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Once you make the leap into homeownership there are no landlords or building superintendents to rely on for help. While we wish homeownership came with an instruction manual, it’s likely you will have to learn through hands on experience. We can’t possibly know how to do everything when it comes to home maintenance skills, but it’s helpful to know how to do minor repairs around your home. Here are a few basic home maintenance skills every homeowner should master.
Changing Your HVAC Filter
It’s important to schedule a maintenance checkup for your HVAC system every spring and fall. But in the meantime, filters need to be checked once a month. When they’re dirty, change them. Dirty filters shorten the lifespan of your system. Fortunately, it’s easy to do. First, check your owner’s manual for the right part number in order to buy a new filter. Then turn off your HVAC system while you work, remove the old filter, and slide the new one in place.
Resetting the Circuit Breaker
If your house was built after 1960, your electrical panel is likely filled with circuit breakers, which supply power to appliances and lighting in every room. When a circuit becomes overloaded, the designated breaker trips, shutting off juice to that area. When this happens, you’ll need to reset the breaker. Just open the panel cover and look for the breaker that’s sitting in the off position; then push it to on. If you can’t find the errant breaker, you’ll have to turn each breaker off, then on again.
No wall stays perfect forever. Nails pop, and furniture or broom handles cause dents, making your once-flawless walls look all banged up. Learning how to repair drywall can save a homeowner time and potentially a fair amount of money. Luckily, it’s easy to repair drywall yourself; all you need is some putty and a spackling knife!
Cleaning the Gutters
When gutters get clogged, water can be trapped on the board behind the gutter and even be forced under your roof shingles, causing damage. So clean them twice a year in spring and fall. Start near a downspout by removing large debris, and then use a hose to flush a stream of water through the downspout to clear out fine grit. If your downspout is blocked, it may need to be removed and cleaned out; if it leads to an underground pipe that’s blocked, that pipe can usually be cleaned out with a handheld snake.
Turning Off the Water Supply
If you ever come home to a flooded floor, you need to be able to shut off the water to the whole house ASAP, especially if the source of the water leak is unclear. That’s why every homeowner should know where their main shutoff valve is. Look near the perimeter of the house at ground level nearest your water meter. The shutoff valve might be in a basement, crawlspace, closet or garage. In an emergency, you can also shut off your water from the outside water meter, but the valve might require special tools to turn.
Dealing with a Flooded Basement
If you come home to standing water in your basement, time is of the essence. You have 48 hours to get the water out and get it dry. After two days, mold will start to grow, and once that starts you have to rip everything out. Call your insurance agent right away and take pictures; then get to work pumping out the water and removing all furniture to be dried off. Important: make sure the power is off if there’s standing water! As long as the water is below boot level, you can safely shut off the power from a basement panel if you wear rubber boots and gloves and use a wooden stick or hammer handle to trip the main power switch.
Unclogging a Drain
Harsh, pricey chemicals shouldn’t be your first option when a sink drain gets clogged — better to keep a small plunger and a drain snake on hand to work out the problem mechanically. After you’ve removed the primary clog, clean out smelly gunk by putting a cup of baking soda in the drain followed by four cups of boiling water; then end with a cup of vinegar. The vigorous chemical reaction will jar any remaining debris loose and leave the drain smelling fresh.
Stay on the forefront of real estate news with the help of the mid-year update!
Denver Real Estate Midyear Update: More Conditions Favoring Buyers Creating Balance
With metro-Denver housing inventory at its highest level since October 2013 and interest rates still low, now is a good time for home-buyers. On the flip side, with home prices peaking now is also a good time for home sellers; making for a more balanced market.
Housing inventory is up 28 percent year to date from 2018. The first half of this year ended with the most active listings, at 9,520 at the end of June, since October of 2013 which was at 9,734. For perspective, the record-high June for active listings was in 2006 with 31,900, and the record-low was in 2015 with 6,197.
Year to date in the Luxury Market (homes priced $1 million+), single-family home sales were down 2.72 percent year over year, but up 34.05 percent compared to 2017. Luxury condos also saw striking results with sales up year to date at 38.78 percent year over year and 4.26 percent since 2017.
The average sold price dipped 0.54 percent from May’s $502,518 to $499,807 at the end of June, but it crept up 1.64 percent year to date. More choices for home-buyers means sellers have had to make price adjustments to be competitive. Sellers with homes priced between $1,500,000 and $1,750,000 have been taking the biggest cut with a 91.20 percent sale-to-original-price ratio for single-family homes and 94.9 percent for condos.
