Archive for the ‘Archive’ Category

Top 10 Tax Credits

1.  Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit – The rehabilitation credit applies to costs you incur for rehabilitation and reconstruction of certain buildings. Rehabilitation includes renovation, restoration, and reconstruction. It does not include enlargement or new construction.

2.  First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit – This expires April 30, 2010. Up to $8,000 (10% of the purchase price, up to a maximum of $8,000). As long as a written binding contract to purchase is in effect on April 30, 2010, the purchaser will have until July 1, 2010, to close.

3.  Move-up Home Buyer Tax Credit – This expires April 30, 2010. Up to $6,500 (10% of the purchase price, up to a maximum of $6,500) As long as a written binding contract to purchase is in effect on April 30, 2010, the purchaser will have until July 1, 2010, to close.

4Energy Star Tax Credit* – Must be an existing home & your principal residence. New construction and rentals do not qualify. 30% of cost up to $1,500. Expires: December 31, 2010.  Includes Biomass Stoves, Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning (HVAC), Insulation & Weather stripping (Spray foam in a can designed to air seal, Caulk designed to air seal, House wrap), Roofs (Metal & Asphalt), Water Heaters (non-solar), Windows & Doors.

5.  Energy Star Tax Credit* – Existing homes & new construction qualify. Both principal residences and second homes qualify. Rentals do not qualify. 30% of cost with no upper limit. Expires: December 31, 2016. Includes Geothermal Heat Pumps, Small Wind Turbines (Residential), Solar Energy Systems.

6.  Energy Star Tax Credit* – Existing homes & new construction qualify. Must be your principal residence. Rentals and second homes do not qualify. 30% of the cost, up to $500 per .5 kW of power capacity. Expires: December 31, 2016. Fuel Cells (Residential Fuel Cell and Microturbine System).

7. Low Income Housing Tax Credit – Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) reduces the tax liability of property owners and investors who agree to provide low-income housing for up to 40 years.

8.  Real Estate Tax Credit for Persons Age 65 and Older – If you are age 65 or older on the last day of the tax year, you are allowed a higher standard deduction for that year.

9. Property Tax Deduction for Non-Itemizers – A new law passed in 2008 lets you increase your standard deduction by the amount of real property tax you could have claimed if you did itemize — up to $500 ($1,000 on a joint return).

10. State-specific Tax Credits – April 19, 2010. The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) in Colorado launched a website for State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.  Go to the Governor’s Energy Office at http://www.colorado.gov/energy/index.php?/resources/category/tax-incentives.

*  Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index

Visit me at http://www.fortcollinshomes.com

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Top 10: Biking to Breakfast in Fort Collins

280+ miles of bike lanes…30 miles of bike trails….morning air on your face…smell of fresh coffee at 8:00am….why not bike to breakfast in Fort Collins?  Here are my top locally owned restaurants that serve healthy fare, have a close proximity to bike paths or lanes, and YOU CAN WEAR BIKE SHORTS without feeling self-conscious.

1. Rainbow Restaurant – 212 W. Laurel St – Park your bike inside the fence and enjoy one of the best patios and breakfasts in town. Always fresh and healthy with lots of vegetarian & vegan options. Try the Broccofu or Eggs Rainbow. http://www.rainbowfortcollins.com.

2. Lucile’s Creole Café – 400 S. Meldrum – Chicory coffee and beignets on the deck while you bask in the sun. Racks in front and a fence on the side where you can leave bikes. The menu is a slice of New Orleans and a real treat. http://www.luciles.com, “Locations”, Fort Collins.

3. The Back Porch Café – 1101 East Lincoln Avenue – Charming enclosed patio in the midst of a garden with huge trees. All baked goods and meat-smoking are done in-house & made to order meals. Bring your bike inside the patio. http://www.lambspun.com/menus.

4. Café Bluebird – 524 W Laurel – Covered front porch is a perfect place to start the day. Try one of their Famous Skillets or Classic Crepes.  Bike racks are behind the restaurant. http://www.cafebluebird.com.

5. Dempsey’s – 160 W. Oak St.- Best Old Town sidewalk café for breakfast and people-watching. Gluten-free breads, French toast, waffles and pancakes to fill your tummy. http://www.dempseysoldtown.com. Bike racks.

6. Le Creperie & Bakery – 163 W Mountain Ave – Heavenly croissants and fabulous galettes (traditional buckwheat crepes originating in Brittany) made by an authentic French baker/owner.  Seating is indoors, but you are transported to France with the food and lovely décor. Bike racks.

