Wednesday, December 03, 2008

AFFORDABLE HOUSING??? The Durango City Council has adopted our first official affordable housing policy by passing the Fair Share Housing inclusionary-zoning regulation. The policy will be added to the Land Use and Development Code, and requires builders to provide a percentage of affordable units or pay a fee in lieu for each new development of more than 2 units. Under the amendment 16 percent of homes in new developments would have to be priced as affordable or attainable under a four-tiered income and pricing structure formulated by the Regional Housing Alliance of La Plata County.

No one disagrees that the Durango area is in need of more housing that is affordable for our citizens. But who is going to pick up the tab for the price reduction on the units or the fees in lieu. Simply put - the buyers of the other units in the development. Builders will pass on the costs and prices will escalate.

The solution to affordable housing does not lie within the city limits of Durango. Land is too expensive. Affordable development must happen in non-incorporated areas of the county. But that would be "urban sprawl" and good luck with county planners.

The bright side is maybe the situation will solve itself. The way the national economy is looking, we're likely to have plenty of cheap housing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

THE DRYSIDE??? The arid western portion of La Plata County, where residents draw drinking water from wells or truck it home in tanks, appears ready to shed the "Dryside" label hung by old-timers.

Next week, ground will be broken on a $6 million intake at Lake Nighthorse southwest of Durango. Treated reservoir water then would be available for residents in a 250 square mile area on Fort Lewis Mesa. The reservoir, part of the Animas-La Plata Project, which is nearly complete, is to start filling in early 2009.

Critical funding for the intake project came from the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.

It's estimated that the 700 acre feet of water in Lake Nighthorse that is available to the project is enough to serve 3,600 homes on the Dryside.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

THIRD QUARTER STATS: The median sale price for homes in Durango slipped 14 percent during the July 1 to September 30 period, while the number sold dropped 20 percent, and dollar volume fell 23 percent, compared with the same period in 2007.

The median price is the midpoint of all homes sold - where half of the homes cost more and half cost less. As sales of higher priced homes have slowed, the resulting "median price" has come down. Overall the value of real estate in our area has remained remarkably stable when compared to other markets throughout the nation.

We are hearing reports from Arizona, southern California and Las Vegas that these markets have bottomed out and are beginning to mend. If true, it bodes well for our Durango markets. Hopefully by the spring we'll see a return to normalcy.

Sunday, September 21, 2008



11:05 p.m. A caller from the 5800 block of Main Avenue said her boyfriend was drunk and
belligerent. He was to spend the night in another room.

11:54 p.m. A caller from the 5800 block of Main Avenue said here boyfriend was passed out in
front of her room.


11:49 a.m. A man sitting in a red van in the parking lot of Pueblo Community College, 701
Camino Del Rio, had been there since 9 a.m. watching people come and go.


2:00 a.m. A man was in the street screaming and hitting cars in the 2900 block of Richard
Drive. He had been kicked out of his house.

3:45 a.m. A neighbor reported a woman screaming in the 3600 block of 502. A deputy reported
finding a lot of cat hair in the road.

To Be Continued.....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

CONSERVATION EASEMENTS: Since 2000, Colorado has encouraged land protection with a generous tax credit to conservation easement donors. The credit, worth 50% of the easement's value (but capped at $375,000), may be used against the donor's taxes or sold to other taxpayer's. Any portion unused/unsold in the year of the donation may be carried forward for 20 years. For 2008 the amount of this credit remains unchanged. However, House Bill 08-1354 has created new rules. Beginning in July 2008, easement appraisers must submit each appraisal, with a $600 fee, to the State for review; and beginning in January 2010, only easement granted to state-certified land trusts will generate a tax credit. The new certification program will begin accepting applications in January 2009.

Friday, September 12, 2008 In a recent article CNN featured "6 terrific town on the water." Many baby boomers dream of retiring somewhere by the water. CNN recommended a half-dozen places that are on a lake, a river or an ocean that won't sink your retirement budget.

Guess what? Durango was number one on the list.

Durango's name originates from the Basque word for "water town," thanks to the mighty Animas River, which flows almost parallel to our Main Avenue. CNN pointed out vacationers flock here to kayak, fly-fish or enjoy the water views from our many hiking, biking trails or from the network of shady parks along the river.

