What to do for Valentine's Day this year in Denver

Valentine’s Day seemed to come quick this year and maybe that’s because this whole year is flying by! The weather is just starting to feel like winter and we are already half way through February. So gentlemen, and ladies, do you have anything special planned for Valentine’s Day that is only two days away? I know a lot of people struggle with the holiday for many different reasons but I have always said it is just another day to show the special people in your life just how much you care about them and love them. So if you haven’t thought of something yet to do with your significant other or your friends or your family, here are some fun things to do around Denver that will be sure to be full of love.


Go Ice-Skating downtown – If you haven’t been to the Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park yet, you should take your loved ones there for Valentine’s Day. If you bring your own skates it is free and if you need skates, the rentals are only $6-$8.


Love potions from the vine tour – The Denver Botanic Gardens likes to celebrate the season of love with an enticing tour of aphrodisiac plants that tickle the senses. All tour participants will also receive a romantic souvenir to take home with them.


Colorado Avalanche vs. Montreal Canadiens – If you have someone in the family who is more of a sport lover then anything, go ahead and get tickets to the hockey game and give them what they really want for the holiday.


Mediation with Horses – At the Medicine Horse Program in Boulder, visitors have the chance to enjoy a ninety-minute meditation practice with the horses that includes mindfulness and breathe control.


Typewriter Poet Michael Prince – Who said writing isn’t a thing anymore? Maybe you have had your eye on someone for a while but don’t have the courage to tell him or her how you feel, maybe writing them a letter would be best but you don’t know how to begin. Head to BookBar and have typewriter poet Michael Prince write you up a little something to send to your special someone.


Glow & Flow: Partner Paint & Play – Maybe you have a yogi in your life who wants to do something a little different this year for Valentine’s Day. Head to RiNo Yoga Social where you can be painted in body paint that glows in the black lighted up room. You will enjoy yoga, meditation, yoga games and a bit of massage all while glowing.


Go out for a romantic dinner – This is usually at the top of most people’s lists when it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day and who can blame them? If you haven’t made a reservation yet, you might want to get on that quick and one of the best websites I have used is Open Table - https://www.opentable.sg/promo.aspx?pid=102&m=5 - have a look and find the perfect spot to enjoy a romantic dinner for two!

Have a happy and safe Valentine’s Day everyone!

Fun indoor activities to do with your family this winter

With the weather finally staying cooler these days (except hello 65 this week) you might be more inclined to stay indoors. If you aren’t up skiing in the mountains or enjoying a little mountain getaway, there are plenty of other great indoor activities for the whole family to enjoy or for a little romantic outing with your significant other. I know for my family, my wife and I like to have some one-on-one time when we can and we make sure to make that happen on a weekly basis. When my daughter and her friends are around, we don’t want them to get too stir crazy so we have checked out some of the awesome spots below that were fun to try and a great way to get out of the house:


Jump Street – Westminster

The name alone should tell you this is going to be a fun place to take the whole family (and will also wear out the little ones). Jump Street is the largest indoor trampoline park in the metro area sporting tons of trampolines, laser tag and even dodge ball rooms.


Children’s museum of Denver/Aquarium –

These two are literally right next to one another and while you may not want to hit them both in the same day, it does make it convenient if you have older kids who wouldn’t mind seeing both. Back in 2012, Forbes Magazine named the Denver Children’s Museum one of the 12 best in the country and for good reason. The aquarium has everything you could imagine from sharks to fish to otters and then you don’t want to miss the mystic mermaid show. Both of these places really cater to kids and will have your child engaged.


Butterfly Pavilion – Westminster

For those days when the temperature doesn’t want to rise more then single digits, get in your car and take your family to a much warmer climate. The butterfly pavilion is a humid rainforest full of 1,600 butterflies from different places around the world. There’s also an opportunity to for your kids to hold “Rosie” the resident tarantula, always a fun time right?


Shredder Urban Ski & Snowboard Park – Boulder

Does your little one know how to ski? If not (or even if so) this is the perfect indoor place to take them to learn how to ski and snowboard. There is no actual snow in the building but they use a combination of wax and water that helps the kids know how to turn and stop. Bring your own gear to get used to it but if your kid doesn’t have any yet don’t worry, they will provide some. Also they offer some great classes for kids so if you have a kid who really wants to learn, look into signing them up!


There are so many great indoor spots to try in Colorado as the weather continues to stay cold, make sure to get the family out of the house every now and again!

Conforming vs Non-conforming bedrooms

You’ve found the perfect house or condominium online listed as a 4-bedroom/2-bathroom house, in the perfect part of town and in your price range! The pictures look amazing and you call up your agent that day to see if you can go see the place for sale. When you get there everything seems good until you look at the 4-bedrooms and realize, some of them are non-conforming. This happens a lot more these days and people are always wondering what it means to have a conforming bedroom and what it means to have a non-conforming and if each can be advertised as a full bedroom or not.


A lot of the times in older homes, these bedrooms were made before there was such a thing as conforming and non-conforming. Back then, those were bedrooms and only as laws and rules have changed in the past years have these bedrooms ben given specific titles and rules to go along with them.


