It’s been 2 years but the Blog Is BACK!

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I want to take a moment to let you know how thankful I am that you are in my life. 2015 was an interesting year with some very high-highs and some incredibly low-lows for me. I am grateful for each and every experience as it has made me stronger and brought new people into my life.

Unless you have been living under a rock, which as your Realtor it is my job to make sure you don’t, the Real Estate market was incredible! Sellers were on cloud 9 until it came time to buy, put a house on the market and then sift through all the offers, weigh out each option and take your pick. For buyers it was a different story, a feeding frenzy took over and frustrations set in. Cash buyers, ridiculous over asking price offers, how to compete. For those buyers that I worked with, you kept your head on straight, had patience and in the end made wise decisions.

So what does 2016 look like? more of the same, I believe. The fed nudged the interest rate up, and will probably do so again and buyers are going to want to get in on these low interest rates. Lenders have been pressuring us for years and years, “THESE RATES WON’T LAST”. It looks like that is finally the truth. My advice, as always, don’t panic. Yes, interest rates are on their way up, but they are still incredibly low. If you can, this is the time to buy your “forever” or “dream” house. Lock in to a 30 year fixed rate mortgage and enjoy life.

This past year I learned, all too clearly, just how short and precious life is. I know that is a cliche, but it is a cliche for a reason. IT’S TRUE. So this year, don’t make resolutions about loosing weight or working harder. Make a resolution to be more present in the life you are lucky enough to have. Hug those kids, one more time before they go out the door, CALL YOUR MOTHER!. Not only tell the people in your life that you love them, but show it. Take care of your body, make doctors appointments you have been putting off, eat better but also splurge on the slice of cake. Enjoy the cards you have been dealt and start each day with thankful heart!

All that being said…don’t forget to take care of your home too. You will thank me someday when it is time to sell. So here are few tips:

Clear home and wardrobe clutter. Post-holidays is a good time for decluttering, since there’s a good chance you accumulated some new things over the previous few weeks. Grab a cardboard box and fill it with clothes, books and other items you no longer love or use. When it’s full, take it to a charitable donation center.

Organize your papers and digital documents. It’s like going to the dentist: not exactly a pleasant task, but you know you’ll feel good when it’s done. So brew yourself a cup of strong coffee, put on some energetic music and start sorting, shredding and filing. And don’t forget the computer — back up everything (put an automatic backup system in place if you don’t already have one), and begin sorting your digital documents and records using a simple filing.

Plan decorating and remodeling projects for the year ahead. Thinking of remodeling the kitchen, adding a deck, putting fresh tile in the bath or painting your bedroom? Use your favorite resources (like Houzz) to save inspiring ideas and begin contacting pros to see your project through in the new year.

Take down and store holiday decorations. Pack fragile ornaments with care, and wind tree lights around a piece of cardboard to avoid tangling. If there were any ornaments you didn’t end up using this year, consider giving them away, and save the space for things you really love.

Check the exterior and landscape after winter storms. Keep an eye out for ice dams on the roof, downed tree limbs and storm damage. Keep entrances and paths cleared of snow and ice, and be sure to arrange for snow removal around your home if you plan to be away this month.

Boost light. Getting enough light can make a huge difference in how we feel in winter. Do what you can to boost light by pulling open window coverings during the day, adding lamps and candles, and lighting a fire in the fireplace or wood stove if you have one. Or consider decorating with white for a light, bright look — in the Scandinavian countries, white interiors are common, thanks to their ability to amplify light and cheer up homes during those long, cold Colorado winters.

Most importantly have a happy, healthy and safe 2016!!

Celebrating MOMS!

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I love being a mom and I have one of the best mom’s in the world. She learned from her own mom how to be loving, strong, supportive and fun. My parents have three daughters and now two grandsons. My mom and I talk a lot about raising boys and how different the two are. I have high expectations for my boys and sometimes feel a lot of pressure to raise them right. I wonder a lot what my boys will be like when they’re grown

I was recently at a barbecue with some friends when I witnessed something beautiful. As my friend’s brother arrived, he looked around, waved to a few friends, nodded his head to another and walked straight over to his mom. He gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek, then leaned down and kissed his grandma on the forehead. I could have cried. The best part was, my boys really look up to this guy and noticed when he got there and watched him kiss his mom and grandma. I wanted to hug him and pay him, but I didn’t. My boys are in that phase right now where kisses are gross and I might as well have quills on my hands because they certainly don’t want to hold it like they did when they were younger. Being a mom is such a journey. I’m excited for the future and what it holds and who my sons will grow to be. This year I’m thankful for them and every day I have to love them. Being a mom is life’s best blessing. Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms!

Share your favorite Mother’s Day memory or plans for this year’s Mother’s Day for your chance to win a free Mommy and Me Mini Photography Session with Faith Family Photography.

