A licensed Colorado Real Estate Broker since 1996, Nicole works with both buyers and sellers. In 2009, she was ranked #21 out of 214 ERA agents state wide, for volume sold. She proudly supports our local military and is happy to offer our military appreciation program to active duty clients. http://www.springshomes.com/military-assistance-program. In addition to real estate, Nicole’s passions include running, ballroom dancing, cooking and playing piano. With a strong background in new home construction and accounting, she has a sharp eye for detail.

1003 Sun Drive Colorado Springs, CO 80905

1003 Sun Drive Colorado Springs, CO 80905

Check out my new listing!  This one is cool.  Located on a cul-de-sac lot which backs to open space and a natural preserve, the mountain and city views are AMAZING!!!   This 1960 home has been lovingly restored and maintained to showcase the original character and charm of that era.   It features vaulted and beamed ceilings, original slate and wood floors, new custom blend stone carpet flooring, restored original cabinetry, new stainless appliances, new sink, new backsplash, new bathroom tile and faucets, new fixtures, new patio, central air, security system, auto sprinkler w/drip line for veggie garden, partially finished basement and an oversized 2 car garage! Sewer lines from the street to the house have been replaced, and structural piers were installed which have a lifetime transferrable warranty.   And you can walk to nearby D-12 schools from the trail behind the property.  Totally cool...in every way!

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Colorado Appraisals Get More Expensive

Colorado Appraisals Get More Expensive

People often confuse a home inspection with a home appraisal. To clarify, a home inspection is to determine the condition of the home and inclusions. A home appraisal is a formal opinion of value to determine what the property is worth.

If you're getting a new mortgage your lender will require an appraisal in order to justify the sales price. Your lender will order the appraisal for you. And it will be paid by you, the buyer. Typically lenders will require that payment up front, at the time appraisal is ordered. 

Here in El Paso County, appraisals usually cost around $350-400. But I just read those rates are going up. Effective November 1st the cost for a VA appraisal is now going to be $750. That's a big jump. But it makes sense. Our area sees so many VA loan, and those VA appraisers are swamped with the increased workload of the past few years. In speaking with a lender friend of mine, she said that there is no new set appraisal rate for Conventional and FHA loans, but she thinks they will hover around $650 and VA ones will be at $750.

Increased home sales is obviously a good thing. Our housing market has been on the upswing for the past seven years in a row. Cool! But our buyers are going to feel more of a sting when they are confronted with these new, higher fees. 

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Bringing Awareness to Teen Suicide

Bringing Awareness to Teen Suicide

Suicide, is a sad topic no one wants to talk about. But I have to write about it because it's affecting our teens in Colorado Springs. You see, teen suicide is on the rise here. As of mid-October there have been 13 teen suicides in ...El Paso County.  In 2015 there were 14 teen suicides here. Our very own Academy School District 20 recently launched a "powerful partnerships and suicide prevention campaign" in order to bring public awareness to this sensitive issue. Rampart High School even performed a play about it. But the big question is WHY? What is going on here? What is happening to our teens? 

 

I've read about different theories and speculations. Some say our kids are depressed because we are a military town full of deployed parents who have to leave their families a lot. They say that's troubling our kids. I'm not convinced the problem stems from this. I know deployment is stressful, but military families have faced deployment for decades, and yet never was there a time when the teen suicide rate was this high.  

 

Others theorize that suicide is contagious. According to a recent article in Newsweek Magazine, "Decades of research prove that a startling range of emotions and behaviors can be contagious—from moodiness to yawning. Young people are especially susceptible; they obsess over fads and fashion trends and copy illicit behaviors from peers, such as smoking, drinking or speeding. Or suicide." According to this theory, the kids are copying one another.  I'm not convinced this is the reason.  Copying has been around forever. Why would it suddenly increase now?  

 

I am the mother of a teenager.  My daughter attends high school here in the Springs. I've watched and listened to her. Here's what I think:  

1. These kids are under more pressure than ever before. They're under pressure to perform well, almost perfectly. Example: school teachers are constantly talking about grades. Every time these kids take a quiz or turn in an assignment, they are immediately given an update as to their current grade, how many points are being added or subtracted because of that quiz or assignment. They can't do a project without worrying about how it will impact the grade. They walk around paranoid, for fear of making the "wrong" move or not being "good enough." They are reminded daily of each grade in each class. When I was in school, we got report cards which showed our quarterly grades.  We weren't reminded on a daily basis of how we were measuring up. Shame on our system for doing this to them. A fellow mom, whose daughter is in a few classes with my own, said "I've never seen Naomi (name changed) so stressed out. She can't relax under all this pressure to perform."  

 

2. Social media is not helping these kids to feel good about themselves. Sites like Instagram or Facebook show classmates and friends in happy, unrealistic photos of a perfect life. They show smiles and laughter and post about the good time everyone is having. They give an unrealistic view of how people should look and how life should be. These kids feel inferior when they read all that. They compare themselves to the images and feel they can't measure up.

 

3. Today's parents are putting so much pressure on their kids to perform, get good grades, excel at a sport, volunteer. It's too much. In speaking with one parent at last night's parent/teacher conference, she was happy to inform me of her daughter's great grades, playing a variety of sports, and volunteering with out local junior police program. Her other daughter, a high school Junior, is learning how to fly airplanes. I was exhausted just hearing about it. Parents are pushing their kids to excel at levels which are almost impossible. 

