Colorado Real Estate News

Winter Home Staging Tips

Winter Home Staging Tips


During the winter months in Colorado, attracting homebuyers to go dashing through the snow to an open house in December requires a different plan than in the summer months. By staging your home appropriately, though, it could lead to a quicker sale. Here are some tips for staging your home during the holidays:


Fresh seasonal flowers

Brighten homebuyers’ moods on a cold, gloomy day with fresh flowers. During the winter months, fresh flowers add an element of surprise – making your home extra memorable – because gardens are covered with snow and people aren’t expecting to see them. Depending on the look you are going for, there are many winter flowers from which to choose.

To tie to the snow-theme outside, swing by your local florist and go with ‘snowdrops’ which are beautiful, droplet-like downturned white petals which begin to bloom in early November. Another great option is the white ranunculus flower. These delicate rose-like blossoms feature layers of tissue-thin petals and they look almost too perfect to be real. Or, go with the white Calla Lily to make a bolder statement. Calla lilies are popular during the winter season because of their vivid white, trumpet-like pedals and because they are so elegant; just a few can make for a stunning bouquet. Around the holidays, consider the deep burgundy varietal of the Calla Lily too. Another stunning flower to get buyers in the merry spirit is the amaryllis which is commonly used in Christmas arrangements. The vibrant red amaryllis are bright and cheery and are sure to make any space pop.

There’s no need to add flowers to every room because the little touches here are there will make a big impact. Perhaps add a nice bouquet on the dining room table and the kitchen island, and place small arrangements, even just a single bud, bedside or in the master bathroom.

Great lighting

Natural lighting is essential to staging any time of the year! The natural light brightens moods and spaces; it can even be used to make rooms appear larger than they really are. Open the window treatments to allow as much natural light in as possible. If your window curtains are not neutral in color, then the general rule of thumb is to buy new ones as neutral colors appeal to the broadest number of potential homebuyers. Assess whether your light fixtures are out of date, and invest in light fixtures that are contemporary, minimalistic and dimmable.

Another essential to home staging? Making sure every single light bulb works. Furthermore, changing your light bulbs should be a priority. Typically, homes have a mix of incandescent, curly CFLs and LEDs. Commit to an LED of the same color – preferably 3,000K soft or warm white to add a sense of familiarity and comfort – and change out all older bulbs. Pro tip: Change the color of desk lamps to a much dimmer color temperature of 2400K or lower to highlight office space.

Make it warm and cozy for the holidays

Oftentimes, homeowners are curious to know whether or not to decorate their home on the market during the holidays. The answer is yes. Holiday decorations paint the picture of what life will be like for buyers, so hang festive twinkling lights, wreaths and a decorated tree near Christmas if you celebrate the holiday. Decorate with a vision of what you might see when flipping through a lifestyle magazine… be careful of going overboard as clutter is a big no-no in home staging.

A great idea for adding holiday light and warmth is to turn on the fireplace and have a bundle of fresh wood beside it. The fresh cut logs should add a memorable smell to the home. Don’t forget about adding a few stockings as well!

Throw blankets are a must-have in staging your bedroom and couches too. The hottest throw blankets today are chunky, hand-knitted throws in neutral colors. Ultra faux fur throws can make any bedroom seem exceedingly comfortable with its soft, welcoming texture. And more traditional cashmere throws are great as they can add a sumptuous softness and cozy warmth year-round.

Enhance the senses

Candles offer staged homes a full sensory experience. You can select a scent that brings out memories of baking holiday cookies, or ones that make you feel like you’re hiking amongst fresh mountain pine, to traditional aromatherapy fragrances used to tap into emotions. Whatever mood you are going for, be sure to only select only one or your home could become overwhelming and actually be a deterrent to buyers.

What to choose? The smooth scent of vanilla is always a great option and it’s often used to make people feel uplifted and relaxed. Pine and cedar scents are fun when the Christmas tree is up because it taps into buyers’ own happy holiday memories, plus forest scents are known to reduce stress and promote feelings of greater well-being. Instead of candles, you could also opt for natural elements like fresh pine cones by the fireplace or bake fresh cookies before an open house.

Clear the path

This goes without saying, but the single most important thing a seller needs to do in the winter is to be sure all snow and ice have been removed and treated with salt from walkways and the driveway. Check your roof for any ice dams, and take care that all icicles have been knocked down. Removing snow advertises to potential homebuyers what your home really looks like in the winter elements. Furthermore, getting them in the door (quite literally) is critical to successfully selling your home this season.

