Colorado Real Estate News

Ways to Stay Social (While Socially Distanced) in Northern Colorado

It’s finally 2021! A new year to create long-lasting memories with friends and family. Even though COVID-19 is still around, don’t let it spoil your fun. Here are some safe ways to stay social while socially distanced this winter season. 

Adventure at Horsetooth Reservoir
Just minutes from Fort Collins, Horsetooth Reservoir provides a wide selection of outdoor activities, whether you are looking to hike, snowshoe, horseback ride, bike or even have a snow day picnic. Spanning 6.5-miles, Horsetooth Reservoir is open year-round with breathtaking views and recreation for all.

Try Fat Biking
In Northern Colorado, snow doesn’t stop us from going on a bike ride in the majestic Rocky Mountains. Fat bikes are designed with two oversized tires that make for smooth riding on rough terrain so that you can continue to cruise on snow-packed trails. Cameron Pass and Lory State Park, outside of Fort Collins, offer amazing fat bike adventures. If you’re an inexperienced biker, no problem! Check out Front Range Ride Guides for a ride that will complement your abilities, fitness level and desires. 

Outdoor Fitness Classes
If you’re missing the gym, Northern Colorado has some great socially-distanced outdoor fitness options. OpenAir-NoCo provides year-round outdoor training in Fort Collins’ beautiful parks so layer up and breathe in the fresh air! If you’re a yogi, check out Liv Barre’s COVID-friendly barre class and wine tasting at Sweet Heart Winery in Loveland on January 24th.

Support Local Restaurants
We know that indoor dining is still extremely limited, but why should that stop you from experiencing a delicious meal? As an alternative for going out to eat, try Noco Nosh, an independent delivery service for independent restaurants. Northern Colorado has some of the best local restaurants, so set up your dinner table or start up the fire for an outdoor meal with friends and place your order today!

We know connecting with friends and family can be difficult during these uncertain times. These are just a few ways that you can stay social and safe during the pandemic. So bundle up and get out there for some socially-distanced fun. And don’t forget your mask!

Colorado Real Estate News

Best Snow Tubing Spots in Colorado

Winter in Colorado may bring cold and ice, but it also offers gorgeous snow and exhilarating winter activities! Colorado is known for its majestic ski mountains, but if skiing isn’t your thing then you might want to check out all the fantastic tubing hills that Colorado has to offer. Without further delay, here is a list of the best tubing spots in the Front Range. 

*Please note that reservations must be placed for all tubing hills except for the Snow Mountain Ranch Sledding and Tubing Hill and Yee-Haw Tubing Hill. Visit their websites for more details.

Copper Mountain Tubing
Copper Mountain Tubing is located in Friso, Colorado on Copper Mountain, a well-known skiing spot. The tubing hill can be found in Copper’s East Village behind Copper station. The downhill experience boasts banked curves that will keep the whole family laughing! Copper Mountain Tubing is the perfect place for adventurous families looking for an after-ski or day activity in Frisco, Colorado.

Snow Mountain Ranch Sledding and Tubing Hill
Located in Granby, Colorado, Snow Mountain Ranch Sledding and Tubing Hill is a part of a YMCA of the Rockies and is available all year-round. The YMCA also offers tons of other fun activities like snowmobiling, skiing and dog sledding, making this tubing destination the ideal weekend getaway! No tubing reservation required, just walk up and check in via QR code.

Frisco Tubing Hill
In scenic Frisco, Colorado lies Frisco Tubing Hill. With multiple lanes varying in drops, twists and turns, this location is the ultimate destination for any tuber, whether you’re timid or an adrenaline junkie. Frisco Tubing Hill is also a part of Frisco Adventure Park, which offers snowshoeing and skiing. So if you’re ready for a wonderful winter wonderland experience, steer your sleigh towards Frisco Tubing Hill! 