The Durango lifestyle with our arts community, quality restaurants, farmer's market and the surrounding San Juan National Forest together with our stable real estate economy is a major calling card for individuals seeking the ultimate in retirement location.

If we can assist you in gathering information about Durango give us a call or email. We'll be glad to help.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Monday 7:38 p.m.

A woman accidentally called 911 while programming the emergency number into her telephone.

Tuesday 12.15 p.m.

A woman's neighbor was standing at a window making derogatory statements in the 300 block of 23rd Street.

Friday 3:00 p.m.

A brand inspector needed assistance with a large number of goats on a road near U.S. Highway 160B and County Road 509.

Friday 5:35 p.m.

No one was inside an open store in the 1100 block of South Camino del Rio for 20 minutes. An employee forgot to lock up at closing.

Saturday 12.59 p.m.

Several mules and horses were in the road in the 8000 block of County Road 501, north of Bayfield.

To be continued.....

Friday, September 05, 2008

HOUSING ALLIANCE:* The local group that helps first-time home buyers get into La Plata County's competitive housing market is creating a nonprofit financial arm that could bring in millions of federal dollars.

The Regional Housing Alliance board of directors approved an agreement with La Plata Homes Fund Inc. on Wednesday, during its first meeting with new members from Bayfield. The approval allows the alliance to begin certifying the new fund as a non-profit organization.

The alliance works with families to make down payments on a home, and provides assistance and home-buyer classes in Bayfield, Ignacio and Durango.

Creating the fund as a tax-exempt nonprofit entity qualifies the alliance for federal money provided through the Department of Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. The federal money would have to be matched dollar for dollar to be received locally.

The alliance has 100 families in home buyer classes and counseling.

*From the Durango Herald 09/05/08

Friday, August 29, 2008

VALLECITO: Residents of Vallecito recently celebrated the opening of a new park that features a picnic pavilion overlooking Vallecito Reservoir.

The ceremony featured several nods to Southern Ute Indian Tribe members. Seven dancers performed to song, and other tribal members spoke about the land.

"This used to be Ute country here," said James Jefferson, a Durango area resident.

"This used to be Ute country".....that started me thinking.

Through the years the Utes have seen lots of changes. The area has grown. The population has exploded and we're still growing and changing. Yet we seem to have a core of individuals who are 100% anti-growth, anti-change. Every development, every expansion sees the same opposition.

Increased traffic, too many people coming to area, loss of wildlife habitat - the list goes on. We need to realize that change is going to happen. We are going to have more people coming to this beautiful area. We need to smartly prepare for the future.

I can just visualize the Ute elders sitting in their lodges discussing: too many people, too much congestion, loss of wildlife habitat. The Utes were smart, we should be also.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Visitors to Durango often find a world quite different from the place they call "home." Its not just the beauty of the mountain or the blueness of the sky, the real difference is the people and the laid back lifestyle of Durango. One comment we hear most is how fun it is to read the excerpts from the Durango Police Blotter published daily in the Durango Herald. As special ones appear, we'll share them with you. For instance:

Friday - 11 a.m.

A man wearing army fatigues on the bike path near the 300 block of West College Drive was carrying what appeared to be a gun in his pants, but it turned out to be a black electronic device.

Thursday - 5:24 p.m.
A parole officer located a man at a motel in the 3100 block of Main Avenue who had run away while taking a polygraph test.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

RAILFEST: The 10th annual Durango Railfest that started last Thursday attacted large crowd of railroad buffs including visitiors from Germany, Italy and England.

Two historic engines were here for the celebration. The restored Durango & Rio Grande Western engine No. 315 and the Galloping Goose No. 5, a GMC gasoline powered engine put in service during the Great Depression by the Rio Grande Southern Railroad when operating steam engines became too expensive. Engine No. 315 could be seen hauling passengers to Cascade. The restored engine appeared brand new.

In addition to Railfest, Saturday brought the Brewfest to Buckley Park in downtown Durango. Eleven breweries from all over Colorado were on hand dispersing their hand crafted products. What a weekend!

What's next? Can you feel the distant rumble? As Labor Day approaches the rumble will grow. The earth will vibrate as thousands, yes thousands, of Harley bikers converge on the Durango area for the rally. There's never a dull moment in this quiet mountain town.

