Thriving real estate agent in Denver, Colorado, specializing in the needs of the creative community. Looking to buy or sell a home or invest in rental property? Move up, move out, move on. I will move you.

Creativity is the strongest force on earth; artists, visionaries and innovators lead us into the future. We’ve got some mad skills that actualize potential where others may only see what is possible.  Be sure to click on the Thriving Artist Alliance page above and I’ve created a lovely video to inspire you. CLICK HERE TO WATCH

Because it’s boring. Because any schmo can do that. Because if I want to be generic, I might as well mail Bronco’s schedules to a neighborhood of strangers. Throwing a bunch of stats and market predictions up on the Internet works for some agents, I’m sure. It just doesn’t work for me. Every transaction is a human transaction as well as a business transaction, every purchase or sale is personal. Real estate is first and foremost about my community and the people in it. I write about the things they love to do, and the things they do that I love: art, music, theatre, social and philanthropic events, neighborhoods, gatherings. These are the things that interest me because they are the stories of people’s lives.
In the six years I’ve been in the real estate business I’ve found a few things to be true. No matter what the market data says on any given day, most people buy and sell homes because there lives are in transition. They are either creating change in their lives or their lives are changing them. A new job, job loss, new partner, a marriage, a baby, a second child, more space, less space, taking on a new adventure, making the decision to own vs rent, downsizing, downsized, death, divorce, illness, relocation; these are the reasons people buy and sell homes. I’ve only had one client who bought a home because they wanted more closet space…for their new baby.
Market conditions factor in to these changes, inform decisions and how they may play out, but I am in the people business not in sales… at least that’s what I tell myself.
Your home a lot more to you than a financial investment, it is an emotional one as well. This is where you laugh, you cry, plant seeds and break bread, so whether you are looking to buy or looking to sell, I get that. No matter what is happening in the “market”, houses hold our stories, neighborhoods ground us in community and when there are children and schools to be considered, it is critical to find the right fit. When my son entered school and joined the local soccer team, I remember sitting on the congress Park practice field one autumn afternoon chatting with the other moms and thinking…I’m going to spend the next twelve years with these women, we will share our lives. And we have.
So… you will get stories of the things I love about living and sharing our lives together in Denver. You will hear about what’s going on in your neighborhood, learn about what I like about neighborhoods around town, and find out about some cool things to do on a Sunday afternoon. And yes, you will also get market data in the mix or served up solo. I’ll curate, aggregate and create information I think you will find useful, helpful, and occasionally humorous. We’ll share stories, okay?

That’s the phrase my math-obsessed four-year-old used to say when playing the “I love you more” game. Of course, he was referencing the mathematical concept, googol. Excited by the infinite possibilities in the number 1+100 zeros, August’s love knew no bounds.
Lately I have been receiving more invitations for the new social platform, Google+, than I did invitations to 5 year-old’s birthday parties in my googol love days. So far I haven’t accepted any of them, I’m waiting for the party with the pony. Before I dive into another social ocean or launch into another learning curve, I want to know what I’m getting in to. If you’re feelin’ the love as well, you may want to check out the article I found explaining Google+ and how it differs (or not) from Facebook and Twitter. The segregation part may be a good thing, though I don’t really use the same tool on FB. When you express yourself as freely as I am wont to do, you know that not everybody needs to read every thought that pops into your head, no matter how brilliantly witty. A bit of discretion, please.
See you in the inner circle.

1. Circles
Google+ is based on a “circle” analogy, and this is where Google’s philosophy on sharing differs from Facebook. As stated in the interactive demo, “Circles makes it easy to put your friends from Saturday night in one circle, your parents in another, and your boss in a circle by himself — just like real life.” [LW: See “list” in Facebook]
Unlike Facebook, where a user broadcasts updates to a large audience, Google+ allows a user to break their “friends” into subgroups. These groups can be family, friends, co-workers, etc. This allows for very targeted conversations.

2. Stream
The Google+ Stream is very similar to the standard timeline you’ve come to expect. However, your Circles are displayed, enabling a user to select and view a Stream for that particular circle. This is actually a very nice feature. [LW: you can do this in Facebook, and I use it a lot, but it’s cumbersome]
You can also update your status here and you are not bound by the 140-character limit of Twitter. Some users may love this — personally, I’ve grown to appreciate that number. Adding photos, videos and location is super easy, but there are some missing elements, including an accessible RSS feed. It will be interesting to see Google expand this module.