Yee-Haw Tubing Hill
Twenty minutes outside Steamboat Springs lies a not so hidden gem, Yee-Haw Tubing Hill. Whether you’re feeling rowdy or just want to put your skis down for the night, Yee-Haw is the place for you. This tubing area offers many lanes, all designed for fantastic family fun, as well as a free shuttle from town. Reservations are required for shuttle transportation, but if you plan to drive yourself reservations aren’t necessary as tubing is on a first-come-first-served basis. Whether young or old, this tubing adventure will have you screaming “Yee-Haw!”

Coca Cola® Tube Park
Those looking for a stand-alone tubing spot, look no farther than Winter Park’s Coca-Cola® Tube Park. The Coca-Cola® Tube Park is also perfect for large groups looking to rent the area all day. So if you’re struggling to plan a socially distanced gathering, this location is perfect for you! Grab some friends and have a fun socially-distanced day slipping and sliding away!  

Tubing is one of the most fun and thrilling winter activities out there. Luckily for you, Colorado snow brings endless opportunities for tubing thrills on many hills. So young or old, skier or nonskier, grab a tube and try these spots out for yourself this winter!

Colorado Real Estate News

Top Five Ski Resorts for Your Winter Escape

Vail, Colorado
Are you looking for a luxury skiing experience? As the largest ski area in Colorado, Vail is the perfect destination for an elegant getaway. According to the American Ski Index, this Colorado ski town is ranked number two in the country, and it is right at our fingertips! The seven back bowls and 767,716 feet of runs will keep you occupied all winter season! The ski town of 5,500 residents is inspired by Austrian villages and keeps visitors coming back for more. Don’t forget to check out Lionhead Village and Vail Town Center to be charmed by the fine-dining and shopping experiences! 

Aspen, Colorado
There is a reason The Kardashian’s and Jeff Bezos frequently visit here! While Aspen may attract shopaholics as much as the skiers, this enchanting town provides entertainment both on and off the mountain. Aspen contains four different mountains: Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass. With distinct personalities, these mountains will feel like you’re skiing four resorts for the price of one. 

Breckenridge, Colorado
Looking for a challenge? Breckenridge’s Imperial Express SuperChair on Peak 8 is the highest lift in North America! With a widely spread terrain loaded with greens, blue and diamonds, Breckenridge provides unparalleled skiing opportunities for every level. Many individuals describe the town as relaxed yet vibrant, providing the opportunity to live luxuriously or affordably. And don’t forget to check out the iconic 2021 Ullr Fest held every year to celebrate the history of Breckenridge!

Telluride, Colorado
If you are looking for an easier terrain to refine your skills, Telluride is the place! With nearly 60% of terrain beginner and intermediate-friendly, this resort is ideal for kids or first-time skiers! Telluride is slightly off the grid compared to other resorts, making this remote town truly special. Whether it’s winter, summer or spring, Telluride can provide you with action-packed activities all year round! 

Winter Park, Colorado
If you are looking for a quick cure to ski jitters, Winter Park is the place to go. As the closest ski resort to Denver, Winter Park provides a one-day skiing adventure for you and your family or roommates. The accessible, relaxed and quaint village of Winter Park is the ideal day trip destination for all the beginner, intermediate and advanced shredders out there!

Colorado Real Estate News

Best Colorado Companies/Shops for Ski Gear

photo of snowboards and skis

Ski season has begun at Colorado resorts, and COVID-19 is not stopping Coloradans from bundling up and hitting the slopes! Since skiing and snowboarding were unfortunately cut short last spring, people are eager to get back into their favorite winter sport, and maybe even buy some new gear. Let us guide you through a few of our favorite options for buying new ski and snowboard equipment in Colorado, so you can shred the mountains with style this winter!

ONLINE: Backcountry
One of the most reliable online companies for new ski supplies is Backcountry. Their easy-to-navigate site makes for a fun experience searching through all of their awesome gear for the best deals! Backcountry offers a variety of categories, so whether you’re into cross country, alpine, park skiing or snowboarding, Backcountry has it all. Plus, they are always advertising new sales on winter apparel, so you can find items like jackets and pants for up to 40% off retail price!

