Choosing A Remodel Contractor

Remodel Contractor


So you’re finally ready to start making some updates to your home, but you don’t have the time or perhaps the skills to take on a home improvement project yourself. In that case, hiring a remodel contractor is the best plan of action. But how can you tell if someone is good at a job you don’t know how to do? It’s up to you to do your homework, find a skilled professional, and hire the best person for the job.

Ask For Referrals

Word-of-mouth is hands down the best way to find a qualified remodel contractor to tackle the job. So start by asking your homeowners friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations on who they’ve had good experiences with. Also ask, what made it a positive experience and how the contractor handled problems and whether or not they would use them again. Other options can be using social media to ask your friends for recommendations or checking out online reviews. You can also check in with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry to find a list of members in your area. You’ll want to create a list of about 10 – 15 local contractors with the right expertise. Throughout the process you will eliminate the majority of these, so it’s better to start with more than what you’ll need.

Look Into Each Remodel Contractor’s Portfolio

After you’ve received referrals, you’ll want to start doing some preliminary investigating. Search each candidate online, look at their website and social media presence, and do phone interviews. First, make sure that they hold all the required licenses and certifications to complete the job safely. Then, ask to see a portfolio of projects they’ve worked on in the last year.  Do you take projects of your size? Can they provide a list of previous clients? How many other projects would they have going on at the same time? Questions like these will reveal their availability, reliability, and can give you an idea of how smooth the work will go. You’ll want to choose a contractor who specializes in the type of remodel you need.

Check References

After doing your background check you should have narrowed your search down to the top five or six contenders. Which means it’s time to start checking their references. This is a common practice so any reputable remodel contractor will be prepared to provide references. Anyone who is unwilling or unable to do so should be eliminated from your list of potential contractors. A typical list of references includes at least 5 references with the name, address, and telephone number of east customer. It also helps if the dates of each job are provided so you can see time gaps between references. During your phone call, you’ll want to keep detailed notes. Here are some good questions to start with:

  • Did they stay on schedule?
  • How has the work held up?
  • Was the cost reasonable and clear?
  • Was the job site kept neat?
  • Were problems addressed promptly?

Get Bids For The Job

At this point you have eliminated anyone who does sub-par work and you should have only a few names left on your list. The next step is to price the job with the remaining remodel contractors on your list. After a thorough consultation, each contractor should present you with a bid that includes a brief proposal and an estimated cost. This should include things like timeline for the project, materials the recommend, and total cost.

Remember, it isn’t always best to go with the lowest price. Sometimes the materials or amount of work will differ from one contractor to the next. Think about your overall goals for your renovation when you are choosing which proposal is best for you. Be cautious of any contractor who tries to pressure you into a bid. You do not have to sign a bid right away, and should take a few days to review your options.

Top 8 Home Remodeling Mistakes

Home Remodeling Mistakes

Home remodeling can be an exciting process to undertake! You’ve purchased a home and now you get to make it your own. Whether you’re in for a  total gut renovation or just trying to redecorate, there is a lot more work than you might think. While there is more than one way to approach a successful remodel, you’ll want to be armed with as much knowledge as possible before diving in head first. Avoiding these home remodeling mistakes will help you keep your budget and your sanity intact.

Starting Renovations Too Soon

Before jumping right in to any renovations, we suggest you live in your space awhile first. Learn the flow of the home and how you live in it. Get to know the choke points, how the sun shines in, and where the groceries land. All of this will help you make an informed decision on any overhauls you have in mind.

Not Thinking About the Big Picture

Another step you should take before getting started is to take stock. Think realistically about the renovations that your home will need and create a list. Think about the short-term (within a year), mid-term (within the next 5 years), and long term (5 years or more). Thinking about projects that are further down the road will help you determine what projects should happen beforehand. And you can create a timeline by working backward.

Expecting Everything to Go According to Plan

Whether you’re remodeling an old building or something a bit newer, the one thing you can count on is unforeseen events arising. With older buildings you can’t be sure what’s going to be behind that wall you’re opening, or underneath the carpet you’re tearing up. Newer construction will be a bit more controlled, but that doesn’t mean it will be smooth sailing. Be prepared for the unexpected and you will save yourself a lot of mental stress.

Hiring the First Contractor, Roofer, or Electrician You Find

Before hiring a professional, do your due diligence. You’ll want to get at least three or more estimates on the work you need to complete. Ask for references to confirm your potential hire does quality work and has completed projects like yours. These professionals are doing major work for you and the outcome of these projects will have a lasting effect on your home. So, don’t just hire the first professional that comes along.

