Denver Real Estate Blog
The holidays are descending upon us quickly and already the streets are lit up with multi-color displays, inflatable snowmen, and decorations of all shapes and sizes. Every day more vehicles drive by sporting an evergreen tree and smiling families. This season we decided to spend a little time contemplating one of history’s oldest mysteries, the identity of Santa Claus.
Why Do We Want to Know?
Admittedly, we’re just curious. Aren’t you? From our childhood we have been chasing this ever elusive fellow who by all accounts is a huge person, yet can still fit down modern day chimney pipes, without making tracks on the carpet. Think of the headlines, “Denver Real Estate Company Unveils the Mystery behind the Red Suit”. We might even get our pictures in the paper. We have challenged ourselves to mine every piece of data, pull up tracking from the last 35 years, and do in-depth interviews with every eyewitness in the Denver metro. We will find out who this is.
Does Santa Really Exist?
At New Era Group we love this time of year. We get to walk thought wonderfully decorated homes, smell the delicious treats, and marvel at the presents under the trees. Everyone we work with, from mortgage brokers to house cleaners, and real-estate agents to home owners have a bigger smiles and more infectious laughs. We can also tell because of all the wonderful thank you treats which show up at our office, although there is speculation they are coming from the local restaurants. Our research team assures us these results clearly show that this sort of activity must be the result of an exceptional person.
Other Evidence of Good Cheer
Did you ever notice that what happens when someone is out of town during the holiday season? Miraculously the driveways continue to be shoveled. Newspapers and mail continue to be picked up, packages are kept safe, and lights are turned on. In addition, people are humming, smiling, hugging, and sledding. Who else but Santa could make this kind of difference?
So, who is Santa Claus?
We’ve drawn this out too far and it’s time to unwrap the intrigue, untie the bows, and put this person in the center of the season’s lights. The truth is, you’re Santa Claus. Every time you take chicken noodle soup to your neighbor’s house, help hang lights, work together to rake leaves, watch each others children, and simply smile at one another. In a world so full of strife, you are the lights of your neighborhood and the hope of all our children. When you move to a new home you bring your light with you, and when you invite in a new neighbor, both your lights shine brighter. So here’s to you Santa. Thank you for making this a great year and giving us hope for the next.
P.S. We promise not to tell the children. Happy Holidays.
As we stare out the window and watch the changing colors it is easy to reminisce of days gone by when leaves meant hours of fun filled flips, amazing dives, and awesome afternoons. While we can still enjoy these fun activities, the falling leaves also mean raking and the final chores of the season. If you love being out and working on the lawn and gardens then this is a great time of year. If you don’t, here is some good news. The work you put in now can make getting your lawn in shape easier come spring.
Rake that Lawn
Raking is rarely the number one most liked chore on anyone’s list, but it will help you to keep your lawn in top shape. There was an article in USA Today a few years ago that encouraged us not to rake our leaves, but in most cases it is still advised in order to help you get the lawn in top shape before the snow starts falling. It is wise to use some leaves in gardens, flower beds, and planters as compost and to retain moisture, or to even build a compost pile to help your soil next year. The best thing you can do is to put your leaves in biodegradable paper bags and look for places that will take them to use for compost. Of course, this is after you have finished jumping into them.
Keep Mowing and Watering
Keep watering and mowing your lawn as long as you can. This will keep it healthier longer and allow it to grow back quicker in the spring. On the last mowing of the season lower your mower blades so the sun can reach the grass and keep it greener longer. Be careful not to mow it too short. Here are a few more lawn tips from the experts.
Fertilize and Fix Bald Spots
Fall is also a great time to fertilize and fix bald spots. While the visible grass quits growing during the winter, the roots are still very active. A healthy dose of fertilizer before winter can give your lawn the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and recover more quickly in the spring. Many local dealers also have fantastic organic solutions that are specifically designed for the Denver climate. This is better for your lawn and your family.
If you have bald spots now is also the time to get a head start. Your garden center will have grass mixtures that are specifically designed to be used before winter. Once again, look for organic and environmentally safe alternatives. Not only will are they better for your lawn they tend to be more durable in the long run.
