Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How's the Real Estate Market inYour Neighborhood? A look at Belle Creek

If you've been on planet Earth at any point in the last few years, you may have heard that the Real Estate market is pretty volatile.  Job losses led to record foreclosures and the introduction of the term "short sale" as a common noun.   Fortunately, as I know we have all heard, "all real estate is local."  (Otherwise stated as "the 3 most important factors in real estate: location, location, location.")

For Belle Creek residents, the market is actually pretty good.  As a Your Castle agent, I have access to neighborhood trends and reports for the Denver metro area.  As a Belle Creek resident, I concern myself with what our market is doing. 

You may have heard the term "months of inventory".  This is a valuable tool in determining whether now is a good time to buy, sell, or just stay put and wait.  When the Months of Inventory are closer to 12, it is a good time to BUY.  This means there is inventory that isn't moving and sellers are getting anxious.  As MOI moves closer to 1, it is a sellers' market.  There are more buyers out there than sellers, so sellers can be picky about what they will accept.

A "normal" market is 6 months of inventory, and this is what is ideal.  In Belle Creek, the inventory is at 4.2 Months of Inventory.  This is good news for sellers, as it indicates that there is not quite enough inventory for the buyers that are out there.

This doesn't necessarily mean that the current inventory is flying off the shelves.  But well-priced homes in good condition should sell in a reasonable time.  What's more, homes in Belle Creek are priced at a level that is desirable in the Denver Metro area.  The bulk of market activity is happening in the $250,000 or less range. 

Here are a few Belle Creek stats to chew on:
  • Currently there are only 7 houses that are actively listed for sale.  3 of these are short sale situations with contracts pending.  This means the bank has to approve the sale price, but someone has written a contract with the intent of buying this home.
  • Of these homes, all are priced at under $250k.  3 are at $189,000, 1 is $199,900, 1 is $210,000 and the final listing is at $219,950.
  • Months of inventory for homes in Belle Creek priced under $210,000 is 3.  Months of inventory over $210,000 is 6.
  • 50% of homes sold in the last 12 months were short sale or lender owned. 
Here is a list of the homes that have actually sold in the last few weeks:
  • 9499 E 109th Ave.  $242,000 Sold Sept 14, 2009
  • 9437 E 108th Ave.  $185,000 Sold Sept 25, 2009
  • 10765 Boston St.  $155,000 Sold October 9, 2009
  • 10628 Dayton St.  $135,900 Sold October 16, 2009
If you have any questions about buying, selling or any aspect of Real Estate, ask a Realtor.  As a specialist in Belle Creek, I am happy to answer any questions you have about our market!  Feel free to contact me with any of your real estate needs.
If you prefer to research on your own, check out my website.  You can research active, under contract and sold homes throughout the Denver Metro market at your leisure.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Did It!

4:30 came awfully early on Sunday.

The Denver Marathon started at 7am. Sharp. That's what the email read, that's what the program reminded us. They also requested that runners be there 90 minutes before race time, although I suspect that they were doing this in the same spirit that my dad was when he would tell my mom that their dinner reservation was at 7:30, when in fact it was at 8:00. He couldn't stand being late. She could never seem to get out the door less than 30 minutes late. You see the logic...

So at 4:30 my alarm was going off. This is not an hour I usually see unless we are flying somewhere wonderful (and I can nap on the plane). I showered, ate a banana, had some water, coffee. Out the door shortly after 5 to meet Audge and Cath at their hotel. Weather forecast was for a high of 80 degrees, but not until MUCH later. At this point it was about 35 degrees.

We walked from the hotel to the starting line, roughly 1/2 mile. We were there it plenty of time, so we used the porta pottys. It was so early there wasn't even a line. We stood there shivering and huddling together as we watched the other runners make their way to the park. By the time we entered the chute, my fingers and toes were numb with cold. As the runners numbers increased, I started to have a mini anxiety attack. We are REALLY doing this... Oh my Lord!

We shuffled over the starting line and started to hit our rhythm. The sun started to rise, casting pink and peach brush strokes low in the sky. God it was beautiful. I started to play tour guide as we made our way downtown. Invesco Field, Larimer Square, Union Station, Lodo. 17th ave, City Park. The memories were stirring, there's where I used to work, my brother lives just over the highway from here- see the church on the hill? His house is 2 blocks from there, right by our old townhome. I used to run City Park when we lived down here... there's the zoo... we kept a fairly ongoing dialogue, when our lungs allowed. Runners are a funny bunch. You can really bond over the miles, as I learned on the many runs I've shared with Audge. But something interesting happened during the Half. Other runners were chiming in, turning around, laughing along with us.

Right at Cheesemen Park our banter died down. It was getting warmer, but I think I started off too hard. My handheld hydration was empty. I was making weird noises trying to breathe, prompting Catherine to ask in a very concerned voice if I was alright. Can't blame her- but I was breathing and trying to eat sport beans at the same time! Audge was going on about how I should concentrate on my breathing pattern and using my arms. Somewhere in there, I forgot to keep pushing the water.

Not smart.

I had to switch to a walk. The last mile I picked my run back up, but it was a mere shuffle. I urged my girls ahead and met up with them at the finish line. Thank God for my athlete, exercise physiologist friends, thrusting Gatorade and water into my trembling hands. I considered whether I might ever do this again. Later that morning, at the grocery store, when I had to beeline for the bathroom, I vowed that I wouldn't do it again. More water, stat!

Of course I'm doing it again. See you next year, Denver Marathon!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It IS a Marathon!

So, when I embarked on this, I was full of sass. I've been running quite a bit and I was now going to train, officially, for a half-marathon.

