Selling Vacation Homes and the Question of Staging

Staging a Vacation Home, Are You Crazy? 

stage your vacation home

Please Update Your Decor

I know what you’re thinking: vacation homes are already staged for 90% of the time that they are not in use.

Many of them are rented out seasonally and so the homeowner has already made arrangements to ensure that the homes are clean, furnished and will show well from the pictures posted online.

With a lack of personal clutter and lots of clean surfaces, what else should you worry about if you are in the Grand County area and looking to sell your vacation home?

A Few Good Ideas

Well, there are a couple of tips:

  • Vacation homes sometimes suffer from severely dated (but clean and good quality) furnishings. Cheap updates can bring these items into the right century! Check the patterns of your linens (1980’s beadspreads?), the color of your painted wood furniture, or even the artwork on the walls.
    • Swap out old, faded art prints and get cheap slipcovers or neutral curtains to give a fresh look
  • Frequent periods of vacancy can make for lots of dead, stale air in a home. Make sure to have a system for keeping the air smelling fresh.
    • suggests, “If you are selling a vacation home or condo, then copy the tactics of hotels and spas by using a fragrance like lavender with citrus.”
  • Make furniture layout decisions BEFORE getting the professional photography done for your virtual tours. Think about keeping a very open design, especially in small spaces. Even if the couch is more functional as a divider between the great room and the dining room, move it if it makes the dining space look cramped.

Got any additional tips that helped sell you on your vacation home purchase in the first place? Leave them as a comment below and share the love!

Is the Denver Real Estate Market Up? Or is it Down?

Mixed Results on Denver Market Performance

A quick look at the Trulia recap of market performance in and around Denver for the week ending on 2/1/2012 shows as many numbers in the green as it does in the red. In other words, things in one neighborhood may be looking up, while just up the road they are moving downward.

So what’s the summary of all this movement? Really it’s just more of the same turmoil that the market has been experiencing as a whole since the Denver recovery began!

Significantly, in the most popular neighborhoods, movement either down or up is occurring in relatively small percentages when compared to last year. This strikes me as a fairly good sign that we are still making baby steps in the right direction for the most part. There are some big “movers and shakers“–as Trulia calls them–that are experiencing double-digit gains (and losses) in the average listing price, but none of these are represented in the most-popular neighborhoods.

denver market variability

photo courtesy website

Why Such Variability?

Why such big movement in prices in some of the smaller areas? One possibility is that new listings are reacting to the sharp downturn in housing inventory–the old supply and demand theory. And then there is the fact than many of us in the industry have noticed just how quickly inventory is turning around right now. Houses are generally selling very quickly, given the right conditions.

What if your own neighborhood isn’t listed in the summary? Give me a call and I can let you know what is happening there, based on the latest reports. And don’t despair if you saw some numbers in the red last month for your community. There are so many changes in the industry right now that the numbers next month could represent a far different picture.


Skip Valentines Day, Celebrate Mardi Gras Instead

Denver and Winter Park Residents Short on Things to do On a Tuesday V-Day

If having a Valentine’s dinner on a Tuesday night sounds like a rather unromantic idea, you may not be alone. I can’t really find a whole lot of exciting suggestions to make about how to celebrate this particular wintery holiday in the Rocky Mountain region this year.

So here’s a novel suggestion: Skip the big Valentine’s Day celebration and make plans for Mardi Gras instead. Why? Because there are plenty of Mardi Gras celebrations, spanning multiple cities and days, and (gasp) some even include the weekends!

Winter Park Mardi Gras Ideas

According to the events pages online, both the Winter Park Resort and the Granby Ranch are planning on some serious Mardi Gras entertainment and celebration on Feb 18, 2012 (Saturday night). They are both promising lots of food, drinks, fun and colorful beads.

Denver and Suburbs Plan to Celebrate

If you are an urban dweller, the cities are absolutely brimming with Mardi Gras celebrations.

  • Dave and Buster’s has unique (and almost danger0us-sounding) parties planned at multiple locations
  • The Museum of Outdoor Arts is an intriguing option for those seeking something off the beaten-path:
    • Destination Art: Mardi Gras 2012 is a celebration of arts and culture complete with live New Orleans music, authentic cajun cuisine and cocktails, games, giveaways and much more! This is also the final evening to view the current exhibition Light Supply.
  • Most bars and clubs in downtown and elsewhere have all got their own little musical tributes planned for the Mardi Gras season. You really can’t miss with this one!

If you know of any others that we’re missing, leave a comment! Plus, if you have a creative idea for escaping the mid-week horror of planning a memorable Valentine’s date on a completely unglamorous Tuesday night, we’d all love to hear that as well.

World Renewable Energy Forum, Will it Impact Denver’s Home Trends?

Denver Prepares for Green Building Sustainability ConferenceWREF 2012 Coming to Denver, Showcasing Newest Green Building Techniques

May 13-17, 2012 will be a great opportunity to get a glimpse at the technologies and emerging trends that are going to be shaping the future of green building and home trends in Denver and around the world!

