Category Archives: Miscellaneous & Funs Things!

Things to do and see, home projects, etc…

Water Rights Issues in Colorado!

Thinking of buying property with a well or water rights in Colorado?

The Colorado Association of Realtors hosted a training session on the issues surrounding water rights.  The video below includes a presentation from the Department of Water Resources that provides information you ought to know before buying property where you may want to use a source of water other than that supplied by a municipality (E.g.- water sources such as wells, streams, ditches, ponds, reservoirs, rain barrels, etc..).  The video also gives you information on resources you can use to determine if any water rights that come with the property are permitted for your intended use.   The video on wells and water rights is a little “dry” (no pun intended)- but it’s pretty important information to know before you buy…

The actual presentation by the Department on Water Resources starts at around minute 7:38, so unless you want to watch some advertisements that only a Real Estate Brokers would possibly care about, you might want to start watching at the 7:38 minute point in the video.

Click below to see the video and enjoy!

http://livestream.com/accounts/4105485/events/4683965/player?width=560&height=315&autoPlay=true&mute=false

Denver’s Top 5 “Biggest Bang for the Buck” Home Improvement Projects!

Many sellers ask me what they can do to improve the value of their homes at resale.  Every year, Remodeling Magazine and Realtor Magazine cooperate to research the costs and value-added of numerous home improvement projects in a wide range of costs.  The research is conducted at the national, regional, and even the city/local level.  This year, the information was compiled in the Remodeling 2014 Cost vs. Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com).

What I am going to summarize here is the information specifically for the Denver metro area.  The average cost and the average amount recouped for each project can vary greatly depending on the area of the country that you are in.   If you live outside the Denver area, you should go to www.costvsvalue.com to search for the information for your specific area of interest.

Although, for copyright reasons, I cannot list all of the projects here in this blog post, I can say that my overall observation of all the projects is that, with a few exceptions, most projects with “upscale” finishes do not recoup as much of their cost as projects done with mid-range finishes.  So, my advice for sellers would be that you should view any luxury finishes as a “value-added” or “personal enjoyment” factor for yourself while you are living in the home.  You most likely will not get back what you spent when it comes time to sell.  While you should recoup a higher actual dollar amount for a high-end project versus a mid-range project, it may not be as high a return when stated as a percentage of the cost of the project.

The Five Projects in Denver that have the highest amount of cost recouped are:

Project Cost Resale Value Percentage of Cost Recouped
Upscale Siding replacement (fiber-cement) $13,250 $13,560 102.3%
Mid-range Attic Bedroom Remodel $48,664 $46,253 95.0%
Mid-range 2-story Addition $153,017 $136,713 89.3%
Upscale Garage Door Replacement $2,793 $2,479 88.8%
Upscale Siding Replacement (foam-backed vinyl) $14,028 $12,358 88.1%

 

 

My thoughts, looking at these top 5 projects for Denver, are that the type of work that recoups the most money can be categorized as upscale projects that improve curb appeal and/or midrange projects that add additional living space. Something to keep in mind, is that the report is based on AVERAGE costs and values for each project.  Your costs and values may be different depending on how well you shop and the neighborhood you are in.  If you wish to recoup as much as possible for your improvements, my advice would be:

  1. do the improvements that are valued by the buyers in your area,
  2. only improve to the level of expectation of buyers for your neighborhood (don’t over-improve),
  3. shop carefully to reduce the cost of the improvements made.

SOURCES:   1. ©2014 Hanley Wood, LLC.  Complete data from the Remodeling 2014 Cost Vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at www.costvsvalue.com. 2. National Association of Realtors (http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2014/01/realtors-rate-exterior-replacement-projects-among-most-valuable-home-improvements. 3.  Photo copyrighted by Microsoft.

Additional information that may be of interest can be found at these sites:

http://www.houselogic.com/photos/home-improvement/best-home-improvement/slide/steel-entry-door/

http://www.houselogic.com/home-topics/features-of-an-ideal-kitchen

If you would like a free consultation about the current value of your home, or suggestions for improving the marketability and resale value of your home, please feel free to contact Joan, by either calling 720-201-3049 or submitting the form below.

