Christmastime in Denver
It is my favorite time of year! I love Christmas, as evidenced by my house: we've trimmed our tree, the stockings are up, and I'm decorating all around the house to add a bit of magic. One of my favorite things about working in real estate is knowing that when people move into houses, they do things like this to turn them into homes.
Christmas is a great time for traditions outside of the home too, though, and Denver is a great place to find fun holiday entertainment. There is the Christmas parade downtown, a lights display at the capitol, and special performances from the ballet.
One of my most favorite holiday traditions is taking my boys to see the lights and visit Santa Claus at Chatfield. There is a whole Santa's village full of crafts, sing-alongs, reindeer to pet, and hot cocoa. It's a special activity that we look forward to each year.
What are your favorite holiday traditions?
Denver growth and the economy!
This month I was very lucky to sit down for coffee with Laura Blomquist Rodriguez from the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT).
I asked her a few questions that a lot of my clients ask me all the time about the Denver growth and the economy. As well what we should see for the growth of Denver’s future. And the situations for millennials right now in the Denver area. Here some inputs about our great state and all strength that we have, not just our amazing weather and the great outdoors but much more that makes Colorado a top destination in our country!
Why Denver is growing so much?
During the recession, Colorado economy didn’t decline to the same extent as the nation as whole. Denver’s housing market wasn’t as volatile and city suffered less job loss than what was experienced nationally. During the recovery, we recovered at a faster paced in many economic indicators. This year, the State Demographer’s Office is estimating 53,000 net migrants in Colorado - that’s including people leaving and coming. This large growth follows several years of strong migrant growth and population growth. In 2018, the population growth is estimated to reach 1.4% which is twice as much as the nation as a whole. This fast population growth is a trend the state experience throughout the recovery. A large portion of the growth is coming from millennial migration.
Why is that?
During the 70’s and 80’s, Colorado was primarily an oil and gas based economy. During the recession in this time period, the state suffered a significant amount of job loss. However since then, we have diversified our economy tremendously. In addition to oil and gas jobs, now we have software development and tech, medical device manufacturing, advance manufacturing, and health care. One of our biggest industry is professional and business services, which includes everyone from software developers to architects and engineers. This is very important industry for the state as we have a lot of jobs in this industry and they command high wage jobs. In my department, we are working with many companies that are looking to expand in the state or relocated to the state. For example we worked with Strava, a San Francisco based application that connects cyclists and runners, and they open their second headquarters in Denver as there was a concentration of tech talent in the city. We also worked with BP as they relocated their BP Lower 48 headquarters from Houston to Denver as they plan to reinvent their company and hire more tech talent.
Because of our growth, we are experiencing cost increases, specifically in housing. However, business that are interested in relocating or expanding to Colorado or families that are coming from the coasts, generally consider Colorado a lower cost market. This movement from the coasts is not unique to Denver. We are seeing populations grow in places such as Austin, Portland, and Salt Lake City. These locations have very similar in cultures, lifestyles and economies.
When we talk about talent, Colorado is the 2nd most educated state (people with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher) per capita following Massachusetts. As we have a diversity of the jobs and industries, we are able to attract highly educated individuals to the state. Couples and families can easily move to the state know that their partner will be able to find a job in the diversified economy. Ultimately, this diversity dives growth in the private sector and job growth. With one of the highest GDP’s in the country, not only is talent attracted to Colorado but so are entrepreneurs. It is not just the lifestyle, like many of us think, that attracts people but it is the combination of industries and economic ingredients that provide opportunities. That’s why people are attracted to Colorado.
What about the fears that Millennials have regarding debt and affordability?
Yes, it is true that Millennials carry significant debt from student loans. This makes it a challenge both in Colorado and nationally for this generation to purchase their first home. Additionally, Millennials prefer to live in urban areas, however, these are the least affordable locations. The condo market is rather limited in Denver, though there is growth, also making it a challenge for young adults to purchase their first property. Also, as baby boomers decide to downsize, they are competing for the same size homes as Millennials. In other words, there are many factors at play that are creating challenges for Millennial home purchasing.
