We just listed and sold Coyote Ridge Equestrian Ranch in Boulder County’s Town of Allenspark for $2,400,000 in 57 days, come and visit this wonderful town while the leaves are turning! Know of a complex or hard-to-sell property that might benefit from an aggressive, creative approach? Call Stewart for a free consultation.
Bluegrass on the Corner at Tilt Pinball- Saturday, September 8th from 2:30 – 7:30PM
Looking to escape the craze of Boulder? Head to Tilt Pinball in Louisville for an afternoon of food and music. Find this event in the East Parking Lot behind Tilt Pinball and Verde! Verde will be selling delicious street food and Tilt will be rolling out the outdoor bar for the event. Tickets can be purchased for $15 in advance, and kids under 18 are free. Chain Station, Pick & Howl, and The Whys will be performing throughout the day, so purchase tickets in advance here.
Creekside Movie in the Park at Boulder Civic Area- Friday, September 7th from 5:30 – 10PM
Double Goonies! Join City of Boulder Parks and Recreation for a free movie under the stars, exciting live music, food vendors, and local craft beer in Boulder’s Civic Area. Take a step back to the 80s and don your favorite costumes as the 1985 classic The Goonies is screened. The Goonies, a four-piece 80s cover band will be pumping tunes beforehand, alongside tasty food and a beer garden. The event is free, but you are encouraged to RSVP beforehand here.
Lafayette Brew Fest on Public Road- Saturday, September 8th from 2 – 7PM
Thirsty? Come join the Brew Fest in Lafayette featuring micro and craft Beers for sale from 26+ local Breweries. There is no entrance fee and tickets are sold by 4oz pours. Visit a variety of restaurant and food booths, and wine will also be sold if that’s your style. Explore craft beers one pour at a time from many of the wonderful, local breweries. Discounted pour prices can purchased in advance. Must show ID at the door.
The Big Wonderful in Westminster- Saturday, September 8th
Haven’t heard of The Big Wonderful before? The first of the event series kicks off in Westminster, offering beer, bluegrass, and a bazaar in one elevated experience. The Big Wonderful was founded in Rino in 2014, and it brings together the best of local craft vending, food, beer, and live music into an eclectic festival atmosphere. The event prides itself as a small business incubator, supporting keeping currency local and small business dreams. For the lineup of vendors, food, and music, and to subscribe for free admission, click here.
Le French Cafe is the Happiest Restaurant in Boulder - Check out our fresh equestrian listing now available - adventures await outside of Allenspark! Plus a rare investment property pocket listing only 2.5 blocks to Pearl street in Boulder - And try Le French Cafe - it will soon take it's place in your regular breakfast and lunch rotation! Liquor license just approved-
Who do you know who loves equestrian adventures or wants to buy, sell or invest in real estate? Contact me about pocket listings that might fit the bill- Opportunities abound and interest rates are still historically low...
How about the natural enzymes, vitamins and minerals not being removed from your bread? Head to downtown Louisville and try Moxie for Coffee, Breakfast and Lunch, they use heritage grains in all their baked goods like Pastificio with their pasta from last week's video-
Summer To Do's
Have you ever tried hand milled, heritage grain pasta with homemade sauces? It is quite tasty, and good for your body. No gut bomb or gluten reaction for most people, high in nutrients, and all local at Pastificio. The Boulder Farmer's Market is in full swing and the roses are in bloom at Dushanbe, head over there you won't regret it!
Summer is the season to enjoy your home, not fix it. But still, some chores must be done. Keep on top of them, and you’ll still have plenty of time for beer and barbecues. And if you need anything don't hesitate to call, I'm here to help!
Remember to set your mower on the highest setting so you do not cut the grass too short and expose it to drought and weeds. Dig up the weeds weekly to save time on maintenance long term. Water the plants and deadhead flowers that are past their bloom. These steps will keep your garden looking tidy, and your neighbors content. Need help with your lawn or garden?
Water your plants and foliage - plants prefer a good soaking a few times a week rather than a light, daily drizzle.
Sprinklers - Spring showers are done and we are in the summer pattern! That means your plants will need extra water from your sprinklers. Check your system. Hire a specialist if you can’t do it yourself:
1. Turn the sprinklers on manually, one station at a time.
2. Walk around the yard and check to make sure sprinkler heads are upright.
3. Look for clogs and clean the valves out with water from the hose or a brush. Leaky valves probably need to be replaced.
4. Make sure the spray is wide enough, and not blocked by any foliage. You may need to prune plants or adjust the flow on the valve.
5. Check the timers.
If you notice leaks, pooling water or low pressure, it could be a sign that underground pipes are cracked, a problem that usually means it’s time to call someone.
Exterior repairs- Summer is the time to stain the deck or repair the porch!
INSIDE YOUR HOME
Ceiling fans- Reverse the setting on your ceiling fans to counterclockwise. This pushes the air down, creating a nice breeze.
Air conditioning- Whether you have central air-conditioning or window units, you should clean your filters at least once a month, particularly if you’ve been running the A/C a lot. Need help with your system?
Plan for extreme heat - It was a dry winter, and heat waves are inevitable this summer, so prepare your home before the hottest weather arrives. Check the weather stripping around doors and windows to keep the cool air in. Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes. Check on your neighbors, particularly older ones who live alone.
Bugs and other pests - You’re not the only one who loves your home. Termites, ants, and stink bugs like it, too. Some infestations, like a single trail of ants, may be resolved with a spray can and a thorough cleaning of the area. A single visit from a pest control company costs between $250 - $500, but if you sign up for a $50 monthly contract check the fine print! Online complaints about pest control contracts are common.