Preparing your home for showings

A property’s physical condition is one of the main factors determining whether or not it will sell quickly and at a desirable price.

IT’S LIKE WHEN YOU SELL YOUR CAR:

Since most people have probably bought or sold a car more often than they have bought or sold a house, I am going to use a car analogy to demonstrate this point.  Here goes…  If you were going to sell your car, and you wanted to get top dollar for it, you would “detail” it, inside and outside, and keep it that way each time you showed the car to a potential buyer.  And why  would you do this?  Because you know that it is more likely you will sell it quickly and get what your car is worth if it looks newer, is well-maintained, is clean, and has been “de-personalized”.  Auto dealers know this too, and that is why you seldom see cars on their lots that are riddled with oil leaks, have flat tires, have “wash me” written in the dirt accumulated on the back window, or have car seats or dog fur on the seats, or crumbled fast food bags, empty water bottles and muddy footprints on the floor, or something sticky on the dashboard .  While that may be a common way people “live” in their cars, it is not what most buyers are going to rush to buy!

The same is true when you sell your home.  While presentation is not everything in selling your home (price trumps all else)- presentation is a close “second”.

The good news is, that even minor improvements made at little cost can assure the highest return when it comes time for prospective buyers to tour your home.   A word or advice:  always be receptive to feedback from your showings. If there is something homebuyers consistently don’t like, change it.  It may not suit the way you live in your home, but remember, if you do what buyers are asking for– you won’t be living there much longer anyway.  Give the people what they want, and you will get what you want- the house sold!

Here are some suggestions to ensure your property is prepared for its public debut:

Curb Appeal & Exterior

Rake, mow, and water the lawn

Trim hedges and bushes

Tidy the flower beds and garden

Pick up any litter

Clean gutters

Sweep and hose down all types of walkways

Remove driveway grease spots

Repaint exterior areas on the house as needed

Repair or replace any broken features, especially those at the front of the house (steps, windows, screens, etc.)

Make sure the garage door is closed and no vehicles are blocking the driveway

Welcoming Entrance

                                Clean & tidy up the entrance

Be sure the doorbell is functional

Buy a new doormat

Clean the door and polish the door hardware

Be sure the door opens smoothly and key turns easily

General Maintenance

Oil squeaky doors

Tighten doorknobs

Replace burned out bulbs

Repair any broken windows

Touch up chipped or scuffed paint

Repair cracked plaster

Repair leaking faucets & toilets

Complete any unfinished home improvement projects!

Deep Clean Interior

Clean every interior room or hire a cleaning service to ensure a spotless environment

Replace worn throw rugs and shower curtains to freshen the overall appearance

Place fresh towels and new guest soaps in every bathroom

Clean all windows and sliding glass doors

Have carpets or wood floors professionally cleaned

Be sure the house smells fresh and clean (clean window treatments, upholstery, linens, laundry, take out trash, don’t smoke in the house etc)

De-Clutter For a Spacious Feeling

Arrange the furniture to accentuate the space

Store excess furniture

Clean & clear off counters, stove, and refrigerator

Clear closets of unnecessary clutter and seasonal clothing so they appear larger

The “Buying Atmosphere”

 

Keep interior and exterior lights on at night

Keep the temperature at a comfortable level

If possible, be absent when the broker shows your property so the buyer feels more comfortable taking a closer look and expressing their opinions

“De-personalize” your house so that buyers can picture themselves in it

Remove pets during showings (confine them inside or outdoors, or take them with you)

Turn on soft music

Turn on gas fireplaces (in winter)

Make all beds

Open curtains and blinds during the day and leave lights on in dark rooms or hallways

Set the table with good china and candles

Put clothes, dishes and all other personal items away

Put private documents, jewelry, precious coins, and other valuable items in a safe place, out of view.

How to Automatically be Notified of Home Sales Activity in Your Neighborhood!

*** THE PROBLEM ***

We’ve all done it.  You see a “For Sale” sign in the neighbor’s yard and rather than directly asking the neighbor what they want for their home, we reach for the flyer instead (and hope they are not watching us from the front window).  Why not just ask?  Well, I think most people find it a little awkward to talk about anything related to money.  Either that, or they are afraid they will look like the nosey neighbor, Mrs. Kravitz, from the old “Bewitched” TV show (maybe you are too young to remember that).

