Archives for: December 2007

12/31/07

Permalink 11:47:02 am, Categories: Kirstan's Ramblings, 143 words   English (US)

Leaving 2007

My favorite things about the past year:

  • Scuba diving in the ocean
  • Spending time with family
  • Growing my real estate business
  • Feeling good about my success despite the market
  • Building true, long-lasting friendships
  • A marriage of 6 great years with my best friend of 13 years
  • The opportunity to be steps away from the World Series
  • Having cats instead of children
  • The ability to leave for a trip on short notice
  • NetFronts' success

What will happen in 2008?

Who will be our democratic and republican candidates on the ballot for president?
Obama vs. McCain

Will the housing market in Colorado pick up or get worse?
Pick up and get better (this is subjective, as my question is incredibly unspecific)

When will the war in Iraq end?
Not this year, but progress is being made. Good things take time!

Wishing everyone a healthy and happy new year!

12/29/07

Permalink 08:47:54 am, Categories: News, 48 words   English (US)

Effects From Across the Globe

International upheaval with the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, has scared investors into backing away from stocks and back into bonds.

Articles from the Rocky Mountain News:
Assassination, report drive market down

New-home sales data leave stocks mixed

An interview with Benazir Bhutto by Parade

12/28/07

Permalink 05:05:17 pm, Categories: News, Real Estate, 191 words   English (US)

New Home Sales Still Bottoming Out Across the Nation

New home sales fell 9.0% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 647,000 units. This was the slowest pace of new homes sales since April, 1995. Moreover, sales were downwardly revised in each of the three preceding months. Over the past year sales have declined 34.4% and are off 53.4% from their peak level reached in June 2005. Regionally, sales fell sharply in the Northeast and Midwest, modestly (in a comparative sense) in the South, as sales rose in the West. The inventory of new homes for sale fell to 505,000 last month compared to 514,000 in October but the month’s supply rose to 9.3 from 8.8 because of the reduced sales pace. Home prices were mixed with median prices down 0.4% over the past year to $239,100 and average prices up 0.5% to $293,300. New home sales continue to tumble under weakened demand. As huge inventories weigh on prices many home buyers are taking a wait-and-see approach. Other buyers may be affected by tighter credit. Another leg lower in new home sales indicates that the bottom has not yet been reached.

Source: Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce Via Haver Analytics. Data, graph & table courtesy of Insight Economics *Bloomberg

12/26/07

Permalink 03:58:56 pm, Categories: Announcements & Events [A], Background, 246 words   English (US)

Wintery Sights

A couple of evenings ago, we went for a walk around our neighborhood and enjoyed the sights of our beautiful hood. Many families were out enjoying the horse drawn carriage rides, restaurants, and shopping.

Our Next Door Neighbor

Union Station is located on Wynkoop Street right next to our building. Many people know this area as LoDo, where several abandoned brick warehouses were turned into fabulous traditional lofts, office spaces, some retail and many restaurants and bars. In the 80s and early 90s, the city was going to demolish all of these awesome buildings. Light Rail and the Rio Grande (cross country train) operate out of Union Station currently and soon (construction begins 2008) this entire area will be re-developed. Union Station will again, become the central transportation hub for Denver, just as it was early in the 20th century.

Great restaurants on our block include Via Italian Trattoria and Bar and Rodizio Grill (both located on the bottom floor of our building - The IceHouse), The Keg Steakhouse, and Wynkoop Brewing Company (both across the street in opposite directions).

Kirstan Marks

This is me in front of Larimer Square which starts at 15th and Larimer Street and continues for the full block. It's a trendy place full of great places to eat and fun boutiques to browse.

16th Street Horse Carriage

A favorite ride for many families, couples, and tourists.

Chris Marks

Chris in front of Skyline Park. Last week, there were ice sculptures on display here.

16th Street Lights

Looking down 16th Street towards Civic Center Park and the Capitol building.

12/24/07

Permalink 11:42:17 am, Categories: Background, Kirstan's Ramblings, 143 words   English (US)

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

Two Tales -

1. I've been so politically correct all season long (by just saying "Happy Holidays!") until I ran into my Jewish neighbor the other day getting off of our elevator. It slipped out and half way in between Merry and Christmas, I corrected my self and said "Happy Holidays." I felt so stupid and just wished I could do it over again.