3. Hangouts
Hangouts is a video chat module that allows for group videoconferencing. As you may know, Facebook recently partnered with Skype to bring video chat to Facebook, and TechCunch wrote an in-depth article, “Facebook Video Chat vs. Google Hangouts: It’s No Contest,” which covers these features in detail.
Essentially, Facebook supports one-on-one video conversations and Hangouts allows group chats. In fact, up to 10 people are supported. I tested this module and quickly discovered that performance and quality are greatly enhanced with a high-speed Internet connection. This is an intriguing feature that could have a ton of potential for remote team meetings. {LW: would clients like this if you send them a list of homes to consider – feels more like a face to face discussion even when it isn’t?]

4. Sparks
Sparks is another useful feature. Just enter a topic, click “search,” and articles from across the Web regarding that topic are streamed into the Sparks module. Topics are automatically saved and can be accessed at any time. You can be specific in creating Sparks. I was surprised at the different results displayed for “real estate marketing” and other industry-related terms.

5. Privacy
As with all social networking services, configuring your privacy settings in Google+ is imperative. To access your privacy settings, click the “gear” icon at the top right, select “settings,” followed by “profile” and “privacy.” Here you can customize everything from notifications to visibility.
Although Google is focused on the consumer experience, they announced via YouTube that they are developing plans for a business experience on Google+ that will be released later this year.

It is certainly too early to predict if consumers will adapt to Google+. Is it a Facebook and Twitter “killer”? I doubt it.

As an actor, the most common question is “How do you memorize all those lines?” As a Realtor© it goes something like this… “How come your comps say my house is worth X when Zillow says Y? “
I’ll tell you why. Real estate websites have transformed the consumer experience when buying or selling, bringing to the public the listing and sales info that used to be private and difficult to get to. Some of this consumer info sharing has been good for all. A buyer, for example, can reduce our power-shopping trips by searching for homes that suit their needs, send a list of what they want to see and off we go. Well… after I double check the listing information, as much of it is out of date; homes sold but still listed as active, short sales if my client has a move in time frame, homes that have been on the market for a year… these get scratched from the shopping list. But for sellers it can be a different story.
These sites appeal to the savvy seller, empowered by access to the information provided, They try hard to do a lot of the work for you, grabbing recent sales, public record and homes listed in your neighborhood, then running them through a computer program and, in some cases, going so far as to create an estimated value on your property. Here’s where it gets tricky. Computer programs have no discernment.
I recently got on Zillow to double check one of my listings to make sure the information was correct. What I found was a massive error stating that according to public record the home had sold in 1997 for $150,000, a “fact” I cannot find anywhere. With a price point over $600,000, this is a costly mistake and one my sellers were understandably unhappy about. I’ve contacted them numerous times to correct, but so far nothing. I checked back yesterday and the website’s value of the property had gone up $17k in one week for no apparent reason. In my own neighborhood, Zillow has deemed my home worth nearly 40k less than what I can sell it for, largely due to a few foreclosures nearby, and this is happening all over the city.

A computer takes the description of your home from the public records, or from a recent listing, determines the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage, and pulls out the closest homes to yours that have sold recently that have similar data on record. The computer can’t necessarily distinguish nuances in a property’s condition or aesthetics, nor does it always correct for whether the house two blocks over was a short sale or a foreclosure. Depending on where you live, how similar homes are to each other in your area, the level of sales activity near your home and the level of accuracy found in the public records for your house and nearby homes, these sites can offer very comparable “comps” — or comparables that aren’t really comparable at all. If you live in a fairly cookie-cutter subdivision where several homes just like yours have sold very recently, you’re likely to get a good set of comparables, and a value estimate that’s at least in the ballpark. But in many areas, lots of fairly common scenarios can come between you and a good comp/bad comp:

Your home is older and has had a lot of improvements and even additions that are not in the county records.
Homes in your area are very different from each other.
You live in a neighborhood very nearby another neighborhood where homes have a much higher or lower value than your area , say, because they belong in a better school district or even on the other side of the city limits.
Your home is in an area where homes are dense, the algorithm might jump over many very nearby properties to get to a relatively dissimilar one even a half-mile away, and that can give you bad comps.

