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Nov. 22, 2017

Ten Simple Ways to Prepare Your Home for A Colorado Winter

For us it always feels like Thanksgiving is the official start to winter: the ski resorts are open, the streets are twinkling with Christmas lights, and our heaters have been switched on at night. With the arrival of winter also comes a checklist of things to do on your home for the changing of the seasons. Since the festivity of the holidays can often overshadow these important tasks, we wanted to share a few important things to add to your weekend to do list to prepare for another Colorado winter.

While there are certainly bigger, costlier projects you can do to prepare your home for winter and make it more efficient, let's be realistic. Keeping the items on your to do list simple and achievable means you are a lot more likely to accomplish them.

Ten Simple Ways to Prepare Your Home for A Colorado Winter. 

  1. Blow out your sprinklers.
  2. Replace your furnace filters.
  3. Identify and fix any drafts around your doors.
  4. Caulk your windows, both inside and out. (Did you know that simple leaks can sap your energy efficiency by 5 to 30% every year?!)
  5. Insulate your pipes.
  6. Install a smart thermostat.
  7. Clear your gutters. (hello, snow melt!)
  8. Clean your fireplace.
  9. Protect your outdoor plants. (or bring them in if you can)
  10. Reverse your ceiling fans to clockwise. (keep that warm air right where you want it!)

How do you prepare yourself and your home for winter in Colorado? Share your ideas in the comments below!

 

 

Nov. 17, 2017

360review: Dos Santos Restaurant

If you consider yourself to be a taco aficionado (don't we all?!), you will understand how much fun the hunt for the perfect taco can be, especially in a city like Denver which is chock full of incredible food. Enter, Dos Santos. Located in the popular Uptown neighborhood, this is a spot no Mexican food lover will want to miss. But it would be unfair to only mention their tacos, because everything on their menu is on point. The atmosphere is fun and welcoming and they have happy hour every single day from 3-6pm.

Their taco options are well thought out and are sure to leave you satisfied. We personally love the O.M.F.G, Tinga, Roasted Cauliflower, and the Del Mar and we know you will, too. Their house made hot salsas are also worth a try if you are into that sort of thing. And just to make everyone feels included, Dos Santos even has a vegan option or two on their menu. Score! It's a great spot to take visitors if you want to impress.

We'll be back soon to try their brunch menu, too. Yep, that's right they also offer brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 2pm. We can't wait to try the Donkey Tonk and the Mexican Doughnuts. Who wants to join us?! 

In addition to their top notch tacos, they also have some really interesting and unique items on their menu. Case in point: the butternut squash bombs. They are beer battered and served with a delicious corn serrano aioli and a small kale salad on the side. Order them. DO IT! You can thank us later. They also have three really unique flavors of guacamole (fresh fruit + bacon, pumpkin seed+ nopal + roasted tomatillos, classic) to choose from, or you can order the trio in the likely event that you just can't decide. 

 

*all drool-worthy photos via Dos Santos

Nov. 7, 2017

Fun New Ways to Add That "Wow" Factor to Your Home

via Stikwood

via Stikwood

As real estate agents, we get to tour a lot of beautiful homes – and we love it. We also get to see how potential buyers tour these homes, and some of the comments they make as they decide to make a large purchase. This gives us insight into design trends and simple finishes that set homes apart from others. Homes that have a “wow” factor tend to sell faster and for more money than their basic builder built home competitors.

We recently sold a home in Solterra. The home marketed and sold very quickly, and close to full asking price. It is estimated that the home sold for 25k more than comparable homes at the time because of some of the customizations the home owners made. These were simple upgrades, requiring nothing more that materials and a good handyman, and a few days’ work. The finishes had a large impact on how the home photographed and showed. Following are some ideas from this home, as well as recent design trends we have been seeing in new model homes and custom homes.