Friday, August 15, 2008

WATER: The rural water system that would serve the southern portion of La Plata County and the southwestern area of Archuleta County that has been discussed for 20 years took a step closer to realization this week when voters, by a slim margin, approved the creation of the La Plata Archuleta Water District. The district aims to establish a rural water system where residents currently depend on water wells or have water trucked in.

In addition to creating the district voters selected five members to serve as the district's board of directors. District officials will have to go back to voters to fund the system. The date for that election has not been set.

While this is a long term project it is badly needed and will open up a huge part of the county for residential use.

Friday, July 11, 2008

LIFE IN DURANGO: If anyone wonders what its like to live in Durango they should visit on the 4th of July. Festivities began on July 3rd with the Kiwanis BBQ Cookoff. We set up the smokers at 7:00 a.m. along Main Street at Buckley Park, cooked all day and served the public brisket, sausage & pork shoulder at 4:00 p.m.
July 4th was competition day and we began serving BBQ at 11:00. When all was said and done, our team sold over $4,000 of BBQ for the Kiwanis fundraiser. At the same time, an Arts & Crafts Show was happening in Buckley Park. The crowds were fabulous.

Celebrating July 4, the Declaration of Independence was read for the public, a fantastic patriotic parade proceeded down Main (we have a parade for nearly every occasion) and the day ended with a spectacular fireworks display.

Durango, small town - big people. The only thing missing was Andy Taylor and Barney Fife weren't leading the parade.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

GOOD MOVE BAYFIELD: The Regional housing Alliance of La Plata County (RHA) announced that Bayfield has entered into the alliance. The RHA is a quasi-state governmental entity that has coordinated countywide efforts to provide affordable housing in the area since 2004.

Jennifer Lopez, RHA Executive Director said, "It's a wonderful moment for us. We have a lot of housing and economic-development issues in Bayfield, and we can play a larger role now that they'll be at the table."

Under the new agreement, Bayfield will join in ongoing efforts to develop housing projects and programs throughout the county. It will also commit to provide RHA with funding for operational expenses.

In addition, two representatives from Bayfield, one elected official and and town staff or community member, will serve on the RHA Board.

Friday, June 06, 2008

LAKE DURANGO: La Plata County Commissioners have lifted the five year old moratorium on new subdivision development that would rely on water from Lake Durango. The ban was based on concerns about both the quantity and quality of the water.

Commissioners determined that circumstances have changed since then with improvements made to the Pine River ditch to decrease seepage, the addition of circulators to the lake and upgrades to the treatment plant. Additionally, new wells in Durango West have helped decrease the demand on the lake, which serves Durango West I and II, as well as Shenandoah, Trappers Crossing and Rafter J.

The request to lift the ban came from Trappers Crossing developer Ron Spence and Cole Eden, who has proposed a seven lot development called Ridgewood Estates. Spence is seeking to complete Trappers Crossing's fifth phase, which would add 11 lots. Both had acquired taps for their projects but were not allowed to proceed because of the moratorium.

Lake Durango Water Co., the private company that delivers Lake Durango water, is in the process of being sold to the Lake Durango Water Authority, a governmental authority created in 2007 to settle the controversy over water quality and quantity. The arrangement must be approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

LIVING IN DURANGO: If you think a cold 20 mph north wind coupled with a steady drizzle/rain would keep a football stadium full of Durangotangs from throwing a beach party - you would be wrong! Last night IT WAS THE BEACH BOYS!

With only a handfull of timid no-shows the party went off with a bang and, according to the Beach Boys, folks in Durango "are flipin' crazy." Rockin' and rollin', dancing in the isles and, in general, having a great time Durango turned out for the "Boys." Beach balls were flying (it's amazing how far a beach ball will fly in a 20 mph wind.)

An hour and a half program ended with Surfin' Safari and, of course, Surfin' USA while the entire stadium danced on its feet in the rain. Thanks to the Beach Boys for sticking in there and turning a miserable evening into a remarkable event. Only in Durango.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

LET'S COOPERATE: The Durango City Council is pushing a measure that would require developers help pay for required infrastructure. La Plata County Commissioners have expressed concern about the pace of the plan.

The City Council has made enacting an adequate public facilities ordinance a top priority but many feel that, without the county's cooperation, the ordinance will increase sprawl by pushing growth out into unincorporated areas. Anyone who has attempted to get county approval on new development knows this is highly unlikely.

