Why Boulder? – Top 10 Hikes, Bikes and Strolls

Bill Allen, Broker Associate April 1, 2016 : Bill's Blog

With over 300 days of sunshine, it’s no surprise that most Boulderites want to spend their time out of doors. So I’ve compiled the top 10 hikes, bike trips and (for those like myself that are less physically inclined) leisurely strolls in and around Boulder.
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1.Hike Flagstaff Mountain – This hike is steep with tons of switchbacks and crossing the road a handful of times. This doesn’t stop it from being one of the busiest trails in Boulder. Start early though and you will have less car/people traffic to slow you down. At the top are restrooms, picnic tables and the amphitheater.
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2. Hike Full Mesa Trail – Rock formations, thick forest and amazing views make these 7 miles a treat. But be forewarned, it’s an end to end hike so unless you want to turn right back around and do another 7 miles, arrange for a pick up or something. It’s mostly shaded by forest but be prepared for the beginning and end, as they can be quite sunny. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
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3. Hike Mount Sanitas Mountain – A popular hike in Boulder not only because it’s a relativity easy hike (with the exceptions of the large areas of high steps up, up, and up!) but it’s also the trailhead is located close into town. Beautiful views and especially green and full of flowers in the spring time. Like all hikes, start early to beat the traffic!
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4. Ride NCAR Hill – This bike ride is a classic climb that’s short and close to town which is why it’s so popular. Only about 30 minutes long for slow-pokes like me and with amazing views, who wouldn’t want to try it at least once?
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5. Ride Flagstaff Mountain – A beautiful and quite challenging ride but a must if your fit and willing. Amazing views, challenging and coming back down with the wind in your hair make it all worth while. You can stop once you make it to the amphitheater or keep going for another 4+ miles that might just bust a lung. Either way, you’re a better cyclist than me! But I’m not kidding when I say you need to fit. This ride was the 2012 USPro Cycling Challenge Stage 6 Finish and it can be a doozy. Not just from the sheer effort but also you need to keep your wits about you for passing cars and other bikes. Stay safe!
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6.Ride Nelson Loop – Starting on 36 (that has wide shoulder making it bike friendly) then turning onto Nelson where there are much fewer cars and you truly feel far away from any city. Great for novice riders who want to try a solid half-day ride.
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7. Stroll to Dushanbe – Pearl Street is a given in Boulder with it’s funky yet old town feel but I like to tell people to to take a left on 13th and head to Central Park and arguably one of the most beautiful buildings in Boulder, The Boulder Dushanbe Tea House. Have a pot of tea, a light snack then head into the park. On a warm day you’ll see families picnicking, hula-hoopers, teen hanging out, kids playing and one or two people playing guitar. Never a dull moment!
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8. Stroll Boulder Creek Path – Just north of CU campus meanders a lovely crick (did I mention I was from the south?) that moves throughout Boulder. Someone smart decided that they should build a path that follows the creek and it makes for a lovely stroll, especially in the summer when a little breeze off the water can really cool things off. If you wish to dip your toes in the water, just make sure it’s low enough as the current can be strong and even deadly during certain times of year.
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9. Stroll through campus – Especially in the fall, when Colorado dishes out some beautiful colors, the campus at University of Colorado is a great place to wander with a hot cup of coffee and appreciation for some of the older buildings in the city, like the “Old Main”, the first building built for CU in 1876.
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10. But the few days when the weather is poor, snowing/sleeting, raining, too windy to even open your eyes, do what I do and hit our wonderful library, get a few tapas and a glass of wine at The Med or while away the hours at one of our great coffee shops like Ozo or The Cup. You really can’t go wrong!

So get out of the house as the weather turns warm again and enjoy Beautiful Boulder!

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8 Tips That Could Get You to Millionaire Status

Bill Allen, Broker Associate March 24, 2016 : Bill's Blog

A great article by Barbara Pronin that I had to share.

About 5 percent of the adult population in the U.S.—or about one in 20 people—are millionaires. Entrepreneur and investor John Rampton is one of them. Rampton, who achieved millionaire status early in life, has made some savvy decisions along the way. As he recently told Inc. Magazine, he credits these eight frugal habits for helping him achieve and maintain his goal:

Live within your means – The more we make, the more we tend to upgrade. But, points out Rampton, Warren Buffet still lives in the small Omaha home he purchased in 1958. Do without a McMansion or a luxury car and let your money work for you instead.