Days on Market
Homes have been staying on the market longer before going under contract this year. The median days on market was up 66.67 percent from six days at this point last year to 10 so far in 2019. The average days on market is up 25 percent year to date compared to last year, from 24 to 30 days. Meanwhile, days on market for all price ranges indicates a seller’s market except over $1 million+ where it’s an equal market between buyers and sellers with 5.16 percent months of inventory for single-family homes.
Because we’re a landlocked state, you might think boating in Colorado doesn’t present many great opportunities. But according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, there are over 2,000 lakes and reservoirs where you can go to have a boating adventure! These 8 locations are the perfect place to hit the water this summer.
Located in Western Colorado near the town of Gunnison, Colorado’s largest body of water is a must-see destination. Blue Mesa Reservoir spans 20 miles and boasts over 96 miles of shoreline. It is part of the Curecanti National Recreation Area and offers two full-service marinas — Elk Creek Marina and Lake Fork Marina. Blue Mesa is a popular destination for outdoor recreation including boating, water skiing, sailing and wind surfing.
Boyd Lake State Park is a water-sports haven for northern Colorado. The lake lies at the western-most edge of the plains at the foot of snow-capped Long’s Peak and the mountains of the Continental Divide. Boyd Lake State Park has something for everyone: boating, fishing, camping, picnicking, swimming, hiking, biking, and hunting. All types of watercraft: ski boats, fishing boats, jet skis, sailboats, and canoes use Boyd Lake’s 1,700 surface-acres of water. Boyd also has a sandy beach and a pavilion for swimmers.
Boaters from all walks of life flock to Chatfield Reservoir each summer to take advantage of its impressive waters. Located just outside of the Denver Metro Area, everyone from fishing enthusiasts to water skiers enjoy the lake’s pristine water and scenic views. The reservoir houses a full-service marina including boat rentals and a floating restaurant. If you are looking for a weekend getaway, Chatfield is home to four different campgrounds featuring 200 single-family campsites.
Cherry Creek Reservoir is a scenic oasis in the Denver area. It offers a wide variety of water and land activities for outdoor enthusiasts. The 4,000-acre park and modern campground is open year-round. View birds and wildlife, recreate or relax with the majestic Rocky Mountains as a backdrop.
Located at the headwaters of the Colorado River, Grand Lake is Colorado’s largest and deepest natural lake. Here you will find great opportunities for boating, swimming, water sports, and fishing. Visit the historic Grand Lake Marina and rent your own pontoon boat, whaler, kayak or canoe and enjoy the exceptional Rocky Mountain views. After a day at the lake, visit the charming town of Grand Lake. You’ll find dining, shopping, and lots of character!
Lake Granby is one of Colorado’s largest bodies of water containing approximately 40 miles of shoreline. The lake is famous to anglers but is also home to the Lake Granby Yacht Club. Sitting at an altitude of 8,280 feet, Granby Lake Yacht Club is one of the highest-elevation yacht clubs in the world. The lake is best experienced from a pontoon boat to explore its many coves and marinas, making the lake very popular to boaters and jet-skiers.
Horsetooth Reservoir is one of Colorado’s most scenic outdoor paradises located only minutes outside Fort Collins. The 6.5-mile-long reservoir is a favorite recreation spot for activities such as boating, fishing, swimming, stand up paddle boarding, water skiing, sailing, and picnicking. There are many miles of trails surrounding the reservoir for mountain biking, horseback riding, and hiking. Additionally, on the east side of the reservoir is one of the best spots in Colorado for bouldering in Rotary Park. Horsetooth Reservoir is open year-round and includes RV spots, campsites, and cabins.
Most of the time you have to leave the big city to experience true boating, but Denver is one of the few major landlocked cities where you can have some serious boating fun. Sloan’s lake is one of the only options for boating in Denver where boating enthusiasts can head out on both motorized and non-motorized boats. The lake is relatively small and shallow, reaching only 8 feet of depth! Still, boating may be possible as long as proper arrangements are made with the Sloan’s Lake boating office.
Friendly, Funny, Organized, Optimistic, and Artistic.
Favorite Colorado Past-time:
If I have a free weekend, I’ll drive to the mountains to camp solo with my dog, Georgia O’Keeffe.
Favorite Place to Grab a Drink:
Margs Uptown is my neighborhood hang. Love their Lava Lamps!
One Unusual Thing About You:
My initials are B.A.D. (Beth Anne Davis) because my parents have a funny sense of humor and an affinity for acronyms.
In What Ways Are You Involved in Your Community?
