Basically NoCo

You’re Making Your Landlord Rich!

While you’re fussing over your bills, did you realize you’re making your landlord rich? Rentals are the most lucrative business to get into. It turns ordinary people into millionaires. The next time you’re afraid of committing to a mortgage, keep in mind that you’ve already committed to paying off the mortgage of someone else – every single month you rent. Not only that, but your landlord is paying off they’re mortgage and walking away with additional income on top of that. The only time home buying doesn’t make sense is if you’re still living with your parents rent-free. Or, you prefer to live out of an R.V. or tent. But if you prefer to live in a home or a condo, it always makes the most sense to buy.

Rent in Fort Collins is still on the rise and even rents in Loveland, Windsor and Greeley are more expensive than they used to be. When you’re looking at the financials, there’s a good chance that you’ll spend less month to month on your mortgage than on your rent.

Stop making your landlord rich and start building your own net worth. You can still enjoy owning a home – even if you don’t intend to stay in an area for long. You can always resell your home, most often for more money than you put in, or turn it into a lucrative side business by hiring a property management company to rent it out on your behalf. Whatever you decide, don’t be afraid of a mortgage commitment – you’re paying one regardless. Now ask yourself, do you want to make yourself money or make your landlord money?

Make That Small Closet Look Bigger

If there is one thing that can turn a potential client away from a home they may be on the fence about, it is a tiny master closet. When a potential buyer falls in love with your large bedroom only to find that the closet is a fraction of the size they expected it to be, it could make them want to keep looking at other houses on the market. While that may not be the case for everyone, there are plenty of women (and men) who enjoy having a nice closet space. While you may not be able to expand the square footage, here are some steps you can take to make that small closet look bigger and more appealing to potential buyers!

1. Marie Kondo your closet

The KonMari method is all the rage today so many people are cleaning out their closets – and the rest of their homes – in an attempt to live a little more like a minimalist.  With this movement being so popular, many people searching for new homes might be even more aware of clutter, especially in small spaces. Declutter your closet and donate anything that doesn’t “spark joy.”

2. Add some paint and light

Even large closets can look small if they are have dark walls and not much light. Since most closets don’t have windows, consider adding a light fixture to brighten the space and a mirror to multiply the amount of light bouncing throughout the closet. By painting the walls a nice bright white or off-white, the room will expand and look inviting.

3. Organization is key

Once you’ve removed the clutter, you may still have a lot of items that you aren’t willing to let go of. By adding shelving or even a closet organizational system, you can fit more into your closet without taking up as much space. If you want to stay on budget, try a DIY closet system that is easily installed and can be purchased at your local home improvement store!

4. Show off your favorite items

While decluttering is key, displaying the things you love on nice hangers or placing those handbags/shoes you adore on your newly installed shelving can help potential buyers picture their own favorite items in your closet. Keep it neat and organized, but show off the things you love most!

These tips will help you ensure that your closet space doesn’t prevent you from selling your home. Remember, if you are ready for a home with a bigger closet, call me and we will find you the walk-in of your dreams!

First-Time Buyer Advice

CONGRATULATIONS! You’re ready to purchase your first home. If you’ve never purchased a house before, you may have no idea where to begin when preparing to become a homeowner. You may be on the fence about buying, or you may feel like you are ready to buy a home today. Either way, these tips can help anyone feel a little more prepared for their first home purchase!

MONEY IS KEY

It is easy to begin scrolling through beautiful homes on the market without considering your budget. Sale postings can be all over your social media feeds, tempting you to just take a peek. While looking can be fun and exciting, you should prepare financially before you start eyeing any homes. It is much better to know what your price range is so you don’t fall in love with a house you just can’t afford (for now!) I always recommend that my buyers get in touch with a Northern Colorado lender as soon as possible. I’m happy to connect you with someone who can help!

MAKING A LIST, CHECKING IT TWICE

While you need to be realistic and recognize that you likely are not going to find a home with every single thing you wish to have in a house, making a list of the things that are a priority for you (room count, big backyard, master walk-in closet, etc.) will help you to make sure you’re only looking at houses that will fit your wants and needs.

PHOTOS DON’T TELL THE WHOLE PICTURE

It is easy to fall in love with a home after seeing the listing photos. These perfectly lit, well-staged photos show off houses in their best light, but that doesn’t mean you are getting the whole story. Listing photos are a great place to start, as they will help you to narrow down your options. Unfortunately, there are home traits that may not be portrayed well in photos, whether it be low ceilings, a drafty build, or anything in between.  Once you’ve made a short list of the homes that appear to be a fit for you, always do a home tour.

