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It’s a Combination of Things, Really.

September 5, 2011

 

What makes Colorado the place to move to lately? A combo of all that is good in life!

 

1. We have all four seasons, and enough time to enjoy each of them. Our winter may be long, but we get more sun than most any other state, so you can actually have fun in it! Our falls are BEAUTIFUL. Just go ahead and Google “Colorado Fall”, oh here, I’ll do it for you! Spring and summer also yield potential for rafting, mountain biking, rock climbing, tubing, laying in the sun, and general patio dining in town or the mountains. I dare you to visit here and not try something new! Oh, and don’t forget the good ol’ Broomball!

 

2. We are a healthy culture. Still rated as the healthiest state in nation (although rising with the country) we tend to eat good food, enjoy the outdoorsy activities and balance out our days with calorie burn and intake.

 

3. A relaxed nature. We may be busy, but we all know how to kick back. Even in the big cities, you don’t feel rushed even if you have somewhere to be. Everyone is laid back and ready to hang out after work and have a beer. If you need to talk, I guarantee it won’t be hard to wrangle someone out to dinner or drinks for a chat.

 

 

4. Community Oriented. I may live in city with about 150,000 people, but it sure feels like a small town. You get all the perks: a great music scene, good schools, a place where everyone knows your name, local businesses and you can still meet a lot of people every day!

 

5. The ECONOMY. That’s right! This one made the list! Fort Collins and Northern Colorado are in a little bubble all of their own (maybe a bit deflated over the last few years, but resilient none the less). We have new jobs opening up like crazy. Several new ventures are coming to Northern Colorado in the near future, and we have an unemployment rate about 1.5% below the national average as is. People are flocking to the area, and vacancy rates are down, which is also great for investors (especially in real estate).

 

Overall, the quality of life is pretty high in Colorado. In fact it is in the top 10% of the happiest places in the nation and we are working to keep it that way. We love being outdoorsy, we love experiencing new things and enjoying everything the natural and man-made community has to offer.

 

 

 

Been to Colorado and have a great story? I would LOVE to hear it!

 

 

 

Ben Blonder

Owner/Managing Broker, Kapital Real Estate LLC

Office: 970-797-2190

Cell: 970-420-6166

ben_blonder@yahoo.com

 

 

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REO Incentives Offered!

September 3, 2011

Facing high inventories, banks are looking to fix a growing problem of often vacant and deteriorating properties. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been trying to liquidate their REO’s.

Fannie offered the HomePath incentives starting in 2010. HomePath had several key parts that made it feasible including not needing a perfect credit score and only needing 3% down.

So what are other incentives out there? First is the “First Look” program that the HUD’s National Committee Trust recently started. This program is providing competitive prices on REOs and giving buyers priority access to the homes before they are broadly listed for sale.

Another program offered by JPMorgan, particularly in Detroit, is based on down payment assistance for police officers and city employees. They just have to purchase a vacant home in the city over the next two years. The first buyers will recieve $30,000 in assistance, while others will receive up to $15,000. But act fast on this one, cause only 61 buyers are going to get the benefits of the program.

Do you know of other incentives? Post in the comments and I will add them here!

 

 

Ben Blonder

Owner/Managing Broker, Kapital Real Estate LLC

Office: 970-797-2190

Cell: 970-420-6166

ben_blonder@yahoo.com

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“Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger! Can I take your order?”

September 3, 2011

Fort Collins is a Hub for Foodies. We have so many amazing restaurants that I feel I should highlight a few of my favorites over this month. This time around, we are celebrating all of the great burger restaurants in town.

One in particular sparked this post. Right downtown we have an AMAZING burger place with an innovative, fun loving style. This burger joint is called STUFT, and boy oh boy do they live up to their name! Located right in Old Town on College Ave and Mountain, the burger bar is in one of the rustic buildings with modern modifications to fit the town’s outdoorsy nature. As you can see to the left, the bar has a garage door, which opens up to create an open and airy restaurant feel for the diners inside, even when it’s raining. For those who want some sun, or have dogs, just sit on the actual patio.

The atmosphere is also key to having an amazing restaurant. The inside genuinely feels like a modern, hip bar with a twist. What used to be Elliot’s Mess has been transformed into a new dining experience with an old and comfortable feel. Its dark, but its welcoming. Simply, it just feels like a place where you can kick back, have a pint or two, and enjoy a good burger.