This conference is a joint venture between the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and the World Renewable Energy Network (WREN). While it provides a lot of scientific information on climate change and other environmental concerns, for the less academically-minded there will be lots of practical information from vendors. After all, the Colorado Convention Center can house a large number of vendors in their facility.

Vendors and Sponsors You Should Note

If you are a builder, educator, or contractor who specializes in green building, you should be pleased with the presence of many universities, collaboratives and technological innovators at this global conference. Colorado is well represented, with CU, CSU, the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory and the Colorado School of Mines all lending their sponsorship.

Denver is Gearing Up to Show its Best!

A press release came out yesterday about some of the preparations that Denver has made in hopes of showcasing our own commitment to green building practices. From that release:

The Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES) prepares to show off its newly-opened Denver Sustainability Park.

CRES, a chapter of the American Solar Energy Society and one of the participating partners producing WREF 2012, created the Sustainability Park to demonstrate the future of renewable energy. The park occupies a 2.7-acre block in downtown Denver, and will display healthy practices and technologies to thousands, including WREF 2012 attendees.

Having this conference return to Denver is a great boon to local green building practices! Builders will get a glimpse at the best of the best and we can all hope that it will lead to an ever-greater expansion of sustainable buildings in our region!

I’m guessing there are lots of other green projects and preparations going on as we ramp up to the conference. If you know of any that deserve a mention, please comment below with a link or announcement so I can follow up!

Italian Dining in Applewood

Abrusci's Applewood Restaurant

Abrusci’s Italian Restaurant

Fine Italian Dining

It’s great to give a little love to local businesses in the communities you serve, so I thought it was time to give a nod to this long-standing Applewood restaurant with multiple claims-to-fame.

Abrusci’s is located just off of I-70 at 3244 Youngfield Street in Wheat Ridge.  It’s a family-owned place that was opened in 2000 by Jeff and Steve Progar, who happen to be Applewood natives.

Most of the restaurant’s customers have become well-known regulars. This gives the dining experience a very personal and warm feel. The food is great (especially the bread) and so is the service.

Even Gluten-Free

One of this Applewood restaurant’s other claims-to-fame is that they serve many of their entrees (both lunch and dinner) in gluten-free versions. While gluten-free foods have become a bit of a popular trend recently, Abrusci’s has been doing it for many years. I’ve heard from friends and acquaintances who are raving fans of Abrusci’s GF menu.

They’ve opened a second location recently in Cherry Creek, which is purportedly doing well. Its success is just another indication of the lasting value of great food served with great style.

For more information on the menu or directions to the restaurant, check out the company website. If you know of other good local businesses that make Applewood truly stand out, drop me a line and let me know!

Christmas Fun Near Applewood CO

applewood christmas funOlde Golden Christmas Is Close-to-Home Tradition

This weekend marks the start of a local holiday tradition for the historic district of Golden, CO. If you are looking for a family-friendly event in or around Applewood–either because you live there or you are thinking about living there–the Olde Golden Christmas is a great way to enjoy the season!

Festivities kick off this weekend, with the biggest event of all. The Candlelight Walk and Activities are on Friday, December 2nd. Join up with other carolers and event-goers and walk through historic downtown Golden while enjoying live music, lots of free (and warm) refreshments, and entertainment at many community organizations and businesses.

While the weather is looking to be quite chilly for the event, the kiddos can warm their hands on the furry backs of live reindeer that will be in the parking lot of the Golden Visitors Center. Before the walk, Santa is available for pictures (and wish list recitations, of course.)

Ten Minutes from Applewood to “Christmas”

Depending on where you live in Applewood, all of the Olde Golden Christmas traditions are less than 10 minutes away. The calendar is full almost all month. So if you are not into the idea of the 6pm caroling in the cold, you can still take in one of the many weekend parades, or art festivals, or take kids (and adults) to mail off their letters to Santa:

North Pole Golden: US Postal Box for Santa at the Golden Visitors Center. Bring your letters to Santa’s mailbox and Santa will answer them. Available November 15th through December 13th.

Want to stay indoors? There’s live music, plays and performances all month long. Thinking that a train tour is just the thing to put you in mind of the Polar Express? The railroad museum is just minutes from Applewood, and on Saturdays they offer a Steam-Up Event–Santa Claus Special.

This is just a sampling of the events on the calendar for this December. Check them out, and feel free to add more local events in the comments form!

Here’s warm wishes to all.

Private and Public Partnerships Save Fraser Ski Shuttle

fraser ski shuttleLocal Competitors Join Forces

A monumental act of collaboration and activism by two local businessmen has helped spearhead a successful effort to save ski shuttle service to the Meadow Ridge area after Winter Park Resort had discontinued the routes for this season.

I don’t have to tell any of the locals what a debt of gratitude we owe to those who were able to bring together towns, counties, homeowner associations and property management companies and help find a common solution to the funding needs for the shuttles. They acted with speed and professionalism and saved a great amenity to our communities!

