LONGMONT — Entrepreneurs and business leaders believe Longmont has the ingredients needed to be a hub for Colorado’s tech and startup community.
Four small-business owners spoke at a panel during Longmont Startup Week about why they were attracted to the area, why they stayed and what it has been like operating a business in Longmont.
John Rokos, founder/CEO, Enemy Tree LLC
Rokos moved to the area from San Francisco, after spending six years working at Tesla and prior to that as the brand manager for White Out at Big Pens.
“Post-Tesla, my wife was a director of a nonprofit and she was ready for her next challenge,” Rokos said. “We were burned out on the California culture: 24/7 work, the prices of everything. We wanted to be somewhere else with more community.”
Rokos said he and his wife, who are from the Midwest, looked at the four places many entrepreneurs look at: Seattle, Portland, Boulder and Austin.
“The second we pulled into town in Boulder, my wife was into it,” he said. “But when we did the research, the value wasn’t there in Boulder anymore. The prices were almost as bad as the Bay Area. We wanted more community and so we started looking around there. Longmont started to really raise to the top of the stack. It was down the road from Boulder, super affordable and everyone we ran into was so giving of their time.”
Rokos said when he learned about Next Light’s gigabit Internet service, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“It’s got this, that: the people, the talent, the community, and it’s got the fastest Internet in the country,” he said. “We immediately looked at houses and moved here.”
Jessica Tishue, serial entrepreneur, director of marketing, Disruptive Marketing
Tishue moved to Longmont just a few months ago, after building her business in San Diego.
“I had an entrepreneur friend visit me in San Diego,” she said. “I was used to friends being impressed with the glamorous life I had built. But this friend was not impressed at all. They said, ‘Colorado is where it’s at.’ Intrigued, I came to the Boulder/Longmont area and instantly fell in love with the beautiful mountains, quality of life, everyone’s values of sustainability. I kept visiting for three years.”
Tishue said she too was tired of the quality of life in San Diego and the 24/7 work lifestyle. When she started speaking to Jessica Erickson, president and CEO of the Longmont Economic Development Partnership, Tishue said she was blown away with how helpful they were in supporting her.
“The prices in Longmont are really good for homes,” she said. “I have an entire view of the Front Range. Everything I love is around me. I can bike to get my eggs, which is important to me, as is a sense of protection on the land. The taxes are cheaper and the Internet is fat. I’ve only been here a few months, but I feel I’ve made deeper connection here than I felt I ever made in San Diego.”
Dan Lance, owner, The Roost and Jefes Tacos & Tequila
Lance, who also moved from Northern California, has a background in nonprofits and live music, where he combined the two to host and perform live shows to raise money for adoption issues.
While touring with a group of musicians, he came through Boulder and liked the area.
“My buddy, a best friend since college, moved from Reddng to Longmont and loved it,” Lance said. “When we moved, I wanted to be close to friends. So I picked Longmont that way.”
Lance said he was struggling with work at first, until he traveled to Colorado Springs to perform at a venue and saw it was a combined restaurant and performance space.
“I thought, you know what, I could do that,” he said. Lance contacted his now-business partner, Sean Gafner, who was still in California overseeing restaurants as part of a conglomerate. Also wanting to do his own thing, the two decided to partner opening a restaurant concept in Longmont, where 10 percent of the profits would go back to adoption and live music would happen three times a week.
The two opened The Roost, on Main Street, in 2015. A year later, a second restaurant concept also on Main Street, Jefes Tacos & Tequila, opened.
“Denver has the fastest growth for restaurant startups in the country,” Lance said. “Literally, this right here is the place to start a restaurant.”
Lance said the two spots are growing and have been embraced by the Downtown scene.
Doug Campbell, president, Roccor LLC and Solid Power Inc.
Campbell has lived in Longmont for the past 15 years, but opened his businesses in Louisville.
“I had co-workers then who said Longmont was lame, but I ignored it,” Campbell lame. “I drove through here, loved Old Town and bought a house 15 years ago. It’s been really phenomenal to watch the community grow and mature. For whatever reason, all of my businesses were born out of Louisville. When I had the opportunity to pull (Roccor) out of Louisville I brought it to Longmont.”
For Campbell, a benefit to having his business in Longmont is it’s attractive to his customer base, which is mostly international.
“They love coming here to Colorado and Longmont,” he said. “Every visit here they seem to tie it into a weekend to do something. It’s a fantastic community in Longmont and Colorado as a whole.”
Shared photo & article by Jensen Werley for BizWest
Wintry weather is great at turning up problems you didn’t even know you had. Like that first snowy night in front of your fireplace that you thought was pure bliss — until you noticed a leak in the ceiling corner, which apparently was caused by a lack of insulation. How were you supposed to know that?