THAT GUT-FEELING

If you walk into a house and it feels like home, trust your gut. There is no better way to know if you should buy a home than seeing how you feel when you walk through the front door. Your home purchase will probably be one of, if not the largest, purchase you’ve made in your life so far. Pictures can only do so much, and nothing can help you decide whether or not a house is made for you better than getting inside it!

NOTHING ELSE WILL DO

Do you get upset at the thought of losing the house you just toured to someone else? Does it already feel like home when you are inside? These are two signs that you have found the home for you! If you see a home and are ready to stop looking at others, you are one step closer to buying a home you will love.

THE BEST AGENT

Finding a great real estate agent is going to be the part that ties everything together. A quality agent will help you find homes within your budget that possess your must-have items and they’ll offer you guidance through every step of the process. Plus, it’s FREE to talk to a Realtor and their commission is paid by the seller, so you can just focus on the purchase of your home.

If you’re looking for a real estate agent to help you find and buy your first dream home, call me today!!

Visit Fort Collins Itinerary – Brewery Tour

Fort Collins has something for just about anyone and conveniently Visit Fort Collins has suggested itineraries to choose from. Whether you’re new to town, have someone visiting or want to rediscover this awesome town, check out the Visit Fort Collins website. See below for their Brewery Tour.

Every town has a certain something that makes it special. For Fort Collins, that’s craft beer and the culture that has grown around it.

Located just 60 minutes north of Denver, Fort Collins produces 70% of the craft beer made in Colorado, which is ranked 4th in the nation for the number of microbreweries per capita. It’s no wonder that people call Fort Collins “The Craft Beer Capital of Colorado.”

Each of the 20-plus breweries in Fort Collins offers its own ambiance and a unique experience for your palate. Whether you fancy yourself a seasoned connoisseur or are brand new to sampling craft beer, you’ll find something to suit your tastes.

You can explore and experience the breweries in many ways – hop aboard the Magic Bus for a guided brewery tour or pedal off on two wheels with Beer and Bike Tours. Or simply head out on a self-guided tour via bike or with a designated driver.

OLD TOWN TOUR

You can make your own walking tour in Old Town thanks to the close proximity of a few breweries.

Coopersmiths-patio

Coopersmith’s Pub & Brewing

Take a step back into history as you stroll into Fort Collins very first and longest operating brewpub, having opened its doors in 1989. Coopersmith’s always has something tasty on tap including, Not Brown Ale, Poudre Pale and Horsetooth Stout. Looking for something with a kick? Try a Sigda’s Green Chili. Coopersmith’s is also a great place for lunch to provide the fuel you’ll need for the rest of your beer tasting adventure. Pints from $4. (#5 Old Town Square)

Equinox Brewing

Next, take a hop, skip and jump on your way across historic Mountain Ave. to Equinox Brewing and sample some of their staple brews. Enjoy live music every Friday and Saturday and on sunny days, Equinox has one of the finest Beer Gardens in town, allowing you to relax and sip on a pint. Also, don’t forget to sneak a peak at the Bootlegger which is a tricycle made for delivering kegs around town. (133 Remington St.)

Prost Brewing

Finally, make your way back through Old Town Square and follow Linden St. to Old Firehouse Alley where you’ll find Prost Brewing. Prost is unique in the sense that the tasting room has an alleyway entrance for patrons. This alleyway taproom is a homecoming of sorts for the Denver-based craft brewery thanks in part to Prost Brewing having an ownership team composed of multiple Colorado State University alumnus. So, feel free to sip on this Gold-medal-winning brewery’s German-style lagers, take a seat on the open patio, drink from a glass shaped boot and pretend you’re in Germany enjoying a traditional Oktoberfest celebration. (321 Old Firehouse Alley, behind Illegal Pete’s)

BREWERY ROW TOUR

Situated just a few blocks from each other, New Belgium Brewing and Odell Brewing Co. are the largest craft breweries in town and both are heavyweights in the world of craft beer.

Odell Brewing

New Belgium Brewing Company

Makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and Abbey, New Belgium promotes biking nearly as much as it does beer. From the Tour de Fat every September, to Bike-In Cinema each summer, New Belgium is the trendsetter for beer and bike culture. New Belgium is also known as the trendsetter in perfecting sour beer. Take a walk through “Cache La Foeder” and get a peek at the dozens upon dozens of giant old wooden wine barrels and you’ll see why New Belgium is known for its sour beers. Tours are free but fill up fast, so book ahead to make sure you get a spot. (500 Linden St.)

Odell Brewing Co.