A Community Responds

According to Sky-Hi Daily News, within days of the announced discontinuation of the Red and Purple service lines (back in July of this year), Brian Lence took up the cause of seeing the community find a way to make sure the shuttles were running again by ski season.

He was joined in his efforts by Jon De Vos and then together they recruited others to the cause. Now Grand County, the town of Fraser, and some local HOAs have put muscle behind the movement and found enough funds to institute a service similar to what used to be the Red and Purple lines.

I’m impressed with what our local citizens, businesses, and governments were able to accomplish in a relatively short time. The new service is going to be run by the same buses that we were used to seeing in previous years, with some modifications to the routes. Shuttles resume operation on Nov 16.

What could have been a very painful loss to the homeowners of Fraser and especially the Meadow Ridge area has been turned around. Thanks again to those responsible.

A Full Month of Halloween

halloween events denverDenver / Suburbs Have Festivities Month-Long

October Fun and Where to Find it

Wondering what to do with the family for the next week or two? Those halloween costumes can get more than just one wear if you plan your month correctly. Come on, we know they would never take them off anyway if we didn’t make it a point.

While we’ve almost all heard of events like “Boo at the Zoo”, there are plenty of others, some running multiple weekends or even daily.

Here’s some ideas for halloween fun in Denver, broken down by location:

Denver Metro


Arvada / Westminster

  • Bug A Boo at the Butterfly Pavillion is Oct 22 & 23 and has the benefit of being mostly indoors.
  • Dicken’s Ghost Stories at the Arvada Festival Playhouse is family friendly and offers prizes if you come in costume.

It only took me a few short minutes of searching to find these locations and events. If you don’t see anything near you, check out places like or do a quick google search for “[your city] halloween events” and see what turns up.

Of course, there is plenty to do for the older crowd if you aren’t looking to be swarmed by 3.5′ tall, sugar-buzzing witches, super heroes and goblins. Look for haunted tours or the later starting times and you just might find an event more suited to your own tastes.

Glorious Fall Color in the Colorado Mountains

Colorado Mountain Fall Colors

Courtesy Diane Turner

Winter Park Makes it On Fall Colors Tour, 2011

Fall is known to burst across the Colorado mountainsides in a tantalizing explosion of colors, but only for a moment. Blink and you may miss it.

So don’t miss it. Start planning your day trip through the season’s best displays.

Unsurprisingly–to those of us who have lived in the area–a drive through Winter Park is included on the list of recommended routes offered up by local meteorologist Mike Nelson on the 7-News website. These Colorado mountain routes represent the top suggestions for taking in the scenery.

Here’s the exact route as taken from Nelson’s suggestions:

Trail Ridge Road (US 34) through Rocky Mountain National Park — Take the Boulder Turnpike (US 36) west to Rocky Mountain National Park via Estes Park. Once in the park, drive Trail Ridge Road (the highest paved through highway in the US) and enjoy the breath-taking scenery. The weather can change quickly in the park so be sure and get the latest forecast from your 24/7 Weather Center. Trail Ridge Road peaks at 12,183 feet in elevation. Just west of the high point is Fall River Pass, elevation 11,796 feet, and the Alpine Visitor Center. Exit the west side of the park and continue on US 34 down into Grand Lake. From there, take US 40 east through Fraser and Winter Park, eventually meeting back up with I-70 at Empire.

One important note, the peak colors are predicted to end soon, and the weather right now is superb. Take advantage, take a day off, take the kids; whatever you do, don’t let the season pass you by.

HUNI and the Denver Highland Neighborhood

Denver's Highland United Neighbors

If you are a new resident of Denver’s Highland (or LoHi) Neighborhoods, or even a prospective resident, you may be looking for a source of good local information, news, and social connection. If that’s the case, the Highland United Neighbors, Inc (HUNI) site is a great place to start.

Some of the site’s better features are the online Highland calendar of events, the News & Announcements section, and the ability to sign up for the community newsletter. Membership in the organization can also be requested or managed online.

Community Highlights

The goal of Highland United Neighbors is to improve residents’ quality of life through volunteer partnerships between local residents, businesses and organizations. The site promotes timely knowledge of important community issues such as local charity events, social gatherings, and city announcements (hey, sometimes you need to check in on that street-sweeping schedule, especially if you’re new to the area).

Also, through the Business Alliance section of the website, HUNI helps residents keep their shopping dollars local. It’s no secret that this particular Denver neighborhood is a hot spot for businesses and events.  When you’re wanting to try something new, or just give some love to an old favorite, the Business Alliance listings are a great source of both information and discount savings.


Speaking of frequenting local establishments–on the last Tuesday of every month, residents can get together for HUNI hour, a gathering that averages between 90-120 attendees according to the organization. The purpose “is about bringing community together in a fun and social environment.” The location of these gatherings rotates monthly, so check out the schedule in advance on the calendar.

Invest a little time in exploring the great people and establishments that make up this Denver community and you’ll see why it’s becoming one of the best loved locations on the Front Range.

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