Thinking You Need to DIY Each Step

Before deciding whether a certain project is DIY-able, consider the cost and evaluate your ability to complete every step of the project from hauling materials to clean up. Some projects just aren’t for light-weights. Many people try to save money on big projects like these by purchasing the materials through an online vendor and DIYing the entire thing. But, they may not have the necessary tools or skills to tackle the project. Even if you must hire a professional for portion of the job, you can DIY pieces of it and still save money.

Underestimating Costs

Most jobs take longer and cost more than you initially thought. As a rule of thumb, always add 20% to your total when budgeting for a project. This will help you know if you can realistically afford that project and you will be prepared for any surprises. And if you come in under budget, your surprises are the positive kind!

Underestimating Psychological Stressors

Remodeling your home comes with a certain psychological strain. Sure, it’s exciting, but you’re also putting a lot of time and money into the place that you call home. You want everything to turn out perfectly, which puts a lot of pressure on anyone involved. Any building project in your home is going to be charged with power dynamics, adding to the stress. You and your significant other may want to take on a smaller project before diving head first into a remodel. You will be surprised how different your styles, ideas, and approaches are.

Measuring Incorrectly

For DIYers, you will want to follow the adage “measure twice, cut once.” This can save you countless delays and most importantly, money. Even if your measurements are only off by a fraction of an inch, it can have big repercussions, causing poor fits, and requiring you to reorder materials. Don’t cut corners here, or it will cost you.

A Special Thank You to Our Clients

Over the past several years, Denver has witnessed rapid growth. The sudden influx of potential home buyers has turned Denver into one of the most competitive housing markets in the country. Right now, a home in the Denver metro area sits on the market for an average of just 26 days. And the housing inventory is significantly below what is considered a balanced market. This type of competitive climate can present a challenge to potential buyers and sellers looking for an exceptional real estate experience.

When consumers are looking for representation, we know they have many options. Despite being faced with a multitude of choices, you – our clients – have consistently trusted us to bring value to your transactions. You have confidence we will provide insight and support when things get tricky. And you believe that we are truly the best in our profession.

We have become nationally recognized top producers and our company consistently rank as a leader in the industry. Our cumulative years of experience representing buyers and sellers, and the company’s 37 years as a metro market leader help us to provide unmatched expertise. We are passionate and dedicated to ensuring that you will be well cared for and advised throughout your transaction.

This is why we are best in class, and why we want to thank you – our clients – for recognizing that successfully representing you requires more than the proverbial 3 P’s – “Putting out a sign, put it in MLS, and pray.” Without your unwavering trust in our business and confidence in our knowledge we could hardly boast such a reputation. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude for your continued support of our brand over the years. It is because of your loyal relationship that we have been able to succeed as a company.


Thank You

Ruby Hill Community | Denver, CO

The Neighborhood

Running along the South Platte River and nestled 5 miles south of Denver, Ruby Hill is a true hidden gem. Only within recent years has this community truly begun to grow in popularity and blossom with possibility. The Ruby Hill neighborhood is widely known for its recreational opportunities and is a bicyclists paradise! From Florida Avenue, the South Platte River trail allows bicyclists to commute downtown in ten minutes without dealing with cars or traffic.

There are several wonderful parks and walking trails in the neighborhood, from Sanderson Gulch Trail and Park, to Ruby Hill Park – the largest park in southwest Denver. Overland Pond Park, Athmar Park, and Godsman Park all provide greenery and recreation for the community. The city is also planning on implementing several major improvements to the South Platte River and Ruby Hill Park which will benefit the neighborhood in coming years.

There are 3 major college campuses less than a 15-minute drive from the neighborhood: Auraria, University of Denver, and Colorado Heights University. And there are 3 light rail stations in close proximity to these neighborhoods. The Evans Station, Broadway Station, or Alameda Station are in walking distance by many residents, and are also quickly accessed by the numerous RTD bus routes on their way to the light rail stations.

Ruby Hill Park

Ruby Hill Park

Ruby Hill Park, the neighborhood’s namesake, is an ever-evolving neighborhood treasure. The green expanse is on an incline above the river and boasts some of the best views of downtown Denver and the Platte Valley. It’s the ideal place to watch everything from eclipses of the moon to Fourth of July fireworks. At one-time, Native Americans even used it as a lookout point.

The 88-acre park encompasses everything from baseball, football, and softball fields, to picnic areas, gardens and playgrounds, and the Ruby Hill Rail Yard. The Rail Yard is a free urban terrain park. And is meant to be a place where snowboarders and skiers can fine tune their skills. It features ten rails and boxes that range in size, shape, and difficulty.