Embrace the winter months. After all, ’Tis the season to focus on warmth, togetherness and family when staging your home sweet home during the holidays.

Colorado Real Estate News

Real Estate Market Trends

Real Estate Market Trends


Seasonal Cooldown is Expected

Home sales usually peak mid-summer and then the market begins its seasonal cooldown just in time for the fall. The lowest number of both new listings and number of homes sold usually occurs in December or January. It appears we are right on track with that trend this year.


The number of new listings added to the Denver-area market in October was down 10% month over month, but still up 4.37% year to date. The 5,425 homes added was the lowest number of new listings in a given month since February! This may have contributed to the decline in homes sold in October, down 6.4% compared to September, yet that’s still nearly 2% more year to date.


Homes are also sitting on the market longer. The average days on market year to date was at 30, up 25% compared to last year which was at 24 days.


The Luxury Market is Well-ahead of Last Year’s Pace

Market statistics signal it remains a good time for buying and selling of luxury homes. In fact, year to date, 2019 is well-ahead of last year’s pace in the luxury segment (homes priced $1 million+).


There was a total of 2,051 luxury homes that sold year to date in October compared to 1,896 this same time last year, an increase of 8%. Luxury condo sales continued to perform well with 237 condos sold year to date, an increase of 56% over last year. Year to date, single-family home sales have increased from 1,744 in 2018 to 1,814 in 2019, up 4%.


Unlike the entire residential market, the Luxury Market’s days on market improved. Month over month, median days on market in the luxury segment went from 38 in September to 28 in October.


Furthermore, months of inventory for luxury single-family homes is 6.13, which is the equal balance between buyers and sellers. Sellers continue to maintain an edge with condos with 4.35 months of inventory. While price reductions have become common, the year-to-date close-to-list price ratio has remained steady for luxury homes at 97.42% in 2019 compared to 97.35% in 2018.

Colorado Real Estate News

Local Foco Makers To Know For Holiday Shopping

Local Foco Makers

Shopping in Downtown Fort Collins can be a wonderful experience any time of year, but around the holiday season, it’s truly magical. You’ll find unique, hand-crafted gifts for everyone on your list as you stroll your way through a dazzling display of more than 100,000 holiday lights throughout Old Town’s streets and bustling plazas.


With the rise of online shopping, it’s more important now than ever for us to do our part and support local businesses that make our community so great. And with so many local artisans and boutiques from which to choose, Downtown Fort Collins is an easy one-stop-shop for everything on your shopping list this holiday season; so, we invite you to keep it local this holiday with a few of our favorite local FoCo makers:



Curiosities is a unique local shop just north of the Old Town Square. With everything from children’s novelty toys to eclectic home décor, you can never quite predict what you’re going to find there, but that’s what makes it such a fun place to shop!


The Cupboard

The Cupboard is the largest kitchen specialty store in Northern Colorado, and has been an institution in Downtown Fort Collins since 1972. You’ll find imported and local food, coffee, candy, dinnerware, kitchen appliances, cookbooks, kitchen gadgets and a plethora of unique, locally-inspired gifts!



If you’re looking for handcrafted goods inspired by Colorado’s outdoor lifestyle, Akinz has you covered! At its flagship store in Fort Collins, you’ll find hand-printed goods and apparel featuring the mountains, wildlife, Colorado pride and local brews. While you’re there, check out what they’re working on that day, or you can order something custom-made for the ones on your list who are hard to buy for.


Alpine Arts – The Colorado Showcase

Located in the historic Avery Building in Old Town Fort Collins, Alpine Arts is a local family-owned store that is your one-stop-shop for all things Colorado. From art and décor to jewelry, shirts, hats, and souvenirs, Alpine Arts specializes in gifts that represent Fort Collins and the Rocky Mountains, and most of their items are made right here in Colorado!


Lemons and Lace

As far as local boutiques go, Lemons and Lace offers everything from women’s clothing to footwear, gifts, jewelry, accessories and specialty home décor items. Founded by a Colorado State University alumni and Fort Collins native, you’ll find one-of-a-kind Colorado-inspired pieces you can’t find anywhere else!


The Perennial Gardener

The Perennial Gardener has been an Old Town institution for over 24 years. This garden and nature-inspired gift store has a plethora of unique items for everyone on your list, from home décor and garden accessories to handmade soaps, children’s toys, jewelry, apparel and everything in between!


