21 Feb

10 reasons to move to Boulder Colorado (Infographic)

Information & graphic courtesy of Tenge Law firm

Boulder has a reputation of being an expensive city to live in. In 2015, this Colorado city made it to the top 1% of the US’ most expensive housing markets, right up with California’s priciest neighborhoods such as Atherton and Woodside. But even with the average listing price of a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home set at around $418,344, it is intriguing to see why Boulder still manages to convince an increasing number of people to settle down within its enclaves. In this infographic called “10 Reasons Why You Should Move To Boulder”, Tenge Law Firm explores several compelling facts about this rarefied city and if it is truly worth its price tag.

I have loved Boulder ever since I took my undergraduate education at the University of Colorado.   It’s a rapidly changing city, but the outdoor activities and scenery are nearly unmatched.   So, without further delay, here are 10 reasons to move to Boulder Colorado.

18 May

Buying a home for your CU boulder student

Buying a home for your CU Boulder student

folsom-fieldFight CU down the field,
CU must win
Fight, fight for victory
CU knows no defeat
We’ll roll up a mighty score
Never give in
Shoulder to shoulder
We will fight, fight
Fight, fight, fight!

– University of Colorado Fight Song

First thing’s first, if you came to this page because your child has been accepted to the University of Colorado at Boulder, let me congratulate you!  As a CU alum myself, I could hardly think of a more beautiful college to attend.  Some of my best memories and friends are ones I made here at CU, and my education is a large part of why I am in the real estate industry now.

It should be noted that virtually all freshman at the University of Colorado will spend their first year living in on-campus dormitories. (3rd floor of Libby Hall, I remember mine well) but, that year goes quickly!  Before you know it, your student will be looking to find a new home in the very competitive rental market of Boulder.  Rentals go quickly here, and often are rather expensive.  If you must rent and want to be close to the campus, have a spacious apartment and not completely break the bank –  I recommend the Dakota apartments on 30th and Colorado Ave.  However, renters often change apartments and roommates, and moving every year can get frustrating and exhausting.

What are the benefits of buying a home for your CU Boulder student?

Although purchasing a home for your college student can seem like a steep investment at the time – you can be assured that:

  • Your student will not stress about moving to a new apartment each year.
  • You can guarantee a clean, stable housing situation for your child.
  • You will have some say over whom your student decides to have as roommates
  • You can give your child a sense of responsibility for maintenance and payment of their rent (the mortgage)
  • Since Boulder is one of the top 10 hottest real estate markets in the United States, you will likely have purchased a long term investment, which you can either sell or continue to generate income as a rental property.

 Popular housing locations around the University of Colorado at Boulder

CU Boulder is surrounded by neighborhoods on all sides  – To the West and South of the university is an area known as “The Hill” which contains areas of fraternity houses, restaurants and bars, and a very wide variety of homes in terms of quality and size.  Unfortunately, even small homes in this neighborhood generally list for over $1 million.

Personally, I spent my undergraduate years living just east of the campus.  The benefits of the east side of CU are fantastic – it’s not nearly as loud and boisterous as the Hill area, but is still within a quick walk/bike ride / bus ride to 29th street mall, the University of Colorado, or the Pearl Street Mall district.

landmark-lofts-boulder-for-sale-college-homeCurrently, there are seven listings for sale east of the University of Colorado in my immediate neighborhood – I would love to show you these homes that will benefit your student and your real estate portfolio long term.  A few listings include the Landmark Lofts  which are in a fantastic location near the campus.  There’s even a built-in wine, beer & coffee bar downstairs!  

Are you interested in buying a home for your CU Boulder student?  If so, contact me today.

 

14 May

Boulder Colorado Flood Safety

Boulder Colorado Flood Safety


colorado-flood-map

Last week in Boulder was pretty gloomy, and pretty wet.  In fact, it rained almost for 4 straight days or so, and the creeks were all running quite high.  I am sure that the rains of last week were bringing people’s memories back to the 2013 floods, and all the destruction and horror that went along with them.

So, I wanted to post some flood safety information here, just as a reminder!  Flood waters can appear suddenly via flash flooding, and although it may be easy to underestimate – you must remember that water is an incredibly powerful and sometimes deadly force.

Taken from the National weather Service:

What is the difference between a Flood Watch and a Flood Warning issued by the National Weather Service?

  • Flash Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood prone area move immediately to high ground. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.
  • Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening. A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.
  • Flood Watch: Be Prepared: A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.
  • Flood Advisory: Be Aware: An Flood Advisory is issued when a specific weather event that is forecast to occur may become a nuisance. A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.

