Board Meetings are currently virtual meetings on the 3rd Monday of each month. Invites will be sent to owners 48-hours prior to the event.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Housing Market Notes

What We Love About Our Homes

Valentine’s Day brings out our love for others, but what about the homes where we live? They deserve a little love as well. This month we’ll look at what homeowners love about their homes, as well as what buyers are looking for in a home. Is there a Valentine’s Day match?

When asked what they love about their homes, homeowners responded by describing what they like to do in their homes. Specifically, Americans love to entertain and eat.

According to a Harris poll, the top home features were social spaces where guests could gather and mingle. These included an open floor plan, a backyard deck and a balcony with a view. On the food-related front, amenities like a gourmet kitchen, an eat-in kitchen, and a vegetable garden were cited.

On the flip side, what are buyers looking for in a home? The National Association of Home Builders’ “Housing Preferences Across Generations” report found these 7 features that buyers want most:

  1. Separate laundry room – From Millennials to Baby Boomers, this was the most popular feature desired by 92% of homebuyers.
  2. Exterior lighting – Of course, the house has to be looking good when all your guests arrive. Aesthetics aside, lighting also provides an added safety bonus.
  3. Energy efficient appliances and windows – today’s Energy Star rated appliances and windows provide significant savings on utility bills without compromising quality.
  4. Backyard deck or patio – outdoor areas offer more living and entertaining space even if their use is limited by weather.
  5. Hardwood floors – Wood flooring offers a cleaner look, is easier to maintain, and is more durable than carpet.
  6. Garage storage space – A little bit of cabinetry and shelving in the garage goes a long way for organizing the endless gear and adult toys of active Coloradoans.
  7. Eat-in kitchen – Whether it’s just a regular night at home or an evening of entertaining guests, everyone inevitably ends up in the kitchen.

So do we have a Valentine’s Day match? Do homeowners love the same things buyers are looking for? Not surprisingly, it all comes down to food and entertaining.

Both groups love a home where they can prepare a meal in a gourmet, eat-in kitchen (chock full of energy efficient appliances), and then enjoy that meal with friends and family on a backyard patio or deck. Now that’s a match made in heaven!

A Refreshing Look at the Question “What is my House Worth?”

As Winter is coming to a close, and Spring is right around the corner, many people are getting ready to list their homes or are currently looking for a home. The biggest question on everyone’s mind is how much will homes be going for this year.

We’ve already seen more and more listings popping up, and we’re seeing the Spring market starting to come early, as we expected. Let’s take a look at some of the stats for our area to get a better idea of what is going on.

In Douglas County for January 2017 (anyone else still writing 2016?), the average sales price* was:

  • $440,500 for Single Family Homes (up 6.1% from 1 year ago).

  • $280,000 for Condos/Townhomes (up 12% from 1 year ago).

In Arapahoe County for January 2017, the average sales price* was:

  • $355,000 for Single Family Homes (up 10% from 1 year ago).

  • $210,000 for Condos/Townhomes (up 13.5% from 1 year ago).

The graphic above shows that on average a buyer paid 100% of what the seller listed the home for last month. Also with low months of inventory, this keeps us solidly in a seller’s market for now until more homeowners decide to list their homes.

*Median sales price based on a twelve-month moving average

Monday, February 6, 2017

Gardening Tips

Gardening Tips

orange pansyJust like 2017 is the year of the rooster in the Chinese calendar, 2017 also has a designated bulb, perennial, annual and edible. While a national designation, these "2017 Year of" plants offer noteworthy advantages for Colorado gardeners. Read on to learn which plant was once considered a weed and which one won't be eaten by mice, voles, squirrels, rabbits or deer.

All of the 2017 designees could be good for your landscape - even if your garden plot is as small as a container on your patio.

2017: Year of the Daffodil

Did you know our country has always enjoyed daffodils because women sailing to the new world sewed the bulbs into the hems of their skirts because they had nowhere else to put them on the ships? And if you guessed they are the plant distasteful to many animals, you earn a gold star.

These early bloomers of spring are in our heritage and a great fit for gardens nibbled by wildlife. Daffodils are well suited to Colorado's climate and require little maintenance.

2017: Year of the Brassica

Say what? The word "brassica" denotes the family of hardy, early and late season edible crops that are so healthy for us. Think broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, rutabaga and turnips. These crops have been a major food source throughout history and are grown around the world.

Brassica are among foods highest in Vitamin C, antioxidants and other compounds that reduce risk of cancer. Simply buy a packet of seeds, follow the instructions on the package and you're off and running to enjoy healthy, home-grown veggies.

