Ever wonder what to do or what’s going on around town? Me too. That’s why I’ve created this easy cheat sheet for Denver Events running from July through October. You’ll find arts and culture, music and barbecues, pet-friendly gatherings and social soirees at your fingertips. Print it out, save it to your phone, grab your sunscreen, a blanket, a friend (furry or not), pack up the family or head out alone to any and all of these great events. They’ll remind you what makes living in Denver so spectacular!
Oh, and if you’d like to beat the heat looking at houses in Denver’s hot real estate market, we can do that too! I’m air-conditioned.
I hear the question “Is it still a good time to buy a house in Denver?” quite often, as potential home buyers wonder whether they’ve missed the market. My answer is that yes, it’s still a good time to buy a house in Denver, though it’s going to take resilience, and let me tell you why. Even though the dream of getting a screaming deal on a foreclosure got on the bus and left the depot, the strength of today’s market and home affordability show that buying a house in Denver is still a great idea.
It looked for a moment that the Denver Real Estate Market was slowing down toward the end of the summer and into fall, but what I’m seeing now, we still have a very strong market! Showing activity is high meaning that buyers are out there looking, and inventory as of January 1 was still very, very low at one month of inventory [meaning if no other homes came on the market it would only take a month to sell them ALL].
Buyers will need to be prepared to pull the trigger in this tight market; pre-qualified, well qualified and ready to present a strong offer to win in the ever-so-common bidding wars. This can mean a number of things I’d be glad to go over with you specifically. Many Buyers will conduct a home inspection solely for informational purposes without asking the Seller to repair or credit for inspection items. This relieves the Seller of the anxiety of a major or costly issue coming up and being asked to pay for it, and though the Buyer may feel similar anxiety over having to assume a house “AS-IS” they can, if done properly, still terminate the contract should the home prove unsatisfactory. Reasonable buyers, sellers and their agents would rather work out a fair negotiation than lose a good contract, even with this stipulation. Another strategy I’ve seen applied is for the buyer to offer to make up some or all of any difference between the contract purchase price and the appraised value of the home should it come in low. As bidding wars force prices up, last month’s comps may not provide the appraiser with enough information to value at contract price, or the home might have exceeded current market value. The market is moving so fast, many buyers would rather kick in some extra cash than go back out looking once they’ve found and been accepted on a home they love. Of course, you’ll have to have the cash to do this so a bit of planning might be in order if you decide to employ this.
The good news for you Buyers is that real estate still offers great wealth building potential. Using standard assumptions (5% annual appreciation), a home purchased today for $250,000 with a 10% down payment and a 4.5% interest rate can produce about $200,000 in equity in a decade! Those of you who are renting may want to think seriously about investing in yourselves. Even if you don’t have a full 10% for the down, there’s still $$$ to be made.
There are two myths in real estate that are not holding up in today’s Denver market. One is that real estate runs in seven year cycles; statistics show the last up-swing lasted for seventeen, plenty of time to build equity. The second myth is that condos are the last to rise in value and the first to tank. Right now we are seeing condominium values appreciating similarly to single homes. Overall home affordability remains attractive when you factor in interest rates, home prices and average rents (up 40% over the past five years). A very good time to buy, but before you do I advise investing in some good running shoes.
After scouring the guide and culling the heard and overheard, here are my STARZ Denver Film Festival favorites…so far. Of course, it’s only day 3 and already my Thesaurus is dog-eared and coffee stained.
For the big movies, there’s nothing more fun than to see the next big thing before it’s been released in a theatre full of film buffs. So I’ve got all of them on my list:
1. Labor Day (see below)
2. Nebraska (Alexander Payne directs Bruce Dern. ‘Nuff said.)
3. August: Osage County (Okay, I’m not a big fan of Julia Roberts but I’m a HUGE fan of Tracy Letts. And who knows, she could surprise me.)
4. At Middleton (Adam Rodgers gets his debut feature film slotted into closing night of the Starz Denver Film Festival. It’s gotta be sumpin’)
Hanna Ranch and American Mustang top my list of beautiful, moving films that reflect my interests and the gorgeous state I call home.
GENE KELLY: THE LEGACY. I was raised on the back lot of M-G-M where the likes of Mr. Kelly would cruise casually into the barber shop or to lunch at the Commissary. This should feel like a home movie.
