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

Halloween, Candy, and Pumpkin Seeds!

Smashing Pumpkins“What do you think about this one, Dad?” asks my son after picking his prize pumpkin at Bartle’s Pumpkin Patch in Fort Collins, CO only a couple of weeks ago.

And now the sugar high is here.  Candy wrappers are plentiful.  And what to do with all of those pumpkins and pumpkin seeds?

Smash the pumpkins!  At least that’s what my kids want to do.  But I just wanted to share a blog from Whole Foods Market in case you need some ideas for making the best out of your pumpkin seeds.

But seriously, you’re probably still eating all of that Halloween candy, aren’t you?!

What is Cycle Quest Racing?

NoCo Cycle Quest Racing

Just another cycling team in Colorado?  Not exactly.  Together Klara Rossouw and Michael Nichols, founders of Cycle Quest Racing, have twelve years of bicycle racing experience between them.  After racing for various teams over the past five years, they created Cycle Quest Racing to fill the void they found in their prior organizations.

Michael began cycling when he was in high school.  His goal was simple:  to lose weight. Michael’s father introduced him to mountain biking, and before long Michael lost over 100 pounds!  He has had the opportunity to race both professionally and collegiality for his previous school, Lees McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina.  Klara started cycling when she was 14 years old.  Nearing the end of high school she competed in national level events in her home country of South Africa with a dream of receiving a cycling scholarship to America.  She began her schooling at Mars Hill College in North Carolina in the spring of 2010.

Klara and Michael met through collegiate cycling.  From the beginning they shared the same views on the complexity and exclusivity of the sport.  Long story short, they decided to live in Fort Collins, Colorado and are currently students at Colorado State University.  They are still inspired by the healthy lifestyle and organic living in Fort Collins.

Cycle Quest Racing will be in its first season in 2014 to face a daunting yet exciting schedule filled with seasoned veterans.  The type of racing the team will focus on is what is known as endurance mountain biking.  This discipline of the sport calls for mental and physical endurance due to the length of each race.  The values Michael and Klara have instilled into this program are integrity, honesty, and respect. It is important to them that the team be involved in their community and give back to a sport that has given them so many opportunities.  These two hope to make an impact that is bigger than just cycling.  They strive to go beyond competition and show people they can be passionate about what they love.

You can see Cycle Quest Racing around the Rocky Mountains next summer – most notably at the legendary Leadville Trail 100, and Endurance Mountain Bike Nationals.  If you would like to keep up with the adventures of Cycle Quest Racing and their continued growth you can ‘Like’ them on Facebook at Cycle Quest Racing or follow them on Twitter


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.




Morning Hike in Horsetooth Mountain Park

Horsetooth Rock

Horsetooth Rock

Many residents of Fort Collins have made their way to the top of the infamous Horsetooth Rock in Horsetooth Mountain Park.  Sitting at 7,256 in elevation and visible from nearly everywhere in Fort Collins, Horsetooth Rock attracts hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers from all over Northern Colorado.

I have run and hiked to the top of Horsetooth Rock many times over the past few years.  What I realized on my hike this morning is that I have so much more exploring to do in Horsetooth Mountain Park.  Sure, I have made my way over to Horsetooth Falls, but there are still miles and miles of trails waiting for my shoes to step on them.

Today I decided to do a couple of things differently to make my hike a bit more interesting.  First, I climbed to the top of the south rock (the one on the left side if you are looking west toward the mountain).  Horsetooth Rock Trail leads you up to the north rock, but if you willing and able to scramble up the rock on the south side you may be pleasantly surprised with the unobstructed views as you look south.  Carter Lake, Lake Loveland, Boyd Lake – you name it.  If you have been to the top of Horsetooth Rock you know the views are spectacular and well worth the excursion up the rock.