Enjoy the Season
As Denver natives we love autumn in Colorado. The color, the crisp feel in the air, and the anticipation for winter reminds us why we love this area so much. Take the time to enjoy the outdoors while doing your chores. Remember not only can it be a fun family project, if you’re thinking of selling your home next spring, the work you do now will certainly pay off. So get out there, rake some leaves and have some fun. Feel free to send us your photos of the biggest piles, most spectacular dives, and your little ones enjoying every minute.
Halloween is here and inflatable decorations are ballooning in the neighborhood yards. Pumpkins, witches, and huge spiders are ensuring Denver is ready for the holiday. However, there are some spiders that aren’t so welcome in our homes. Ok, for most of us, no spiders are welcome inside unless they are plastic, and even then it takes some negotiation.
One of the most alluring aspects of living in Denver is the natural surroundings, open spaces, and the beauty of all the creatures that live here, but when spiders start heading indoors for the winter even the most avid conservationist can become fearful and territorial. Spiders are good insects and although we don’t want to find one crawling on the kitchen table, we can naturally keep them outside.
Vinegar Is Your Friend
If you scan our blog posts you’ll find more than a few that promotes the many uses of vinegar on spills, stains, and odor removal. Once again, vinegar is at the top of the list to make your Denver home more habitable. The ingredients are simple and you may already have them in your home. Simple gather white distilled vinegar, pure vanilla extract, and find a small spray bottle. The ratio is about 3 parts vinegar to vanilla. Both the vinegar and vanilla repel the spiders, but the vanilla also diffuses some of the strong vinegar smell which does dissipate quicker than you think. Spray around windows, doors, corners, and any other place spiders might enter. You can also use a paper towel with 100% vinegar to wipe corners under shelves and cupboards to keep those little fellows out.
Or Try Peppermint
If vinegar isn’t your thing try pure peppermint extract. You should use a small glass spray bottle for this. Fill most of the way up with filtered water and start adding drops of the peppermint extract. The smell is what drives the spiders away, so the more you add the better. You also want to add one drop of dish soap to help the oil disperse in the water. Once again, spray this where ever you see spiders or at typical entry points. Watch this video for another peppermint recipe and more tips:
"Yikes! What about that Guy?"
Unless you’re an arachnologist, (spider scientist) you won’t know which spiders are dangerous or helpful. For the most part, Colorado doesn’t have too many harmful spiders. If you confront one in the middle of the night, the best thing to do is cover it with a glass or plastic cup, that way you know it’s in there, and slide a heavy piece of paper under the cup trapping the poor little guy. Then go outside and let it go. This could be the very spider that is eating the insects that are harming your plants or tomatoes, so you want to give him the love he deserves.
Need More Tips?
We have hundreds of great tips, information about Denver, and home selling and buying advice on this blog. If you can’t find what you’re looking for give us a call. We’d love to help.
Fall is one of best seasons in Colorado. The Aspens are beautiful, the crisp air is a refreshing change from the summer heat, and the anticipation of upcoming holidays and fun is invigorating. While we always look forward to this time of year it also brings some additional challenges when you’re trying to sell your home. First, don’t stress out, there are several ways to enjoy the holidays and your home even while you’re selling it.
Decorating for the Holidays
If you are anything like us, you love decorating for the holidays. In three short months we get to go from gruesomely scary to pilgrims, and turkeys to brightly lit trees. What a great time of year to go all out and make your own holiday extravaganza. However, if you are trying to sell your home you need to be a little more conservative on the decorations.
Use fall colors, like orange, brown and other earth tones to accentuate the holidays. Perhaps put up a few of your Halloween favorites, but take the gel filled eyeballs to the office. The same goes for Thanksgiving and Christmas. While putting up a few of the kids crafts is ok, too many can look cluttered and draw the potential buyer’s eyes away from the selling points. This may cramp your style just a bit, but always remember less is more when staging your home. You want the people to see themselves in the home. For great staging tips check this out.
Water, Mud and Gunk
One of the other issues of selling your home in the fall is the abundance of moisture inherent with living in Colorado. Rain, mud, and the Denver surprise snowstorm are part of our way of life and even though we are used to it, having people track it into your home can be frustrating. Extra entry way rugs and mats are your best friends. Give people ample opportunities to wipe their feet and clean off their shoes. In some cases it can be ok to ask people to remove their shoes, but it’s always better if they don’t have to. It may make them feel uncomfortable. Have a towel near the door for quick clean ups and perhaps even buy a box of shoe covers.
