Wonder why your home didn’t sell in a weekend? Here’s a bit of info on the summer real estate market. If you take a look at the graph you’ll see that showing traffic in 2Q 2016 is down quite a bit from the First Quarter of the year. This is no surprise, it’s been the seasonal trend for the last four years. Coming off of a super-heated real estate market this spring, the usual summer “slowdown” feels more dramatic than a political convention. If you’re “lingering” on the market for a whopping two weeks remember that listings don’t always sell in a weekend and not all of them get twenty offers, especially those priced over $350,000. Summer in Denver is not only the real estate selling season, it’s vacation time too! With so much to do in our lovely state, we get up, get out and go more often and our stressed out home buyers need a break. Showings tend to pick up again after the Fourth of July for those looking to make a move and settle in before school starts in late August. That’s the conventional wisdom coming from an unconventional gal.
What I have seen year-after-year is a strong autumn season for real estate sales when the summer buyers have either completed or delayed their purchase and those who want to serve Thanksgiving in a new home come out to play. Same goes for the end of the year when myth tells us it’s a bad time to list a house for sale. My experience has been that winter buyers are fewer, yes, but they are more serious and with our continued lack of inventory many will see the cooler months as a less competitive time to purchase a home. Look for more soon in my next Real Estate Market Update.
Let’s face it, courtship has never been easy. Where Victorian times had their parlors full of would be suitors perched on uncomfortable furniture with a maiden aunt breathing down their cravats, the 21st century has an app. Today’s dating game has replaced the calling card with a 240 character bio, a bathroom selfie and a photo of your dog. Rather than his recitation of poetry and her piano recital, we settle for few texts, a brief phone call and a face-to-face for a bit of sniffing over tapas and craft beer.
The search for love changes and evolves as we wander through life. In youth we’re still finding ourselves, our careers and our passions, even as we seek another. We crave romance, a Hallmark card soulmate, or perhaps “The One” to fill a driving desire to start a family. Years after the big things have been done and you find yourself single, how do you find the next “One”? You hope, of course, you’ll meet the old-fashioned way; at the art museum, the grocery store, the dog park:a friend will introduce you or… you’ll go online.
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time –Maya Angelou
This where it gets complicated. Profiles that lead with “I’m just a simple guy…” –(code for I haven’t read a book since college), photos of a grown up man in a baseball cap and mirrored shades (can you say creeper?) or Colorado favorite, standing on top of a mountain in a spandex suit with your bike held over your head (the cult of the super-fit)– make me think being single ain’t so bad.To me life’s next “Big Thing” is the way I choose to spend every moment between this breath and the grave, so choosing who to share this precious time with takes intention, an open heart and a bit of research. As a writer and Realtor my online profile is wide open. A simple search for Tracy Denver brings me up on the fist page, which makes it easy for a potential date to know a lot about me with a few clicks of a mouse and though I’ve never shown up to find someone so well-prepared, before I meet someone in LoDo after dark I’m going straight to Google.
Most of the time you strike out but when you find they have a blog, you’ve stuck cyber gold. Writing a blog is the epitome of sharing… sometimes over-sharing. Whether it’s business expertise, travel stories, life experience or how often you floss your teeth, you tell us who you are. You write about the day your cat died, I see how you handle grief and loss, the time you left it all behind to travel the world tells me you’re independently wealthy, incredibly irresponsible or in search of nirvana. A month in Spain, a week in Columbia, a year in India all have different connotations, don’t they? Bloggers tell their story, put it out for all the world to see and most likely forget about it… but it’s out there.