7. Red Table Café – 224 Linden St – Sidewalk seating and plenty of places to park your bike.  Order at the counter and enjoy the artwork and cozy atmosphere while you wait for your food. Bike racks. www.redtablecafe.com (website under construction)

8. Silver Grill – 218 Walnut Street – With a history dating back to 1933, this eatery’s cinnamon rolls were featured by Rachel Ray’s Food Network show in May 2009. Bike racks. http://www.silvergrill.com.

9 .Egg & I – 1112 Oakridge Drive or 2809 S. College – Hatched in Fort Collins and now in 5 states and 38 locations. More than just eggs on the menu. Patio dining at Oakridge. http://www.theeggandirestaurants.com.

10. and coming soon….. Snooze – 144 W Mountain Ave – We have eaten at the Snooze in Denver several times and this one will be opening soon.  Go for the pancakes, but try everything else on the menu. http://www.snoozeeatery.com. Bike racks.

Visit me at http://www.fortcollinshomes.com.

Top 10 Dog Events in Fort Collins

With our family, “dogs rule”!  They keep us in shape with daily runs/walks, are there by our side in time of need, protect our home and give constant love and companionship. What are your picks for dog fun in the Fort?

1.  Fast and Furriest – A fantastic doggie/runner expo with entertainment, including the Amazing Deaf Cattle Dog, face painting, live music, race day give-aways and doggie demos. Benefiting CSU’s Veterinary Medical Center. April 17, 2010

2. Linnea Dick Pet Walk and Adopt-a-thon – 1.5 mile pet walk, Chihuahua & toy breed races, adoptable animals, local Animal Rescues, local vendors, agility demonstrations, Pet Communicator, live band, interactive pet/people Games – Musical Dog Sit & Whippy Lick.  June 5, 2010.

3. Larimer Humane Society Fire Hydrant 5 – 5K Race, Pet Fair, Fido Photos, Paw Painting, Animal Rescue, Code 3 Associates Mobile Command Center for emergency animal rescue. June 5, 2010

4.  Paws on the Promenade – The Promenade Shops at Centerra – Benefits the Larimer and Weld County Humane Societies. Dog house building contest, Service Dog demonstrations, Yappy Hour, pet adoptions, vendors, dog contests and more. May 22, 2010

5.  Pooch Plunge – City Park Pool marks the final days of summer before the pool is drained. Pooches are encouraged to bring four- and two-legged friends for the final splash-down of the year. Complimentary gift bag filled with treats and treasures

6. Annie Walk and Pet Fest. This fundraising event is in honor of Annie the Railroad Dog, a much loved mascot of Fort Collins.. A 1.5 mile round-trip walk though Old Town, contests, a pancake breakfast, a canine agility course and booths. August.22, 2010.

7.  Doggie Olympics – Four levels of scored participation: Junior Handler, Senior Dog, Fun/Recreational, and Competitive. “Paws at Play” is for non-competitive teams.  October.

8. Canine Wellness Expo – Features speakers from CSU’s Veterinary School, an agility fun match, adoption fair, dog wash, demonstrations, and a free health screening from area veterinarians. Admission is voluntary and benefits Search and Rescue Dogs of Colorado. June.

9. Howl’oween Parade and Festival – The event includes a parade, costume judging , post-parade festival, adoption fair, vendors and more. October.

10. Dog Parks – For a pooch, going to the local dog park is an event in itself. Spring Canyon Dog Park (west end of Horsetooth Road), Soft Gold Dog Park (520 Hickory Street), Fossil Creek Dog Park (5821 South Lemay Avenue).

Visit me at http://www.fortcollinshomes.com.

Look for the next Top 10: Biking to Breakfast in Fort Collins

What is a Yonkee & why is it in my neighborhood?

How would you like living next door to the largest archaic-age bison kill site in North America dating back 2700 years?  A Northern Colorado subdivision contains such a lot sandwiched between two attractive homes and their landscaped yards.

Colorado Open Lands’ first archaeological conservation easement is located at 2141 Meander Road in the River West neighborhood between Windsor and Fort Collins. The Kaplan-Hoover Bison Bone Bed contains the only archaic-age bison kill in Colorado and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

I have two beautiful homes listed in the Bison Ridge development sitting high on a hill overlooking River West. Here you can experience the expansive and breathtaking views of the Front Range.  The semi-custom homes are designed for family and entertaining, with open floor plans, gourmet kitchens and special details.  The area feels isolated from the hustle and bustle of living in a city, yet is less than a ten-minute drive to shopping, restaurants and the I-25 corridor.