Anyway- the next thing you know, you see the “sold” sign and the moving van in the driveway.  Is that the right time to knock on the door and ask what it sold for?  Or do you just “stake out” their front yard to casually run into them when they come out to pick up their mail or put the next box in the van.  That may be even more awkward…  as sellers rarely want to tell people if they didn’t get their full asking price.

Then, you wake up one morning and the moving van and the For Sale sign are gone- and so is your chance of getting all the details on the house.  Sound familiar?  If you are like most people, you may know what your neighbor originally asked for the house- but what did they actually get for it?  Did they drop the price a few times after you took that first peek at the flyer?

When I interview sellers about listing their homes, this seems to be the experience most people have.  They know the asking price, but not the final sold price.  They do not know whether the seller gave any concessions to the buyer.  And, unless they were friends with the seller or attended an open house, most of the time they do not know what the neighbor’s house even looked like inside.

That makes it hard to get a good feel for what your own home may be worth at any given time.  Home values rise and fall like stock price values.  Your home’s value is based on what your neighbors’ homes sold for- and only those sales that closed in the most recent 3-6 months count in that valuation.  Moreover,  “value adjustments” are usually made for any significant differences when comparing  sold homes to yours (like square footage, the number and configuration of bedrooms & bathrooms, views, finishes, updates, recent maintenance items replaced, energy efficiency features, etc).  That is why it is important to know more than what the sold property looked like from the front yard.   If you have never seen the inside of comparable homes in your neighborhood, and don’t know what they ultimately sold for, how are you to know how your home compares?

*** THE SOLUTION ***

The obvious answer would be to ask a real estate agent (like me) when you are ready to sell.  But assuming you are not ready for that yet, and you just want to keep an eye on property values, maybe I can still help you out.   I have a quick and easy way for you to be automatically notified when a home in your neighborhood goes up for sale, when it gets sold, what’s its asking price is, and what it ultimately sells for.  The notification also sends you website links to see any interior photos and virtual tours available for the property.  No need to ask the awkward questions of your neighbor, and no need to hope a realtor will send out a postcard to tell you what’s going on in your neighborhood.  Best of all, the service is FREE!

HERE IS HOW TO SIGN UP TO GET THE NOTIFICATION!

Use the contact form below to let me know which area you would like to monitor (by neighborhood name and city, or street boundaries).  Or, leave your street address and I will look up your neighborhood for you.  Let me know if you would like to be more specific about the kinds of homes you want to be notified about (like- “I only want to be notified of detached homes that are 2,000 sqft or larger and that have at least 4 bedrooms, in The Ranch Reserve neighborhood”, etc).   Once set up, you will receive an email each time a home in your area of interest is listed in the MLS, has a price change, goes under contract, comes back on the market or is sold or withdrawn.  You can view the photos & virtual tours and read the descriptions of the properties’ features for as long as the properties remain on the market!   This is a great tool for staying informed on the market in your neighborhood!  It is easy to sign up and the service is FREE-  no strings attached!  This service works for any home along the front range in the Denver Metro area and Northern Colorado!

Just fill out the form below to sign up today, or to contact me with any questions you may have about the real estate market.

The “Honey Do” List for Fall is Here!

Fall has officially arrived, and now is the time to tuck in your landscaping and prepare your home for the cooler weather ahead.  I have never really made a study of how to take care of the “green things” that live outside my house.  That job is delegated to someone else in my household.  However, I do believe that it is important to know what should be done this time of year, even if you hire someone else to do it for you.

Good landscaping adds value to your home (maybe as high as 10-15% according to some industry estimates).  And as a realtor, I have seen many a buyer pull up to the curb of the seller’s home and just keeping driving- ruling out the house without ever going inside!  When you are selling, curb appeal means a faster sale and more money in your pocket!

Here are some very good articles that will give you some tips on how to take care of things outside so that you can protect the value of your home!  