For a room to be considered a bedroom it must have these four things:


1.     Entrance – A bedroom must have two methods of egress (such as an egress window as most basement bedrooms have these days) meaning they have to have two ways to exit the room. Usually the first is the door that leads into the house but another method has to be used such as a window that a person can actually fit through. Many basement bedrooms especially have windows that are not egress or condos in downtown have another room with no windows, while they aren’t technically labeled bedrooms then, they are still used as such.

2.     Ceiling height – Bedrooms are supposed to have a ceiling that is at least 7 feet tall while portions of the ceiling can be under this, at least half of the ceiling has to be that tall or taller.

3.     Escape – In case of an emergency where the person in the room could not get out the main door to the room, there needs to be another available way to escape. Either an egress window that is 24-44 inches from the floor of another opening or door needs to be in the room.

4.     Size – We’ve all walked into a few very tiny rooms and wondered how it could possibly be a bedroom. Technically, the room needs to be 70 square feet and it cannot be smaller then 7 feet in any horizontal direction.


As someone who sells a lot of condos and lofts in Downtown Denver that is one thing I have run into with a bunch of clients – a lot of the bedrooms are non-conforming. This doesn’t mean they cannot be used as bedrooms or they won’t be registered as bedrooms by an appraiser, but it is good to know before going in that these bedrooms can be advertised as such. But it’s something to keep in mind when you are out looking with your realtor, they might be advertised as full bedrooms but technically might not be conforming.

The importance of a home warranty for Sellers

A lot of time when I am working with buyers to purchase a home one thing we might ask for when negotiating inspection objections is for the seller to purchase a home warranty for the year. Home warranties range from $300-$600 and cover electrical systems, heating and cooling, plumbing systems, washer and dryer and lastly, kitchen appliances such as oven, range and garbage disposal. A lot of the time, instead of asking for sellers to fix items in the house or buy new items, this is a great way for buyers to protect themselves if a big item should come up in their first year owning the house.


While this is a great thing for buyers to have, it is also a great thing for sellers to have. Now why would a seller who is leaving a house want to buy a home warranty? Well there are a few reasons, one, they can actually then pass the warranty along to the buyer once they get to closing table. That can be a great incentive with buyers and go a long way during the buying process. But the main reason a seller should have a home warranty while they are selling their home is because if anything should happen to the house starting the day the list the house until the day they pass the keys off to the buyer, the home warranty would cover it. And we’ve all been there when during the month of closing a seller has a pipe burst or an appliance stops working and the last thing a seller wants to do is have to buy a brand new appliance or pay for more work on the house they are working to move out of so I recommend that if you are selling your home and do not have a home warranty to get one.


Now if you are selling a newer home that has been built in the past few years, you might not need one. But that is completely up to you. With older homes, I would definitely recommend sellers purchase a home warranty because at the end of the day, things are bound to break and many companies don’t differentiate between newer and older homes in terms of costs so it makes purchasing a warranty cost-effective if you are purchasing an older home or selling an older home.


If you have any questions in regards to home warranties, contact me today and let’s grab coffee to chat about your options while selling your home!

Some essential life hacks to help you get through the holidays

This time of the year can be so wonderful for so many reasons but it can also be quite stressful for many people. Having to deal with holiday travel, buying gifts, decorating the house, all the holiday parties and then prepping for a new year, it’s no wonder many people dread the holidays more then they look forward to them. But that doesn’t have to be the case! I have come up with a list of some great life hacks to help you survive and even better, enjoy your holiday with your loved ones.


Clean up that clutter – When you know you are having company for the holidays you might take a look at your home and think, gosh I have a lot of clutter taking up space. You might want to take that task on of cleaning everything up or you could hire a de-cluttering service to come into your home, pack up your stuff, take photos of it, catalog it and store it for you. Realizing you can’t do everything is the first step in these holiday life hacks, don’t try to take on too much or you will not be enjoying the holidays and your loved ones.


Storing your tree the easy way – Putting your Christmas tree away is usually the easy part except when you have to pull it out the next year and the lights are tangled and the ornaments are all a mess. Try storing your larger ornaments in solo cups that can stack on top of one another while smaller ornaments can be kept in empty egg cartons. With your lights, find a clothes hanger and wrap your lights around it to keep them from getting tangled. And for those rolls of wrapping paper? Use a wastebasket or and old wine crate to store them.


DIY decorations – Cutting branches from your tree make for lovely centerpieces and also smell amazing. Instead of using nails, use command hooks to hang any wreaths or decorations over your door. Hang ornaments from your light fixtures to make a little Christmas chandelier. If your tree is looking a little on the slim side, use green tinsel to make the tree look fuller. They might not have made it to now but if any pumpkins made it to this point, you can paint them and stack them and use them as snowmen on your front porch.


Shopping made easy – You know all those annoying ads you see on the side of your social media pages? The ones you usually ignore? Well did you know you can manage those to be specific to what you are looking for? While that may not be something you want to deal with all the time, during the holiday season it can take a lot of stress off of you to narrow the ads down to specifics for your friends and family.


Limit your spending – Money issues can be a big deal, especially around this time of the year. People get stressed thinking of all the gifts they have to buy, parties they have to contribute to and travel they might have to take. So for the prices you can control, like gift buying, set yourself a reasonable budget.