What we have here is a case of the City of Durango planning for the future and steering growth where it is most suitable while La Plata County sits on its behind saying "future?"

Thursday, May 08, 2008

TRAPPERS CROSSING: 5 years ago La Plata County Commissioners placed a moratorium on new water taps in the Lake Durango Water System due to the severe drought in the southwest part of the state. Tuesday Ron Spence, the developer of Trappers Crossing, requested that the ban be lifted. He cited the drought is over, the lake is full and feels he's entitled to use the taps paid for.

The request comes as the private company that delivers Lake Durango water is about to be sold to the Lake Durango Water Authority, a governmental authority created in 2007 to settle years of controversy over water quality and quantity. The arrangement still must be approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. Nevertheless we feel the commissioners should approve Mr. Spence's request and lift the ban. They will address the issue again at their June 3 meeting.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

TAXES: In 2007, the Assessor's Office revalued, per state law, all 41,000 properties in La Plata County. This included all taxable vacant, residential, commercial, personal and natural resource properties.

The Assessor's Office updated the value of real estate properties from the 2004 level to the 2006 level of value. This means that they used market sales to project the increase in value, as during those years there was an overall increase. Oil and gas properties saw a drop in value in 2007 due to slightly lower production, lower prices and increased expenses.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

SLOWDOWN: The first quarter statistics are out from the Durango Area Association of Realtors and sales were down. The total number of home sales within the city limits was down 45% compared to the same period in 2007 while the number of sales of homes in the county was 24% lower. The median price of homes in Durango slipped 5%.

While the national housing slowdown is do doubt affecting our market it is important to remember that we have just come through one heck of a winter. We had several buyers wanting to come into town and just couldn't get here. We encouraged them to wait until the snow clears and now we're as busy as ever.

Anyone thinking of purchasing in the Durango area should do it now.

Friday, April 11, 2008

MELTDOWN: Downtown Durango will have a familiar sound as the 14th annual Bluegrass Meltdown kicks off today. Bluegrass music seems to be synonymous with mountain towns. We have several local groups that play bluegrass and even more that tour through the area. Blue grass music is fun, energetic and dynamic. Our annual meltdown is a celebration of the coming of spring with great music, food, beverages and good times.

This year's festival features two-time Grammy Award winner Jim Lauderdale and three-time Bluegrass Music Award winners, the Infamous Stringdusters. Scheduled performances are held at the Strater Theater, Abby Theater and the Elks Lodge.

The best part of the meltdown, however, is you never know where or when an impromptu jam session will pop up. Restaurants, street corners or parks - Durango will be alive with music. What a place to live!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

TIS' THE SEASON: As spring approaches we need to be reminded that warmer weather also brings back our old friend, the black bear. Even thought it's early in the season we had our first reported bear sighting last weekend. So, let's review living with the bear.

Black bears tend to frequent the Durango area when they come out of hibernation in the spring and in early August as they start packing on fat for their winter hibernation. Although they're here for their natural foods such as berries, oak acorns, plants, vegetation and the like, they've also found that we humans provide them with a food bounty of our own - be it bird seed, fruit, pet food, barbecue grill scraps and trash. Normally shy and secretive in the wild, bears have an amazing sense of smell and have learned to associate humans and their homes with food. Sadly, people unwittingly feeding bears NEVER ends well for the bears. Bears that pose a human safety risk or cause property damage in their attempts to get food are captured and moved away. If the same bear causes problems anywhere else after being relocated it is humanely destroyed by wildlife officers. Bumper stickers seen around town proclaiming "Garbage Kills Bears" are all too true.

Don't attract bears to your property through your carelessness with trash and other attractions. Safely store trash during the week and put it out the morning of pickup only. Take down bird feeders when bears are around or make them absolutely inaccessible to bears. Securely store or remove anything else that may attract bears to your home. The responsibility of coexisting with bears lies with all of us that have chosen to live in bear habitat. Be part of the solution and be considerate of the welfare of our bears and your neighbors.

If Mary and I can answer questions or provide more information give us a call or email. We'll be happy to assist you. /

Friday, April 04, 2008

GOOD NEIGHBORS: BP America will contribute $1.1 million to a fund to help low and moderate income families in La Plata County buy homes, the Regional Housing Alliance announced Thursday.