I Believe

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Many of you have seen this quote from the fabulous Audrey Hepburn.  I was showing a beautiful home the other day and in the ladies closet, which was approximately the same size as my daughters bedroom, was this quote. It got me to thinking about what I believe in and that every woman should have her own quote. It stuck with me and one day I decided to sit down and write my own. It was amazing how quickly things came to me and how many there were.  I am going to share mine and encourage you to write your own, in fact, if you share yours I’ll enter your name in a drawing for a SPA GIFT CERTIFICATE, so you can get a little Ms. Hepburn treatment. 

I believe in Fierce. I believe that failure is only failure if you let it keep you down. I believe confidence is all the make-up you need. I believe in love. I believe in spirituality before religion. I believe in my family. I believe in total equality. I believe music and art are what make us a human. I believe in the freedom of speech, even when that speech makes me ill. I believe in the right to love and marry whomever you choose. I believe in giving second chances. I believe in forgiving, not forgetting. I believe that people are kind and good, with a few bad apples thrown in to keep us on our toes. I believe that faith heals. I believe that sometimes there is no answer to the question, why. I believe in timeouts, for everyone. I believe that practice makes us the best person we can be, but not perfect. I believe in respect. I believe in stillness. I believe in honesty, with room for a little white lie every now and then. I believe in telling loved ones, you love them, everyday. I believe in letting kids be kids. I believe in wine, lots of wine, and coffee in the morning. I believe your home is your sanctuary, treat it that way. I believe in new beginnings.  I believe in being kind to yourself.

 I look forward to reading your responses, get them in by April 4th and I’ll enter you in the drawing

Hello Spring!

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By Jenni Lovins

I’m more than happy to say goodbye to snow packed roads and winter coats and hello to Rockies baseball, dinner cooked on the grill, flip flops, beautiful flowers and spring cleaning. Ok maybe not that last one.

Yet, did you know that there are dozens of blogs and websites about spring cleaning? I had my own house cleaning business for over six years and I didn’t get nearly the enjoyment out of scrubbing and polishing as these motivated people seem to get. So I’ll spare you the detailed checklists and how-to guide on the subject and get down to what counts: Getting it over with.

Try starting with one Saturday or Sunday afternoon and assign two chores to each person in your household. (Maybe let your husband pick his own two chores, he’ll do a better job at what he chooses, I’m sure). You know what your children are capable of doing and the things you’ll find yourself going over anyway, so pick carefully. Choose the things that have bothered you most, or are the dirtiest and just need cleaning the most. When your two jobs are over, go back outside and play! You’ll feel productive and you’ll be able to see a difference. If you think there’s more that should be done, take a weekend off and then do two chores each again in two weeks.  Before you know it, your spring cleaning will be complete!

Another option is to create a list of Spring Cleaning Chores, and make it your goal to cross something off your list every week. Not too overwhelming or dreaded by the family, but it does make the tasks drag on for a while I’m afraid.  That being said, our family will probably get our spring cleaning done this way.    Here’s what our list looks like so far:

  1. Wash all the windows and screens we can realistically get to (or hire a professional window washing service)
  2. Clean & touch-up paint the trim throughout the house
  3. Go Geocaching with the boys (A beautiful spring day can be distracting)
  4. Polish stair railing and all the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms (use Old English Scratch Cover on damaged areas)
  5. Clean out all the sink drains (yuck!)
  6. Go to a Rockies game (it’s possible that a sweep could take place…)
  7. Clean out the garage & put things we don’t want/need any more aside for a garage sale
  8. Organize the basement & put things we don’t want/need any more aside for a garage sale
  9. Have a Garage Sale (and use the money to go to ANOTHER Rockies Game!)

I know if the list is too long or scary looking one of two things will happen; we will accidentally lose the list and everyone will forget it existed, or we will just put it off for way too long and be haunted by our base trim that needs to be painted or the dirty kitchen windows.

While you’re at it, you might want to spruce up your porch and the outside of your house a little. By the way, your neighbors whose homes are for sale will be grateful. Their home will sell at or above asking price because of your help and your own home value will rise.  So go ahead, plant those tulips and marigolds, trim the over-grown shrubs, clear out last winter’s dead branches, find your porch something that’s colorful and inviting, get a new door mat and maybe hose down your porch and siding/brick if it’s needed. You’ll love it and so will your neighbors!

Hopefully, now the task of spring cleaning isn’t too daunting.  I wish you luck in getting it done and over with, and I hope you’ll do something that makes you happier to be spending time in your home.  Then, pour yourself a favorite springtime drink (my favorite recipe is below) and enjoy this beautiful Colorado spring day! (Unless it’s snowing, then pour the drink and turn on a baseball game).