The Ruby Hill Bike Park is another wonderful addition to the neighborhood that was completed in the summer of 2016. It’s a 7.5-acre park including a slope-style course, pump tracks, dirt jumps, and a 1.7-mile multi-use trail. On top of that, the bike park sits next to one of the top-rated sledding hills in Denver!

Levitt Pavilion

In July 2017, Levitt Pavilion opened atop Ruby Hill Park, causing the Ruby Hill community to emerge as a somewhat unexpected hub for music in Denver. Every year, the venue presents 50 free family friendly concerts for the community. The mission – to focus on building community through free music and education, increasing access to the arts, and finding common ground in a diverse audience.

Just across the Platte River, right at Ruby Hill’s doorstep, the historic Overland Golf Course is the site of a new music festival kicking off this year. The festival, aptly named Grandoozy, is put on by the same company behind Bonaroo and Outside Lands. This multi-stage, multi-genre, 3-day event is expect to draw 50,000 to 60,000 people. The spotlight will also focus on local arts and culture, not just music. With the lethal combination of these two music advents, Ruby Hill could be poised to become Denver’s hottest music district.

Levitt Pavilion | Ruby Hill

13 Colorado Fall Festivals Not To Miss

Fall in Colorado is a beautiful time of year that all residents look forward to. Although the leaves are changing and the air is growing crisper, it is still a wonderful time to get out and enjoy the incredible beauty and lighthearted festivities that our state has to offer. Throughout the Front Range there are events, festivals, and gatherings of all kinds to celebrate the changing of the seasons. Here we’ve helped narrow it down to some of the best Colorado Fall festivals that you should definitely check out this year!

Downtown Boulder Fall Festival

When: September 14th – 16th
Where: Pearl Street Mall

For over 30 years, the Downtown Boulder Fall Festival has been one of Boulder’s most beloved community celebrations. This cherished, three day autumn festival includes live music, local microbrews, wine and margaritas, a children’s carnival, and an art show along the one-and-only Pearl Street Mall.

Boulder Fall Festival | Colorado Fall Festivals

Denver Beer Fest

When: September 14th – 22nd
Where: Multiple Locations Around Denver

Enjoy nine days of all things beer during Denver Beer Fest. There will be more than 100 beer-related events in Denver, America’s #1 beer city! Head to The Mile High City for tap takeovers, rare beer tappings, firkin nights, meet the brewer events, beer & food pairings and much, much more. The week culminates with the Great American Beer Festival, the largest beer competition in the country!

Denver Beer Fest | Colorado Fall Festivals

24th Annual Chile & Frijoles Festival

When: September 21st – 23rd
Where: Union Avenue Historic District, Pueblo

The Chile & Frijoles Festival is Pueblos version of a Harvest Festival. Every year, thousands pay homage to Pueblo’s most loved crop – green chilies‚ particularly the Pueblo chile!

The event features music‚ arts and crafts‚ cooking competitions, and chilies‚ chilies‚ chilies. Held downtown along Union Avenue‚ it draws Pueblo residents as well as people from across the state and around the nation.

Frijoles Fest | Colorado Fall Festivals

49th Annual Denver Oktoberfest

When: September 21st – 23rd & September 28th – 30th
Where: Larimer Square

The Denver Oktoberfest attracts over 350,000 people during the six-day festival and it was quoted in Maxim Magazine and USA Today as “The Best Oktoberfest” in the United States and “One of the country’s biggest and longest running traditions”.  It’s also one of the largest beer festivals in the United States based on consumption because Denver loves to drink beer!

Oktoberfest | Colorado Fall Festivals

Mountain Harvest Festival

When: September 27th – 30th
Where: Paonia, Colorado

Mountain Harvest Festival is an annual celebration of local music, art, farms, food & spirits organized by the nonprofit organization Mountain Harvest Creative. Held in the charming town of Paonia, visitors enjoy the music of the North Fork Valley, browse local arts and crafts and participate in the fun activities like the Great Chili Cookoff, Grape Stomp, Farm Tours and Saturday Sundown Swing. Mountain Harvest Festival is small town Americana at its best!

Colorado Fall Festivals | Mountain Harvest Festival

Morrison Ciderfest

When: September 29th
Where: 150 Spring Street, Morrison, Colorado

Looking for a great day of family fun? Look no further than Morrison Ciderfest. It’s a full day of live music, food, drinks, hay and pony rides, arts and crafts, vendors, and kids activities. Acitvities include cider presses, silent auction, horseshoes tournament, and a bouncy castle. And the best part is, entry is absolutely free!

