Things to Do This Weekend (Dec 17, 18) in Colorado Springs

Things to Do This Weekend (Dec 17, 18) in Colorado Springs

The Hazel Miller Band: A Very Soulful Christmas -  Fri Dec 16, 8:00 pm, Stargazer's Theater

Admission: $15-$20. Hazel Miller has been performing in Colorado for the past 24 years, so you owe it to yourself to come see this show. Whether she is singing blues, jazz, pop, or Gospel, her voice is unbelievable and her experience has led her to open for performers such as Mel Torme, James Brown, Temptations, Earl Klugh, Bob James and many others. For more information: Stargazer's Theater

Christmas Symphony, Colorado Springs Philharmonic and Colorado Springs Chorale - Sun Dec 18, 2:30pm, Pikes Peak Center

Admission: $23 and up. If you missed Deck the Hall last week, here is another chance for you to get in the spirit of the season with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic and the Colorado Springs Chorale. This performance features the local debut of choruses from Mendelssohn's Christus and higlights from Bach's Christas Oratorio and Polar Express. For more information visit the website of the CS Chorale.

 

Holiday Evening at Rock Ledge Ranch, Sat Dec 17 4pm-8pm, Rock Ledge Ranch 30th and Gateway Road

Admission: $4-$8. Holiday music, blacksmith demonstrations, hot cider and chocolate, holiday crafts will fill the air for the Rock Ledge Ranch Holiday Evening. Take this opportunity to stroll around and bask in the traditions of yesteryear and get in the holiday spirit. For more information: Rock Ledge Ranch.

 

Fine Art's Center Winter Lights, Sat Dec 17 10am and 2pm, Fine Art's Center 30 W. Dale St

Admission: $15, members and 12 & under Free. With ice carving in the courtyard, movies, woodturning, celtic dance and the Colorado Springs Chorale, this celebration has a little bit of something for everyone. For more information check out their website Colorado Springs Fine Art's Center.

 

Improv Comedy at The Theater on Pecan, Sat Dec 17 7:30pm, The Theater on Pecan, 2418 W. Colorado Avenue

Admission: $8-$10. Not everything you do this weekend has to be holiday related. Come take a load off and get a few laughs at this improv at The Theater on Pecan. One recent attendee even said, “I laughed so hard my face hurts!” In the style of "Whose Line is it Anyway?", this will be sure to crack you up. More information: Improv Colorado's website.

 

 

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Improving Your Winter Real Estate Photos

Winter months create significant challenges for real estate photographers. The days are shorter, darker, colder and sometimes snowy.

Exterior images are the biggest challenge. This is a big deal because this is the primary image for almost every Real Estate Listing create.

Our basic rule of thumb for exterior photographs is to shoot them when the sun is on the front of the property. East facing homes in the morning, west in the afternoons.

This becomes a problem during the winter months when the arc of the sun is further south. During winter, it is not unusual for north and west facing homes to get no direct sunlight on the front of the house. 

Exterior images with no sun on the front of the property result in shadowy or dark images. In some cases when the sun is behind the house extreme lens flare.

wrongtime

In order find the ideal time to take the exterior picture, we use a convenient app. "The Photographer’s Ephemeris". This handy application shows us where the sun will be throughout the day. This app saves us from making unnecessary trips to the property to find the best time for pictures. Here's how it works:

  1. Place the Red Pin in the middle of the scene you want to shoot.
  2. Use the slider underneath the timeline to track the sun's path
  3. Look for full sun on the entire front of the house.
  4. Schedule your photo shoot for that time. It's that simple!

During the winter the Ephemeris often shows us no ideal time (see above). The sun maybe behind the property all day. This creates a real problem if you are trying to get that bright, crisp, even look on your exterior image.

Although "dusk shots" seem like a good alternative, they can feel a little pretentious. Especially on a median priced home. These shots are generally reserved for the "Ultra-Luxury" listings.  

Our solution is to take what we call a “pre-dusk”shot. This is a shot taken just as the sun goes behind the mountains/horizon. We take a set of bracketed images, usually 7 to 9 images. These images are then processed in Photomatix to create a single "Exposure Fusion" image.

Here is a finished "Pre-Dusk" image taken using the following tools:

StoneFence 800

I like this image because it shows the property in the best possible light. This home faces Northwest and never gets full sun on the front during the winter. This technique give us a nice even light so we can get a sense of how the home actually looks. 

I also like the added perspective the drone gives, you get more of a sense of how the Home fits into the neighborhood.

Here’s how I created this image:

  • I used the raw image from the DJI phantom 4.
  • I brought the image into lightroom and output seven bracketed exposures to photomatrix.
  • Once in photomatix I created an Exposure Fusion image. This image is then sent back into lightroom.
  • In lightroom, we make any final adjustments and resize the photo for MLS and websites.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in contact with me (Contact)

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Just Listed! 3515 Mosswood Lane Colorado Springs CO 80910

Just Listed! 3515 Mosswood Lane Colorado Springs CO 80910

Well, if this isn't the cutest house! Check out my new listing.  Built in 1972, this charming home features 4 bedrooms, 2 baths and over 1,600 finished square feet!  Includes updated kitchen with Silestone counters, new cabinets, new sink/faucet, new flooring, new roof, new carpet, new lighting, new windows, new doors, new paint, updated bathrooms and a huge deck for entertaining!  Great location...walk to nearby park, schools and shopping! For more information, visit the MLS listing, or give me a call.

