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What is Fort Collins Connexion and Why Should you Care?

Whether you have lived here forever, or you are new to town you have likely seen groups of workers on the sides of the road. As they work they unravel giant spools of orange conduit into the ground. This is part of a new City of Fort Collins initiative to provide Gigabit speed internet to residents for a low cost. This is their Fort Collins Connexion program.

Fort Collins Connexion Fiber Optic Junction Box

City Utilities

Since the city is a utility provider for services like water and electricity it only makes sense that they would continue down this path. They recognize that this means providing internet service. This is because internet is more of a must have utility than a luxury like cable television. Forward thinking Fort Collins Connexion is just one of the many things that sets our community here in Fort Collins apart from other places in the country. 

Lack of Competition

Many people are fed up with their current service provider because they do not have the opportunity to switch. In Fort Collins Xfinity has historically been the only option for high speed cable internet. This has all changed with Connexion. The reliability of this service should be on par with the other utilities provided by the city. This is because these fiber optic cables are buried just like most of our electrical infrastructure. It will only be a few short years before most homes in Fort Collins have access to reliable high speed internet at competitive prices.

Future Availability

Over the next few years the city is improving capacity around town. You will see door hangers will be left behind on homes when the service becomes available in their area. If you have recently moved to the area you might be curious if the service is available at your home. To learn more you can visit Fort Collins Connexion’s Website and sign up for email updates.

What Are The Next Steps That Occur When You List Your Home For Sale?

We have discussed the report I provided you with information regarding the value of your home in today’s market and how long it might take to sell. You are comfortable with what I have told you and feel ready to get your home on the market. You would like to have it on the market as soon as possible. The next step is to sign all of the listing paperwork. This includes signing all disclosures that will be provided to the buyer, the closing instructions, loan payoff and closing information and the Exclusive Right to Sell Listing Contract. We also discuss showing instructions for your home.

Next we will go through your home room by room and I will provide you with staging advice. The way that we live in our home is not the way that our home should look when our home is on the market. I will provide you with suggestions to make your home appeal to the highest number of buyers and provide you with the best chance of multiple offers. When walking through your home I will also be making a list of décor items that I can bring to dress up your home. This may mean new towels for the bathroom to be used for showings, it may mean pictures for the wall, a lamp for the bedside table or any number of other things. I will schedule a time to come back for the final staging. I will bring all of the décor and place it where it should go. At this point you will be ready for pictures.

Pictures of your home are taken by a professional photographer. He will come at the scheduled time. I usually am present for this appointment. We will turn all lights on and he will go room by room photographing your home. Outside front pictures and back are also taken. This process usually takes an hour or more. He may also take the time for a video. You do not have to be present for the pictures, in fact it is much easier if you are not home. This allows the photographer to focus on showing your home in the best light, rather than answering questions and trying to work around you. Once pictures are taken the photographer will do his thing and make the pictures look their best. I will receive the photos within a few hours to a day. Once staging and photos are done you are ready to go in MLS. This process of staging and photography can be a quick as you need it, all occurring in 24 to 48 hours or can take longer if
needed. We are working together to make this happen. If you need the home on the market ASAP, we can make it happen. If we have some time, we can stretch the process.

Necessary paperwork has been signed. We have photos, your home is staged and ready. The next step is entering your home into the realtor’s MLS system. This can take a couple of hours. Brochures are made, sign is ordered and put up with brochures in the box. From the realtor’s MLS system the listing information is populated to over 600 websites across the country for buyers to find and look at. Showings calls can begin right away. Make sure that when you have a showing set up that you are not home, but you leave the lights on and ready to welcome that buyer for your home.

How Do We Arrive At A Value For Your Home?

You have decided to sell your home and have asked me to come over and meet with you and get you ready to go on the market.  What do we do next?  I have you give me a tour of your home.  During that tour you tell me about all of the recent improvements you have done and I also note upgrades that your home has.  For example granite countertops rather than laminate, large yard backing to open space rather than a yard in the middle of the neighborhood surrounded by other homes.  After this meeting I take all of this information back to the office.