COLORADO CHAIN: Epic Mountain Gear
Another great store for all your shredding needs is Epic Mountain Gear. They have an online site as well as stores ALL OVER Colorado, so you can visit and browse, try different options and find what works best for you! Epic Mountain Gear is great for beginner skiers who could use the guidance of experienced employees to walk you through trying on equipment, determining the best fit, and making sure you have everything you need to set off for the mountain. They also have an excellent rental program if you’re just visiting or only hit the slopes a few times a year!

SHOP LOCAL: AMR Ski Shop
If you want to shop smaller or find local shops by the mountains, you need to check out AMR Ski Shop in Breckenridge, CO. AMR focuses on selling prime ski gear to give you the best experience possible. They stick to American and European products, which are known to be the most reliable products in the industry. They also have special deals on Thursdays as well as pre-made ski equipment packages so you can go in with nothing and come out looking like a pro! AMR values the skiing community of Breckenridge, so you can visit them for the true experience of a mountain town local.

PREOWNED: Outabounds Ski and Boards
If you’re looking for affordable and upcycled equipment, Outabounds is the store for you. Outabounds features new ski and board hardware as well as lightly used items that are up to 80% off the retail price! They are a family-owned business out of Centennial, CO, and take pride in catering to all skiers, from beginners to experts as well as skiing families. Lightly used skis and boots like the ones sold at Outabounds are perfect for new skiers who need help finding the right fit or experienced skiers who want to try out some new styles before committing to a new purchase.  If you’re looking for new supplies gear this winter, Colorado has no shortage of options! You can stay at home and shop online, visit one of the many recreational chains throughout the state, shop local and have an authentic mountain town experience, and you can even shop for lightly used materials! The opportunities are endless, and no matter what you choose, get some equipment, get out to the mountains, and enjoy another great season on the slopes!

Colorado Real Estate News

The Exchange in Fort Collins: A Collaborative Space for Everyone

photo depicting The Exchange in Fort Collins. There are buildings, patios with games and dining and string lights.

As the first entertainment district in Fort Collins, expectations were high for this little hub. Created as a dog-friendly, open-air entertainment plaza where groups can enjoy their food, desserts, alcoholic beverages and more in an outdoor common area, they seem to have exceeded those expectations. The area is surrounded by string lights and murals as well as community use picnic tables and firepits. According to their website, “The Exchange connects the entrepreneurial spirit of Fort Collins to our love of bikes and the outdoors. Ample bike parking, a bike service station, and connectivity to the Poudre Trail make The Exchange a true bike destination.” Since its inception in 2017, The Exchange has become the central quarter for food, drink and entertainment in the downtown Fort Collins area. 

In preparation for your visit (we recommend it), here are a few of the must-see shops:

FOCO DOCO: Fort Collins Donut Co.

This little donut shop combines the newest technology and freshest ingredients. They make their donuts “Colorado Style,” utilizing the best ingredients the state has to offer. The donuts are made right in front of you with the help of their robot and served hot. 

Chick’nCone

Fried chicken in a waffle cone. Need we say more? With choices of 6 sauces ranging from a sweet Cinna-Maple to a spicy Peri Peri South African chili sauce, there is something for nearly everyone. 

Old Town Putt

Bring out the child in you with this incredible indoor putting range. This place is full of personality and fun. If you’re not a fan of putt-putt golf, they also have ping pong, corn hole, skeeball, shuffleboard and a full arcade. If that still doesn’t interest you, they have weekly drink specials. 

Old Town Churn Ice Cream

As a family member of the Little Man Ice Cream Company, Old Town Churn serves a rotating lineup of handcrafted ice cream along with shakes, malts, sundaes, banana splits and more. Churn serves as the flagship anchor in The Exchange housed at the center in a larger than life 26-foot-tall ice cream churn. 

We could go on and on showcasing the other shops that The Exchange has to offer, but instead, we’ll let you find out for yourself. With 4.5 stars on Yelp, we’re sure you’ll find something to enjoy in the heart of downtown Fort Collins.