Morrison Cider Fest | Colorado Fall Festivals

Elk Festival

When: September 29th – 30th
Where: Bond Park, Estes Park

The haunting call of the bull elk fills the Estes Valley during the early days of fall. To celebrate the annual elk rut and learn about the “wapiti,” the Native American name for elk, Estes Park hosts the annual Elk Fest in Bond Park. The free festival features bugling contests, elk exhibits, the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program, elk seminars, elk-inspired arts and crafts, Native American music, dancing and storytelling, a children’s area with elk-themed activities, and a craft beer garden. Live country, rock and bluegrass music will light up the park Saturday and Sunday with popular Colorado bands performing on stage.

Colorado Fall Festivals | Elk Festival

Cider Days

When: October 6th – 7th
Where: Lakewood Heritage Center

Celebrating Lakewood’s agricultural heritage with an entertaining mix of live performances, activities and tasty harvest treats, Cider Days offers fun and excitement for the entire family! This year’s event will include tractor pulls and vintage power displays, wagon and barrel train rides along with other children’s activities, historic demonstrations and a unique variety of exhibitors and vendors.

Colorado Fall Festivals | Cider Days

Telluride Horror Show

When: October 12th – 14th
Where: Telluride, Colorado

The Telluride Horror Show, Colorado’s first and longest-running horror film festival, returns for its 9th edition October 12-14, 2018. Every year, the festival attracts the latest & best genre films from around the world and attendees from all over the country for an intimate gathering of film fans in the world-famous mountain resort town of Telluride, Colorado. For three packed days, experience an eclectic mix of horror, suspense, thriller, dark fantasy, sci-fi, and dark comedy in Telluride’s unique theaters, with many of the films showing for the first time in the US.

Colorado Fall Festivals | Telluride Horror Show

Breckenridge Fall Fest

When: October TBD
Where: Breckenridge, Colorado

Breckenridge Grand Vacations brings Family Fun Fest to the Riverwalk Center for a day of pumpkin carving, music, face painting, and sweet treats such as caramel apples. It’s a great activity for families this fall, and it’s the perfect way to gear up for Halloween in a cozy indoor setting.

Breckenridge Fall Fest | Colorado Fall Festivals

Botanic Gardens Pumpkin Festival

When: October 12th – 14th
Where: Botanic Gardens, Chatfield Farms

Enjoy a day of fall activities at Chatfield Farms. Ticket price includes access to the 10-acre pumpkin patch and family and children’s activities. Pumpkin prices vary by size; the average price is $8. It is recommended to bring a wagon to transport pumpkins. Free pumpkin daycare is available while you enjoy the rest of the festival.

Denver Botanic Garden Pumpkin Fest | Colorado Fall Festivals

Boo at the Zoo

Where: The Denver Zoo

Boo At The Zoo event offers 20 trick-or-treat stations, creepy crawly animal demonstrations and exciting family-friendly entertainment under the canopy of the beautiful fall foliage of Denver Zoo.

Boo at the Zoo | Colorado Fall Festivals

Fright Fest

When: Every Weekend in October
Where: Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park

Every weekend in October, join the spooky festivities of Fright Fest at Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park. From haunted houses to tasty treats to many spooktacular events, this thrilling Denver fall festival is fun for the whole family. You don’t want to miss out on Colorado’s largest Halloween nights!

Fright Fest | Colorado Fall Festivals

Denver Housing Market Experiences Seasonal Slowdown

As the summer housing market starts to draw to a close and the expected seasonal slowdown starts to take root, prospective home buyers might find they have a few more choices before signing on the dotted line.

At the end of July, there were 7,643 single-family homes, townhomes, and condominiums on the market. That’s almost a 4% increase in the active inventory from a year earlier. The last time there were more homes on the market in a July was in 2015. The increase in inventory comes at a time when mortgage rates and home prices continue to rise. Although, prices on an annual basis are increasing at a slower pace than in the past few years. The average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rate is now hovering at about 4.5%. Which is still low by historic standards, but about a half of a percent higher than a year ago.

Meanwhile the average price of a single-family home sold last month was $529,124. Down 1.48% from July, but up 7.18% from July 2017. Buyer put 5,764 homes under contract last month, largely unchanged from June, but up 5.24% from a year earlier. Some 5,043 homes sold last month, a 15.65% plunge from July and an 8.54% drop from a year earlier. While the month-to-month may seem severe, it is not an unusual seasonal drop. In fact, in July 2017, home sales fell by almost 20% from June. The sales drop is likely largely due to the double whammy of rising mortgage rates and rising home prices.