If you think about Denver separated from the United States, if there is a downturn, do you think Denver will be affected as much as the rest of the country?
Going forward, we do expecting a slowdown as the typical business cycle is 10 years. However, we don’t know what form the slowdown will take. For example, a downturn in oil and gas and tech, would have a very large impact on Colorado’s economy. When we saw the oil prices fall in 2014, we saw slower economic but still positive growth as tech was able to pull the economy ahead. Typically, Denver and Colorado fair better than the country, however, during the dot.com bubble in the early 2000’s, Colorado was greatly impacted. Nonetheless, it is very challenging and nearly impossible to predict a downturn.
Shall we expect some big company moving to Denver?
Denver is an attractive location for company expansion and relocation. Last month, VF Corporation, a worldwide apparel and footwear company that includes brands such as Jansport, Eastpak, Smartwool, Timberland, and North Face, announced that they were relocating there headquarters here. In OEDIT, we work every day with companies that are looking at Colorado as a possible location for their operations. Some decide to set up shop in Colorado and others do not.
Something else you would like to mention?
Yes. After the Great Recession, the Northern Front Range recovered at a faster pace than many parts of Colorado. There has been an inequality in economic growth across the state and this is something that people should be
People should be aware that there is a difference between the metro area and rural Colorado, Denver has seen such a big growth Boulder, fort Collins, Colorado springs other part of the states have not seen such a big growth. There is an inequality in growth that is something to be cognizant of.
Laura is the Senior Manager - Strategy & Analytics in the Global Business Development Division, she have been working for the Governor for the last 6 years in various roles. Currently she works provides data to companies that are looking to relocate or expand to Colorado!
Denver's Haunted Houses This Halloween
This time of year is so much fun as we gear up for all the holidays in quick-succession. My boys especially love Halloween, and in all the great family-oriented neighborhoods Denver offers, it's a perfect place for children to celebrate.
Halloween can be fun for adults though, too, and especially in Denver. As the city grows, it's known more and more for all the fun activity of a big, metropolitan town. On Halloween, that includes drinks, concerts, and haunted houses. There are hundreds throughout the metro-area, but here are eight great stops right in the city.
If you're looking for less of a production and instead want to experience a real-life haunting, visit the lobby of the Oxford Hotel, try out the ghost tour in Morrison and Golden, or take a little trip down to Durango for the most haunted spot in the state.
I always think it's fun to find ways to celebrate each holiday. Do you like spooky things? What do you do for Halloween?
Doctor Indiana Jones
I would like to share about my dad, one of the most important figures in my life and the person that most inspired me to get involved in real estate.
My dad, Pierluigi, is a pediatrician in Italy, and has been very active in humanitarian organizations bringing in care for underserved African children.
This yea, Kelli and I helped him to reshape his website and make it more modern. Now you can find plenty of amazing pictures and memoirs of his adventures. We are still working on it but it is really coming along. Unfortunately, right now it is primarily in Italian. There isn't an English version yet, but maybe with Google Translate you will be able to read his stories.
He is now trying to raise funds for his next adventure, a traveling van that can go into the remotes part of Africa (and other parts of the world) to carry in basic medical needs. Stay tuned for more news, and I'll be sure to update you.
My father has always inspired me to help others and to find new way to bring medicine to less fortunate. I invite you to reflect on this and maybe be inspired from him, too. We can all help in our own ways, but there is always something good we can do for someone else, especially as we slowly make our way into the holiday season. Let's be encouraged to think of others this last part of 2018.
Good bye summer....
My out of the box kitchen remodel
My husband, Ben, and I bought our home in December 2012, back before the market started to really soar. We got it for a great price and it fit our needs well enough. For the first three years, we didn't do much too it; but with growing kids, things started to feel tight. We had a decision to make: sell or start to make changes to accommodate our new needs.
We decided to stay and dive into the projects. It was (and is!) a long list! But I decided to share my experiences with you, because it’s important to consider how the house you purchase can transform into the home you need and love. There are many of these personal stories I could share, but we’ve recently been working on the kitchen, which is always a bigger ticket item; so I decided to start there.