The money will go toward second mortgages for buyers to make up the gap between what they can afford and the cost of entry level houses in the area. The money is expected to help 20 or more families get into homes.

BP, a global energy company, is the area's leading natural gas producer. We're a good neighbor. This is one of the things you do when you operate in a community," said Curtis Thomas, director of government and public affairs in the Rockies for BP.

The mortgage program will be targeted at families that make between 80 percent and 125 percent of the area's median household income, or $49,000 to $78,000 for a family of four.

Those interested in receiving second mortgages through the Regional Housing Alliance should call (970) 259-1418

Reprinted from the Durango Herald-Katie Burford-Staff Writer

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

EARTH DAY: Capping of Earth Day week, the city of Durango, in partnership with San Juan Basin Recycling Association, will offer a two -day recycle collection event for computers and additional electronics Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Durango Recycling Center, 710 Tech Center Drive.

Nominal fees are associated with some items such as televisions and computer monitors. Items such as keyboards, cables, cell phones, printer cartridges and cell phone batteries will be recycled free of charge.

For additional information, contact the recycling division at 970-375-4831

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

VALUE: CNN carried an interview with a Orange County individual regarding the economic and housing problems in southern California. People are out of work, foreclosures are up in Orange County as they are in many other areas of the country. One statement in the interview stood out. He said, "I can't sell my home for what it's worth."

It's funny that homeowners have no trouble adjusting their value opinion when prices are increasing but in a declining market refuse to recognize value decreases. Market value is the price at which a seller is willing to sell and the price at which a buyer is willing to buy. While often a bitter pill, failure to recognize and accept true market is a mistake most seller's can't afford to make.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

MARY: Earlier this month at the Re/Max convention in Las Vegas Mary was presented with Re/Max's Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is one of the highest given by Re/Max and is based on career production. Only a handfull of agents reach this level. Dave Liniger, CEO of Re/Max, presented the award to Mary.
THE CELEBRATION OF SPRING: Spring is a season of the year we look for all winter. It's a time when nature renews herself. Dry seeds shake their husks and send their green antenna into the air. Much of the poetry of spring is couched in rural settings, because that is where spring calls out on all sides. Yet the great mass of people today are living in a world of concrete jungles, smooth and twisting freeways, screeching brakes and clanging fenders. Much of what thrilled Grandfather in the spring of the year goes unnoticed today. The robin on the spring lawn, the daffodils pushing up sometimes through a crust of snow. But the spirit of spring is still alive and will ever remain as long as man is in a climate of changing seasons.

Some years ago, the Boston Globe wrote a little story related to the philosopher George Santayanna. He chose an April day in 1912 to bring to a close his professional career as a teacher at Harvard University. While he was engaged in his last lecture at University Hall a robin landed on the window sill. He looked at it for a moment, then sighed softly, "Gentlemen, I have a date with spring." With that he went out the door and closed his career.

Reprinted from Cheer

Saturday, March 29, 2008
LIFE IN DURANGO: Enough about real estate - THE BEACH BOYS ARE COMING!

June 4, The Beach Boys show will conclude a full day festival in Fort Lewis College's Ray Dennision Field. Festivities kick off at noon with a preshow tailgate "beach party," featuring food, a classic car show and live music. Gates to the big show open at 4 p.m. with none other than Durango's own beach blanket bimbo, Ralph Dinosaur, taking the stage at 5 p.m., followed by other performers. The Beach Boys will take the stage at 8 p.m.

Tickets went on sale this morning at 9:00. Viewing the Concert Hall's on-line seating chart, tickets to this spectacular event are going fast. We've got ours!

HOME SALES: Existing home sales, including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 2.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.03 million units according to the National Association of Realtors.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the gain is encouraging. "We're not expecting a notable gain in existing home sales until the second half of this year, but the improvement is another sign that the market is stabilizing." he said. "Buyers taking advantage of higher loan limits for both FHA and conventional mortgages will unleash pent-up demand. As inventories are drawn down, prices in many markets should go positive later this year."

The Mortgage Bankers Association, which produces mortgage application trends on a weekly basis reported a surge in applications in the latest week. Mortgage applications for home purchases rose 11 percent. This rise in mortgage applications for home purchases further hints at a possible end to the housing downward cycle.

If you are considering a purchase of Durango real estate, now is the time.