The listings provided by the sites can be very useful for homeowners trying to stay on top of what homes around theirs are selling for — not listed for, but actually selling for. They are less useful, in my opinion, at placing values on properties; the sites that do this usually have their accuracy rates listed somewhere on the site, and I haven’t yet seen one that’s impressive.
But when it’s time to actually list your home, or figure out what it is worth, no computer — no algorithm — is as accurate as a living, breathing local real estate professional who sees and sells all the different specimens of homes in your neighborhood and sees firsthand what ready, willing, qualified buyers actually pay for them, day in and day out.
I think it’s important for sellers interviewing listing agents to discuss the online comparables with prospective listing agents, but not as a counterargument to what the listing agents recommends you list your home for. Rather, it’s a smart way to see some of what the agents know, and what you can learn about the other properties in your area. If you’d like a detailed estimate of home values in your neighborhood or a comparative market analysis of your home, give me a ring, I’d be glad to help.

I’m not sure where my sons learned how to paint, but they did. We’re not talking visual arts here, but walls. They learned the arty stuff at schools; in Monart, the Art Student’s League, summer programs at the Denver Art Museum and in the Denver Public Schools we choiced into, schools with an Arts in Education focus, and they’re quite good actually; some of that’s genetic. But where did they pick up these “man skills”? My brother was a painter, both of canvas and of houses. I remember his sitting down with August, a charcoal pencil and a pad of newsprint going over shadow and perspective, but I don’t remember them covering the finer points of masking and cutting.
When the idea surfaced to move August down to the basement bedroom I balked, as this mean the surrender of my chick cave. Compounding this was the fact that Gabe set claim to the larger of the bedrooms, creating a three-point turn and squeezing me into his old room. I rose to the occasion under the condition that I could recreate the space. That’s b.s. for redecorate.
Now, I am a ‘Creative’ and my surroundings mean a lot to me. They must present a balanced sense of stimulation and serenity with enough electrical outlets to handle the various floor and table lamps, computer, fax, printers, iPod docking station: machines germane to my existence and my need for flattering light. As a professional theater artist/real estate agent, color is key. So I made a deal with my basement-dwelling teen that I’d pay him to paint my office, after which we’d complete the rest of the move. I plopped a gallon of Benjamin Moore, the necessary accoutrement and a cappuccino on the floor and left for a listing appointment. I was shocked when the photo of a freshly painted wall landed in my Blackberry an hour later and returned home in the evening to a shiny new room. I was shocked.
This morning as I put my things in order, scraping the odd drip of latex off the hardwood floor, I wondered where he learned this, when it hit me. He learned it in the theater! I spent a few summers directing in a small town in the Wet Mountains when the boys were young, where they learned to fish and to spit and…were forced into service painting flats. Come to think of it, they were quite handy with the blue tape and rollers last month at the Concert for the Kids Community Day…
Hanging pictures and white boards, I was flush with the proud surge of single-motherhood and the feeling that maybe this was all working out after all. I slipped him the crisp twenty dollar bills I’d promised, he slipped them into his pocket and within 24 hours, slipped out to buy the latest video game. Hmmm… maybe I should have thought through that basement bedroom thing.

The most important thing one can do in negotiations is to keep the conversation going. Simple in theory, but when emotions get involved it gets much more complicated. Take yesterday for example; buyer comes to seller with an incredibly low offer. Seller is already well priced, below average price per square foot for the area, is insulted, and rightly so. Sellers don’t even want to talk about a counter they are so mad, and so the door is closed, communication stops, conversation ends. Does anybody get what they want? No.
It is my firm belief and experiential understanding that all real estate transactions are essentially human transactions. But they are also business transactions. Balancing these two, sometimes contradictory, principles is what leads us successfully to the goal. Obviously buyers and sellers are emotionally invested, which is why hiring a good Realtor is your best investment. You need an advocate, and one who will objectively keep the dialogue running until there is 1.) A deal that works for both sides, or 2.) Nothing further that can be done to make it happen.
I know this seems like I’m stating the obvious, and when you’re only talking business it’s true. Once you factor in the human element, and the business is about a very personal product… like a home, that’s where things get sticky. Negotiations can be exhausting. For everyone. My best advise?
Keep Calm. Carry On.