If you have pets, kids, or a combination of both, the fall fun outdoors brings extra challenges. Create a safe place for them to clean up outside the home or in the garage. It is always better to endure a cold wind than scrub muddy footprints out of the living room carpet. Preparation is always the best measure. Talk to the family about what needs to be done to keep the house clean and how to keep Fido from running in covered in the outdoors. If you do find yourself in the middle of a carpet emergency, this post, “Tips For Your Mudders Carpet” will give you some good advice.
As Always Have Fun
We know it can be challenging at times to keep the house exactly the way you want it when you’re selling your home, but remember, at the same time you probably visiting homes yourself. This is always and exciting time in anyone’s life. Have fun, enjoy the moment, and don’t get hung up on the small stuff. If you ever have questions, or want a professional point of view, give us a call, we love helping people.
September may be the best time of year to enjoy our favorite city. Check out some great stuff going on in Denver this month here:
A Taste of Colorado: September 2nd to 5th
“Delight your taste buds with creations from Colorado's favorite food establishments. Enjoy appetizers, entrees, and desserts in full-sized portions with friends or in sample sizes by yourself. Discover ethnic specialties or indulge in your traditional favorites. An elegant Fine Dining Area is showcased, highlighting gourmet cuisine from renowned chefs and offering daily cooking demonstrations.” Learn more.
Brews + Views: September 3rd from 2pm to 5pm
Cheers, all you beer lovers! The 2nd annual Brews & Views Beer Festival returns to Hudson Gardens! Pairing the lush beauty of Hudson Gardens and beer samplings from over 40 Colorado breweries seems like the perfect way to start off your Labor Day weekend! Breweries from just around the corner to statewide locations will showcase their unique libations, allowing attendees to sample Colorado craft beers under a beautiful late summer sky. Tickets $25.” Learn more and get tickets.
Denver Food + Wine Festival: September 6th to September 11th
“Denver Food + Wine Festival is a multi-day extravaganza of food, wine and spirits education, promotion and tastings, presented by co-sponsors Colorado Restaurant Association and Southern Wine & Spirits of Colorado. Events include a Riedel glass seminar, an intimate wine pairing dinner, evening tasting party and the primary event, The Grand Tasting. Through these series of events, Denver Food + Wine Festival aims to highlight industry impact, promote workforce development and celebrate Denver as a culinary destination.”
Learn more and get tickets.
2016 Rocky Mountain PBS Kids Fun Fest: September 10th from 10am to 2pm
“This year’s free festival will be held at Rocky Mountain PBS Studios in downtown Denver. We urge you to bring the whole family to this fun summer event, during which we will celebrate the Denver community with a robust program of family-friendly activities and live entertainment. More than 50 local organizations will sponsor booths with activities such as music-making, art, petting farm animals, tennis, climbing wall, bounce houses, and more” Learn more.
Adventure Fest: September 17th from 11am to 8pm
“Gociety presents Adventure Fest 2016, the most immersive outdoor festival of the year! Join thousands of adventure seekers, outdoor enthusiasts, athletes and like-minded individuals as they bring the mountains to the city. Gociety will host Adventure Fest at Sculpture Park in downtown Denver. There will be a beer garden, food trucks, a climbing wall, power yoga, acro yoga, tiny home tours, field games, a pool party, giveaways, gear demos and more.” Learn more.
Oktoberfest Denver: September 23rd to October 2nd
“Denver's Ballpark Neighborhood welcomes back one of the city's longest running festivals and one of the largest of its kind in the nation! Oktoberfest Denver is set to once again commemorate this world-famous and time-honored tradition of German heritage by combining dynamic performance of music and dance, bier-based activities, Long Dog Derby and entertainment for all ages.” Learn more.
As you know from reading this monthly newsletter the best way to really understand our real estate market is to take the time to dig deep and look at the numbers. Whether you’re a homeowner wanting to understand how your biggest investment is doing, a renter thinking about taking the plunge into home ownership, or a real estate investor looking for your next opportunity, understanding the market data is critical. So, this month I’m going to walk you through the REcolorado metro Denver quarterly snapshot, explaining each entry to help you make sense of our housing market.