 

Before a Flood

Sometimes floods develop slowly and forecasters can anticipate where a flood will happen days or weeks before it occurs. Oftentimes flash floods can occur within minutes and sometimes without any sign of rain. Being prepared can save your life and give you peace of mind.

Prepare an emergency kit:

It is good practice to have enough food, water and medicine on hand at all times to last you at least 3 days in the case of an emergency. Water service may be interrupted or unsafe to drink and food requiring little cooking and no refrigeration may be needed if electric power is interrupted. You should also have batteries, blankets, flashlights, first aid kit, rubber boots, rubber gloves, and a NOAA Weather Radio or other battery operated radio easily available.
Prepare your home:
  1. If you have access to sandbags or other materials, use them to protect your home from flood waters if you have sufficient time to do so. Filling sandbags can take more time than you may think.
  2. Have a professional install check-valves in plumbing to prevent flood waters from backing up into the drains of your home. Make sure your sump pump is working and consider having a backup. Make sure your electric circuit breakers, or fuses, are clearly marked for each area of your home.
  3. Since standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, ensure coverage by contacting your insurance company or agent to purchase flood insurance. This must be done before there is even a threat of flooding as insurance companies stop issuing policies if there is a threat of flooding. (i.e. an approaching hurricane). Many flood insurance policies take at least 30 days to go into effect so even if you can buy it as a storm is approaching, it may not protect your investment.

Charge Electronic devices:

 

Make sure your cell phone and portable radios are all charged in case you lose power or need to evacuate. Also make sure you have back-up batteries on hand.

During a Flood

 

bofloodDuring a flood, water levels and the rate the water is flowing can quickly change. Remain aware and monitor local radio and television outlets. Avoid flood waters at all costs and evacuate immediately when water starts to rise. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

Get out of areas subject to flooding and get to higher ground immediately.

Do not walk through flood waters. It only takes six inches of moving water to knock you off your feet. If you are trapped by moving water, move to the highest possible point and call 911 for help.

Do not drive into flooded roadways or around a barricade; Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Water may be deeper than it appears and can hide many hazards (i.e. sharp objects, washed out road surfaces, electrical wires, chemicals, etc). A vehicle caught in swiftly moving water can be swept away in a matter of seconds. Twelve inches of water can float a car or small SUV and 18 inches of water can carry away large vehicles.

 Turn around, don’t drown

25 Mar

Marijuana grow rooms and Colorado real estate

IN 2012, Colorado made world wide history by becoming one of the first two US states to adopt a law regulating cannabis (marijuana, sticky icky, the Buddha, trees, herb, whatever you want to call it) in a unprecedented passing of Amendment 64.   Amendment 64 added clauses to the Colorado Constitution allowing citizens 21 years or older to possess, use and cultivate the psychoactive plant Cannabis sativa.   

In my 3 months of exposure to the real estate industry and working as a REALTOR in Colorado, I have already had the opportunity to take two classes that give detail and explain how legal cannabis is effecting the Colorado real estate industry.  These classes have mostly been focused on marijuana grow rooms and Colorado real estate.  Below, I’d like to give you a brief synopsis of how legal cannabis can and is effecting home prices and the home buying and selling processes.

What does Amendment 64 say?

I am just going to cover the basics of the amendment here, but you can find a full version of the amendment by clicking here.

Amendment 64 allows Colorado residents age 21 and up:

To grow, cultivate, sell, and use cannabis on a personal level.  Colorado residents are allowed to have 6 plants, with up to three at any time being in the flowering stage (Cannabis is a annual plant that dies after flowering).

  • Tax revenue – the first $40 million in tax revenue from the sale of legal cannabis will be credited to public school construction funds.   This tax rate may not exceed 15%.
  • Localities may regulate whether marijuana sales establishments may be built.
  • employers do not have to permit or accommodate cannabis usage by employees.
  • A DUI law has been established for cannabis, which carries similar penalties as an alcohol related DUI.
  • Cannabis may not be purchased or transferred to anyone under the age of 21.
  • Cannabis can not be consumed openly in the public.
  • Colorado residents are allowed to purchase up to one ounce legally, non residents may purchase 1/4 of an ounce.
  • Provisions in the amendment allow for apartment complexes to deny marijuana users and growers leases.
  • Marijuana is still prohibited in national parks, forests, Denver International Airport and several other places.
  • This does not effect the already standing Colorado medical marijuana laws, which were passed in the early 2000’s.

Now, the crux of legal cannabis is how these marijuana grow rooms effect Colorado real estate.