Don’t pay full price – Shop at discount and big box stores and look for bargains on near-new merchandise via sites like eBay and Craigslist. You’ll find you can buy quality goods without paying full retail price.

Cut out unnecessary expenses – Pare your cable expense. Cut the daily latte. Never pay ATM fees. Small savings add up to more funds for saving and investing.

Rent or sell your stuff – Sell clothing and other things you no longer want at consignment shops or online. Take in a roommate or rent out a spare bedroom. Rent out extra garage space. It’s quick, easy cash you can use to help you climb the ladder.

Leave the plastic at home – Being out without a credit card helps you curb expenses and avoid impulse buys. Limit the amount of cash you keep in your wallet so you are not tempted to go overboard.

Don’t waste money trying to get rich quick – Studies show that 16 percent of the wealthy gamble on sports each week, versus 52 percent of the poor. Nine percent play the lottery each week, as opposed to 77 percent of the poor. Don’t waste money on any get-rich-quick promise because they rarely, if ever, pan out.

Go green – Recycle cans and cardboard. Consider carpooling or taking public transportation to work instead of driving yourself. Reduce heating and cooling bills by adjusting your thermostat, and spring for energy-saving appliances.

Get a side job – Besides earning you extra income, having a side gig is a good way to keep you out of stores and restaurants in your spare time.

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Why Sell Now?

Bill Allen, Broker Associate March 15, 2016 : Bill's Blog

sell now

Why Sell Now?

Boulder is a hot market for sellers right now and rough for buyers (and agents). So why sell now? Here are our top 5 reasons!

1. Inventory is low. There is an ebb and flow to the supply and demand of any market and right now, we are experiencing very low inventory, especially in Boulder and the surrounding areas. And when there are no homes coming onto the market it usually creates an upward pressure on prices. With these factors, you may get more for your home.

2. Mortgage rates are low. It’s hard to predict if and when the interest rates will start to rise again but that said, many fear waiting too long to take advantage of it. If you sell now, and buy again, you also can lock in that low interest rate that could afford you more house.

3. Real estate brokers are motivated. The low amount of sales and inventory is not just a problem for consumers. Real estate agents are making few transactions and make less money. Experience and dedicated agents are just waiting for you to bring you home to the market to get you the best price with the best service.

4. Some markets sell better than others. Established areas with a history of stability and high demand are always going to sell, more so than weaker areas. Ask your agent to bring you comps in your area to help determine how homes have been selling in your area in the last 6 months.

5. Don’t forget holding costs! Every week you stay in your home, that’s another week of costs. If you wait a year (or two) for a projected 2% increase, would that outweigh the costs of staying in your current home? If there is a real estate property tax increase, that’s extra holding cost. Property tax increases, plumbing, air conditioning, heating, electrical problems or, if you were in Boulder in 2013, an unexpected flood can show up unexpectedly.

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Reasons To Never Retire

Bill Allen, Broker Associate January 19, 2016 : Bill's Blog

Warren Buffett is 85 years young and is still going strong. His real estate company, Berkshire Hathaway is now worth $66. billion and is expected to grow due to Buffett’s long term thinking and investing strategies. He argues that Americans are living longer than ever before. Many retirees have stated that they wish they had kept working, while others are forced into retirement due to health issues. However, for those wishing to prolong their stay in the work force, you are in good standings. It is predicted that as the Boomers retire, there will be an age gap between the young (inexperienced) and the old (experienced) workers. Companies like to keep a balance between the two cohorts so one could teach the other and avoid a gap in institutional knowledge. Another up side to working longer into life is two fold: If you have a job you love, you don’t work a day in your life. Additionally, you will continue to add to your net worth instead of deplete through your savings.

If the years are physically slowing you down, just remember you still have the wits and brains to make wise investment decisions to watch you money grow.

 

 

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Prefab Green Homes

Bill Allen, Broker Associate December 1, 2015 : Bill's Blog

image via Green Magic Homes

 

What do you like most about this picture? Is it the landscape, the mountains, or the gravel road leading your imagination into the unknown? Yes that is all great, but more importantly is the little green homes that are perfectly settled into the rolling hills.

 

These prefab homes have a low impact on the environment, but have a huge aesthetic impact. According to EcoPulse, these Green Magic Homes are composed of prefabricated vaulted panels manufactured from composite laminate materials, confined laterally by walls in reinforced soil “with a high index of stabilization.” Such a design helps prevent UV radiation and climate meteorological effects on the home, and therefore creates an energy-efficient bioclimate that is adaptable to any type of topography.