The Resurrection of a Bastard- Dutch. Thriller. Done.
The Truth About Emmanuel- This one could go either way but my part of Denver Actor Project screens before so I’m there.
The One Who Loves You- Denver actor/director Katharyn Grant’s Indie love story because I hope it’s great and there is a cadre of Denver talent in the cast.
And then there is the element of surprise. I love to pick a day, a time, a venue and then jump in and see the film I know nothing about. It’s like buying a wine you’ve never had and the thrill of reaching beyond what you know is…thrilling. So there will be some of that throughout the week.
What I’ve seen:
Labor Day. Festival opener had me floored from the main title. Based on the novel of the same name by Joyce Maynard, Labor Day hits a place of intimacy and then stays there. One look at the state of single mother, Adele (Kate Winslet), and you can feel her heartbreak in the relatable way that says “that’s about two houses down from me”. When a bleeding stranger presses himself upon her son seeking refuge, she allows it. Or does she? I talked to many of the movie-goers at the opening night party who felt (quite adamantly) that a mother never would have done that. I saw it differently. I saw a woman whose stunned state of sorrow had stripped her of her strength. Earlier in the afternoon, I sat down with Joyce Maynard and we discussed this very thing. “The loneliness of Adele, her deep sadness, that part comes from me. The rest, of course, is fiction.” I could relate. Especially when the bleeding stranger is Josh Brolin. Labor Day is a love story. It should be no surprise that they will fall in love, what is surprising is how lovely it is to watch them do so. Look for my full review on Huffington Post
Gloria– Chilean film, takes place in Santiago, award-winning actress and a story of a woman who defies society’s definition of age… or so the promo says. I did enjoy this film though it’s filled with a lot of mundane tasks so you’re thinking, “Okay, she’s vacuuming her car. Uh-huh, she’s singing on the way to work…”. Having seen a number of ‘coming of a certain age’ stories, I don’t know what to think anymore. Is it all about regret? The one who got away? Getting your ‘groove’ back? Seems like there’s not much else we see or write about when it comes to the middle-aged, divorcee and as one, that depresses the hell outta me. Gloria differs in that she takes the ball in her own hands, frequenting a dance club filled with age-appropriate men. (Must be unique to Santiago;-) Finding one she particularly likes, she ventures into a sexual, and then loving, relationship with a man who cannot relinquish his past. Particularly the dependent ex and his grown and spoiled daughters. Gee… this sounds like a match.com story. Gloria shows the wisdom of maturity as she deals with a lover who is less so, leaving me to believe she’d rather be alone with a hairless cat and a joint than in love with a man who’s a child. Good point. Still kind of depressing.
Dallas Buyers Club. This was a surprise screening for Reel Social Club members, none of whom knew what film it would be until the doors opened. I was ready to pack up and head for the Late Night Lounge when the announcement came. I’d heard of the film months ago but wasn’t really paying attention. Saying goodbyes and grabbing a ticket, I missed the main title. I had no idea who Matthew McConaughey was for the first 20 minutes of the movie. That’s how good he was (and how much weight he’d lost). He and Jared Leto absolutely KILL it in a semi-biographical film about Ron Woodruff, a homophobic Texan who contracts the HIV virus and takes it down like a bull rider. Due to the historical nature of the story, [Woodruff was the one who took on the FDA and AZT, traveling to Mexico and Japan to bring in Interferon and Peptide T which paved the way for the lifesaving “cocktail”] there are some overly expositional bits but the film is not to be missed for the MM and JL performances.
Whether you buy a single ticket or a VIP package, the STARZ Denver Film Festival experience it worth the price of admission.
The Starz Denver Film Festival, now in its 36th year, opens this week with an impressive array of cinematic treats. More than 250 features, shorts, music videos and student films will be screened over the eleven day festival with plenty of pre-show parties, post-film panels, Red Carpet Galas and whispers in the Late Night Lounge. We’ll roll out the Kleig lights for those soon-to-be-Hollywood-blockbusters; Labor Day, Nebraska, August: Osage County, At Middleton and the Red Carpet Galas that put the “festive” in the Festival, but it’s the lesser known films that are often are the most memorable. I’ll be scouring and screening, sorting out the skinny and bringing you the news and interviews (Hello Joyce Maynard!) via my THE HUFFINGTON POST blog, but the really hot dish heats up here. I’m goin’ all Rona Barrett on you as I put the Gal in Gala, the life into the party and bring it all to you in (sur)real time and living color.
