DjangoFest – Jazz Festival in Denver

The two-day Gypsy Jazz festival DjangoFest will be arriving in Denver on Friday, June 13th. After two years without the festival occurring in Colorado, the lineup is sure to bring lots of attention to the unique event.

The festivities begin Friday night with the Robin Nolan Trio stepping into the spotlight at 8 and 10 p.m., along with accompanying acts Kevin Nolan and Arnaud van den Berg. The concerts will occur at The Stage at Mi Vida Strings, and with limited seating, it will be important to arrive early in order to see some of the leaders of the genre perform.

Saturday’s events, held at the Holiday Event Center, begin at 6 p.m. with the pre-concert reception. Reserve festival seats in advance, and spend time enjoying the local sensation of Mango fan Django’s music. As Colorado’s longest running Gypsy Jazz group, Mango fan Django offers a variety of tunes from classics to contemporary—all of which are sure to lead to a good time.

If a break from Mango fan Django is needed, stop by Chef Jean-Philippe Failyau’s hedgehog tasting. Though hedgehog may be the traditional gypsy dish, a variety of recipes can be found using more common meats, all catered by Chef Jean-Philippe’s renowned restaurant, Park Burger. Enjoy the music, food, and fellowship with other fans and artists alike. Get merchandise, meet the bands, or just have a great conversation with some other Djangophiles.

The concert kicks off at 8 p.m. with local opener Swing Je T’aime. Taking the stage afterwards is Hot Club d’Europe, made up of some of the most recognized players in the scene. Bandmates Paulus Schäfer, Tim Kliphuis, Olli Soikkeli, and Simon Planting promise to be an amazing Gypsy Jazz experience.

The weekend will also include a series of workshops hosted by the band members. Come grow in your own skills Saturday and Sunday afternoons by learning from the talented musicians of the festival.

DjangoFest Colorado is presented by Aaron Walker Music. Visit http://djangofest.com/home/djangofest-colorado/# for further details and scheduling.

Annual Denver Chalk Art Festival is Almost Here

The annual Denver Chalk Art Festival will be happening May 31st through June 1st. Held in downtown’s Larimer Square, this free event changes the ground from concrete into a canvas.

More than 200 artists create masterpieces from pastel renditions of artwork on the street. Ranging from beginners to professionals, the artists provide spectators with a living, growing art experience. Awards are given for the first, second, and third best in show, along with a people’s choice award, best 3-D, most whimsical, best use of color, and best reproduction of a master’s work.

The event is produced by the Larimer Arts Association, a non-profit organization established to encourage the arts and education. The city of Denver works alongside the festival in an initiative titled “Chalk it up to Green” in order to ensure that the artists’ materials, the sponsors of the event, and the cleanup are all safe for the environment.

Activities for the whole family accompany the art—listen to live music from bands around the local area, compete in the Southwest Airlines photo contest, grab food or a beverage from a variety of choices, or even have your kids participate in the chalk art for a small donation.

Prior to the festival itself, stop by for Friday Night Lights on Larimer from 6 to 10 p.m. Walk to the square and enjoy a drink or two with an artist, or compete in a luggage tossing competition with the Southwest Airlines Baggage Crew. Afterwards, grab a can of spray paint and participate in the graffiti showdown, followed by live music and prize giveaways.

The activities will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, with the awards ceremony occurring at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Visit http://www.larimerarts.org/ for more information or to sponsor an artist, apply to participate, or volunteer to help with the festival.

Urban Home Show in Denver

The Urban Home Show, held in the picturesque Skyline Park, will be occurring Saturday, June 14th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Whether you’re looking for landscaping ideas, decorating patterns, or remodeling suggestions, this free event provides solutions to each.

By providing a variety of creative home ideas and useful arrangement setups, the Urban Home Show showcases the latest in what will make your home trendy, homey, and even more valuable. Whether your home is a masterpiece of the chic or a disaster waiting to be remodeled, there are experts ready and willing to show you how to make your abode even better.

The variety of exhibits and live demos not only give practical ways to enhance a living space, but they also allow you to incorporate the suggestions through different services and helpful products. Let expert ideas transform your home into a greater asset, and enjoy live music as you hear from the many home-improvement sponsors of the event.