If you’re remodeling a kitchen and doing it right, it’s just going to be a heft expense—sometimes up to $30,000. Neither Ben nor I wanted to spend such a high amount; but at the same time, with kids and work and traveling, it can be hard to save for a kitchen remodel. With that in mind, we made a bold decision. It’s not right for everyone’s lifestyle, but it seemed like the best solution to get us the kitchen we really wanted. We decided to build-out our new kitchen in phases!
There are pros and cons, of course. On the positive side, it made room for our budget and we can accomplish the work at our own pace. But it’s not a plan for everyone, having to live in transition and construction for awhile.
We’re moving through these phases:
1. Move the entry, add a window, and add room for a large pantry.
2. Install cabinets under the new window, demo the half island, paint, replace floors, and move the fridge.
3. Open door to the pantry space, then fully finish to a walk-in pantry.
4. Hang second wall of cabinets.
5. Create a new island.
6. Install granite or quartz counter tops and add the finishing touches.
We’ve just begun phase two, and it was at this point that we chose to do most of the work ourselves.
We had hired a contractor to begin installing the floors. I was on a schedule because of a party I had planned, so he was supposed to do the first portion of the floors, which he said could be finished in the time before the event. As they often do, things did not go as planned, and the floors weren’t done until just two days before the party was scheduled. I was upset, but I let it go because, in the end, everything worked out. And besides, I was heading out to Italy for a few weeks with my family, and expected phase two to be complete by the time I returned.
I didn’t hear from the contractor much while we were on vacation, and, admittedly, I didn’t stay on top of it either. It was vacation! Ben returned to the States that I did, and got home to find nothing done. He was worried that it wouldn’t be finished by the end of the week when I returned. Sure enough, I got back and no progress had been made. That was when I fired the contractor and decided to take matters into my own hands.
I had decided to purchase Ikea cabinets for this project (which is something that really merits a post of its own), and thankfully, they were very easy to install. It was so easy, I got enthusiastic and Ben and I decided to tear out the floors and the islands ourselves. We worked on some install, too, and we learned some things along the way. Suddenly, doing more on our own seemed entirely possible.
We did ask for some outside help—from our neighbor! Our new kitchen sink was not purchased with the Ikea cabinets. It’s large and a unique size. I’d had a plumber move the water line and an electrician rewire, and then my neighbor helped set the sink. Toward the end of this phase, we did hire some extra hands to do some tile work, also. But by doing most of the work ourselves, or with friends, we saved so much money, and I felt so proud of us! It is a great feeling not just to have the new part of the kitchen, but to know we did it ourselves.
I’m posting some progress photos below that I hope you enjoy. If you have questions or want to know more about this project, call me! I’d love to tell you our vision and how we’re making it happen. And remember, I can help you visualize, too. We’ll look at houses and figure out how we can turn them into your dream space.
Stay tuned for more progress updates—I think next time I’ll even try to do the tiles myself!
My Vacation in Capri, Italy
I am always so happy to go back to my home in Italy for a few weeks each summer. This year, I spent a couple nights in Rome before heading to the island of Capri. For so many years, I have loved visiting my family home there, and now it is a joy to take my own children back with me.
Should you find yourself visiting the area, I thought I'd share a few of our favorite adventures. First, taking a boat ride around the island is not only a fun excursion, but a great perspective on the landscape. We did this and visited the Marina Piccola at Gioia. We also spent a full day in AnaCapri between the Lido al Faro and Migliera. My husband and I loved sharing dinner at DaPaolino--a most delicious meal. My boys, Leo and Alex, were bigger fans of the water. They learned to jump from the rocks to the water, and Leo dove from more than ten meters high! Every night, we treated ourselves to gelato and handmade cones at Bonocore.
If you don't already, you can follow me on Instagram at @oliviamondayrealtor. I posted some more vacation photos there, and I love to share inspiration I find, whether traveling the world or at home in my favorite Denver neighborhoods.
