Wildfire Defensible Space

Wildfire Defensible Buffer Zones

wildfires

Wildfire Buffer Zones can be used to reduce fire damage to buildings and sensitive areas in landscapes prone to wildfire. This guide from the USDA National Agroforestry Center shows what you can do to to increase the defensible space around your home and property. If you have any additional questions regarding wildfire safety, see the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control’s website here.

Zone 1. A minimum of 30 feet is needed for firefighters to protect a structure from wildfire. On a slope, increase the distance to 100 feet downhill of the structure. Use low growing and low flammability plants, spaced apart from each other. Remove dead material.

Zone 2. Deciduous trees and shrubs and widely-spaced conifers may be used in Zone 2. Remove branches within 8 feet of the ground (but no more than 30 percent of the height of the tree) and space trees so that crowns remain at least 10 feet apart at maturity. Remove ladder fuels which are tree limbs and other materials that allow fire to burn into the tree crown.

Zone 3. Manage this zone to maintain forest stand health and other landowner objectives. Limit number of dead trees or snags but save some for wildlife (1 to 2 snags/acre). Check with your local forester for additional guidelines.

Characteristics of Low Flammability Plants

• Supple moist leaves and water-like, thin sap

• Little or no accumulation of dead vegetation on the plant

• Open and loose branching structure

Source: https://www.fs.usda.gov/nac/buffers/guidelines/5_protection/11.html

If you liked this post be sure to check our others out here! We would love to help you find your Next Home. Give us a call at (970) 507-8655 to talk to a Southwest Colorado expert! You can view our current featured listings here.

Real Estate Myths

Debunking Common Real Estate Myths

Real estate is an industry that, while most people will be involved in it at some point, there is a lot of misinformation in the general public. In this post we will be debunking some of the most common real estate myths:

Real Estate Myths

  • Price Higher Than You Expect To Get – Contrary to what many believe, listing your home at too high a price may actually net you less money! Many people are wary of homes that have been on the market more than 3 weeks, so listing your home too high and letting it sit on the market is not the best plan!
  • Renovate Before You Sell – Major renovations are not always the best plan when trying to raise your home value. Prospective buyers may not share your taste, so you’re better off just fixing small things and leaving the big renovations to the next owner! There are many myths about renovating before you sell. To see the renovations that are worth taking on, see our blog post on the topic here!
  • The Market Will Go Up – Home values have been going up recently, and many people have already forgotten the recent recession. They think the market just goes up, without considering how it could plummet again in the future. It happened in the mid-70s, early 80s, early 90s, and again in 2008. This is a good thing to consider when purchasing a home. How will you and your home be affected if this happens again?
  • Get Pre-Approved After Finding Your Home – One of the most common myths in real estate is that buyers don’t need to be pre-approved until the have found their home. This is simply not true and can be a big mistake! Pre-approval should be the first step in your house-hunting adventure. It can be devastating for buyers to find a home, make an offer, and have it accepted, only to find out they aren’t approved for a loan for the home. Get pre-approved first!
  • Open Houses Sell Homes – Many sellers love the idea of having their home open every weekend for people to walk through. A common myth in real estate is that open houses sell a lot of homes. While this can be true in some areas, the National Association Of Realtors tells us that only 2% of all homes are sold are a result of an open house. So while an open house can provide good exposure, it probably won’t sell your home directly!

We hope you were able to learn something new from this blog post! Real estate can be a complicated industry, so we try to break things down wherever we can to inform current and future clients! If you would like to talk to one of the NextHomies in our office, give us a call at (970) 507-8655! To see NextHome Rocky Mountain Rental’s current featured listings, click here! We want to get you into your Next Home!

Do Something Nice Day

Today is National Do Something Nice Day!

October 5th is National Do Something Nice Day! It’s a day to remind everyone how easy it is to be nice and to do kind things for one another.

Do Something Nice Day

There are so many ways to do something nice, the possibilities are endless and most of them are easy! What are you going to do to celebrate this holiday? If you would like to talk with someone from our office, give us a call at (970) 507-8655. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook to view our weekly Virtual Open House Series!

Healthier Mountain Living

Why Living In The Mountains Is Healthier

It’s easy to fall in love with the mountains. Fresh air is abundant, the weather is fairly temperate, and the views are some of the best mother nature has to offer. Living in the mountains can actually be healthier for you too, believe it or not. If you don’t believe me, here are a few facts to convince you!