And finally, consider home improvement projects for fall! Many contractors are focused on outdoor projects in the summer months. Now is the time to lock them in for your fall and winter indoor improvements. If you plan to paint a few rooms or update a bathroom, get bids now so you can schedule the jobs for the cooler months ahead.
THE 4 BEST THINGS FOR SPRING IN EACH PART OF YOUR HOME
- Spring cleanup time! Start outside, raking up any remaining leaves that survived the winter, and laying down mulch in your flowerbeds and beneath the hedges. Turn your outside faucets back on, checking for damage. If you plan on hiring a lawn care service to maintain your property and mow your lawn, now is the time to renew your annual contract.
- Trees. If your property has any trees, have them inspected by a certified arborist, who can check for signs of illness or any dead branches and catch problems before they escalate and kill a tree. I like Blue River Forestry and Tree Service - nothing but rave reviews from clients.
- Lawns and hedges. Reseed your lawn, filling in bald patches before the summer heat. Plant your perennials, and give them plenty of water. Later in the spring, when the grass turns bright green again and the lilacs bloom, it is time to fertilize the lawn, although you may not need to fertilize as much as you think. Organo-Lawn can take care of this for you and their blog has lots of useful information
- Goodbye snow blower, hello lawnmower! Spring is the time to store your snow blower (if you have one) for the summer. You’ll need to drain the fuel or add a stabilizer, check and clean the motor and parts. Later, pull out the lawnmower and give it a checkup before the grass gets too long. Mowers get a lot of use, but not a lot of love. The Great Outdoors serves all of Boulder County and will come to your house to pick up or make repairs.
THE OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOME
- Inspect. Walk around the outside of the house: Are there cracks in the concrete? Is the driveway in good condition? Check the roof for signs of loose or broken shingles. Look up at the chimney for signs of wear. Check the facade and foundation for cracks or signs of water pooling.
- The gutters. Your gutters control the flow of rainwater on your house, protecting your roof, siding and foundation. Clogged gutters can cause a roof to leak or water to infiltrate your house. Clean them at least twice a year (or more frequently, depending on how many trees surround your property and hang over your roof). Also, check for damage.
- Paint. Look for signs of peeling or chipping paint. You may need a touch-up or a fresh coat. If you plan to hire a professional, schedule the job in the spring so the work gets done by the end of the summer. Contact me directly for an appropriate painter for your type and size of job - 303 704 7774.
- Give your house a bath! Here’s how to clean your house’s exterior:
Close all windows and doors, and cover the ground and hedges with plastic sheeting. Avoid the instinct to rent a power washer, as it may not be necessary, and it could damage siding or masonry depending on your building materials. In most cases, an ordinary garden hose will do. Attach a siding cleaning kit to the hose and get to work. Spot-clean heavily soiled areas. Use detergent sparingly, as it can harm your plants.
THE INSIDE OF YOUR HOME
- HVAC systems. For homes with central heat and air, call your HVAC technician to schedule the system’s biannual checkup and servicing. Locally, I recommend Bagi Mechanical. A technician will check the ductwork for signs of damage, and clean and service the furnace and A/C compressor.
- Plumbing. Give your pipes a good once-over, checking under sinks to make sure there are no signs of leaks. Look up at your ceilings too for telltale water stains – a sign of a leak in the wall. Check faucets for drips and the flapper in the tank of your toilet to make sure it has not worn out (once the flapper starts to go, expect your toilet to run more frequently.) Fix what you can yourself; or call me for a plumbing recommendation 303 704 7774 depending on the type and size of the job.
- Sump pump. Spring is going to be wet! Check your sump pump to make sure it’s draining properly. This is one item you do not want to find out about when it’s too late!
- Chimney. Even if you do not regularly use the fireplace, the chimney still needs a regular checkup. A chimney carries dangerous gases from your fireplace, wood stove or furnace out of your home, helping to keep the air inside breathable. Your chimney should be inspected annually and cleaned periodically depending upon how often you use it to avoid a fire hazard. Call Midtown Chimney Sweeps who are highly rated in county. (Primary Source for this article: The New York Times)
Feel Like a Great Sandwich this Friday on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall?
It has been a great year at Stewart Ward Real Estate, and we wanted to say thank you and send a final newsletter wishing you a wonderful finish to the holidays, and a happy and healthy 2018.
Boulder County Market Update
Early December numbers indicate we may make up some ground and have a brisk start to 2018, but overall 2017 has been a year marked with 30% higher inventory in attached dwellings, 6% overall lower sales volume from 2016, and the beginning of a leveling off in this strong seller’s market of the past 6 years. It appears that 2015 will be recorded as the peak of this cycle, but who knows? Lou Barnes, a famous local mortgage broker and syndicated author for the past 20 years believes we may be in a “semi-permanent seller’s market”, where sales decline a bit year on year every few years to let salaries catch up to home prices. One thing seems clear driving around – Boulder County and North Denver are booming. Slowing appreciation this year is a good thing and the overall appreciation rate will most likely still end up higher than historical Boulder County norms of 5%. If you’re on the sidelines saving for that 20% down payment, consider your target home value, imagine the same home a year later having appreciated 7% and a rising interest rate environment. Are you better off waiting vs. a 10% down payment? Call me and I will run the numbers for you!
Buyer and Seller Needs
Pocket Listings: I have a 3br, 2011 Duplex in Boulder available now for 820K, a great 4BR home that will come available near old town in Erie in January, and a remodeled mountain home only 10 minutes to Boulder in the low 800’s. Buyer needs: I have active buyers interested in starter investment properties around 300K, Prospect condos and an experienced investor looking to do a renovation or scrape, let me know if you know anyone who has off market property to unload!