On a month-to-month basis, even the luxury home market cooled in August. There were 206 sales of single-family homes and condos priced at $1 million or more in July, a 16.26% decline from June. Still, luxury home sales were up 17.71% from July 2017. The year-over-year increase of luxury homes in July, while the strongest of any price strata, was still substantially below the year-to-date 29.14% sales increase when you dig into seven months of DMAR data. Through July, buyers purchased 1,204 properties, compared with 1,002 in the first seven months of 2017. The total luxury sales volume this year is $1.95 billion, a 28.72% increase from the same period last year. And keep in mind that seasonal drops, are part of the natural cycle.

Despite slower sales and a rising inventory, the single-family home market ended with a 1.59-months of inventory, which is the equivalent of about 4.3 weeks. Meaning if no new supply was added to the market and the sales stayed the same, all the homes would be gone in a little over a month. Perhaps one of the strongest metrics that the sky is not falling is that the months-of-inventory, or MOI, was slightly lower in July than it was year earlier, according to DMAR. Such a low supply is a sign that Denver, overall, remains a strong seller’s market. And there are no signs that the end is near of the Denver bull market for housing.

Best Swimming Spots in Colorado

Devil’s Punchbowl – Aspen

Located off the west side of Independence Pass just nine miles outside of Aspen, this popular swimming spot isn’t for the faint of heart. Of the two places in Colorado dubbed “Devil’s Punchbowl”, this one is the easiest to access. Crystal clear water surrounded by 20-foot cliffs await any daredevil brave enough to take the plunge in these icy waters.

Devil's Punch Bowl | Swimming Spots in Colorado

Swimming Spots in Colorado

Big Dominguez Canyon

Big Dominguez Canyon is a group of swimming holes located south of Grand Junction in the Dominguez – Escalante National Conservation Area. These watering holes feature cascading waterfalls and beautiful rock formations. The temperature is usually fairly warm so you can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere without freezing. You can even work up a bit of a sweat by hiking to each of the first three swimming holes and then cool down in their temperate water.

Big Dominguez Canyon | Swimming Spots in Colorado

Swimming Spots in Colorado

Clear Creek Whitewater Park

Clear Creek is often referred to as the heart of Golden. It is frequented by sunbathers, kayakers, tubers, and fisherman. Tubing the Clear Creek Waterpark is one of Jefferson County’s biggest summer activities. Just follow the sidewalk beside the river west and it will eventually turn into a trail. There are many opportunities along the way to drop your tube in. Bring your own tube or rent one from one of the shops right down the road.

Clear Creek Whitewater Park | Swimming Spots in Colorado

Swimming Spots in Colorado

Conundrum Hot Springs

Getting to these jaw-dropping hot springs off the beaten path requires an 8.5 miles hike and an overnight permit. But this trek is arguably one of the most unique overnight backpacking trips across the country. Conundrum Creek Trail is situated in Maroon Bells Wilderness area and climbs over 2,500 feet over the 8.5 miles, making it a moderate hike. At the end of the hike you will be rewarded with spectacular mountain scenery and a dip in the warm natural hot springs – clothing optional.

Conundrum Hot Springs | Swimming Spots in Colorado

Swimming Spots in Colorado

Big Soda Lake

Being that it’s located only 20 minutes from the heart of Denver, Big Soda Lake is a hot spot for locals. It’s situated perfectly under the rolling hills of the front range with excellent views of Red Rocks Amphitheater. There are well maintained bathrooms and concessions nearby, along with several beach picnic shelters. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day you can rent paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and sailboards.

Big Soda Lake | Swimming Spots in Colorado

Swimming Spots in Colorado

Devil’s Punchbowl – Marble

Similar to its sister locale with the same name, this spot has been made popular as a sweet spot for plunging into cool water fed by a waterfall on the South Fork Crystal River. Unlike the Devil’s Punchbowl in Aspen – this location requires a difficult hike to get to, so adventurers should take caution. If you do decide to make the trek, be sure to stop by the Crystal Mill. It’s one of the most photographed spots in the state for a reason!

