Buying a Vacation Home in Estes Park, CO

Creekside CourtFor several years my wife and I have owned a vacation home in Estes Park, CO.  This mountain town is considered the gateway into Rocky Mountain National Park.  With an elevation of approximately 7,522 ft, the town of Estes Park is known for its panoramic Rocky Mountain views, world famous elk and wildlife, and outdoor activities (fishing, hiking, snowshoeing, rock climbing to name a few).

Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) was established on January 26, 1915.  This year (2015) marks the centennial of  the grand opening.  Despite the flooding in September 2013 that destroyed real estate, roads, trails, and other infrastructure throughout the area, Estes Park still remains a popular tourist destination and RMNP anticipates millions of visitors this year.


Here are a few things you need to know when you consider buying a vacation home in Estes Park:

  1. Location, location, location.  Yes, it’s cliche, but if you are planning to rent your home you will need to know which areas and homeowner’s associations in town have rental restrictions.
  2. Insurance.  I bring this up because depending on where you decide to buy a home, your insurance premium may play a significant role in your monthly payments.  Insurance carriers are more cautious since the High Park and Woodland Heights fires that burned thousands of acres and homes in 2011, and homes could be zoned into high risk flood plains since the flooding in 2013.
  3. Property Management.  Consider a local property management company to assist you in renting your mountain home or cabin.  Sure, if you want the full-time headache of booking reservations, managing security deposits, delegating house-cleaning, and taking maintenance calls, you could do it yourself.  I would rather pay a reputable management company to do all of that for me.
  4. Utilities.  Did you know that many of the cabins and homes in the High Drive area of Estes Park operate on seasonal water supply?  Wells and septic systems are also common in the mountains.  Are you prepared to maintain them?
  5. Construction.  If RMNP has been open for 100 years, chances are there are cabins and real estate that is nearly 100 years old as well.  The quality of construction has obviously improved in the last 100 years, and energy-efficiency has become more important to homeowners.  Consider the natural elements and weather in Estes Park (wind, rain, snow, sub-zero temperatures, sun exposure).  Is the construction of the home up to par?

These are just a few considerations, but obviously you will have many more questions once you begin your home search.  If you’d like discuss buying a second home or vacation home in Estes Park, or if you have questions about moving to Northern Colorado, give me a call or send me a message.   Click here to search for homes for sale in Estes Park, CO.

Mail Creek Crossing, New Home Construction in Southeast Fort Collins

Spruce Creek Drive on July 22, 2014

Spruce Creek Drive on July 22, 2014

National builder Meritage Homes has nearly sold out of lots in Kechter Crossing, a new southeast Fort Collins community consisting of 74 energy-efficient homes selling in the $400’s and $500’s.  As the demand for new housing in southeast Fort Collins remains strong, Meritage Homes continues to develop the 39 acres immediately south of Kechter Crossing.  Model homes at Mail Creek Crossing could be built as early as December 2014, nearly one year after the land development plans were approved by Larimer County.

For more information about homes for sale in Fort Collins, contact Richard Jensen with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage at (970) 818-6161.

Click here for new homes for sale in Kechter Crossing.

Click here for Fort Collins homes for sale under $200,000.
Click here for Fort Collins homes for sale under $300,000.
Click here for Fort Collins homes for sale under $400,000.


Spruce Creek Drive coul-de-sac looking northeast toward Kechter Crossing

Spruce Creek Drive coul-de-sac looking northeast toward Kechter Crossing

Fort Collins Vicinity Map of Mail Creek Crossing subdivision

Fort Collins Vicinity Map of Mail Creek Crossing subdivision

More New Homes Coming to Southeast Fort Collins


March 13, 2014

March 13, 2014

mail_creekMany clients have asked me about the new home construction near Timberline Road and Kechter Road in southeast Fort Collins. Soon to be one of Fort Collins most highly coveted subdivisions, Kechter Crossing consists of 74 new energy-efficient homes currently under construction by Meritage Homes. Kechter Crossing boasts open space and views from most lots as well as desirable ranch and two-story floor plans. Base prices start in the mid-$300’s but most homes are selling in the $400’s and $500’s once lot premiums and options are added. Kechter Crossing is located in the Poudre school district that includes Bacon Elementary, Preston Middle School, and Fossil Ridge High School.

New construction continues south of Kechter Crossing in the open space east of Bacon Elementary. Public records with the Fort Collins engineering department reveal plans for Mail Creek Crossing. Tilden Street will be extended beyond Kechter Crossing to connect Kechter Road and Zephyr Road through the Mail Creek Crossing subdivision. Ultimately Tilden Street will bridge the gap between the neighborhoods of Westchase, Mail Creek Crossing, and Kechter Crossing.