EL Five Restaurant Review
Many debutante restaurants have graced Denver’s culinary catwalk in recent years, but few were more hotly anticipated than El Five. From the Edible Beats family, El Five’s dance card has been full since she opened in May 2017 as the youngest of five daughters that include Root Down, Linger, Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, and Vital Root. I recommend taking them all for a spin as each has her distinct personality; a bit quirky yet still pleasing to any suitor looking for a fresh face to spend time with.
El Five’s parking ramp entrance in LoHi makes one wonder if the address is accurate, am I really headed to one of Denver’s hottest spots? Fun happens in the elevator choosing the floor and doubts vanish realizing you are in the penthouse, with panoramic views stretching across the Denver skyline all the way up into the Highlands. The genre is Middle East meets Western high design, plastered with Arabic script and racy Egyptian movie posters from the 1960’s. I was bewildered at first by the magnificent vistas and off beat décor, but by the time my first cocktail arrived I was so cool I would’ve turned down an invite to Jay Z’s birthday party. One edible orchid later and sporting empty drinks with ice cubes branded by hand, we were escorted to Joey, one of the most hilarious servers I have ever met.
Above all, the food at El Five is beautiful and creative, with its roots in Spain and accented by Lebanon, Turkey, and Morocco. Spanish food is mild and benefits from Western Mediterranean elements, so have one of the funky Paellas and a sampling of small plates. Both the Matzah Ball Soup Dumplings and Tabbouleh Lettuce Wraps stand out, and there is one dish you cannot leave El Five without tasting - the Moroccan Lamb Sausage. Magic happens mixing browned lamb sausage, hummus, feta, lemon and mint. I’ve shared this plate twice now and secretly resented losing bites to others.
El Five is a night out that captures the imagination with its swanky top-of-the building specialness, quirky vibe and beautifully prepared courses. Perfect for date night or just feeling groovy with friends it is also not that expensive, you could end up with a higher tab at any of the Front Range’s finer restaurants and feel a lot less like Beyonce and JayZ. If you want a table on short notice you are unlikely to get one at any popular time so think ahead and make the effort, it’s worth it!
El Five, 2930 Umatilla St., Denver, 303-524-9193 | www.elfivedenver.com
Who do you know that we might be able to help buying or selling residential or commercial real estate? Call 303.704.7774 for a free consultation, we are never too busy for your referrals.
Boulder County Market Report and Rincon Argentino Restaurant Review
Folks, it's almost August! It's been a great summer so far in Boulder, and with much to do in town we have been busy at Stewart Ward Real Estate! The market in Boulder County is propelling onward and upward as it has done more reliably than any other market in the country, although slower than 2016. The median sales price in-county is down 2.4% from June of last year, and average days on market have increased 3.9% year on year. The march back to a more balanced market is definitely happening, so what does this mean for you?
Homes are spending a cumulative 47 days on market up 10.5% over last year, when homes spent a cumulative 38 days on market for the same 90 day time period. It’s still a seller’s market and great homes are selling fast in great neighborhoods, but if you want to sell this year in a location that is affected by heavy traffic, power lines, or other undesirable traits, it will take longer than in recent history. As the market continues to level off, days on market will lengthen for these properties first.
The median sales price in Boulder County is still rising. Year to date, overall inventory is up 13% over last year and it’s taking longer for homes to close. We can work together to find a home that will work best for you- since most homes have been spending longer on the market, we may have room to negotiate an excellent deal this fall.
Rincon Argentino Restaurant Review
The culture, wines, and foods of the Patagonia region are legendary- full of depth, flavor, and fine ingredients. When you gaze upon the otherworldly crags, glacial lakes and endless grasslands, it's no surprise that the food and drink that come from that region are so brilliant.
In case you're wondering, I haven't recently journeyed there though Mt. Fitz Roy seems like an epic and unforgettable trek. I have recently been to Rincon Argentino, located at Arapahoe and Folsom in Boulder, where I was nearly transported to Patagonia through the excellent food, unpretentious atmosphere, and some of the best mate I’ve ever had.
The full selection of empanadas at Rincon Argentino
Most of us have tried a handheld meat or veggie pie of one kind or another- English, Jamaican, Cuban, Indian, there are many varieties. Most of these suffer from having been frozen, too much carbohydrate with little filling, deep frying, or other stomach-punishing preparation. This is why the Rincon Argentino empanadas are such a revelation – The crust is light and flaky, the flavors complex and just two will satisfy for a tasty lunch. I recommend the chimichurri sauce to start, and accompany with a glass of Argentinian Malbec or iced mate this summer depending on your mood. For dessert, a simple, not too sweet pasta frola satisfies without overpowering the palate.
Then, bask in the sun for a few minutes taking in the Flatirons, and imagine yourself atop Mt. Fitz Roy.
Rincon Argentino, 2525 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, (303) 442-4133
Who do you know that we might be able to help with Real Estate this year?
We are never too busy for your referrals, thank you!
Happy July 5! It has been a great year so far at Stewart Ward Real Estate, and we’d love to share a few updates. Investors, if you are looking to get into the downtown Boulder market I am privately marketing a triplex, turnkey and fully SmartRegs compliant with great renters near Walnut and 19th. My listing at 9032 Tahoe in Park Lake is now $829,000, an exceptional house and value on .7 acre. I also wanted to congratulate Andrew and Christine and thank my team, who helped them list and close 5042 Lee Hill Drive for 3% over asking at $1,135,000, a first for the price category in Boulder Heights.
Summer is in full swing and it’s hard to imagine but the first half of 2017 is over. This time of year what should buyers and sellers be thinking about? The average mortgage takes 30 to 45 days to complete so July 5 is a turning point – only a couple of weeks left to go under contract on a house in the summer season before the kids are back in school and people start pulling out of the market.