Close to Bison Ridge you are able to access the Poudre River Trail, offering non-motorized recreational opportunities including: biking, walking, running, and rollerblading. There are many historical sites and educational opportunities to visit along the trail and a downloadable map from the website, http://www.poudretrail.org.  In the Spring you will see many migrating birds among the cottonwood riparian area and waterfowl along the Poudre River and gravel pit ponds. You may see red fox, deer, raccoon, rabbits, muskrats and possibly beaver. The bluffs area is an unexpected treat.

So, what is a Yonkee?  It is a Late Plains Archaic period culture of hunter-gatherers known only by their long, slender spear points used for bison hunting. The spear points, yonkees, are named after the culture. Until the recent discovery of the River West bison kill site, it was thought that this ancient group only existed in northern Wyoming and Montana. WOW! How cool is that?

Visit my website, http://www.fortcollinshomes.com, to see 1972 Yonkee MLS #590442 and 1572 Yonkee MLS #593096, Windsor, Colorado.  These homes have incredible finishes and you will fall in love with the area.

Next Blog:  Top 10 Dog Events in Fort Collins

Top 10 Fort Collins Festivals

1.   Tour de Fat.  Oil your bike chains and don your capes, crowns, tutus and tuxedos! Tour de Fat is the biggest, most enjoyable traveling bike festival in the country or world! This ballyhoo of bikes is sponsored by the New Belgium Brewing Company, based in Fort Collins, and is now found in 11 western cities.  It spreads the word about the positive societal offerings of the bicycle and is one of the largest bicycle non-profit fundraisers out there. http://www.newbelgium.com/tour-de-fat.  Labor Day weekend

2.   NewWestFest. In its 22nd year, this free weekend showcases over 300 arts, crafts and food booths, Kids’ World &  Music Adventure, a childrens carnival, two beer gardens, and seven stages of continuous entertainment highlighting Northern Colorado and the Front Range’s wonderfully talented artists.  August 20-22, 2010.http://www.downtownfortcollins.com.

3.   Taste of Fort Collins. A community celebration with family-friendly activities that are perfect for the Northern Coloradans’ active lifestyle. TFC continues to benefit Special Olympics Larimer County and Kiwanis Club International. This two-day festival offers attendees food from local Northern Colorado restaurants, entertainment from regionally and internationally acclaimed musicians and an eclectic display of fine artisans work as well as the region’s best crafters. http://www.tasteoffortcollins.com.  June 12-13, 2010.

4.   Kites in the Park Festival.  The skies come alive with kites of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Free event featuring professional flyers, specialty kites, a kids kite-making station, competitions & prizes, kites to purchase and concessions. An art auction will premier this year where unique and wonderful kite creations, donated by local artists, will be available for bid. Proceeds from the art auction will benefit low-income youth. http://www.fcgov.com. May 1, 2010.

5.   Colorado Brewer’s Festival. Over 50 Colorado beers, delicious food, great live music and fun with this 21st annual  festival. June 26 & 27, 2010. http://www.downtownfortcollins.com.

6.   Oktoberfest. Brats, lederhosen, polkas and great Colorado beer!  The festival is free to the public and takes place in Civic Center Park. German & Bavarian entertainment all day long including Schuhplattler dancing and great polka bands. Kids activities and Colorado German history. Sept. 25, 2010.  http://www.downtownfortcollins.com.

7.   4th of July. Activities take place Downtown Fort Collins during the day and at City Park for the fireworks.  Live music, a beer garden and good ole American fun are in Old Town Square from 11-6:00pm.  The City of Fort Collins caps off July 4th by providing a spectacular fireworks show at City Park at 9:35 p.m.

8.   A Fort Collins Jazz Experience. Two stages of free continuous jazz jams from local and regional musicians, jazz art, educational sessions for students, as well as a special ticketed national headliner concert. Special presentations, a Childrens Jazz Experience at the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art and so much more!  July 8-10, 2010. http://www.downtownfortcollins.com.

9.  First Night® Fort Collins. Wonderful and diverse entertainment presented at this non-alcoholic New Year’s Eve celebration. Performing acts, storytelling, history, interactive craft projects, street performers, international dancing and musical performances. December 31, 2010.  http://www.downtownfortcollins.com.