2. I expressed some disappointment to Chris the other day about how difficult it was to find holiday music on the radio. I was in the mood to sing along in my car while running errands and I would come across one in about 20 songs that were related to the season. I asked Chris what the deal with that was and his thought was..."The radio stations are probably afraid they're gonna get sued b/c not everyone celebrates Christmas."

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

12/23/07

Permalink 10:54:43 pm, Categories: Announcements & Events [A], 213 words   English (US)

Does Residential Real Estate Growth Follow Commercial Growth?

The Denver commercial market has seen an awesome amount of growth over the past two years and experts say that the residential real estate growth follows commercial growth. hmmmmmmmm...I am hoping that is true, but I can't help but wonder if we are over building. Believe me, I want more growth and I think that our state is the best place in the U.S. I've been to over 30 states and lived in 7 states across our great nation. The Downtown Denver Partnership claims that Denver will grow by over 200,000 people by the year 2012.

Where will all of these people, companies, and high paying jobs come from? High-paying jobs have always been scarce in Denver. I love Denver and can understand why anyone would want to live here...I've left (not solely by choice) and came back a few times. Did a few big players receive a memo a couple of years ago about Denver being the place to be? All signs are pointing to major market growth. I'm hopeful for that and I sure hope that we aren't all living in la la land.

Here's an article in the Denver Post that I read today that made me think of this situation again. What does the future hold? If only I knew.

Permalink 02:10:02 pm, Categories: Announcements & Events [A], 268 words   English (US)

Ringing in 2008

A few fun options for your new year celebration -

Two, ten minute fireworks shows will take place on December 31, 2007 at 9 pm & Midnight and can be viewed anywhere along the 16th Street Mall!

New Year's Eve Transportation:
RTD bus and light rail will be FREE between 7pm on December 31st and 6 am on New Year's Day! Click here for more information on transportation options and temporary breaks in 16th Street Mall Ride shuttle and light rail service.

Hotel Packages:
Create your own night on the town with a myriad of choices…music, theatre, dancing, dining and stunning fireworks and a stay at one of the many hotels offering New Year's Eve packages. Click here for more information.

Tryst Lounge - No Cover Charge!

Casino Party at Jet Downtown

New Year's Nation Bash

LeRouge Masquerade

And click here for many other ideas.

For the Kids:

Noon Year Eve Celebration at the Children’s Museum of Denver

The Museum is ringing in Noon Year’s Eve on December 31st just like Times Square!! Families can watch the ball drop and jump on bubble wrap to make ‘fireworks’ on the plaza. Inside, enjoy fun art activities and exciting theater performances! Watch the Reed School of Irish Dance perform traditional Irish pieces, sing along with Jedd Merrs’ folk music, and don’t miss Doctor Noize and his super high-octane, interactive show!

For a New Year’s celebration with the kids, head to the Children’s Museum of Denver on December 31 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 2121 Children’s Museum Drive (Exit 211), call 303.433.7444 or visit the Children's Museum website.

Be safe, be happy!

12/21/07

Permalink 05:55:15 pm, Categories: News, Real Estate, 434 words   English (US)

The Mortgage Forgiveness Act of 2007 Signed by President Bush

The President signed a new bill yesterday, which will help homeowners with tax relief when a lender forgives a portion of the mortgage, thereby protecting homeowners from having to pay taxes on cancelled mortgage debt.

Excerpt from his speech about this bill:
My administration has taken strong steps to help homeowners avoid foreclosure by making it easier to refinance loans. We gave the Federal Housing Administration greater flexibility to refinance loans for struggling homeowners. We helped assemble a private sector group of lenders, loan servicers, investors, and mortgage counselors called the HOPE NOW Alliance. This group has agreed on a set of industry-wide standards to help those with subprime loans refinance or modify their mortgages, so more families can stay in their homes.

The bill I sign today will help this effort by ensuring that refinancing a mortgage does not result in a higher tax bill. Under current law, if the value of your house declines and your bank or lender forgives a portion of your mortgage, the tax code treats the amount forgiven as money that can be taxed. And of course, this makes a difficult situation even worse. When you're worried about making your payments, higher taxes are the last thing you need to worry about. So this bill will create a three-year window for homeowners to refinance their mortgage and pay no taxes on any debt forgiveness that they receive. And it's a really good piece of legislation. The provision will increase the incentive for borrowers and lenders to work together to refinance loans -- and it will allow American families to secure lower mortgage payments without facing higher taxes.