The holidays don’t have to be such a stressful time and I think one way to do that is to manage your expectations. Be realistic with all that you can and can’t do, especially if you have children, understand their needs during the holiday season and do your best to make sure you all are able to enjoy your holidays together.

Conforming loan limits are going UP in 2018

From the title of the blog, some of you may be jumping up and down with excitement over the news that conforming loans limits are going up which we know means more purchasing power to the borrower aka you! But for those of you who are sitting there going, sounds great, but what exactly is a conforming loan and what does it have to do with me, let me explain.


A conforming loan is a mortgage loan that conforms to GSE guidelines (GSE is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). The most well-known guideline is the size of the loan, which for this past year the limit was around $424,100 for single family homes in the US (even though it could vary in certain areas). So, the limit is how much can actually be borrowed and coming in 2018, loan limits are going to go up which means a lot of good things for borrowers.


Investopedia describes conforming loan limits as the following: The limit on the size of a mortgage which Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will purchase and/or guarantee. The conforming loan limit is set annually by Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's federal regulator, The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO). OFHEO uses the October to October percentage increase/decrease in the average house price in the monthly interest rate survey of the Federal Housing Finance Board (FHFB) to adjust the conforming loan limits for the subsequent year.


What does this mean for a Borrower?  More purchasing power! Mortgages, which exceed the conforming loan limit, are known as jumbo mortgages. The interest rate on jumbo mortgages can be higher than the interest rate on conforming mortgages. A borrower whose mortgage amount slightly exceeds the conforming loan limit should analyze the economics of reducing their loan size through a larger down payment or possibly using secondary financing to qualify for a conforming mortgage verses a jumbo mortgage.


The new base limit for single family homes in the continental US is $453,100 but her are the limits for the different cities and counties in/around the Denver area:


Denver $529,000

Boulder $578,450,

Broomfield $529,000

Adams County $529,000

Jefferson County $529,000

Douglas County $529,000


So that makes for some exciting times for borrowers next year! If you were thinking it is time to buy in the market, there is no better time then the present. With interest rates still low and now the conforming loan limits going up, you have much more purchasing power and that is an exciting thing. Contact me today and let’s grab coffee and chat about your loan options and how we can get you the house you want in the New Year!

What to expect when purchasing a home on land

There are many great things about the growth of Denver – we have more companies looking to set up shop here, more retail and food groups looking to open store and restaurants here, great music shows and the ever expanding housing market. But the one thing that many of my real estate clients are dealing with is not finding the space they want when purchasing a home. More and more people are expanding their searches outside of city limits because as much as they want neighbors only a few feet away, they really are looking for some space and land to call their own where they can spread out and enjoy some land and of course, some great views. Buyers are finding homes with a bit of land with them or are looking to buy vacant land and to build their own dream house. There are so many great builders in Colorado right now that if you decide that might be something you want to do, you will have many choices of layouts and designs from multiple sources.


But before you decide on buying some land, there are a few things to take into consideration:


·      Buying a vacant lot – first and foremost, you need to make sure that you can build a house on the land you are buying. Rules and regulations about the zoning and everything can be found through the city but also, use a realtor who has knowledge of purchasing vacant lots and knows where to look and who to ask before you get too far in. Make sure you know the area you want to purchase in well before you decide to build.

·      Septic tank vs sewer system – generally speaking, most cities and their surrounding areas will have sewer systems that are maintained by the local public works department but if outside this area, your home might use a septic tank to handle wastewater. Public sewer systems have a monthly fee but offer the convenience of the homeowner not having to maintain any wastewater with their home. Septic tanks have to be maintained by the homeowner, getting them emptied and cleaned on a regular basis but with the right maintenance, it generally has fewer costs.

·      Pubic water vs well water – along the same lines as having a septic tank versus having a sewer system, public water versus well water has the same characteristics. Public water is maintained by municipalities, shared among communities and paid for either via taxes or a monthly bill. Well water s privately owned and maintained by the homeowner and if anything happens, homeowner’s insurance will not cover the costs of repairs. Usually it is made up of a well, pump, pressure switch, piping and storage tank.

·      Propane gas vs natural gas – the main difference between these two fossil fueled gases for homeowners is that propane is compressed into a liquid form and sold in portable canisters or delivered by truck while natural gas is delivered to the home via a pipeline. Natural gas is the cheaper option in the long run but propane has its positives as well.


These are just a few things to consider when you are looking to purchase a home on land or to buy an empty lot to build a home on. If you are considering either, please give me a call today and let’s set up a time to meet and discuss. This is one of my specialties and I have helped many buyers with their wants and needs when it comes to purchasing a home on land.

Things to do with the family on Thanksgiving

This time of the year is a time to be thankful for friends and family. Whether you are spending the holidays at home or traveling to see loved ones, may you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving filled with good food, laughter, love and memories for a lifetime. We all have our Thanksgiving Day traditions and I know my family and I try to make new traditions every year. So for your family day, I have compiled a list of things you can do as a family and even some ways you can give back if you are in the Denver area.