The Urban Home show takes place in Skyline Park. A proverbial sanctuary in the middle of downtown Denver, the location is a perfect setting, boasting its own beautiful landscaping and urban flair. And, since the park also hosts corresponding movie, a concert series, and an urban market, the Urban Home Show provides education, application, and entertainment.

If your home could use a refresher in interior decorating, gardening techniques, or just needs to be completely redone, visit the Urban Home Show on June 14th. There is no cost for admission, and the show promises to provide ways to improve your household’s aesthetic and financial value. Take your home’s future and turn it into something that will be a lasting expression of practicality and functionality, and enjoy a beautiful Saturday in the park while doing so. The Urban Home Show is sure to be beneficial and enjoyable for the whole family.

5 Things to Do Before Buying Your First Home

search for houseBuying a home is something that takes planning, preparation, and serious thought. There are many aspects to consider before jumping into the real estate market for the first time, and it is in your best interest to be a well-informed home buyer. Think about these five things before you buy your first home.

1. Timing

The first thing you need to assess is if you are at a point in your life where buying a home is really the best option. Take into consideration your future plans on getting married and having kids. Determine if your job situation is going to be long-term or short-term, and make sure you are and will remain financially stable. It’s also important to think about whether now is the time to buy or rent; if you aren’t sure whether you’ll still want to be in the area in five years, or if you can’t fully commit to buying a home, you may want to rent a place before you jump into anything long-term.

2. What is Available

While you may be reared and ready to start the search for a home, the market may not be on the same page. Make sure you know what you’re looking for in a house, but be prepared to not have all your needs met immediately. Finding the perfect home will take time, and it depends on what properties are available and whether or not they meet your needs, wants, and budget.

3. Mortgages

Once you’ve made the decision to become a home buyer, the next step is figuring out if you qualify for a mortgage and getting pre-approved. Knowing your price-point before you start looking at houses will save you the grief and time of looking at places you can’t afford. Getting pre-approved will also let the seller know that you are serious when you make an offer on a home.

4. Remember Extra Costs

Unfortunately, buying a home comes with many additional costs that you will want to factor into your budget beforehand. The most common cost is the down payment, which is usually a large chunk of money upfront. However, there are also things like closing costs, property insurance, and taxes that will need to be paid upfront as well. It all adds up, so it’s good to know beforehand how much money you will really need to buy your desired house.

5. Be Realistic

Above all, you have to be realistic when it comes to buying your first home. It’s a good idea to know how to bid – have your real estate agent clue you in about smart bidding based on the neighborhood and the seller’s asking price. If you put in a bid that is way below asking price, you probably are setting yourself up for disappointment. Along the same lines, if the market is tight, there will be less negotiating room and a low-ball offer could lose you the house. Keep in mind that there may be other offers on the house, so jumping at the chance to get a smart, sensible bid in will be in the best interest of getting the property you want.

Real Estate Trends in 2014

Predictions and estimates of real estate trends in 2014.

More Homes Will be Available

If you had trouble in 2013 with the diminished real estate market, this 2014 trend will be a breath of fresh air for both buyers and sellers. More homes will be on the market this year, returning the housing inventory to a more regular level. However, in many areas, homes quickly get sold and they don’t stay on the market for a long time.

Mortgage Rates Will Rise

Predictions are that mortgage rates will be up to 5% by the end of the year; while this means homes will be a little more expensive to finance monthly, 5% is still very low. The silver lining? Increased mortgage rates means mortgages should be easier to get. Lenders’ refinancing business will decrease, forcing them to compete for buyers by loosening their lending requirements.

Home Prices Will Rise

Online sites like Zillow and Redfin are predicting that home prices will rise between 3% and 5% in 2014. While this is a plus for sellers, it’s not the greatest news for buyers. Sellers know that because of the smaller market and quickly rising prices, buyers are more eager to find a home sooner rather than later.

Ownership Will Decline

In 2014, homeownership rates will fall below 65%. With home affordability declining and mortgage rates increasing, along with income levels that just aren’t keeping up, it is predicted that the number of homeowners will drop.

People Will Move

With prices on the rise, some will put their properties on the market and consider downsizing.

Apartment and Condo Developments Will Drop

Following an increased demand from homeowners-turned-renters in 2013, there may have been too much multi-family construction that year. Now that an emerging desire for homes has returned to the market, the demand for apartments is expected to quiet down in 2014. Along the same lines, condo development will be put on hold since market conditions for condos haven’t been favorable in recent years.