Most people like to live in illusions- J Krishnamurti
You read the blog, had the date, started the relationship,and conveniently forgotten what you’d learned before you’d pulled up to the first valet. Still, you surprised when the story unfolds exactly as written. We all do this. It doesn’t take a blog to get the information, we get it from friends and family in the way they behave, in the emotional well we return to time and again, knowing it is dry. So, what is it in us that chooses to ignore what we know in favor of what we want to believe is true? Real time politics show us that even Trump’s own words do not dissuade those who want to believe in him. The world woke up after the #Brexit vote, shocked by the results, raging at reality and reeling from effects that global economists have predicted for months. We share information on Social Media to support our beliefs without checking the source or the facts. In a world of spin, Tweet, best intention and illusion, how does one discern the truth?
The heart wants what the the heart wants- Unknown
To know the heart, yours or another’s, it takes silence and the stillness to listen carefully. Listening is a skill to be cultivated in our noisy world. Not only must you tune out the distraction to truly hear the other, it takes great patience to listen deep within oneself. Attention must be paid to the clanging, the white noise and the story. What is the truth of the story being told and how is that filtered by the one you create? Sifting calmly through the actual information, careful not to judge, is more productive and requires more of you than spinning fantasies and making excuses. Illusion mimics scar tissue, protecting an open, tender heart from that which it already knows. Know what you know.
And if someone tells you they rarely floss their teeth… believe them.
With the past month’s headlines full of unspeakable violence, how do we talk to the children? In her Denver Post article, For families, conversation is evolving (12/09/2015), journalist Jenn Fields explores how parents are navigating the daily violence and the effect on their children. I find it particularly poignant as we head into the holiday season when the conversation would (or could) naturally turn to things like peace on earth or goodwill toward men. Okay, that may be a little optimistic in our current Trumped-up culture, but the juxtaposition of love and fear are certainly in need of discussion. I got a call from Jenn to be part of this interview, and because I’ve always had a pretty open topic policy with my children, I gladly obliged.
August was 4 years old when Columbine happened. Gabe, the younger of two boys, was a toddler on Sept. 11, 2001.
So for Tracy Shaffer, of Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood, ruminating over how to have conversations with her boys about senseless violence is nothing new.
“I’ve spent 20 years thinking about, how am I going to talk to my kids about this?” she said.
It’s an evolving conversation for parents; as kids turn into teens, they’re exposed to more information, more media coverage about violence than what Mom and Dad allow on the living room television. And in the wake of the Paris attacks, and the shootings at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs and a holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif., it’s also an ongoing conversation about fear, safety and, ultimately, positivity. The recent back-to-back high-profile shootings are scary for kids, Shaffer said. “And they’re aware of that. It’s just a lot harder right now. The last couple of weeks, the month we’ve had, it’s just a lot harder to tell them that the odds are in their favor, that nothing’s going to happen.
“But it’s still true.”
Judith Fox, director of the international disaster psychology program at the University of Denver, said there’s an emotional toll for everyone after mass shootings.
“The events in and of themselves, I think, are frightening and really rock everyone’s sense of safety and security,” Fox said. “But that’s going to be particularly true for children and teens, who don’t have the larger context with which to understand what’s going on.”
Shaffer’s 17-year-old had an extra scare last week. She was on her way to East High School to pick him up Thursday when he called to say something was going on.
“I’m thinking it’s a hair-pulling, back-of-the-school fight like we did in the ’70s,” Shaffer said. “And I get there, and there are about 18 cop cars.”
East was on lockdown after reports of an armed person at the school. But Gabe was outside when it happened. So she picked him up and they left.
As he called to check on friends, she noticed: “After each phone call, he said at least once, “I love you, take care of yourself, I love you.’ ” It struck her. He knew what was important.
“If they can stay in that place of the sweetness and the compassion for one another — ‘I was concerned for you,’ ‘I was scared for my school’ — and not getting into the blaming and the bickering, then we may gain control in the long run.”
At the clinic at DU, Fox said, “Inevitably people are coming in with their kids feeling more anxious.”
Between lockdowns — real or drills — at school, what kids hear from other kids and the slew of media coverage, parents might feel like it’s an uphill battle to dial down talk of the shootings.
Having an open line of communication with your kids is essential, Fox said.
