Finding the perfect property for you can be a difficult process but finding a property for both you and your furry friends can be even more challenging.

Backyard chickens, ducks and even goats can be wonderful additions to your home. Chickens can produce healthy eggs for their owners while goats can provide delicious milk. However, it’s important to find a property that is zoned for your urban animals while also adhering to any necessary rules and regulations.

Denver requires that home owners have at least 16 square feet of permeable space per bird and while 16 square feet is adequate it is always a good idea to give your birds as much space as possible. The fowls permeable space (ground or grass) must be on the rear 50 percent of your zone lot.

Chickens and ducks also require structures to protect them from unpredictable Colorado weather and predators. It’s also important to be aware that construction of a structure requires a zoning permit.

Backyard dwarf goats are becoming increasingly popular pets. Denver requires that FPA owners have at least 140 square feet of permeable space per dwarf goat and again has to be on the rear 50 percent of your zone lot. You also must provide fencing adequate to keep your goats contained.

Some home owners may be looking to house larger animals on their property. Jefferson County used to be home to many farms and ranches in the past and while the area has slowly become more suburban, many properties still allow domesticated large animals such as horses, cattle and llamas.

With Jefferson County’s close proximity to Denver, the location has attracted many people looking to have urban animals as part of their living experience.

Each city has its unique regulations on large animals. The zone districts in Jefferson County that allow the keeping of large animals are:

Residential One (R-1)
Mountain Residential One (MR-1)
Mountain Residential Two (MR-2)
Suburban Residential One (SR-1)
Suburban Residential Two (SR-2)
Suburban Residential Five (SR-5)
Agricultural One (A-1)
Agricultural Two (A-2)
Agricultural 35 (A-35)
Planned Development (PD) in some instances

In addition to zone restrictions there are also regulations on lot size, vegetation, waste and odor. Being mindful of the restrictions in advance can help identify optional properties to house your furry friends.

Many people do not realize that there are also restrictions for domesticated animals. For instance, in most counties there is a three dog rule per household.

As your realtor, I can help in the process of finding the right property for both you and your non-human housemates, giving you and your urban animals enough space to be comfortable and happy.Finding the perfect property for you can be a difficult process but finding a property for both you and your furry friends can be even more challenging.

Backyard chickens, ducks and even goats can be wonderful additions to your home. Chickens can produce healthy eggs for their owners while goats can provide delicious milk. However, it’s important to find a property that is zoned for your urban animals while also adhering to any necessary rules and regulations.

Denver requires that home owners have at least 16 square feet of permeable space per bird and while 16 square feet is adequate it is always a good idea to give your birds as much space as possible. The fowls permeable space (ground or grass) must be on the rear 50 percent of your zone lot.

Chickens and ducks also require structures to protect them from unpredictable Colorado weather and predators. It’s also important to be aware that construction of a structure requires a zoning permit.

Backyard dwarf goats are becoming increasingly popular pets. Denver requires that FPA owners have at least 140 square feet of permeable space per dwarf goat and again has to be on the rear 50 percent of your zone lot. You also must provide fencing adequate to keep your goats contained.

Some home owners may be looking to house larger animals on their property. Jefferson County used to be home to many farms and ranches in the past and while the area has slowly become more suburban, many properties still allow domesticated large animals such as horses, cattle and llamas.

With Jefferson County’s close proximity to Denver, the location has attracted many people looking to have urban animals as part of their living experience.

Each city has its unique regulations on large animals. The zone districts in Jefferson County that allow the keeping of large animals are:

Residential One (R-1)
Mountain Residential One (MR-1)
Mountain Residential Two (MR-2)
Suburban Residential One (SR-1)
Suburban Residential Two (SR-2)
Suburban Residential Five (SR-5)
Agricultural One (A-1)
Agricultural Two (A-2)
Agricultural 35 (A-35)
Planned Development (PD) in some instances

In addition to zone restrictions there are also regulations on lot size, vegetation, waste and odor. Being mindful of the restrictions in advance can help identify optional properties to house your furry friends.

Many people do not realize that there are also restrictions for domesticated animals. For instance, in most counties there is a three dog rule per household.

As your realtor, I can help in the process of finding the right property for both you and your non-human housemates, giving you and your urban animals enough space to be comfortable and happy.