All the little last minute details… Right now we don’t know which version LA is sending for The Centerpiece screening of August: Osage County. Will it be director John Wells’ cut or will producer Harvey Weinstein have his way with us?
All the ruffled feathers… One local filmmaker is upset by the content of the Denver Actor Project… something about “Audition tapes” was overheard. Ironically the genesis of the Denver Actor Project was intended to bring Denver filmmakers together to reflect our talent pool and beautiful city, a’la Paris Je T’aime, which Nebraska director Alexander Payne was a part of. The love letter to Denver was too ambitious to do in the available time frame so director, Brad Stabio marched to his own one-man-band pulling together six Denver actors (Jordan Leigh, Chris Grundy, Paul Page, Amie MacKenzie, Jeff Kosloski and me), shooting six individual films and a story to tie these short films together. Running 1-3 minutes each of these six short pieces reveal a part of the whole. I am one of the six, with my part screening before “The Truth About Emmanuel” on Sunday and Monday.
I plan on seeing everything my fellow thespians are in, including Katharyn Grant’s award-winning Indie, The One Who Loves You. Grant, a Colorado actor/filmmaker, directs herself in this love story, set in the 1970s about a failed singer who falls for the grifter who helps her believe in herself. Shot in and around Denver, the cast of The One Who Loves You features some of Denver’s most familiar faces including Rhonda Brown, donnie l betts, Martha Harmon Pardee, Candy Brown, Judy Phelan-Hill, Elizabeth Rose, Laura Norman and Jordan Leigh. The One Who Loves You screens Monday, November 11 at 4:45 and Tuesday the 12th at 9:00.
Stay tuned, comment, converse, share, ask and FOLLOW THIS BLOG or jump in on Twitter @tracetime, @DenverFilm, #SDFF36 And don’t forget to BUY YOUR TICKETS!
Why, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve kept the wheels on a deal….
There are a lot of misconceptions in the real estate business, and then there are the facts. In his book “Buyers are Liars and Sellers Are Too”, author Richard Courtney humorously debunks the irrational thinking that wraps the brains of homeowners and wannabe homeowners tighter than packing tape. From my old wooden desk his views are quite funny, but in the real world of real estate… not so much.
Courtney’s point is not that anyone’s intentionally dishonest, but that truth is mutable. For example, the laundry list of buyer “home must-haves” becomes something different after viewing twenty houses in their target area and price point. And those sellers, armed with Zillow statistics and trusty advice from the FSBO neighbor who sold for 100k less, believe all they have to do is name their price and stick a sign in the yard, knowing they’re probably overpriced. Truth comes later, when it’s still on the market long after the open house balloons have wilted and the flyers are gone from the brochure box. And it stings.
The first time I meet with a potential client, I ask them for permission to tell the truth. Invariably they smile, nod and agree they’d want nothing less, but sometimes as the process unfolds, selective amnesia slips in. Whether the market is up or down, favors buyers or sellers or you like what I have to tell you or not, here’s the truth.
• Your house is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it.
• Well priced homes sell quickly, often over the asking price.
• If you don’t have showings, you can’t sell your house, and if you’re priced too high you won’t have any showings.
• If you’ve had 10-15 showings without an offer, you’re overpriced.
• The colors you chose to match your belongings look too personal once the moving truck pulls out the driveway.
• You may hate beige but buyers love it.
• I cannot make anyone buy your home.
• I cannot make you buy a home you don’t want to buy.
• If I could do either of the last two I’d be writing the book on “Magical Realtorism” from a beach in Bali *waves to cabana boy*.
• You may want everything on your “dream house” list, but you might not get it all. Hopefully you’ll come very close.
• Realtors want you to pre-approve with a lender because it is in your best interest, not theirs (though it doesn’t hurt me either).
• Buying a home without an agent does not mean that the seller will automatically knock my commission off of the price. (Better to have someone working for you, especially when they have someone working for them.)
Homes do not sell because you put a Saint Joseph in your garden or your Mayan healer cleansed your karma with a smudge stick and an eagle feather. There are more than 20 people in the average residential real estate transaction. When you are looking to buy or sell you need an advocate to manage the timeline, the deadlines and the multiple personalities. Dream homes are found and sold because you’ve hired someone who knows their field, the market, the law, and helps their clients buy and sell their homes every month.