The columns on the top are as follows:
- Key Metric: self-explanatory
- Historical Sparklines: the data from July 2015 to July 2016
- 7-2015: July 2015 data
- 7-2016: July 2016 data
- +/-: The percentage change year-over-year
- Last Year YTD: Year to date data from Jan – July 2015
- This Year YTD : Year to date data from Jan – July 2016
- +/-: The percentage change Last Year YTD and This Year YTD
Active Listings: 8,859 down 0.8 percent year-over-year. The number of active listings has plummeted since the market began recovery in 2009. In 2007 in the middle of the downturn we had over 31,000 homes on the market – a true buyers' market. Now it’s the opposite. We had only 8,859 homes on the market at the time of this snapshot, an incredible plunge supporting our sellers’ market. If you’ve ever thought about selling, this is the type of market you'll want to sell in!
Under Contract Listings: 7,023 down 1.8 percent year-over-year. Slightly fewer properties have gone under contract this year versus last year. The very low inventory of properties on the market is keeping this number down. Until inventory returns to the market we can continue to expect the number of properties going under contract to remain low.
New Listings: 7,483 down 6.5 percent year-over-year. The number of new listings continues to drop, leading to the extremely low housing inventory in our market. Our supply/demand equation is somewhat out of whack with a huge number of buyers looking to purchase a home and very few sellers willing to list theirs. This has led to our super strong real estate market and the resulting rise in prices the past seven years.
Sold Listings: 5,192 down 19.3 percent year-over-year. This number surprises a lot of people. Everyone thinks we’re having this massively crazy up-market and lots and lots of homes must be selling, but nothing could be further from the truth. Because our inventory is so low – close to the lowest inventory per capita ever in metro Denver – there just isn’t a big selection to buy from. The result being that the number of homes sold is down, not up, and by a very significant number.
Total Days on Market: 20 same as last year. A normal market of balanced supply and demand will have about 90 days on market (which is the same as six months of inventory in case you run across that number). A stronger market will have fewer days on market and vice versa. Twenty days on market is incredibly low. It means demand is extremely high for housing and sellers are selling their homes in near record time. If you have been out looking at homes recently you’ll know what I mean. More and more often we run into other folks looking at the property at the same time we are because there are so few properties on the market. Smart buyers have learned to act quickly to get the home they want, driving the DOM even lower.
Median Sold Price: $350,000 up 12.3 percent year-over-year. The median price is the middle price of all homes sold – not the average price. For example, if five homes were sold in an area at the following prices: $100,000, $200,000, $300,000, $800,000, and $900,000, the median priced home is $300,000, but the average priced home is $460,000. Over the past 40 years metro Denver home prices have increased on average 5.9 percent per year. 12.3 percent is significantly above average, a result of a lot of demand for homes, not much supply, a strong employment market, a strong economy, etc.
Average Sold Price: $408,406 up 12.1 percent year-over-year. When the Average Sold Price is below the Median Sold Price it means that the lower end of the market is doing somewhat better than the higher end of the market, and of course the opposite is true as well. The fact that both yearly percentage changes are almost identical means the market is more or less consistent both above and below the average and median prices.
Percent of Sold Price to List Price: 100.6% down 0.2 percent year-over-year. A sign of a very strong market is when the final sales price compared to the list price is almost the same, as it currently is in our market. In a weak market, buyers will try to lowball an offer and often get the property well below asking price. But in a market like ours, sellers are getting on average more than what they’re asking! What we often call the Average Discount isn’t a discount anymore, it’s the opposite. I guess we’ll have to start calling it the Average Premium! Today, homes are selling 0.6 percent above the asking price and that percentage is almost identical to what it was a year ago. This is another sign of a strong housing market.
Colorado is home to some of the nicest people on Earth. Perhaps it’s the clean mountain air, the healthy living, or just loving the scenery, but even in a big city like Denver, we are known to be friendly and hospitable. Maybe that is why I’m so shocked when I hear stories of neighborhood feuds and brawling neighbors. In fact, we even had clients that have sold their home just because they didn’t like the people next door.
Why is the Grass Greener?