With this bill, Congress has taken a strong step to address the turbulence in the housing market. Yet there's more work to be done. The Congress needs to pass legislation permitting state and local governments to issue tax-exempt bonds for refinancing existing home loans. Congress needs to pass legislation strengthening the independent regulator of government sponsored enterprises like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, so we can keep them focused on the mission to expand home ownership. Congress needs, as well, to complete work on responsible legislation modernizing the Federal Housing Administration, so that we can give the FHA the necessary flexibility to help hundreds of thousands of additional families qualify for prime-rate financing.

By taking these steps, we can help our homeowners -- and we'll help more Americans become home owners. We want people to have a place they can call their own. After all, it's an essential part of the American Dream. And we want that dream to extend throughout our nation.

Permalink 09:33:17 am, Categories: Announcements & Events [A], Background, 231 words   English (US)

Healthy Mr. Potato Head

The oddest, yet funnest thing I've done in my spare time recently is perform as Healthy Mr. Potato Head for an elementary school assembly. Last Friday (Dec. 14, 2007), I had the opportunity to entertain hundreds of grade-school kids on the day before they took off for their winter break. It was quite a treat.

Healthy Mr. Potato Head at Chinook Elementary

That's me dressed up as Mr. Potato Head.

Why? Because I felt it necessary to do my part in helping to promote the health value of potatoes (and I was doing a favor for a great friend who set me up with the gig). I was working with the U.S. Potato Board for this promotion and it was actually the last in a series of assemblies performed across the nation.

Exercising with Mr. Potato Head

Donning sneakers, a baseball cap, and carrying a water bottle, Healthy Mr. Potato Head wants kids, teachers, and parents to know that the potatoes they love are full of essential vitamins and minerals, providing the nutrients needed to get up and get fit! Of course that's when the potatoes aren't fried or covered in butter and sour cream, which are a few of the ways I love to eat them. Here's more information and great recipes on the Potato Underground Blog.

We danced, we sang, and we made the kids' day. What's the silliest thing you've done recently? Does it beat dancing around as Mr. Potato Head?

12/18/07

Permalink 09:54:20 am, Categories: Announcements & Events [A], 0 words   English (US)

Happy Holidays!

Permalink 09:14:03 am, Categories: Background, 126 words   English (US)

Not So Famous

My mug didn't make it into an article for the holiday shipping rush. I was at the Cherry Creek post office yesterday shipping several packages. A news photographer started taking pictures while I was standing in line. He took down my name and I had this tiny ounce of excitement that I might get a few seconds of fame in the newspaper the next day.

I was not so lucky. An old guy beat me out. I think I didn't make the main shot because my packages had black marker all over them - I didn't take the time to wrap them up in nice white paper. I did make it into the slideshow however...I'm almost the last, but not least, of the 11 shots shown here.

12/17/07

Permalink 09:54:14 pm, Categories: Background, 86 words   English (US)

The Mayor's Official Residence - NOT!

So I was all excited...Tonight we went to a holiday party at Cableland - "Official Residence of the Mayor of Denver." Then, I was disappointed...It was straight out of the 70s and Mayor Hickenlooper doesn't even really live there. It turns out that it's only used for special events. Here's a picture of the outside. The inside looks like something out of a 70s porno film. At least I can feel confident that he's not spending our tax dollars to update the unofficial "official residence."

Permalink 08:18:09 am, Categories: Background, Kirstan's Ramblings, 509 words   English (US)

Discouragement Printed All Over

I woke up this morning feeling like a cold was coming on and I was moving a little slower than normal, so I thought that this will be one of those days where I just won't have time to read the paper. I couldn't help it and I read it anyway. It's one of my morning rituals.

Wow, was that a mistake. Right on the front page of the Rocky Mountain News Tech section was the article "Buying or Selling a Home, Forget the Traditional Realtor®."

What the heck? I can't get a break. I knew I shouldn't have read the paper. It's bad enough that our market is correcting and flat out sucks right now, but now I have to read about how live, full-service realtors® offer no value to their clients. There is so much more that goes into my job than driving clients around in my car.

I'm feeling ultra defensive, so I'm not going to go into a huge rant right now, but here's several reasons why it's a good idea to use a full-time, knowledgeable, and trustworthy realtor® like me:

1. You are taking on unnecessary risk if you don't use a Realtor® or use someone who is not 100% devoted to your situation. As a buyer, you receive free buyer representation. You do not pay the Realtor® anything to work on your behalf. As a seller, you take on a great deal of liability if you do not consult with a licensed realtor® or attorney on the sale of your home. There might be important legal documents that have been missed. In addition, marketing, knowing the market, and selling homes is a full time job and needs a lot of attention if you want it done well.