What makes this burger joint one of the best in the city? Aside from location and atmosphere, the grub. To order you receive a menu similar to ordering sushi. You get a pencil, and you get to select everything you want. They have new burgers about every month that are featured on the front, with a typical favorite being “The Hangover”. They have every topping you could ever imagine, and they rotate, based on the build your own burger menu because sometimes, someone will be adventurous enough to create a masterpiece that should be shared with everyone. The menu looks a lot like the image to the right, and is double sided. One side having pre-made burgers, the other having a Stuff Your Own Burger Menu. Now building your own burger can be a difficult task given the ingredients, flavors and feel of what you want, but they walk you through the process in a smooth and easy to follow manner. Once done, it usually takes between 10-15 minutes to get your meal. And oh what a meal it will be.

I love seeing my friends eyes light up when they see whats coming. The mountain of fresh toppings, the choice meat (or veggie burger) and the overall presentation make for an exciting experience. Then add in the taste of the quaility ingredients, the mix of flavors and you have yourself a good meal. I will always suggest this restaurant simply because it is fabulous from the moment you walk in the door to the moment you leave, pants unbuttoned but still wanting another bite.

There are plenty of other great burger joints in Fort Collins, but none of them really compare to the full experience you get from Stuft. So whenever you visit the area, make sure to stop in and try it for yourself. I guarantee you will leave satisfied!

 

Watch out for upcoming posts for Localism month! There will be more restaurant features, history, and just general posts that will help you get ot know Fort Collins and Northern Colorado!

 

 

Ben Blonder

Owner/Managing Broker, Kapital Real Estate LLC

Office: 970-797-2190

Cell: 970-420-6166

ben_blonder@yahoo.com

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Fort Collins is Bucking National Trends!

September 3, 2011

While New Home sales have been falling over the last few months, Fort Collins is fighting back. Year over year sales of new homes have increased 15.4% according to Prudential Rocky Mountain Realtors. In july 314 homes were sold with an average of $252,877, rebounding after a depressing 1st and 2nd quarter. New homes represent less than 1/5 of the housing market but have a larger impact on the economy. For each new home built, 3 jobs and $90,000 in taxes are created.

The national market fell about 1% in July to an adjusted rate of 298,000. A healthy market is generally about 700,000 and the nation is not even pulling half of that. Many buyers backed out of deals on fears that the market would tumble even more come August. General fears about another dip are also keeping consumers from entering the housing market.

Ben Blonder

Owner/Managing Broker, Kapital Real Estate LLC

Office: 970-797-2190

Cell: 970-420-6166

ben_blonder@yahoo.com

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Brewtastic – Follow Your Folly!

September 2, 2011

 

 

In honor of Localism month, and tonights Tour De Fat, I am dedicating this post to some of the best Colorado has to offer: Beer.

Colorado has more microbreweries per capita than ANY OTHER STATE. Fort Collins is host to a number of them, as well as internationally known breweries as well. To name a few, we have:

Anheuser-Busch
New Belgium
Fort Collins Brewery
Equinox
CooperSmiths
Odell Brewing Co.
Hops & Berries (Brew your own)
CB Potts

Did I mention you can get to *almost* all of these on a bike tour alone. If you are willing to go a bit of distance for Anheuser-Busch, you can hit all of them with ease. They are generally located in Old Town, the heart of the city, and make for a fun tour (especially New Belgium!) while visiting, with friends, or just for a fun bike tour. People often take a day and just visit each brewery via bike, drink the beer and enjoy the weather. Most tours are free, they offer a few free drinks, and insight into exactly how each brew is made and what kind of company they are.

New Belgium, the pride and joy of Fort Collins produced Fat Tire, pictured above. This beer has been taking the country by storm. In fact, this company has been taking the nation by storm. Just a few weeks ago I saw a menu in Minneapolis with more brews by New Belgium than all Minnesota and well-known national brands (like Coors or Budweiser) combined! They have a variety of beers, a fun loving environment, happy employees, and you can tell that all of that fun and love goes into what they produce. They brewery has a slide, is largely sustainable (one feature they talk about a lot on the tour) and plays a large part in the local community.