Today an unusual thing happened, I received two offers on two different listings. That in itself would not be unusual in the Denver real estate market, but it’s what came with the offer I found odd and amusing. This morning, two emails hit my inbox. One was the offer, $110k below the list price, and the other was a letter from the potential buyer to the seller. This afternoon, the same thing happened: 20k under a list price that had a generous price reduction on Wednesday, and a lovely card to the seller. Now I am the queen of the hand-written note and I know it’s value, but in both of these instances it was as if the “I really love your house, we are the perfect buyers” missive was going to somehow cover the insulting offer. If you really love the house, you should pay what the house is worth. A letter that says in essence, “I found the house I love, now can you please give it to me?” does little to sway the seller away from his or her profits.
Buyers buy homes with their emotion first and practicality second, sellers are just the opposite. I know this is a sweeping generalization, but most of the time it holds true. A home is an emotional commodity and yes, most sellers would love to see their home go to that sweet young couple of lovebirds with the 20% down, the golden retriever and th 850 credit score. Chances are very good that the seller has had his own emotional roller coaster ride long before you set your showing. Ready to make that move, they’ve called their Realtor, had the listing appointment and swallowed hard when their agent told them what they could expect to sell their beautiful home for in today’s market. When they’ve lowered their price twice in 60 days, is it realistic to expect them to take another 20 or 100k off the top because you love their home? I’d love a new Mercedes for the price of my used Saab, too.
In short, be reasonable. Be fair. Don’t believe everything you read about the “Buyer’s Market”, assuming every home is on the clearance rack. And save your letters. We know you love the home and felt all warm and fuzzy when you walked into it, that’s what writing an offer means. Now write the offer that will match that value, and don’t expect the seller to pay for your dreams out of their retirement.

Home buyers are looking for that perfect space they can make their own. To many sellers, often on the advise of their Realtor, this means painting the whole house in shades of beige and removing anything that makes their home too “personal”. There have been times I’ve said the same to my clients, though I can count them on one hand. As a founder of the Thriving Artist Alliance, I focus my business on helping creative people build wealth through real estate. For some it means moving them from renters to homeowners, for others investing in real estate through purchasing fix-and-flip or rental property is a great strategy, and then there are those who long for a living space that allows for or inspires their creative pursuits. Because the Creative Class relates to the world and their place in it differently, I am rarely looking for or listing a “Beige Box”, it’s more likely I’m on the hunt for something special and unique. When the Smiths called me about listing their City Park bungalow at 3105 Elizabeth Street I arrived at our appointment with no idea what to expect. I took to this house (and to the Smiths) immediately and was blown away! The color pallet, artwork, furnishings and decor made me feel happy and instantly at home and I knew I was in the presence of two highly-gifted artists. Though art is not either of their professions, the artist touch has graced every corner of this home. Mrs. Smith is a part-time painter and Mr. Smith used his considerable craftsmanship on a basement finish that is warm and natural and very comfortable.
This home won’t appeal to everyone, and I’m sure we’ll get some “Why don’t they paint the whole thing neutral” feedback, but that’s okay. I’m not looking for that buyer. I’m looking for that special person, couple or family who understand that self-expression is high art and that individuality is paramount. Oh, and it’d be nice if they love the City Park Jazz concert series, because they’re close enough to walk or roll there every Sunday!

You’ll love the look and feel of this remodeled brick townhome in fabulous Mayfair! Situated on the corner it feels like a single family home. Keeping all of the 1945 charm, the updated kitchen has been opened up, offering a light and cheery feeling. Granite counters and handmade cabinets, stainless steel appliances, Viking stove, convection/microwave oven, hardwood floors, custom window coverings, designer paint~ it’s clean as a whistle! New windows, new bathroom fixtures and new vintage-style tile floor, patio with the option for private fencing and a strong HOA make this perfect for your first time home buyer! Great condo alternative and the best in the neighborhood. Call me for a showing, you really should take a look!