Wood Wall Panels

This has been an emerging trend that we started noticing in 2014. Applying wood panels or wood veneer to a wall is a simple project that most homeowners can do on their own – and it has a big “wow” factor. The wood panels add a dimension of warmth and character to small or large sections of walls. Look for walls in your home that won’t have visible ends, like inlay walls or the back of a powder bath. If you want to see an example of this, both of the new Cardel Townhome models use wood panels extensively. The home on Lupine St used reclaimed barn wood, which added character since it was an aged product in a new home. Another Solterra home owner used a real tree bark product that added a quirky, fun look to the home. West Elm carries a product called Stikwood, and the adhesive is already on the back of the panel. http://www.westelm.com/products/stikwood-adhesive-wood-paneling-w815/

Faux Wood Beams

Wood Beams add a huge “wow” factor to any home. We stumbled across a really cool product recently – faux wood beams made out of polyurethane. You have probably seen them before but never realized they weren’t real wood. The wood grains and staining are ultra-realistic, and they are so light that one person can lift one to install them. Installation is simple using 2x4 sections mounted to studs in the ceiling, so you can fasten the beam to the 2x4. They are also very affordable. For example, a 10’ section of a hand hewn timber beam sells for $130. What makes faux wood beams so compelling, is that nobody will know its not real wood (except you of course). They have several different styles, as well as matching wood panels for different applications (like covering an existing drywall post). The possibilities are limitless. You can check out the styles here: http://www.fauxwoodbeams.com/

Custom Lighting

Most new homes have original lighting, which is usually too small for the space and a bit boring. Some people prefer the simplicity and uniformity of builder included lighting, but for a real “wow” factor in your home, we definitely recommend custom lighting. The home on Lupine St used extensive custom lighting from Restoration Hardware, and the “wow” factor was huge. You can find some very affordable lighting options that are still on trend at www.wayfair.com/.  The lighting has that Restoration Hardware look, but for about half the price.

More Cool Ways to Add That "Wow Factor:"

  • Stone or brick veneer applied to interior walls

  • Custom re-finishing of hand rails

  • Exotic granite or real stone used in bathrooms (you can great deals on small sections of granite at fabricator lots called “boneyards”)

How have you added that "wow" factor to your home? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Oct. 31, 2017

10 Spots To Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner in Denver This Year

This time of year is one for celebrating our lives with gratitude, warmth, and family all culminating around the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day. The house is warm from the oven, friends and family are coming in from the cold autumn air, the timer going off at odd intervals for each individual recipe you are preparing with love for the ones you hold dear. Nieces, nephews, and grandchildren are running around underfoot keeping things especially exciting. As you prepare the meal to all be finished at the perfect time, you light candles around the dinner table, fill everyone's wine glasses, and collapse gratefully into your seat at the table for this delicious meal. Sounds idyllic, right? And it is, of course. But have you ever thought about simply making a dinner reservation for your entire family for Thanksgiving? We've done it, and it really takes the stress and chaos out of the day, allowing you to fully be in the moment with your friends and family. So whether you are sticking to your family tradition and cooking your meal at home or want to try something new, we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours. 

Denver Restaurants Hosting A Thanksgiving Meal This Year (psst! they all still have reservations available!):

  1. Ship Tavern at the Brown Palace
  2. Fire Restaurant at the Art Hotel of Denver
  3. Charcoal Restaurant
  4. Range Restaurant
  5. Oceanaire Seafood Room
  6. Fleming's Steak House
  7. The Corner Office Restaurant
  8. Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse
  9. Il Fornaio 
  10. Charcoal Bistro

Make your reservation today!

 

For the chaos-inclined, however, we wanted to share one of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes with you.

Roasted Pumpkin Recipe

Ingredients:

1 small pumpkin, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp onion powder
4 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash, peel, and slice the pumpkin into half inch slices and arrange on baking sheet. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl, drizzle over the prepared pumpkin slices. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until tender. Serve hot next to your favorite Thanksgiving recipes.

How will you spend your Thanksgiving this year? Share your plans with us in the comments below!

Oct. 27, 2017

The Best Places To Find A Deal On A Mountain Property

Coloradans spend so much time in the mountains, it comes as no surprise to learn just how many people are in the market for a mountain property. Anything to keep us in the trees just a little bit more is a good idea, if you ask us. But with the Denver market being so strong, is it even possible for the average family to own their own weekend getaway spot in the mountains? The truth is, if you know where to look you can actually find some pretty great deals. 