According to civil engineer Tim Kemp with the City of Fort Collins, dedicated right turn lanes from northbound Timberline Road to Kechter Road and southbound Timberline Road into the Willow Springs subdivision are scheduled for construction in the summer of 2014. As more residents move into this area, the city continues to proceed with road construction plans to reduce traffic and congestion. The Fort Collins Master Street plan shows Timberline Road as an arterial four-lane road from Harmony Road to Trilby Road in southeast Fort Collins.

Give me a call or send me an email for more information about new home construction in southeast Fort Collins – or just let me know if you’d like to set up a private tour of new construction sites throughout Fort Collins.

Click here for homes for sale in Kechter Crossing

Click here for homes for sale in Rigden Farm

Click here for homes for sale in Bucking Horse

Click here for Fort Collins homes for sale under $300,000

Hire a Real Estate Agent or Sell Yourself in a Seller’s Market?


Winterstone Under ContractIt’s no secret that the Fort Collins real estate market is a seller’s market.  Inventory of Fort Collins single family homes is still down and the average sales price is hovering around $300,000 (Source: FCBR Housing Report).  Homes that are positioned to sell are receiving multiple offers within days, sometimes hours, of listing.  So why would you hire a real estate agent to sell your home if the market is so hot?

First of all, a professional Realtor® is licensed to sell real estate in the State of Colorado.  Real estate agents are mandated by the Colorado Real Estate Commission to take continuing education courses to keep their licenses in good standing, and active agents are extremely familiar with best practices, real estate contracts, real estate disclosures, title insurance, and all the other paperwork that goes along with selling real estate.  Ask yourself this question: If you were going to court to defend yourself against a $250,000 lawsuit would you hire a professional or do it yourself?

Your Realtor® should also help you prepare your home and position it to sell.  What does that mean?  Well, on average an active real estate agent probably previews a minimum of 5-10 homes per week in the Fort Collins market.  Your agent is likely to know what type of homes are in your neighborhood, the features and benefits of each of them, and the comparable sales in the last six months.  This gives you an advantage when determining what upgrades to make to your home, what items need to be repaired, and at what price you should list your home.  So go ahead and ask yourself this question: How many homes have you previewed this week in your neighborhood?

And let’s not forget about the concept of exposure.  How much exposure will your home receive if you sell it yourself?  A sign in the yard and an ad on Craigslist, right?  Maybe the occasional Facebook post about your home for sale.  When you list with a full-service brokerage like Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage your house will receive tremendous exposure right away.  Why?  Because the savvy agent who is going to list your home will pitch the listing to other agents in the brokerage and to real estate agents at other brokerages.  So ask yourself this question:  How many real estate agents do you know?  And that’s just the beginning.  Not only is your home networked with other agents in Northern Colorado, but it is entered in the Multiple Listing Service, syndicated with all the major online retail sites like Trulia and Zillow, advertised with postcard mailings to your neighbors, placed in Colorado Homes and Lifestyles® magazine (over 32,000 paid subscribers), exposed on YouTube with a professionally-edited 30-second video, and the list goes on.  How’s that for exposure?

Now you might be asking yourself how you can afford to pay your Realtor® a commission, right?  Remember, the real estate agent selling your house is paid for performance.  That’s right.  The broker helps you position your home to sell, markets and advertises your home, schedules showings and home inspections, handles all of the real estate paperwork, and doesn’t get paid unless your real estate transaction closes and your house sells.  Now it’s time to ask yourself another question:  Are you ok spending thousands of dollars of your own money to advertise and market your home, even if it doesn’t sell?

In my biased opinion, hiring a professional Realtor® will save you thousand of dollars.  Yes, I am a firm believer that you can do anything you put your mind to.  I believe I can build a home all by myself.  I can apply for permits to build, take my shovel and start excavating the ground, buy my bags of concrete and start pouring the foundation, grab my hammer and start nailing the plywood…but hey, I’d rather just hire a professional builder to do it the right way and just pay them for the finished product.  Wouldn’t you?

For more information about the real estate market in Northern Colorado, feel free to give me a call or send me an email.  I’m here to help you.



New Home Construction in Southeast Fort Collins, CO

Kechter Crossing

December 2013

If you are thinking about moving into a brand new home in southeast Fort Collins next summer, then now is the time to build.  According to local sales representatives from both DR Horton and Meritage Homes, permit and construction time is running anywhere from six to eight months.  So unless you want to compete for spec homes with hundreds of homebuyers in the spring and summer, it might be a good idea to contact your real estate agent and visit some of the new construction sites right away.

DR Horton has released SFR lots in Bucking Horse, a master-planned community comprised of 176 homes featuring single family homes, urban estate homes, and condominium and apartment housing.  Located north of East Drake Road and east of Timberline Road, Bucking Horse residents enjoy a community pool, neighborhood park, and close proximity to the highly anticipated Jessup Farm/Artisan Village.  The development is centered around sustainable living, and there are homes in their product line to fit nearly every lifestyle.  Model homes are under construction.  Base prices start in the high-$300,000’s.  For more information, visit the sales office, contact your real estate agent, or just give me a call.