Devil's Punch Bowl | Swimming Spots in Colorado

Swimming Spots in Colorado

Rainbow Hot Springs

Just twenty miles north of Pagosa Spring is a pristine hiking trail that leads you to an oasis of natural hot springs. The 10.2 mile out and back trail winds through the Weminuche Wilderness Area within the San Juan National Forest. You’ll enjoy enchanting forests, waterfalls, steep cliffs overlooking rapids, and fresh mountain air. The hot springs are the icing on the cake, and provide a much-needed soak for your body after the strenuous climb up.

Rainbow Hot Springs | Swimming Spots in Colorado

Swimming Spots in Colorado

Adrenaline Falls

Adrenaline Falls is well known among Durango locals, but very few non-locals actually know where it is. Located in the San Juan National Forest, a short, but steep, hike takes you to the an 18-foot waterfall thundering into a deep pool. Adrenaline Falls has earned its name from the 18 – 40 foot cliff jump sure to give you a rush. For anyone looking for a thrill, this is the perfect summer time adventure.

Adrenaline Falls | Swimming Spots in Colorado

Swimming Spots in Colorado

Cherry Creek Reservoir

Welcome to Denver’s oasis in the city! This is the perfect family escape from the day to day hustle and bustle of city life. Bring your floaties, cool off in the waves, and hang out on the soft, sandy beach. Or rent a boat and cast a line to do some leisurely fishing. Camping is also permitted in the area if you’re looking to lounge a bit longer.

Cherry Creek Reservoir | Swimming Spots in Colorado

Swimming Spots in Colorado

Lost Man Lake

For those adventure seekers looking to earn some bragging rights, add this hike-to-swim location to your summer bucket list. Your adventure begins one mile west of Independence Pass. From the trail head take 12,800’ Lost Man Pass on a well-established trail. While Lost Man Lake is your final destination, you could warm-up with a jump into Independence Lake. When you reach the top of the saddle you will be greeted with a glorious view of Lost Man Lake. On warm days, you’ll be able to enjoy a nice swim. But at 12,450’ it’s going to be brisk.

Lost Man Lake | Swimming Spots in Colorado

Swimming Spots in Colorado

Choosing the Right Buyer’s Agent

What Is a Buyer’s Agent?

Buyer's Agent As a buyer, you are looking for someone to help you find the right home, give you the best advice on the value of homes, and help you navigate the intricacies of the buying process. Having a good buyer’s agent on your side could be the key to finding the right home at the right price.

But what’s the difference between a regular listing agent and a buyer’s agent? The issue with typical real estate agents is they’re not necessarily required to work in your best interest. Being commissioned salespeople, their pay flows from the deal. With a buyer’s agent, they’ll soley represent your side of the transaction fairly.

This isn’t to say that working with a listing agent is a bad thing. In fact, that’s how many people find their home. But in some instances, agents who represent both buyers and sellers may end up on both ends of the transaction. Representing both buyer and seller makes them a dual agent. In this situation, it’s hard for that agent to fully represent the interests of either party.

Some agents prefer to only represent the buyer’s side of the transaction, they are known as buyer’s agents. And the NAR (National Association of Realtors) has a specific course of study for people who want to earn the Accredited Buyer’s Representation designation. First-time home buyers especially might want to consider a buyer’s agent to represent them, since they have advanced education and may be more up to speed on loan programs gear toward first-time buyers.

What to Look For

Compatible Personalities

Buying a home is a lengthy process. Regardless of whether you’re purchasing a house or a condo, you will be spending countless hours with your real estate agent. If you and your agent don’t see eye to eye or don’t get along, you’re going to have a rough time. Look at their social media accounts and online presence to get a feel for their personality. Or have a brief face-to-face meeting with them to have some of your questions answered and see if it’s the right fit.

Negotiation Techniques

When it comes to negotiations, you want your agent to take an approach that you’re comfortable with. The best agents can adapt their style to meet your wishes. This is important when you consider the levels of stress you will encounter during the purchasing process. Negotiations included everything from the price and closing costs, to repairs and appliances/furniture. You want an agent who is going to negotiate the best deal for you without stepping over any lines with the seller.

Market / Niche Knowledge

The agent you choose should be able to demonstrate competency within the market and niche you’re focused on. For example, if you are a first-time home-buyer searching in a specific area, your agent should be well-versed in market trends and activity for that specific area. And they should be able to walk you through each step of the transaction. This is very different from the skills you’d be looking for in an agent to advise you on your investment.


Agents, lenders, escrow/title companies, and inspectors are all on the list of industry professionals involved in most real estate deals. Most people don’t have these connections all on their own. That’s where your real estate agent steps in. A quality agent should not only have these connections, but should have options for you to choose from. And their connections should be just as knowledgeable as they are.