I love taking advantage of opportunities to get involved with the Denver Community. I often join up with friends who volunteer, and love trying out different ways of giving back. I have volunteered with Denver Rescue Mission, Metro Caring, I have been a mentor for the Denver Metro Partners Program and I am a member of the Denver Art Museum and Botanic Gardens.
Who Inspires You?
I am constantly inspired by my friends, family, and colleagues. Everyone is facing their own struggle!
What Is Your Proudest Accomplishment and Why?
I’m proud of myself for moving from Minneapolis to Denver almost 8 years ago, knowing nearly no one when I moved, and successfully making a life for myself here!
How Do You Define Success?
I define success as working hard, being nice to people, and finding joy in each day. Everything we do or want is because we think it will make us happier, if we can find joy first – then everything else falls into place!
What Career Path Would You Have Chosen If You Didn’t Become a Realtor?
If I wasn’t a REALTOR I would probably still be in sales of some sort. I love working towards a goal, developing relationships, and being a problem solver.
If You Could Master Any Skill That You Don’t Currently Have, What Would It Be and Why?
I wish I was one of those people who could be dropped in the middle of the woods and still know what direction they’re facing at any given moment. I don’t have that natural navigator skill.
What Is the Most Adventurous Thing You’ve Ever Done?
I have been skydiving three times! Jumping out of an airplane is the most adventurous and exciting experience of my life, hands down.
If You Could Have Dinner with Anyone, Who Would It Be and Why
I would love to have dinner with both of my Grandmas. I think of them often and have fond memories of home cooking with one, and champagne & burger dinner dates with the other.
What Is Your Favorite Family Tradition?
My family has never been very traditional or religious, but every year when the holidays would come around, we would have a VERY traditional Jewish Christmas… CHINESE FOOD! It doesn’t matter if I’m spending it with family or friends, Peking Duck is served on Christmas Eve.
What’s the Best Concert You’ve Ever Been To? What Made It So Special?
Dolly Parton at Red Rocks was a once in a lifetime experience. Red Rocks is the most amazing venue and Dolly is so funny, incredibly talented and joyful – and to make it even more special, I watched two friends get engaged that night!
If You Could Live in A Book, TV Show, Or Movie What Would It Be and Why?
When buying a new home, nothing is quite as important as choosing a neighborhood to live in. When you buy a home, you are buying more than just the building. You’re purchasing a lifestyle. Where your home is located will influence the lives of you and your family for as long as you live there. Therefore, you want to pick a community that blends seamlessly with your values and way of life. Here are 6 things you should be looking for when choosing a neighborhood to live in.
When you aren’t hanging out inside your house, it’s important to have places near by that suit your lifestyle. Parks, community centers, libraries, and even farmer’s markets are all places that can get you out of the house to entertain yourself. They are also places to make neighborhood friends! Families with children may be more interested in communities with a swimming pool and tennis courts. Where as retired couples would be more attracted to neighborhoods devoted to active senior living. A younger couple may want a dog park, bikes paths and an active nightlife scene.
A great school system might be a bit more important to a family with children or a couple hoping to start a family. But good schools should be a priority on any prospective home buyers list. Even if you don’t have children, it’s important to understand that a quality school system can significantly affect a home’s resale value.
Growing Household Incomes
There are advantages to living in a neighborhood with healthy household incomes. When homeowners make more money, they can afford to make more renovations to their house. This can turn into boosted home prices for the neighborhood as a whole.
When choosing a home, it’s easy to overlook something that might seems as minor as noise factor. But overlooking annoying noises would be a mistake as most bothersome noises are likely to be permanent. Train tracks, restaurants and bars, air traffic, and medical centers are all likely to create noise pollution. Even your neighbors could be the culprits of unwanted noise. Whether it’s a couple that fights all of the time, a family with dogs that bark all the time or screaming children. Visit your potential neighborhood during different times of the day to get a better picture of what living there is really like.
Feeling safe in your own home and while you’re wandering around your neighborhood should be a priority for any prospective home buyer. Everyone wants to live in a safe neighborhood. However there are varying degrees of safety. Just because a home is not in the top neighborhood does not mean it is generally dangerous. There are plenty of websites, like Neighborhood Scout and Safe Wise, that you can visit that will show you the crime history near a home.
Walk-ability refers to how easy it is to enjoy your neighborhood without a car. Can you walk to the nearest grocery store, restaurant, or bar? This is becoming a major selling point for many people as they try to move away from driving everywhere. Homes in the heart of the city will naturally have greater walk-ability. But newer developments are also focusing on increasing walk-ability. Walk Score is a website that has given most neighborhoods around the country a grade, so you can quickly learn which ones are the most walk-able!
