Brooke has been selling real estate since 2001 and enjoys serving the community. She has 2 professional designations, CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) and ABR (Accredited Buyer's Representative). What that means to you is she strives to go above the required continuing education standards to provide a higher level of expertise to her clients. She has been with Springs Homes since early 2008 and loves providing stellar service for all your real estate needs! She has been in Colorado since 1988, growing up in Castle Rock and now gorgeous Colorado Springs/Black Forest area with her husband & her 2 wonderful sons. She has family in the real estate industry all along the front range and loves serving & selling in the Pikes Peak region. Her family enjoys the great Colorado outdoors (camping, dirt biking/ATVs, hiking, fishing) as well as being very involved in their church.

PPRBD Building Permits for Home Improvement

PPRBD Building Permits for Home Improvement

With just about any home improvement in El Paso and Teller counties, homeowners are required to pull a permit with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department (PPRBD) in Colorado Springs... anything from basement finishes, decks, electrical/plumbing updates, water heaters, furnaces, adding outbuildings... the list goes on! Their website is relatively user-friendly. 

What we know about PPRBD

They often get a bad rap for high fees, strict rules for visiting properties, and being extremely particular. The codes do change almost annually, and they have a lot to keep up with. If you request a visit on building inspection, as long as you request by 8am, they will come same day. As you can imagine there are hundreds of thousands of homes here, and they do everything they can to remain organized. The rules are all posted on-line and homeowners can pull their own permits, general contractor not required, but all the same rules apply. I do not think their fees are really all that high. 

My experience with Regional

We had the unfortunate issue last summer of having to terminate an agreement with a contractor mid-bathroom-remodel. It was extremely stressful. So 4 permits had been pulled - general building, heating, plumbing and electrical. And we were in a skeleton of the bathroom we had envisioned. As we approached new contractors to assist us, we realized much of the work was finalized and could be moved into our name. The contractor that helped us finish also helped us with PPRBD. My husband is really handy and did the work himself with the assistance of a contractor that worked on our kitchen. The plumber had fortunately been paid from beginning to end of the project. When my husband called them, we were stressed, but they were very helpful getting him to the right person with the answers. They voided permits and re-opened them in our name so we could conclude the project. Our electrician had skipped town, taking advantage of several customers, fortunately not us!  

I also had a client do a bunch of work himself, and want to list with us without permits. We are full disclosure and told him he had to plaster the details of the non-permitted work all over the MLS listing, get professional plumber and electrician to sign off on the work, and even demolish some of the work done. He was so worried about the time and expense of going through Regional, but would have saved a lot had he done it from the start! For more about how to pull your own or requirements, here is that website www.PPRBD.org. Happy Home Improvement!! 

The moral of the story... the blog... is that while our local Building Department is a big machine, they have been very helpful in many cases and even friendly. I'm sure it's a stressful job, and I strongly believe the safety of the homes in our county is of utmost concern. 

Update of Rules

Sidenote - As of July 2011 Carbon Monoxide detectors are REQUIRED! We cannot sell homes without them. If you open any permit, expect the inspectors to check that your CO detectors are up to code (1 within 15 feet of every sleeping area/bedroom). 

Recent Backlog of permits waiting for approval

Oh, one more thing... because of catastrophic storms in 2016, roof permits are off the charts (something like 20,000 open currently), so we cannot get them closed before sale transactions in most cases. Trust that they are working their way down the list, be patient. 

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International Notary Guidelines

Notary Guidelines

I'm certainly not going to pretend to be an expert on all things regarding legal notaries around the globe. It only came to my attention a few years ago that it might not be as easy everywhere as it is here! 

In the United States of America, many legal documents need to be notarized. For most of us, in our industry, that means every title closer you know can do this for you, and they perform all of our closings. If you live in another state and are closing on a property here, sometimes that means walking into your local bank or just finding a local notary in your area to certify your signature on your legal documents.