Friday, March 28, 2008

GOOD NEWS FOR BUYERS: Both conforming loan limits and FHA loan limits have been raised in La Plata County to $443,750. This is in effect until December 31, 2008. These higher limits will enable buyers to obtain a higher loan amount without having to pay the increased interest rate that a non-conforming loan commands. Today the interest rate rate for both conforming and FHA loans is under 6%, a historically low rate of interest. Buyers can obtain conventional loans with as little as 5% down and a FHA loan with just 3% down. This low interest rate, coupled with the rise in the conforming loan amount, should set the stage for a return of consumer confidence and put a buyer in an excellent position to be buying a home.

It is virtually impossible to time a real estate market; to know when the "bottom" has happened. In many areas this has already happened and the markets are showing signs of improvement with the number of pending contracts on the rise. Individuals thinking of buying a home should view this as the perfect time to act while they can take advantage of favorable financing.

The increased conforming loan limit should open up desirable inventory for both first time and move-up buyers as attractive financing puts more homes within reach. It is important to note, we believe now is the time to buy. Our local real estate market, while slowed, is still vibrant. As the rest of the country's markets rebound our prices will escalate.

Please feel free to contact us regarding your Durango real estate needs.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

FUND RAISER: The weather was terrific and roughly 1,000 people turned out for our Fire Disaster Fund benefit. With the help of local restaurants, merchants and businesses we smoked and served about 50 briskets. Local fire fighters and Mercy Hospital nurses pitched in. It was a fun, yet very moving, afternoon and reminded us of what makes Durango such a special place to live. Over $4,000 was added to the Disaster Relief Fund.

Thank you Durango!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

MELTDOWN: The record snowfalls we've experienced this winter have produced super-sized snowpacks of up to 151% above average in some parts of the state. As spring approaches and the days warm the snowpack will begin to melt.

Butch Knowlton, Director of Emergency Preparedness for La Plata County, said that given the high levels of snowpack at or below 8,500 foot elevations, he's watching every single storm coming into the area. "It takes very few hours of moderate rain to make a very significant change in snowmelt runoff," he said. "You're essentially pouring warm water on a frozen depth of snow."

Knowlton said his greatest concern at the present is drainage from the Upper Rio Grande Basin into the Vallecito area northeast of Durango. "A heavy rainstorm could change that river flow within hours." he said. "We got hundreds of homes sitting in the valley floor."

Colorado's mountain snows, even in deep years, tend to melt in an orderly fashion, but if high runoffs combine with intense spring rainstorms, flooding is likely. Flood danger is likely to be the highest beginning in late April and continuing through June as the mountain snows melt.

We recall the spring of 2005 when much of the Animas Valley was under water. Fortunately it involved only undeveloped lands and no structures were lost. Still, we encourage valley homeowners to check on flood insurance and to purchase coverage if none is in place.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

BENEFIT: We have been approved by the city to hold a benefit for the victims of the Main Avenue fire. Friday, March 21st, from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm the 700 block of Main avenue will be closed.

Local merchants and restaurants have donated cash and food for the event. Jim McVean & I will have our smokers going (we've got 60 briskets to cook and serve.) Ralph Dinosaur and his band will entertain.

Lots of food - lots of fun! All donations and proceeds will go the the Fire Relief Fund. Come support us.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

WHY REAL ESTATE? Every day we here about the down housing market, the slumping economy and Wall Street losses. There's no argument that housing nationwide has been going through a down cycle. But there's also little doubt about the housing market's long term prospects.

The United States is adding one person every 13 seconds. At the start of 2008, the country had surpassed 303 million residents, almost 3 million more than it had at the start of 2003, according to the Census Bureau. This strong growth is a good sign for the future of the housing market and real estate in general. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors says, " With a population increase of 3 million, household formation typically expands by up to 1.5 million."

It's easy to recognise the long term need for housing by examining these stats:

* U.S. population as of January 1 , 2008 = 303,146,284

* Percentage change from January 1, 2007 = +0.9

* Rate of U.S. births = 1 every 8 seconds

* Rate of U.S. deaths = 1 every 11 seconds

* Rate of international migration of U.S. = 1 every 30 seconds

Source: U.S. Census Bureau


A pristine community nestled in the beautiful San Juan Mountains with azure blue skies, crystal clear lakes and rivers, abundant wildlife, fishing, hiking, camping, golf, wilderness.....