“You really want to be in a connected position to have an impact on how they think about things, and what they do. Children and teens, you want to watch what they watch, as much as you can. You want to be there, you want to limit the exposure, but that gives you the power to understand what they’re feeling and thinking and correct misunderstandings and help lessen confusion.”
With teens who are using social media, she said, talk to them about what they’re seeing there, and remind them that it’s easy to spread unrealistic rumors on social media.
Since her 12-year-old started middle school, Heidi Schmutz of Longmont said her family has been trying to balance out the information her daughter is bringing home from school.
“It’s an interesting age, because they are getting some information about current events at school, so we want to make sure we’re having a conversation about it at home so we can give her some context,” Schmutz said.
At school, her daughter watches CNN Student News, which is “designed for use in middle and high school classrooms,” according to the site. When their daughter comes home and tells them about it, Schmutz and her husband then open a conversation about what she learned.
However, she said, “there’s a point, especially at this age, where too much is too much.” As parents, they want to give information that’s age-appropriate, she said, and let the kid be a kid.
Kirsten Anderson, division director of child and family outpatient services and disaster coordinator at Aurora Mental Health Center, has another tip for parents: “Parents need to take care of themselves so they can take care of their own kids.”
It’s best for parents to minimize exposure to news coverage of these events — and keep in mind that images and sounds “tend to stick with us more than the words do,” she said.
Little ones don’t need to see any of this, she said, and teens don’t need to see it over and over again.
At Shaffer’s house, her teen self-regulated their television viewing after the most recent shootings.
“Gabe will go, ‘I don’t want to watch this,’ and so we’ll turn it to something really stupid,” she said.
If you’re the parent trying to steer the focus, aim for positive imagery instead, Fox said, “like, how are people helping each other? Noticing that side of things is really important. I think that was a very effective technique on 9/11, (and) it clearly happened around the support systems that developed post-school shootings, where people really band together and help each other.”
You’re not going to control everything kids see and hear — certainly not with teens, Fox said.
“I assume my kids are seeing absolutely everything,” said Shaffer, whose boys are now 17 and 21. “I can’t keep you from it, I can’t shield you from it. I can give you context. That’s the role of parents now, I think, is to give them context.”
Jenn Fields: 303-954-1599, email@example.com or @jennfields
Let me know what you think and how you may be having this conversation in your household.
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.
There, I said it.
Having been raised in California during the creation of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society by a mother who boycotted grapes, burned her bra and canvassed for McGovern might have something to do with it, though I’ve had plenty of years to examine my beliefs and to own them. Being a Democrat doesn’t mean I want to tax the wealthy at 50%, decimate the military, or take away your gun and sell it to an illegal alien who’ll pay for it with his welfare check , shoot you in the foot to rob you of your tax money while I’m eating bonbons at my best friend’s gay wedding. But I don’t believe compassion is a character flaw.
I love politics. As a real estate agent I’ve heard to keep them off your Facebook page— ya know, just so you don’t “alienate business”. Okay, I get that, I just don’t ascribe to it. When you run your business on the like-finds-like model of tribal attraction and relationship building, dialogue is critical. Criticism and cynicism are not. Though some of you are sure to disagree… I like to engage rather than provoke, try to keep the mix thoughtful, informative, humorous without the memes and not too snarky. I am not always successful, though admittedly biased. I welcome differences of opinion so long as they’re not rude or cruel, because I feel we need to practice civility by bringing our ideas forward and being held accountable for them. Disagreement is good if there is a willingness to listen and if not, you can usher personal attacks on friends to the door or sponge the haters off of the thread. As a businesswoman in a field populated by Republicans, I find my less vociferous left-leaning friends whisper to me at the water cooler, “I love reading your posts. I wish I could do that but, you know…” and I do… kind of. Perhaps I should keep that “separation of church and state” idea in mind when it comes to social media but I prefer that First Amendment thingy. Don’t you think honesty is a valuable trait in a real estate consultant? Wouldn’t you rather have someone who is relentlessly honest with you, even if it means telling you the house you love is over-priced and sitting on a toxic waste site? Negotiation is not for sissies and you can tell a lot by how one handles their Facebook wall. Having the courage to own what I believe in comes from the same part of me that will always take a stand on behalf of my clients and makes me good at what I do.