Summer has arrived and mountain bike season is in full swing! Colorado is somewhat of a mountain bike mecca and the trails in Northern Colorado offer up some excellent options for all skill levels. If you are new to the Front Range or are looking to try out some newer more challenging rides this year, these trails could be just what you’re looking for.
Blue Sky Trail | Laporte
Intermediate | 6.2 Miles Point to Point
The north end of this trail starts at the Blue Sky trailhead/parking, the south end meets up with Devil’s Backbone, and it intersects with Rim Rock Trail around the middle. Indian Summer also branches off of Blue Sky, so there are many possibilities for this trail! The trail is mostly clear of obstacles, doesn’t have any very steep grades, and flows incredibly well. With tons of linkup and variations available, Blue Sky is not one to miss.
Just West of Loveland off of 34, this trail is an interesting diversion. It follows a hogback, and some of the trail is build on layers of off-camber, crumbling sedimentary rock. You’ll ride Indian Summer and Blue Sky on this loop as well! This trail is more technical than strenuous, with some very rocky sections.
Dirty Bismark | Superior
Easy/Intermediate | 15.7 Mile Loop
This ride follows the well-known Morgul Bismarck road cycling route – a famous race stage in the 70’s and 80’s. The trails are easily accessible from Boulder, Superior, and neighboring towns, and it’s mostly smooth with just a few slightly technical spots. It’s just challenging enough to keep advanced riders interested, but rideable by just about everyone. This makes it a popular route, and it’s often rideable almost all year.
Ginny Trail | Fort Collins
Difficult | 5.3 Miles Point to Point
After a short flat section you’ll begin the final accent. While this climb is far less steep then Powerline Trail it is more technical. When you reach the top you’ll traverse across the back side of the mountain and be treated to some great views of Rocky Mountain National Park to the west. When the trail begins to turn back to the east, stop and take a picture. Now the fun begins, 99.5% of the ride from here is downhill. Watch for alternate lines, skinnys, and rock drops, for added fun!
Intermediate | 8 Mile Loop
Heil Valley Ranch is one of the popular Boulder-area trail systems, and this ride is the most commonly ridden section of trail. These trails were the original mountain biking trails at Heil, but others have since been added, including the Picture Rock trail that now makes it possible to ride from Heil Valley Ranch to Hall Ranch. It’s a good intermediate ride relatively close to Boulder, with many options for linking to other trails!
Horsetooth Mountain Park Loop | Fort Collins
Intermediate/Difficult | 13.1 Mile Loop
This 13-mile ride opens with a bit of a haul up paved roads and Horsetooth Rock’s South Ridge Trail to access a series of thrilling downhill runs on Wathen Trail, Loggers, and Mill Creek Trail that eventually spit you out near Lory State Park’s Arthur’s Rock parking lot for a cool-down pedal back to the start of the ride. Enjoy plenty of technical rock features, drops, and small jumps throughout this loop that will keep you coming back for more.
Homestead Meadows Short Tour | Estes Park
Easy/Intermediate | 7.6 Mile Loop
Homestead Meadows is a neat place to go and discover how people used to live in the Rocky Mountains. There are several old cabins and other buildings with informational plaques at each, describing who lived there, what they did, and what happened to them. This ride takes you past a few of these. Most of the route is on old doubletrack wagon roads, but with a few short sections of singletrack included. Its beautiful scenery, interesting history, all from the saddle of your awesome mountain bike.
Limber Pine Trail | Estes Park
Intermediate | 5.2 Mile Point to Point
With lots of twists and turns and rocks to navigate, you get your thrills here by employing good bike handling skills instead of screaming descents. These are beautiful trails, running through pine forest and some large stands of aspen trees. There are many alternate lines built into the trail. These aren’t signed, but if you keep a sharp eye while you ride, you can pick them out.
The trails around Pinewood Reservoir pass through the Ramsay-Shockey Open Space. There are only two trails, Besant Point Trail and Shoshone Trail, and together they don’t amount to very much mileage. But that aside, they do have other redeeming qualities: pretty good flow, some shorter technical challenges, a beautiful serene setting, and minimal to no traffic.
This is a classic loop near Boulder with a nice mix of technical riding, flowy descents, and scenery. Walker Ranch is one of the rides that every Boulder-based mountain biker has ridden. It’s a great ride for someone visiting, offering fun singletrack and great scenery. And it’s located up Flagstaff road, which is worth the drive on its own! This is a fairly challenging ride despite its somewhat short distance. There’s a mix of fast flowy singletrack, technical rocky sections, and even a somewhat difficult hike-a-bike down steep steps to a creek.
