Alyssa Roberts

Alyssa Roberts
Grand Junction, CO

Friday, September 27, 2019

5 Houseplants Almost Anyone Can Keep Alive

Bringing the outdoors in is huge in home d├ęcor these days, but so-called black-thumbers—and the forgetful—traditionally have big trouble keeping their houseplants alive and thriving.

But California writer/blogger Justina Huddleston reached out to a few horticultural experts to find out the best low-maintenance choices for people who want to bring a little green into their lives. Here are their top five choices:

Pothos. Sometimes called Devil’s Ivy, this plant with shiny, heart-shaped leaves, sometimes speckled with white or gold, does well in any light and doesn’t mind drying out now and then. It’s a little leggy, so you can let it trail from a pot or basket—or trail it along the mantel. Bonus: this plant can help purify the air in your home.

English Ivy. A trailing plant like pothos, this attractive choice has smaller heart-shaped leaves and does an even better job of filtering toxic agents out of the air you breathe. And it doesn’t require much sunlight or water to retain its cheerful demeanor.

Chinese Evergreen. A trim and sleek-looking plant with large green, speckled leaves, Chinese Evergreen stays where you plant it and is a good choice if you don’t have a lot of natural light. It likes a bit of water when the top of the soil goes dry, but can do without moisture for as long as two or three weeks without noticeable damage.

ZZ Plant. You may have never heard of this one, but it’s a natural for growing indoors. It has thick, rubbery leaves that might remind you of a palm or fern, and requires about as much attention as a cactus. It grows fastest in bright light, but it does just fine in low light and asks only that you think to water it once a week or so.

Parlor Palm. This attractive palm-like plant with narrow fronds will grow three or four feet high, making it a good choice to show off in a basket or tub to anchor an empty corner. It can handle low light, low humidity, bad air, near-freezing temperatures and some neglect, making it perfect for people who are accustomed to accidentally killing off their house plants.

https://rismedia.com/ace2-branded/Content-Library/98264/amNtTmFPSnlUbnl6aklISlhuTHZBUT09/Preview/?rps=yesamNtTmFPSnlUbnl6aklISlhuTHZBUT09/FaceBook/

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Ways to Winterize Your Home on a Budget

Clean Your Gutters

You've heard it before, but we can't stress this enough. Making sure that water can flow freely through your gutters now will help prevent icicles and ice dams from forming later. 


Flush the Water Heater

Particles and sediment can collect over time in the bottom of your water heater, hindering the unit's efficiency. Flush the water through the drain valve to clear out the material and keep your heater functioning at its best. 

Clockwise Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are everyone's favorite summer budget-saver. But they can help out in the winter as well! Have your ceiling fans move in a clockwise direction so they push hot air along the ceiling towards the floor. If they're going counterclockwise, they won't be as effective. 

Window Insulation Film

It may not be the most fashionable tip, but window insulation film can keep up to 70% of heat from leaking out of the windows. You won't mind the appearance when you're toasty warm in your house!

Draft Guards

In a drafty room, heat escapes under the door. When winterizing your house, place draft guards by the doors to prevent heat loss. It's a simple solution that keeps your house warm and saves you energy. 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

3 Predictions for Denver Real Estate in 2019 and Beyond

Prediction 1

The market will slow—just a little—this year.
Buyers, take a breath. A small one. And make it quick, because you still can’t afford to take your sweet time deliberating over whether to stretch your budget to get that extra bathroom—even as the market will likely affect a slightly more leisurely vibe in 2019. Littleton-based Development Research Partners is forecasting a six-year low for existing home sales closed over the entire year (see graph). Multiple bids will continue to be the norm; however, come July and August, Heather Heuer, senior vice president of sales operations for Liv Sotheby’s, expects higher inventory to allow buyers a little more time for deliberation. That could be enough to temporarily slow the feeding frenzy around new listings. Recent buyers and would-be sellers can still enjoy nice, deep, self-assured inhales, though, because our economy is now diversified enough (thanks tech, health care, and marijuana booms) to maintain its robustness. Says Heuer: “The bottom dropping out isn’t going to happen.”

Prediction 2

Interest rates will remain stable in the near term.
The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage at press time (early April): ~4%. That’s almost a half percent down from where rates were in early 2019, which may sound like good news for home shoppers—but the tantalizing rates could encourage more buyers to jump into the market, increasing competition. Regardless, experts expect rates to stay in the low fours this year.