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<a href=”http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/landscaping-gardening/landscaping-mistakes-wreck-curb-appeal/” style=”letter-spacing:normal!important;font-family:Arial,sans-serif!important;color:#16a8d3!important; text-decoration:none!important;”>
<img style=”border:0 none;” src=”http://c0263062.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/content/images/sized/landscaping-mistakes-curb-appeal-bushes-deer_f757f446a977745ebe6eaecd9cb4ed5d_1x1_jpg_80x80_q85.jpg” alt=”Deer feasting on plants in a yard” title=”landscaping-mistakes-curb-appeal-deer” />
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<p>(New!)</p>

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<h3 style=”letter-spacing:normal!important;font-family:Arial,sans-serif!important;float:left;width:373px;margin:0; font-size:16px!important; font-weight:bold!important;”><a style=”color:#16a8d3!important; text-decoration:none!important;” href=”http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/landscaping-gardening/landscaping-mistakes-wreck-curb-appeal/” target=”_blank”>7 Landscaping Mistakes That Wreck Curb Appeal</a></h3>
<p style=”letter-spacing:normal!important;font-family:Arial,sans-serif!important;margin:0;float:left;width:373px;”>Don’t let badly designed or maintained landscaping wreck your home’s curb appeal. Here are pitfalls to avoid. <a target=”_blank” style=”color:#16a8d3!important; text-decoration:none!important;” href=”http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/landscaping-gardening/landscaping-mistakes-wreck-curb-appeal/”>Read</a></p>
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<a href=”http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/plants-trees/tree-care/” style=”letter-spacing:normal!important;font-family:Arial,sans-serif!important;color:#16a8d3!important; text-decoration:none!important;”>
<img style=”border:0 none;” src=”http://c0263062.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/content/images/sized/tree-care-pruning-yard_1x1_ea5977e447416c4e289ed0b61897559b_jpg_80x80_q85.jpg” alt=”Pruning a Bartlett pear tree in the early spring” title=”tree-care-pruning-yard” />
</a>