Foreclosures Will Decrease

2014 will continue to see waning foreclosures, a trend the market has seen since 2012. This trend should continue with the overall housing recovery.

What’s to Love about Parker, Colorado?

There’s something to love about Parker, Colorado which offers plenty of reasons to purchase real estate that is much more than ideal communities. Parker is in a prime location just 20 miles from downtown Denver, Colorado and features outstanding communities that include horse properties, amenities, tall grasses, green spaces, and city convenience without the hectic pace.

There is plenty to love about Parker, CO- The Cherry Creek Bike Trail which runs just north of Castlewood Canyon State Park into downtown Denver. Parker features plenty of events and festivals which include horse drawn carriages, parades, wine festivals, food festivals, music concerts, art festivals, holiday events, carnivals, and more that offer residents something to do at all times of the year.

The Parker Arts, Cultural Events center is another feature of Parker and one that is an amazing 250 seat amphitheater featuring state of the art technology and comfortable seating. Truly magnificent! The Denver Tech Center is about a 15 minute drive from Parker. The fabulous Castlewood Canyon- also called the mini Grand Canyon, is just 20 minutes south of the town, and features magnificent trails and Cherry Creek.

Hospitals and medical care are just a few miles away, the Rocky Mountain views are magnificent, and sunsets glorious! Parker, CO offers light rail transportation that conveniently takes residents into downtown Denver. The Douglas County School System, which is ranked among the highest in the Nation offers a stellar education for children. Residents are friendly, communities are family friendly, and crime rates are low. The lifestyle is relaxed with plenty of activities offering a lifestyle filled with options.

Parker, CO is the perfect mix of nature with wide open space, close-knit communities, fantastic real estate that includes golf communities, retirement communities, lakefront communities, equestrian properties, mountain properties, luxury homes, condos, townhomes, and more. Lifestyles are pleasant, the people friendly, recreation grand, and living affordable. What’s not to love about Parker, CO?

Reasons to GET Your Home on the Market

Waiting for a reason to list your home for sale on the market? There are more reasons this year to list your home on the market. If you’ve been following the market, then you know that it is in a slow and modest recover. 2012 was the start of the first signs of improvement that were consistent in years. 2013 has continued that trend, and the market is in an upswing. The Colorado market is becoming a seller’s market, and homes are going fast.

Inventory Supply is Low

For the past five years, Denver, Colorado has always sold about 4K homes per month. Many homeowners faced financial distress sending their properties into foreclosure. In years past, the market has been flooded with foreclosed homes and short sales. In 2012, we saw fewer foreclosed homes on the property, and 2013 is even better. Interest rates are at historic lows, giving buyers more incentive to purchase, now. The economy is more stable, homes are selling faster, and values are going up, and supply in inventory down, which benefits home sellers.

New Construction is Coming Back

For the past several years, the construction industry has been in a slump. In 2012, the industry picked up, and now in 2013 it is even better. With a recovering market, more builders are jumping back in, and home sellers will be more competition with new home construction in the picture- days on the market will increase, and resale pricing will stay down.

Interest Rates Are at Historic Lows

With the economy and housing industry in a slow and modest recovery, interest rates will continue to go up. Now is the ideal time to list your home for sale on the market as more and more home buyers are taking advantage of the low rates before they continue to go up. Since the fall of 2012, interest rates have already gone up, and they are expected to continue to do so.

Conditions are turning to a seller’s market. Home values rising, inventories low, interest rates low, the economy steady, and homes are building equity faster, making now a prime time to list your home for sale.

US Housing Market in a Slow and Modest Recovery Heading Back to Normal

According to a Fiserv (FISV) Case-Shiller forecast the market will experience a rise in home prices at an average of 3.3% annually in the coming five year period ending Sept. 2017.

The past five years have been anything but close to normal for the housing market.  2012 was the start to a slow and modest recovery with the year ending in a positive light.

During the past 15 years the housing market has been unpredictable with home sales and prices being crushed by crash psychology or boosted by a bubble mentality.  Since the bubble burst in 2006, home prices fell by 30.5 percent through Sept. 2012’s end.  This was a hard hit for the market, and one that hasn’t looked encouraging until this past year, and the forecast for the coming years.