2. Realtors® advise you and are bound to represent you just like an attorney. Realtors® are licensed & held to a high standard by the Colorado Real Estate Commission, a division of state government.

3. Realtors® are well-versed, experienced with the contracts, title work, and legalities required to transfer real estate from one owner to another.

4. Realtors® are required to have insurance and take continuing education courses to keep their license active.

5. Realtors® and real estate agents are different - Realtors® are required to adhere to a code of ethics in addition to licensing. A real estate agent may not be a Realtor®. (The ® is a little obnoxious through out this little blurb, but b/c Realtor® is a registered name, an ® should be attached to the word.)

6. An experienced, full time, service-minded Realtor®:
-Will help assess your needs
-Will educate you about areas, communities, school districts, new developments nearby
-Is a resource for reputable service providers
-Will provide comparable sales data
-Will advise you how to make an offer and help negotiate the best price
-Is knowledgeable about the legalities, contracts, deadlines and important dates within the transaction
-Always communicates with you

My goal as a Realtor® is to provide exceptional service and deliver peace of mind to my clients. Technology can't replace me and the service that I provide.

12/15/07

Permalink 08:50:04 am, Categories: Announcements & Events [A], 14 words   English (US)

The Pefect Couple

This little story was sent to me by a friend, it made me smile.

12/13/07

Permalink 03:20:55 pm, Categories: Announcements & Events [A], News, Real Estate, 273 words   English (US)

Revitalize Curtis Park

HGTV, Rebuilding Together and the National Trust for Historic Preservation are banding together for a community revitalization and environmental cause effort entitled "Change the World, Start at Home". The campaign will focus on revitalizing communities across the country and helping consumers make smart choices for the environment within their homes and daily lives.

By visiting HGTV you can vote on the community and project that you feel is most deserving of a makeover. Denver’s own Curtis Park neighborhood is in the running!

About Curtis Park
Curtis Park

The Curtis Park district is part of the Five Points neighborhood, one of the largest and oldest neighborhoods in Denver. Established in the 1860’s, Curtis Park has fallen into significant decline, experiencing social and economic distress, and properties in disrepair. However, the neighborhood is beginning to experience an urban renaissance, with new businesses moving in and renovations taking place throughout the neighborhood.

Curtis Park Neighborhood Projects Identified

Paula Quintana – Paula Quintana, living alone in her 1880’s home since her husband passed away 20 years ago, is in dire need of basic home repairs. Click here to learn more!

Women’s Bean Project – Striving to break the cycle of poverty and unemployment, the Women’s Bean Project provides vital job training and support services to women in need, helping them become them become self sufficient. Click here to learn more!

Green Street Program – The high volume of pedestrians on Stout Street and Park Avenue makes the Green Street planting program the perfect way to beautify and improve the atmosphere of the Curtis Park neighborhood. Click here to learn more!

VOTE TODAY!

Visit www.hgtv.com/changetheworld and vote today!

12/10/07

Permalink 11:08:05 pm, Categories: Announcements & Events [A], News, 116 words   English (US)

Habitat Home Finished

Earlier in my blog, I featured the Habitat for Humanity project that I worked on. Here's a picture of the finished home that was dedicated on December 6, 2007.

Finished Habitat House

Want to be a part of the next Habitat for Humanity build project? Each day that you volunteer from December to March, you will be eligible for two Southwest Airline round trip tickets. More info, click here. You will also be eligible to win monthly prizes including restaurant certificates, gift cards and ski passes. Get a group together or help out by yourself. I did it by myself and I met great people and it wasn't nearly as intimidating as I thought it might be. Check it out today!

Permalink 03:35:10 pm, Categories: Announcements & Events [A], News, Background, Real Estate, 32 words   English (US)

Union Station Re-Development

The Union Station Re-Development has been prominent in the minds of many of my neighbors and other downtown Denver residents. After much research, the winning re-development plan has changed. Here's the latest.

12/09/07

Permalink 11:56:10 am, Categories: Announcements & Events [A], 104 words   English (US)

Whimsical Holiday Light Displays

Check out the Denver zoo lights this year if you can. I went to the opening on Friday night with some friends. It was cold and snowy, but well worth the sight. It's especially fun for the kids as you also get to see some of the live zoo animals.