Volunteer together – There are so many ways to give back over the holidays around the city. You can help provide meals, deliver meals, prep meals, provide homes, purchase presents and much more. If you are interested take the family and check out one of these great organizations:

·      Denver Rescue Mission

·      Thanksgiving Dinner for Parker Task Force Clients

·      Volunteers of America – baskets of joy

·      Denver Catholic Worker Soup Kitchen

·      Operation Turkey

·      Safehouse Denver

·      Project PAVE

·      The Delores Project

·      Rocky-mountain youth clinic

·      TLC Meals on Wheels


Get outside – the weather is looking great for Thanksgiving Day around Denver with temps reaching in the 70s. Get outside and play a good old family game of football or maybe have the kids of the family help set up a scavenger hunt around the yard.


Go get a Christmas Tree – The weekend after Thanksgiving many people take the opportunity to start their Christmas decorating and that includes grabbing a tree. Find a great local tree farm or organization such as a local church or the boy-scouts selling trees and take the family to get the perfect one for your home.


Family game night – What better to bring the family together, or throw some serious competition into the mix, then having a game night with the whole group? There are so many great games to choose from these days that the whole family can play from Pictionary to Apples to Apples there are so many great games for family members or all ages.


Share family memories – Sometimes, the holidays are the only time people see members of their families during the year. Different generations gather and it is a great time to share fond memories people have with one another, open up picture albums and recall those who came before and cherish the new members.


Have a sing-along – Karaoke is not dead and what better way to break the ice with everyone then busting out some instruments and a holiday radio station and having a good old sing-along?


Prepare food together – There is always a lot of food prep that goes into Thanksgiving Day and it can take a team to make sure everything gets made. Designate family members to help with certain dishes and have a good time while cooking them all!


Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!!

Commercial vs Residential loans

As someone who helps clients with both residential real estate purchases and commercial space purchases, I think it is important to talk about some of the differences between the two when it comes to the financial side of the process.


One major difference between the two is what lenders look at income wise when they give a loan. If you are getting a residential loan, the lender will look at your personal gross income and the amount of debt you owe. Typically, lenders like to see the debt to be no more then 45% of your gross income.

For commercial, when a company applies for a loan, lenders look at the ability of the property being purchased to generate income compared to the debt on it.


Another difference between the two is the initial down payment when going to purchase a property. With residential, a down payment is negotiable and depends on the type of loan you get.

With commercial property, the loan is considered to be much riskier then a home mortgage and as a result, lenders usually require around 20% as a down payment with an 80% loan-to-value ratio.


If you have purchased residential recently you know that one of the things you work with your lender on first is just how long the mortgage will be which also plays into your down payment and what your monthly payments will be. The typical residential loan is 30-years but can be negotiated anywhere from 15-year or even up to a 40-year loan.

For a commercial loan because the risk is higher, many lenders will make a 10-year payout. Again, there is always room to negotiate but many business properties are often sold to long-term investors before the 10-year time frame is up.


With every loan there has to be some sort of penalty if payments are not made on the property. Residential loans can be paid off at any time regardless of the payout term length without any penalties.

Commercial real estate loans typically do have prepayment penalties which all goes back to the risk of the loan. The loan prepayment penalty is on a sliding scale that grows smaller as a percent of the loan each year.


If you have any questions in regards to residential or commercial loans, contact me today and let’s chat about them. I also have some wonderful lenders I work with who would be happy to answer any and all your questions, they are the pros at this!  

Thank You Veterans


I know I’m a day late but I wanted to offer a special thank you to all of the Veterans who have served our country and who continue to serve our country in the military. Yesterday was a day to remember those who we have lost and to show support for veterans everywhere. But it’s not just November 11th that we should show appreciation to the men and women who have served our country, there are other ways you can get involved during the year that really show veterans just how thankful we are for them and all that they have done.


1.     Show up – Over the weekend, there are tons of Veterans Day events in Colorado. Find something in your area and show up to show your support, whether that is participating in a race, attending a parade or serving meals at an event.

2.     Donate – There are many amazing organizations that offer all manner of support, services and appreciation for service members. Check out local ones to figure out where you can give back to help servicemen and their families in all areas of life.

3.     Put your American flag up – Some people fly their flags all year round but this weekend specifically is a good time to show those stars and stripes.

4.     Talk to a veteran about their service – My guess is, everyone knows someone who has served in the military. But have you ever sat down with them and really learned about their story? Sometimes, you don’t need to say anything, just ask them about the time they served, sit back and listen.

5.     Write a thank you card – If you know a veteran or even if you don’t, acknowledging their service and a handwritten note can go very far in today’s world. If you don’t know a veteran, you can look up your local military installation and send cards there that they will distribute.

6.     Visit a VA hospital – There are great VA hospitals around, do a little research and see if you can find one that you can volunteer at or visit for a day. Sometimes all veterans’ want is to have a friendly face and some company to sit with.


There are so many ways you can give back during Veterans day weekend, but giving back is a full year thing, whether it is giving your time or giving donations, make sure to find ways to say thank you to the veterans in your life.

The benefits of LED lighting in your home and how you can upgrade

If you have a lot of lights in your home, chances are you probably already use LED light bulbs because you know the many benefits that come with having them in your home. But if you haven’t made the switch yet, let me just tell you some of the benefits of using LED light bulbs and lighting devices in your home:


1.     Long life span – probably the number one benefit of LED light bulbs is that they last a lot longer then a normal light bulb. They actually don’t burn out like normal light bulbs as they age they just emit a lower output causing a dimmer light but LED light bulbs can last sometimes up to 100,000 hours.

