordinance that temporarily prohibits property owners from charging late fees to tenants who are late with rental payments because of COVID-related hardships. Staff told the Council there no data as to how many residents are behind on rent payments because of COVID and voiced concern about unintended consequences. Karen Roney, the City’s Community Services Administrator, told the Council housing stability should be addressed at the state level, saying it becomes more complicated when each jurisdiction has its own rules and enforcement.
 
As envisioned, the ordinance will require tenants to present evidence of hardship, include a layoff notice, letter from an employer attesting the employment has been suspended or reduced because of COVID, documentation showing the tenant or a family member has been hospitalized or received medical care for COVID, or “other evidence of financial or health-related hardship related to the COVID emergency.” The ordinance will remain in effect until December 31 unless the Governor rescinds the declaration of a disaster emergency related to COVID. Landlords who violate the ordinance would be fined $500.
 
Councilmember Polly Christensen, who got the idea from a similar measure passed by the Broomfield City Council, called it a “modest little ordinance” to “keep people in their homes.”
Mayor Pro Tem Aren Rodriguez called it a “jackhammer approach.” “I want to see some numbers,” he added.  Mayor Bagley said he didn’t want to put “this on backs of landlords.” 
 
Despite misgivings, the Council voted 4-3 to proceed with the ordinance which will go through the formal hearing process later this month.
 


Larimer County

Preview the New Land Use Code: Larimer County is poised to unveil a new and “more user-friendly” land use code following the adoption of the latest Comprehensive Plan. Planning staff will present an overview at two virtual open house events on October 22. The new code will simplify review procedures, fine-tune development standards and modernize zoning districts and use regulations. 
 
To register for the open house, click here: https://www.larimer.org/planning/luc2020. Those who register will be invited to participate in a pre-open house questionnaire. Information and feedback from the two sessions might be used to further fine-tune the final draft of the code.


 
REGION


CDOT Pursues Front-Range Rail: Thanks to legislation enabled in 2018, The Colorado Department of Transportation has been tasked with studying the feasibility of a front-range rail line from Fort Collins to Pueblo. At that time the Colorado General Assembly allocated $2.5 million to pay for the Front-Range Rail Commission. 
 
Ironically, CDOT cannot fund its $9 billion backlog of transportation projects but the rail project has its fans, including Governor Jared Polis who supports the train as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to rail commission analysis, it would cost about $22 for a one-way ticket from Colorado Springs to Denver. In 2019 it was estimated that building the entire line would cost somewhere between $5 and $15 billion.
 
Even now, after COVID has affected state revenues, the Director of the Rail Commission, Randy Grauberger remains undaunted. He says the rail line could be built if Colorado receives federal funding as well as revenue from the State, which would likely be generated by a new tax paid by Front Range voters.
 
CDOT released a paper on initial model results at the end of August. The paper estimates a train could provide 23.4 million passenger trips a year. The biggest demand would be met by transporting people within the Denver/Boulder, Fort Collins or Colorado Springs regions. 

That doesn’t mean front-range rail doesn’t have its critics. Senator John Cooke (Greeley) calls it a “boondoggle.” Henry Sobanet, former budget director for Republican and Democratic governors says there’s not enough money to pay for a multibillion-dollar rail line and billions of dollars in roadway improvements. In the meantime, Rail Commission is forging ahead.
https://www.frontrangepassengerrail.com

Note: Is Mr. Grauberger naïve to think front-range voters would tax themselves for rail given RTD’s recent budget crisis and the FasTracks debacle? 
 


STATE


Draft Greenhouse Reduction Roadmap Released: As part of the Polis Administration’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the State’s Energy Department released its draft Greenhouse Reduction Roadmap (aka Roadmap) at the end of September. If the Roadmap is adopted, its implementation will ultimately affect every Coloradoan who drives a car or owns a home. 
Vehicles are one of the largest sources of emissions. The Roadmap envisions a transition to 100 percent electric cars on the road in 30 years (by 2050). Electric vehicles accounted for 2 percent of Colorado’s auto sales in 2019.

According to the Roadmap, “While Colorado’s electricity and transportation sectors are the top two sources of climate warming pollution, fuel use in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings is not far behind.” It calls for the expanded use of “clean electricity” as an alternative to fossil fuels, which it argues “could bring consumer cost savings.” 

How consumers will afford electric cars and homes heated by electricity remains to be seen. Currently, neither are affordable for the average resident. Public comments on the draft Roadmap are due November 1. 
https://energyoffice.colorado.gov/climate-energy/ghg-pollution-reduction-roadmap


NATION


More Discussion on Eviction Moratorium: Recently NAR President Vince Malta and other NAR leaders met with officials from the White House offices of the Domestic Policy Council and the National Economic Council to discuss the CDC eviction moratorium. President Malta outlined NAR’s significant concerns with the order and the burden it places on housing providers. 