Friday, February 29, 2008

THE SPIRIT OF DURANGO! A week ago, a huge fire erupted in the 700 block of downtown completely destroying Season's Grill, Le Rendezvous Swiss Bakery and 1/2 Price Tees. Nine firefighters were injured in the fight and the community, of course, has supported and applauded their efforts.

One fact that would have been overlooked in most places (but not in Durango) is that, with the loss of three very successful businesses, roughly 70 employees of these establishments are out of work. Several area restaurants have added staff to help out but the most impressive action has come from the Durango Business Improvement District. The embers were still smouldering when this organization of business leaders established a fund to assist those left unemployed by the fire. In just a week the fund has grown to $30,000 and is expected to grow to $100,000.

We are going to approach the city Monday seeking approval to hold a BBQ benefit downtown with all proceeds going to the fund. If approved, the plans are to pull our pits curbside and serve the public for contributions.

In spite of the tragedy it is heartening to see the Spirit of Durango soar. Thank you Durango - what a place to live.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

FORECLOSURES: If you pay attention to the broad picture painted by the media it is easy to conclude that every housing community in the nation is struggling under the weight of staggering numbers of foreclosures.

While it's obvious foreclosures are at record levels nationally, it is important to note that Colorado is farring better than other states. In 2007 there were a record 39,915 forelcosures in the state, or one for every 45 households. This was up from 1 in every 58 households in 2006.

During 2007, the highest foreclosure rates were logged in the metropolitan Denver counties of Adams, Denver and Arapaho and in Weld and Pueblo counties. These densely populated areas mirror other sections of the country with tract builders, dubious lending practices and questionable consumer decisions.

The mountain counties of western Colorado reported the lowest foreclosure rates. La Plata County, for example, expreienced one forecloure for every 234 households; a substantial difference from the national norm. Our local real estate economy remains firm. Prices are stable, properties are selling. The market outlook is not as broadly bleak as the media would have you believe.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

FIREWOOD TIPS : “Wood warms you thrice--when you chop it, when you stack it, when you burn it.” Farmer’s Almanac.

To help avoid insect pests, never store firewood on the ground or touching your house.

Burn only seasoned wood (seasoned logs seem light in weight and have dark ends with cracks or splits).

The best trees to burn (most heat value) are American beech, apple, ironwood, red oak, shagbark hickory, sugar maple, white ash, white oak, and yellow birch.

Wood is often sold by the cord or ½ cord. A cord of wood is a pile of logs 4 feet wide by 4 feet high by 8 feet long and weighs about 2 tons.

Don’t buy more than you can store for a season.

Make sure the damper is open before lighting a fire.

If a fresh air vent is present, clear away any ash or logs that may obstruct airflow.

Only burn wood with a safety screen present to prevent the spread of burning ashes.

Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue. More home safety and maintenance information is available online at

Friday, February 15, 2008

WINGS OVER DURANGO! Frontier Airlines announced Thursday it will expand service to eight cities across the Rockies - including Durango!

The flights will start in April and May using turboprop aircraft from its Lynx Aviation subsidiary and regional jets operated by Republic Air, both of which are more efficient and economical on shorter trips.

Ron Dent, aviation director of the Durango-La Plata County Airport, said Frontier's arrival could spur a 50 percent reduction in fares. "Sometimes, we do not have enough seats to Denver," Dent said. "Frontier's arrival will generate a lot of new traffic and will cement Durango as the air transporation hub of the Four Corners."

Frontier's goal is to drive more traffic to its hub at Denver International Airport, which we Durangoans currently access through United. On May 15, Frontier will have 74 seat turboprops available for service from Durango with three daily round trip flights.

We extend our best wishes to FrontIer and say, "WELCOME TO DURANGO!"

Monday, February 11, 2008

WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM YOUR AGENT? In a recent interview with Anne Randolph of Murray Consulting Anne was asked, "What is the number one thing consumers want from their transactions with real estate agents?"

If you think that getting the highest possible price for their home would be consumers' top desire or maybe moving their property quickly would number one, you would be wrong on both counts. According to Anne's research, 89 percent of people surveyed since 2000 say the most important thing for them is "to feel like the real estate agent completely represents their interest," adding that they need to feel their agent is trustworthy.

On the heels of representing their interest and being trustworthy, good communication was consumer's third strongest desire. Getting the highest price for their home and selling it quickly were still further down the list.