Colorado Real Estate News

Rent vs. Buy: How to Decide What’s Best for You

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median rent continues to rise in Colorado. With today’s low mortgage rates, there’s a great opportunity for current renters to make a move into homeownership that stretches each dollar a little bit further.

While the best timeline to buy a home is different for everyone, the question remains: Should I continue renting or is it time for me to buy? The answer depends on your current situation and your future plans, so here are some thoughts to help you decide if you’re ready to own a home of your own.

1. Rent Will Continue to Increase

This is one of the top reasons why renters decide to move because in most cases, rent will continue increasing each year. As noted above, the U.S. Census Bureau recently released its quarterly homeownership report, and as the graph below shows, the median rent is climbing year after year. When you own a home, you’ll lock in your monthly payment for the life of your loan, creating consistency and predictability in your payments.

2. Freedom to Customize

This is a big decision-making point for many people who want to be able to paint, renovate, and make home upgrades. In many cases, landlords determine all of these selections and prefer you do not alter them as a renter. As a homeowner, you have the freedom to decorate and personalize your home to truly make it your own.

3. Privacy

When renting, your landlord has access to your space in case of an emergency. If you own your home, however, you’re the one to decide who can come inside. Given today’s health concerns around the pandemic, this may be a growing priority for you.

4. Flexibility for Relocation

If you’re renting, it may be easier to move quickly should you have a job transfer or simply decide it’s time for a change. When you’re a homeowner and need to sell your house, this might take a little more time. Today, however, with the housing market’s low inventory, this may no longer be the case. Homes are selling at a record-breaking pace, so you may have more flexibility than you think.

5. Building Equity

When you pay your rent, your landlord earns the equity the property gains. If you own your home, the benefits of your investment go directly toward your net worth. This is savings you’ll be able to use in the future for things like sending children to college, starting a new business, buying a bigger home, or simply downsizing to save for retirement.

6. Tax Advantages

When you own your home, there are additional advantages that work in your favor as well. You can deduct things like your property taxes and mortgage interest (Always make sure you check with your accountant to see which tax-deductible benefits apply to your situation). When you rent, however, the tax benefits are directed to your landlord.

Bottom Line

It’s up to you to decide if you’d prefer to rent or buy, and it’s different for every person. If you’d like to learn more about the pros and cons of each, as well as resources to help you along the way, reach out to a Kentwood Broker. This way, you can make a confident and informed decision with a trusted expert on your side.

Colorado Real Estate News

CEO Reflections

Written by Kentwood Real Estate President and CEO Gretchen Rosenberg

A question we’ve been asked recently is whether in 2021 we will face a foreclosure crisis when the forbearance mortgage relief options come to an end? If you remember the housing crisis that began in 2008, you might be feeling like you’re revisiting a familiar scene.  However familiar it may feel, plans have been put in place within the forbearance regulations to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself.

Mortgage Relief

Homeowners this time around are able to request 180 days of mortgage relief through forbearance. Once that first 180 days expires, they’re entitled to request 180 additional days, bringing the total to 360 days of deferred payment eligibility.

It would be wise for homeowners in forbearance to stay in touch with their lender, and create a plan for the deferred payments as a step toward avoiding foreclosure. By planning and communicating with your lender, foreclosure doesn’t have to be one of your options.

Some homeowners who are in the forbearance program have concerns they’ll have to pay their deferred payments back in a lump sum at the end of forbearance. Fortunately, that’s not the case. Fannie Mae explains:

You don’t have to repay the forbearance amount all at once upon completion of your forbearance plan…Here’s the important thing to remember: If you receive a forbearance plan, you will have options when it comes to repaying the missed amount. You don’t have to pay the forbearance amount at once unless you are able to do so.”

Fewer than thought

The number of people in the program has been decreasing. Fewer people than initially expected are still in forbearance, so the number of homeowners who will need to work out alternative payment options is declining.

This means there are fewer and fewer homeowners at risk of foreclosure, and many who initially applied for forbearance didn’t end up needing it. Mike Fratantoni, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), explains:

Nearly two-thirds of borrowers who exited forbearance remained current on their payments, repaid their forborne payments, or moved into a payment deferral plan. All of these borrowers have been able to resume – or continue – their pre-pandemic monthly payments.”

