Archives for January 2013

Just Another NoCo Weekend by Ryan Levander

Last weekend marked just another average one for NoCo residents along the Front Range. And that was TOTALLY ok! 🙂 

The weather was a touch warmer than normal for the month of January (then again, there is no real normal for Janurary). We saw temps reach in the 50/60s for most of the weekend. Sunday marked truly a gorgeous day, as temps climbed the 60s and got into the 70s with the sun shining bright and bold as always! 

For myself, it was a rare day to not be doing something active outside in such fantastic weather. I had some computer work I needed to get taken care of, so I made it a priority to put on my flip-flops, sunglasses, and bring my laptop outside to get my daily dose of Vitamin D in. 

In driving to the Bellvue Bean, one of my favorite coffee shops just outside of Fort Colins, I must have seen close to a hundrend cyclists, runners, walkers, park go-ers, etc. Local bike shop Peloton Cycles saw a few more people than I did…

As I finished my laptop work I remembered I had my guitar in my trunk still. So I zipped on over to one of my favorite locations to catch a pretty fantastic sunset, to say the least…

I look forward to many, many more "average" weekends in Northern Colorado this year! 

Estes Park Vacation Home Review by Ryan Levander

"Keep close to Nature's heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." – John Muir


I don't think any quote better describes how I felt after spending a weekend in Richard's cabin. Emphasis on the last sentence and "washing your spirit clean."


Each time I travel to Estes Park it's an amazement within itself. The town sits at 7,522 feet above sea level, is nestled in the heart of the Front Range and Eastern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). People go up to Estes Park for a lot of different reasons. I think one underlying case is always simplicty and beauty; there's no escaping it.


For a weekend in the woods and literally a stone's throw from the RMNP entrance sign, this cabin is everything you need and nothing you don't. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a spacious kitchen and dining area leading into a VERY cozy living room. The fireplace and windows are the best parts about this cabin.


The first night I lit the fire and sat doing absolutely nothing on the couch right by it. Almost as if I was carrying on a conversation with it. As if the stars on a full moon night wouldn't be enough, I had the pleasure of staying there on a new moon weekend. WOW. It was as if all the constellations were boarding Noah's Arc and two of each were out. It was truly amazing to see such a clear, concise, and beautiful sky from a warm, relaxing living room.


Breakfast each morning was in good company. Elk, rabbits, foxes, deer, countless birds; kinda of upset I already used a Noah's Arc reference…Nevertheless, the very large windows made staying inside an option on a fairly cold January weekend. There was one instance where I finished my fruit and bagels while a group of deer starting inching closer and closer from the mountains north of me. I was truly amazed at how close they got as I peeled my oranges and finished my bagel. It was a surreal moment and I was able to snap photos of these beautiful creatures in the process:

Elephant Revival/SHEL Show by Ryan Levander

Back in the year of 2012, NoCo Lifestyle writer/photographer Ryan Levander went to a New Year's Eve show. Fast forward to the year 2013 and he still thinks it's worth talking about. (It wasn't really THAT long ago…)

Whenever I asked my friends if they had heard of Elephant Revival (ER), most suprisingly said no. The band members reside from a little town just West of Fort Collins called Nederland. The town itself has many more vertical feet than people; with a population 1,470 people and elevation of 10,000 feet. Literally nestled right in the heart of the Rockies.

Maybe that's where this folk/celtic/gypsy/rock/alt/country/just downright organic band got it's vibe from; the mountain life. [Oh and listing all those genres was absolutely necessary becuase they can be classified under any and all 🙂 ]. NoCo Lifestyle wasn't able to snag an interview with the pressed schedule of ER, but we look forward to talking with them in the future! 

However, I was able to dig up some interesting information on their website about their beliefs and name origin…

Elephant Revival also shares a commitment to responsible stewardship of the planet and its inhabitants, working with organizations such as the Conscious Alliance, Calling All Crows, Trees Water & People, and other nonprofits supporting humanitarian causes. Their very name was chosen out of empathy for a pair of zoo pachyderms who, upon being separated after 16 years, died on the same day. The band related that heart-rending story during their April 2012 debut on fellow Coloradoans Nick & Helen Forster's internationally syndicated "eTown" radio show – like Elephant Revival, a blend of music and social consciousness."