Longs Peak Lemonade!  My favorite springtime Mommy drink.

2 oz. Blueberry Vodka

8 oz. Countrytime (or your favorite) lemonade

Pour it over ice and garnish with just about any type of fruit (my favorite is fresh blueberries). Yum! I’m thirsty, but it’s only 10:00 am…

ROCKIES TICKETS GIVEAWAY! Share what you love about spring AND why in a comment, before April 1, 2014, and you’ll be entered to win two Rockies tickets to an April game!

Happy Days are Here Again

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The days are getting longer, the trees are budding and the real estate market is booming!  It’s as if it happened overnight, just a moment ago lenders were not lending and there was not a buyer in sight.  Now we have the exact opposite problem, no one is selling! This topsy turvy market has still got people a bit off kilter and once you sell, you may end up with the same problem others are finding, where are we going to go? It’s a legitimate concern, especially if you are buying and selling under $500,000.  You can’t put an offer in on a house if yours is not at least under contract, because you are competing with 2 or 3 other buyers that do not have a house to sell.  The best advice that I can offer is, have a plan B. Nobody wants to move twice but it is certainly a better option than being forced into buying a house that you do not love and having to suffer through for the next 5-10 years. You can ask the buyers for a long close or best case scenario, do a rent back until you find your replacement property. But if that is not an option you may need to put your things in storage and go into an apartment or (gasp) move in with Mom and Dad, for what is hopefully a short period.  But please! please! do not buy a house that you do not love just so you don’t have to move twice.  I can guarantee you that if you do not love the house on closing day, it’s only going to go down hill from there.  If you are thinking about selling, March and April are the two busiest months in real estate, it’s time to jump in so give me a call, I’ve got buyers that need someplace to go!

What I Love About the Tri-Town Area by Jenni Lovins

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Last week, an out of town client asked me what I love about living in Frederick and specifically what I love about my neighborhood.  I didn’t have to think about my answer very long; I love where we live.  We don’t have the biggest, newest house, but I love our home, and it’s perfect for our family.  Every neighborhood in the Tri-Town area has something great and unique to offer.

I grew up in the country.  Well, not really too country, but we didn’t have sidewalks, neighborhood kids to play with or a park within walking distance.  We had horses, cows and hay stacks to climb on.  My sisters and I would signal for the truck drivers to give us a friendly honk as we waited for the school bus every morning.  I learned how to ride my bike on our long gravel driveway.  My mom had to drive us to our friends’ neighborhoods to go trick-or-treating.  As a child, I wanted so bad to have neighbor kids to play with. 

When my husband and I were looking for our first home, we wanted a place where our kids would have other kids to play with.  I had this image in my head of all the kids playing and growing up together, backyard barbeques, kids playing basketball in the driveway and our son finding his true love in the cute little girl across the street.  When we found our home, it was the best house our Realtor had shown us!  We were sold!  It was brand new and we could make it all ours!  I loved so much about this neighborhood. I love that we have a park right across the street.  We moved in when our son was just six months old and how he loved those baby swings!  We would walk to the park at least twice a day when it was nice out. When he became a big brother, he was eager to push his baby brother in the baby swing and show him how to do everything else at the park.   A few years later we spent a whole morning “saving worms” after the overnight rain had left so many stranded on the sidewalks all around the park.  Now that they’re older, the boys still love climbing the evergreens and playing “groundies” and freeze tag with the neighborhood kids.  (Good, free entertainment is pretty valuable for that “Mom, I’m bored” we hear throughout the summer).  We also have a huge soccer park about two blocks away.  We’ve had a few seasons of tee-ball and football practices there, and it’s perfect for kids to play while mom or dad jogs the perimeter. I love that one of my neighbors is a police officer.  Actually, drive around our neighborhood on any given evening and you’ll see four police cars parked in front of their homes.  I hope it equates to less crime, and it makes us feel a little safer. I love that along with protecting our property values our HOA also puts on events for the neighborhood.  At least once every summer we go to a movie night in the soccer park.  They’ve also thrown a few summer kickoff events that included bounce houses, pony rides, fire trucks, enormous hot dogs and good, loud music! 

 I know that fun, caring people are really what make a community a great place to live.  Of course everyone wants good neighbors, (and we did get that cute little girl across the street).  There has been so much growth and change in the Tri Town area since we moved here nine years ago and we’ve gained so many great neighbors. We’ve also gained a fantastic church and a delicious Mexican food restaurant in walking distance.  I would love if you would share a favorite thing about your neighborhood; what attracted you to that specific community and what you enjoy most about it today?  Your input may just help me find you the perfect neighbor, or new neighborhood someday! 

Pep Talk

a friend sent this to me today, most of you have probably already seen it but I thought it was fantastic and worth another look.

Have an Awesome Day!

Susan