For buyers waiting for the perfect house to come along, it’s a lot less likely to happen from here as inventory tightens through the end of the year. Levels are already 10% below this time last month, and a similar drop is likely for this month. Reduce your expectations and get into something good enough, unless you are happy to pay more for less next year. The good news - houses that have been on the market over 30 days may be had for a discount. What is your price range? I’m happy to help with a detailed analysis of where a deal may be had.
For sellers, it’s time to get serious. Have a look at your home’s marketing, if the presentation has not been recently refreshed or staged, talk to your Realtor. Additionally, NAR statistics show that sellers who drop prices earlier than the competition end up selling for a higher price. For a free consultation on your home’s value, contact us.
Thrive Restaurant Review
Supersize Me, the documentary that chronicled Morgan Spurlock’s “McDonalds only” diet for 30 days, is a pivotal documentary that galvanized my support for a healthy, sustainable food system for all ages and incomes. It is the reason I am on the board of Growing Gardens, the fantastic local non-profit that educates children of all economic backgrounds about urban agriculture and leadership. Our Farm Dinner is August 5 in the Hawthorn gardens, there is space left but It always sells out and I’d love to have you there. The evening will benefit our Food Project Farm, which donates 100% of its produce to low income Longmont community members.
The amount of words required to distinguish foods that are “non-conventionally” made - organic, non-GMO, free range, pesticide free, hormone free, gluten free, etc. says a lot about our corporate food system. It maximizes profit for shareholders, yet often conflicts with the moral responsibility to do no harm with cheap, unhealthy ingredients.
To eat completely non-conventional alone would be a great reason to eat at Thrive, the raw, vegan, gluten free and organic order-at-the-counter spot across from Boulder high. The atmosphere is very sweet, walking in to Thrive one enters a bubble of time and space where everyone looks young, bright and shiny with big smiles. I assume all the staff are eating the food and it made me wonder – should I go on a raw diet? Is this how to stop looking like I’ve been standing in a wind tunnel eating Twinkies for the last 20 years?
For clarity raw means raw - no heat is applied to the strictly plant-based ingredients here - yet the creative preparation is surprisingly varied in flavor. Fermentation helps; the Nori Wrap on the snack menu is a prime example. It looks like simple julienne of carrot and cucumber wrapped in Japanese seaweed but then the kimchi sounds off with a dash of heat. Add a bit of mayo creaminess with mild tamari dipping sauce and welcome to savory veggie nirvana!
From the salad menu, the Pad Thai of spiralized zucchini noodles, marinated broccoli and purple cabbage with kimchi and cilantro stays true to its roots. Retaining a distinct Thai flavor and beautiful range of colors, I can’t remember enjoying a tastier Asian-inspired salad.
Wrap up your culinary experience at Thrive with the liquid nitrogen ice cream. Fresh cashew and almond milk is mixed with a chocolate or vanilla base, then liquid nitrogen is poured in for a lightly sweet and handmade frozen confection. It’s fascinating and just right for a summer dessert-
Thrive, 1509 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder 720 616 7785
With all the rain and snow we've been having, you may already have heard the familiar whirr of your pump as ground water seeps down below your basement. This water will continue to do so as the rains let up over the next few days, so why not check your Sump Pump?
QUICK CHECK - open your sump pit lid and look in, is there water at or above the horizontal PVC pipe? If so, you may have a problem! While you're there, unplug and replug the motor, and make sure it's ready for action!
FULL CHECK - (from hunker.com)
Locate the exit pipe, also called an outlet pipe, on the exterior of your home through which your sump pump directs the water from your basement. Inspect the outlet pipe for damage. Verify that the pipe has no clogs made of debris or ice, depending upon the current weather conditions. Make sure that the outlet pipe is clear and will direct water away from the foundation of your house. Remove any clogs or move the outlet pipe if necessary.
Look over the sump pump in the basement of your home. You can usually find it near the interior walls of the foundation, typically in an unfinished area of the basement. Verify that the electrical cord for your sump pump is plugged into an outlet. Remove the lid to the sump pump, if your pump has a lid. Using a flashlight, inspect the interior of the basin for any clogs or debris. Remove any debris that you find.
Pour approximately 5 gallons of water into the basin of your sump pump. Pour slowly (at approximately the same speed that water might flow into the basin from the basement) until the sump pump turns on and begins to pump out water. Do not pour in more water than the basin will hold. Expect the sump pump to begin pumping out water when the water level reaches approximately 8 to 12 inches below the surface of the basement floor.
Look for a float on the sump pump. (Your sump pump may not include a float.) Verify that the float functions correctly and does not catch against the lid or basin, as its proper operation ensures that the sump pump turns on when the water level reaches the correct height.
Make any necessary repairs based on your test of your basement sump pump. Continue to test your sump pump regularly (every few months) and replace your pump if needed.
It’s an odd year so far, and it’s also odd numbered, which means it’s tax assessment time and I’m here to help. As an expert in Front Range home values, I would be happy to give you an accurate assessment of your home's value that could be used to appeal your property tax bill. Give me a call to schedule a time and begin the process.
In this tight market more buyers are considering new construction; I recently wrote about how to avoid common pitfalls on my blog where you will find a weekly event calendar, restaurant reviews and more.
Boulder County Market Report February 2017
Boulder County sales statistics for February and year to date are just in. New listings are up slightly from last year, yet overall sales are down 12% and average sale price is only 2.6% above last year, indicating the beginning of a plateau in this still strong seller’s market. The percent of list price received reflected a 1.2% drop to 99.5% from 100.7% and shows that buyers are less willing to go over asking overall, but well priced homes in great locations are still triggering bidding wars. Curious if your place might generate one? I’d be happy to let you know, and help you downsize with pocket listings around Boulder County I have uncovered the old fashioned way- by picking up the phone or knocking on doors in desired neighborhoods of my buyers.