I remember as a kid there was one house on the block where you weren’t allowed on the lawn. The gentleman who lived there was quite serious and we suffered many tongue lashings and threats if we dared touch his perfectly manicured grass. Later as a teen, he asked me to mow his lawn in the summer as it had become too hard for him. I then learned that he kept the lawn perfect for his wife who when very sick, loved to look at the yard and flowers. He just wanted it to be perfect for her even after she had passed away. I admit, I worked extra hard in the following years to make sure it looked perfect and even shooed off a few youngsters myself.
It’s surprising what can make people upset. Overhanging trees, barking dogs, people parking in front of your house, or kids running across a lawn can cause even the nicest person to become enraged. Most of the time it isn’t a serious or damage causing issue that becomes the spark that lights the fire, but a simple misunderstanding or pent-up anger about something that was never resolved.
Be the Big Person
Someone has to be the big person, who talks with respect, humility, and is willing to solve the problem without becoming overly emotional. That should be you. Whether you are having a problem with the neighbor or they have a problem with you, the first thing you should do is try to talk about it. The causes of most neighbor wars are just simple misunderstandings or something that is easily corrected. Talking is always the best step before you start complaining to the other neighbors, calling the police, or going to court. You never know what you might find out, and resolving the conflict may result in lifelong friends.
Remember, this is your neighbor. Not only do you share space, you should be looking out for each other, protecting each others' children, and making sure each of you is safe. It makes no sense to battle over inconsequential things. While sometimes it makes great movies, it doesn’t make your neighborhood any happier. Click here for some good tips on resolving conflict.
We all want to be happy and love our home. Perhaps today you are sitting there looking with disdain at a pile of leaves from last fall that keep blowing in your yard, or wondering how long it will take for the neighbor’s luscious crop of dandelions to make their way to your pristine yard. You may even be grinning because you intentionally parked 6 inches closer to the dividing line just to make a point. Whatever the issues, large or small, reach out and do your best to be the neighbor you always wanted. You will be glad you did.
Looking to get out and do some fun stuff this August? Check out these upcoming events:
Denver HaHo Market: August 5th from 7-11pm
“Denver Handmade Homemade will host a HAHO market on the first Friday of August. The Santa Art District will close down the entire strip for a big summer festival all about art and food. Expect all the galleries to be open and poppin’, with live music, food trucks, entertainment, and 90 vendors.” Learn more.
Art + Ale Brew Festival: August 12th from 6-11pm
“CU South Denver’s most popular event returns for its 13th year! Indulge in all-inclusive food and drink tastings at south Denver’s longest-running beer festival. Enjoy food and drinks for over 50 local craft breweries and restaurants, love music by That Eighties Band, play cornhole and other games, and make your own art to take with you!” Learn more and get tickets.
Hops in the Hangar: August 13th from 5-9pm
“Surround yourself with iconic aircraft, cool cars and icy brews at Denver’s most unique beer festival. Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is hosting the 3rd annual Hops in the Hangar on Saturday, August 13 from 5-9PM in Historic Lowry. Enjoy beer from over 20 local craft breweries, barbecue from Jim ‘N Nicks, and much more.” Learn more and get tickets.
Denver Flea: City Park: August 13th to 14th from 10am-6pm
“A contemporary marketplace showcasing makers and retailers who cultivate the Colorado lifestyle.” Learn more.
Sleep Tight Pajama Jog: August 20th
“Sleep Tight Colorado is excited to be hosting their 6th Annual 5K Pajama Jog in Denver's City Park. Support a great cause and appear in a costume for contest prizes! The 5K is professionally timed and participants may choose to run, jog, or walk. 100% of the proceeds goes toward buying sleeping bags for Colorado’s homeless.” Learn more and get registered.
National Parks Adventure 3D (Now - September 22)
"Narrated by Robert Redford, National Parks Adventure 3D celebrates the 100-year anniversary of America's national parks by taking viewers on an off-trail adventure through four of our treasured national parks: Yellowstone, Glacier, Yosemite and Arches. Watch it in IMAX at the Denver Muesum of Nature & Science." Learn details here.
Cherry Creek Arts Festival (July 2-4)
"This free, outdoor extravaganza - the city's signature cultural celebration of the visual, performing and culinary arts - gives more than 350,000 annual visitors the chance to meet and talk with international visual artists, enjoy a wide range of family-friendly fun and sample fine cuisine." Click here to learn more.
