Real Estate Information

Durango Real Estate Thoughts & Information

Robin Rasmussen


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 18

Durango's exciting new single steam recycling program

by Robin Rasmussen

Okay, trash may not be the most exciting thing to talk about, but the city of Durango's new single stream recycling program is exciting and it has really changed my life!!  I no longer have to run home after forgetting to put my trash our for the weekly pickup or sort through recycling to make sure it's in the correct bin.  I have plenty of trash can space if I accidentally skip a week (We will see how that goes in the summer Peeeww!!).  The single stream recycling program has also expanded ability to recycle an incredible amount of new things which were previously headed to the landfill.  For more information about the city of Durango's single stream recycling program, follow this link for: Single Stream Recycling!

Also, Bears are coming back out so the trash cans need to come out the day of pick-up. La Plata County has been going a little easy on people with 177 warnings and only 2 citations. While I would think that the embarrassment and indignity of having to pick up the contents of your own trash can would be enough, it hasn't been. I hope that the message gets out either through increased citations or a public response to the situation.

This fall seemed like the worst season for bear encounters. It seemed like bears were everywhere in my neighborhood; I rode right by one in my neighborhood while I was on my bike approximately 50 feet away from me. I looked over to see this giant black bear staring me down. Yikes! For about 3 weeks this Fall my two dogs were going nuts as the bear roamed the neighborhood at night. For more information about bears in Durango: BearSmartDurango

Durango Maountain Resort named most afforadable ski area

by Robin Rasmussen

Durango Mountain Resort (at Purgatory) has been named the top destination for affordability by TripAdvisor TripIndex While the skiing at Durango Mountain Resort may not be the most prestigious skiing you'll come across, you may tell people where you went skiing and they may ask "where is that?". DMR definitely has a good mix of Greens, Blues and Black Diamonds.  The skiing at Durango Mountain Resort is challenging enough for most and fun for all; a great place to bring a family with varying skill levels. The ski area is always well maintained and they continue to expand and create new areas...It's really a fun area to ski.

The beauty of Durango Mountain Resort is that it doesn't feel like a typical Colorado resort ski area because it is separated from the from the city of Durango by a half hour drive, so you'll get a chance to walk the shops and check out one of the many delicious restaurants in town (more per capita than San Francisco).   

Regionally, Durango is so close to Telluride and Wolf Creek ski areas, so if your feeling adventurous, you can drive approximately 1 hour to 1.5hours to these areas. It's also great trip insurance if you've already planed a trip to Durango and the snow levels aren't great (like the early part of the this winter) Wolf Creek always has the most snow in Colorado, so your always close to a plan B and can use Durango as a home base.

Alicia earned her CDPE designation

by Robin Rasmussen

The current market situation has become a new reality. The days of double digit appreciation are well behind us and we have been paying the price. The reality now in the Durango Area is not as gloomy as some other areas, in fact, we are down right lucky in our area to have had a "softer landing" as a real estate market in general. Unfortunately, there are situations that this market has pushed some people into that leave them with two options: foreclosure or short sale. We have had many transactions with both types of these situations. Alicia wanted to take the extra step to educate herself beyond what most other Realtors know and recieved her CDPE (Certified Distressed Properties Expert) designation.

If you are a seller who has encountered a financial hardship and need to sell your home it won't hurt to talk to a Realtor with the CDPE designation in your area.