“Tour de Fat, put on by New Belgium Brewery, is one of the most prominent bike parades across the country. Every year the tour makes its stop in the Brewery’s home town of Fort Collins. The Tour de Fat was started by New Belgium Brewery as a way to advocate and celebrate beer and bicyclist culture. The tour includes musical acts, as well as performers from the Blue Man Group and circus performers from Cirque du Soleil. “Adding and building in music to the tour came pretty naturally,” Kowal said. “We would use the music to create an atmosphere for the times when we would set up people trading in their cars for bikes along the tour. One time we did a Blues Brothers revival style song for the person who was trading in their car for a bike. It really makes it a moment for that person and the people who see it.” The tour has grown since then, and it will have three stages at the Fort Collins stop this year.
As if locals needed any other reason to dress up, ride bikes and drink beer, the Tour de Fat is yet another excuse.

One of New Belgium’s main concerns is the eco-friendliness of their business. The company was started on the back of a bicycle in Belgium (hence the name and logo of their most recognizable beer – Fat Tire) and since then tried to maintain that image. It’s only natural that a company that is environmentally-friendly and got its start on a bike would create a bike tour that celebrates exactly those things. That, and beer. One of the newer parts of the Tour de Fat –– called the Car For Bike Trade –– is where someone from the tour gets selected to turn their car over to New Belgium. In return for this favor, the participant gets a brand new cruiser bike made special for the event.

Another point the Tour de Fat tries to make is spreading the good name of New Belgium and the beer they make. “The tour gives people a chance to see what New Belgium is all about first hand,” Kowal said. “It also gives us a chance to go out in the community and meet artists and musicians who we might want to include in the next Tour de Fat. Not to mention, it puts us in touch with much of our beer drinking community.”

Along with being sustainable, New Belgium does a lot of giving back to the community. The
Tour de Fat is one way that they make that happen. The tour gives back to the communities it travels through by taking a lot of the money it makes and donating it to local nonprofit stores and companies. Local shops like bike co-ops and Bike Fort Collins are a few of the recipients, and these companies take the money from the Tour de Fat and make biking more accessible to the community. The Tour de Fat has been raising money for these local shops since the beginning, and it has almost raised $2 million for nonprofits.”

New Belgium Brewery has had an amazing impact on the city of Fort Collins, the cities surrounding it, and is making its way to impacting the nation as a whole. The work they do and the beer they brew really stand out. They make a difference, a visible impact on the community, and they LOVE doing it and THAT is why this city LOVES New Belgium!

Happy Tour de Fat!

 

 

Ben Blonder

Owner/Managing Broker, Kapital Real Estate LLC

Office: 970-797-2190

Cell: 970-420-6166

ben_blonder@yahoo.com

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Agents, Got an IPhone? Top Apps You NEED to Know About!

September 1, 2011

You know the music billboards top 100? Now IPhone apps have it too! These are the top 5 apps for managing documents, a key instrument to our on the go business! I recommend at least trying ALL of them! Wouldn’t it be nice to NOT have to go back to the office to make copies and just take the files back in the morning?

1. Scanner Pro. Thi lets you scan multipage documents and upload them to Dropbox and Evernote.

Cost $6.99.

2. Documents to Go Premium-Office Suite. This lets you view, create and edit Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files as well as work in other file types such as PDF and Iwork.

Cost $16.99.

3. Documents Free (mobile office suite). Manage/Edit spreadsheet and text files both on and offline. Open files on your PC or Mac.

Cost: FREE.

4. TurboScan. Scan multipage documents, receipts, business cards and convert them all into PDF’s.

Cost $1.99.

5. FileApp. File manager and reader. You can copy files onto the device to look at them while you are out and about.

Cost: FREE.

6. DocScan. Lets you scan and send from your phone! Multipage documents supported. Also exports documents to different programs. Best part?

The cost: FREE.

7. QuickVoice Recorder. Record messages to yourself with TONS of awesome features. Go get ’em tiger!

Cost: FREE!

8. Remote Desktop Lite. Access your workstation from your phone!

Cost: FREE!

9. UPS Mobile. Track packages, find locations, estimate cost and delivery times, AND create shipping labels! Plus more!

Cost: FREE

10. (for IPads) Print Direct. Be able to print from YOUR IPAD! Awesome.

Cost: FREE

 

There you have it! Some of the top apps you can find to help run your business! Best of luck 🙂

 

 

Ben Blonder

Owner/Managing Broker, Kapital Real Estate LLC

Office: 970-797-2190

Cell: 970-420-6166

ben_blonder@yahoo.com

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Where I Come From, The Transplant!

August 31, 2011

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois I am a happy transplant to Fort Collins, Colorado. Today, on behalf of localism month I am going to introduce you to Fort Collins and, over the next 30 days, I am going to introduce you to Northern Colorado! First, lets start with the history of Fort Collins.