Well, such is not the case around the globe. I had a client moving from a civilian job with the USA working in Saudia Arabia. As they began the search, they of course came here to look at homes. With electronic software, the contract, inspection, amendments, etc. were fairly easy to execute halfway around the world. But when it came to closing time, we discovered they had to have docs sent to them, then notarized and returned. Easy-peasy, right? Nope! First of all, the title companies here require an American notary. So they had to find one... at the US Embassy... and pay $50/page to have it notarized. The title company was so helpful and kept to a minimum the actual documents that needed notary. It was complicated, but accomplished.

Second example, I took a recent continuing education class in which the instructor shared an example of a client that lived in Australia and was selling a property in Colorado. Well, in Australia, to get something notarized you have to go before a judge. Wow, that's complicated!! So the Colorado seller, living in Australia came to the US at some point during their transaction (not Colorado) to visit family. The title company sent documents to them while in the USA, so they could find a US notary and remove some complications! 

I have a client now, living in Prague, getting ready to sell their property here in Colorado Springs. I asked her to get started in the process of what it takes to notarize documents there, so we would be ready when the time comes. Their home here will of course sell in probably less than a week and close in under 2 months. If they are stateside at any time in the next 3 months, we'll certainly try to get any possible documents to them, especially if we are already under contract.

The internet and social media has shrunk the world in many ways. But sometimes we need to be reminded how easy we have it... what a great country this is!!! 

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Tiny Trees - Colorado Seedling Program

Tiny Trees - Colorado Seedling Program

When we first moved onto acreage, we were in the great rolling hills northeast of Colorado Springs. Our property was not treed and the only growth to speak of was weeds. Now in our second home on acreage, we looked into a seedling program offered by the state. Crazy as it is, I recall doing this when my family moved to Castle Rock, CO in 1988. We planted a huge tree line and now the trees are beautiful and tall. Well, the state of Colorado seedling program is great! Rather than me try to explain, I've copied verbatim the email we recently received. If you live on more than 2 acres you qualify to buy the inexpensive seedlings to build up tree growth on your property for a variety of reasons. 

Rose Long, Colorado State Forest Service, Woodland Park wrote us (and others) the following email: "The Colorado State Forest Service Woodland Park District is now accepting orders for the 2017 Trees for Conservation seedling tree program, with seedlings ordered now to be distributed in late April. The program enables landowners to obtain seedling trees at a nominal cost to be used for any conservation or land rehabilitation purpose, including the enhancement of tree species diversity that improves long-term forest health.

The purpose of the program is to encourage landowners to meet conservation goals, such as planting seedlings on properties with little to no vegetation, reducing erosion and enhancing wildlife habitat. The program also allows landowners to plant trees and shrubs in areas affected by wildfire or insect and disease, such as beetle-kill or mistletoe infestation.

Michael Till, a forester with the CSFS Woodland Park District, says he hopes the program will help landowners make a personal commitment to their properties through tree planting. Planting seedlings can help improve the quality of a property through such benefits as: 

  • re-establishing vegetation 
  • stabilizing soil and reducing soil erosion
  • controlling snow drifts 
  • improving species biodiversity 

When contemplating which species to plant, landowners should consider elevation, property slope/aspect and soil type. Some of the most successful species in El Paso, Teller and Park counties are caragana, ponderosa pine, Colorado blue spruce and piƱon pine. The Woodland Park District also sells a variety of seedling survival accessories, including wind shades, tree guards, fertilizer tablets and weed barrier fabrics.

Orders made by April 4 will be available for pickup at the CSFS Woodland Park District office on April 28-29. For more information go to Seedling Tree Program , or call 719-687-2921. To obtain a up to date order form please click on the following link:http://csfs.colostate.edu/media/sites/22/2016/12/2017_CSFS_WPDS_Seedling_Tree_Order_Form_12-15-2016.pdf"

I hope you find this beneficial, especially if your property could use more trees! And if you're looking for a home on acreage, give me an email or a call

 

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Year-round Hiking Adventure at The Paint Mines

Year-round Hiking Adventure at The Paint Mines

Colorado is notorious for its fluctuating weather patterns.... snow possible in areas 10 months out of the year, but 300+ days of sunshine! This week is a fine example of this... snow and wind today, but we'll be back up to 60 & sunny by Wednesday/Thursday. That being said, for a girl who loves outdoor adventure, I try to hike year round. 