33.3% of all Americans identify themselves as Democrats, though it doesn’t follow that the term “Liberal” should be liberally applied to all of us any more than “Right-wing” fits every one of my GOP affiliated friends. I believe in fiscal and personal responsibility, in global warming, social safety nets, civil liberties, equal pay, and government regulation (because if the housing crisis taught us anything, it’s that human nature doesn’t always lean to its better side). I don’t believe that being there for one another is a character flaw.
The best hope for this country to right itself again is by admitting that neither side has all the answers. That just because I see the world differently, doesn’t make you wrong and visa versa. As long as we defending our absolutes, rather than championing our possibilities we will never be able to find solutions to the problems that keep us from being a truly Great Society. We must stop yelling at one another; regurgitating talk radio, cable news and partisan websites as if the ideas we’ve co-opted are our own because preaching platitudes is never the path to original thought. We must have the courage to look beyond the propaganda and seek to discover what we really think and why, and share it in an effort to understand rather than be right. Or as my proudly liberal mother used to say “A problem is never solved in a shouting match.”
In a matter of hours, hopefully not days, we will know the outcome of the 2012 election, and if the polls are correct they’ll be a dead heat of anguish and exhilaration. The spinners will spin and the snipers will snipe and both sides will keen it is the end of the world, and wouldn’t it be nice if it were? If we let go of the adversity and reclaimed the civility and manners that our parents taught us, perhaps we could teach Congress a thing or two. *snorts her coffee*
It’s late October in a very tight presidential race. Pols shift twice in the same day and the election is coming down to swing states and undecided voters, though I’m not sure exactly who these people are. The issue is not that the Democrats and Republicans have successfully laid out their vision for the next 4 (or 8) years, because neither of them has been too clear on that, or that I don’t think it’s really important and has a profound impact on my future, because it does. I know. It does. The issue is… I can’t decide. Really?
I consider myself decisive and spontaneous in general, but I am slow and deliberate when it comes to making the big decisions, gathering all available information and trying on perspective outcomes in the dressing room of my mind. When weighing out the cost/benefit ratio of a situation, what is it that makes one finally take a stand, or take action?
The word ‘SALE’ has some power over me, at least it gets my interest. Once piqued I am swirling through the— Do I need it? Do I want it? Does it solve a problem? Is it cheap enough?— cycle until either I buy or walk away. Even when that “One Day Only!” sale fills me with a sense of urgency, I know I can always come back…like to next month’s “One Day Only!” sale.
So what about the big things? Deciding on a president or buying a house? (You knew I’d go there)
I have binders full of buyers, debating over whether or not its time to get off the fence. Right now Denver Colorado is in the top five cities leading the housing market recovery. Home prices are rising steadily, foreclosures are in decline, inventory is low, the home affordability index is high and the money’s on sale. What questions do you need to ask yourself before you take the leap?
Beyond the “One Day Only!” hype, buyers who’ve waited for the market to hit bottom (so two years ago) have a sense of urgency to make a good investment before the window of opportunity closes. With the release of pent up demand (sounds very “Fifty Shades of Grey”, doesn’t it?) sellers who’ve waited out the storm have built back some lost equity and are feeling more confident their home will fetch a fair and decent price. There are more bidding wars and high-demand neighborhoods than I’ve seen in five or six years and that feels good. The crush of summer housing sales gives way to autumn when the market slows a bit, leaving the serious buyers and sellers. Its a very efficient time for me as a real estate agent, often producing my best quarter.