“Fort Collins had its beginning on July 22, 1862, when soldiers were sent from the 9th Kansas Cavalry at Fort Laramie to what is now the town of Laporte to protect the Cherokee trail and to guard the Overland Stage Line.

The name “Camp Collins” was given to the post by Gen. James Craig in honor of Lt. Col. William 0. Collins, the able and popular commander of Ohio Cavalry troops whose headquarters were at Fort Laramie.

After three and a half months, the Kansas Cavalry was replaced by Colorado troops who manned Camp Collins until May, 1864, when Company F of the 11th Ohio Cavalry was ordered by Col. Collins to relieve the Colorado soldiers.

A devastating flood rushed down the canyon of the Cache la Poudre River during the night of June 9, 1864. Flooding Camp Collins, it carried tents, ammunition and some of the cabins downstream. The soldiers managed to retreat to the nearest bluff without lives being lost, but the morning presented a scene of desolation: a sea of muddy water and only the roofs of a few cabins visible.

Soon a search began for a new location for the post. Joseph Mason (credited with being Fort Collins’ first white settler) was living on his farm between the present North Shields and Wood Street on Vine Drive. Mason pointed out land on the Cache la Poudre River in the vicinity of the present Willow St.

On August 20, 1864, Col. Collins signed the order setting aside the present location of Fort Collins as the new military reservation. Here the danger of flooding would be less and sufficient land was available without interfering with the claims of individuals. Thus it is August 20 that Fort Collins Historical Society honors as the celebration of Fort Collins’ birthday.

In October of 1864 the new post was ready for occupation and the term “Fort Collins” is used instead of “Camp Collins” in the order book, although there seems to have been no official order for the change.

For almost two years Fort Collins remained a military post until the last soldiers were evacuated in September, 1866. The only building from the old fort that has been preserved is the Auntie Elizabeth Stone cabin which has been moved to Library Park. Originally located on Jefferson St. just back of the present Major Motor Supply, the cabin was built as an officers’ mess hall, with Auntie Stone in charge. She was the first white woman to be a permanent resident of Fort Collins.

A few farms and ranches were located around Fort Collins and squatters settled on the abandoned military reservation in “Old Town” along the river before legal snarls were untangled to open government land to settlement. Finally on May 15, 1872, Congress opened the reservation to pre-emption homesteading and that same year the Agricultural Colony arrived to buy land and plat out Fort Collins. Old Town had been built parallel to the river, while New Town was attached to it, being square with the compass. Fort Collins was incorporated as a town February 3, 1873. Statistics of 1870 give the entire population of Larimer County as 838 people. (At that time the present Jackson County was included in Larimer County.)

Fort Collins’ first business was the former sutler’s store, Old Grout, at the southwest corner of Linden and Jefferson Streets. Old Grout was so named because of the grouting material of which it was constructed. Razed in 1882, it had served as an all-purpose building for holding meetings, church services, dances, court sessions and incarcerating prisoners, as well as housing the general store.

Realizing that irrigation was necessary for crops in this arid area, settlers near the present Bellvue dug the first irrigation ditch in 1860 to take water from the Cache la Poudre River. From that time on there began to develop Larimer County’s elaborate system of irrigation and water supply that we know today as the lifeblood of a rich agricultural region.

It was with rejoicing that the first railroad was welcomed to Fort Collins as it chugged down Mason St. (its present location) on the morning of October 8, 1877. Livestock and farm products could now be shipped out and consumer goods brought in at a reasonable cost and with savings in time. Travelers, too, found it a convenience, especially before automobiles began appearing shortly after the turn of the century. Another milepost in Fort Collins’ progress was the opening of Colorado Agricultural College (now CSU) in the fall of 1879. Ten years later the first high school opened on the second floor of Franklin School, which once stood where Steele’s Market on West Mountain is now located.

From its beginnings to the present “Choice City” of some 150,000 inhabitants, Fort Collins owes its growth to many factors: mild, dry climate; proximity to mountains, rivers and lakes; location of important industry; favorable conditions for agriculture and livestock; and Colorado State University with 17,000 students as the city’s chief employer.”

So there you have it, an explanation of how Fort Collins came to be what it is today. It continues to grow and thrive, bringing in new residents, new students, new life, and new opportunities every day.

Ben Blonder

Owner/Managing Broker, Kapital Real Estate LLC

Office: 970-797-2190

Cell: 970-420-6166

ben_blonder@yahoo.com

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