Makers of flagship brew 90 Shilling and a full range of flavorful beers from the light, crisp Easy Street Wheat to the dark, roasty Cutthroat Porter, Odell Brewing is a Fort Collins favorite amongst locals and visitors alike. Some also say Odell has perfected the taste of an IPA, which is one of their most popular selling beers. Equipped with one of the best patios in all of Fort Collins, Odell is so much more than just a brewery. It’s a place to hang out with close friends where you can enjoy live music and local food trucks while basking in the Colorado sun. (800 East Lincoln Ave.)

Just a short bike ride down Lincoln Ave., you will find a slew of smaller breweries that pack a punch when it comes to crafting a tasty brew.

Red Truck Beer Company

Red Truck is a Vancouver-based Canadian brewery that has brought its beer to Fort Collins. The brewery has ingrained itself into the community with its hyper-local focus. Not only does Red Truck offer great craft beer, it also has a restaurant with a full food menu with offerings from breakfast to burgers and BBQ. Give their Truck Stop Lager or Red IPA a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Snowbank Brewing

A departure from the traditional brewery, Snowbank Brewing focuses on innovation and a passion for the Colorado lifestyle. Beers are named for the wonderful Colorado landscape and made from Colorado snowmelt. (225 North Lemay Ave. #1)

Funkwerks

Funkwerks focuses primarily on Saisons, with fruity aromas, and often offers drier profiles which become wonderful summer beers made by the masters. Funkwerks has won many medals over the years, and in 2012 The Great American Beer Festival named them “Small Brewing Company of the Year”. Their Saison was awarded a gold medal in 2017 at the Great American Beer Festival. Refreshing and award-winning, Funkwerks is a must stop along your tour. (1900 East Lincoln Ave.)

Horse and Dragon Brewing Company

Horse and Dragon is a Fort Collins’ local favorite. This family-owned and run, independent microbrewery’s motto is “work & family, hops & malt, Horse & Dragon.” They craft high-quality, great-tasting beers sustainably while building community in the heart of Northern Colorado. Horse and Dragon is famous for their Sad Panda, an American-style coffee stout, that is definitely a must try. (124 Racquette Dr.)

Turtle Mountain Fermentery

Turtle Mountain is a non-alcoholic kombucha brewery that makes for the perfect pit stop to refresh amongst all these back-to-back brewery delights. The taproom features seven rotating taps and they ferment their own sauerkrauts and kimchi in house, which you can also get tastings of. Turtle Mountain has a great non-alcoholic bar vibe that is really worth the visit.

Anheuser Busch Brewing Company

Embark on a comprehensive tour of the Budweiser brewing and bottling process, visit the world-famous Clydesdale horses, pick up some souvenirs in the extensive gift shop and take a little time to lounge in the outdoor Biergarten. (2351 Busch Dr.)

MIDTOWN TOUR

In the middle swath of Fort Collins, you’ll find several distinct breweries. These breweries are sprinkled throughout the area, but all are worth a visit.

Black-Bottle-Taps-&-squirrel-tap,-Credit-Tim-O'Hara

Black Bottle Brewery

Black Bottle is a former home brewing operation turned successful brewery with beers like “Hipster” and “The Last Unicorn”, making this taproom a Midtown hub of great tastes and cool culture. Offering a wide selection of seasonal and cellar beers as well as its flagship brews, Black Bottle has something for everyone, including a full bar and fantastic food menu. (1611 South College Ave. #1609)

Rally King Brewing

In town since 2015, Rally King has since become a favorite neighborhood brewery for Midtown locals and other craft beer lovers. Located right off of the Spring Creek Trail, this family run brewery with a 7 barrel system, is kid, dog, and bike friendly and offers a variety of brews from European style Ales to IPA’s to sours. Releasing new beers 2-3 times per month, Rally King offers delicious one of a kind beers to please any palate. (1624 S Lemay Ave. #4)

Maxline Brewing

This brewery has a commitment to quality malts, hops, water, and yeast that matches their passion for brewing enticing beer. Maxline has a focus on supporting the community, as each member of the company dedicates six hours every month volunteering at local non-profits and sustainable farms. The brewery has a cozy feel, equipped with expansive community tables and fermenters labeled with chalkboard titles to let guests know what beers they can expect next. This Midtown brewery is known for its great tasting beer and sense of community. (2701 S. College Ave. Suite 190)

CB and Potts

This brewery has been a Colorado Front Range tradition since 1974. Featuring quality food, award winning beverages and medal-winning craft-brewed ales and lagers in a casual family-friendly atmosphere with two locations in Fort Collins. (1441 Horsetooth Rd.195 E Foothills Pkwy.)