My other favorite, and possibly a great date night, are the Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens. The lights are tightly wrapped around and draped over the plants and landscape and it's quite a winter wonderland. There are also several spots for intimate exchanges under the mistletoe.

Have Fun and Happy Holidays!

12/06/07

Permalink 07:38:48 am, Categories: Announcements & Events [A], 233 words   English (US)

Denver’s Child & Youth Friendly City Initiative

Are you interested in making Denver child and youth friendly? Denver’s Child & Youth Friendly City Initiative is striving to answer the question "what will make Denver the #1 child and youth friendly city in the nation?" You can help us answer this question and implement the ideas by visiting this website. You can also add your ideas and find out more about this effort.

Our youth is an important group to include in Denver's revitalization and growth and that's why I volunteer with this initiative. In addition, I have always received amazing energy and fresh ideas from youth, especially the group who are helping us spearhead this initiative in their schools and communities. Our most important task at this time is to collect as many voices as possible. We need your opinion about how we can provide healthy, safe, and caring environments for young people, and, by extension, all residents of Denver. Our goal is to collect 10,000 voices across the city by the end of the year. We have achieved only half of our goal so far.

Your opinion is important and necessary! It's quick and it will only take a few minutes to help us make sure we are hearing your important ideas about what child and youth friendly means to you. For a direct link to the survey, please click here.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration!

12/03/07

Permalink 11:18:10 am, Categories: News, Background, Kirstan's Ramblings, Real Estate, 450 words   English (US)

The Subprime Lending Debacle

I read a great article today in the Denver Post that hopefully will help tons of people understand the current sub prime lending situation. There is also a great graphic included as a link on this page that breaks down how the sub prime lending crises happened.

My opinion is that greed fueled this sub prime lending debacle. Everyone involved (the bank/lender, the investor, the mortgage consultant, the real estate agent, and the consumer) were greedy. Lenders knew they could make money selling high ROI packages to investors. Therefore, they gave $ incentives to the mortgage brokers to push these high-interest products. The consumer wanted to purchase now and get all the money they could instead of waiting to qualify for a better mortgage product. The mortgage broker, along with the real estate agent, had the responsibility to advise the consumer over an over again about the risks involved in the purchase.

In the end, who is to blame for our current situation? It's the consumer who doesn't budget and won't take the time to make an educated decision when making a purchase. The details were in the print that the consumer signed and agreed to. The banks/lenders/investors practiced free enterprise, which is what our country was built on. Free enterprise led them to make a poor decision to lend money to people that don't know how to manage money. I'd say mountains of ignorance led to our crisis and a society built on immediate gratification.

Who will pay for these mistakes? All of us and now all of these ignorant people are just getting bailed out again. Our government is now the ignorant party for saving these people. People will continue to make mistakes if they know they will be bailed out continuously. Our society expects it - ugh! It's so frustrating to me. In a few years, we'll begin to learn how people took advantage of the saving grace that the government is now offering to these people who made these poor decisions.

If I were borrowing any amount of money, I would make sure that I'm aware of how the payments will affect me now and in the future. I would read the fine print and take a class on the implications of a home mortgage, etc. There are tons of these classes available, so there is no excuse. We are responsible for our actions and it's time we take responsibility. Why is this such a hard concept for people?

Want home buyer education? There are many ongoing classes offered through the following organizations - most, if not all of them, are FREE:

Colorado Housing Assistance Corporation

Colorado Housing and Finance Authority

The Colorado Housing Counseling Coalition

:: Next Page >>

Passionately Urban

Welcome to my journey. My name is Kirstan Borne and I'm an active community member, a Denver Realtor, RE investor, property manager, appraiser in training and a business owner. I moved from the suburbs to the city of Denver over 12 years ago. I'm passionate about intelligent and prosperous growth of Denver and state of Colorado. Location Innovators, Llc.

Kirstan Denver Realtor

To connect with me, email me at kmarks@TopDenverAgent.com. To search for a new home in the Denver metro area, please visit here .

Disclaimer: Regarding information throughout this blog that may appear to be advice - be sure to consult with your own qualified CPA and/or attorney concerning any legal matter.

Connect with me on Facebook Kirstan Marks, Kirstan Marks, Realtor (Location Innovators Llc): Commercial Real Estate Agent in Denver, CO

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