There is endless natural beauty to be explored here in Colorado. But if you’re looking for some sightseeing a bit more nostalgic, odd, or off the beaten path, then you will want to add these Colorado roadside attractions to your summer bucket list!
Not too far from Fort Collins, avid collector Lee Maxwell has gathered more than 1,000 vintage washing machines, many of which he’s restored to working condition. Dozens of brands and types are represented, along with other old-school household appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators, and vacuum cleaners. To see the museum, though, you’ll have to arrange for a tour by phone or email.
Cano’s Castle is a set of four gleaming towers. It was built single-handedly by Donald “Cano” Espinoza, a Native American Vietnam vet. Built largely out of beer cans and other metal refuse, for Espinoza the castle serves as a thanks for having his life spared during the Vietnam war. Cano’s castle is actually four separate structures. The King, The Queen, The Palace, and The Rook. The four story King house, covered in gleaming beer cans and hubcaps, is his crowning architectural achievement.
Colorado Gators is a family oriented, reptile rescue. Every visitor has the opportunity to meet, pet, hold, and take pictures with a little alligator! For $2.00 visitors can buy a bucket of “Gator Chow” to feed the alligators, and occasionally there will be dead fish available to feed to the alligators as well! Some of the other reptiles you can see at Colorado Gators Reptile Park are: fearsome Nile crocodiles, Burmese pythons, a 17′ reticulated python, anacondas, red tail boas, 3 species of rattlesnakes, monitor lizards, tegus, geckos, iguanas, box turtles, snapping turtles, and caiman.
Bishop castle is a monumental statue made of stone and iron. Three full stories of interior rooms complete with a Grand Ballroom, soaring towers and bridges with vistas of a hundred miles, and a Fire-Breathing Dragon make the Bishop Castle quite the unforgettable experience! Visitors are always welcome free of charge, and the castle itself is always open.
There are few things in Americana as mysterious and captivating as the search for the elusive creature known as Bigfoot. At The Sasquatch Outpost, they’re dedicated to solving the mystery for themselves, and they welcome anyone and everyone who’s ever been interested in Sasquatch to visit them in Bailey – just a short drive from Downtown Denver. They have a museum and retail shop dedicated to the creature, and they also host regular meetings to share sightings and stories with other enthusiasts! They’re equal parts researchers and admirers, after all, and they love documenting your sightings.
It’s just a short drive west of Denver into the foothills to spend the day among our kid-sized buildings, riding the train, enjoying the fresh air while the kids frolic on the playground, and then relaxing with your picnic lunch or something from our snack bar while the sound of the breeze in the tall pines washes your stress away.
Swetsville ZooWhere: 4801 E. Harmony Road, Fort Collins, CO
This “zoo” is a cross between a junkyard and a sculpture garden, featuring animals you won’t see anywhere else. Instead of lions, tigers and bears, Swetsville offers massive metal spiders built from Buicks towering high in the air, castles built from concrete, and nostalgic characters greeting visitors of all ages. Alongside the classic dragons and trains are aliens and dinosaurs, and some things that don’t have names at all.
In May, there were 8,789 new listings, up 17 percent from the previous month. That meant home-buyers were able to look at a number of homes at a time and make comparisons – and many found what they were looking for. At month’s end, there were 6,470 homes under contract, up 5.65 percent from April.
Even with all of those offers written and accepted, the month still ended with 8,891 homes for sale. That is the highest end-of-month number of active listings since November 2013 when buyers had 9,352 choices! Yet, when put in perspective, it’s very low compared to the high in May 2008 when active listings reached 26,333 in total.
Home Prices Breaking Records
The market has been experiencing a drought of new homes for years, so the increase in inventory is a welcome relief for buyers. Even with the added inventory, prices were still up. The average single-family home price reached a record-breaking $555,482!
Year to date, for single-family homes, the average sold price was $534,577 and median sold price was a record-breaking $450,000, up 1.45 and 1.12 percent from last year respectively. The average sold price for condos year to date bumped up 3.11 percent compared to last year to $364,134, and the median price topped out at a high of $301,500.
Luxury Market Sales Steady
The number of sales of $1 million+ homes remained steady at 915 year to date, up 1.55 percent from last year. While sales in the single-family market decreased year to date by 2.8 percent from 2018, there has been a large jump in condo sales with 110 sold year to date compared to 73 in 2018, an increase of 51 percent.
There has not been any significant changes month over month or year over year in terms of price per square foot, outside of the condo total price per square foot metric that significantly jumped from $546 last year to $656 in May of 2019 – an increase of 20 percent. Single-family average price per square foot continues to hover around $300, ending May at $297.