Highway 34 Traffic Jam in the Big Thompson Canyon

NoCo Daily Photo_Rams on Highway 34Rams on Highway 34The shoulder season is still a great time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park.  Elk are abundant throughout Estes Park and the lower meadows of RMNP.  If you look closely on the drive up Highway 34 from Loveland you are bound to spot some of the bighorn sheep grazing along the side of the road…or in the middle of the highway.  This is just a typical Colorado traffic jam on Highway 34.

Another reason I love living in Northern Colorado!


View of Long’s Peak and Mount Meeker from Twin Sisters

 View from Twin SistersJune 15, 2015.  My brother-in-law is visiting from out of state, and he wanted to go on a “beginner” hike during his stay.  I suggested either Twin Sisters (a 7.0 mile roundtrip hike with a maximum elevation of just over 11,400 ft) or Hallett Peak (a 10.0 mile roundtrip hike with a maximum elevation of just over 12,700 ft).  He chose the shorter of the two so that he could “take it easy” and enjoy the views.

We left Fort Collins at 4:30am and drove up to the trailhead across from Lily Lake in Estes Park.  By 6:00am we were beginning up the Twin Sisters trail.  While I didn’t think much of it, my brother-in-law had not been acclimated to the elevation since he had been living in Georgia for the past several years.  What I thought was a “beginner” hike quickly turned into a “strenuous” adventure for my brother-in-law.  We stopped several times along the trail so he could catch his breath and enjoy the views.

The roundtrip hike was about 4.5 hours, but we made plenty of stops along the way and spent nearly 30 minutes taking pictures and enjoying the views from the top.  I realize it’s been a while since I blogged or posted anything, so I wanted to share just a few photos from our hike.  Going forward I’ll work to be more proactive about posting these hiking trips.


Looking up toward the peaks

Looking up toward the peaks

Hiking above the clouds

Hiking above the clouds

Summit of Twin Sisters

Summit of Twin Sisters

Looking West at the Rockies

Looking West at the Rockies

View from Twin Sisters

View from Twin Sisters

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.

Aspens and Fall Colors of Rocky Mountain National Park

Aspens2Take a drive and enjoy the Fall colors of Rocky Mountain National Park. There are several colorful aspens near the junction of Highway 36 and Bear Lake Road, and even more as you drive up Trail Ridge Road before the Hidden Valley parking lot.  If you don’t have an annual pass or would prefer not to pay the park entrance fee, you can drive up Highway 7 to the Twin Sisters trailhead and you’ll find plenty of aspen trees there.

Where’s your favorite place to take pictures in Rocky Mountain National Park?


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

Hike to Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and Emerald Lake from Bear Lake Trailhead

Emerald Lake TrailBear LakeNymph LakeDream LakeEmerald LakeSpring is in the air and it’s a great time to drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park for some hiking and photography.  Despite the continuous road construction and delays on Highway 34 up the Big Thompson Canyon, the drive only took me about an hour from Loveland, CO to the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station.  It’s always nice to avoid some of the weekend traffic and venture into RMNP on a weekday.  Today was no different.

So I have several hikes to cross off of my bucket list, and I know that hiking to Emerald Lake is a short trek, but until today I still hadn’t crossed this one of my list.  From the Bear Lake Trailhead the hike to Emerald Lake is just under two miles; however, the entire trail is still covered in snow which makes for a bit more strenuous hike.  I had my trekking poles and Microspikes, which helped, but I encountered some other people with cross-country skis and snowshoes.  Either way just make sure you’re prepared with some of the basic essentials: water, warm layers, sunglasses, insulated boots, and of course, your camera.

Bear Lake is only a few steps from the trailhead.  Today it was still covered with snow and thin ice.

I continued on the trail and reached Nymph Lake, which was also covered in snow but already had tracks leading across it, so I assumed it was safe to traverse over the lake.  So on I went.

The next highlight of my hike was when I saw Dream Lake and the views of Hallett Peak and Tyndall Glacier in the distance.

And finally I reached Emerald Lake, which as you can imagine, was also covered with snow.  Across the lake I had a perfect view of Tyndall Glacier, and this made a great place for me to have lunch and enjoy the scenery.

Even with the snow-packed conditions the roundtrip only took a couple hours.  In the summer months I know my kids would have no problem hiking this trail.

Enjoy the pictures and take advantage of the park.  It’s only an hour from your NoCo backyard!


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

Winter Day Trip to Rocky Mountain National Park


RMNPPhoto taken with a GoPro Hero3 on February 27, 2014.  It was a quiet day up at Rocky Mountain National Park.  Plenty of elk, plenty of clouds, and the perfect place to escape my day-to-day real estate world.  If you haven’t taken a drive through the park this year (2014), do yourself a favor and make the trip now.  The ranger at the park entrance said that there haven’t been many visitors this winter, especially during the weekdays.  So if you have a few hours to rejuvenate and breathe some fresh Colorado air, it’s the perfect time for a quick getaway.

Here is a quick video of a herd of elk near the south entrance to the park:




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.



Map of Fossil Creek Reservoir in Fort Collins, CO

Fossil Creek ReservoirHave you been to Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space in southeast Fort Collins?  The 843 acres of natural area provide Fort Collins locals with a great place to take a stroll, bird watch, photograph wildlife, and enjoy the beautiful Colorado outdoors.  Trails are open daily from dawn to dusk.  Recreational off-road vehicles, dogs, horses, and bikes are not allowed due to conservation efforts to maintain the natural habitat.

Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space is located off of Highway 392.  From I-25 head west on Highway 392 (Carpenter Road).  The entrance is located on the north side of the highway before you reach Timberline Road.



Here is a map of Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space courtesy of the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas.

Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space