Ability to Communicate

The real estate industry is full of jargon, nuances, and intricacies that aren’t intuitive to the average person. Therefore, it is up to your agent to be able to effectively explain and guide you through those obstacles in a way you understand and that resonates with you. Otherwise, you could wind up unknowingly making a bad decision.

August 2018 Market Trend Report

Both average and median prices have dropped from June. With inventory at a three-year high, the climate is perfect for slowing activity and price reductions as fewer and fewer homes are considered affordable.

“As we head into August, many REALTORS® and sellers alike are starting to feel those mid-summer blues,” said Steve Danyliw, Chairman of the DMAR Market Trends Committee and Metro Denver REALTOR®. “Is this normal seasonality, or a sign of a real cooling trend? It’s not time to panic, but this market is showing signs of cooling, and REALTORS® need to manage seller’s expectations as market conditions change.”

Danyliw assesses that the decrease in buyer activity and higher inventory may be attributed to the historic increases in Denver home prices.

He adds, “Can a cooling market be considered positive? To most sellers, no, but honestly, they have experienced unprecedented equity growth over the past several years. It’s time to share the love and keep home buying an option in the Denver Metro area.”

Active listings in the residential market (single-family and condos) were at 7,643 total units in July, up 3.96 percent year-over-year. This increase is being driven by the condo segment of the market. The number of sold listings decreased by 15.65 percent, compared to the previous month and 8.54 percent from last July. Year to date, there have been 32,879 sold homes – down 2.16 percent from 2017. The condo market saw a small uptick in average days on market, increasing to 18 days compared to 17 last July. The most active price segment for the single-family market in June was the $300,000 to $399,999, and $200,000 to $299,999 for condos.

Months of inventory increased to 1.59 months for single-family homes, compared to 1.43 months last month and increased to 1.33 months for condos, compared to 1.21 months last month. As we look at the single-family home market, the average sold price decreased 1.48 percent month-over-month to $529,124, while the median price also decreased 0.33 percent to $450,000. The year-to-date average sold price stands at $526,313 for the single-family home market, up 9.68 percent from last year, with the median sold price at $446,003 and up 8.78 percent. The condo market continues to outperform single-family, with the average sold price of $352,734, representing a 11.95 percent increase over 2017. The median price of condos sold also increased by 13.21 percent to $300,000.

Our monthly report also includes statistics and analyses in its supplemental Luxury Market Report (properties sold for $1 million or greater), Signature Market Report (properties sold between $750,000 and $999,999) and Premier Market Report (properties sold between $500,000 and $749,999). In July, 206 homes sold and closed for $1 million or greater – down 16.26 percent from the previous month and up 17.71 percent year-over-year. The closed dollar volume in July in the luxury segment was $ 291,278,026 down 24.22 percent from the previous month, and up 7.15 percent year-over-year.

The highest priced single family home sold in July was $4,036,670 representing six bedrooms, five bathrooms and 5,424 above ground square feet in Denver. The highest priced condo sold was $1,400,000 representing three bedrooms, four bathrooms and 2,500 above ground square feet in Denver. The listing agents for both transactions and the selling agent for the condo transaction are all DMAR members.

“The Denver Metro area Luxury market felt a chill even in our hot July temperatures,” stated Jill Schafer, DMAR Market Trends Committee member and metro Denver REALTOR®.

According to Schafer, with 13.96 percent fewer luxury homes sold in July than June and 37.5 percent fewer luxury condos, it appears the seasonal peak for sales of homes priced over $1 million may have been June.
Even with last month’s drop, it is still a banner year for the Luxury market. Year-to-date figures show more than 2.5 times (107 percent +) the number of luxury homes have sold this year compared to 2014, and more than three times (142 percent +) as many condos compared to four years ago.

“With $1,951,165,664 in luxury home sales volume year to date, we will surely pass a record $2 billion this year,” she added “How high will it go? It’ll be interesting to watch!”


The DMAR Market Trends Committee releases reports monthly, highlighting important trends and market activity emerging across the Denver metropolitan area. Reports include data for Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin, Jefferson and Park counties. Data for the report is sourced from REcolorado® and interpreted by DMAR.

Best Mountain Bike Trails Near Denver

Colorado’s Front Range is treasure trove of epic mountain bike trails waiting to be explored. There are around 1,200 rides and trails within striking distance of downtown Denver alone! Whether mountain biking is your long-time passion or a new-found hobby, these mountain bike trails are sure to satisfy your craving for adventure, speed, and new terrain.