It is always best to know what features are most important to you when looking for a mountain home as well, but if you would enjoy a place away from the hustle and bustle of the most popular mountain towns such as Breckenridge and Vail, you can find some gems. Things to consider in your list of priorities include distance to amenities, privacy desired, acreage, distance from home, and what creature comforts you want in the actual home.

 

Our Favorite Spots To Score A Deal On A Mountain Property:

  1. Cripple Creek, CO - median home price: $96,000

    This cute little town is rich in Colorado history - gold history, to be exact. And while there are some newer casinos in town, it is far from the main attraction of this area in our opinion. Even if you wanted to be out of the town a ways, into the trees, there are plenty of deals to be found on property around here. The outdoor recreation certainly doesn't disappoint either. With plenty of hiking, mountain biking, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, climbing and more to be enjoyed in this off-the-beaten-path location. You also have all of the amenities you would need for your weekend getaways just down the road, making it especially convenient. 

  2. Paonia, CO - median home price: $147,900

    Though a bit of a drive to reach it, this town easily captures the hearts of visitors every single day. Surrounded by beautiful country scenery, this unique climate is ideal for organic farming. It is famous for the large variety of fruits grown here: cherries, apricots, grapes, peaches, nectarines, plums, pears, and apples will all be found here. Hiking, cycling, cross country skiing and snow shoeing are all popular here, as is the surprisingly vibrant art scene.

  3. Craig, CO - median home price: $171,400

    Only a 45-minute drive from the wildly popular Steamboat Springs, Craig offers a much more cost-friendly option for buying a getaway home in this area. Here you can enjoy the peace and quiet that a weekend getaway deserves, while still enjoying the beauty of NW Colorado (and the champagne powder Steamboat is known for!).

  4. Leadville, CO - median home price: $171,400

    This adorable town is proud of its wild west roots and offers a variety of experiences for visitors and locals alike. With restaurants, breweries and the most amazing antique store we've been to in the mountains of Colorado, there is plenty to keep you entertained. Surrounded by some of the highest peaks in Colorado, the scenery and recreation opportunities are pretty impressive. We personally love to go hiking and cross country skiing up here, though the mountain biking, climbing, and fishing are also a big hit in this area.

  5. Fairplay, CO - median home price: $217,000

    A short drive from Denver, this town and the surrounding areas mean you can make it up here nearly every weekend to enjoy mountain life. Enjoy the drive out on beautiful Highway 285 and pick up any necessities at any of the great towns along the way (Conifer is our favorite for the variety). Fairplay is smack dab in the middle of some pretty cool landscape, offering a variety of outdoor activities no matter the season. Hiking, mountain biking, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, and much more are right at your doorstep. Want to explore some of the cute mountain towns in the area? Salida and Buena Vista won't disappoint!

  6. Silverton, CO - median home price: $233,600

    This postcard-worthy town is truly inspiring and one you won't be disappointed spending all of your free time in. While the drive time might seem daunting, the incredible scenery of the San Juan Highway and the mountains that surround this charming little town make it all worthwhile. Several great places to shop and eat mean you won't have to go far to get the necessities. It also goes without saying that the recreational opportunities here are truly spectacular. 

What are your favorite mountain towns? Which one would you love to live in? Share with us in the comments below!

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Oct. 13, 2017

360tip: How to Stage Your Home On A Budget

One of the most important elements of listing your home for sale is ensuring that it is in tip top shape for your open house. If you can create a clean, inviting, and neutral atmosphere in the space you allow potential buyers to envision their lives happening there. This is where staging comes in. And while there are certainly a number of expenses that can come along with staging your home for sale, it doesn't have to break the bank.