The NYE show itself – Fantastic. Usually the bands before the headliner are good, not great. Well SHEL put on a real quality opening act. SHEL is a Fort Collins based band who are all very good looking and sounding sisters! 🙂 Again, NoCo Lifesyle looks forward to talking with them at some of the upcoming shows this year!

Elephant Revival was up next. While it was my first ER show, I was still blown away with the genuine sound all members created with such unique "instruments" such as washboards, musical saws, stompboxes, djembe, etc. Almost all bands are better live. With ER there is no comparison. While their albums are fantastic, you just MUST see them live. It will blow you away. 

NoCo Lifestyle is very excited to be so close to ER & SHEL and looks forward to more shows/interviews/photos! 

For more information on Elephant Revival please visit HERE.

For more information on SHEL please visit HERE

Coldwell Banker Acquires Keller Williams in Fort Collins by Richard Jensen

Well, it’s official.  Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage owned and operated by NRT, LLC has purchased what was formerly Keller Williams Realty of Northern Colorado.  All real estate agents, including me, were notified on Thursday, January 10, 2013 of the new acquisition.  A press release has been published in The Coloradoan if you would like more information.


A merger between two real estate offices has a tremendous impact on the real estate agents operating their unique businesses within the guidelines and systems provided by the corporate entity.  Agents have been faced with a tough decision of whether to transition to Coldwell Banker under new ownership, hang their licenses with another Keller Williams brokerage along the Front Range, or move to a different real estate brokerage all together.  As the former Keller Williams office location will be the new home of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Fort Collins – and for various other reasons – I have chosen to operate my business under the Coldwell Banker national brand.

This leads me to another important aspect of the Northern Colorado real estate business.  I have found that people do business with real estate professionals based on their character, knowledge, integrity, and unique skill set.  My clients continue to do business with me because they find value in what I bring to their real estate endeavors.  And while it isn’t always about a brand name, it will be nice to have the brand recognition of a company that has been in business for over 100 years.


Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage operates more than 16 offices in Colorado and brokered over 9000 real estate transactions last year.  With office locations throughout Fort Collins, Loveland, and Estes Park, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is highly visible and positioned to assist mobile real estate agents in Northern Colorado.


For more information about the Northern Colorado real estate market, or for assistance buying or selling your home in Fort Collins, Loveland, or Estes Park, contact local real estate agent Richard Jensen with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.


Thanks for reading our Northern Colorado Real Estate and Lifestyle Blog!

Volunteering and Mentoring NoCo Kids by Richard Jensen

January is National Mentoring Month and as such I wanted to share my experience with a Northern Colorado mentoring program that supports children in Northern Colorado.  As you may already know, I am the father of two very active and healthy children (currently ages 4 and 1).  Like most proud parents I want to raise my children in a safe and supportive community where they can learn, love, and flourish in the future.  This is just one of the reasons that my wife and I call Northern Colorado – and more specifically Fort Collins – our home. 

Last year when I launched my real estate career I decided that I wanted to give back to our local community as I knew my schedule would be more flexible.  I began my search for volunteer organizations and local charities.  In my previous employment I had donated thousands of dollars to United Way, but this time I knew I wanted to give more of my time to help others, not just write a check and make donations.  As a previous participant of the Sharin' O' The Green 5K, I decided to learn more about the Partners Mentoring Youth organization.

Partners Mentoring Youth provides mentoring support for "at-risk" youth throughout Northern Colorado.  It was obvious to me that I needed to get involved and helping less fortunate children was the perfect fit.  After completing my application and interviewing with the organization, I became an Activity Volunteer and attend various activities with children, including Rockies baseball games, archery, ice skating, arts and crafts, and more.  It's both entertaining and fulfilling and the children appreciate the time they spend having fun with an adult role-model.  