Liberty Run and Firecracker Kids Fun Run (July 4)
"Work off all the BBQ, ice cream and apple pie by running in the Liberty Run. This four-mile run around beautiful Washington Park is a July 4th tradition in The Mile High City and benefits veterans." Learn details here.
4th of July Weekend in Denver (July 1 - 4)
"There’s no better place to be over the 4th of July weekend than in Denver! You’ll be treated to festivals, concerts, pro sports - and, of course, all the brilliant fireworks displays you could ever wish for." Learn about the many events going on here.
City Park Jazz (Now - Aug 7)
"City Park Jazz heads into its 30th season with a great lineup of FREE Sunday concerts in the park. Spanning 10 weeks across June, July and August, the collection of local musicians in this year’s lineup crosses cultures, styles and genres in a way that reflects the musical and cultural diversity of Denver." View concert calendar here.
Urban Market (July 7, 21, and 30)
"The Urban Market is a great place to shop in Denver. At the market you will find an amazing array of local arts and crafts sold direct by the artist, clothing, jewelry, antiques, furniture, holistic services, unique treasures, Delicious food, and just about anything else you could want. Come out and have fun in the sun while supporting your local artists, businesses, and community at Denver's premier outdoor shopping paradise." Learn more here.
Underground Music Showcase (July 28 - 31)
"The Underground Music Showcase (The UMS) is Denver, Colorado's premier indie festival, now in its 16th year. The UMS is known not only for its focus on local talent and the local community (its a non-profit event and benefits the Denver Post Community Foundation) but also for the diversity and crazy high energy of the performances you can see throughout its tenure. This year's incarnation showcases over 400 local and national act performances, across 4 days, in nearly 20 venues." Learn event details here.
Colorado Dragon Boat Festival (July 30 - 31)
"The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival in Sloan's Lake Park has become a wildly popular cultural bonanza in Denver over the past 16 years. Denver's 5280 Magazine declared it 'one of Colorado's greatest festivals'." Learn festival details here.
Denver homeowners love their pets and love the outdoors. Part of the reason we live in Colorado, is that we all love the mountains and being in them. We also love our dogs. As we live among the mountains, camping becomes our link to nature, our reason for enduring the commute and a respite from the world. Our dogs should also partake of the clean air that is only to be found at the foot of the Rockies. Rather than just load Fido up in your Subaru, let’s prepare, so that our camping trip with our best furry friend is enjoyable for all of us. With a few easy steps, we can have a great time in nature, and also share that experience with our dogs.
Emergency Kits for Humans and Dogs
Let’s face it, even the most accomplished camper can encounter injuries or accidents. This is true for pets, as well. Bring a first aid kit. This needs to include gauze, tweezers and hydrogen peroxide. You can find a first aid pet kit online or you can check out the many Denver pet department stores. Remember to have the phone number of your veterinarian, just in case. Learn first aid tips for pet owners here.
A Groomed Dog is a Happy Dog
It may be easy to forget, amidst the tents and sleeping bags, but a pet owner needs to remember the dog brush amid the charcoal briquettes and toilet paper. A dog’s fur can be easily matted or tangled in the tall grass or humidity you can encounter when you are camping. This is especially true if your best friend is long-haired. This is compounded by the stickers and other things that can be caught in her fur. If you brush your dog’s hair throughout your hiking/camping excursion, it will help her to keep her coif under control.
Last, but not least, pack collapsible food bowls for man’s best friend. Packing food and water is a no-brainer, but many campers forget about the bowls. You definitely want to choose a collapsible bowl, as camping relies heavily on economizing space, and can easily fit in a back pack. They are extremely easy to clean and are available in most pet stores, and even retailers. Keeping Fido hydrated will be crucial to a fulfilling camping excursion. Check out collapsible bowls and more at Denver’s upcoming Pet Expo.
Okay Champ, it’s Time to Head to the Mountains
Denver citizens are active, and we live at the foothills of the Rockies for a reason. As a homeowner in Denver, you deserve your weekends in the mountains. You also deserve to share them with your best friend. Planning ahead and taking some simple steps can make the difference between a wonderful experience for the whole family (fur babies included) and a disaster in the middle of the wilderness. Denver citizens are among the most intelligent and well-educated in the country. Surely, we can take a few precautionary steps to camp in the most beautiful mountains in the United Sates with our pets.