Healthier
Lake San Cristobal – Photo By: Gavin Kiker

 

  • Inspiration To Be Active  The rocky mountains are inspirational simply by nature. The peaks tower over everything else, begging to be seen. When you are surrounded by views as beautiful as the rocky mountains, you are sure to become inspired to explore and be active!
  • Altitude Burns Calories – Studies have proven that the human body burns more calories while expending energy at high altitude than it does while at lower altitudes. This means that a mile hike in the mountains will burn more calories than the same hike down lower; plus you get to enjoy the mountain views!
  • Clean Air – There’s nothing better than taking a deep breath of fresh mountain air. Less pollution at higher altitudes can directly improve asthma symptoms and other acute respiratory symptoms. The smell of pine, which is especially common in the rockies, has been proven to help alleviate stress and depression. If you have trouble sleeping, try to find some lavender at the base of the pines. It can help you fall asleep!
  • Less Risk Of Heart Disease – Studies have shown that people who live at higher altitudes can have a certain gene activated that significantly decreases the risk of dying from ischemic heart disease. When your body has to work harder every day to take in oxygen, it automatically improves your cardiovascular fitness! This makes your heart stronger and more resilient to rough conditions.
  • Statistically Longer Life Span – Researchers have found that the 10 million people who live over 4,900ft above sea level typically live one to three years longer than people living closer to sea level. This is just another benefit of living at high altitude!

Thanks for reading through today’s post! If you have any questions, or if you would like to talk with a NextHomie, give us a call at (970) 507-8655. To view our current listings, see our featured homes page here. We can’t wait to help you find your Next Home.

Renovations – Return On Investment

Renovations With The Highest Return On Investment

Whether you are trying to sell your home or not, paying attention to the renovations you do and how they affect your home’s value can be important. Some home improvement projects can yield a much higher return on investment than others.  We’ve compiled a list below of the best renovations you can do for your money. Enjoy!

Return On Investment
Photo Courtesy: mountainvillageestespark.com
  1. Minor Bathroom Remodel – There are two rooms that sell homes more than any others; the kitchen, and the bathrooms. Bathroom remodels actually provide the highest return on investment, averaging 102%. You don’t need to fully gut the room however, adding a good coat of paint and new fixtures is a great way to elevate the value of your home.
  2. Landscaping – Curb appeal is a very important aspect when listing a home. Fresh landscaping and a picked up exterior can make your home appear fresh and clean, which buyers want. Basic landscaping averages a 100% return on interest, even adding a few potted plants to your front porch can make a huge difference!
  3. Minor Kitchen Remodel – A minor kitchen remodel can really bump your home’s value up without much work. Start by upgrading outdated appliances with newer ones; prospective buyers will notice these additions. Painting or staining your existing cabinets can substantially increase your kitchens appeal. Modern hardware on all of your drawers and doors will help a lot too!
  4. Attic Bedroom Conversion – One of the best ways to increase the value of a home is by adding to the number of rooms it has. If you have an attic that can be converted to a bedroom, and you have the budget to do so, this addition can add a lot of value to your home while also adding to it’s usability! While not necessary, this is an option everyone should consider. The average return on investment for an addition like this is about 93.5%.
  5. Entry Door Replacement – While it may seem simple, replacing your front entry door is one of the most impactful renovations you can do to your home. If your home’s style can support it, a door painted a bright, primary color can really draw prospective buyers into a home. It makes the home more approachable and inviting! Even a fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference.
  6. Deck Addition – If you have the room to do so, adding a deck or porch is a great way to add perceived value to your property. If you already have a deck, make sure it has been painted or stained and is structurally sound. A deck increases usable living space and can be a deciding factor for some buyers! Outdoor living spaces have become especially desirable since the covid-19 pandemic.
  7. Basement Remodel – Although not all homes have a basement, the ones that do can sell for significantly more than homes that don’t! Converting your dark and dingy basement into a usable living space can bring your home value up quite a bit. Return on investment for this renovation sits around 90% on average and can draw in prospective buyers!
  8. Window Upgrade – Fresh, new windows can have a huge impact on the exterior image of your home! They will make the outside look newer and the interior brighter! In addition to the added curb appeal, new windows are typically more efficient and you may be eligible for a tax break when purchasing energy efficient windows. Although many may not notice, new windows will slide more easily too!

These are some of the best renovations you can do to add value to your home before selling! If you have any questions, or would like to talk with one of our brokers, give us a call at (970) 507-8655. To see the homes we currently have listed, click here!

Pet Friendly Pagosa Springs

Dogs Welcome!

Pagosa Springs is a mountain town full of people who love dogs. Whether you’re hiking up Pagosa Peak or grabbing a burger at Riff Raff, you are sure to see at least one furry friend. In addition to the National Forest and the many outdoor dining areas around town, Pagosa Springs has several dog friendly parks; with clean-up stations! If you’re looking for a place to walk your dog, or dogs in pet friendly Pagosa, this list is for you!

