Biz Buzz: Feb. 11, 2016

Local real estate brokers who know the value of solar energy and pride themselves on providing accurate, helpful advice about the alternative energy option is moving offices. River City Real Estate, which operated at 28 Road, is “moving to Fourth and Main streets to become part of the vibrant downtown scene,” company officials said this week.

The new address is 362 Main St.

Darin Carei, employing broker, originally launched the firm in part to respond to the growing supply of new, single-family homes in and around Grand Junction with solar energy systems in place, company officials said. That, coupled with rising local demand for new housing in general, meant the time was ripe for a traditional real estate brokerage that focuses on selling homes in every price range, but carries expertise in this special segment of the market.

To that end, the firm employs a well-regarded local broker with extensive roots in accounting, said Steve Attarian, a company spokesman. 

“The new star is Sara Oliver,” Attarian said. “She’s got an analytical mind. She’s an accountant with a dynamic personality, a very rare combination.”

Oliver is able to advise home buyers on the affordability of the solar energy system and appliances already installed in their prospective residences.

“She can show the savings of Energy Star appliances and the savings from solar for the overall utility bill,” Attarian said. “She wants to show homes that are affordable for the buyer. With solar, it’s got to make financial sense to her first.”

The Grand Valley inventory of new homes priced around $200,000 with solar energy systems already installed is quite a bit larger than some buyers might expect, he said.

One single-family, Energy Star-certified home with solar installed, situated in the Willowbrook subdivision, is priced to move at just under $210,000, for example.

Energy Star-certified buildings and plants meet strict energy performance standards set by the federal government. “They use less energy and are less expensive to operate,” Attarian said.

In many cases, Energy Star-certified homes may sell at a premium due in part because of the high performance equipment and appliances installed to create energy savings.

Senergy Builders, however, the developer River City works most closely with, has established systems and procedures that allow it to build certified homes at a lower cost due primarily to its expertise and experience with the structures.

“They’re a production builder,” Attarian said. “Once they pour a foundation, the new home is up and ready for occupancy in 120 days. They’ve got this down to a science. They know what they’re doing.”

Local demand for new housing with air conditioning installed and other energy-efficient appliances is growing in part because the local climate has changed, he said.

“Swamp coolers don’t work as well as they used to (due to more humid conditions),” he said.

Visit or call 248-8501 for information.

■ A Grand Valley estate sale business that takes pride in the extensive professional training it provides its staff recently welcomed a newcomer to the estate sale sector by announcing the two businesses are now associated.

Late last year, Jim and Colleen Wilson opened a brick-and-mortar location for Wilson Estate Sales and Liquidation at 2401 North Ave.

Mark Bluhm, owner of Reliable Estate Sales, said he encouraged Wilson to open the store in part because the affiliation expands the universe of buyers and sellers for the clients of both business owners.

Wilson Estate Sales offers a wide selection of inventory across a 4,000-square-foot warehouse. Much of it consists of items left unsold after estate sales organized by Bluhm, who does not maintain a retail storefront. Antiques, couches, chairs, lamps, tools, and fine art, are all on sale at Wilson’s.

“With an estate sale service you have control over the asking price of your items,” Bluhm said.  “Coming from a family of auctioneers, vendors and antique dealers, I’ve seen time and time again where items of great value fall through the cracks — that’s why you see so many dealers at auctions.”

Reliable Estate Sales takes the time needed to evaluate every item and to make sure it is priced fairly, he said. His is the only company in Colorado to be listed among the elite dealers registered with It is certified by the American Society of Estate Liquidators, Bluhm said.

Visit or for information.

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