Next, I sit at the computer and start doing my research.  I am looking first a homes in the neighborhood that have sold in the last 3 months that are similar.  Then I look at homes that have sold nearby that are similar.  By similar I mean first that the are approximately the same square footage. The homes that I am comparing to your home should have finished basements if you do and if you don’t the best homes to compare you to should not have a finished basement either. Then I look to see that they are the same style.  It is important to compare ranch style homes to ranch homes, two stories to two stories and bi-levels to bi-level homes.  Then I look to see that the homes that I am comparing to your home have the same number of baths and same number of garage spaces.  Then I check to see the number of bedrooms.  This will often give me a price range.  I will see a home that is clearly better than you and one that is not as quite as nice.  Those two homes have set the range.  Next,  I look within that range for the homes that are as close to like your home as possible. Similar upgrades etc.  After this research I should be able to give you a $10,000 to $15,000 range of what I think your home will sell for in today’s market.

In addition to doing the research myself,  I also have my licensed assistant do the same research.  He is able to have an objective look.  He does not know you and did not see your home.  I share with him important details and he arrives at homes that he thinks are comparable to your home and a value for your home.  We then meet and review the information.  Sometimes we arrive at different values and have come up with different comparable properties.  If that is the case we review and decide what should be included in my report and what should be left out.  Perhaps I forgot to tell my assistant that you have remodeled your kitchen.  Not knowing that will affect the value of your home. By having both of us do this research, you are getting two opinions wrapped into one report on your home.

Next, I get back together to review the completed report.  We look at the value and also how long it appears that it will take you sell your home.  If you want your home to sell faster than the average length of time that similar homes have taken to sell you may need to adjust your price to have your home sell faster.  If you are comfortable with the value of your home and the time line, then we are ready to go on to the next steps to put your home on the market.

Next week we will cover what those next steps are. 

How the Streets in the City of Fort Collins Got Their Names

While many often take the streets they drive on for granted the inquisitive among us may wonder how their names came to be. Wonder no more because today we will shed some light on how some of the more well known streets got their names. 

The first street that often comes to mind is College Avenue. This extension of Highway 287 runs North to South in Fort Collins and is essentially our main street. It probably isn’t hard to guess how College Avenue got its name considering it passed directly by Colorado Agricultural College or what is now known as Colorado State University. Similarly it isn’t hard to figure out where the East to West running Mountain Avenue got its name being one of the first major offshoots from College Avenue in Old Town and into the storied West.

Many of the streets in the Old Town Area that run East to West were named after trees. Take for instance Pine, Maple, Oak, Olive and Locust streets. This is in juxtaposition to North to South running streets which were named after historical Fort Collins residents. 

Another street worth mentioning is that of Elizabeth. At first glance this seems like a fairly pedestrian name, and in other cities you might well expect that a developer would choose to name the street after a significant person in their life. Yet this is not the case in Fort Collins. Elizabeth is named after Elizabeth “Auntie” Stone, a historical figure here in town who is best known for building the first permanent dwelling in Fort Collins.

Laporte in French roughly translates to “gateway” and as french trappers were some of the first non indigenous settlers to the area, and named several other things (Cache La Poudre anyone?). The trappers viewed the Fort Collins area as a gateway to the Rocky Mountains hence the street name Laporte which runs from East to West and into the foothills. Some also say this name was a tribute to the former Camp Collins which moved from the Laporte Area to Fort Collins after a flood in 1864.

Finally two fun facts. Did you know the longest street name in Fort Collins is Montezuma Fuller, which happens to be little more than an alleyway. Additionally, Larimer County’s “standardization of road naming criteria” prohibits the use of cardinal directions, North, South, East, West etc as street names.

Fall in Love: Some Fun Things To Do In Northern Colorado

Fall is here! There are all sorts of activities to do in and around Fort Collins. Here is a list of ideas of fun things to do In Northern Colorado this fall. Grab this list and get out there and enjoy yourself.

1) Take in a CSU football game.

This tops the list of our fun things to do in Northern Colorado this fall. If you have not been to the new stadium, is it beautiful! Go to tickets-center.com and plan a fun time!

2) Autumn colors are sure to be beautiful come mid to end of September.

The exact time cannot be determined much in advance. Listen to the TV news or check the Coloradoan for more details. They will usually announce when we are at peak viewing for colors. Then take a trip up the Poudre Canyon and while you are there why not stop at the historic Mishawaka for a burger.

3) Elk Bugling at Rocky

It is not fall if you have not gone to Rocky Mountain National Park and heard the elk bugle. It is the most and beautiful sound that just cannot be described. Once you arrive at the park the ranger can give you advise on where best to go. Best times are in the evening.

4) Pick a Pumpkin!