Uncharted Waters

The Power of 6 

In the class the instructor harped on what he called the “power of 6 rule” which is supposed to refer to the amount of cannabis plants a citizen of Colorado may grow.  Technically speaking, someone is allowed to grow 6 plants at once, 3 of which may be flowering.  However, what happens when there are two or more residents?  Tenants?  Boarders?  Phil, the guy who hasn’t gotten off your couch since January?

(6xR) +(6×0) + (6xB)+(6xT)+(6xW) = ??

This makes it very difficult to know the exact amount of plants that might be growing in a room in a Colorado home.  There’s currently no registry for homes that are producing marijuana, so there is no real way to tell if the law is being followed in most cases.

 

What does all this mean in regard to Colorado Real Estate?

As a REALTOR:

    1. duties to client remain the same
    2. as an agent you must disclose any potential adverse material fact
    3. you have a right to refuse to take the listing
    4. you may choose to a specialist in this area
    5. marijuana user is not protected class under the fair housing act

Legal Duties:

    1. There may be physical impacts on thee house which may include inspection issues
    2. some physical impacts may have legal consequences
    3. marijuana use is limited to the approved municipalities
    4. real estate impacts are largely limited to the physical impacts of the pot growing operation
    5. there are no title, appraisal, insurance, or loan impact reported at this time.

Seller Agency

 

  • Did  you ask about the locked room?  Why is it locked??
  • who does this crop belong to?
  • Dilemmas:
    • if sellers are honest, don’t call the police
    • included or excluded in contract?
    • I doubt new owner will be happy with seller cleaning the area

Buyer Agency

 

  1. Fiduciary Duties
    1. duties remain the same
    2. can choose to be a specialist
    3. marijuana is not a protected class
    4. understanding legal effects
      1. Did you read MLS to see if there’s a grow?
      2. Did you ask buyer if they are allergic?
      3. where do you put information?  NOT PUBLIC – only broker to broker

Disclosure

 

  • seller’s property
  • mold disclosures
  • What does sellers property say about grows ,reworking of vents/ HVAC
  • Mold disclosure takes on new meaning – national jewish marijuana grow information shows that there are possible health consequences from having a grow room in your home.

Inspection

 

  • Does inspector have training/ experience for marijuana grows?
  • Often times the modifications are made by the grower and not a licensed contractor.
    • additional outlets, bypassing breakers, plumbing taps, disconnected HVAC lines, sump pit drains, etc
    • Electric inspection, Hvac inspection, Plumbing can all be potentially effected.

 

Inspection resolution

  • What need to be repaired?
    • how soon does marijuana grow need to be moved for proper cleaning
    • when will 2nd inspection take place to verify the condition and repairs
    • Final walk-through
  • Expensive repair items
    • cleaning process may take days to weeks
    • allow plenty f time if using an air test and lab to complete their tests
    • hazmat items removed
    • check attic, crawl space, under basement subfloor, outbuildings.

We can expect to see the number of grow rooms rise in Colorado as legal cannabis reaches into its third year.  Marijuana tourism to Colorado has increased exponentially, and it’s only safe to assume many will want to re-locate to Colorado in hopes of experiencing their own “homegrown” cannabis.

 

Some Extra notes from my class:

  • What’s a grow house?
    1. small operation for growing marijuana
      1. small vs large operation
    2. hydroponic systems
      1. chemicals
      2. lighting
      3. water
  • Large operation
    1. usually organized crime
      1. MO1 – home rented to unknowing landlord, entire house changed, very invasive
      2. MO2 – home purchases with cash.
  • 200 plants – 2-300,000 per year
  • Effects on the home
    1. electrical
    2. sturctural
    3. cosmetic
    4. mold
  • Electrical
    1. lighting and ventilation
    2. ad hock mods of electrical system
      1. doesnt want meter to suddenly show high energy usage
      2. $10,000 – 12,000 $$ to power per year
  • Ventilation
  • stealing electricity
    1. tampering with meter
    2. tapping electricity from upstream of the meter
      1. removal
      2. companies tipped off if electricity use is too ‘low’
      3. tap into service cables
  • Effect on Home
    1. causes very little damage to home
      1. if none of the home wiring has been used.
      2. replace underground service cable and meter as needed and you’re good to go.
    2. tampering may not be so ‘clean’ – a less savvy operator may cause significant damage to existing electrical system
      1. oversize breakers
      2. oversized main breaker
  • Danger of fire
    1. what’s the risk?
    2. investment properties pose high rise
  • structural damage
    1. not as likely
  • Ventilation
    1. strange duct work.
    2. high humidity can cause condensation in walls
    3. causes mold problem
  • Rot inside the walls
    1. ducts run into the attic
      1. common place mold is present in grow houses.
  • Is mold a concern?
    1. medias representation of mold is unfounded
    2. remove source of moisture
      1. may require extensive clean up
      2. COPD, lung allergies
  • Vapor barrier
    1. intended to keep humidity in the house, not in the wall structure
    2. good barrier goes a long way in protecting the wall cavity from high humidity environments
  • recognizing a grow house
    1. windows blacked out
    2. people coming and going at odd hours
  • Police surveillance
    1. heat monitoring
    2. FLUR
    3. hot exhaust gasses
    4. infra-red cameras
    5. Fly By in airplane to find suspect
    6. monitoring the home for strange activity
  • caution
    1. snow melting on roof
    2. poorly insulated roof
    3. bathroom vent discharging in attic
    4. recessed light fixtures improperly installed
  • Signs it’s a grow house
    1. police bust – forced front door
    2. concrete floor painted white
    3. screw holes
    4. unusual mods to plumbing
    5. holes in subfloor / ceiling
    6. unusual corrosion
  • Inspection and remediation
    1. does it really damage the house?
    2. amateur operations = possibe
    3. excessive tapping into electrical panal – large knockouts
    4. discoloration/ rot / mold
      1. can’t recognize something buried in the ground
      2. structural damage may have been finished over.
12 Mar