These local favorites will give you a great range of stores to find something for everyone on your list, but we definitely recommend you take your time and explore all the fantastic local artisans and boutiques that Downtown Fort Collins has to offer this holiday season!

Colorado Real Estate News

Bunny Hills To Black Diamonds: 5 Ski Resorts That Are Great For Families

Bunny Hills to Black Diamonds

When it comes to choosing a ski resort in Colorado, there is certainly no shortage of incredible options from which to choose! Colorado has nearly 30 ski resorts, ranging from local favorites to internationally renowned destinations. Wherever you choose as your ‘mountain of choice,’ however, you’ll be sure to find that famous Colorado powder you’re looking for.


If you are planning to visit a resort with your family, there are a few considerations you may want to keep in mind such as the ease of travel, off-mountain amenities, and diversity of terrain so everyone – from the bunny hill beginners to the black diamond veterans – are sure to have a great time.


Here’s a round-up of our top 5 resorts for your next family ski vacation:



Keystone is a huge family-friendly resort with more than 3,000 acres spread over three peaks. With its close proximity to Denver, it’s one of the easiest mountains to get to and one of the more affordable options as well. Keystone offers the longest ski day in the state for those who are frequently the last one off the mountain, and they offer extensive night skiing. There is plenty of programming for kids too, from Kidtopia events and the ski school program to the world’s largest snow fort.



Not far from Keystone is Breckenridge, one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners with its gentle Green slopes and family learning zones. Intermediates in the group will also have a ton of Blue runs to choose from, and expert skiers can explore entire peaks of the mountain that will challenge even the most veteran thrill-seekers. After a long day on the mountain, the historic town of Breckenridge has plenty of shopping and dining options, as well as ice skating, tubing and sleigh rides.


Steamboat Springs

As Colorado’s northernmost ski town, Steamboat Springs is a three-and-a-half to four-hour drive from Fort Collins. Otherwise known as “Ski Town, USA,” Steamboat is incredibly welcoming for families with young children. There are wagons in the ski village so you can load your gear and tired little ones, and there is a variety of terrain for everyone in your group. There are 3,000 acres to explore, ranging from easy groomers to thigh-burning tree runs, and there is plenty of cross-country skiing available for those who aren’t as keen on downhill. Off the mountain, there are a ton of activities to choose from including a natural hot spring, sleigh-ride dinners, ice skating and tubing.



When you take a trip to Aspen, you can actually try out four ski resorts with one lift ticket – Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass. Each resort has its own unique charm and offers something slightly different from the rest, but they all are blanketed in the powder snow that has made the area famous! If you have children with you, Buttermilk’s Hideout Children’s Center is the perfect place for them to learn how to ski, and the Aspen/Snowmass area has plenty of family-friendly activities like an alpine coaster, snow cat dinners, snowshoeing, tubing, free s’mores and delightful après options for kids and adults.



Vail is the largest ski resort in Colorado with over 5,000 skiable acres. There is terrain suitable for the whole family from beginner-friendly groomed trails and family learning zones to the famous back bowls and deep powder runs. Adventure Ridge is perfect for an afternoon of winter fun with the kids where you can go tubing, snowshoeing, or try kids snowmobiling and ski biking. Vail also has three villages with plenty of bars, restaurants and shopping, as well as ice rinks and playgrounds for the kids.


As you can imagine, it’s a tall task to pick a favorite from all the incredible ski resorts in Colorado, but hopefully this guide will help you start narrowing down the options and find the perfect place for you and your family.

Colorado Real Estate News

Jill Schafer | Featured Agent

Jill Schafer



Williston, ND

What Is One Special Thing About the Place You Grew Up?

I grew up in Williston ND. It is the center of the Bakken oil reserve and has changed a lot since I lived there. It was a charming small farm and ranching community when I was young but now it’s an oil town full of white pick-ups and oil workers called roughnecks. There are more people in Denver than in the whole state of ND! But I’m proud to be from there. It’s full of hardworking, honest, hardy and genuine people

How Many Years Have You Been in Real Estate?

16 Years


I started collecting original portrait paintings a few years ago. I love scouting antique shops, estate sales and websites for original artwork and other great vintage finds. I’m a big movie watcher and actually have a minor in Film History. Give me a bucket of popcorn and a good movie and I’m happy!

Describe Yourself In 5 Words:

Inquisitive, Ethical, Hardworking, Determined and Witty. Or at least I like to think I’m witty!

