Tuesday, December 26, 2006

COMMUNITY SPIRIT: The motto of the Manna Soup Kitchen is "In a comunity of plenty, no one should go hungry." On Christmas Day, that motto never rang so true. Nearly 300 people gathered at the ktichen on Avenida del Sol for an old fashioned holiday feast and Christmas party.

The menu included ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, salad rolls and a myriad of desserts all donate by area restaurants, stores and individuals, said Ruthie Wilrick, the program director of the Manna Soup Kitchen. Wilrick said that an army of volunteers numbering about 70 started at 8:30 a.m. wrapping presents, setting up tables and cooking food, getting it all finished in time to open the doors to the public at 11:30 a.m.

Manna's Board President Jim Heasley said that Monday's feast was just a high profile example of what goes on every day at the kitchen. "It's a total ourpouring of the community - small townism at its best," he said. "We provide everyone who wants one a meal, every day of the year. And you don't have to be homeless; you just have to be hungry."

Durango, it's a special place to live. Call us if we assist with your Durango real estate needs. To explore more of Durango visit http://www.HomesInDurango.com and http://DurangoRealEstate.biz.

Friday, December 22, 2006

SNOW: Snowfalls like that which hit our area earlier this week create all kinds of problems for rural drivers and homeowners, but nothing like those encountered by the county workers whose job it is to keep the roads clear.

There are more than 600 miles of La Plata County roads to plow, so officials with the county's Road and Bridge Department have to make decisions about which roads get plowed and how often. As the road maintenance superintendent for the county, Doyle Villers is usually the man with the final say.

Villers said the county has indentified county roads 240 (Florida Road), 501, 141 (Wildcat Canyon Road), and 310/318 as the main arterials that receive top priority during winter storms. Those roads are paved and sanded as often as conditions dictate by the county's 10 large dump/plow trucks, whose drivers work 12 hour split shifts to clear roads 24 hours a day, often covering a combined 1,500 miles during a given storm.

After the main roads are addressed, Villers said motor graders attack the gravel roads that are the access to many rural subdivisions. Lower volume roads, in general, are not plowed until major roads have been cleared.

Villers said the road crews' task is to clear snow from the center line of a road to the side, and that often can affect cars, mailboxes and driveways that are in the path of the snowplows. The right of way on these roads is 30 feet from the center line, and the county is not responsible for any damage to objects inside that right of way. The county recommends that residents never park in the right of way when snow is expected.

As we have seen this week from the storm that hit the front range, keeping the roads clear can sometimes be a very difficult task. We are very lucky to have not only dedicated, hard working county road crews but also the CDOT crews that maintain our highways. Thanks guys!


Sunday, December 17, 2006

RECIPE FOR A MERRY CHRISTMAS: Take the crisp cold of a December night, add two generous parts of snow, stir in air so clear it tinkles. Into a generous heart, mix the wonder of a little girl, the sparkle of a young boy's glance, the love of parents, and set gently before the chimney side. Add the lightest touch of a reindeer's hooves, a sprig of holly, a scent of fir. Set the mixture to rise in the warmth of a dream of good will to men. It will be almost ready to serve when it bubbles with warmth and good feeling. Bedeck with the light of a star in the East, garnish with shining balls of gold, silver and red. Serve to the tune of an ancient carol in the middle of the family table. This recipe is sufficient for all the men and women your will ever meet.

Mary and I wish all of you the best in this holiday season. May the joy and peace of Christmas be yours.

Monday, December 11, 2006

PURGATORY: Discriminating customers may be on the horizon for Durango Mountain Resort. Purgatory has been selected as one of the top 20 resorts in North America in the December 2006 edition of Conde' Nast Traveler.

The list was selected by readers who were invited to evaluate 104 North American ski resorts that they had visited in the past three years, and rank the resorts on terrain and conditions, lifts and lines, town ambience, dining and apres ski/activities. Only resorts that received a required minimum number of responses were eligible for inclusion in the rankings.