Gilded Goat Brewing Company

The Gilded Goat is a small, family-owned and operated neighborhood brewery in the heart of Fort Collins next door to Trader Joe’s. They serve a mix of classic styles, experimental batches, and sour beers in a very comfortable taproom. Stop by and check out the club-level seating so you can see the brewhouse in action or, if you prefer, stay for a guided tasting session. (3500 S College Ave. #194)

Jessup Farm Barrel House

The Barrel House is extremely unique thanks in part to the brewery being housed in a 133-year-old, 3,000 square-foot restored barn that sits on the 13-acre Jessup Farm Artisan Village. The Barrel House is known for blending beers with barrels used for wine, bourbon and other specialty barrel-aged beer in order to create intricate flavors derived from the attributes of those barrels. (1921 Jessup Dr.)

WESTSIDE TOUR

“Go West, young man.” Head just west of Shields street and you’ll come across some unique, great tasting craft breweries.

Intersect-Brewing

Three Four Beer Co.

Three Four is a brewpub with 49 tap handles featuring some of the best beers from around the world, including several offerings produced onsite on their small, but powerful 3 barrel brew house.  Delicious food and an extensive draft, bottle and cellar lists are available to enjoy. (829 South Shields St.)

McClellan’s Brewing Company

McClellan’s is a brewery in Fort Collins that centers its focus on “creamier, smoother” European cask-style ales. These non-carbonated ales are “similar to nitrogen fed beer” like Guinness. (1035 South Taft Hill Rd.)

Intersect Brewing

Intersect is a local, neighborhood-focused craft brewery. Family, bike, and dog friendly, with a taproom and beer garden. Quick access to the Spring Creek trail at Drake and Taft Hill. Craft beer brewed in High Fidelity. (2160 W. DRAKE RD. A-1)

SOUTH FOCO TOUR

The south side of Fort Collins is where a lot of new restaurants, hotels and businesses are popping up all over the place. Oh, and did we mention the south side is also home to some amazing  breweries? The area provides big city amenities while keeping its small town charm.

Zwei-Brewing

Zwei Brewing Co.

Zwei is focused on German beers and the great heritage of Old World brewing. These ideals and passions have helped inspire their flagship beer line as well as their rotating taps. Embracing key German styles have led to lots of exciting beers at Zwei Brewing! (4612 South Mason St. #120)

Purpose Brewing and Cellars

Formerly known as 1933 Brewing, Purpose Brewing was created by Zach and Laura Wilson, who paired with longtime New Belgium brewmaster Peter Bouckaert and his wife Frezi to start the venture. Purpose Brewing and Cellars has introduced a new concept to the Fort Collins brewing scene where beers change weekly and are never repeated. (4025 S Mason St. Unit C)

DC Oakes Brewhouse and Eatery

The brewery was named after Daniel Chessman Oakes who was one of the earliest settlers in Colorado. This brewery pays homage to Oakes’ pioneering spirit by emulating his tireless work ethic through the passion of making hand-crafted beer. DC Oakes also serves up great tasting food, along with classic cocktails, wine and other local beers on tap as well as their own. (3581 E Harmony Rd. #110)

How to Save Up for a House

Are you thinking about buying a home and just don’t know where to start? Before you even begin looking at homes, consider how much you may need to save to make the process as smooth as possible for you, especially in the long run. I always recommend talking to a lender to get an idea of where you stand now and ideally where you want to end up. There are many great lenders in Northern Colorado who are happy to sit down with you and walk you through the process. Sometimes, you don’t even need to save up as much as you thought!

Once you have a goal, it’s important to know that saving for a down payment is slightly different than other large savings, like retirement. With those savings, you can set aside smaller amounts or invest the money. Because you will need your down payment sooner rather than later, those saving methods won’t be beneficial to you. Here are some steps to take to save up for your dream home!

1. Determine How Much You Need

There is a general rule of thumb in real estate, the rule of 28, that says your maximum mortgage payment should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income. Sitting down with a mortgage lender will help you find out how much of a mortgage you qualify for based on that income. They will be able to tell you the recommended amount needed for a 20% down payment. Whether or not that is a requirement, a 20% down payment can get you a great price deal and reduce your monthly mortgage rate.

2. Decide When You Want To Buy

The next step will be deciding when you want to buy. This will give you either a monthly or annual goal of how much money you need to be setting aside to reach that down payment goal.

3. Choose A Savings Plan

It it usually best to avoid stocks or other risky investments when it comes to saving for a home. Consider opening a regular savings account specifically for your down payment, and make sure it is an account you use for deposit-only purposes until you’re ready to make your down payment.