The comment that we hear the most from potential clients is, "Once we signed the listing contract, we never heard from our agent again." Our clients will never be able to say that.

Every client, whether a Buyer or Seller, that closes a real estate transaction with us will be able to say that we are trustworthy professionals with superb communication skills and that we worked hard to protect their interest.

If we can assist you with your real estate needs, give us a call!


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

IT'S SNOWDOWN! Today begins Snowdown, Durango's crazy celebration of winter. With this years theme of "Ye Olde Snowdown" expect to see the streets and castles of Durango packed with Lords, Miladies, vassals, serfs and knaves.

The next 5 days will be filled with over 60 contests, events, gatherings and silly entertainments for everyone's merry making pleasure.

Highlights of the week include the Snowdown Follies, a very adult spoof of everything and everyone important and Friday's Snowdown Light Parade down Main Avenue.

Saturday, Mary & I together with Re/Max host the Snowdown Chili Cookoff. Contestants will vie for cash and trophies and Red, Green and Vegetarian Chili and Salsa. All four of the local micro-brewers will be there and the Hillstompers band from Alamosa with enteratain (they're a scream.)

If you're visiting town or a local, come by the Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall Saturday February 2 at noon. If you're not a local --- you should be!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

DIGGIN' OUT: Whew - what a storm. This morning the sun is bright, the sky is blue. But yesterday we spent the day clearing 17" of snow from the drive and deck.

The Durango Herald reported this morning on the depressed real estate markets across the country. Don't tell that to the three sets of buyers in town looking at our listings. One of the properties is vacant so today will be spent clearing the snow for access.

It's looking like this year will be similar to those past. We are just as busy as in the summer.

Friday, January 18, 2008

COMMON SENSE PREVAILS (SO FAR)! The Historic Preservation Board became the latest group to weigh in on the future of Durango's sidewalks. Its decision was no different than that reflected by recent public opinion: If it's not broke, don't fix it.

The City of Durango contracted Walzak Design Resources in May to provide design options for city sidewalks. The design options created by Walzak ranged from making property owners pay for sidewalk upgrades as needed to a complete overhaul of Main Avenue that would entail reducing traffic lanes from 4 to 3 and widening the sidewalks.

It appears at this point that the movement to drastically alter the look of our historic downtown is dying a slow death. Durango is unique - let's keep it that way.

Monday, January 14, 2008

ECONOMY: At the Southwest Business Forum, an annual event sponsored by Fort Lewis College, speakers presented summaries and projections for the national, state and local economies.

Compared to the gloomy national outlook, things are slightly better in Colorado and La Plata County in particular. Luke Miller, co-director of the Fort Lewis Office of Economic Analysis and Business Research, spoke specifically about La Plata County.

La Plata is experiencing its own housing industry crises, as the median price home price for single family and condominium homes dropped by 10 percent after double digit increases since 2003. Miller called the single family statistic a "healthy correction."

One of the most telling factors identified by Miller was a 24 percent drop in La Plata County building permits in 2007. He gave credit to local builders for their foresight in not making the situation worse. In other areas builders just kept building.

Good news for the local La Plata economy - Miller said the tourism industry, in general, is healthy. Traffic is up 7 percent at the Durango-La Plata County Airport and up 2 percent at Mesa Verde National Park, lodgers tax revenues rose 8.9 percent, and Durango Mountain Resort reported 217,000 visits - 6000 more than in 2006. "All of this is very reflective of a healthy economy," Miller said.

Comparing industry, agriculture, employment and retail statistics for La Plata County and Colorado to the national averages Miller said the situation in Colorado is better than much of the nation.

Friday, January 11, 2008

WHAT A START! So far January has been quite a wonderful hand full. We've had terrific snowfalls. Purgatory is up to a 76" base and the skiing is fabulous. With the construction of the new lodge and condominiums underway its a little difficult to get around but worth it. There's nothing more beautiful than the snow covered San Juans shining in brilliant sunlight backed by a pure blue sky.

We have had buyers in town nearly every day. Our Internet property inquiries and emails are surprisingly strong for this early in the year. We believe our market will continue to be vibrant and strong. People are seeking refuge from city congestion, crime and confusion.

You can be a part of our community. Give us call if we can help. We'll get back to you the minute we get off the slopes.