There are a wide variety of neighborhoods in Denver. Neighborhoods that people might have been intimidated to live in a decade ago are now the most expensive and up-and-coming neighborhoods in the city. The question always is: Which Denver neighborhood is next?

 RiNo (River North) has the potential to be next. A mishmash of empty warehouses and high dollar apartments, the RiNo neighborhood has developed a funky vibe over the last few years leaving planners and developers wanting more. Companies are spending millions of dollars on converting warehouses and building offices, food halls, craft brew pubs and entertainment spaces.

 What does that mean for home buyers? RiNo is on the cusp of becoming the hot-spot for urban living in Denver. Because of its proximity to downtown makes it a good place for those who are interested in catching a game at Coors Field or exploring the restaurant scene in LoDo.

 Urban living provides residents with accessibility to try everything Denver can offer. Perks like walking to dinner, witnessing a 5k and listening to the Colorado Rockies winning their game from less than a mile away continues to draw in folks young and old. The trick is to jump in and determine what up-and-coming neighborhood is right for you. With any luck, it may be the multifaceted neighborhood that is RiNo. 

 

​​​​LoHi! Thriving Urban Lifestyle with small-town  Charm 

​​​​ Entertain your Guests this Holiday Season 

Find the school, then find your home

If you can get all these little tasks, which add up to big improvements, done before the showings begin you can reduce your stress and focus on the bigger tasks of moving from your home such as packing and storage of belongings.

If you start now, you’re less likely to end up surprised once the For Sale sign goes up.

Committed to making your buying or selling experience as stress free as possible.

​​​​RiNo - A hot spot for the up and coming 

The search for a new home entails many different things. Finding the right amount of lawn space, the finished basement, four baths and natural gas hookups. Everyone has their list to check off. If you have or plan to have children you may want to add schools and school districts to the list. Schools can impact your property values and potential re-sale options.

You will rarely find school information in the listing, though. To aid you in finding your new home, we’ve compiled a list of websites with school district information.

GreatSchools -K-12  www.greatschools.org

GreatSchools allows you to browse and compare K-12 schools via city, state and zip code. If you’ve picked out some prospective homes, you can use this website to click and compare the schools in that area.

SchoolDigger - K-12 www.schooldigger.com

SchoolDigger provides data on test scores, rankings, school and school district boundaries, student/teacher rations, ethnic makeup and other useful statistics to help you in your search.

Niche - K-12, Colleges www.niche.com

Niche compiles data about schools and neighborhoods to give a more complete picture of the area you are researching.

ColoradoSchoolGrades.com - www.coloradoschoolgrades.com

Colorado School Grades’ provides data about Colorado schools and is operated by a Colorado nonprofit coalition dedicated to providing parents accessible and easy-to-understand school performance information.   

As I help you navigate the choices in your home buying process, we can also assess how the schools in the area impact your decision. 

The LoHi neighborhood has garnered a lot of regional and national attention in recent
years. For me, it’s where I spent my early childhood with my mom and grandmother in a
cozy bungalow duplex.
It offers the urban lifestyle of Denver without the crowded streets of downtown. LoHi
was founded in 1858 and has a variety of different style homes, including; Victorian,
Queen Anne, bungalows and later ranch. It was given its name because of its location
overlooking the city on high ground. Recently, this area has become popular for
individuals seeking to buy a home in an urban setting close to downtown with less
movement. This neighborhood is a mix of old and modern and with a rise in home sales
there is an increase in new buildings in the area. Because of its position, residents of
LoHi are always treated with spectacular views of Denver’s skyscape.
LoHi is also a great destination for visitors as it has many independently owned shops,
boutiques and restaurants. You don’t even need to have a car to get around; almost
everything is within walking distance and you are only a short bike ride across the
Millennial Bridge to all downtown’s many attractions. Although this has been a hot spot
for local entertainment it is now becoming increasingly popular to live in this charming
and trendy neighborhood.
With incredible architecture, recreational parks and eclectic shops it is easy to see why
this neighborhood has become one of the hottest places to live in Denver. To explore this
neighborhood, contact Paula DeCrescentis at (720) 434-1550.

It may be frigid temps in Colorado right now, but before you know it, spring will be here and that means prime house selling season.