Because not everyone has the extra time or resources to spend volunteering to help children, there are other ways to get involved.  Proceeds from registrations for local events and races such as the Sharin' O' The Green Run/Walk on March 16, 2013 go directly to the mentoring program and make a positive impact on our Northern Colorado community.

I encourage you to learn more about volunteering programs in our Northern Colorado community and make a decision to volunteer or donate to support those in need.  In my opinion, life is more rewarding when you "come from contribution."

Thanks for reading our Northern Colorado Real Estate and Lifestyle Blog!


Estes Park Vacation Home Review January 2013

Thank you Heidi for your kind review of our vacation cabin in Estes Park, CO.  After her recent stay for New Year's Eve she shared the following review:

"We would definitely recommend staying at this quaint cabin right near Rocky Mountain National Park.  The first morning of our stay, we saw a herd of at least 200 elk right outside the front window.  It was truly amazing to see such beautiful wildlife, while drinking our morning coffee.  The interior of the property is totally updated and almost brand new, yet very comfortable and relaxing.  It’s such a convenient location near the Park, but also less than a 5 minute drive into town to check out some great restaurants, wineries and attractions.  We are already planning our next stay in this awesome vacation get-away!"  – Heidi M.

This 2BD 2BA (no tubs-showers only) home is conveniently located near the south entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park in the High Drive area of Estes Park, CO. Let the smell of pine trees surrounding the home invigorate your senses and watch elk, deer, and local wildlife from the deck or pack patio. Some of the 1960s charm remains but much of the home was refurbished in 2012. The beautiful kitchen includes new fixtures, appliances, cabinets, and Silestone counters. New carpet, hardwood, and tile flooring. The master bedroom with queen bed and guest bedroom with two twin beds make this a perfect vacation rental for four guests. Washer/dryer included. High-speed wireless Internet and basic cable included. Sorry, no phone or dishwasher.


Buying a Home in 2013? by Richard Jensen

(source: Richard Jensen)

There is something very consistent about New Year's resolutions – they seem to change every year.  We have new dreams, new goals, and a flurry of new gym memberships throughout Northern Colorado.  One of my New Year's resolutions is to buy my son a new toy for each closing I have in 2013.  You can bet he's been asking me every day, "Dad, did you sell a house today?"

And of course there are always changes to the Colorado real estate contracts approved by the Colorado Real Estate Commission.  So what should you know about buying a home in Northern Colorado in 2013?  Let me start by sharing some of the basics.

1.  The Colorado Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate has changed as of January 1, 2013.  To learn more about these changes and buying a home in Northern Colorado contact Richard Jensen with Keller Williams Realty of Northern Colorado.


2. Historically low interest rates may continue into the new year, but 2012 housing inventory in Northern Colorado was down nearly 50% compared to 2011.  It is a seller's market in Northern Colorado for homes priced under $250,000.  Be prepared for competition.

3. Standard build time for new construction is 60-90 days, so if you are considering moving into a new home in the Spring of 2013 you should act now.  New construction in Northern Colorado will continue to  rise in 2013 as more home buyers and investors take advantage of the profitable real estate market.

4. Rental rates in Larimer County are among the highest in the entire State of Colorado.  Chances are if you can afford to pay rent you can likely afford to pay a mortgage.

5. According to the National Association of Realtors®, 92% of home buyers choose to work with a professional buyer's agent to help them buy a home!  If you have not already committed to working with a Realtor® now is the perfect time to contact Richard Jensen with Keller Williams Realty of Northern Colorado.

Now if you haven't already spoken with a lender to discuss financing options and programs available for first time home buyers, add that to your list of New Year's resolutions.  And if you haven't already met with me to discuss your real estate goals for 2013, give me a call as soon as possible so we can schedule a brief meeting. 

As a Realtor® I spend much of my time studying the real estate market and, more importantly, previewing homes so that I have a better understanding of the features and benefits available to home buyers.  If you are serious about home ownership in 2013, now is the time to buy!

Thanks for reading our Northern Colorado Real Estate and Lifestyle Blog!