February 2015 Boulder Real Estate Market Sales Statistics

February 2015 Boulder Real Estate Market Sales Statistics

courtesy of baraonline.com

Year to Year Detached Home Sales

  • Detached home sales improved 14.4 percent in February 2015 compared to February 2014; 222 units versus 194 units.

 

Month to Month Detached Home Sales

  • Detached Home sales in February 2015 showed solid gains compared to January 2015, up by 33.7 percent; 222 units versus 166 units.

 

Detached Home Inventory Trends

  • The year to year inventory of detached homes for sale in February 2015 fell 12.8 percent compared to February 2014; 798 units versus 915 units.
  • The month to month inventory of detached homes for sale in February 2015 grew by 5.7 percent compared to January 2015; 798 units versus 755 units.

 

Year to Year Condominium and Townhome Sales

  • Condominium and townhomes sales grew by 6.1 percent in February 2015 compared to February 2014; 87 units versus 82 units.

 

Month to Month Condominium and Townhome Sales

  • Condominium and townhome sales jumped 24.3 percent in February 2015 compared to January 2015; 87 units versus 70 units.

 

Condominium and Townhome Inventory Trends

  • The year to year inventory of condominiums and townhomes for sale dropped 29.1 percent in February 2015 compared to February 2014; 197 units versus 278 units.
  • The month to month inventory of condominiums and townhomes for sale in February 2015 grew by 10.0 percent compared to January 2015; 197 units versus 179 units.

 

**-Single family and condominium and townhome sales saw strong gains in February 2015 compared to January 2015; 33.7% and 24.3%.

-Single family and condominium and townhome inventories showed modest to good improvement in February 2015 compared to January 2015; 5.7% and 10.0%.

-Single family and condominium and townhome sales gained ground in February 2015 compared to February 2014; 14.4% and 6.1%

-Single family and condominium and town home inventories again showed year over year drops in February 2015 compared to February 2014, 12.8% and 29.1% respectively.

27 Feb

Understanding your FICO Score

Removing the mystery about credit scores

fico-score-caleb-block-boulder-colorado-realtor

Use this quick reference guide to help in understanding your FICO Score.

There are five main factors that influence your FICO Score:

  • Payment History.

    • Payment history accounts for about 35% of your score.  Paying your bills on time is the best way for you to receive a high FICO score.
  • Your Current Debt.

    • About 30% of your score is determined by how much you currently owe.  If you owe a lot of money in relation to your available credit limits, you may appear to be over extended.  The key to keep balances low on unsecured debt such as credit cards.  Even closing unused accounts may not improve your score.
  • How long you’ve had credit.

    • The longer you’ve had credit and handled it responsibly, the better your FICO score will be.  THe length of your credit history accounts for 15% of your score.
  • Applications for new credit.

    • Applying for several credit accounts in a short period of time could indicate that you may soon be over extended and may lower your score.  This accounts for about 10% of your FICO score.
  • Your credit mix.

    • The final 10% of your score is determined by the kinds of credit accounts you have – credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, financee company loans and mortgage loans – and how many of each!

There are other elements, mostly subcategories of the items listed above, that go into your score, including your occupations, time and present job, time at your current address, home ownership, and much more.  For more information or to obtain a copy of your FICO score, visit www.myfico.com.  Hopefully this sheds some light on understanding your FICO score!