Here are seven things to do now to avoid costly wintertime mistakes:
#1 Buy a $2 Protector for Your Outdoor Faucet
The cost if you don’t: Up to $15,000 and a whole lot of grief
It’s amazing what a little frozen water can do damage-wise. An inch of water in your basement can cost up to $15,000 to pump out and dry out. And, yet, it’s so easy to prevent, especially with outdoor faucets, which are the most susceptible to freezing temps.
The simplest thing to do is to remove your garden hose from your outdoor faucet and drain it. Then add a faucet protector to keep cold air from getting into your pipes. They’re really cheap (some are under $2; the more expensive ones are still less than $10). “Get these now,” says Danny Lipford, home improvement expert and host of the “Today’s Homeowner” television and radio shows. “When the weatherman says we’ve got cold coming, they’ll sell out in minutes.”
While you’re at it, make sure any exposed pipes in an unheated basement or garage are insulated, too, or you’ll face the same pricey problem.
Wrap pipes with foam plumbing insulation — before the weather drops. It’s cheap, too, just like the faucet cover (only $1 for six feet of polyethylene insulation). And it’s an easy DIY project, as long as you can reach the pipes.
#2 Add Insulation to Prevent Ice Dams
The cost if you don’t: $500 — if you’re lucky; a lot more if you’re not
Those icicles make your home look so picturesque, you just gotta take a few pics. But you better make them quick. Those icicles can literally be a dam problem. (Yes, dam — not the curse word that sounds the same. )
Icicles are a clear sign that you’ve got an ice dam, which is exactly what it sounds like: a buildup of ice on your gutter or roof that prevents melting snow and ice from flowing through your gutters. That’s really bad news because these icy blocks can lead to expensive roofing repairs.
Depending on where you live, expect to pay at least $500 for each ice dam to be steamed off. Leave the ice and you risk long-term damage, which could ultimately cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to your roof, depending on what type of shingles you have and the size of the damaged area.
How to prevent them? Insulation. “Ice dams, icicles, and ice buildup on the gutters is a symptom of not enough insulation in the attic,” says Chris Johnson, owner of Navarre True Value and several other stores in the Twin Cities area.
And “you need to have at least 14 inches of insulation in your attic, no matter where you live,” says Lipford. If you live in a colder climate, you’ll need more.
If you don’t have the cash to insulate, heated gutter cables, which run between $50 and $150 each, can be a less expensive alternative when temporarily affixed to areas prone to ice damming, Johnson suggests.
#3 Clean Your Gutters
The cost if you don’t:: You really don’t want to be in a position to find out
It can be so tempting to skip gutter cleanups as winter nears. It seems like as soon as you clear your gutters, they clog right back up again. So what’s the point?
Well, if it looks like you’re living inside a waterfall when it rains, water is missing your gutter system completely. It’s being directed to your foundation instead. And a water-damaged foundation is never, ever cheap to fix.
A contractor can plug foundation cracks for $1,500 to $3,000, says David Verbofsky, director of training for exterior home products manufacturer Ply Gem. But a worse problem, one that requires a foundation excavation or rebuild, can set you back (gulp) $30,000 or more.
Suddenly, cleaning your gutters a few times each fall doesn’t seem so bad. A pro can do the work for anywhere between $70 and $250, depending on the size of your gutter system.
#4 Seal Up Leaks
The cost if you don’t: Nights where you never feel warm, despite sky-high heating bills
“If it were possible to take every crack on the outside of a typical home and drag them together, you’d have the equivalent of a three-by-three window open all the time,” says Lipford. Yikes.
Yet cracks can be easily and inexpensively sealed with a simple tube of caulk, and it’s available in hundreds of colors to match your window panes, outside siding, and even brick. Not sure where to caulk? Look for visible cracks around:
- Window sills
- Fireplace or dryer vents
- Anywhere something inside pokes a hole to the outside
#5 Program Your Thermostat
The cost if you don’t: Money you could spend on something else besides heating
We all know we should, but we seem to have some mental block when it comes to programming our thermostats to align with our schedules. It’s not that hard, and sometimes all it takes is buying a new one that suits you. (Like maybe a Wi-Fi one that’ll give you a little money-saving thrill each time you swipe your app.)
“From a cost-savings perspective, a programmable thermostat is a great investment,” Lipford says — as much as 10% off your energy bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
#6 Get a Furnace Tune-Up
The cost if you don’t: A furnace that’ll die years before it should — and higher energy bills
“Forget to service your furnace and you could easily cut five years off the life of your system,” says Lipford, who added that five years is a full third of the typical unit’s life span. New units can cost around $4,000 installed, making the $125 annual maintenance charge a no-brainer.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to replace the furnace filter, which cleans the air in your home, and also keeps your furnace coils cleaner, which can shave up to 15% off your energy bill. Johnson suggests at least every three months, but possibly as often as monthly if you have allergies, pets, or smoke cigarettes at home.