Looking for a different kind of neighborhood? My listing at 9032 Tahoe Ln in Boulder’s Park Lake has .7 acres and is zoned for a horse, listed for 900K. What about the foothills? Space to stretch out, clean water, deer and fox could be a part of your future wake-up routine in Boulder Heights, the subdivision up Lee Hill Drive. I am listing a mountain enclave with over 11 acres, 4 Bedrooms 3 Baths, solar powered and updated with stunning views that will be available soon for private showings, and another 3 bedroom 2 bath that will list in early summer contact me for details. Starter Condo/Investment Property seekers, call me for a 1 Bedroom 1 Bath with attached garage and rare large outdoor space that will soon list in Lafayette and be gone in a flash.
Bramble and Hare Restaurant Review
Like a favorite scarf that somehow goes missing, I lost my enthusiasm for beer about two years ago. Betrayed by my own tastebuds I was adrift; how can this be? What has the world come to? What’s next, morning without coffee? Dogs and cats playing together? Around this time wandering home after a concert I sidled up to the bar at Bramble and Hare, the closest restaurant you’ve probably never been to. Focusing on the beverages I was racked by indecision, nothing sounded right. Wine? Cocktail? If so which one? A nineteen year old bartender asked me for my order and I replied, “I don’t know”. And then the moment that would make everything better- What alcohol do you like tonight? “Whiskey”. How sweet? “not very”. Anything else I should know? “Winding down from a concert?”. Got it. The libation that arrived a minute later was perfection, a combination of alcohols and extracts served in a vintage glass and composed just for me as I showed up in that moment. That was the beauty of it, being read like a children’s book and then knowing it in the experience of the cocktail. The bartender’s choice concoctions are art and not science, who could be blamed for ordering another while memory is still fresh?
“The outdoors is overrated” – Griffin. As it turns out, the nineteen year old is no nineteen year old. His name is Griffin Farro and Bramble and Hare is Griffin’s joint- technically the restaurant is owned by Jill and Eric Skokan and connected to Black Cat Bistro, but Bramble has its own chef, and walks its own path. The dark wood, dapper staff and industrial metals cast an alternate vibe to Boulder’s uber healthy go – getter sensibility, a place where great alcohols low light and tasty comfort food make time and space evaporate, with piano anytime someone wants to play.
On the small plate menu the farm-fresh deviled eggs with purple kimchi stick to the ribs with a bit of heat forming an ample platform for libation, but you might as well have whatever moves you as everything on this part of the menu is $5-$9 and rotates in and out with the seasons on Bramble Hill Farm.
Deviled Eggs and Purple Kimchi at Bramble and Hare
Chef Jay Clark keeps the menu concise from the compact kitchen and hits all the right savory notes on the entrée menu. The Chicken Confit was falling off the bone with mashed potatoes and celery root in red wine cream sauce. It worked perfectly with mustard-dressed garden greens cutting through the carbo-fatty goodness, relegated to a memory within 10 minutes.
I like to bring my sweetie here because it seats about 20 and I can always hear her lovely voice. For this reason I recommend calling ahead for a table most nights, or you can roll the dice on getting space at the bar. Pro tip – if Bramble is full head next door to the small but frequently empty bar at Black Cat, where mixology is alive and well but a quieter vibe prevails.
Bramble and Hare, 1970 13th St, Boulder, CO 303 444 9110
Sun - Thurs 5pm – 12am, Fri - Sat 5pm – 1am
With available housing inventory at historical lows, many home buyers without a tight timeline are looking at newly built house or condos. I recently spoke with a past client who is considering combining his family with his partner’s and visited a showroom. He asked me: Because I do not require a Realtor to buy a house with a builder, can I save money by going with the builder’s (seller’s) representative and negotiating the 3% off? Great Question. It seems like it would be: the home is brand new and has warranties on it, the builder will negotiate because they are saving money, the salesperson said a Realtor would not be needed because the builder is in control of the process, and I'm a good negotiator myself!
Here's the great news- you can get discounts when buying a new house, and it has nothing to do with whether or not you have a Realtor with you. In fact, you can benefit tremendously from having a skilled Realtor with you to know where the wiggle room is. Salespeople may lead you to believe that there is a direct relationship between commission and sale price or upgrades, but there isn't, according to the Home Builders Association of Colorado.
Here are some things to consider when making this decision:
1. Builders will generally not lower the price of a new home, especially not in this red-hot seller’s market. They have more of the same model for sale, and if they sold the same product to another buyer last week at full price and that buyer finds out they were undercut, lawsuits tend to follow.
2. Even if they would, there is no incentive for them to reduce the price, why reduce their own comps unless they absolutely had to? According to a builder I talked to, a 6% sales commission split between buy and sell is allocated ahead of time as part of the marketing budget for the overall project. If the commission does not go to to a buyer's Realtor, it will usually go to the salesperson, who gets two commissions.
3. The salesperson who claims “your realtor doesn’t do anything during this process” does not represent you, they represent the builder. Most home showroom salespeople are unlicensed and want to maximize their personal profit and the builder's. They may not point out the builder’s language changes to the Colorado contract that make it much more difficult to get your earnest money deposit back, nor the warranty indemnity clauses for any construction defects inspectors sometimes miss.
4. Newly built houses are often built in a hurry, and often have as many defects as existing houses.
5. An experienced Realtor knows where you can save money, for example when dealing with builders, and makes sure you don’t miss any of those opportunities.
6. Your Realtor’s license is on the line in every transaction and is obligated to inform you fully and look out for your interests.