I know home ownership is not for everyone, nor is real estate investing, but when you’re in an historical sweet spot to buy and hold real estate, it may be time to make a decision before you turn into a pumpkin. As for that voting thing… oh, I’m not goin’ there.
We all know how babies are made, yet there is a different kind of co-mingling and sufficient collective labor that really useful things are born. Remember the commercial with the jingle “Look for the Union Label”? *cue sappy music* Feels like a such long time ago, when the American worker was protected by strong unions and lauded for a job well done. Everything has changed; manufacturing, the job market, the way we view organized labor and how we treat our workers. Our teachers and government employees have become the enemies as time sweeps them up in a political sentiment of smaller government. This is no longer the world of FDR, JFK and LBJ, whose visions of a Great Society have been ground to pieces in the profit mill.
The spirit of the American worker has been stripped down, diminished by outsourcing, plant closures and the low-lying message that we are replaceable in a world of Corporate profits, soaring CEO salaries and raided retirement funds. What has not changed is our ability to create and it is the creative spirit that wins every time. I remember the moment when I realized that outside of nature, everything I understood as the world around me was imagined, invented, engineered and build by someone. I was ten and awed by the notion. The dreamer, the doer, the builder, the sower, the seller, some toiling alone in the dark of night, others gathered in a field at the break of dawn– by the sweat of our brow and the wings of desire… Inventor, financier, laborer, public servant, hand-in-hand… We built that. *Music swells*
On this holiday weekend as you take respite, remember those who came before, who toil today and those who search for work in this difficult economy. Give thanks to the laborer who dug the ditch, laid the pipe, cut the trail, built the roads, the railroads, the bridges, stitched your clothing from the weaver’s fabric, assembled your car, your iPhone, your laptop. Take a moment to appreciate the teachers who taught you and the postman who carried the news of your college acceptance. Hug a tree in gratitude for the deck where you’re slaving over the BBQ grill, for those who brewed your beer and stuffed your sausage— all of these people have lead you to where you are in this moment and where you’ll be in the future. Stuck in traffic on the Eisenhower Tunnel. Happy Labor Day everyone!
No matter what your politics, Clint Eastwood talking to a chair was absurd. I’m not talking about what he said or the mismanagement of prime TV real estate by the RNC, but the fact that an actor of his magnitude went on stage in front of an audience of millions and millions of viewers totally off script is mind-boggling.
The common misconception about actors that we’re all extroverts who can spontaneously extrapolate on any subject at will, but the truth is most of us need a script. The beauty of the art form, and as a director Mr. Eastwood should know this, is that an actor has the ability to go deep into the ideas of the story, wrap themselves in the intricate details of a character and produce an effective rendering of truth from the point of view of his/her character. Of course there are times when improvisation is fitting, mostly in rehearsal. We’ve all heard the stories of the films where it has brought forth brilliant results. Why? Because the actor knows the script and is immersed in the role.
I have no doubt that Clint Eastwood’s personal beliefs are very close to those he brought to the Tampa stage and because he wasn’t in character, apparently he thought he could wing it. He could not. His “performance” showed this as he went “Every Which Way But Loose” cannon on the RNC. News reports say his decision to introduce the infamous chair (an old acting school exercise) was a request made in the wings minutes before he made his entrance. If that is so, it speaks to a grand lack of preparation on his part; can you imagine what he would do to an actor who showed up on his set with similar nonchalance?
As an American Icon, I expect more of Clint Eastwood. After decades creating indelible characters, infusing our lexicon and delivering film after film with precision as a brilliant director, I am disappointed that he missed the opportunity to make his points with the well-planned (and rehearsed), scripted and powerful speech he is capable of rather than the bumbling ramblings of doddering old man. Though our opinions may differ on many things, that is a speech I would have loved to have seen.
Note: Unless you are playing the role of Elwood P Dowd in “Harvey”, conversations with invisible friends is a bad idea. Oh, and someone please tell me Clint didn’t see anyone in that chair.