North Table Mountain

15+ Miles of Trail

6 Green / 3 Blue / 0 Black

North Table Mountain is the perfect place to ride when you don’t have much time on your hands but still want to feel somewhat remote. Choose between a mellow ride which circles the base of the mesa or make the ascent to the top for something a bit more challenging. On your way up you will encounter some steep, rocky sections. Once on top, take in the incredible views of Denver from the Rim Rock Trail. It’s a fun, easy addition to any route you take, but is only open from August 1st – January 31st. The Waterfall Trail is a more advanced decent featuring a rock garden and a small waterfall beside the trail.

North Table Mountain |

West Magnolia Trails

24 Miles of Trail – 9 Green / 14 Blue / 0 Black

The West Magnolia Trails are located just southwest of Nederland and have been repaired within the last five years. This trail system features forested single tracks and double tracks with a few access roads mixed in. Aggressive climbs lead you to fast and twisty descents. Technical and non- technical spots create a trail system that has something for everyone. Fall is a wonderful time to ride West Magnolia and watch as the Aspens change.

West Magnolia Trails

William Hayden Park at Green Mountain

39 Miles of Trail – 9 Green / 7 Blue / 0 Black

With more than 2,400 acres of open space, Hayden Park is the second largest park in Lakewood. It features a network of mixed-use trails. And the summit, at 6,800 feet, offers stunning views of the Denver metro area, the flatirons, and high mountain peaks to the west. The area is perfect for those in need of a quick ride or who are just learning. With the exception of Box o’ Rox, none of the mountain bike trails are particularly challenging. You can also combine some of the trails to create a longer ride if you are out looking to explore.

Green Mountain |

Buffalo Creek

150+ Miles of Trail – 15 Green / 14 Blue / 2 Black

The mountain bike trails at Buffalo Creek offer some of the most fun riding near Denver, and are arguably some of the coolest rides along the Front Range. There are possibilities to link up all kinds of trails to create everything from short, family-friendly rides to full day, epic adventures. Buffalo Creek truly has something for everyone and generally offers mellow climbs rewarded with fun, fast, flowy descents. Stunning rock formations are often worked into the trail, making each ride a unique. The Buffalo Creek Recreation Area also offers camping so you can spend the weekend exploring everything this trail system has to offer!

Buffalo Creek

White Ranch Park

20 Miles of Trail – 4 Green / 6 Blue / 2 Black

Sitting just 30 minutes northwest of Denver, White Ranch has some fun mountain bike trails for advanced riders. The trails here have mostly sandy soil with smooth spots mixed in, very typical of Colorado Front Range rides. The embedded rocks and technical sections are what make these trails well suited to advanced riders who are in good shape and ready to climb hard. The downhills can get pretty gnarly with lots of rock and log drops to watch out for.

White Ranch

Apex Park

11 Miles of Trail – 1 Green / 10 Blue / 2 Black

Apex Park provides a popular, accessible foothills experience just minutes from downtown Golden. A stream runs alongside a trail in part of the park, and dense forest provides shady areas on the west end. The Apex, Arogs, and Enchanted Forest trails are directional use trails where bikers are required to ride in one direction only on odd-numbered calendar days.

Apex Park |

Betasso Preserve

16.2 Miles – Green / Blue

A popular trail for many Boulder natives, Betasso blends into pine forests with open sections of mountain meadows and a few stream crossings. The climbs sustain only moderate angles – just enough to test the lungs of any rider. While the fast sections are smooth and the trees become a blur as you settle into the flow of the ride. You can make this ride a quick spin by doing the 7.4 mile version or make a days ride out of the full 16.2 mile loop.

Betasso Preserve

Lair O’ The Bear Trail

12.2 Miles – Blue

This multi-use trail sitting just west of Morrison is a fun, intermediate ride with mostly flowy single track. You’ll encounter rock ramps and other rock features, tight turns, and even have to squeeze through trees in some places. Even the most experienced rider will be hard pressed to ride everything challenge free. The rolling terrain offers frequent “whoop-and holler” descents with a few testing climbs.

Lair O' The Bear |

Centennial Cone

17.2 Miles – Blue

This ride is a great example of a modern, purpose-built trail. It’s smooth, flowy, and not eroding as lots seem to do in the Front Range. The single track takes you high up on the ridges above Clear Creek, offering incredible views with a near back-country feel. Long climbs and precarious drop-offs will challenge your stamina. But you may be rewarded with an elk (or other wildlife) sighting. During the weekends, bikers are only allowed on even numbered days.

Centennial Cone |