Our top six tips for staging your home on a budget:

  1. Remove any personal belongings.
    Family photos and the family pet's bed should all be removed for any showing of your home.
  2. Only keep necessary furniture in the space.
    If you have four couches in your family room, maybe consider putting two in storage. Simplicity and minimal furnishings can help the space to feel larger (always a good thing!).
  3. Two words: fresh flowers!
    Adding a vase here and there full of colorful fresh flowers is a great way to brighten a space and make potential buyers smile as they tour your home.
  4. Run an essential oil diffuser throughout the open house.
    Add bright, happy essential oils like citrus or eucalyptus to your favorite diffuser. Or if you really want to pull out all the stops you can bake a plate of cookies before everyone arrives.
  5. Add some character to your living room.
    Since this is where the family tends to gather in most homes, simple additions like throw pillow covers are both inexpensive and effective at giving a space new life.
  6. A gallon of paint goes a long way.
    If you have an eye for bold colors and have painted your bedroom lemon lime, a coat of a soft gray paint will allow potential buyers to see all of the positive qualities of your bedroom without that getting in the way.

How do you stage your home on a budget? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!

Oct. 3, 2017

Colorado Fall Happenings That Are Too Good To Miss

There is definitely a feeling of fall in the air this week, with the cooler weather and yellow leaves nearly everywhere you turn. And while fall tends to go way too quickly for our liking here in Colorado, it is a season we love to celebrate in any way we can. From apple festivals and corn mazes, to murder mystery dinners and masquerade balls there really is something for everyone to enjoy this beautiful time of year. 

Let's be honest, there is rarely a season when you can't find plenty to do in and around Denver. But just in case you find yourself lacking the Fall spirit this year, we have rounded up some fun events to get you in the mood.

Dinos! After Dark
 - Every Friday & Saturday in October
Fright Fest - Every Friday, Saturday & Sunday in October
Apple Fest - October 7th-8th
Great American Beer Festival - October 5th-7th
Punkin Chunkin Colorado - October 6th-8th
Pumpkin Harvest Festival - October 7th-8th
Glow At the Gardens - October 18th-26th
Murder Mystery Dinner - October 20th
The Shining Ball - October 21st
Bloody Mary Festival - October 22nd
Coloween - October 28th
Spirits & Spirits - October 28th
What events are you looking forward to this fall season? Did we miss any of your favorites in our list? Be sure to share with us on social media and in the comments below!


We also wanted to share a delicious way to use up all those pumpkins... with one of our favorite pumpkin soup recipes! (courtesy of My Kitchen in the Rockies.)


Pumpkin Soup With Curry:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup (60 g) butter
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed*
  • 3 cups chicken broth**
  • 1 can (15 ounces, 425 g) pumpkin
  • 1 cup half and half***
  • Toppings: pumpkin seeds, sour cream, fresh chives
Instructions
  1. Heat butter on medium heat in a bigger pot.
  2. Add onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are soft.
  3. Stir in salt, coriander, and red pepper flakes. Cook for one minute.
  4. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes on low heat.
  5. Stir in pumpkin and half and half. Cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer the soup in batches into a blender until it becomes creamy.
  7. Serve in smaller bowls with suggested toppings.
Notes
Please use organic and GMO free ingredients whenever available.
* Add red pepper flakes to your liking, I sometimes omit them depending on the spiciness of the curry powder.
** Substitute vegetable broth for vegetarian version.
*** You can also use just ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream.

 

Sept. 29, 2017

360tip: The Pros and Cons of Purchasing A Home Warranty

A home warranty (in contrast to homeowners insurance) is essentially a service contract that covers the repair or replacement of any important home system, components and appliances that break down over time. And while it can save you money, is it worth the cost in the long run? The short answer is that it varies from person to person, but it is useful to know your options when making the decision that will work out best for you in the long run.

To help, we are breaking down everything you need to know about home warranties so that you can make an informed decision when buying a new home (or getting coverage for your existing home!).

PROS:
  • Peace of mind that if something major goes wrong at your house, you aren't going to be expected to shell out a fortune to get it repaired.
  • Relatively inexpensive, with most warranties costing less than $500/year, depending on the chosen coverage (your first year may even be free, so make sure to check with your realtor!).
  • Flexible coverage means you can tailor a warranty policy to fit the unique needs of your home.

