Castle Rock, CO Real Estate News

By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
I really like the photo sharing website, Flickr.    I know there are lots of different photo websites available and I'll admit I'm not very familiar with any of the other ones, but I'd just like to share why I like Flickr. It's FREE!  However, I suggest the "Pro" account for $25 / year because it gives you more bandwidth and some other nice capabilities. You can Blog straight from Flickr to several sites like Blogger and Wordpress.  (unfortunately, not to Activerain)  But then, it is a simple process to cut and paste it into Activerain if you want it here, too. There are specific groups dedicated to bloggers where you can post your images with links to your blog. Opportunity - I've already had contact with someone who commented on one of my photos and shared the fact that they were movi...
Comments 10
By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
I'm building a new home and I want to install an alarm system. I think I want something more than just the sign that says, "Home Security Provided by Colt"!  (Even though Colt will definitely be on the premises!  :-) We'll be located off the beaten path so I would like to install a monitored alarm system and would be very interested in your advice. The only two companies that come immediately to mind are ADT and Brinks, and I'm sure there are other good ones.  I lean toward ADT because they are the one recommended by my insurance company, USAA.  After 38 years with USAA, I trust them - but I trust friends more.     So, if any of you have personal experience with these companies (or someone else), I would sure appreciate your opinion. Thanks, Mike [Please - no company reps trying to sell...
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By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
JOTT is one of those really cool little applications for the iPhone (maybe other phones, too - I don't know) that can be a true productivity tool. I frequently use it to leave myself notes while driving - be sure and check your local laws about cell phone usage while driving before doing this one. :-) What it does is allow you to dictate a short message to your phone, which is then uploaded to the JOTT website where their people convert it to text.  In a few minutes, it is back on your phone as a text note.  But, it is even better than that - your notes are also available on your JOTT website, and can also be synced with their free computer application on a PC or a Mac.  Their voice to text isn't perfect so another nice feature is the ability to edit your notes anywhere - phone, compute...
Comments 13
By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
POWERHOUSE REAL ESTATE GROUPS  FORM PARTNERHIP (Denver, CO – April 23, 2009)  Two long-time Denver real estate leaders today announced the formation of a new partnership and a new vision for the future of the local real estate industry.  Prestige Real Estate Group and RE/MAX Professionals are becoming RE/MAX Professionals: Colorado's most Prestigious Real Estate Company (www.prestigiousdenverhomes.com). As one entity, they will offer their customers the experience and expertise needed to navigate today's housing market. "Both of these companies have individually earned many coveted industry awards and accolades," said Rob Terranova, Mountain States Regional Vice President, RE/MAX International.  "This partnership is a joining of two very strong companies into one great company." The ne...
Comments 3
By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
Postage rates are going up again! ? ! Yes, you already knew that.  On May 11, 2009, the United States Postal Service is raising their rates again.  The price of a 1 oz. First-Class letter goes from $.42 to $.44.  Now, to complement all of those 42 centers you have already, you'll need to buy 2 cent stamps to go with them.  However, there is a way to beat this in the future.   How?  With the Forever Stamp.  This is a stamp that you can still buy for 42 cents, but it will always be valid as First-Class postage no matter what the rate goes to.  So, buy all you think you'll need (or can afford) for a lifetime and no more worries about rising rates.
Comments 14
By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
Personal protection can be a touchy subject. Personally, I'm a big fan of a Colt .45 semiautomatic pistol and a concealed carry permit.  But I realize some people aren't comfortable with firearms.  So, the next best option might be pepper spray.  A third possibility is your car keys - that's right your car keys!  And I don't mean the keys themselves (although they can be a formidable weapon), I'm talking about that little black thing with buttons that unlocks your car doors! A while back, I got one of those forwarded emails with a safety tip in it and, of course, I sent it on to others.  The tip was to keep your car keys by your bed at night and if you hear someone trying to break in, you can trigger your car alarm and hopefully scare them away. It occurred to me that this would be a gr...
Comments 25
By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
Pitter - patter - pitter - patter - pitter - patter - - - - - - - - plop. I stop typing in my computer and look down from my desk to see our little Maltese, Bella, standing there over her favorite toy, a small, stuffed leopard (looks kind of like the pink panther) with one of those squeakers inside.  She has an expectant look on her face - a “come play with me” look. She is all of six-pounds of white, furry, fluff and has more energy than the famous Energizer Bunny.  All tensed up and ready to pounce at the slightest hint that I might be reaching for the toy, she grabs it immediately, when I start to bend down to pick it up.  Then, the fun begins.  We’ll play tug-of-war for a few seconds until I either get it away from her or I just let her have it.  If I get the toy, I throw it and the...
Comments 16
By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
By all current indications, the "storm" is receding.  The residential real estate market, here in Denver, is beginning to show signs of recovery, finally.  The salient statistics for our market are: Current active inventory is at a 6 year low. Homes under contract are up over this time last year. Most of these positives, so far, are in the homes priced under $500,000.  What this means is that we should start to see some price appreciation in that price range as the market shifts from a buyer's market to a seller's market.  So what does this mean to buyers and sellers? Buyers need to: Get pre-approved. Lock in these low interest rates. First-time home buyers need to act soon to take advantage of the tax credit that is available only until Dec. 1, 2009. Look in the upper price ranges beca...