A great place to go is Bartels Farm. This family operated farm was established in 1905. They have pumpkins that start at just $1.00. They offer hay rides and a corn maze too. All sorts of fall fun is available at 3424 E. Douglas Rd. Fort Collins. Be sure to call for their hours. 970-493-3853.

5) Road Trip To See the Gnomes

Fall is a great time to just hit the road and go for a drive with no particular destination in mind. Take a trip up to Red Feather lakes. Try your hand at fishing at many of the local lakes in that area that are open to the public. Ask for directions to the Gnome Road. This is where locals have created their own attraction of gnomes on the side of the road. See if you can find the Elvis Gnome. Do not take them, break them or relocate them. Just enjoy!

6) Local Beer Offerings

Sip a seasonal beer on a patio. New Belgium is sure to have a new one this year. Go check it out.

7) Outdoor Theater

Another of our fun things to do in Northern Colorado this fall is to go see an outdoor movie at the Lyric. The lyric offers outdoor movies all summer and into the fall. The Lyric is located at 1209 N. College Ave. Fort Collins. For what is showing and schedule go to lyriccinema.com

8) Autumn Apple Picking

How about going to pick apples. You do not have to live in Wisconsin to enjoy doing this. You can do it right here at Adam’s Apple Orchard in Ault. Visitors are invited to pick their own apples during their approximately 11-week season. They also have a general store. They are located at: 42135 Co Rd. 43 Ault.

9) Go For A Hike

One of the wonderful things about hiking in the fall is that the days do not get as warm. Take a jacket in case the weather changes and remember that the days are not as long. Rocky Mountain National Park is full of great hiking and the trails are not as busy this time of year!

10) Visit A Farmers Market

The season is winding down but there is still great things to find at the farmers market. Check out the Fort Collins Sunday Market that is open until November.

Fall is a great time to enjoy northern Colorado. The fun does not stop just because the days are getting cooler. There is still plenty to do! Get out and enjoy! If you need any suggestions we are always happy to be your local guide, just contact us and we would be glad to help.

Why You Should Be Working With An Experienced Agent

“Experience is the teacher of all things.” -Julius Caesar

Does it really make a difference to work with an experienced agent?  I have been ask this question more than once. I feel it does make a difference.  With nearly 24 years of experience working in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado I know that I know so much more than I did 20 years ago.  But you still want to know what difference it does make.  So I will tell you.  

Working with an experienced agent can save you money.  Experience teaches you how to negotiate.  Your agent may have even taken classes on how to be a better negotiator. In addition to strong negotiation skills, your agent can direct you to the best lender with the lowest fees and interest rates. These lenders can also provide a smooth process, and get us to the closing table on time. All of this saves you money. An experienced agent can guide you through the inspection so that you can end up with a home in the condition that you need for long term enjoyment. That can save you money long term. They can save you money through resources that they have at their fingertips.  

Working with an experienced agent can save you time.  Experienced agents know how to listen. They hear what you are saying and perhaps what you are not saying.  They see body language and know how to read it.  All of this can shorten the length of time that it takes for you to find the home that is perfect for you.  They know what questions to ask and how to direct you to make the best decisions for your and your family.  In a hot market saving time can mean saving money as prices climb. 

When selling your home working with an experienced agent can save you frustration.  An experienced agent knows the red flags and can avoid them.  They know what to suggest that you do so there are not problems.  They also know what to do to keep a transaction process running so you can keep smiling all of the way through.

Experienced agents have the know-how, the skills, education and the resources to keep a transaction running smoothly and their clients smiling all of the way through to the end and beyond.  Choose your agent carefully and enjoy the experience. Contact us so that we can provide a smooth real estate transaction from start to finish.

Thinking of Selling Your Home Yourself in this Hot Sellers Market?

It is easy to think that when it is a Seller’s Market, inventory is low that you could and should just go ahead and sell your home yourself. After all, buyers are snatching up any home that comes on the market and buying those homes at top dollar.  It is tempting to be a for sale by owner.  But, in a word, DON’T.  

I know that it is easy for me to say that.  I am a Realtor and I benefit when someone uses me to sell their home.  So, why is it a mistake to sell your home yourself.  Most sellers decide to sell their homes themselves so that they will save the commission and net more money.  Research has shown that this is not the case.  Most sellers who sell their homes themselves end up netting a lower median price on their homes.  It is hard to negotiate for yourself. The buyer is wanting the best deal.  The agent for the buyer is looking our for their clients.  You have no one looking out for you and helping you insure that your needs are met.  