Pet Friendly Pagosa

Humane Society Bark Park – The Pagosa Springs Humane Society has done a great job of making a safe environment for your dogs to play! There are separate fenced areas for large and small breeds with awesome views of the San Juan mountain range. The Bark Park is equipped with kiddie pools, drinking fountains, and some shaded areas for your pup to cool off. Near the fenced areas is the Serenity Garden where you can walk along in peace. The garden features engraved memorial bricks along the path and benches to take in the views. There are restrooms in the Humane Society Lobby and dog toys available to purchase. Proceeds benefit the animals at the Humane Society! See their website here.

Yamaguchi Park – Located at the South end of the San Juan Riverwalk, Yamaguchi Park is a great place to get out and get active! This park borders the San Juan River to the East and features over half a mile of trails with pet stations along the sidewalk! There are several spots where river access is available; so your dog can get his or her paws wet on their walk! There are bathrooms on-site as well as a skate park, playground, and large Terrazzo overlooking the river. Two laps around the perimeter of this park is about 1 mile.

Town Park/Mary Fisher Park – One of Pagosa’s oldest parks, Town Park is located right on the river in downtown. This is one of the most popular parks as it’s in the middle of downtown! For the pups, there are pet waste clean-up stations and water fountains in the park. Dogs should be on a leash or lead, as this park is close to Main Street. If you cross the walking bridge over the river, you enter Mary Fisher Park. Named after Dr Mary Fisher, a Pagosa Springs doctor born in 1868 in Illinois, this park has many places to lay out and watch the river flow or play fetch with fido. There is a changing screen if you want to get in the water with your dog and more parking than Town Park across the river.

Reservoir Hill Park – Reservoir Hill is well known by locals for it’s many trails and the star that lights up at the top of the hill, overlooking downtown Pagosa Springs at night. Your dog is sure to love the rugged terrain and winding trails heading up the hill. At the top you are greeted with great views of downtown Pagosa. There are benches and picnic tables on top as well. This hill is a great place to get some exercise with your dog! The Annual Folk Festival is held on Reservoir Hill as well.

Centennial Park – Centennial Park is located along the San Juan river, behind the courthouse. This park is home to the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership’s geodesic greenhouse setup, a sustainable agricultural project. There is a small outdoor amphitheater in front of these greenhouses. You will find pet clean-up and water stations along the riverwalk, and an electric vehicle charging station if you need to juice up while you’re exploring with your dog! If your pup likes the water, there is a section of beach along a shallow part of the river perfect for pets and kids to swim.

With all the opportunities to explore and discover new things, you are sure to love pet friendly Pagosa. If you would like to learn more about Pagosa Springs, our town website has many resources available. To see the homes we currently have listed, visit our Featured Homes page here!

Fall Colors

The Best Drives For Fall Colors

Fall is here, and fall colors aren’t far behind! You can find beautiful scenery just about everywhere in this state, but the roads listed below are some of the best to see the bright yellows and oranges of autumn!

Fall Colors
Photo By: Gavin Kiker 
  1. San Juan Skyway – The San Juan Skyway is one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the country. This 232 mile loop will take you through two National Forests, four mountain passes, and nine historic Colorado mountain towns. It takes roughly 7 hours to drive the loop all the way through, but we recommend taking your time and exploring along the way! Even if you choose to tackle just one section of the loop, you are sure to find large swathes of fall colors and beautiful scenery. Most of this drive is 2wd-friendly, but some parts may require higher clearance. If you are scared of heights, be warned there are some steep drop-offs as well as sections of road without guardrails in several spots on this drive.
  2. Boreas Pass – Boreas Pass Road stretches the 20 miles between Como and Breckenridge. This easily-accessible mountain road reaches 11,493 feet above sea level and eventually crosses the Continental Divide! This wonderful road has less traffic than others during the fall, making it a great area to see the colors change without crowds. The aspens on this road may form a tunnel in certain spots, making for a truly amazing view. This road is easily accessible by 2wd vehicles with low ground clearance.
  3. Kebler Pass – Kebler Pass is an awesome high-mountain pass connecting Crested Butte with Paonia to the West. This pass reaches 10,007 feet above sea level at it’s summit in the Gunnison National Forest. This drive takes you through one of the largest aspen groves in the United States, in the West Elk Mountains. You will travel West from Crested Butte to Highway 133, just north of the tiny mining village of Somerset. The road is accessible by low-clearance 2wd vehicles and takes roughly 2 hours to drive through. It is open seasonally, May through November.
  4. Trail Ridge Road – Trail Ridge Road is a stretch of US Hwy 34 that takes you from the East side of Estes Park to Grand Lake, CO in the West. It is the highest paved through road in Colorado, peaking at 12,183 feet above sea level. 11 miles of this road are above the tree line, making for great, almost aerial views of the autumn colors below. Driving straight through takes roughly 2 hours, but there are enough pull-outs, scenic overlooks, and side trails to make this drive a full daytrip!
  5. Last Dollar Road – Last Dollar Road is an unpaved, seasonal (Summer & Fall) route that takes you from Ridgeway, CO to Telluride, CO. This trail gives you fully unobstructed views of Wilson Peak and the Sneffels Mountain Range. The fall colors will really start to show around mid-September, making Last Dollar Road a great destination for photographers.
  6. Independence Pass – Independence Pass, the highest paved pass in the United States, passes over the Continental Divide between Leadville and Aspen. This pass is 32 miles long and summits at 12,095 feet above sea level. There are many places to stop and take in the views along this road. Roaring Fork River hugs the road for several miles and there are also several great aspen grove views along the way.
  7. Alpine Loop – Alpine Loop is a circular route that takes you over Cinnamon Pass and Engineer Pass. It connects Lake City with Ouray and Silverton. The loop is 65 miles long and can be completed in as little as 7 hours. There are several abandoned mining and old west features along the trail that you can explore; they make for interesting foregrounds in your fall color photos!
  8. Pikes Peak Highway – Pikes Peak Highway is 19 miles each way and takes about 2 hours round trip to drive. Once to the top, you are greeted with 360 degree views of the mountains, including the front range. Pikes Peak highway is a great place for large panoramas of the changing fall colors!
  9. Bachelor Loop Tour –  The Bachelor Loop Tour is a 17 mile loop that takes you through the historic mining district above Creede, CO. This 4wd-accessible road takes you through several ghost towns from the mining boom, some of which once rivaled Creede in size! There are many photo opportunities along this loop so be sure to bring your camera. High clearance vehicles are recommended for the best experience.