Counter to what it might seem in the sales office, you could easily end up with more discounts with a Realtor in your corner, and avoid a lot of risk should things go awry.
The Boulder County Real Estate Market is continuing on current trends of low inventory and double digit price appreciation. Incredibly, City of Boulder home values are up 16.5% from August 2015 and Boulder County as a whole is up 15.9%. Compared to historical averages of approximately 5%, this market is still considered “on fire” from a valuation perspective. Sales volume is not so fiery - down 7.4% in Boulder and 13.5% countywide, as inventory continues to tighten and properties become less price-accessible. One noteworthy statistic, average days on market in 2016 for Boulder single family homes in the 2 million plus category has lengthened to 191 days from approximately 100 days last year (all figures IRES MLS). Canary in a coal mine? We’ll see.
It has been a fantastic year so far at Stewart Ward Real Estate and we have a full quarter left to assist anyone you know with their real estate goals. As always, thank you so much for your referrals, I am never too busy to help! Pocket Listing Alert: A completely updated 4BR/3BA tri-level farmette in East Boulder, 10 minutes to downtown, .7 acres bordering unimproved land. Large windows, Southern exposure, brand new kitchen. Pocket Listing- Investor Alert: A highly profitable 14 bed assisted living facility in Denver, call for details.
Classical Boulder Sounds
How many times do you think you’ve heard the “Star Wars” theme music? A hundred? A thousand? It has become so ubiquitous, you might not even register you are listening to it when it comes on. About a year ago, I experienced one rendition that has stayed with me ever since. I attended a fundraiser for the Boulder Symphony just before the new Star Wars movie was released. When the orchestra played the main theme it was a completely different experience- and absolutely magical. Not only hearing, but seeing so many skilled musicians playing that John Williams score live on the floor of Macy’s brought it home in a way that still has impact months later.
Inspired in 2016, I made a New Year’s resolution that I actually kept – I have been attending classical performances regularly. I have grown to appreciate modern symphonic pieces as well as pop hits from past centuries. (Don’t forget Mozart was the Bruno Mars of the 16th century)
We are extremely fortunate to live in Boulder County, where we have so many options to enjoy symphonies, string quartets and chamber music year-round. For our limited population the quality and frequency are impressive. Recently I had the privilege of seeing the Colorado local yet internationally popular Altius String Quartet as they played some string classics and then renditions of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” “Kashmir” and other pieces familiar even to me. Follow them on Facebook and make the effort next time they are in town, I’ll probably be there and I’d love to share it with you.
If it’s been awhile since you last heard the randy call of a French horn, the bright play of an oboe or the neurotic range of a cello, take advantage of Boulder County’s musical wealth in person by attending an upcoming performance of the Boulder Philharmonic, Boulder Chamber Orchestra or Boulder Symphony, which ramp up in October and continue all the way through May. Let me assure you there is no substitute for seeing it live and wide-eyed; even if you don’t consider yourself a classical fan, you owe it to yourself to experience the richness of this great music in person.
Boulder County Market Report May 2016
Greetings from the trenches of the Boulder County and North Denver real estate markets, where the hunt for houses to buy or to sell is at a fever pitch now at the busiest time of year. Tight inventory is suppressing overall sales in Boulder County in 2016, down 11% in the first 5 months of the year compared to 2015. The number of available houses for purchase hovers at less than 30% of historical norms, (IRES MLS) but on the plus side for buyers or homeowners looking for a better mortgage interest rates so far in 2016 are the lowest they’ve been in 3 years. (bankrate.com) Amid the frenzy, a few trends have emerged. 1. Houses that are perceived as overpriced frequently end up neglected. This represents opportunity, we recently put a great house under contract at 11% under original listing price saving my clients over 100K. 2. There is a strong preference among buyers for houses with updated finishes, it pays to do the work while you live there. 3. Good floorplans with updates are selling quickly at all price points, but this does not mean these houses will be good investments moving forward. There is no substitute for research in making a good decision, who do you know who may need my help entering this fast paced and challenging market?
Pocket Listing Alerts: A newly remodeled Niwot 4BR/3BA in Cottonwood, a 3BR/3BA on the golf course in Indian Peaks, a beautiful 4BR/5BA in central Indian Peaks, call for details.
Per La Gente- A Perfect Summer Repast
If you have not yet had dinner or lunch outdoors on the patio at Riverside’s Per La Gente in Boulder, you are long overdue. Just below the line of sight as you drive across Boulder Creek on Broadway, tables and umbrellas under the trees provide an immediate experience of the creek roiling over its banks at this writing, and passers-by as they stride and ride along the creek path. This captivating pastime of water and people watching would be worthy of your time under any circumstances and the food is so good Per La Gente makes you feel ignorant for not going more often. At a glance the historic brick building is easy to miss, there is no lot out front or large signage to greet the unfamiliar. Parking is directly across Broadway next to Mustard’s Last Stand – the lot is free, never crowded so far and closer than you’ll get to Whole Foods with a handicap pass.
Chef Lewis Guarasi, former executive chef of Ajax Tavern at The Little Nell in Aspen took over the space in late 2015 with concise breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that have no laggards. The burger is a contender for the best in town, thick beef will satisfy your strongest carbo-fat cravings delivered on a pan-seared soft brioche bun. House cured bacon, sharp white cheddar and burgundy onions highlight one of PLG’s overall strengths; every plate has subtle tangy elements that perk up the taste buds and add interest to commonly ho-hum factors. For example, I never expect much from a side of potatoes but the country potatoes at PLG surprise with pickled onions and bits of roasted red pepper for a creative and colorful balance of tart, sweet and starchy goodness.
