Useful information on buying or selling a home in the Denver market.

all about eve
Working as a professional actress has taught me many things: tenacity and humility for one. (Ha!). Along with the starring roles and the smaller roles come the understudying gigs. They’ve kept me on my toes, fully insured and employed. Largely the experience hasn’t been in the glamorous, deceitful, clamoring-for-fame vein portrayed in the 1950 film classic, All About Eve, mine have had been more in line with the Girl Scout motto.
Three decades in the industry has kept me ambitious, created a strong work ethic and instilled a somewhat healthy insecurity that feeds my drive. Pounding the pavement, perpetually prospecting and practicing persistence is the perfect training ground for a career in the real estate business, but nothing could have prepared me for spring of ’13.
After Romeo & Juliet, my first foray into the First Folio, I was looking forward to a seasonal ramp up in the real estate world and my end of season gig at the Denver Center Theatre as understudy in “Other Desert Cities”. Shoulda been a cakewalk, it was not.
The rapid acceleration of the Denver housing market coincided with my ascension from understudy to starring role and the first audience in just eight days. (Actually it was a 5 character ensemble play, but ‘starring role’ does sound, well… more dramatic). Time to drill down and focus on my lines; stringing together the beads of this complex and demanding character would come later. I was hitting the wall as we hit our “10 out of 12”, theatre speak for long-ass day, when an offer came in on my hot Congress Park listing. Negotiating a deal and my way around the stage, I had to find my clients a replacement home. Dinner breaks became showing appointments, opening doors as my lines streamed through my headphones, I existed on chocolate bars and power naps until… “You’re on, Eve.”eve harrington
The show opened, the clients closed on their new house and the actress/Realtor spent a week in Vail recuperating, which is important as the pace has not slowed. The message of my Girl Scout leader, BE PREPARED, has a whole new meaning with the real estate market at a break neck pace. “Prepared” to drop what you’re doing to snap up a showing on a snappy place, “prepared” with a purchase contract ever-ready on the tablet, “prepared” to list a home on Thursday, hold it open on Saturday and present offers on Sunday. “Prepared” went from having snacks and water in your ditty bag to performing the above tasks for multiple clients, sleeping very little, and loving it. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, or both, I still have some treats in the ditty bag. Mostly chocolate.

yellow door Blogging is serious business. It takes more than a good idea; it’s time, intention, research and if done well, stimulates a conversation. It also stimulates business, which leaves me with less time to blog. Sometimes I cheat.
Rather than make you anxiously await an opening in my schedule *inserts tongue into cheek*, I’ll share some recent articles from the experts at REColorado explaingin the current Denver housing market as well as (or better) than I.
In chronological order so you can see the trend:
March 2013- Homebuyers Challenged, Sellers Reap Benefits
April 2013- Sellers Seeing Unprecedented Number of Offers
June 2013- Surge in Available Homes Boost Denver Home Sales
July 2013- Increase in Available Homes Relieves Denver Market (no it’s not the same articls)

We’ve seen a beautiful upsurge in spring sales, followed by an increased summer inventory. Agents, looking to fill a hungry buyer’s need, have driven prices into a healthier range while the strong move-up wave opens up homes for sale for the first time home buyer. Interest rates have risen and dipped back again, giving us hope and a warning. More than a Realtor’s mantra, the time to buy is now. And if you’re looking to move, we’d love to have your listing. Not a lot of out there, and the good goes quickly! Take your time to look through the links and call with any questions. There will be a quiz.
[Thanks to Gary Bauer and our friends at Metrolist for doing the brainy stuff.]

cyclone
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.

I used to give my sons a box of Crayons and some newsprint, now it’s a zip file and video software.

 

heart in the snow1. Because it snowed a lot in the mountains.
2. Because it’s over…and we don’t have to deal with Valentines’Day for another year.
3. Because the Denver Housing market continues to thrive, pushing aside all seasonal norms like an anxious crocus pushes a blanket of March snow.
If you’d like to have your very own copy of the February market stats, shoot me an email, a text or do that old pick-up-the-phone-and-call-me thing. I’m all about sharing.

young george If you’re like me, you suffer buyer’s remorse any time you get a new pair of jeans. So what happens when you plunk down a quarter, half or million dollars for a house? Here are some great “homeopathic” remedies to help you avoid (or reverse) that bitter pill.

1. Before you start, imagine your life after you close the deal & move in. What are you trying to accomplish? What lifestyle are you creating by this move and how does it change your daily life? Write down everything that is good and what is changed, including the financial aspect. Write down your wants, needs, musts and deal makers/breakers. The more detailed you are, the more you will have something to compare your actual house to. Does your dream house a reasonable match to these things?
2. Ask yourself “How does this decision make me feel?” This is a highly emotional process, a decision made with head and heart. Approaching it with only reason or emotion might land you somewhere you don’t want to be. Check in with yourself about how the idea of living in a particular home makes you feel. Now ask yourself how you’ll feel when the mortgage is due or the water heater breaks. (I can feel really good about those jeans until I get my Visa bill.)
3. Don’t get caught up in the worry. If you hated renting and can’t wait to be a homeowner, take care of the details (like turning in your paperwork to your lender, finding homeowners insurance, etc.) and relax into the process. If you have a calm real estate agent*, that should rub off on the whole transaction. It is natural to be nervous and “high-center” as you move from contract to close, so practice gratitude. Stay in the remembrance that you are fortunate enough to own your own place on this earth and say lots of thank yous, it really helps. [*Don’t let my vivacious exterior fool you, I’m very calm under pressure.]
4. Stay grounded in reality. Getting lost in the illusory great deal you could have gotten last year doesn’t help you close the good deal you have today. Remember, home-prices are rising but interest rates are still at historic lows and that’s where your real savings lie.
5. Remember Rule #1: There are no stupid questions in real estate. If something doesn’t look right, feel right or seem right on your contract, with the inspection, or you don’t understand the loan paperwork ASK! Then ask again and keep asking, until you understand or it’s fixed. One thing real estate pros can forget is that it maybe perfectly clear to someone who does this all day long, but not for the one who’s doing it once.
6. If you’re planning to remodel, live there for a few months before you go all HGTV on yourself. Unless you know exactly what’s up and you can’t move in until the reno is done, I suggest habitation prior to rehabilitation.
7. Run your numbers and take responsibility for them. Over-spending on your home is as fashionable as acid wash jeans and a scrunchy. Just because I met George Clooney, doesn’t mean he wants to marry me. The best counsel is to find out the most you qualify for and then buy what your monthly payment says is comfortable.
8. If you still have post-purchase regret, try to resolve it systematically. Make a list of what drives you nuts and what you can change and work to change those things. Go back to the list you made in step one, the gratitude you had in step 3… If that doesn’t help, go buy a great pair of jeans. You never know when Clooney’s coming round the corner.

limbo dancer
It’s “Cruiseship Limbo Contest” winning low.  It’s Barry White “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love” low. It’s “Bring out the charts and graphs!” kinda low. When you look at the housing market, it’s all relative. “Fewer people buying houses with a lot more people having to sell them”, that’s the kind of market we got used to after the shock of the bubble burst wore off. Then there was a stasis where the flood of foreclosures had receded and there was a nice level of inventory, but buyers wary of further market drop stayed on the fence: 2011 in a nutshell. Last January the shift began and like a flash flood, buyers filled the streets.  Now we have lots of buyers  and where are the sellers? Denver housing market inventory is at a 23 year low. What does that mean for you? Buyers should buy now, sellers should list while they have no competition, and you should call me with any questions you have about either.graph
 

Before I die, I want to… rsz_before_i_die
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.