One of the most unique hiking adventures we've enjoyed is Calhan's "Paint Mines Interpretive Park." My pictures will be worth much more than words in this case. It's hard to explain the natural beauty of how the water and other weather has cut through the land, revealing seienite clay and jasper in an awe-inspiring display. I've heard about this place for years, but finally ventured over in the summer of 2016, so these photos are from the summer months. There are some paved walk ways, and dirt trails in & around the natural carvings. Calhan is east of Colorado Springs about 20 minutes. It definitely feels like you are driving into the middle of nowhere, and even if you park at the first marked parking lot and trail head, you can't quite imagine what you're about to see. Don't worry, it is a quick hike in.

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Be forewarned about weather!! We were here on a cloudy day, but I have heard the formations and rock can really hold onto the summer heat, so be cautious if you go on a particularly warm day. As with any day in Colorado, pack extra water! We enjoyed the clouds, but those summer storms can roll in surprisingly quick, so we ended up making a very quick jaunt back to vehicles before getting poured on. 

Here is the El Paso County description and directions to the park...  http://adm.elpasoco.com/CommunityServices/ParkOperations/Pages/PaintMinesInterpretivePark.aspx

Enjoy!! 

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Koi Bring Positivity Across DCC

In September 2016 our 9-yr-old, a Discovery Canyon Campus 4th grader, brought home some fun fish he made in art class at school. That weekend we had a friend in town, his parents, and my in-laws for dinner. After dinner said 9-y-o placed a piece of paper on the table in front of each person... 7 adults and his brother, a 12-yr-old DCC 7th grader. He displayed for us how to make the fish, with very few words... and we all made the fish. It was funny at the time, as just a small project that he wanted to show us was being done at school.

Well, weeks later I found out this little paper fish was a much bigger deal than we thought. This koi fish project was a cross-campus project from the Pre-K level all the way through the Seniors in the high school. You might recall my teammate Nicole blogged about a cluster of suicides affecting Academy School District 20, specifically a handful at Discovery Canyon Campus. In an effort to unite the campus from PreK-12, the arts department started the koi fish project... with phrases like "we're all in this together" and while it often feels like we're swimming upstream in life, we're swimming together! It's a bit reminiscent of Nemo and "just keep swimming!". This is one way DCC is trying to combat suicide, as well as rolling out curriculum addressing teen suicide information and hopeful prevention!! 

The koi fish project became even bigger than we thought. Since the campus is so big, they created a paper "stream" in every hallway to create one united stream. This project has now been entered with the Guinness Book of World Records for something like the longest contiguous paper art display. From what I understand, to date 6 "officials" have been out to campus twice to measure and we should beat the former record. The campus often tries to find ways to unite the different levels of campus... some examples include involving all levels in homecoming week celebrations, getting elementary kids into high school shop classes for projects, bringing high schoolers down to the elementary level for classroom experience, and having coaches across all grade levels working toward similar plays. There are so many things we love about DCC as a family; this koi fish project just adds to the positivity. 

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As a side, I sent a few pictures in to the elementary art teacher, who then passed them along to the entire elementary staff and middle school art teacher heading up the koi project. In mid-December a friend of mine sent me a screen shot of an article in The Tribune - a Monument, Woodmoor, Gleneagle paper... with our son on the front page and a story about the koi! We were shocked!! Needless to say, he was pretty excited about it. This story has spread to the local Colorado Springs Gazette paper. It's pretty exciting and will hopefully bring positivity. But most importantly we hope the project does as they wanted, uniting the campus and maybe even saving lives. We want all kids to feel like they are a part of something!!!

Here is a link to the Gazette article:  http://daily.gazette.com/Olive/ODN/TheGazette/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=TheGazette%2F2016%2F12%2F14&entity=Ar08704&sk=983DE6B1

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