The People’s Burger at Per La Gente at the Riverside
From the dinner menu, the ½ roasted chicken has gained widespread acclaim for its oh-so-chickeny pan scrapings and juicy bites, and what Boulder County resident couldn’t find a place in her heart for the Kale Lardon? Organic Free Range Non-GMO Kale, tender with a sous vide egg on top and champagne vinaigrette, Gluten Free and decadently corrupted with 4 ounces of local pork belly. Happy hour is early and stretches for 3 hours from 2pm to 5pm Tuesday through Friday, with old timey cocktails like a manhattan or sidecar on offer. It’s hard to go wrong here any time of day –
It is my pleasure to help and your referrals are always appreciated!
Boulder County Market Report February 2016
I Hope this finds you happy and healthy so far in 2016, it has been busy at Stewart Ward Real Estate since we last checked in. Our Chautauqua Food and Supply Drive yielded two full SUVs of everything from canned goods to toiletries to winter coats and benefitted local charity Boulder Bridge House, we have also grown the company to include a transaction coordinator that will enable us to scale and provide even better service. Thank you so much for your support and to the 42 families in Chautauqua who donated to the drive!
The City of Boulder crossed a milestone in January, the average sales price for a single family home surpassed $1 million for the first time in a single month. Sales were January slow (45 homes vs. 238 in June 2015)(source:IRES MLS) and therefore a skewed sample, but this must be a harbinger of Future Boulder. Or is it? One of the most common questions I am asked is “Have we reached the peak of this market?” First let’s look at supply. In the City of Boulder 45% of available inventory is under contract, roughly 2 months worth(IRES MLS). A 6 month supply is considered balanced. Now let’s look at demand. Over 80,000 people moved to the Front Range last year from out of state in a trend that is expected to continue, and in-state migration to the Front Range from rural areas is trending upward(source: Denver Post). At a little over 4%, mortgage rates remain at historical lows and in affordable categories, bidding wars remain the norm all over Boulder County and Denver. What do you think for 2016? One thing is for sure – even though this seller’s market is still solidly in place it can change quickly and caution backed by research is necessary to understand selling and buying in different neighborhoods on the Front Range. Choose a great Realtor to provide that insight! Online estimates of your home’s worth are accurate within 15% approximately 50% of the time, are you curious what your home is really worth? Do you know anyone who could use my help this year?
Warm Nuts at 2020
One of the highlights of Longmont is the hamlet of Prospect, an architectural unicorn of design and planning. Prospect is the first example of New Urbanism in Colorado, where you will also find food truck icon Comida’s brick and mortar location, Urban Thai, and the Two Dog Diner. You could go to Prospect in daylight, cruise the neighborhood and easily see a Neoclassical house next to a Santa Fe adobe bordering an ultramodern stucco, but if you arrive before 4:00pm for happy hour you will miss dining at one of Boulder County’s gems, 2020 Food and Wine Bar.
With a quality casual vibe chef and wife team Matthew and Sara Koury combine culinary prowess from the Culinary Institute of America and Chicago fine dining with unpretentious and knowledgeable service. What is it about a bowl of warm nuts? Not all are created equal and 2020 does not disappoint with cashews and Marconi almonds, lightly salted yet still crunchy preparing you for the Salumi and Cheese combo. The varying selections of Italian meats guarantee you will try something new among the featured French and American artisans, some stinky, some creamy, and some hard. The country pate’ is made from scratch in-house and has umami in spades; the focus at 2020 is on food complementing wine so take advantage of flights that vary nightly from France, Italy, or more obscure appellations. Keep an eye out for special nights that will please and expose you to new things as with the recent South African wine dinner - I attended the Dux and Tux food and wine pairing in the fall and waddled off to bed like an October penguin in rare form.
From the regular menu Napoli style pizza is fired in wood with thin but chewy crust and toppings that resemble their counterparts elsewhere but have more interest on the palate. Chef Matthew often curates savory entrée specials like the Chicken Saltimbocca above, so arrive ready to eat as well as sample the wines. Space is limited, it’s a good idea to call ahead.
2020 Food and Wine Bar, 2020 Ionosphere Street, Longmont (720) 491-3578
Event Schedule: www.facebook.com/eatdrink2020
In December and early January, the Stewart Ward Real Estate team hit the streets of Chautauqua and University Heights to gather and deliver food and supplies on behalf of Boulder Bridge House, a Boulder charity that feeds and helps the homeless get back to work in Boulder County. We are pleased to report that the Drive was a huge success in its first year, filling my SUV twice! Boulder Bridge House wanted us to say THANK YOU CHAUTAUQUA for your incredible generosity- let's make it even bigger next year! The 42 donating homes contributed the below items, which represented over 200 pounds of food, 3 contractor bags full of clothes, 2 boxes of sundries and supplies- and one fortune cookie.
26 jars peanut butter
51 cans beans
30 cans tuna
54 cans tomatoes
23 boxes of tea
5 hot sauce
1 jar of beets
1 brownie mix
3 boxes of rice
1 bag of milk chocolate morsels
1 jar honey roasted peanuts
3 boxes pasta
2 Men’s Leather Jackets
2 Men’s winter coats
9 sweat pants
19 sweat shirts
1 pair leather gloves
9 pairs gloves/mittens
10 running shoes
42 hot pockets handwarmers
24 pairs women’s socks
3 packs toothbrushes
8 pairs glasses
15 bottles ibuprofen
13 lip balm
3 shaving creams
2 Band Aid boxes
12 packs pens
Thanks again for your generosity!
