Blaze means delays for real estate deals
Insurance company jitters delayed several real estate closings last week, due to concerns that the Coal Seam Fire still threatens structures.”I heard of a closing in downtown Glenwood Springs where the insurance company wanted to wait until the fire was out,” said Joy Benedict, owner and managing broker for Bray and Company Realtors. “The insurance industry has backed off to wait to see what happens.””I guess it has impacted some closings,” said John Neil, owner of Neil-Garing Insurance. “I guess most of the industry has put a moratorium on this area.”A real estate closing is when the buyer and seller come together to sign transaction documents and title to the property changes hands. The process includes proof to the lender that the property is insured against fire. Without that assurance, the lender won’t release funds to the buyer for the purchase.Closings delayed last week were for homes in the Four Mile, Three Mile and No Name areas, where residents were evacuated for three days after the fire blow-up.One closing was delayed because the buyer was evacuated, not because of insurance concerns.”The buyer couldn’t get back to Four Mile for a document,” said Richard Montrose, managing broker for the Mason & Morse office in Glenwood Springs.Garry Buzick, managing broker at Buzick & Associates, said his company hasn’t been affected by the closing problem, “But it’s not the end of the month.”It’s still too early to gauge the fire’s overall effect on the valley’s real estate market, which is entering its most active season.Montrose said July and August are Mason & Morse’s biggest months. An important part of the company’s market is second home owners who look for real estate while vacationing in the area.”My gut reaction is that people won’t stay away,” Montrose said.As for sales to existing residents, “I don’t think it will affect things much at all,” Montrose continued.Buzick said he hasn’t seen much of a downturn in buyers’ interest. “It’s as good or better than normal,” Buzick said. “Out-of-state people are still walking in the door.”Benedict, at Bray & Co., put the Coal Seam fire into a Storm King perspective. She was in the process of moving to Glenwood Springs from Virginia after the Storm King Fire in 1994, and was impressed with the way the community came together following that fire.”If anything, (Storm King) reinforced all the reasons I came here,” Benedict said.
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