If you’re planning to sell in 2017, it’s time to get ready. In terms of time, 12 weeks seems     like an eternity, but in reality, it will be end of summer before we can blink. That’s why taking a few items at a time during these winter  months can make the task of selling your home in 2017 turn into a light summer breeze instead of an arctic blast from the north.

Selecting your agent is the first task at hand and as you know, I’m always here to help you navigate these kinds of decisions for timing, pricing and optimal sell-ability. I also have a team that works to get your home market-ready.  From a stager to a photographer, you can be assured each step of the way I can help you have the best experience possible.

In the meantime, there are a number of things you can do yourself that don’t have to be huge draws on your finances, but can make remarkable differences in the appeal and value of your home as you prepare to sell.

First, buckle down and get repairs you’ve been putting off done. You may not care about molding that has knicks and scratches, but these little cosmetic fixes can make a world of difference to a buyer who is carefully inspecting every inch of your home.  Next, start clearing out the clutter. All those knick knacks, piles in closets and junk drawers can be tidied visually opening up the vast spaces in your home. Painting walls and cleaning carpets are two of the “best bangs for your buck” you can make. As winter turns into spring clean windows and perform basic maintenance on home systems so that all the features of your home can shine.



 

With all the excitement of pending travel plans we can sometimes overlook the obvious, our own home. Just as you plan a trip, plan to protect your greatest asset while you enjoy your upcoming adventure. 

There are several precautions you can take that don’t have any costs associated with them that can ensure that upon your arrival your home is in the same condition as when you left it.

Most importantly, lock everything. This seems obvious, but often windows are left unlocked providing easy access for burglars.  These kinds of oversights create crimes of opportunity that can be easily avoided.  I recommend also adding a stick in the tracks of your sliding glass door and windows. This can be another level of protection.

 Some tips to ensure your property is safe during your vacation include:

1. Have a neighbor keep an eye out to bring in papers and mail
2. Use timers on lights to mimmick your regular at-home patterns
3. Don’t share vacation activities on social media
4. Put valuables in a home safe or your bank safe deposit box
5. Don’t leave spare keys out, provide a set to your neighbor for use
6. Unplug electronics


The best way to ensure your home is protected is to make it look lived in. Hire a house sitter who can take out trash, mow the lawn and show human activity should anyone be watching the home.  Take a few precautions so you can fully enjoy your vacation.​

Protecting Your Home While on Vacation

PREP FOR YOUR HOME SALE

With the holidays fast approaching and schedules filling up with parties and commitments, it can get overwhelming thinking about different ways to entertain your holiday guests, especially when all different age groups are involved. Between figuring out dinner menus and logistics of having guests in town, I thought I would put together a list of great ways to entertain the kids that are all free. Throughout the year, Denver’s museums and exhibits offer select days throughout the year where admission is free. This is a great way to explore Denver while being cost effective. The list below offers activities and exhibits for the entire family, not just kids! While the crowds can be large because admission is free, it is worth it!

Denver has so many different events, museums and activities year around, below is a list of FREE activities around the holidays that are great for the whole family:

1. Denver Zoo: November 16
2. Denver Art Museum: December 2

3. Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls & Toys: December 3
4. Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus: December 5
5. Denver Museum of Nature & Science: December 10


With select free admission days to museums year around, Denver is a great city to live in! It is no wonder why these free admission days are so popular. If you or someone you know is interested in making the move to Denver, contact me, Paula DeCrescentis at (720) 434-1550.


Making Sense of the Alphabet Soup of Home Loans

​​CHICKENS AND GOATS AND DUCKS! OH MY!

Home loans are not a one size fits all business, in fact there are as many loan options as there are homes out there. Therefore, you must do your research to find a dream loan that will let you get your dream home.

While there are numerous types of loans, the most common are FHA loans, conventional loans and VA loans. Then within these mortgages you can find different rates for each of them including fixed rate, adjustable rate (ARM) and interest only choices. Overwhelmed yet? Let’s start from the top.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance program is run by a department of the federal government and offers loans to all kinds of borrowers, not just first-time home owners. This allows the government to insure the lender against losses from things such as buyer default.

This is common among first time home buyers because it is a program that offers the lowest initial investment, allowing down payments to be as low as 3.5% of their purchasing price. This loan is also known to be easier for approval and are more forgiving of those with low credit scores and in the unfortunate event of bankruptcy or foreclosure. However, with down payments so low the borrower must pay for mortgage insurance which increases monthly payments that can add up quickly.