Late in 2011, markets began to stabilize with a rise in home prices of 3.6 percent between Sept. 2011 and Sept. 2012. According to Fiserv out of 384 metro areas tracked, 62 percent reported a rise in home prices during the same period a year earlier with a rise from just 12.5 percent.

Among price gains some of the biggest were experienced by the hardest hit areas during the housing bust.  For instance, Sa Jose, California experienced jumped 12.5 percent, Detroit jumped nearly 16 percent, and Phoenix jumped nearly 21 percent.

Other areas were not so fortunate.  Long Island, N.Y., for instance experienced a price fall of 8.1 percent.  The median income also lagged in comparison to the rest of the US.  Valdosta, Georgia and Brunswick, Georgia were also down.

The year is expected to continue with an upswing in the housing market.  Home prices are expected to continue to climb in almost all metro areas.  Syracuse, New York is expected to climb 5 percent, Billings, Montana 5.5 percent, Santa Fe, and New Mexico 8.1 percent.

There are some big gains forecasted for the year, which is another contributor to the rise in home sales.

Market trends are positive.  Prices are still affordable.  Interest rates are at an historic low.  Home buyers and investors’ are more confident and housing inventory is in higher demand.

Selling Your Durango, Colorado Property

Whatever the reason may be for you choosing to sell your Durango, Colorado property, it is a big decision, and one that you want to consider wisely.  Following, we’ve listed a pleasant guide to help assist you in your sale.

Steps to Selling Your Property

Selling Objectives

There is a lot of preparation required in selling a property and knowing your objectives in selling your property is important.  Perhaps you are relocating, downsizing or upsizing, or perhaps you just wish to move to a different climate or atmosphere.  It is important to know your objectives- what is your asking price, what is necessary to make your property “sell ready”, how soon do you need the property to sell?  These are all important questions.

Also, it is a wise idea to consult with your tax advisor or attorney in order to understand the ramifications of the sale of your property.

Select a Real Estate Broker

When you consider a real estate broker you don’t want to just consider one.  Interview several brokers.  The interview is to evaluate the broker, their experience, their abilities, their professionalism, and how they will market your property.  You should have a list of questions ready for the interview which will help guide you in selecting a broker.

The realtor should provide you with a comparative market analysis during the interview, which will show you properties that have recently sold, as well as, active properties and ones that have been withdrawn from the market or expired listings.

The broker should also discuss a strategy to sell your property which will include how he will market and advertise the property.  Lastly, the realtor should recommend a selling price.

Seller Representation

Colorado State offers two ways in which sellers can be represented- a seller’s agent or as a transaction broker.  Because of the close relationship of a realtor and seller it is recommended that a seller’s agent (realtor) be the preferred choice.  Transaction brokers are not the advocate that the seller has in a realtor.

Pricing Strategy

One of a seller’s most challenging decisions is the list price of the property.  Too high, and you risk losing the valuable first few weeks on the market.  Too low, and you are concerned that you are giving away your property.  Selling price is a tough decision for the seller and this is where your experienced real estate broker is the expert in the situation.  Real estate brokers are more objective than buyers, as they are not emotionally attached to the property, and they are the area and market experts.  Today’s buyers know the market and market values and are turned off by homes that are priced over market value.  If your property is on the market and you aren’t getting showing, or you are showing the property but no offers are coming in, you likely have the property overpriced.

When you determine the list price you will also want to consider the home’s condition, age, location, and features that make your property stand out from others on the market.

Evaluate your local market and position yourself ahead of the market.  For instance if you are in an area with a low supply of housing inventory, then consider setting the list price slightly above recent comparable sales.  If the market is a buyer’s market then you want to consider listing your home at market value or slightly below.

Property Staging

Prepping your property for sale is an important part of your marketing strategy.  Here you want to consider every inch of the property, and to make every inch sparkle and shine!

Curb Appeal

First impressions are everything and you want that first impression to start from the moment your potential buyers drive up to your home.  Here you want to use your real estate agent, as well as, all your own senses- what will potential buyers see, hear and smell?  From the curb to the home, your home should say “welcome home”.