A Buyers Paradise!

by Robin Rasmussen

The market is cyclical and right now the market is also cynical. Why not wait for the market to hit “bottom” before you buy? Like in any market the bottom is never as easy to find as you might think. We have a Buyers paradise right now there are more homes on the market in our area than ever. Foreclosures are currently up from last year’s number of foreclosures (So far this year 84 when compared with all of '07 at 74). Any one can really see the market and have their pick of what is the best fit for them. And consider this article of the shortage of rentals in the Durango Herald:


How many people in the “hot market” just settled for something because they were afraid that they were going to lose it? Now the process is more relaxing and if you are looking to buy a home to live in for the long term versus a short term flip. The market will hit a bottom and then it will climb again…Just like in any market. In Durango and the surrounding areas any home owner is buying a lifestyle that can’t really be replicated in many other places. Why turn your dream into a commodity that can be bought and sold like pork belly futures? Find your home and live a little

A Community Supported Agriculture Jackpot

by Robin Rasmussen

We have been around on the CSA (community supported agriculture) scene for a few years with no luck. We really do like to support local farmers. It is important for so many reasons, but I like to focus on the selfish reasons for a moment and just admit that we enjoy the local farmer’s food because it just tastes better when the vegetables are fresh.


This year we have finally found a CSA that is worth it. For so many years we put up with the meager selection of vegetables in order to support the farmers and we would always hang onto the idea that we might one day get something extraordinary…and usually it just ended up being an extra order of spinach or zucchini. This year however; we signed up with Chimney Rock Farms and they have put together an impressive selection with great quality produce. I get excited for every Wednesday’s pick up. They do trades with regional farmers to increase their selection and they also throw in fruit into the box.  


There are probably some other great ones out there, but we are excited to have found one that gives us the food that gets eaten up before next weeks box is picked up.

summer...don't leave yet!

by Robin Rasmussen

Where does the summer go...we took a longer than expected vacation to the Northwest this summer. We decided to drive due to the need for all of the baby gear that comes along with where ever we go (like a traveling circus). We thought that we would save money by driving. If gas was the only consideration we would have come out ahead, but looking back on our receipts…we missed our budget by a long way. If we were going to do that drive again with a baby I think that we would just get a tour bus and go on “baby tour”. We could sweep around the country making all of the family stops along the way and just plan for a long time on the road. Maybe we could charge an appearance fee to pay the way.


Now its labor day weekend. We have the two toned down motorcycle rallies going on this year. It seems that the drunken testosterone fest known as the Iron Horse Motorcycle Rally (which ran for 9 years) is gone. The current versions are the Ignacio Bike Week and the Sugar Pine Ranch Rally seem to be more of a mellow crowd…it is only Friday though, but that my initial impression. I will just have to wait and read the Durango Herald blotter tomorrow for the real story. As long as no one dies and everything is in the spirit of safe, low-decibel fun, it should be a great weekend for everyone.

rise of seller financing?

by Robin Rasmussen

Revival of the owner carry or seller financing is definitely in our future. Owner carry loans were virtually non existent during the credit friendly years when you could get a first, second and third loan with adjustable rates on one or all of the above (and why not make a no-doc loan on top of all that) and a home would appreciate over night. If there were ever any financial problems, the house could be sold for a profit. Sure these weird loans were the minority of loans (at least in our area), but all the same the impact of these lending practices have been felt through out the nation.


Credit scoring is tighter these days and higher credit is necessary to qualify for “penalty free” loans your credit has to be up to at least 720. Bankruptcies and tight credit are things that are here for awhile. We have come across many people that are coming in from out of the area that have either been foreclosed on or have had their credit battered by a pre-foreclosure situation or might be looking for a Lease Options (a different scenario) while they wait for their home to sell in an area that they are coming from.  


Sellers need to get creative in this market and be proactive. One way is to be able to offer seller financing if the Seller owns the property out right. A seller could potentially get closer to asking price with seller financing until the Buyers are in good enough standings with their credit to refinance with a conventional loan. Sure there are risks…landlords take risks with every new tenant and sometimes things don’t work out for the best, but for the Seller who might have a financial buffer and who is ready to move into a new home, seller finance might be their ticket forward. 


A rough look at the process is simple:


  • The Buyer usually would some cash towards the purchase price (the higher the amount the better).
  • Terms are drafted by an attorney the Seller holds the note (like a bank on a conventional loan), so if payment aren’t made then the Seller get the property back.