And that’s no lie.
How do you do it, oh friends of mine? Vacate your premises in a timely fashion while living your lives, raising your kids, working your jobs and closing your loans. I’ll bet your boxes are properly labeled, too.
I just moved. Or more specifically, some very strong men came to my house, loaded a truck full of my belongings drove them across town and unloaded them in my new abode. I’ve made numerous trips along the same trail with countless loads of boxes, files, photos, artwork and armloads of clothes. It took them about three hours, it’s taken me months. The new house is coming together, the old one is being prepped to sell, and aside from the stubbing of toes I am in heaven…and hell.
I’m a pretty organized person. I know where I put the Phillips screwdriver, keep the chaos at arm’s length and can crush a to-do list with one hand. None of this prepared me for a move.
I started with plenty of time, and then a flurry of good fortune took a hold of my life, leaving me with higher priorities than packing tape and ARC pick-ups. As I chipped away in what little spare time I had, I found little energy for the real task at hand, DECIDING. Every single thing you own must be dealt with, handled, and decided upon: does it have purpose or does it have meaning or does it fit? If the answer is no, pitch it. Easy at the start, but soon enough poof skirts are begging for a comeback and junk drawers scream to be sorted through and that eclectic offering called your stuff becomes a living nightmare of need, prompting the ashram fantasy.
“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy, for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another.”
– Anatole France
As a Realtor I facilitate this transition for others every day, managing the details of the business transaction while they care for the mountain of moving minutia, but it’s a whole ‘nother Oprah when you’re the one moving that mountain. Whether initiated by you or forced upon you, change is always a molecular shake up. No matter how much you anticipate a benevolent future or care to close a chapter of the past, a move holds all the complexities of closure. I am an expert in change; life has thrown me more curves than the Coney Island Cyclone and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. This one is one I have created, and though I have a few ideas about why (urban living, closer to my community, more manageable home, #EastHighSchool) I know there is still much to learn in the process aside from where to put the guest towels. As soon as they find their place, I am receiving.
New listing in Denvers HOT, HOT, HOT WHITTIER neighborhood! Close to everything, the block is on fire with homes going in the 500s, this half-duplex has recent comps above 200. The perfect solution for the renter who wants to build equity or those who want an alternative to condo living with a sweet little back yard for your tomatoes or your ‘doodle’. 2438 Gilpin will be open Saturday 12-4.
Before I die, I want to…
Driving the streets north of Downtown Denver one might turn some dodgy corners. The gentrification of Curtis Park, Ballpark and Five Points neighborhoods has pushed up real estate prices as artist lofts and galleries, restaurants and the urban infill townhomes that follow, found their place beside the old Victorians. This quilted mix of luxe and lush is what gives the area its unique charm, but if you’ve ever stopped at a red light near one of the triangle parks you may have wondered… why doesn’t somebody clean that up? Often dirty, neglected and filled with those for whom a triangle in traffic is as close to home as they have, these inauspicious spaces have fallen through the cracks. So, whose responsibility are they?
Meet the Community Coordinating District No. 1, whose job it is to transform these hot spots into vital, safe and manageable environments for those who live and work in the area. Community works best when in communion; yet all too often disparate interests work, immune to or in spite of one another, making civic progress slow if not impossible. Created as an ad hoc adjunct “collaborative policy platform”, the CCD brings together government, public, non-profit and private sector organizations to facilitate those public improvements which are often dreamed up and less often realized. Adding working capacity to city-led initiatives, creating opportunities for revitalization and economic development, the CCD will scout out areas of the city that need attention and make sure they get it. Think of them as Denver’s Den Mother.
Born in 2010 as the brainchild of a collection of civic visionaries who’d been trying for decades to improve the areas northeast of Downtown Denver, the Community Coordinating District works across geographical boundaries to unite community stakeholders and thoughtful partners to leverage their assets, pool their resources and more efficiently effect change throughout the city.
Targeted areas of enhancement are Eddie Maestes Park directly across from the Denver Rescue Mission at Park Avenue West and Broadway. Long known as a staging area for the homeless, the park has been riddled with crime and drug-related activity. Rather than just “displace” these issues, the District is exploring opportunities for positive change and working through plans to implement them.