Conventional loans on the other hand are not insured by a government entity. They are made exclusively in the private sector which allows the borrower to avoid having to have mortgage insurance entirely. If you make a down payment of more than 20%, you aren’t required to have insurance, however if your down payment is less than 20% you are required to have PMI.

Therefore, if you can afford the 20% down payment, conventional loans are somewhat of a no-brainer allowing you to avoid extra costs on insurance all together. Often times, PMI insurance rates are still lower than FHA insurance rates however it depends on the down payment amount you have saved up.

The US Department of Veteran Affairs also offers VA loans to military service members and their families. These loans are guaranteed by the federal government, like FHA loans, however the advantage here is that these borrowers receive complete financing for their home purchase meaning no down payment is required whatsoever.

Each case is a little different with many aspects to consider. For those with a 20% down payment however, conventional loans also offer fixed rates. These mortgage loans retain the same interest rate for the entire payment plan. This allows for each monthly payment to remain the same without change even in plans as long as 30 years.

 On the flip side there are adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) that have fluctuating interest rates that will change from time to time. Typically an ARM loan will have an initial period of fixed rates and then change each year after that. This is seen as more of a “hybrid” loan due to having aspects from both fixed and adjustable.

 Interest only loans are those in which the borrower only pays the interest on the loan in monthly payments for a period of time. This allows for lower initial payments and a possibility to qualify for larger loan. However during this time the loan amount remains unchanged unless the borrower pays in addition to the interest only payments.

Depending on how long you plan to own your home, ARMs and interest only loans may make sense, but pose riskier options than fixed-rate mortgages.

 Before deciding, carefully evaluate all your needs to determine which mix best fits your budget.

Pricing Your Home to Sell

One of the most difficult but important tasks when selling your home is pricing your house correctly. Overpricing your home can lead to loss of appeal for potential home buyers and underpricing can prevent you from making the most out of your sale.

It can be a tricky balance to find just the right price point to get the best offer for your property. Like all things, pricing is dependent on supply and demand.

The Denver area is currently high in demand and this has caused market values to rise and become unpredictable, which can make pricing difficult. A Comparative Market Analysis is an important tool used to determine price ranges. The key is to watch the market and be flexible to make adjustments as needed to be competitive.

In today's Denver Metropolitan Market most homes that are priced accurately and are in good condition will be under contract within the first 2 weeks that they are listed.  Some tips when discussing your home price with your realtor include past sales, active listings and your necessary price point.

Past Sales

Past sales can help give you a starting point for your pricing strategy. By studying past sales, you can have a better understanding of market values and while they may not match yours exactly it can help in establishing your list price. Ask for a Comparative Market Analysis to gather data on recently sold homes nearby and discuss these options with your agent. The CMA considers the same variables that a professional appraiser uses.

Active Listings

Active listings are your competition. Your realtor should be aware of active listings in your area so you can follow what sells and what doesn’t and adjust your pricing accordingly. Your realtor can evaluate these trends and help ensure you take advantage of opportunities and avoid making the same mistakes.  

Leave Room for Negotiation

We all have our bottom line price point. You need to get a certain amount out of your investment. Knowing this upfront will help you work with your realtor to negotiate offers as they come in. Most buyers will offer some negotiated offer. Be sure to give yourself some cushion if the buyer asks for a slightly lower price. A good rule-of-thumb is to round-off your asking price in $5,000 increments.

Hire an Appraiser

If you want more precision in your estimate it may be in your best interest to hire an appraiser to determine the market value of your home. Make sure your appraiser has had experience with homes similar to yours in your area.

Don’t forget that it’s difficult to set the price of your home and never make any alterations. Pricing your home should be an ongoing discussion. It’s important to be prepared to be flexible and react to changing market conditions.
 
The price you will ultimately receive depends on your motivation, the buyer’s motivation and market conditions at the time of the offer.

Your initial asking price has the potential to make-or-break your sale. Choosing the right professional to help you can ensure you are prepared before putting your home on the market.

When you work with me, you can count on accurate data, market analysis and 20 years of experience to guide you in the pricing phase of your home listing.  We have a team that is ready to work with you through the selling process to ensure you come away with the best offer possible.