Another concern in selling your home yourself is Safety!  When you are a for sale by owner it is difficult to control who enters your home.  You do not know if the people that are entering your home are “real” buyers or someone casing your home to later steal from you. 

When you are a for sale by owner it is difficult to have a strong online strategy.  Over 97% of all buyers shop online for their home.  How are buyers going to find your home?  What type of photos are you going to have of your home?  Are you going to provide a virtual tour?  All of this is important. 

When you are a for sale by owner how will you make sure that the buyer that wants to buy your home really can afford it and the lender that they might be working with can really close the deal?  You do not want to waste time with a buyer that cannot buy.  How do you insure all of this?

In our litigious society how do you make sure that you are providing the buyer with the necessary forms and information as a part of the process so that they will not sue you for failure to disclose or any number of other things.  A Realtor can help you avoid legal jeopardy. This alone can save you thousands of dollars.  

It is tempting to think that selling a home is easy and anyone can do it.  You just stick a sign in the yard and the buyers come and they will want to buy.  Then you just go to closing and collect your money.  Things are not always as they seem.  This is one of those situations.  Hire a trained, experienced, top agent to help you sell your home and look out for you.  You will be money ahead in the end. 

Fort Collins Hidden Neighborhoods

Here’s one of the best kept secret in the area.  North East Fort Collins, East of I-25 is a special area.  I frequently have buyers say, “I don’t want to live East of I-25.”  Here are some great neighborhoods that they are missing out on by saying that, Clydesdale Park and Estates, Serratoga Falls, Vista Bonita and Trails at Vista Bonita.  These neighborhoods are located East of I-25 just off Highway 14.   The location makes for easy commuting.  It also makes it quick and easy to get to almost anywhere in Fort Collins using I-25 as your main street. Each one of these neighborhoods is unique and special in their own way. 

Vista Bonita is the oldest neighborhood with homes first being built there in the mid 1970’s. The neighborhood was finally built out in the mid 2000’s with the last section being named “Trails at Vista Bonita.”  Vista Bonita and the Trails are special because they share Baker Lake.  This lake is 13 acres, in the center of the neighborhood.  Residence use the lake for swimming, fishing, and non-motorized boats.  The neighborhood is also known for their amazing Fourth of July celebration, highlighted by a great fireworks display. People love the neighborhood because it is quiet, close to everything and love the wildlife and the feeling of being away from it all.  Walking trails are also a big part of the neighborhood. 

Just across Highway 14 from Vista Bonita is Clydesdale Park and Clydesdale Estates. This neighborhood was developed by Stoner in the early 2000’s. The unique style of the exterior elevations of the homes makes them have a “Colorado Style.”  The estates section of the neighborhood has large lots the Park section is known for the walking paths through the neighborhood and the small ponds that attract ducks and geese.  Views can be amazing from this neighborhood.  The undeveloped lots went to the bank during the financial crisis and the final lots were built out by Journey Homes and Richmond.  

Serratoga Falls was intended to be a high end neighborhood when it was developed.  Home prices in 2007-2008 were to start in the $700,000’s and go up from there. Then the down turn in the housing market occurred and homes in that price range were not being built and people were not building custom homes. Today the neighborhood has a nice mix of homes and is delightful with extensive landscaping and open space throughout.  The mountain views from the neighborhood can be breathtaking. 

No matter what you have in mind when you say HOME….there is something to meet your needs in North East Fort Collins.  Go explore and you just might find HOME!

1 Small Thing That Can Help Your Home Valuation and a Couple Others To Avoid

We often say that the front door is your first chance to make a good impression. Therefore, a front porch refresh can be very beneficial if you are planning to put your home on the market. Statistically speaking homes with a front door painted black sell for as much as $6,000 more than their similar counterparts. While painting the entire exterior of your home can be costly, painting your front door could easily be completed in a weekend on your own for about $100 dollars. If you are feeling adventurous you can even replace your door hardware to complete the fresh look. Workers at your local hardware store can even key the new hardware to match your old set at no charge.

Speaking of exterior colors, painting the body of your home’s exterior too bold of a color can be detrimental to your home’s value. A recent Zillow analysis showed that homes painted yellow sold for as much as $3,400 less than similar counterparts painted different colors. While some people might appreciate it, the majority of home buyers prefer homes that are neutral in both decor and color. Buyers also want neutral interiors, dark colors like browns and reds are difficult to paint over and tend to be viewed as out of style. These could cost you as much as 2,300 at time of sale vs. painting these rooms a lighter color.