 Mosswood Exteriorcover

Mosswood Kitchensm

 

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Things to Do This Weekend (Dec 10, 11) in Colorado Springs

Things to Do This Weekend (Dec 10, 11) in Colorado Springs

Jim Gaffigan -  Sat Dec 10, 8:00 pm, Broadmoor World Arena

Admission: $39.75-$59.75. One of the few comics around that is safe to take grandma and the kids to, Jim Gaffigan doesn't resort to crude humor to wow his audiences. With 5 kids, there is a plethora of material for him to use. For more information: Broadmoor World Arena

Deck the Hall, Colorado Springs Chorale - Fri Dec 9, 7:30pm, Pikes Peak Center

Admission: $15-$50. A full family event with Christmas music featuring the Colorado Springs Chorale, The Chamber Orchestra of the Springs and pre-concert entertainment and sing along in the lobby. For more information visit the website of the CS Chorale.

 

Indoor Winter Market, Sat Dec 10 9am-1pm, Ute Pass Cultural Center

Admission: Free. Are you starting to miss the Farmer's Markets? The Indoor Winter Market is held the second Saturday of each month where you will find season specialties, natural meats and cheeses, vegetables, pastries and handmade crafts such as holiday wreaths. For more information: Indoor Winter Market.

 

A Charlie Brown Christmas, Fri Dec 9 7pm, Sat Dec 10 3pm and 7pm and Sun Dec 11, 3:00 pm, Sunrise United Methodist Church, 2655 Briargate Blvd

Admission: Free. No Christmas is complete without seeing A Charlie Brown Christmas. Instead of settling for the TV version, come watch it live performed by the Sunrise Players. For more information check out their website Sunrise Players.

 

2nd Floor Studios Holiday Show, Sat Dec 10 & Sun Dec 11 11:00 am - 5:00pm, The Second Floor Studios, 2418 W. Colorado Avenue

Admission: Free. The Second Floor Studios are opening their doors for a Holiday Show. Come meet the artists in person in an intimate setting and have the opportunity to buy some original artworks, handmade jewelry, clothing and accessories. More information: The Second Floor Studios Facebook Page.

 

 

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Southern Colorado Insurance Changes

Southern Colorado Insurance Changes

I love it here... so thankful for limited natural disasters like tornado, hurricane, earthquakes. However, Colorado is still subject to blizzards, hail, wind, and fire. 2012 and 2013 were devastating locally when it comes to fire. Much of those homes have been rebuilt. So, let's talk about the unfortunate weather issues of 2016 And how it's changing insurance for southern Colorado. 

A huge part of eastern Colorado Springs was hit hard by a "hail bomb". According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the 6th most devastating weather event in Colorado history. When you use the term catastrophic, you know it's serious. 33,200 property claims of $188.2 million and 51,300 vehicle claims of $164.6 million... I'll do the quick math, that's 84,500 claims to the tune of $352.8 million. There were other storms as well, but this was the worst. So if you think those claims aren't going to cause your rates to go up, think again!

We've all seen hundreds of vehicles driving round with temp tags, damaged hoods, temporary window patches and even some shattered windshields. There are also the vinyl siding homes and townhomes that are covered in patches. Frankly there were areas that looked like a war zone. Homes have seen damage to roof, window, siding, etc. Not all claims on vehicles necessitated full replacement, but shops were/are busy doing major repairs... plus rental cars were hard to come by and I'm sure the dealerships struggled to keep inventory. 

So, now, the insurance... We were able to purchase and investment property this Spring. Thank God it was not hit by this catastrophic storm. I went to our HOA meeting this week and learned quite a bit about how HOA property insurance works. It was eye opening, that's for sure. Thankfully our insurance agent's office took great care of us when we set up our policy.

Here's the gist... many insurance carriers are on a percentage deductible, based on the value of the property. Let's say you have a 5-unit townhome building that is valued at $1,000,000 and your deductible is 2% (they range from 1-10% deductibles!)... that means your HOA will have to pay a $20,000 deductible. So your HOA reserves would have to exceed that deductible. In the case of this storm, there are thousands of "attached" units affected, I'm not sure how many buildings. But I can't imagine their HOAs had the reserves, which means the owners all get a "Special Assessment"... sounds so nice and special, but it's not good, its expensive!! So, homeowners have to come up with thousands out of pocket, even though they are "adequately insured". One of the biggest things that came out of this, and the most important take-away from this blog!!--- if you own a town home/condo go get LOSS ASSESSMENT COVERAGE, right now!!! It is not very expensive and can help cover this "gap"!!! This Loss Assessment Coverage should be in place with every home owner, so the special assessment doesn't kill your family budget! I called my agent's office the day afer the meeting and made sure we were set up, and we were. I upped our coverage anyway, because it's worth it.

I also had a new buyer move here from Wisconsin in November. She was shocked when she called to set up their vehicle insurance. It was about double the amount they had paid for their vehicle insurance in WI. Their agent sighted recent claims, specific to southern Colorado, that caused all rates to rise. 

We heard a lot in 2013 after the Black Forest fire that insurance is really expensive, until you need it. There were many families that were under- or un-insured. My best advice, is that even if it costs maybe a bit more, MAKE SURE you have the coverage you need on all of your belongings, because otherwise it's going to cost you far more out of pocket should there ever be a need to file a major claim!! Also, review your policy notifications every year, because your insurance company could change your policy from flat deductibles to percentage, and it could be pricy to deal with the potential claims! 

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