Any Seller who chooses to go this route would need to speak in depth with a tax accountant. There are some additional taxing strategies out there that might work better one way or the other. But that is the rough idea of it.

hitting that target price

by Robin Rasmussen

Pricing listing these days can be very tricky. The old guidelines have changed to some extent. It was easier in the "old" market when homes were appreciating rapidly. You would look at the most recent comps of other sold properties; take that information and try and interpret value from there. If you were wrong and priced too high, in some cases, the market might catch up. If you were right and priced closer to the best price, it would be under contract in a matter of weeks with a happy Seller and a happy Buyer. I used to be about pushing the price up to stay ahead.   


These days values are holding strong in our market, but when pricing you have to stand out in the crowd of rising inventory. The market is currently very sensitive to price and if you're too high your listing will hear crickets from day one. It's tough because we have a smaller pool of buyers out there in the hunt and rising how do you know what is and what is not the right price? Here is a list of some things that I think about when pricing:

  • The one of the old rules for showings was "10 showings and no offers; reduce the price" now I believe the number for that rule of thumb should be reduced to five. Prices need to stay ahead of the market. Showings have to speak louder.
  • Price it right from the start. Some agents will give you a higher "best guess estimate" in order to get the listing and will bank on price reductions in order to get it to sell...not good. Listing these days need to be price right from the starting gate so that they stand out and get the attention that they need in order to sell.
  • Another rule of thumb is "one month and no showings; reduce the price". One month in this market and no showings. Ask yourself, "do I really need to sell now?" if the answer is yes, then reduce the price substantially. Foot traffic is key to any home selling.  
  • You have to price for market and not need. Some Sellers will say “I need to make $X amount of money in order to make this amount” which creates a very weak pricing strategy. Buyers don’t care how much Sellers profit, just like Sellers don’t care how much Buyers pay. It is a market and you have to pay attention to what is going on around the market place.
  • Think how much time on the market costs (mortgage payments, HOA dues, taxes and utilities) and keep the absorption rate for your neighborhood in mind. The absorption rate = number of listings vs. number of sold over a period of time to determine how long, in months, it would take for the current inventory to be sold at the current rate.

a brand new real estate market

by Robin Rasmussen
Well even in this new real estate market I put blogging on the back burner.

I know I shouldn't. This is the time that people have the most questions and have to stop and think about their choices a little more carefully. I saw the other day for the first time the stock market drop significantly and the interest rates rise. So, borrowed money is now more expensive and hard dollars are worth less...not good. So, when will the fed say the "R" word?

All of that aside, the Durango real estate market has remained resilient. It has definately been more of a Sellers market for the past couple of months with more listings than Durango has ever seen at one time. Although foreclosures are higher, their aren't that many fire sales happening. We are buffered by many of the homes having a big chunk of equity, a steady stream of people looking for opportunities in our area, and the lack of wholesale builders in our market driving down prices unloading product. As long as the US economy holds together and remains stable, so too should the Durango real estate market.

Wilderness city

by Robin Rasmussen

We'll there are surprises around every corner when your in the wilderness. Surprises like bears, elk, turkey, or even just a simple wild flower. You don't really expect to find surprises in your yard. Every now and again you will here a story in Durango about a mountain lion sighting in someone’s yard or the more common (sad sight) of a garbage bear on the hunt for irresponsible home owners' garbage cans...I digress.

Today after work I thought what a great time to get in some quick yard work. I was out trimming off some dead branches from an oak tree when something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. 2 feet from my face was a crazy looking bug eyed, big eared...what looked like to me a baby Lemur monkey (?)...we had a stare down briefly and I ran to Google to try and figure out what I saw. Turns out it was not a Lemur (surprise), but was a Ringtailed cat. I have never heard of these critters, but I guess that these nocturnal cats are common further south of here. Not too common to see, especially here, but common in the U.S. deserts. 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 18