Improve your landscape- mow your lawn, prune all bushes and shrubs weed the garden and plant flowers.  Everything about the exterior of your home should be immaculate. Power wash the home’s siding, the driveways, and the walkways.  Get a ladder out and clean the gutters.  Add a fresh coat of paint to the front door, a nice welcome mat, and a new knocker.

Make Repairs

For a quick and top dollar sale you want your home in the best possible condition; therefore, make all the minor repairs that give the impression that the home has been well cared for and is move in ready.

De-clutter, Organize and Depersonalize

Part of the potential buyers’ appeal to a home is their visualization of them living in the home.  Consider renting a storage space and pack up all the clutter, the treadmill, and all things that clutter the home and hinder its appeal.  Also pack away personal effects.  Organize the entire home.  Everything should have a place and every nook and cranny of the home should be appealing, including the junk drawer.

Bathroom

Your bathroom is a selling feature in your home and it should sparkle and shine.  Start with cleaning and adding a fresh paint of coat to the walls.  Clean the tub and shower to remove all soap scum (nothing makes a buyer run like soap scum!).  Clean the floors, countertops, lights, sinks, and fixtures.  If your bathroom is outdated, then consider sprucing it up with new lights, new faucets, and fixtures. If you are trying to give the illusion of a larger bathroom space, then consider a pedestal sink and adding a border at the top of the bathroom walls.

Set out nice soaps and fresh new hand towels.

Master Bedroom

Your master bedroom should be comfortable for either sex.  If your room is pure flowers, than the eyes will roll of male home buyers.  Try to have a neutral color and décor that will attract both sexes.  In other words, remove gender specific items and colors!

Kitchen

Kitchens are a main selling point in a home and another priority in preparing your home for the market.  Clear all clutter- get all the clutter off the counters, clean the refrigerator, go through the drawers, and de-clutter and organize EVERYTHING!  Clean every inch from the ceiling fixtures to the walls to the floor and everything between.

If your kitchen cabinets are dull then consider a fresh coat of paint or refinishing them.

Place two or three decorative items on your kitchen counters, such as, a basket of fruit, flowers or a plant and fresh cookies.

Closets

Organize all closets and add lights to the closets if possible.

The Day of Your Showing

On the day of your showing your home should look immaculate- rooms should feel spacious, and it should have a move in ready appeal.  Let as much light in as possible.  If the showing is at night, turn on the lights to illuminate the home.

If your home has any smells that you are having a difficult time with, brew some strong coffee to cover the smell and bake a fresh batch of cookies to place on the counter.

Real Estate Tips

It’s not just about finding perfect home, it is about doing everything in your power to be the accepted offer.  There are a few basic rules to pay attention to so that you don’t end up making a mistake.

Real Estate Basic Rule Tips

Avoid Large Purchases While in the Buying Process

If you have planned your purchase, then you’ve cleaned up your credit to secure the lowest interest rate possible.  Your credit score is now favorable, you owe nothing or next to nothing or you have a maintainable monthly debt.  You’ve made an offer and the buyer has accepted that offer and you feel it’s now time to go purchase that new furniture for your new home.  STOP!  Even if you are paying cash, you don’t want any big changes to any of your accounts- you don’t want your credit debt to change, you don’t want any shuffling of money out of your bank account, or between bank accounts and so on.  If you do purchase, you may run the risk of securing the loan.  Mortgage lenders take a very dim view of adding to or changing your debt structure during the loan process.

Don’t Commit to a Mortgage Loan Based on the Interest Rate

When you shop for a mortgage loan you want to shop interest rate, but, you don’t want to necessarily select the lowest rate mortgage loan.  There are other things to consider aside from the interest rate of the loan and that includes the cost to obtain the loan i.e. points and the monthly payments.  If the loan has an escalating interest rate it can destroy your comfort zone down the road.

Always Have Representation When You Purchase a Home

Always have a professional realtor represent you.  Real estate purchases are a legal process and the role of the realtor is to ensure that every legality is covered and that you thoroughly understand each step of the process.  Your realtor will help you to find your home, negotiate a price, and close the deal.

Have a Property Inspection

A property inspection is essential.  A property inspection will disclose any issues with the property which include sewage systems, HVAC systems, and anything that has to do with the structure of the home and buildings, its safety and livability.  If there is a high risk fire threat then visit the local fire department to discuss any issues.