Last summer, Sonny Lawson Park gained some renewed energy with the installation of “Before I Die”, a world-wide, interactive art piece by Candy Chang . The interactive mural is like a giant blackboard with the words “Before I die I want to…” painted on it as a universal writing prompt. Visitors are encouraged to pick up a piece of chalk, reflect on their lives, and share their personal aspirations in a public space. The original Before I Die… mural was installed in New Orleans, where Chang transformed the side of an abandoned house in her neighborhood into a giant chalkboard and stenciled it with the sentence. By the next day the wall was entirely filled out and it kept growing. The wall turned a neglected space into a constructive one where neighbors had an outlet to get to know each other and remember their loved ones.
Having been installed in more than 20 countries around the globe, Candy Chang’s Denver incarnation has made its way downtown, where it lives outside the newly renovated McNichols Building at the corner of Colfax Avenue and Bannock, inspiring denizens through February.
The Community Coordinating District offers many opportunities for civic engagement and public participation through its weekly Monday morning meetings, volunteer ops and upcoming events. Strategic partnerships with Arts & Venues Denver, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Parks and Recreation, Denver Police Department, Department of Public Works, Denver’s Road Home, Ballpark Neighborhood Association, City Parks Alliance, Curtis Park Neighbors, Denver Biennial of the Americas, Denver Rescue Mission, Redline Gallery, St. Francis Center, Denver Shared Spaces, Ballet Nouveau Colorado/Wonderbound, Betterweather Inc., Dept. of Community Planning and Development, City Councilwoman: Judy Montero and City Councilman Albus Brooks, promise to keep it interesting.
“Before I die…” was brought to Denver through a partnership of Arts and Venues Denver, the Community Coordinating District, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, and Denver Design Build LLC. For more information on Denver’s Public Art Program, click or call 720-865-4313.
After you’ve finished your holiday shopping, why don’t we go look for a house?
Winter home buying has its challenges, but winter can be the perfect time to buy a home. As we head toward the snowy months, serious shoppers know their winter home buying power is increased by determination and AWD. Housing market prediction for 2014 is looking good and buying a home this winter might just be the ultimate stocking stuffer.I love me those cold weather clients!
Most people think of buying or selling their homes in the ‘high’ season, and while the balmy days of spring and summer are perfect for cruising open houses and power shopping, they also bring the crowds. In 2013 we saw a big bump in the Denver housing market:lots of buyer activity and low inventory meant happy sellers and buyers who were frustrated by the return of the multiple offer. Even when the market was down the notion that summer is the best time to buy/sell your house is one that is hard to break. After spring break, sellers prepare to list the moment the last school bell rings pushing inventory up and in the seller’s minds prices too. Many of these listings are sellers who want to test the waters, plant a For Sale sign in their yard along with the annuals and see if they get the price they want. But this supply side increase often works in the buyers’ favor or frustrates them when the fair-weather seller lacks the motivation to agree on a fair price. Sellers feel the same when sunny day buyers, indulging in some fantasy house hunting, create lots of traffic and little else.
Cold weather buyers and sellers are serious.
The real estate market is driven by many factors but the first and most enduring one is CHANGE. One of the most enduring reasons people buy or sell a home is because their lives are in transition. Though many plan their home sale or purchase, life happens without regard to season or convenience. Families change, jobs are gained, lost or relocated, promotions happen, marriage, divorce, birth and death– all create someone with a housing need.
Shopping or selling in a Denver winter are obvious– driving in show, slipping on ice, shoveling the walkway, taking your boots on and off so you don’t track sludge into the house, fewer showings– but the buyers are BUYERS and not just lookers. Winter sellers are ready and willing to make a move, and tend to price accordingly from the start. The slower season also means that lenders, title companies and appraisers are not so swamped, smoothing out the process and lowering emotion. And of course, there are fewer people submitting offers on your dream home.
As savvy shoppers know, the post-holiday season comes with plenty of opportunities for a bargain and that includes houses as well. Though we in Denver are beyond the clearance sale in our housing market, home prices are on the rise giving sellers more leverage as well.
Enjoy the holidays, spend time with your loved ones, take a spin around town and take in the lights. Then call me when you’ve got the ornaments put away and we’ll get the ball rolling.