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<h3 style=”letter-spacing:normal!important;font-family:Arial,sans-serif!important;float:left;width:373px;margin:0; font-size:16px!important; font-weight:bold!important;”><a style=”color:#16a8d3!important; text-decoration:none!important;” href=”http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/plants-trees/tree-care/” target=”_blank”>How to Properly Care for Trees</a></h3>
<p style=”letter-spacing:normal!important;font-family:Arial,sans-serif!important;margin:0;float:left;width:373px;”>When trees fail to thrive, they (and you) have a problem. Here are tips on how to care for your trees to prevent troubles. <a target=”_blank” style=”color:#16a8d3!important; text-decoration:none!important;” href=”http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/plants-trees/tree-care/”>Read</a></p>
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<a href=”http://www.houselogic.com/blog/lawns/get-rid-of-lawn/” style=”letter-spacing:normal!important;font-family:Arial,sans-serif!important;color:#16a8d3!important; text-decoration:none!important;”>
<img style=”border:0 none;” src=”http://c0263062.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/content/images/sized/how-prevent-weeds-sprouting-dandelion_e782af07aa9e06171e904ff1fd180678_1x1_jpg_80x80_q85.jpg” alt=”Dandelion growing in grass” title=”get-rid-lawn-dandelion” />
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<h3 style=”letter-spacing:normal!important;font-family:Arial,sans-serif!important;float:left;width:373px;margin:0; font-size:16px!important; font-weight:bold!important;”><a style=”color:#16a8d3!important; text-decoration:none!important;” href=”http://www.houselogic.com/blog/lawns/get-rid-of-lawn/” target=”_blank”>Should We Get Rid of Our Lawns?</a></h3>
<p style=”letter-spacing:normal!important;font-family:Arial,sans-serif!important;margin:0;float:left;width:373px;”>To some, a lawn is their yard’s crowning glory. To others, it’s a big hit on the pocketbook and the environment. Where do you stand? <a target=”_blank” style=”color:#16a8d3!important; text-decoration:none!important;” href=”http://www.houselogic.com/blog/lawns/get-rid-of-lawn/”>Read</a></p>
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<a href=”http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/lawns/lawn-maintenance-calendar/” style=”letter-spacing:normal!important;font-family:Arial,sans-serif!important;color:#16a8d3!important; text-decoration:none!important;”>
<img style=”border:0 none;” src=”http://c0263062.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/content/images/sized/lawn-maintenance-calendar-lawnmower-blade_1x1_cdadd70eb9975eed57d6a281c01b5151_jpg_80x80_q85.jpg” alt=”Changing the blade on a lawn mower” title=”lawn-maintenance-calendar-lawnmower-blade” />
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<h3 style=”letter-spacing:normal!important;font-family:Arial,sans-serif!important;float:left;width:373px;margin:0; font-size:16px!important; font-weight:bold!important;”><a style=”color:#16a8d3!important; text-decoration:none!important;” href=”http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/lawns/lawn-maintenance-calendar/” target=”_blank”>Season-by-Season Lawn Maintenance Calendar</a></h3>
<p style=”letter-spacing:normal!important;font-family:Arial,sans-serif!important;margin:0;float:left;width:373px;”>Follow our season-by-season lawn maintenance calendar to get a barefoot-worthy lawn and ensure great curb appeal. <a target=”_blank” style=”color:#16a8d3!important; text-decoration:none!important;” href=”http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/lawns/lawn-maintenance-calendar/”>Read</a></p>
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<a href=”http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/plants-trees/dangerous-tree/” style=”letter-spacing:normal!important;font-family:Arial,sans-serif!important;color:#16a8d3!important; text-decoration:none!important;”>
<img style=”border:0 none;” src=”http://c0263062.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/content/images/sized/tree-fall-into-house_1x1_bda09b5d05d5808716eddd513ae15440_jpg_80x80_q85.jpg” alt=”Tree that has fallen into a house” title=”tree-fall-into-house” />
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<h3 style=”letter-spacing:normal!important;font-family:Arial,sans-serif!important;float:left;width:373px;margin:0; font-size:16px!important; font-weight:bold!important;”><a style=”color:#16a8d3!important; text-decoration:none!important;” href=”http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/plants-trees/dangerous-tree/” target=”_blank”>Is Your Tree Going to Fall Over?</a></h3>
<p style=”letter-spacing:normal!important;font-family:Arial,sans-serif!important;margin:0;float:left;width:373px;”>Sometimes a valuable tree uproots without warning; but most often, your tree sends distress signals before it topples. <a target=”_blank” style=”color:#16a8d3!important; text-decoration:none!important;” href=”http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/plants-trees/dangerous-tree/”>Read</a></p>
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<p style=”letter-spacing:normal!important;font-family:Arial,sans-serif!important;margin:0 0 12px!important; color:#000!important; font-size:12px!important;”>Visit <a style=”color:#16a8d3!important; text-decoration:none!important;” href=”http://www.houselogic.com”>houselogic.com</a> for more articles like this.</p>
<p style=”letter-spacing:normal!important;font-family:Arial,sans-serif!important;margin:0 0 12px!important; color:#000!important; font-size:11px!important;”> Copyright 2013 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®</p>
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 When you are ready to sell your home, give me a call!   I can give you a more personalized curb appeal plan for your home, so that we can get it sold quickly!

Westminster Public Art Project- Are You Artistic?

rock painting flyer0001

Looking for a creative outlet? This Saturday could be just the chance you have been looking for to let your “inner artist” come out to play!  The Members of the Paletteers Art Club are inviting members of the community to paint rocks!  Yes, you heard right- paint rocks!  The painting project will take place on Saturday, July 27th from 10 am to 4:00 pm at the Aar River Gallery at 3707 W 73rd Ave in Historic Westminster, Colorado.

The painted rocks will be placed throughout Adams County in parks, trails, and landscaping around public buildings. Take a look at the photo above to see examples of the rock paintings!  Now’s your chance to help make our county an even more beautiful place to live!  And it is fun for “artists” of all ages.  All supplies will be provided at the event- but you do have to give the rock to the Art Rocks Project (can’t take it home).  Who knows- maybe your friends will be seeing one of your “masterpieces” the next time they take a walk in the park!

Call 303-426-4114 to participate!

Photo and Information Source:  Art Rocks- A Public Art Project flyer.