For those who are still in forbearance and unable to make their payments, foreclosure isn’t the only option left. In their Homeowner Equity Insights ReportCoreLogic indicates:

“In the second quarter of 2020, the average homeowner gained approximately $9,800 in equity during the past year.”

Many homeowners have enough equity in their homes today to be able to sell their houses instead of foreclosing. Selling and protecting the overall financial investment may be a solid option for many homeowners. As Ivy Zelman, Founder of Zelman & Associates, mentioned in a recent podcast:

“The likelihood of us having a foreclosure crisis again is about zero percent.”

Bottom Line

If you’re currently in forbearance or think you should be because you’re concerned about being able to make your mortgage payments, reach out to your lender to discuss your options and next steps. Having a trusted and knowledgeable professional on your side to guide you is essential in this process and might be the driving factor that helps you stay in your home.

Our Prosperity Home Mortgage team can help if you’d like to discuss forbearance, refinancing, or would like to purchase a home and need to get a mortgage. You can find our PHM team on our website! Visit www.Kentwood.com

Check with your own advisors before making any decisions based on this information. The information contained in this article is not intended to be construed as investment advice. Kentwood Real Estate does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information. Nothing should be construed as investment advice. Conduct your own research and obtain professional advice before making any investment decisions. Kentwood Real Estate will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained in this article or blog.

Colorado Real Estate News

4 Reasons Why the Election Won’t Dampen the Housing Market

Today, Americans will decide our President for the next four years. If you haven’t already, make sure you get out and vote today! While this decision will have a major impact on many aspects of life in this country, the residential real estate market will not be one of them.

Analysts will try to measure the impact feasible changes in regulations might have on housing, the effect of a possible first-time buyer program, and any number of other situations based on who wins. The Colorado housing market, however, will remain strong for four reasons:

1. Demand Is Strong Among Millennials

The nation’s largest generation began entering the housing market last year as they reached the age to marry and have children – two key drivers of homeownership. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported:

“Millennials, long viewed as perennial home renters who were reluctant or unable to buy, are now emerging as a driving force in the U.S. housing market’s recent recovery.”

2. Mortgage Rates Are Historically Low 

All-time low interest rates are also driving demand across all generations. Strong demand created by this rate drop has countered other economic disruptions (e.g., pandemic, recession, record unemployment).

In addition, Freddie Mac just forecasted mortgage rates to remain low through next year:

“One of the main drivers of the strong housing recovery is historically low mortgage interest rates…Given weakness in the broader economy, the Federal Reserve’s signal that its policy rate will remain low until inflation picks up, and no signs of inflation, we forecast mortgage rates to remain flat over the next year. From the third quarter of 2020 through the end of 2021, we forecast mortgage rates to remain unchanged at 3%.”

3. Prices Continue To Appreciate

The continued lack of supply of existing homes for sale coupled with the surge in buyer demand has experts forecasting strong price appreciation over the next twelve months.

4. History Says So

Though it’s true that the market slows slightly in November when it’s a Presidential election year, the pace returns quickly. Here’s an explanation as to why from the Homebuilding Industry Report by BTIG:

“This may indicate that potential homebuyers may become more cautious in the face of national election uncertainty. This caution is temporary, and ultimately results in deferred sales, as the economy, jobs, interest rates and consumer confidence all have far more meaningful roles in the home purchase decision than a Presidential election result in the months that follow.”

Ali Wolf, Chief Economist for Meyers Research, also notes:

“History suggests that the slowdown is largely concentrated in the month of November. In fact, the year after a presidential election is the best of the four-year cycle. This suggests that demand for new housing is not lost because of election uncertainty, rather it gets pushed out to the following year as long as the economy stays on track.”

Bottom Line

There’s no doubt this is one of the most contentious presidential elections in our nation’s history. The outcome will have a major impact on many sectors of the economy. However, as Matthew Speakman, an economist at Zillow, explained last week:

“While the path of the overall economy is likely to be most directly dictated by coronavirus-related and political developments in the coming months, recent trends suggest that the housing market – which has basically withstood every pandemic-related challenge to this point – will continue its strong momentum in the months to come.