Prediction 3

Millennials and baby boomers will flood the market, in some cases competing for the same properties.
At about a quarter of our population, millennials are the largest generation in the Centennial State, on track to account for 45 percent of mortgages in 2019, according to realtor.com. Plus, the largest cohort of millennials is approaching 30, an age at which that demographic, broadly speaking, is transitioning to a more stable lifestyle—and, perhaps, finally able to scrape together a down payment. “They don’t necessarily need the square footage,” says Libby Levinson, a broker associate at Kentwood Real Estate. “They want the lifestyle; they want to be living their best lives on Instagram and have access to things that let them do that.”

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Tips for Buying Your First Rental Property From the Pros

Buying your first rental property is a major investment and can be a lucrative one. However, take it from the professionals that some precautions should be taken. Do your research, take your time, and read the tips we have provided from nationwide pros in the real estate industry on buying your first rental property.


1. Use Leverage to Buy the Property

Potential real estate investors should make sure to understand the mortgage market. If you get the right mortgage, it could help keep your costs low and reduce uncertainty about the property’s cash flow. Using the leverage of a mortgage will free up some of your cash so you can save it for repairs or a future investment. However, a mortgage can be a double-edged sword since there will be financing costs associated with it, so it’s always best to consult with a professional.

If you’ll be using a mortgage when buying your first rental property, it’s important to weigh all your financing options carefully. Should you choose a 15-or 30-year mortgage? A fixed or adjustable rate? To better weigh the true cost of your financing options, first-time investors can fill out a short form on LendingTree and let multiple lenders compete for your loan. Its online marketplace enables you to compare rates and offers quickly to find a good fit.

3. Invest in Single-family Homes First

Invest in single-family homes first since it’s the simplest way to get started as a new real estate investor. The upkeep is easier than multifamily or commercial properties. With only a single tenant, there doesn’t tend to be as much wear and tear on the property and, when something breaks, you’ll only need to fix one thing.

4. Invest Enough to Be Cash Flow Positive

First-time rental property buyers should only buy a property that cash flows. The best way to limit your risk and increase your odds of success is to make sure you are putting enough money down to be cash flow positive. There will be unexpected expenses so leave a margin for error. It also enables you to weather tough economic times. If the property cash flows, the fluctuations of the market are less relevant, and you can hold it for the long term.

Finding and screening tenants is often an investor’s least favorite thing to do, and managing rentals can be lots of work. Investing in turnkey properties can solve both these problems. Turnkey real estate comes with existing tenants and property managers. That means immediate rental income and a manager to deal with those 2 a.m. phone calls instead of you. At Roofstock, you can browse properties in up to 40 different rental markets at a wide range of price points and invest in the rental that right for you.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Why Invest in Real Estate?

Real estate is a great investment for many reasons. You can enjoy an excellent rate of returns, amazing tax advantages and leverage real estate to build your wealth. Here are the top five reasons why real estate is a great investment.

Real estate provides better returns than the stock market without as much volatility.

Historically in real estate, your risk of loss is minimized by the length of time you hold on to your property. When the market improves, so does the value of your home, and as a result, you build equity. The risk never changes in the stock market and there are numerous factors beyond your control that can negatively impact your investment. Real estate gives you more control of your investment because your property is a tangible asset that you can leverage to capitalize on numerous revenue streams, while enjoying capital appreciation. Real estate is a great investment for many reasons. You can enjoy an excellent rate of returns, amazing tax advantages and leverage real estate to build your wealth. Here are the top five reasons why real estate is a great investment.

Real estate provides better returns than the stock market without as much volatility.

Historically in real estate, your risk of loss is minimized by the length of time you hold on to your property. When the market improves, so does the value of your home, and as a result, you build equity. The risk never changes in the stock market and there are numerous factors beyond your control that can negatively impact your investment. Real estate gives you more control of your investment because your property is a tangible asset that you can leverage to capitalize on numerous revenue streams, while enjoying capital appreciation.

An investment in real estate can also diversify your portfolio.

If you've ever spoken to a financial planner about investing, then you are very aware of the importance of diversification. When you diversify your portfolio, you spread out the risk. Real estate will always serve as a safe tangible asset to mitigate the risk in your portfolio. Many have amassed wealth by solely investing in real estate.

Last but not least, real estate investing comes with numerous tax benefits.

You can get tax deductions on mortgage interest, cash flow from investment properties, operating expenses and costs, property taxes, insurance and depreciation (even if the property gains value) and other benefits. The end of the year is a very busy time for real estate because people want to take advantage of the numerous tax benefits before the end of the year!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Best-Kept Secrets for Selling Your Home

Find out what your home is worth, then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. You’ll be stampeded by buyers with multiple bids — even in the worst markets — and they’ll bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.

Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.

Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.

Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.

Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.

https://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/design-101/10-best-kept-secrets-for-selling-your-home

Monday, June 17, 2019

What Millennial Homebuyers Need to Know

1. Pay Off Student Loans and Other Debt

What’s the biggest challenge facing millennial homebuyers? Student loans. Over 44.2 million Americans are paying off a national student loan debt of $1.48 trillion—and, in 2016 alone, the average student loan debt was $37,172 per graduate!(2)
As if student loans weren’t enough, consumer debt has postponed the home-buying dream of many millennials.(3) In fact NAR reports that, second to student loans, the two expenses that delayed saving for a down payment were credit card debt (32%) and car loans (32%).(4)
Since buying a house is the most expensive purchase you’ll make, you need to be debt-free before you buy one. If you have any debt, get on budget and use the debt snowball to pay off those loans. Only then will you be ready for the next challenge: the down payment.

2. Save for the Down Payment

Most of us don’t pay cash for our first home. In fact, 98% of millennials buy with a mortgage.(5)That’s why it’s important to have a strong down payment—not only to lower your interest rate, but also to help you pay off your mortgage even faster. We recommend putting down 10–20%. If you have 20% tucked away, you’d bypass private mortgage insurance (PMI)—additional insurance lenders make you have that protects them if you stop making mortgage payments.
If you’re struggling to save for the down payment, you’re not alone. One fourth of millennial home buyers couldn’t do it alone, accepting a money gift from a friend or relative.(6) And because of high rents and student loans, some millennials need more than seven years to save for a down payment, according to one study by Builders Online.(7)
That’s why, if you’re still saving, you must be patient and stay the course. Keep saving! Start with a clear plan. Know how much house you can afford. Stay motivated with a goal tracker. And with a smart plan like this in place, it can take less time than you think.

3. Stand Out in a Competitive Market

If you’ve already paid off your student loans and saved for your down payment, good work! The next step is to get into the housing market. In the past few years, the housing market has had a shortage of sellers, which has not only raised the prices of homes, but also has caused competition among buyers. Gen Xers are typically buying more established homes instead of starter homes, so your competition is other millennials—and your parents.
Yep, that’s right. Just as millennials are finally moving out, empty-nesting baby boomers are downsizing into the very starter homes that millennials are trying to buy. You might find yourself in bidding wars with buyers who have a bigger budget and more home-buying experience.
While you should expect competition—especially in hot housing markets such as Seattle, Nashville and San Francisco—that doesn’t have to derail your home-buying budget. Download our free first-time homebuyer's guide to walk you through the process and stay in the game with these tips:
First, get preapproved for a home loan before you make an offer. A preapproved loan means that your lender has looked over your finances and decided that you can cover the down payment and the mortgage payments. Though it can take some time to get, a preapproval letter sends a powerful message to the seller that you’re a serious buyer.
Second, act decisively. Do everything to keep the process moving. For example, tighten the timeline of your home inspector. Most inspectors can inspect a house within five days of your request. Never ask a motivated seller to wait weeks for a home inspection if you can get it done in days.
Lastly, be human with the seller. Send a handwritten letter, explaining why you and your family like the home. Selling a home can be emotional for homeowners, so you never know how far a personal letter can go.

4. Find an Affordable House in a Seller’s Market

Another challenge facing millennials is the rising value of homes. For many of us—especially those that have just managed to pay off student loans and land a stable job—rising market prices could be the most frustrating hurdle we face.
Fortunately, the housing market is beginning to slow down. NAR predicts a 1 to 3% growth in housing prices this year, which is far less compared to the 5 to 7% annual growth over the last five years.(8)
My best advice, then, is patience. Once you start shopping, don’t give in to the temptation to stretch your dollars and buy a home that’s out of your price range. Keep your monthly housing payment (which includes mortgage, taxes, insurance, HOA dues, etc.) to no more than 25 to 30% of your take-home pay on a 15-year, fixed-rate conventional mortgage. No home is worth sacrificing your retirement or your kid’s college fund.

5. Gain Experience With the Buying Process

One of the best things you can do as a first-time homebuyer is familiarizing yourself with the buying process.
That’s why it’s extra important for millennials to work with experts who know what they’re doing. Look for an agent who brings at least four years of experience to the table, one who knows the market well enough to find a great deal on the home that’s right for the buyer.
Partner with a real estate pro who has the heart of a teacher and takes time to listen to your needs and answer your questions. A good agent is more concerned about your bank account, not theirs.
If you’re looking for an agent to guide you to a smart first home purchase, we can help! Our Endorsed Local Providers (ELPs) are real estate experts with top-notch customer service. They can help you find a home you love in your budget!