2.     Energy efficient – with an estimated energy efficiency of 80%-90%, LED light bulbs use about 80% of the energy is converted to light while 20% is lost and converted to other forms of energy. The numbers are reversed for a normal light bulb.

3.     Ecologically friendly – LED lights are free of toxic chemicals and are 100% recyclable. Because they don’t need to be replaced as often, they also save on materials and production.

4.     Zero UV emissions

5.     Operational in extreme cold and extreme heat

6.     Instant lighting

7.     Low voltage

8.     Long-term cost – while LED lights are more expensive at the start then fluorescent lights, their price continues to drop which provides long-term savings.

9.     Color – fluorescent lights are infamous for producing a blue/white color while LEDs range in different colors that can adapt to any environment.


These are more benefits to having LED lights in your home but I think you get the gist. If you haven’t switched over to LED yet I really hope you will consider looking into them as an option in your home. For my investor clients and new build clients, they always choose to have LED light bulbs, light fixtures and inserts used in their residential and retail spaces because they know that while upfront the cost is more, in the long run, these lights will last them ten-times longer then normal lighting and they will be doing more for the environment.


New federal regulations, tax benefits, state rebate programs, and utility incentives make it easier than ever to upgrade to LED technology. Best of all, LEDs are modern and app compatible; you can even control your lights from a phone. Check out some of the amazing LED designs out there today the next time you are ready for new lights in your home, you’ll be doing yourself, your wallet and the environment a huge favor.

The best (and scariest) haunted houses to check out in Colorado

If you want to have a scare this weekend, Denver and the surrounding areas have some of the scariest haunted houses in the country. These spooky spots are sure to make you scream and some will make you wish you had never entered them in the first place. But some people really live for the rush they get when they are encountered by ravage clowns and psycho ax-wielding corpses. I have some clients and friends who make sure to enjoy the haunted houses around town every year and if you are thinking you are ready for a scare, check out some of the spots below that are open the rest of the week and this weekend.


The 13th Floor Haunted House – 3400 E. 52nd Ave Denver

This might be Denver’s most legendary haunted house and this year it is 10,000 square feet larger then last year. The 13th Floor was featured on the Travel Channel shows America Haunts and America’s Scariest Halloween Attractions. It was also voted one of the top 10 scariest in the United States by the Discovery Channel. Bottom line, if you are ready to face your darkest dreams, the undead and (s)laughter while screaming all the while, this is the spot for you.


Asylum Haunted House – 6100 E. 39th Ave Denver

Located just two blocks west of Monaco this completely indoor haunted house features themes of post mortem, primitive fear, anarchy and the deranged. The Asylum was also named on America’s Scariest Halloween Attractions and top 10 scariest haunted houses in the nation by Hauntworld Magazine. Find yourself caught in an asylum full of endless screams of torture.


Elitch Gardens Fright Fest – Elitch Gardens Denver

The fright fest marks the end of Elitch’s season and they make sure they go out with a terrifying scream. During the day, the whole family can enjoy more mild attractions such as a trick-or-treat trail but when night falls, prepare for a bit more scare including a carnival graveyard and a haunted inn.


The Frightmare Compound – Westminster

Founded back in 1983 by Brad Holder, Frightmare has been a haunted house causing screams and scares for many years. Holder recently passed away and there is a rumor he is buried somewhere in the house and that the compound the house is on is actually previous swampland that is filled with both human and animal remains. This is not recommended for young kids or anyone who is more jumpy then normal.


Haunted Field of Screams – Thornton

After 15-years of scaring the masses, this sprawling outdoor setup is one that isn’t for the weary. With only the moon as your guiding light, you’ll have to find your way through the corn stalks unaware of what lies behind every turn. If you make it through the maze, you can also participate in zombie paintball massacre where you can fend off the undead with paintball guns.


Here are a few ore to check out –


The Haunted Junkyard – Commerce City

Terror in the Barn – Erie

Scream Acres – LaSalle

Hellscream – Colorado Springs

Reapers Hollow – Parker

Extinction – Denver

City of the Dead – Henderson


Make sure to check out the information about these places before taking the whole family. Some of the haunted houses recommend not bringing young children or have certain precautions for anyone coming into their facility.


Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone!

Prepping your home in the fall to be ready for winter

Fall is the ideal time of the year to take care of little tasks that can really make a huge difference when winter comes knocking. A lot of the tasks can be done without the help of a professional (but if you feel a professional might do a better job or feel you might not be able to handle it, please, contact me today and let me give you some amazing contractors I have worked with who would be happy to help you out!). Some of these tasks might seem obvious but when we get busy sometimes it is the obvious tasks that get overlooked.


·      Clean those gutters – Your roofs drainage annually can divert hundreds into thousands of galloons of water from your house’s exterior and foundation walls. If your gutters are clogged from fallen leaves and pine needles, that can lead to overflowing of water and/or snow and can cause damage to the exterior of the home as well as possibly cause flooding in your basement if applicable.

·      Air lock those windows and doors – You might have noticed a cool breeze when walking past your back door or a slight draft coming from your bathroom window. It is important to make sure you weather-strip your windows and doors because the US Department of Energy has stated that gaps in caulking can cost up to 10% of your heating bill.