If you are ready to buy or sell in Colorado, contact a Kentwood Real Estate broker to help you, and answer all your questions.

Colorado Real Estate News

A Homeowner’s Net Worth Is 40x Greater Than a Renter’s

One of the best ways to build your financial future is through homeownership. Recent data from the Federal Reserve indicates the net worth of a homeowner is actually over 40 times greater than that of a renter. If it’s time to start thinking about buying a home, reach out to our Kentwood Real Estate brokers, the perfect professionals to answer your questions. 

Every three years the Survey of Consumer Finances shows the breakdown of how owning a home helps build financial security. In the graph below, we see that the average net worth of homeowners continues to grow, while the net worth of renters tends to hold fairly steady and be significantly lower than that of homeowners. The gap between owning and renting just keeps getting wider over time, making homeownership more and more desirable for those who are ready.

Owning a home is a great way to build wealth.

For many, homeownership serves as a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you’re contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity you have in your home (See chart below):

The impact of home equity is part of why Gallup reports that Americans picked real estate as the best long-term investment for the seventh year in a row. According to this year’s survey, 35% of Americans chose real estate over stocks, savings accounts, gold, and bonds.

Today, there are great opportunities available for those planning to buy a home. The housing market has made a full recovery, and all-time low-interest rates are giving homebuyers a big boost in purchasing power. If you’re ready, buying a home this fall can set you up to increase your net worth and create a safety net for your future.

Bottom Line

To learn how you can use your monthly housing cost to build your net worth, connect with a Kentwood broker, so you have a trusted and experienced professional to guide you through the homebuying process.

Colorado Real Estate News

Purchasing A Second Home In Colorado

photo showcasing a home at dusk surrounded by birch trees.

Be honest. How nice does a vacation sound right about now? You can’t deny that after all of these months cooped up in our homes, a change of scenery sounds irresistible. Let’s swap those one-time plane tickets and fancy dinners for the fresh Colorado air and a reason for adventure. Maybe you are looking to purchase a second home for pure enjoyment? Possibly for some additional income? A worthwhile investment? Or it could even be all three, but all in all, there are some undeniable short term and long-term benefits of purchasing a second home in Colorado. 

A second home provides the perfect reason to escape. Whether it’s for personal leisure or family bonding, the memories you create are invaluable, and you can’t put a price tag on memories. Not only will you bond with your loved ones, but a sense of community will also form as you explore your new neighborhood. Creating a sense of belonging as you discover new restaurants and meet the local grocery store owner is the perfect way to become a local. However, since this is a second home, you may not be a permanent local. But do not fret! With such high tourism rates in mountain towns like Telluride and Vail, wannabe locals will be knocking at your door for a little staycation of their own. 

As the real estate market continues to skyrocket, this is the perfect time to consider purchasing a second home in Colorado. Let’s look at Telluride, for example. There was $125 million in sales in August alone, which shattered their December 2019 one-month sales record of $96.9 million. In fact, Telluride is on track to beat the all-time annual sales record of $760 million, which was set in 2007. Not only are mortgage rates low, but purchasing an additional home, particularly in a mountain town, turns your disposable income into financial safety. The National Ski Areas Association reported a record-breaking 24 million visits in the 2018-19 year, further proving a desire for the mountains. While purchasing an additional home is an investment, it has its benefits. For instance, a second home is considered a personal residence. This means when tax day comes around, you can deduct both property taxes and mortgage interests from your taxes. I am not a qualified tax professional, but that sure sounds enticing.

Acquiring another home is a big commitment and a purchase that would benefit from a professional’s advice. Finding a Realtor® whom you trust is crucial in the success of your second home. Our brokers at Kentwood will provide you with the expertise and insights into the Colorado real estate market to assure you that you made a rewarding investment. Feel free to contact our Kentwood professionals today and take your first step in creating priceless memories.