I love sharing great family-friendly activities in all of the Denver-metro areas, but I especially love all there is to do surrounding my SOBO home. Just a quick drive to Littleton and you'll find so many adventures. Just last week, I took my children to the Littleton Museum, a historical museum and farm. We learned all about the ways of life from the 1860s and 1890s; saw baby animals; explored the homes of real pioneers; and talked with historical experts about how Colorado-living used to be. It's a great place to visit with children because it is big and open, hands-on, and educational. A perfect way to fill a summer morning with fun!
Activities in SOBO
I love my SOBO (South Broadway) neighborhood, and especially this time of year. As the weather warms, people get out on their bikes and to the al fresco restaurant patios, and it’s like the area comes fully alive again.
If you want to explore SOBO, check out the neighborhood feature here, which lists lots of established activities and spots to visit like Punch Bowl Social, the Mayan Theatre, Gallagher Book, plus all the boutique shopping on the north end and antique shopping on the south end.
To be a little more active, sign up for Play Mile High and learn all about the fun bar games, sports leagues, and classes in the area. You should also check out the brand new South Broadway Country Club for amazing and innovative golfing, or the Evolve Action Sports Park for skate boarding and other fun activities.
Be sure to keep up on seasonal events like the Underground Music Showcase (UMS) and the nearby Pearl Street farmer’s market, which is a great way to spend a Sunday morning. And with Platt Park and Wash Park just around the corner, you can always find a race or charity event to sign up for.
I love plugging into my neighborhood and knowing what’s going on, and I think feeling at home in your neighborhood is a big part of finding your home. I hope you’ll explore the SOBO area; but if you find it’s not for you, read up on all my 5280 Neighborhood features to learn more about dining, shopping, and entertainment in other Denver spots. We’ll find the perfect place for you.
Upgrade your home for spring
As the temperatures warm and the sun shines longer, people start to get the itch to spring clean. We gave some tips for a good spring cleaning at your house, but those ideas were for your own peace of mind.
We’re now entering the busy season for home sales, and if you’re looking to sell, it’s time to get your home in tip-top shape. This month, Inman shared four cost effective upgrades that are sure to increase the value of your home—not to mention the selling appeal. These tips, like paint and landscape updates or modernizations to the bathrooms, are easy to implement and a little goes a long way.
To make the job even easier, get to know your local hardware stores, or even Home Depot! There are DIY classes and workshops, often offered for free, making it possible for you to tackle these to-dos with very low costs. For even more savings, keep track of spring sales popping up, too!
Ultimately, if you’re looking to sell your home, I can help pinpoint the most important pieces to get in order. My long-term experience and tastes, not to mention my team of experts, can help you affordably whip your home into market-ready shape.
The temperatures in Denver are on the rise, the birds are chirping, and there’s even more sunshine throughout the day. With the refreshing sense of spring in the air, also comes the desire to renew parts of life—especially the home. It’s spring cleaning season! Keeping your home decluttered, fresh, and deeply cleaned is important for the value of your home—especially if you have plans to sell soon; but it is also good for your quality of life and peace of mind.
A few tips for spring cleaning your home these coming months.
1.Start with the decluttering. You will instantly feel better as you purge unnecessary and unwanted items, not only lightening your load, but brightening up your spaces. Be ruthless—it will feel good, I promise.
2.Tend to the normally ignored. Spring is a great time to dust those nooks and crannies that don’t get everyday attention. Polish your baseboards, dust your light fixtures, clean screens and windows. You’ll be amazed at the difference.
3.Deep clean your appliances. Really, this should be a more-often-than-annual occurrence; but take the opportunity to purge the fridge of expired condiments; to scour your oven and stovetop; and to run the cleaning cycles on your dishwasher and washer.
4.Bring the out-of-sight back to mind. Get into those dark, lonely storage spaces like backyard sheds, unused garages, and basement cupboards. Most of that stuff likely hasn’t seen the light of day in years, and probably it can go.
5.Refresh the decor. With your newly deep-cleaned, de-cluttered space, you’ll feel inspired to update your look. It can be as simple as a new coat of fresh paint, or perhaps you’ll want a whole new room.
For more tips on how to spring clean, use this HGTV checklist.
And for the non-procrastinator, I love this list of monthly tasks that help you keep on top of major household projects.
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