4. Check Your Budget

Saving a few dollars here and there can be easy, but saving thousands of dollars may take a little more practice. First, consider cutting back on your expenses. Check your budget for things you can go without. This may be difficult, but think about what you are saving up for! If you have the chance to earn additional income, devote that extra cash directly to your savings account. These saving strategies will not only help you to buy your new home, but can create life-long habits to help you continue to save money down the road.

5. Consider An Automated Savings Plan

Even after you have adjusted your budget, pulling that money out of your checking account and putting it into a savings isn’t always easy. Once you’ve determined how much of your budget will be going into savings, consider adding a savings plan to your bank account so that the money will automatically be sent to your savings. This can remove the temptation of spending what may look like extra money in your account and ensuring that it goes where it needs to.

6. Save Your Big Deposits

Have you received a large sum of money lately? Maybe you just got married, or got a bonus at work, or that tax-return was especially big this year. Instead of spending that cash, deposit it directly into your savings account. This can reduce your savings timeframe and might have you ready to buy sooner than you thought.

Saving up for a home isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it! When you are ready to buy, give me a call and we will get you that home you’ve been dreaming of! 

Turn an Old Candle into New Decor

Have you been collecting old candle jars with the intentions of doing something with them? Or do you have a few sitting around your house that you just haven’t tossed yet? Reusing and recycling is not only ‘in’ right now, but it is eco-friendly! Instead of tossing those jars in the trash, consider ‘recycling’ them yourself. Here are the 5 steps to turn an old candle into a decorative jar that you can use in any room of your home!

What you’ll need:
-Chalk paint
-Sandpaper
-Superglue
-Small decorative knob (design of your choice)
-Clear wax
-Paintbrushes

Step 1: Remove any remaining candle wax

There are several ways to do this, but the easiest and safest way is placing your jar into the freezer for a few hours. Wax hardens and shrinks when frozen, so you will be able to pop the remaining wax out with a butter knife. Scrape any remaining residue off and clean out the jar with soap and warm water.

Step 2: Paint the lid with chalk paint

If you have a color scheme in your home, choose a chalk paint that will accent the room you plan to use your jar in. White is always a safe choice if you are unsure! Be sure to grab a small piece of sandpaper to use between coats if you don’t already have some on hand. This will help to create a smooth finish on the lid.

Step 3: Cover the lid with clear wax

After your chalk paint is sanded and wiped down, cover the lid with clear wax. This will add the perfect finishing gloss to the lid.

Step 4: Attach your knob

Using superglue, attach the knob to the center of your lid. Let the glue dry and set completely.

Step 5: Fill with goodies and display

Whether you’re using it for cotton balls in your bathroom or candy on your office desk, your new jar is ready to show off!

What Your Carpet is Hiding From You

How many carpeted rooms in your home appear clean at a glance? Even if you think they all look clean, those carpets may not be very sanitary. Spring is here which means if you have snow, it has likely started to melt – exposing dirt and pollen that can now be easily tracked into your house.  Carpets trap dust and odors and can attract mold when they absorb moisture. So often, we forget what our carpet could be hiding because it just doesn’t look dirty. You want to make your carpet last as long as possible, and the only way to ensure that is by keeping your carpets cleaned and sanitized. Here are some steps to take to keep that carpet in the best shape possible, and as clean as ever.

1. Vacuum Weekly

Make a habit of vacuuming once a week, even twice a week in high traffic areas. While it is easy to rush through vacuuming, try taking it slowly to ensure your vacuum is pulling up as much dirt and dust as possible.

2. Use Door Mats

Door mats can help reduce the amount of dirt and dust being brought into your home in the first place. Use both indoor and outdoor mats and be sure to clean them when you vacuum each week.

3. No Shoes, No Problem

It probably isn’t hard to believe that 80% of the dirt in your house is carried inside on people’s shoes. Ensuring that your family members and guests remove their shoes before entering your home will help to greatly reduce the amount of dirt and dust.

4. Treat Spots and Spills ASAP

To avoid permanent damage, make sure you are always cleaning up messes as soon as they happen. It can be easy to quickly wipe up a spill without really cleaning it, but spot treating to remove any residual mess is the best choice. It is much harder to remove a stain once it has set!

5. Vacuum Under Furniture & Rugs

It is easy to forget about the dirt and dust that collects under rugs and furniture. Aim to clean in those hidden spots monthly or bi-monthly.

6. Deep-Clean Your Carpets

If you don’t own a carpet steam cleaner, consider renting one for a deep-clean twice a year. The high-powered water extraction system will clean, disinfect, and sanitize your rugs and carpets to remove anything that regular vacuuming leaves behind.

Keeping your carpet clean is a great investment for your home. By following these steps, you can prevent the need for carpet replacement for many years to come.