2017: Year of the Rose

The US National Flower is perennial of the year. Long before arriving in America, the rose was recorded in China some 7,000 years ago. Fortunately, today's varieties are easy-to-grow staples in the landscape. Plant them where they will have 6 to 8 hours of full sun and irrigate them with water-conserving drip irrigation. Drip avoids common diseases brought on by wet foliage watered by spray irrigation.

Roses require some pruning to produce many blooms, but the process is user friendly as long as you know when to prune and avoid the thorns. Ground cover roses require no pruning at all.

2017: Year of the Pansy
The plant considered a weed until early in the 19th century is the pansy. Now varieties are grown worldwide and enjoyed for their range of colors from near-black to bright yellow and many soft shades between. They are suitable for any sunny space and can be planted in the ground, in containers and hanging baskets. Pansies are edibles, so plant them with early lettuce and use their blooms to dress up salads. Blooms can also be candied to decorate cakes.

Colorado gardeners can always rely on pansies for transitional color between the warm and cool season - on the front end of winter turning to spring and on the back end of summer turning to fall

Information courtesy National Garden Bureau

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Tree Report from Colorado State University

Landscape Health Update: Cold Snap Lingering Effects

The sudden, dramatic temperature drop in early November 2014 (over 2 years ago) will have lingering impacts on trees along the front range of Colorado. Through early and mid-fall, warm temperatures persisted, in some cases setting record highs for that date such as (81-degrees F on October 24). Wild fluctuations preceded the deep freeze in the days leading up to the event, with daytime highs hovering around 60 and nighttime temps in the lower 30’s.

In preparation for winter, plants undergo a two-stage process: dormancy and chilling. This cold hardening enables woody plants to withstand winter weather. As day length shortens, deciduous woody plants undergo a process called resorbing, which converts leaf starch, proteins, and other complex molecules into soluble molecules, such as sugars and amino acids, and moves them into storage cells. These storage cells are in the inner bark of twigs, the outer sapwood of the main stem and in root tissues. In spring, the stored nutrients are remobilized and used for the flush of new leaves and burst of growth in other tissues.

Once resorbtion is complete, woody plants form an abscission layer between the branch and the leaf petiole. This abscission layer closes off pathways into the leaf, protecting the plant from drying out or invading diseases, and allowing the leaf to fall.

Gradually freezing temperatures ensure the plant is cold hardy for the remainder of winter.
On November 10, 2014 the high was 58F at 8 am, by 11 pm that day the temperatures had dropped to 16F. We then experienced 6 straight days not reaching above 32F.  Due to the warm, lengthy fall, trees and shrubs had not completed hardening off for winter. When our freeze hit, many plants such as elms, callery pears, and oaks had not completed the hardening off process. Many conifers and deciduous trees and shrubs showed freeze damage immediately with straw-colored needles or flash-frozen leaves. Buds and shoots suffered freeze injury that in some cases resulted in death of buds or the entire plant, however, long-term impact on these buds won’t be seen until spring.

Leaves left on trees from the rapid temperature change are known as a “marcescent” fall, defined as “to wither without falling off”. There are two types of marcescence, one type occurs naturally on trees such as English Oak, hazelnuts and beech. The other type, which is what happened to some of the Front Range trees, occurs when temperatures plummet before the abscission layer has formed, killing the leaves but leaving them attached to the tree. Marcescence does not directly harm the tree, but if there is a snowfall while the leaves still cling to the tree, marcescence creates a high risk of limb breakage from snow being held by the leaves. Winds eventually will remove the leaves.
Conifers showed damage immediately. While yellow or brown needles with some green where the needles attach to the branch, are a hallmark of winter damage to pines, symptoms from the intense cold are needle scorching, with tips turning white, gray, silver or straw-colored leaving green fascicles near the branch. Twig dieback can also occur. The freeze burned needles will not green up, but new needles will mask the damaged ones. If you are concerned about the evergreen’s health, gently press a bud, found on the tips of the twigs and branches, between your thumb and first couple fingers. If the bud feels soft, it is alive and will produce new growth the following spring. If the bud is dry and brittle, it is dead. Check in several places around the plant as not all buds may have been killed.

Monitor your trees this winter and next spring for sign of damage. Look for black, shriveled shoots or buds. Winter watering may help, but care of the trees in the spring will depend on how much freeze damage the trees have sustained. Additional fertilizer in the spring is not recommended. Conifers may grow out of the damage with new growth masking the frozen needles. Deciduous trees may need judicious pruning to remove the dead twigs and branches.

Colorado State University Extension, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Colorado counties cooperating. No endorsement of products mentioned is intended, nor is criticism implied of products not mentioned.

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