CONS:
  • You may not ever use it, particularly if your home is relatively new (famous last words!)
  • If you are handy with home repairs, you may be able to fix a lot of the repairs yourself for less money than your warranty.
  • Appliance and systems must be carefully maintained by you in order to qualify for the coverage of any necessary repairs.
  • Coverage of big ticket items (air conditioning, septic system, etc.) will likely bump up the overall cost significantly.
  • Inability to choose who handles the repairs, as the warranty provider will usually choose one from their list of service providers.
  • 'Pre-existing conditions' will not be covered by a warranty.
  • The warranty provider makes the ultimate decision on whether something is repaired or replaced entirely.

If you still have questions, ask your 360 agent for more information; we are happy to help guide you to the best decision for you and your family.

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Sept. 19, 2017

The Reality of Investing In A Home Near the Lightrail

via RTD

 

For most home buyers, the thought of living near a lightrail station will have one of two reactions. They will either rejoice that they are so near a simple way to commute around the metro area, or they will balk at the thought of the impact that will have on them and their neighborhood. Knowing which category you fall into is important before you begin looking at homes, as this could greatly affect the neighborhoods you are willing to live in.

First let's take a look at the benefits of having a station nearby. If your work or recreational activities are near the other end of a lightrail station, you are golden. You can leave your car parked safely at home and hop on the train for an easy commute to work or that day's sports game of choice without the hassle of traffic or parking. Maybe you travel a lot and dread the thought of driving to and from the airport (not to mention paying for parking!)? Problem solved, if you live near a lightrail station, thanks to the new A Line!

But what about the potentially negative impacts of living uncomfortably close to the station? For many, the noise alone is enough to deter them from these neighborhoods. And while the lightrail has come a long way in terms of unnecessary noise, the reality is that you may still notice the trains coming and going. The nearby station is also likely to draw in other commuters and recreational riders increasing traffic and difficulty finding parking in the area. 

You also have to consider the impact that buying a property near a lightrail station could have on potential buyers when you decide to sell down the line. Depending on the location and varying other factors, it could have either a positive or negative impact on the ability to sell the house quickly. Because of this, we recommend you take all of these factors into account when making the decision on whether you want to live in one of these areas (or not).

With 53 stations currently operating in the Denver metro area, it is important that you know where these are located as you begin your home search. Head right this way for a full map of the lightrail stations.
Sept. 12, 2017

360review: The Truffle Table

via Truffle Table

 The Highlands is one of the trendiest and fun neighborhoods in Denver, and for very good reason. Enter, The Truffle Table (and about a hundred other cool shops and restaurants in the area!). This little hot spot is the perfect place to meet friends for happy hour or even to spend a romantic evening out. Especially if you are a cheese fanatic like us!

The ambiance of this cute little spot is warm, friendly and inviting with the servers playing a big role in your comfort and enjoyment during your visit. The friendly staff offer helpful tips and suggestions for the novice cheese - and wine! - taster, with a healthy dose of humor and sarcasm (which we love!). It definitely has that neighborhood hangout feel that makes your feel welcome to stay and chat with your friends for as long as you'd like! 

via Truffle Table

When it comes to the cheeses, prepare to be overwhelmed in the best possible way. In addition to some really tasty menu items, you can just straight up order a full tasting of some of the best cheese, sourced from around the world. Whether you go for a cheese board, fondue, or any other cheesy menu item, you will not be disappointed. And fear not, if you find some that you simply can't live without, they also have a cheese shop in Denver where you can buy cheese to your heart's content. (psst! If some of their cheeses taste familiar it's because they supply many of your favorite Denver restaurants with the best cheese in town!)

The wine choices were also pretty tasty - and their list is extensive! - and they all complement the various cheeses beautifully. 

Bottom line, this is a must-visit spot, whether you fancy yourself a cheese connoisseur or not. We already know what we are ordering on our next visit (since we couldn't fit it all in on the first!). We're looking at you Sriracha Caramel Corn and Potato, Spinach and Gruyere Souffle with Tender Belly Bacon. Who wants to join us?! You can check out the full menu HERE.

**They have even shared their best fondue recipe on their site! We know what we'll be making this weekend!