 

These homes are available in nine different floor plans, ranging from 1,900 sf to 4 bed room homes. Check out this website to learn more!

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How to Stage a Home

Bill Allen, Broker Associate December 1, 2015 : Bill's Blog

Sight, Smell, Taste, Hearing, Touch. What do all of these have in common?

 

These are the senses that appeal to a potential buyer. This is why it is so important to stage your property accordingly. Remax’s Today’s News summarizes it best:

 

Sight is the sense most agents associate with staging. The placement of furniture, decor, plants and everything else is truly central to staging. What can get overlooked in the great production of staging is the most fundamental element to catching someone’s eye – light. Especially for homes whose layout prevents a lot of natural light from getting in, you will want to ensure that you have bright and vibrant light throughout the home you aim to sell. Dark homes can not only feel dreary, but they can also make it more difficult to show off some of the qualities that will help you sell the home from the flooring to any moulding touches and more. Light is also very important for getting good quality photographs, which in the era of online advertising is key to putting your best foot forward to sell homes. There’s a major difference in perception between houses with dark, grainy photographs and ones that look professionally shot when interpreting them in the digital space.

Smell is among the strongest and most personally connective senses we possess as humans. We associate different aromas with experience and memory to a degree where certain smells can make us comfortable and nostalgic or quite the opposite. People are consciously aware of smells that they like and dislike, and some argue that using fragrances or food smells to change buyer perspective is a big no-no. However, if you are choose natural, neutral aromas like lavender, sage, pine or other light woody fragrances, you can create a space that feels like home. Be aware of using fragrances that may cause people who are sensitive to aromas to be uncomfortable, and be smart about using things like incense and spray aerosols that can trigger asthma or allergies.

Taste is important because, frankly, everyone loves snacks. This is a simple fact of life. Food makes people feel more comfortable and welcome in a home, and can add a feeling of sophistication to your showing. While you can’t guarantee everyone will be interested in your hors d’oeuvres, a lot of people will appreciate some fresh fruit, mild cheeses, or even a glass or two of wine as they settle into what may be their new home. Avoid anything that is overly fragrant, like strong cheeses and cooked meats, but don’t be afraid to let the personality of the home inform the snack choice you make. For homes that are more down home and country cottage influenced, regional favorites can’t be beat, whereas if you’re catering to a higher society crowd your snacks should follow suit.

Hearing. Much like smell, music is deeply evocative for memory and affects the mood and comfort level of the listener. Playing music through a home you aim to sell does wonders for filling in the space, making it more comfortable for everyone walking through and giving a sense of personality to your staging. I would recommend something instrumental, preferably classical or piano to enhance without distracting from the surroundings. If you want to get more technical, music that is primarily structured around major chord progressions will energize listeners, whereas minor chords sound darker and can create a sense of melancholy (for an example, look what happens when you shift REM from minor to major. How happy it feels!). It’s also important to ensure your music isn’t too loud, as it can take away from your staging and make it more difficult for your buyers to converse about the home with one another and with you.

Touch. Chances are prospective buyers aren’t going to go around touching the walls and tiles to gauge their tactile appeal, but there is a strong likelihood they will have a seat at some point along the way (or be drawn towards touching a sofa, linens or the curtains). Touch is one of our key exploratory senses, used to judge a wide range of things from the temperature of an item to its softness or quality. Staging a home with comfortable, quality goods is one part of staging with touch. Another key element of touch: temperature. A home that is too hot or too cold will make buyers uncomfortable and distract them from the features you’re looking to showcase. An updated thermostat is not only a great selling point for the home, but helps you accurately and consistently set the temp for showings.

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Extended Season brings New Housing Records

Bill Allen, Broker Associate November 17, 2015 : Bill's Blog

As we all might know by now, Boulder’s real estate market is one of the best in the country. In fact, this super hot real estate market has created an “extended season” for those on the housing hunt. This has allowed the statistics for Boulder Country to double since last October. Of the 897 homes on the market, 376 (42%) are under contract. Wilson, with Re/Max of Boulder, proudly states that they are “significantly higher than average”.  Today potential buyer haven’t been able to write a check for a home yet due to lack of choices and increasing bidding wars. The most common and competitive price range falls around $400,000, and virtually nothing is available under $325,000 in Boulder County.

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