Boulder County Real Estate September/October Market Summary
The chill of fall has not had much effect on the 2015 Boulder County real estate market. In September, year-on-year sales of single family homes were up 9% over 2014 and home prices were up 11%. Initial October figures indicate countywide sales up over 20% from 2014 in single family homes, an extreme jump and an indicator of increased activity this fall over last (source:IRES MLS). The world was expecting an interest rate hike in September that did not materialize and on the financial blogs “the markets” project a 50/50 chance of one in December, but it doesn’t seem that locally it will affect this market one way or the other much for now.
It was my pleasure to sell Michael and Ronie Pastko’s South Boulder townhouse in October after a bidding war got them 6% over asking price, setting a new record for the neighborhood and helping with a smooth relocation to New York City- continued success to you! Client Beverly Murphy’s one acre ranchette bordering the Boulder airport also sold for a handsome price, who do you know that is most likely to need a great agent in the next year?
Wayne’s Smoke Shack – True Texas BBQ Restaurant Review
Thousands of years ago on the grassy hills and vales of the rocky mountain foothills, in the dramatic reflection of the Flatirons on a patch of earth we now call Superior many buffalo and other wild animals roamed freely, subject to the everyday perils of natural selection, hunting, and being hunted. Among those surviving without any modern conveniences were the first Boulder County residents, wielding spears and charging forward in bearskin tunics to cull the herd and turn a spit over an open flame, just in time for lunch.
Remarkably, today in the very same geographical location that our most likely male ancestors used their enlarged brains to outsmart and eat those majestic animals stands a restaurant, in a strip mall across the parking lot from PetsMart, called Wayne’s Smoke Shack. Wayne’s attracts throngs of large, hungry looking men who have cast off their bearskins in favor of Dockers twill trousers and traded in their spears for laptop computers.
Last week we arrived at 11:30, there were at least 30 men in attendance and not a single female. Be warned, 11:30 is often too late at Wayne’s to access the entire menu as certain items sell out just after opening and frequently much of it is gone by 1:30pm. At Wayne’s the cuts are served by the pound; there is something inherently satisfying about telling a man how much meat you want and watching him slice and portion it right in front of you with butcher paper for a plate. No serving spoons or tongs here, just knives and hands.
I am no BBQ expert but I’ve had my share, and without a doubt the Wayne’s brisket is the best I have ever tasted. Requiring no knife, the beefylicious cut is akin to the most tender prime rib at the nicest steakhouse I have ever been to, with more flavor and a crunchy peppercorn rub.
Host L.R. Laggy of Blank Plate Boulder and I shared this memorable tray on my first visit
Each selection at Wayne’s has its own flavor profile; the beef sausage is savory with garlic, the chicken smoky and the ribs juicy with a rub like sweet Texas tea. Normally with BBQ I am focused on sauce, there are 3 good ones on hand at Wayne’s but I noticed I used them less as the preparation stands on its own. I recommend asking for extra pickles and onions, they are homemade and provide just the right amount of bite for the decadent crispy fat a modern caveman (or cavewoman) requires.
Wayne’s Smoke Shack – True Texas BBQ, 406 Center Dr. in Superior. Open Tuesday – Saturday 11:00 – 3:00
Boulder County August Real Estate Market Report
Following a lull from mid-July to mid-August, Boulder County real estate action heated up in the final two weeks of the month, finishing strong with overall sales up 7.4% over August 2014. With inventory down 9% from last year and 70% below long term averages the upward price pressure has been extreme, average overall prices are up 10% year-on-year including attached and single family homes. September has so far seen an uptick in new listings compared to recent years but inventory is still down from August reflecting seasonal norms as we head into winter (Source:IRES MLS).
With the sustained high demand and low supply, bidding wars on listings in popular neighborhoods remain the norm. Most premiums over asking end up in the 1% to 3% range in Boulder County, my average is 7.0%. There is no substitute for in-depth research, proven strategy, and hard work. Call me anytime for a consultation on getting your highest price or buying the house of your dreams, it is my distinct pleasure to help and your referrals of anyone considering entering the market are sincerely appreciated!
Alpine Modern Café Restaurant Review
The metamorphosis of longtime stalwart Delilah’s Pretty Good Grocery into an organic co-op and now Alpine Modern Café happened only a few blocks from Boulder’s downtown core at 9th and College, yet somehow I missed it. The transmogrification from quaint to cutting edge is so complete that I initially had the sense of being in a different city, or a parallel universe. It’s a good universe, the Alpine Modern ‘elevated living’ aesthetic with burl walnut tables, subway tile and Carrera marble is solid with curvy chrome accents. The vision is articulated through multiple Boulder channels including a retail store downtown, a magazine and the café; all are worth a visit. Alpine Modern is 100% mom and pop passion but is so well executed it gives Apple a run for its money and makes me feel cooler and younger than I look in the mirror every time I go. It also draws a mix of local homeowners, students and passersby creating community in an otherwise dead area across from the cemetery.
From the breakfast menu, the Avocado and Egg Tartine is served on crusty fresh sourdough with lots of ripe avocado and a perfect soft boiled egg. It’s the details I appreciate, with radish slices and drizzled extra virgin olive oil adding zesty complexity. If you prefer a sweeter breakfast many regulars swear by the Warm Quinoa Porridge, and the coffee comes from renowned Denver roaster Huckleberry.
The Quinoa Salad works well as a light lunch option with sherry vinaigrette quinoa meeting avocado to create a well-balanced bowl of goodness, add Alder smoked salmon to tide you over till dinnertime. Baguette sandwiches are crafted with long thin pretzel roll buns, a fun take on the French version. Overall it’s hard to lose at Alpine Modern, quality and attention to detail permeate everything on the menu and the service is spot on. Please don’t go as often as I have been lately it’s getting harder to find a seat, and as always let me know what you think!
Alpine Modern Café, 904 College Avenue, Boulder, 303 954 0129