17 Feb

Colorado Real Estate Industry Snapshot

bank3Colorado Real Estate Industry Snapshot for 2014

Colorado consistently receives top national rankings for quality of life, as well as a place to start and succeed in business.  Recent honors and recognition include:

Best Place to Live and Work

Boulder, Carbondale, Durango, Highland and Louisville (Sunset.com)

Happiest Cities in the US 2014

Boulder #2, Ft Collins/ Loveland  #3 (Gallup-Healthways)

#3 Technology Industry Employment Concentration

(TechAmerica Cyberstates 2013)

#3 Research & Development Inputs

(Milken Institute 2013)

#4 Fastest Job Growth 2014 – 2.67%

(Forbes Magazine)

#5 Best States for Business 2013

Best Hunting and Fishing Towns

Craig #20, Grand Junction #30

(Forbes Magazine 2013)

Top 100 Best Cities

Aurora, Colorado Springs, Denver

(Vibe 2013)

progress5HOME OWNERSHIP:

  • Nearly 66% (3.5 million) of Colorado’s 5.2 million residents are homeowners.
  • Nearly 80% of homeowners in Colorado have lived in their house for more than 1 year.
  • Median household income in Colorado is $58,244

 

Icons made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com is licensed by CC BY 3.0
27 Jan

5 Things to Know About Boulder Before you Move

5 Things to Know About Boulder Before you Move

Boulder, Colorado is a great place to live – it’s beautiful, progressive, and full of healthy fun loving people.  However, I have been thinking a lot about what an out- of towner might want to know before moving to Boulder.   So, here’s my list of 5 things to know about Boulder before you move here.

5. You’ll want to get in shape, because everyone else is!

boulder-triathlon-caleb-block-real-estateWhen I originally moved from Parker Colorado to Boulder in order to attend school at the University of Colorado, I thought I was in pretty decent shape.  I had played soccer for my high school Varsity team for two years, and I did plenty of running.  One of the first things that blew me away about Boulder Colorado is how fit everyone is here.  It’s home to one of, if not the, highest percentage of triathlon athletes in the United States.  And even if the triathlon isn’t your cup of tea, there’s plenty of hardcore climbers, boulder-ers, bicyclists, hikers, & sports players.  If you live in Boulder, fitness is going to be part of the package.

 

4. It’s not the hippy town you think it is.

cartman-hippies-boulder-coloradoWhile Boulder may have had a reputation for it’s liberal outlook on life, much of the ‘hippy’ culture has faded back since I have lived in the city.  Sure, you will definitely encounter a higher percentage of dread-lock haired folks wandering about, but the population is getting closer to something you would find in Silicon Valley – as many of the start up companies in the city are high tech businesses.  Outside of the college population, you’d be surprised at just how normal some of these people are.

 

3.  You’re going to want to get a taste for craft beer.

Craft-Beer-Fest-boulder-colorado-caleb-block-real-estateBoulder, as well as the rest of Colorado, is blessed to have a TON of great local craft breweries.  If you’re a hop head like myself, I would strongly recommend a brew-tour as part of your visit.  Some of my favorite breweries include:

  • Boulder Beer
  • Twisted Pine
  • West Flanders
  • Avery Brewing
  • Upslope Brewing
  • Asher Brewing
  • Finkel and Garf
  • The Mountain Sun ( and Southern Sun)
  • New Planet Beer

 

2. Getting to town can be a bumpy ride.

caleb-block-real-estate-highway-36-boulder-colorado-turnpikeIf you have never been to Boulder, Colorado before, the main highway that connects it to Denver is US – 36.  Unfortunately, 36 has been under construction for several years in order to widen it, but this has caused countless commuter headaches and doesn’t appear to be anywhere close to being complete for years to come.  I would avoid travelling here during rush hour if it’s at all possible.  There are a lot of hazards on the highway, so please drive safe getting here!

 

1.  The town really mellows out during the summer months.

CU-boulder-campus-caleb-block-real-estate-boulder-coloradoPart of what makes Boulder famous, of course, is that it is home to the University of Colorado.  However, after May the large population of CU Buffs mostly go back home, and the town becomes a peaceful paradise.  Summers are my favorite here, and you really notice how much quieter the town becomes without the sometimes rambunctious college population.  It’s the BEST time of year to live in Boulder!

 

16 Sep

Welcome to my Boulder Real Estate Blog

Welcome to my Boulder Real Estate blog!  I will be using this blog to cover news of the Real estate markets in Boulder, Colorado and all over the state.  Check back in often for news about Colorado, and tips on buying or selling your home!

Contact Caleb Block




caleb-block-real-estate-boulder