Favorite Colorado Past-time:

I often feel like I’m a failed Coloradan because I don’t ski, run marathons, climb mountains or do any of those outdoorsy Colorado activities. I do love that dogs are welcome in so many places here and that Coloradans treat their dogs as family. My Saint Bernard (140 lbs) and Newfoundland (110 lbs) are the same size as some of my human friends. They are funny, loving and always want to be at my side. They are truly family and I love spending time with them.

One Unusual Thing About You:

I have two sisters named Julie and two brothers named Mike!  I’m adopted and I was raised with a brother named Joe, a sister named Julie and a step-brother named Mike. I was totally floored when I met my birth family and found out that my birth sister’s name is also Julie and my birth brother is also named Mike. What are the chances of that?

In What Ways Are You Involved in Your Community?

I’m a CASA which is a Court Appointed Special Advocate for neglected and abused children. I attend court hearings, school conferences. doctor’s appointments and so much more to advocate for these kids. They are in the system because of the poor decisions the adults in their lives made, not because of anything the kids have done. These kids are stuck in a broken system and the only way they are going to make it through and break the cycle of abuse and neglect is to have an advocate who walks with them through it all and believes in them. I feel like it’s the least I can do.

Who Inspires You?

My dad inspires me with the way he live his life. He treats everyone as if they are the most important person he has ever met. He builds children’s furniture and donates it to schools and people he meets along his way. He has a bulletin board full of photos of the kids and grandkids of  nurses, waitresses, neighbors and others who have been the lucky recipients of the pieces he makes with love and care. He lives his life with a caring spirit and a personal compass that always points toward the honest and ethical road. I ask myself what he would do in every situation I face and I make all my decisions based on what would make him proud of me.

What Is Your Proudest Accomplishment and Why?

My boys are my proudest achievement, by far. I’ve been lucky to win a number of awards and receive recognition in my career, but nothing compares to my sons. I certainly don’t take all of the credit, not even half of it really, because my husband is an amazing dad. At 22 and 24, they are both successfully doing what they love and are in great relationships. They love animals and still text and visit their parents. What more could I ask for? I am very proud to be their mom.

How Do You Define Success?

I feel successful when my clients are so happy with my service that they pass my name on to their family and friends. That is truly success to me!

What Career Path Would You Have Chosen If You Didn’t Become a Real Estate Broker?

I started out as a TV news reporter and anchor. I loved telling people’s stories. If I could do anything else now, I’d love to make films, write novels and study law.

If You Could Master Any Skill That You Don’t Currently Have, What Would It Be and Why?

I have a terrible time remembering numbers. I can drive you directly to a house I sold a dozen years ago and I can tell you if they put in new carpet or painted a room, but I can’t tell you the house number. Numbers seem to just fly right out of my head.

What Is the Most Adventurous Thing You’ve Ever Done?

It was a big adventure when my husband and I, married for less than a year, packed up our dog, cat and all of our stuff and moved to Denver. I left behind a career I loved, family and friends and came here because my husband said there was no better place to live. He was right! I also felt pretty adventurous climbing in bat caves in Puerto Rico a few years ago.

If You Could Have Dinner with Anyone, Who Would It Be and Why?

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. As only the second woman to be sworn in to the highest court in the land, she has had a front row seat to court cases that shape our country and our lives. She is also 86 year old, a cancer survivor and still works out at the gym everyday. I love her spunk. There is so much I could learn from her.

What Is Your Favorite Family Tradition?

My favorite traditions all have to do with food! My mom makes a Norwegian potato flatbread called lefsa for the holidays. You butter it and sprinkle it with sugar. It’s simple, but delicious. My step-mom makes amazing fudge at Christmas and my mother-in-law makes everyone a carrot cake and these soft ginger cookies with white frosting called Cry Babies on our birthdays. I love making Kneophla Soup, a German chicken and potato soup with dough balls for my family in the fall. They are all made with love, which makes them even better!

What’s the Best Concert You’ve Ever Been To? What Made It So Special?

My husband and I saw Harry Connick Jr. at Red Rocks. There is nothing more attractive than a talented and funny man. He played solos on every instrument on the stage, sang like a dream and had everyone laughing. It was all around awesome entertainment in a beautiful Colorado venue.

If You Could Live in A Book, TV Show, Or Movie What Would It Be and Why?

I feel like my life is already full of things that books are written about. I think Oprah could do a great episode on the many crazy coincidences in my life. As far as a movie, I want to make my own instead of be in someone else’s.

Contact Jill Schafer

Cell: 720-422-0950