These are just a handful of the hundreds of places to see the Fall colors Colorado is so known for. If you are wanting to plan a trip, but can’t decide when, the Forest Service has a regularly updated Fall Color Report that tells you what stage the leaves are at! If all this talk about Colorado has made you want a home of your own here, you can view our featured listings or give us a call at (970) 507-8655!

Investment Property

What To Look For In Your Next Investment Property!

Have you been thinking about purchasing an investment property? Real estate can be a great investment if you know what you’re doing, but there are some risks involved. Below, we’ve compiled some things to look for when considering a rental property.

Investment Property
Photo By: Gavin Kiker
  1. Location – This first tip is an important one. When searching for a rental, location is the top thing tenants are interested in. Choosing an area that is close to schools, shopping, and healthcare is a good way to draw tenants in. Rentals in college towns or ski towns can be very profitable, but it can be difficult to lease one of these properties in the summer months, so that is something to keep in mind.
  2. Safety – Safety is very important to most people. Choosing a location with low crime rates is always smart when shopping for real estate to rent out. Installing quality locks and even a good security system can increase the appeal of your property!
  3. Parking – While not as crucial in rural areas, reserved parking for tenants in cities and more populated areas is a must. Rental properties with off-street parking or even a garage or carport can be a huge selling point to prospective tenants.
  4. Fresh Property – New builds or freshly renovated properties are usually more attractive to tenants searching for a rental. Moving into a new space is a fresh start for tenants, the rental should be as fresh as they feel!
  5. Open Space – An open floor plan with plenty of natural lighting feels a lot larger than a closed off space with no windows of the same size! Potential tenants will subconsciously lean towards a bright space over a darker one, so properties with lots of windows and lighting are preferable.
  6. Appliances Included – No one wants to buy appliances for a house they don’t own! Including essential appliances will add value to your rental property and will most likely get it rented sooner!
  7. Outdoor Space – Connecting with the outdoors is important to a lot of people; Especially in Colorado! An outdoor space like a backyard, deck, or even a small balcony to enjoy the mountain views can add a lot of value to your property. This is one feature that is typically more important in rural areas than it is in more urban environments.
  8. Pet Friendly – Pets are family to a lot of people, and no one wants to give up their family to move into a rental! Consider looking at more pet-friendly properties, as they will be more desirable to a lot of tenants. A house with a decent backyard and hard floors is ideal for a pet friendly rental.
  9. Job Market – Locations with a growing job market, or a strong established industry will draw more tenants. Job security is an important factor to consider when renting, so choosing a location with a strong job market is a good idea when looking for investment property.
  10. Trustworthiness – Tenants looking to rent a house want a landlord or property manager they can trust completely. Being honest with potential tenants and disclosing any negative aspects of the property that you are aware of is a good way to build trust as a rental owner. These people are depending on you to provide them with a safe and functional living space for months or even years at a time!

These are just a few tips to help you in your search for the perfect investment property! To speak with a NextHome RMR agent about purchasing your investment property, give us a call at (970) 507-8655. If you want to view our current inventory, visit our featured rentals page here!