·      Turn off all outside faucets – We already had one big freeze with some snow and I know I was making sure I had turned off the water that led to the outdoor faucets. It is imperative to get this done before big freezes because you risk the pipes freezing and bursting costing you a lot of issues and money.

·      Give the furnace a little TLC – Before that furnace works overtime in the winter, give it a little clean either vacuuming the filter or replacing it. Also, once a year it’s a good idea to have your furnace inspected by a professional just to make sure everything is running properly.

·      Keep moisture in your home – We live in a really dry state (your skin can tell you that) but did you know the dry air is also cause the fine wood in your home to crack? Keep your humidifier running during the winter months to give yourself and your home some relief from the dry air.

·      Prune your plants – Fall is the best time to prune your outdoor plants because the summer cycle is over and you are prepping them for the winter ahead. Make sure to keep any tree branches 3 feet away from the house so moisture won’t drip onto the siding and the roof.

·      Inspect the fireplace – If you have a fireplace in the home, it is smart before turning it on for the season to have it inspected by a F.I.R.E. trained professional. Make sure to have your chimney swept as well so it’s clean.


Like I said earlier, if you need any good names of professionals to help you get your house winter ready, give me a call today and I would be happy to share with you some contractors I have worked with who have done great work for me over the years.

Spotlight on Erie, Colorado

Only 20 miles from Denver lies a little place called Erie, Colorado. This area was developed after the mining boom but was a place many farmers called home because of the flat pastures perfect for growing crops. Although rural in nature, Erie recently has seen a surge in families, new homes and much more business. This might be due to the close proximity to both Denver and Boulder with more affordable housing prices for buyers. Erie neighbors Lafayette, Louisville and Longmont. Erie offers a beautiful sweeping view of the Front Range and around 340 annual days of sunlight, this is a town that cannot be beat for so many great reasons. If you want to check out this great area, check out some of the places below:


For some drinks:

The Old Mine

Atom Brewing Company

Echo Brewing

The Industrial Revolution Brewery


For some eats:

24 Carrot Bistro

Rocky Mountain Ramen

Briggs Street Café and Bakery

Rocky Mountain Ramen


Things to see:

Anderson Farms

U Make It

Spirit of the Flight Center

Terror in the Corn


Like I said earlier, there is a lot of growth happening in Erie and there are a lot of new homes being built in the area. I have encouraged buyers who are looking to get a little bit away from the city to try and find more space but be close enough to commute if need be to consider Erie. If you are thinking this might be a good spot for you to look for your next home, give me a call today and let’s take a little trip out to the area so you can see for yourself everything that is going on and see if Erie might be the perfect spot for your new home.

Condos vs Townhouses

If you have been driving around Denver lately, you may have noticed a bunch of new residential buildings going up that don’t have “rent” signs on them but have “for sale” signs on them. Denver is about to get a whole new wave of condos in the next few years and that is exciting news for a lot of buyers out there who have been looking but couldn’t find anything with the shortage of condos. When I have clients looking for that type of living, they are usually choosing between a condo or a townhome to live in. Both of these provide my buyers with what they want and also cater to their needs of not wanting to own a home necessarily. So what is the difference between the two?


Condo – a condominium building is one in which the units are owned individually by the residents who live in them and not by the landlord.

·      Condo owners only own the interior of their unit while the exterior, lawn and community areas are property of what is known as the Homeowners Association or HOA.

·      Every condo owner has to pay monthly HOA fees to cover the expenses of maintaining these areas. The fees for a condo are usually higher then a townhome because they also take care of things such as lawn care, trash removal and pest control.

·      Condos come in many different styles such as high-rise or cul-de-sac, they have no set style.

·      Condos usually have amenities that residents can enjoy such as a club house, pool, gym facility etc.

·      Home insurance on condos are usually lower then a townhome because the resident is only paying to insure the interior of their home.


Townhomes – is conjoined units that are owned by individual tenants. Architecturally they are similar to row homes and owners usually share al least one or more walls with their neighbor.

·      Townhome owners own both the interior and the exterior of their home so they are responsible for their roof, lawn and driveway but not any communal areas.

·      Townhomes are designed in rows.

·      Townhome owners pay lower monthly HOA fees because they pay for a lot of their own upkeep. Certain maintenance is still covered by the HOA fees but most is done by the owner.

·      Townhomes will usually have a higher insurance rate because the owner is insuring both the interior and the exterior of their place.

·      Townhomes can be quite large and often are multiple stories high.


With many of my buyers looking at buying a townhome, I always try to talk to them about a PWA or Party Wall Agreement. It is an agreement signed by two parties who share a wall in common. The main objective of this agreement is to outline who will handle any repairs, maintenance or changes to the wall since it could affect both parties involved. This also can be something if the parties share a yard with a fence is used to separate the spaces. This is such an important document for people to have in place before they purchase a spot so when/if an issue arises they can go back to this document to figure out who will pay for the expenses.


There are so many great condos and townhomes around Colorado, if you are wanting to check a few out, give me a call today and let’s start scouting places for you to see!