Over the past 14 weeks, I've learned a lot about life in general through my many hours of training. Do I need to say I've learned a lot about myself? I'd be extremely obtuse if I hadn't. Hours alone on the road force one to reflect and just be. I've now run the gamut (pun intended) in weather from 98 degrees and dusty with an ozone warning to 25 degrees and sleeting. Colorado weather can be tricky like that. Here is a partial list of other tidbits that hit me along the way:

  • "It's not a sprint, it's a marathon." No kidding. I think I've finally realized that the only thing that IS a sprint is, well, a sprint. And I'm talking about the sprint itself, not the many hours of training that enables those who are truly sprinters to be able to do it. Anything that you take on (raising a family, having a career, training for a race) will take a lot of time and learning to be successful. If you tear out the door at full tilt, you're going to burn out sooner rather than later, and you might even hurt yourself in the process. When you build a house without a good foundation, it will eventually collapse in a spectacular way.

  • Fuel up. I have always just eaten when I felt like it, or maybe not eaten when I was too busy. Although my nutrition is generally pretty good(fruit and cheese are my favorite foods!), letting myself forget to eat set me up to become grumpy and listless. Try doing an 8 miler when you haven't eaten all day but quaffed coffee instead. You go out ok, but then the burning starts in your legs. Pretty soon, they feel like concrete blocks.

  • Take a look around you. I never really appreciated the beauty of the area I live in until I started to do truly long runs. Of course, the mountains are gorgeous, but they aren't exactly right outside my door. I have a great view of the mountains, which is beautiful. But there is so much more natural beauty and wildlife in this area than I had ever noticed in the 7 years that I have lived here. I saw a coyote on an early Sunday morning. I saw a turkey vulture stalking its prey. I saw a hawk perched atop a fence, eyeing me curiously.

Soon, the race will have been run and the grueling training will be over. But the lessons learned will be staying with me no matter what my schedule looks like.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's Not a Sprint, It's a (Half)Marathon, Part 2

Every summer, I go to visit my dad in Wisconsin.  He's retired and he spends summers in northern Wisconsin on a lake.  My family has been going up to that same area since the 1920s.  It's a lush, verdant wooded paradise on a small chain of lakes that very few people outside of our circle have heard of.  Plus, it is extremely hilly.

Perfect for training.

Usually, I try to get up there for at least 2 weeks in the summer with my daughter.  We swim, waterski, kayak, go boating.  We read tons of books and make crafts and sometimes we bake (if it rains).  We visit the iron mine, pick strawberries, eat fried cheese curds and we go everywhere we can by boat.

And I run.  Up hills, down hills, through woods.  On and on I run.  I run alone, with my Girl Audge, with my husband.  Every day.  In a word, it is heaven.

I never knew I'd want to have a running partner until I started running with Audge.  The first time we ran, years ago, I was sure she'd kick my butt.  She is young, fit, full of energy, and young.  And did I mention fit?  She has a Master's degree in exercise physiology, is a personal trainer, a yoga instructor, etc.  But the beautiful thing about running, especially with her, is that that doesn't necessarily matter.  We get together to run and we talk nonstop.  I've known her parents since before she was born, and she and her sister stood up in my wedding.  So you could say we have some history.

This year during one of our run/chatfests, we talked about how we both wanted to do a half marathon.  Problem is, she lives in New York, I live in Colorado.  We should plan to meet somewhere to do a race!  Yeah!

Yeah.  That would be so cool, but you know how it gets.... she teaches college courses... she works.... I work... I have a daughter and husband to take care of....  Fill in any number of reasons, all of them definitely valid.

Then I got her text.  I'm coming out to visit Catherine around the 10th of October, will you be around?  "Hell, yes!  Wait a second," I wrote," the 18th is the Denver Marathon, and they have a half marathon, if you feel like racing."  I anxiously awaited her reply.  Really?  I'll have to look into it...  What?!  I thought.  (Duh, Jen)  Quickly I typed "I was thinking about doing the half and I'd love to have a running partner!"

There ya go.  Now, I'm signed up to do this thing with Audrey AND Catherine.  This is awesome!  I better get training! 

Have you ever looked at one of those training logs?  I subscribe to Runner's World (love that mag) and there are times that I have no idea how to decipher what they've printed.  Plus, they have so many plans to choose from, it can be daunting.  I got lost somewhere between Yasso 800s, pace charts, tempo runs and fartleks.  Checking back issues helped.  But I again got lost amongst phrases like the end of the first mile, the even-paced runners were at only 78 percent of their VO2 max, an effort level more akin to a tempo run than a 5-K race--below their potential.  (Taken directly from the online archives)  Well I know I don't want to be below potential, but VO2 max is getting a little more scientific than I was looking for.  Can't I just go out and run a bunch, without killing myself?

Thankfully the answer was yes.   I just needed to find a program that spoke to me, also at the Runner's World website.  I entered a few answers to a few simple questions and voila! out comes my training schedule.  It started July 13 and goes for 14 weeks, culminating in my race on October 18.  Perfect.

The first week seemed like a joke.  Day 1, 2 miles.  Huh?  That's it?  Day 2, rest.  What?!!  I scanned down the list and saw the miles gradually increasing.  (It also has days with Speedwork and Tempo Run, but at the end of the program is a handy explanation of these terms.)  But, Good Lord, it only has me running at 11 minute miles!  How lame!  Ok, I did it my way last time and that didn't work out so good.  But jeez, I can start out a little faster, can't I?

Coming next, what IS a sprint anyway?  Lessons learned along the training route