Comments 2
By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
Should home buyers require a survey of the property?  Maybe - Sometimes - Explore other options. Here in Colorado, in subdivisions, buyers rarely ask for a survey of the property.  (Acreage, of course, is a completely different scenario and USUALLY needs a survey to verify boundaries, easements, encroachments, etc.) However, even smaller lots in the middle of subdivisions are not immune to "hidden problems" regarding the properties integrity.  These kinds of problems, though rare, can include: encroachments easements unrecorded rights and other adverse conditions Sometimes, in lieu of a survey, a faster, cheaper option is the "Improvement Location Certificate" or ILC.  These can be used to find encroachments onto and off of the subject property and to identify boundary problems regardin...
Comments 0
By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
St. Elmo, Colorado. This little tiny town may be small but it is big on character!  This is the storefront of one of the few buildings in St. Elmo and if you go there, probably the small general store will be the only business that is "open for business", but you'll probably still find something in the store that you just can't live without! To get there, you will need to drive about 8 miles south of Buena Vista and then turn west on Rd. 162.  Then it's a steady climb and a beautifully scenic drive until you reach St. Elmo.  That is usually the end of the road.  To continue from there, you will need a high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle and even then only during a few months in the summer time. This big little town is well worth the time so, go take a look. But be careful - rumor has ...
Comments 8
By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
I know - this is CRAZY!  I have 185 passwords and many of them are different. Paula Swayne wrote a post today, "PASSWORD, PASSWORD, WHO REMEMBERS THE PASSWORD?", where she talks about the enormous number of passwords we're all required to use and a software program that offers to solve that problem.  The program is Roboform.  It's for PC's, so since I'm a Mac guy I won't go into any detail except to say I have used it and it's great! For us Mac users, I highly recommend 1Password.  It is awesome and basically does it all.  It will: remember your passwords, credit card info, and secure notes, work with Firefox and Safari, sync passwords between computers (with a little tweaking), automatically fill in the needed info with just a couple of keystrokes generate very strong, secure passwords...
Comments 25
By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
"Uncle Sam" is doing a few things right!  They have finally stepped up to help responsible homeowners continue to be able to afford their mortgage payments. Most homeowners pay their mortgages and pay them on time.  But there are circumstances, often beyond our control, that make it difficult to continue to make those payments. The current economic difficulties have led to lost jobs and lower incomes for many Americans. The drop in values of most homes has made it impossible for many people to refinance their mortgage at a lower, more affordable interest rate. Some have been caught in the "increasing interest rate" TRAP of adjustable loans. More information about exactly what help is available and who is eligible for this assistance can be found at MakingHomeAffordable.Gov. There are t...
Comments 6
By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
Let’s clear one thing up first.  What you paid for your house or what it USED to be worth are meaningless numbers.  Now, please don’t “kill the messenger" but that is just the cold, hard truth.  I feel your pain - I’m about to put my own house on the market for less than I paid for it almost six years ago - financial losses of any kind hurt.But, instead of dwelling on a painful past, let’s consider some possibilities for a brighter financial future.If you currently own a home worth $300,000 and you are considering selling and moving up to a more expensive home - say $400,000, is this a good time or should you wait for your home to appreciate BEFORE you sell and make the move.Some quick calculations show why now is the time:  (Here, I’m assuming 5% annual appreciation - this is just an e...
Comments 7
By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
Good News!  The "Conficker" worm that was supposed to wreak havoc on PC's around the world, today, has been broken.  Well, sort of - from what I read, they've figured out how to get rid of it but maybe not stop it completely.  We'll have to "stay tuned" for more on that one. What all of the media attention regarding this worm threat should have done, though, is remind all of us about the multitude of threats that are lurking just on the other side of that firewall.  Spams, scams, a new virus, computer eating worms, Phishers - the list seems to be growing. So, what can you do? install a good anti-virus/anti-spyware/firewall/etc. program and THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK! Did that email come from someone you expect to be sending to you - are the questions it asks reasonable (they should NEVER as...
Comments 6
By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
  I love it when spring comes here in Castle Rock.  The trees are budding out.  Tulips are starting to push their way up out of the ground.  Sixteen inches of new snow and wind chills down around zero degrees!  I know - I know - you folks up in North Dakota have weather like this in July - what am I complaining about?  Actually, I'm not complaining.  I love Colorado and the weather, here.  This time of year is when we typically get a lot of our snow, so it's just a part of life here.   It's kind of like the real estate market.  There are dry times when home sales slow and prices drop.  Then there are the "flurries" of activity when markets surge and we all enjoy appreciation of our homes, the biggest asset for most of us. The key to all of these "situations", whether it be weather or r...
Comments 6
By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
I'm sure most of you read several blogs on a regular basis.  I do too.  As much as I enjoy Activerain, it's not the easiest place to get around to all of those blog subscriptions that you may want to check often. So, what's the answer?  READERS! I know there are many good blog/rss feed readers available, but the two I use are BlogLines and Google Reader. They both allow you to easily subscribe to the blogs you want to keep up with and then read those posts in one central location.  Then, if you want to comment on a particular post, you can easily move straight to that post to write your comments.   They are both Free offer many other nice features for highlighting or saving those posts you want to return to and work in popular browsers on any computer you happen to have access to.      ...
Comments 9
By Mike Hendren
(Mike Hendren Photography)
Just three short days until the Vernal (spring) Equinox.  Of course, here in Colorado, that does NOT mean the end of winter since April is one of the snowier months, here.  We've even had snow during the first week in June! This is also one of my favorite times of year (the autumn is the other - something about change) - the grass turns green, buds are appearing on trees, and flowers will soon be in bloom - - - sort of a renewal or new beginning that takes place each year. We have the typical rituals of spring cleaning to deal with and, of course, the lawn mower will need servicing, but more importantly, I like to use this time of year to review my business model, see what's working and what needs tweaking, and try to stimulate the growth of my client relationships. One of my new "trick...
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