Purgatory received the 20th spot on the list, receiving an overall score of 64.3. Terrain and conditions were the highest ranked area for the resort with a score of 71.9, with town ambience close behind with 71.0 and lifts and lines rounding out the top three with a score of 68.8

For more information about Durango real estate visit http://www.HomesInDurango.com and http://www.DurangoRealEstate.biz. Check out the Mountain CAM at Purgatory.
HOW MUCH HOME CAN YOU AFFORD? There are two ways to determine how much you can afford to spend on a home. You can calculate a general estimate for what you may be able to afford, or you can work with your banker, lender or realtor to be preapproved for a specific loan amount. Here, you can make two estimates to help you investigate home buying, check out the homes you can afford and plan for down payment.

You should be preapproved for a loan when you are serious about home buying. Being preapproved tells you exactly what you can afford and helps to speed up the buying process. It establishes stricter (or sometimes more generous) limits on what homes you should be looking at.

Estimate 1: Calculate the total home cost you can afford.

To calculate the total home cost you may be able to afford, multiply your gross annual income by 3.5.

For example:

$50,000 X 3.5 = $175,000.
$75,000 X 3.5 = $262,500.
$100,000 X 3.5 = $350,000.

This is a rough calculation of the amount you might qualify for, assuming a 20 percent down payment and that you do not have a lot of debt.

Estimate 2: Calculate the monthly mortgage payment you can afford

To calculate the monthly mortgage payment you may be able to afford, multiply your gross monthly income by 0.38 and subtract your current monthly debt payments. Debt payments include student loans, car payments, credit card and other credit payments.

For example:

Gross monthly income is $4,000 ($48,000. divided by 12)
Monthly debt: $750.
$4,000 X .38 = $1,520
$1,520 - $750. = a mortgage payment of $770

The .38 ratio is used when you can make a 20 percent downpayment on your home. With a downpayment below 20 percent of the purchase price, reduce the ratio to .33. As you can see, the amount of debt you have can greatly reduce the maximum monthly payment you may qualify for. In addition to saving for a monthly payment and closing costs, you may also need to reduce debt. (As a general rule, you should pay down debts before saving for a down payment. This strategy will also dramatically reduce your total interest costs.)

We recommend visiting with one of our local loan officers to determine precisely how much you can afford and which loan program best works for you. Give us call. We'll be glad to give you names and numbers.

More information can be found at http://www.HomesInDurango.com and http://DurangoRealEstate.biz

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

HOME PRICES: According to the Colorado Association of Realtors Colorado home prices have come down .7 percent in the third quarter from a year ago, however they are still higher than 2004. Home sales have dropped two straight years when comparing the single-family unity sold in the 3rd quarters of 2004 (6.5%) and 2005 (17.2%). However Lawrence Yun, senior forecast economist for the National Association of Realtors, says there are brighter day ahead saying elevated inventories will be worked off over the next two quarters, wages are rising at better than 4 percent and jobs continue to be created and with home prices falling, the demand will inevitably pick up. Yun predicts the low point will be the fourth quarter of this year. "Sales will then steadily climb and with it will come strengthening home prices. In summary, the housing slump is nearly over."

Durango has fared much better than the rest of the state. The number of 3rd quarter home sales is down 20.9% compared to 2005 but our median price has increased a whopping 32.0%.

Durango real estate - please call (800) 834-8445 if we can help or visit http://www.HomesInDurango.com or http://www.DurangoRealEstate.biz.

Friday, December 01, 2006

CONSERVATION: Private U.S. landowners have set aside land comparable in acreage to the state of Georgia for conservation purposes.

A new tally of U.S. private land conservation efforts finds a boom in the number of smaller, local land trusts, particularly in the West, seeking to compensate for the 2 million acres of farms, forests and open spaces developed nationally each year.

Nature areas, wildlife habitat, open spaces, waterways, wetlands and other lands conserved through private means rose to 37 million acres - roughly the size of Georgia - from 24 million acres conserved as of 2000, the Land Trust Alliance said Thursday.

http://www.HomesInDurango.com and http://DurangoRealEstate.biz -Your Durango real estate information source.