Where to get the best pumpkins this year in Colorado

We’ve definitely been hit with some fall weather the past few weeks and I for one, am excited about the cooler weather and the fun fall activities happening around Colorado. From apple orchards to driving to see the leaves change, there are tons of great events and experiences to be had in Colorado during this time of the year. One thing my family and I like to do is decorate pumpkins, even before the Halloween holiday. Now that might lead to you asking, well, I can buy a pumpkin at the grocery store but I’d like to have an experience with my pumpkin so where can I go do that? Below I have compiled a list of pumpkin patches you can take the family to for a good time and a good pumpkin:


Moon Farm (Fruita) – At this pumpkin farm you can enjoy a corn maze and a petting zoo while picking out your pumpkin.


The Bartels Farm (Fort Collins) – Established back in 1905, the Bartels Farm has been around for quite some time and has been passed down from generation to generation. They are known for their large pumpkins but also their amazing produce.


Colorado Pumpkin Patch (Larkspur) – You may have visited Larkspur in the summer season for the Colorado Renaissance Festival but wait until you head there for the Colorado Pumpkin Patch. The event offers a number of unique family activities including gourd target practice, outdoor laser tag and a 60-foot jumping pillow.


Panataleo Farms (Pueblo) – Let’s just say, there is a reason they call Pantaleo the “Great Pumpkin Patch”.


Anderson Farms (Erie) – The farm was first opened to the public in the 1990’s and has been a favorite ever since with their corn maze, pumpkin launches and hay rides to and from their pumpkin patches.


Rock Creek Farm (Broomfield) – Free admission and free activities for the whole family, need I say more?


Venetucci Farm (Colorado Springs) – Founded in 1936, this pumpkin farm is located on 190 acres (not small by any means) and is just as famous today as it was back then for the thousands of pumpkins they give away each year to Colorado Springs youth.


Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Park – (Littleton) This is a very busy event so make sure to get your tickets ahead of time. Games and food and a huge corn maze will keep you and the family busy for a few hours so give yourself time to be there!

There are so many great fall activities to do this time of the year so make sure to check some out at the link below:



The Importance of a Home Inspection

Buying a home if one of the most expensive investments you will ever purchase in your lifetime. Before you sign your name on any contract, you should make sure to know the ins and outs of the house your are purchasing so you can know what to expect and that is where a home inspection plays a large roll in the purchasing process.


Sometimes, in real estate markets like Denver, buyers decide to veto an inspection as an incentive for the seller to choose their offer or say they will have no inspections objections for the seller to fix before the buyers take the home. As an experienced realtor, I would never, ever allow my clients to forfeit an inspection of their house. While things might look ok from the outside and to someone’s untrained eye, an inspector is the person who has been highly trained to look for the things buyers cannot see. Working with a great home inspector can save you time and money in the long run and also give you an upper leg when it comes time to negotiate with the sellers.


So what all does a home inspection include? First know that inspections can take anywhere from 1-5 hours depending on the size of the house and also how thorough your inspector is when they are looking over the property. A basic home inspection consists of checking the following for quality and safety:


·      Structure

·      Exterior

·      Roof

·      Electrical

·      Plumbing

·      HVAC, interior

·      Radon

·      Water Safety

·      Insulation

·      Ventilation


While mostly buyers use inspectors, some sellers opt to have them come before they get their house of the market so they can pass along a pre-inspection report that can go a long way with potential buyers. And don’t think just because you are buying a new-build that you won’t need a home inspection. Even new builds can have issues and it is important to have them looked at as well and it is easier to get builders to make corrections prior to closing then trying to deal with them after you’ve closed on the place and the builder has moved on to the next client.


I have a few inspectors who I really trust who have been great with both my buyers and sellers. If you need any recommendations, please don’t hesitate to contact me today and I can pass along their information.

What a good walk score can mean for you

People buying and selling real estate are all looking for particular things when they get into the market. Sellers are looking to see how the market is, if they can get their desired price and how quickly or how non-quickly they can get out of their place. Buyers, on the other hand, have a list of specific things they hope to check out when they start looking for a place to call home. For some buyers, it all has to do with cosmetics, for other buyers it has to do with size of the house and for many, it has to do with how close the house resides to the buyer’s place of employment.


With Denver growing every month the one thing many of my buyers are looking for is ways to avoid being in car for long periods of time on their commute to and from work. More and more buyers are heading to the burbs to cut their commute time but a lot of my other clients are looking to find homes that have an easy access to a walking/bike path or a place they can have access to public transportation.


I have many clients who move here from bigger cities where everyone walks to and from work. When I take them out to look at homes, often times they ask me what the “walk score” is for the home. What is a walk score you might ask? Well, the walk score was developed by a team of leading academic researchers who wanted to measure the walkability of any address using a patented system. For every address, a walk score analyzes hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities. Points are then awarded to each address based of the distance to amenities in each category. Amenities with just a 5 minute walk (.25 miles) are given the maximum points and the more points a address has, the better the walk score. Walk score also measures pedestrian friendliness by analyzing population density and road metrics with data sources from Google to Open Street Map to the U.S. Census.


Below is the chart to describe the best walk score versus the least best walk score:



Walk Score® -Description


90–100          Walker's Paradise

Daily errands do not require a car.


70–89             Very Walkable

Most errands can be accomplished on foot.


50–69             Somewhat Walkable

Some errands can be accomplished on foot.


25–49             Car-Dependent

Most errands require a car.

0–24               Car-Dependent

Almost all errands require a car.