Horsetooth to Longs

On Top of Horstooth Rock

Once I made my way back down the rock, I kept an eye out for the Audra Culver Trail.  I have passed the trail loop so many times on my way down but today I finally took the one-mile loop – and I’m glad I did.  The Audra Culver Trail has much less traffic than the Horsetooth Rock Trail, and because it’s on the west side of the park you can see the valley and Long’s Peak just about the entire time.  The trail intersects with the South Ridge Trail, so even though it added some distance to my descent, it was a nice way to mix it up and see something different in the park. All-in-all my hike this morning was less than two hours, and that includes the time I spent taking pictures.  What a great way to start my day!  And what a blessing it is to live in Fort Collins, CO! If you have any questions or suggestions about hiking up Horsetooth Rock or if you’d like to share information about some of your favorite hikes in Northern Colorado, send me an email or Facebook message!  It’s always nice to chat with other outdoor enthusiasts! Here are some more pictures:  

Sunrise on Horsetooth Rock Trail

Sunrise on Horsetooth Rock Trail


Mark on Horsetooth Rock

Richard Jensen on Horsetooth Rock

Richard Jensen on Horsetooth Rock


Horsetooth Rock via Audra Culver Trail

Flower_1 Flower_2 Flower_3

Kidz Zone at the Taste of Fort Collins

The annual festival known as the Taste of Fort Collins was held this past weekend (June 7, 2013 – June 9, 2013) at the intersection of Laporte Avenue and Howes Street near Old Town Fort Collins.  Sponsored by First National Bank, the Taste of Fort Collins showcases food and drinks from local restaurants and breweries.  A celebration of cuisine and music, this popular event also includes a full stage and live music nearly every hour from both local and national bands.  This year’s headliners included Matt Nathanson on Saturday evening (June 8, 2013) and AWOLNATION on Sunday afternoon (June 9, 2013).

As if the delicious food and tasty beverages were not enough to attract massive crowds, the Kidz Zone on the north end of Howes Street was a sure hit among families and children.  I have been a regular at the Taste of Fort Collins for the past several years but this was the first time I took my kids for an afternoon of fun…and they loved it!  My son (4 years old) and my daughter (2 years old) had a blast in the Bounce House and Dual Lane Slide.  Both kids also climbed their way through the bouncy Obstacle Course, but by far my son was most excited about the Quad Bungee Trampoline.

At first he was a bit reserved about putting on the safety harness.  He was both excited about doing something new but cautious about not having his Mom and Dad right next to him.  After a few small jumps to get the hang of it, he was ready to jump over 15 feet in the air…and that’s exactly what he did.  He was a bit scared on some of his intial descents, but after he got used to the feeling of falling toward the ground he was all laughs and giggles.  What an awesome experience for a four year old!  His little sister felt a bit left out, but hey, she’s only two.

For more information about the 2013 Taste of Fort Collins you can visit the official website here.

Here are some pictures from the Kidz Zone, and you can see more pictures from the Taste of Fort Collins at NoCo Lifestyle or our Facebook page.

Richard Jensen with Kids

Richard Jensen with Kids

Bungee Trampoline

Bungee Trampoline

Bungee Trampoline

Happy Valentine’s Day from Richard Jensen with Coldwell Banker

Valentine's Day.  Another important tradition or a Hallmark holiday?  Either way you look at it the romantic spirit in all of us makes us do amazing things.  We splurge on dinners and flowers, we write sappy messages and love notes to each other, and we all picture ourselves living the scenes of our favorite romantic movies. 

My wife (Erin) reminded me this morning that Valentine's Day should be a celebration in our house.  After all, it was 9 years ago that we both went to a "single's only" Valentine's party with some mutual friends.  We met that night for the first time and Erin continued to throw those candy hearts at me, making sure I noticed that they said "call me."  And here we are, nine years later, married for five years, living in Fort Collins, CO with our two children.

So however you choose to celebrate your Valentine's Day, make it your own.  Whether you stay home and watch romantic movies or go out to your favorite restaurant, let your day be filled with love and unexpected surprises!

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