 

As a Realtor, I've even had buyers call who are moving here from out of state and have already determined which school district they want for their kids, purely based on district ranking. Not that there's anything wrong  wanting the best for your kids. I certainly do. But have we gotten too focused on rank and achievement? Ironically, one of the best ranking schools in our area, which is located in one of the best ranking districts in our area happens to have the HIGHEST suicide rate of all the schools in El Paso County. It's no coincidence. With such an emphasis on "turning out the best" perhaps we have ignored the pressure these kids feel to be the best, to outperform, to set higher standards than ever before.

 

I'm no expert on how to raise a kid or how to keep them from doing the unthinkable. And my heart goes out to all those parents and families who are facing such. But I have to believe the pressure these kids are under is so heavy that the burden is often too much to bear. Colorado Springs is a great city with an awesome public school system. But as parents we are ultimately responsible for ensuring our kids are okay. We have to pay attention to what they say and how they behave. And we have to let them know it's okay to be scared or imperfect. After all, aren't we all?

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More Halloween Fun in Colorado Springs

More Halloween Fun in Colorado Springs

As promised, here is my favorite activity for the little ones. BOO AT THE ZOO, at our very own Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, is a great way for children to enjoy the holiday. I took my daughter to this every year when she was little, and we both loved it. Children can dress up in costume, visit the animals and trick-or-treat for candy provided by local vendors. The zoo is lit up with white lights, and after dark you can see the spectacular Colorado Springs city lights down below.  Here are all the details from their web site:

 

Boo at the Zoo

Come See the Original Creatures of the Night!

 

2016 Dates – Open 7 nights!

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, October 21-22-23 Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday, October 28-29-30-31

Time

4 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – with the last ticket sold at 7:30 p.m.

Please NOTE: The Zoo will close early for day visits at 3 p.m. on all seven Boo at the Zoo evenings, with the last ticket of the day sold at 2 p.m. Guests must exit the Zoo at 3 p.m. Last Sky Ride is at 2:30 p.m. and the Shrine Road closes at 1 p.m. The Zoo will open for Boo at the Zoo at 4 p.m.

Activities & Shows

Don your costume, bring your trick-or-treat bag and flashlight to the wildest Halloween event in town. It’ll be a frightfully good time!

Animal exhibits close at 8 p.m. Last Sky Ride is at 7:30 p.m.

ACTIVITIES include:

  • Haunted fun house and ghoulish graveyard,
  • trick-or-treat at spooky treat stations,
  • Boo carousel
  • Pirates Cove,
  • Lighted Pumpkin Patch,
  • select animal exhibits are open including: giraffes, Monkey Pavilion, The Loft and Encounter Africa,
  • select animal encounters with shows each evening by education interpreters.

 

ANIMAL SHOWS & HAPPENINGS for Boo at the Zoo:

Check back on the website closer to the event for the full shows and happenings schedule 2016!

Tickets

Tickets are sold each night of the event at the Zoo only. Please consider carpooling and arriving early. Prepare for a fun and memorable adventure for the kids…and don’t forget to purchase a Boo combo ticket to ride the Mountaineer Sky Ride!

Cost

No passes or other coupons accepted. Advance tickets not available. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Boo Pricing

$17.75 for ages 3-64 $12.75 for Zoo members $15.75 Military and 65+ 75¢ for ages 2 and under

Sky Ride – Boo Combo Pricing

$20.75 for ages 3-64 $15.75 for Zoo members $18.75 Military and 65+ 75¢ for ages 2 and under

*Military discount is offered to all active duty, veteran and retired military personnel any day of the year. Bring any of the following to qualify for the discount for you and your dependents living in the same household:

  • A valid military / retired military ID
  • A copy of your DD214
  • Your state driver’s license printed with veteran indicator or military identifier
  • Your ID issued by the VA, VFW or American Legion

This discount cannot be combined with other offers. A valid military ID is required upon purchase.

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Celebrating Halloween in Colorado Springs

Celebrating Halloween in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs loves Halloween. I've never seen a city so enthusiastic about this holiday. There are many Halloween activities to enjoy here during the month of October. This weekend my teenage daughter went to the Haunted Mines, something she enjoys every year. The Haunted Mines takes place in the Northgate area at the old Mining Museum. Each Halloween a group of volunteers turn the museum and grounds into a spectacular haunted house.   Haunts are 7:30pm to 10:00pm Friday and Saturday of this week, and continue Thursday through Saturday from the 13th to the 30th. General admission tickets are $20. Plan on being there about an hour and a half. It's a perfect scare for the teens. I recommend not bringing children under 12. It's a little scary for young ones. Next week I'll write about my favorite Halloween activity for them. 

 

Below is an excerpt from the mining web site:

"The Haunted Mines is a volunteer charitable organization that raises money for the Pikes Peak region.  We do this by producing a professional, thrilling Halloween event for our community’s enjoyment, by teaching our volunteers valuable skills that they can put to use at our events and carry with them into their adult lives. Our goal is philanthropy and helping others as we teach!"

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