If you are a person looking to live in an area with a good walk score, contact me today and let me show you the best places to look in the city for the best walk score.

We will always remember September 11th, 2001

It’s been 16 years since the attacks of September 11th, 2001. But for many Americans, lasting memories of that terrible day are still very present and that day changed the lives of many forever. What started off as a normal, clear sky day ended in tragedy as terrorists hijacked four planes and crashed two of them into the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York and into the Pentagon. The remaining jet crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers overpowered the hijackers. By the end of it all, nearly 3,000 people lost their lives, a day that will always have a mark on it throughout history for the United States.


It’s hard to believe September 11th happened over a decade ago and Aaron Blake of Washington Post sad that one-quarter of Americans were too young to remember it but that does not mean we should forget about it. This was a horrible attack against our country and while our country was distraught for a while, we also bonded together as a nation to help those you were affected by the tragedy. Firefighters and policemen from all over the country made their way to New York to help with search and rescue and also rebuilding. Citizens who were once strangers were offering up their homes as refuge for people and also collecting and donating much needed items. Widows and Widowers found comfort with one another, being able to share in the love of their loved ones to help ease the pain.


If there’s one thing you can say about our country, we really come together when there is a threat. People open their doors, their hearts and give their time to help others in need. And to this day, there are still people raising money and helping support people and causes that arose from 9/11. If you are looking to give back, looking at these 7 non-profit organizations that deserve your support:


1.     The Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation – Michael was a firefighter who lost his life in the World Trade Center. This foundation grants educational scholarships to the children of firefighters and other victims of the attacks.

2.     Tuesday’s Children – This was initially founded to help children who had lost a parent in 9/11 but since then it has expanded to help families who endure traumatic events. Their programs include everything from widow/widower support and youth mentoring.

3.     H.E.A.R.T. 9/11 – This organization is made up of volunteers from the PAPD, NYPD and the FDNY who travel around the world to help communities in times of crisis.

4.     New York Says Thank You Foundation – This is a “pay it forward” organization that sends volunteers around the country to help with disaster relief.

5.     VOICES of September 11th – This group addresses the long-term needs of 9/11 survivors and victims’ families and also works to improve responses to other crises.

6.     9/11 Day – The non-profit MyGoodDeed created a law that designated 9/11 a Day of Service and Remembrance.

7.     Wounded Warrior Project – This organization helps any veteran who was severely injured after September 11th 2001. The project aids veterans and their families, helping with PTSD and career coaching.


September 11th 2001 will be a date many of us will always remember and for the future generations, something we will teach them about. How our country went through a terrible tragedy and came together to rebuild.

Paint tips for buyers & sellers along with the most trending interior paint colors of 2017

Whenever I work with a seller to put there house on the market almost always one of the first things we address about the interior of their house is the paint color choices throughout the home. Some clients have a bold taste, with bright colors adorning every room while other clients kept their walls clean and concise with a nice eggshell white colored on every wall and ceiling in the house. With my bold colored clients, while I always encourage a good accent wall in a few rooms, I tell them they have to take themselves out of the house and make it a clean palette for the potential buyers. Buyers need to be able to walk in and picture themselves in the house with their stuff and if you have chartreuse walls in the living room, some buyers are going to have a hard time seeing past such an intense color. With my play-it-safe clients who appreciate a good beige or white wall, I might recommend spicing things up a bit to give the house a little more diversity. Not everyone wants a completely blank slate so it might be good to check out what paint colors are hot right now and put a few in the home before putting it on the market.


The great thing about paint is it is cheap compared to most fixes you have to do around a home. And, you can get your family or even your friends to help you paint so labor is also cheap if you go that route (though you might have to pay in pizza and beer for the adults, kids, maybe a trip to the ice cream shop J).


So what colors are popular right now? With houses it seems that color palettes are consistently changing and so are what people are looking for when they walk into a place. I also tell my sellers the same thing, you can paint over the walls, cosmetic changes are the easy changes and if that’s all there is wrong with the house then you probably have the right house.


Many people also take in the use of light when deciding on paint colors. Morning light, afternoon light, dusk and evening light can all make a color look a certain hue or change the look of the color completely. If certain rooms get more light than others, it is important to take into consideration how much light the paint will get and how that will affect the color itself.


This year, the ranges of colors dominating the charts are a diverse from soft, pale blues and grays to ruling, rich reds that are sure to capture anyone’s eye. According to housebeautiful.com, these are the 18 interior color trends we have been seeing this year:


Chinoiserie Red

Deep Turquoise

Dark Plum

Windsor Pink

Salsa Dancing (burnt orange)

Courtyard Green (emerald)

Oval Room Blue

Greenery (reminds you of being outside)

Black Chiffon

Stone White


Shadow (Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year)

Inner Glow (all shades of yellow)

Dusk (you can never have too much blue)

Ramie (latest spin on classic white)

Cloudberry (lighter shades of purple)

Mushroom (the next neutral)

Poised Taupe


There are so many great colors to choose from when it comes to painting the interior of your home, make sure you go get a few samples and throw them on your wall before committing so you can see the color during the day and during the night. And remember, when buying a house try to look past any paint that might take away from the bigger picture and if you are selling, try to make the home neutral for the next homeowner with maybe a few pops of color for flavor.