#7 Get a Fireplace Inspection
The cost if you don’t: Possibly your life — and your home
“A cozy fire is great, but if you don’t maintain your chimney, a fire can cost you thousands of dollars,” says Johnson, not to mention the risk to you and your family.
Schedule your maintenance appointment as early as you can.”If you wait until the busy season, you’ll have a hard time getting them out there, you’ll pay more, and you’ll get a lower quality job,” says Lipford.
written by ALAINA TWEDDALE for houselogic .com
A recent article from a reputable news source was titled: Here’s why some homeowners still can’t sell. In the opening bullets of the article, the author claimed, “Negative equity is one of the main reasons why there are so few homes for sale.” The article then goes on to soften that stance but we want to bring better clarity to the equity situation.
A recent report from CoreLogic (which was quoted in the article) revealed that over 80% of all homes now have “significant equity,” which means the home has over 20% equity. That level of equity allows the homeowner to sell their home if they so desire. (There was no reference to significant equity in the article.)
If eight out of ten homeowners now have significant equity in their homes, it is hard to make the claim that lack of equity is “one of the main reasons why there are so few homes for sale.”
Here is a map showing the percentage of homes in each state which currently have significant equity:
Thoughts on Homeowner Equity
If you are one of many homeowners who is debating selling your home and are wondering how much equity you have accumulated, contact a local real estate professional who can help you determine if now is the time to list.
Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensure that you get the highest price possible.
1. Price it a LITTLE LOW
This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).
Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. By doing this, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price, but will instead have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.
Realtor.com gives this advice:
“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”
2. Use a Real Estate Professional
This, too, may seem counterintuitive. The seller may think they would make more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. With this being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.
A new study by Collateral Analytics, reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save any money, and in some cases may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent.
In the study, they analyzed home sales in a variety of markets in 2016 and the first half of 2017. The data showed that:
“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.”
The results of the study showed that the differential in selling prices for FSBOs when compared to MLS sales of similar properties is about 5.5%. Sales in 2017 suggest the average price was near 6% lower for FSBO sales of similar properties.
Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. This will guarantee that you maximize the price you get for your house.
Many people are interested to know what kind of return on investment they can expect when upgrading certain items in their homes and which items they should prioritize first. This is especially relevant when selling their home or investment property.
When it comes to house sales and particular rooms, the kitchen is often the room that will make or break a sale. Kitchen projects that are budgeted between 6-10 percent of the total home value will see the highest ROI. Putting your finances into kitchen upgrades is a worthwhile endeavor when it comes to optimizing your home for selling purposes.
The top five projects to prioritize when it comes to the best return on investments are: replacing the entry door, installing a new fireplace, remodeling the kitchen, converting the attic into a bedroom, and replacing the exterior siding or cladding.
For an illustrated look at the best projects to focus on when renovating your home, see the below infographic created by Senator Windows.
shared from Housecall
When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price for it with the least amount of hassles along the way. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is actually getting their homes sold.
In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser’s behavior during the home buying process. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2016 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the first step that “…44% of recent buyers took in the home buying process was to look online at properties for sale.”
However, the report also revealed that 96% of buyers who used the internet when searching for homes purchased their homes through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their homes directly from a seller whom the buyer didn’t know.
Buyers search for a home online but then depend on an agent to find the home they will buy (50%), to negotiate the terms of the sale (47%) & price (36%), or to help understand the process (61%).
The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers who reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots.” This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who have used agents to buy their homes has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.
What we’d like you to take away –
If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process.
In today’s market, with home prices rising and a lack of inventory, some homeowners may consider trying to sell their homes on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons why this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.
Here are the top five reasons:
1. Exposure to Prospective Buyers
Recent studies have shown that 94% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 16% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?
2. Results Come from the Internet
Where did buyers find the homes they actually purchased?
- 51% on the internet
- 34% from a Real Estate Agent
- 8% from a yard sign
- 1% from newspapers
The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.
3. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With
Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale by Owner:
- The buyer who wants the best deal possible
- The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
- The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
- The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
- The appraiser if there is a question of value
4. FSBOing Has Become More And More Difficult
The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.
The 8% share represents the lowest recorded figure since NAR began collecting data in 1981.
5. You Net More Money When Using an Agent
Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.
Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $185,000, while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $245,000. This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $60,000 more for your home, as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.
What does this mean to you?
Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.