Just south of Bucking Horse, one of Northern Colorado’s newest builders – Meritage Homes – has started construction on their model homes in Rigden Farm.  Located north of Horsetooth Road and west of Ziegler Road, this development features The River Collection by Meritage Homes with floor plans ranging from 1,607sq ft to 2,390sq ft.  Home prices have not officially been disclosed, but Meritage sales associates believe pricing will start in the mid-$300,000’s.  The sales office will be open once the model homes are built, so contact your real estate agent or give me a call for more information.

Meritage Homes is also the developer of the highly desirable Kechter Crossing in southeast Fort Collins.  Located east of Timberline Road and south of Kechter Road, this development of just over 70 SFR homes features large lots bordering green space.  The Summit Collection offers two ranch plans and six total floor plans ranging from 2,336sq ft to 3,420sq ft.  Based prices start in the high-$300,000’s, but with lot premiums and optional upgrades many home buyers are spending $450,000-$500,000 to build new homes.  Residents will become part of the school system comprised of Bacon Elementary School, Preston Middle School, and Fossil Ridge High School.  The sales office is open and model homes are available to preview.  Contact your real estate agent or give me a call for more information.

Builders are offering financing incentives with their preferred lenders, and many loan officers anticipate interest rates rising over the next year.  Give me a call if you need a recommendation for a great lender in Northern Colorado, and don’t wait too long to reserve your lot and build your dream home.

For more Fort Collins homes listed $300,000-$400,000, please click here.

New Ranch Listing in Clearview Subdivision in Johnstown, CO

Hawthorne AvenueIt’s time for these owners to say good-bye to this beautiful ranch in Johnstown, CO.  As original owners, the sellers purchased this 3BD 2BA “Conifer” model from Executive Homes in 2004.  They loved the open floor plan that allowed them to watch TV from the kitchen and dining nook, as well as entertain from nearly every room on the main level.  They added a 3-car garage for additional space which worked nicely for ATV’s and other toys.  The large corner lot and fully fenced backyard were perfect for family fun and afternoon BBQs.  Unfortunately they are relocating and will have to say good-bye to their amazing house in Clearview.  If they could take this house with them, they would.

Contact Richard Jensen with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage for more information or to set up a private showing.  Listed at just $228,000!  Hits the MLS on Wednesday, October 9, 2013.




BoNi @ NewWestFest 2013

Here are the photos taken so far in this year’s Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest Festival!


How a Home Protection Plan Can Save You Money

Severance Home

Have you ever seen the movie The Money Pit?  Maybe it doesn’t qualify as “a classic” but this 1986 comedy starring Tom Hanks is hilarious!  In the movie, new homeowners struggle to repair a completely dilapidated home which ends up costing them more time and money than the home is worth.  Does this sound familiar?

As a buyer’s agent I encourage my clients to consider the benefits of a home protection plan before buying a home.  I am often successful in having the sellers pay for a one-year home protection plan for my buyers as part of a home purchase.  As an investor myself I can certainly attest to the thousands of dollars I have saved by purchasing a home protection plan with my investment properties.  Here are some of the benefits of a home protection plan.

Peace of mind for unexpected repairs

Whether you are a first time home buyer or an experienced investor, it is nearly impossible to predict when an appliance will fail or a pipe will burst.  A home protection plan provides you with the peace of mind knowing that you are covered if something breaks in your new home or investment property.

Affordable and flexible plans for several types of properties

Consider the average cost to replace a water heater, air conditioning unit, or electric range.  Is it fair to say that you will easily spend $600-$800 to replace a water heater?  A one-year home protection plan costs approximately $350-$450 depending on the type of plan, and the service call for a repair normally runs about $60.  Most of my clients would rather pay a $60 for the service call than several hundreds of dollars.

Reliable service contractors within the network

How much time do you normally spend asking friends for contractor referrals or searching Yelp reviews online to find a trustworthy vendor?  With a home protection plan, the home warranty company has already done the groundwork and has screened the contractors to include in their repair networks, so you can relax knowing that a licensed, professional contractor will take care of you.

The bottom line is that including a home protection plan with your home purchase can save you time and money, especially within your first year of home ownership.  There are several home warranty companies serving Northern Colorado and a couple that I’d like to recommend: First American Home Buyers Protection and American Home Shield.  Both of these warranty companies can issue a home protection plan without needing to physically inspect a property.

Remember, a home protection plan is not a substitute for your homeowner insurance policy.  For more information about the benefits of home protection plans or buying a home in Northern Colorado, give me a call or send me an email.  Cheers!

Water Damage