Another detriment to your home’s value is having a backyard that is singularly children focused. Many people do not have children so a built in sandbox or similar amenity simply will not appeal to their needs. In fact it will likely cost them money to have to remove after closing (otherwise that unused sandbox typically turns into the neighborhood litter box). This being the case homes with kid centric backyards appeal to a smaller pool of buyers and sellers will likely not recoup the cost of the installation of playground type infrastructure. Instead of having a kid friendly backyard makeover, invest the money elsewhere and have the kids go to the neighborhood park.

Finally, any substantial alteration to your home that is outside of the realm of comparable properties will not benefit your homes value. Installing big time amenities like a sauna or an elevator in homes that are in the middle of the market will not appeal to that type of buyer and simply not drive up your homes valuation. That type of buyer is interested in much larger more lavish homes and will pay the extra money to purchase that one, with a long list of amenities included. Middle of the market buyers are not willing to pay substantially more for your home because of a sauna when the one down the street is just as nice but lacking that amenity. Moral of the story, spend wisely based on your location in the local real estate market. If you have any questions about where you should invest in home improvements don’t hesitate to reach out to your top real estate expert in Fort Collins, Colorado, Lestel Meade.

You Must Try These Great Restaurants in Fort Collins

One of the things that makes Fort Collins special is all of our restaurants.  We have more restaurants per capita than any other city west of the Mississippi with the exception of San Francisco.  Here are some class places to eat that have been around a long time. Enjoy these great restaurants that have stood the test of time. 

  • El Burrito Mexican Restaurant.  404 Linden St. Fort Collins. This popular eating establishment first opened in 1960.  They have been serving up authentic Mexican food ever sense. It is a family affair as the grandchildren of the owner now working in the restaurant.
  • Vern’s Place, 4120 W. County Rd 54G, Laporte. This restaurant first opened in 1946.  It is famous for its cinnamon rolls. They serve breakfast, lunch with good down home cooking in a friendly atmosphere. 
  • The Silver Grill.  218 Walnut St., Fort Collins. This place is the oldest restaurant in Northern Colorado. This place has been serving up amazing breakfasts and lunches since 1933 with some roots going back to 1912.  The location cannot be beat because they have big picture windows providing you with a look at Old Town Fort Collins. They have been voted best place for breakfast and lunch numerous times in part because of their legendary sweet rolls that ooze with sweetness. 
  • Canino’s Italian Restaurant. 613 S. College Ave, Fort Collins. This laid-back option for classic Italian food has been around for 40 years. The restaurant is located in a 1903 house.  This is one of those places you just must go to at least once.  Who knows it may become your go to place for Italian!
  • Charcoal Broiler. 1716 E. Mulberry, Fort Collins.  This place started as a simple coffee and burger shop in 1957. It is another family-owned business that has had three generations serving up great steaks and burgers for special occasions or just because.  
  • Pobre Panchos. 1802 N. College, Fort Collins.  This is the place for exceptional Mexican dining in Fort Collins for over 50 years.  The place is small, but big on flavor. 
  • Coopersmith’s Pub and Brewery. 5 Old Town Square, Fort Collins.  It cannot get better than this.  A brewery in Old Town that has been creating craft brew since 1989 is somewhere you must go.  The food is exceptional and you have to try a brew.  Come for the food or the brew and stay for the pool and other fun.  
  • Austin’s American Grill.  100 W. Mountain and 2815 E. Harmony.  You know a place has to be good to have two locations of the same locally owned restaurant in Fort Collins.  They serve a uniquely wonderful variety of classic foods that are better than your mother made!  Give them a try.  
  • Walrus Ice Cream, 125 W. Mountain, Fort Collins. You cannot always eat healthy and after a great meal who does not want a sweet treat.  This place has been serving up ice cream since 1987 with a selection of ever changing 29 flavors. There ice cream is served with all-natural ingredients.  
  • Tortilla Marisa’s, 2635 S. College, Fort Collins.  I know, we already have two Mexican restaurants listed, but why not a Tex Mex that has been around serving great food since 1987. They are known for their Chili Rellenos.  They are dipped in beer batter and are uniquely wonderful.  Give them a try. 

Enjoy these great restaurants that have stood the test of time.