10.  Nelson’s Old Town Car Show.  Hundreds of great hot-rods, vintage cars and classic trucks will be on display in Downtown Fort Collins. Live music will fill Old Town Square as people enjoy the free show.  June 12, 2010. http://www.downtownfortcollins.com.

Visit me at http://www.fortcollinshomes.com.

Next Blog:  What is a Yonkee?

EZ Being Green: Home Energy Tax Credits

How do you get a new tax credit without buying or selling your home? The Existing Home Retrofit Tax Credit is available at 30% of the cost (up to $1500) for a number of energy improvements to your existing home, for qualifying purchases between Jan.1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2010. Are you thinking about new insulation, windows, storm doors or a roof? How about a new hot water heater, furnace or air conditioner.  You can recover 30% of the cost by filing with your 2009 or 2010 tax returns. The Wind, Solar, Geothermal and Fuel Cell Tax Credit is good through 2016 for new construction as well as existing homes. Geothermal Heat Pumps, Solar Panels, Solar Water Heaters, Small Wind Energy Systems and Fuel Cells qualify for a 30% tax credit and might include installation.

As a real estate professional I am always updating my credentials and knowledge-base.  I have completed the necessary classroom hours to become an EcoBroker, an expert on energy and environmental information for the home.

I have a home listed at 717 Dartmouth Trail in Fort Collins that has been transformed from a very nice traditional, but dated, residence into a WOW! Craftsman-style beauty. During the planning process choices were made for the health of the residents as well as the environment.  Low VOC paint was chosen, new formaldehyde-free carpet pad installed and an active solar radiant heat was added. Light fills the main floor through the numerous new windows that capture passive solar heat.  Natural materials fill this home.

One of the most exciting features is the inlay for the stair railing.  It is from one of the top ten noted trees of all time, a sycamore. The tree was harvested after it toppled in the wind and the carpenter held onto it for over 25 years, just waiting for the right place to install this special material.  The house on Dartmouth Trail in Fort Collins is a masterpiece and a wonderful example of how to “Go Green” as you update your home and increase its value.

Visit me at http://www.fortcollinshomes.com

Next Blog: Top 10 Fort Collins Festivals

Fort Collins Real Estate Report

The forecast is bright for Fort Collins and most towns in Northern Colorado.  In Fort Collins, there is a 24% decrease in foreclosures from a year ago, a jump in building permits after 6-8 years of decline, the median sales price has risen from $215,000-$241,500 since February 2009, and Moody´s projects an annual appreciation rate of 4% over the next ten years.

When you are reading or watching the media about the housing market, remember that statistics and market conditions vary between towns, regions and states. Each town or city in Northern Colorado has its own unique culture, demographics, services, and schools which affect their housing markets.  A REALTOR® from Denver, Boulder, Philadelphia, or Timbuktu does not have the experience or sense of community to evaluate market conditions in Fort Collins, Loveland, Berthoud, Windsor, Wellington or Timnath.

I have lived in Fort Collins, Colorado, since 1974 and have been a REALTOR® since 1976.  Having been through the ups and downs of the real estate market as a real estate agent, homeowner, investor and teacher, I can safely say that I am an expert in the field and I know about the Northern Colorado real estate markets!

Case in point.  I have a wonderful bungalow listed in Old Town Fort Collins (now under contract) in which an out-of-state relocation director is involved.  In marketing the home, I posted photos of concerts and activities in downtown (Old Town) Fort Collins.  The relocation director objected to the “party atmosphere” that the photos depicted.  The assumption was that Old Town is a college hangout.  Old Town and Colorado State University are in close proximity because CSU was founded in 1870 and Fort Collins was incorporated in 1873.  Homes built before 1930 are relatively scarce in our town because census records show that the population was only 11,489 that year. Those of us who live and work in Fort Collins know that the unique character and heartbeat is in Old Town with all of its cultural activities, restaurants, business centers and shopping.

I have studied content of all of the major housing websites that give crime statistics, walkability scores, school ratings, and house estimates.  They give information that is a benchmark for a location but they cannot fully identify or represent the actual address.  To continue with the misinformation about the neighborhood in which the bungalow sits, the walkability score is listed as 69/100.  To someone who does not live in this town, one would see this statistic and think that a car is necessary.  The fact is, this is a community that is designed for biking with 310+ miles of bike lanes and trails that meander throughout the city.  Living in Old Town Fort Collins means that one can bike anywhere and the car can stay in the garage.

My next blog will list the Top 10 Free Things To Do in Old Town Fort Collins.