Malta explained that “kicking the can down the road” and creating mountains of debt for renters would simply lead to a flood of evictions come January. REALTOR® leaders presented anecdotes about the more than 40 percent of mom and pop owners around the country and how they are struggling to meet their obligations without rental income. They also explained about the confusion surrounding the order and how it is being interpreted very differently by different courts.

During the Q&A, REALTORS® asked what relief would be provided to property owners – who were ineligible to receive unemployment or PPP or EIDL loans to make up for their lost revenue. White House staff said the Administration is committed to an additional stimulus bill and are working with Congress. They are open to including rental assistance. In the absence of Congressional action, the Administration is also working to prioritize funds for more relief and will consider a rental assistance program as part of that. President Malta thanked the White House for their time and attention and offered NAR’s expertise as they move forward with further relief measures. The White House thanked NAR and REALTORS® for the dialogue.

NAR on Proposed Seasoning QM Rule: NAR’s submitted a response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regarding its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on a Qualified Mortgage (QM) seasoning rule. Under the rule, loans that meet product restrictions are held on bank’s portfolios for at least three years (e.g. season) and experience no more than two 30-day delinquencies and no 60-day delinquencies will gain the preferred safe harbor legal status versus their initial rebuttable presumption QM or non-QM status.
NAR commented that:

  • A seasoning rule may improve liquidity of mortgages (we supported the small-lender rule), particularly for borrowers with income or employment that are more difficult to document;
  • CFPB should analyze and monitor for difference in risk taking by large banks vs small banks. The assumption is that holding the loan in portfolio aligns incentives, but if the bank is too-big-to-fail, it might circumvent this design;
  • CFPB should reform the QRM rule to allow and incentivize investors to push back dangerous loans that are designed to circumvent the QM rule.

SBA To Begin Processing PPP Forgiveness Applications: The U.S. Treasury Department has announced that the SBA will begin processing PPP loan forgiveness applications, following a delay which left many caught in a backlog.  PPP borrowers are eligible for forgiveness if they meet the program’s requirements, which include using at least 60% of the funds for payroll costs and the remainder for other eligible uses (including rent, utility bills, and mortgage interest) during the covered period. For full forgiveness requirements, visit nar.realtor/coronavirusSBA.

PPP borrowers should submit their forgiveness applications directly to the SBA lender with whom they worked, who will then pass them to the SBA for processing.  For detailed instructions on how to fill out the PPP EZ Forgiveness application form, watch NAR’s step-by-step video.

The SBA is expected to quickly approve forgiveness applications for loans less than $2 million, with reports that the backlog may be cleared in as little as two weeks.  PPP borrowers have 10 months from the end of their loan’s covered period to apply for forgiveness before any payments are due on the loans.

It May Be Fall, But We’re Still Seeing Green!

Did you know that IRES was the first MLS in Colorado to go Green in 2011?  Since then, IRES has continued to lead with numerous behind the scenes efforts to improve energy efficiency knowledge and transparency in the industry. This green data creates a ripple effect that touches almost everyone involved in the real estate transaction — from the seller to the broker, and buyer to the lender – even the appraisal community and inspectors. 

Why does this matter?  Homes with green features reduce costs of homeownership, often by hundreds to thousands of dollars per year, improve comfort throughout the home and, frankly, buyers feel good about purchasing a home that is more energy efficient.

A rigorous study released in January of 2018 by Build It Green demonstrated an increased sales price for green homes. This adds merit to numerous studies that reflect the same trend throughout the country. Previous studies show a median sales price increase of 9% (California) to 6% (Austin, Texas). In the IRES market, residential listings with green features have a significantly higher median sales price. In addition, a 2013 Colorado Energy Office study showed that 70% of homes with solar panels had a higher sales price than their non-solar powered counterparts, and 80% had fewer days on market. Simply put, green homes sell for more money, and they sell faster.

Listed below are green fields in IRESis. We encourage you to add each feature, as applicable, to your listing along with proper documentation. Agents and appraisers may utilize the green fields in client searches or for valuation purposes.

  • Home Energy Score
  • HERS Energy Rating
  • ENERGY STAR Qualified New Home
  • LEED for Homes
  • NAHB/NGBS-ICC 700
  • Solar PV (Photovoltaic) – A solar panel that captures light from the sun and converts it into electricity
  • Solar Thermal – Harnesses solar energy for thermal energy (heat).