Happy Halloween 2014

Wishing you and yours a Happy & 
Safe Halloween

Daylight Saving Time Ends This Weekend

Just a friendly reminder to you that Daylight Saving Time Ends this weekend. That means for many of us in the U.S. that we "fall back" an hour Sunday morning at 2 a.m. For me, that means before I hit the hay on Saturday night, I turn all my clocks back one hour. Thankfully, in this day and age, many of my clocks are digital and smart and so I don't have to do a thing. Do you have a lot of clocks you have to turn back? Enjoy your "extra" hour of sleep!

Best Home Improvements

Ever wondered what your best bet home improvements might be? Sure, you can spend a lot on something purely for the personal pleasure of having it ... like that outdoor Jacuzzi under the attached gazebo ... or you can go the practical route and make an improvement that will increase your home's market value. But be forewarned! You can't expect to always recoup your costs on both counts. Just because you put $25,000 worth of improvements into your home, does not mean that your house is worth $25,000 more!

It may not sound very exciting, but it's the basic improvements you make to your home that may have the greatest return on its value: a beautiful new bathroom wont' make up for a leaky roof. Below are some examples of a few improvements that usually pay off - and some that rarely make a difference (no matter how much you paid for them) when it comes time to sell your home.

If you're planning to sell your home in a year or two, a fresh coat of a neutral-toned paint could make the sale easier. A professional exterior paint job may also recoup close to 75% of its cost. Let's face it - we all like things fresh looking.

With just a few basic improvements, your kitchen can practically pay you back with interest! New paint and flooring are always appreciated; plus you might even consider sanding, staining or painting worn-looking cabinets. Replacing old cabinet hardware is a low-cost improvement that makes a big difference in appearance. According to the Remodeling Magazine 2013 Cost vs. Value report, the average spent on a major kitchen remodel is around $54,000, while a minor one averaged $18,000. The full kitchen remodeling recouped 69% of its cost and the minor remodel was valued at 75%.

Generally speaking, increasing the functional space of your home holds its value longer than remodeling just to make a house look better. It's also much less expensive than adding an addition to your home. Remodeling Magazine reports that converting attic space into a bedroom, for example, usually costs around $48,000 and returns about 73% of that cost. Turning your basement into extra living space costs about $61,000, with a recoup average of 70%.

At an average cost of $37,500, a new bathroom addition can recoup about 55% of its total cost, according to the Remodeling Magazine.

Adding a deck is a very cost-efficient way to add square footage to your house. Remodeling Magazine estimates that wood decks cost around $9,300 and generally recoup 77% of their value. Compared to other outdoor improvements, that's an excellent return.


Your utility bill savings may make up for the iffy resale value. However, a good set of standard windows should get you around 73% back. If you start getting too fancy with custom shapes and sizes, though, don't expect to get as much in return.

Another nicety, but who's going to spend all that time and money? If the potential buyer is not horticulturally inclined, chances are your floral handiwork won't add to the offering price. The same can be said for expensive fences and stone walls - they look nice, but buyers don't pay up for them.

Colorado Springs Halloween Events 2014

Colorado Springs & Nearby Halloween and Autumn Events 2014

What's happening in El Paso County, Colorado this fall? Check it out! Of course, there's plenty happening around town this month, spooky and otherwise. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but maybe it will help bring your family and friends together to enjoy Halloween and celebrate autumn. 

Where & More Info
Sherlock Holmes & The Cripple Creek Ripper
10/3 – 11/1/14
10/9 – 11/2/14
Boo at the Zoo
10/17-19, 10/24-10/26 and 10/31
Colon Orchard Farm Corn Mazes
Thru 10/27
Halloween Costume Carnival
Coffin Race & Parade
Howl-o-ween Day of the Dead
A Giant Day
Chefs vs Surgeons Pumpkin Carving
Emma Crawford’s Wake
The Haunted Mines
9/19 – 11/1 (Thurs – Sat nights only)
Rocky Horror Picture Show
10/30 – 11/1
Cemetery Crawls
10/18 & 10/25
Space & Science Fiction Halloween Costume Ball 3
Haunting at the Hill Halloween Costume Ball
Halloween Séance & Ghost Hunt
The Spook Out Shoot Out Family Halloween
Haunted Brew Fest
Fall Pumpkin Festival
Sat & Sun in October
Wishing Star Farm Fall Festival
9/25 – 10/31 (Thurs – Sun only)
Chatfield’s 8-acre Corn Maze
9/19 – 11/1 (Fri – Sun only)
Trick or Treat Train
10/25 & 10/26

Chimney Safety

With autumn in full swing, I thought some information on chimney safety would be prudent. Do you have a wood burning fireplace? I do and I LOVE it! Yes, it's nice to turn on a switch and have a fire (gas) and it's not messy and quick and easy. But, man oh man, do I love the smell of a real fire! Hopefully this info is helpful to you.

Traditional wood burning fireplaces are still very popular and can be a wonderful feature on any property. However, they represent a unique safety issue for homeowners. Regular maintenance and upkeep are essential to keeping in home fireplaces / stoves fully functional, and therefore, fully safe for you and your family. According to FEMA, chimney and stove related accidents account for 36% of residential home fires.

To keep your property, and more importantly your family, safe while using your traditional fireplace, be sure to follow these simple safety and maintenance tips. 

This ideally will be done by a specialist, but at a minimum, you can check to see that there's no debris, animal nests or other obstructions in your chimney.

I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but in reality, many people use their hearth to store items, often too close to the fireplace. Also, remove fireplace waste on a regular basis. Make sure that the ashes are over 5 days old when you remove them and the best practice is to use a metal can for the waste.

Birds and squirrels can easily take up residence in your chimney and can cause major problems.

Soft and/or moist wood does not burn as well as dry hardwood. This can cause creosote buildup in your chimney. Creosote is the black, oily residue that builds up on the inside of your chimney when woods are burned at low temperatures. Creosote is highly combustible, and can easily cause a chimney fire. Even a little creosote on the inside of your chimney can cause a problem, because the buildup restricts airflow in the chimney, reducing the combustion heat of the fire, causing more creosote to be created.


A mesh gate will protect the interior of your home while still allowing adequate air flow to the fire. Do NOT shut the glass cover on a fireplace when there is a fire. An inadequate air supply will cause the fire to burn at a lower temperature, again creating dangerous creosote.

Be safe and smart, whether you have a gas or wood burning fireplace, enjoy it this autumn and winter. Here's a few local Colorado Springs chimney cleaning companies that I recommend.

Dr. SOOT Chimney Sweep
   Phone: 719-598-4466
   Web Site

Clean Sweep Chimney Sweeps
   Phone: 719-533-0542
   Web Site

Ray's Chimney Service Plus
   Phone: 719-475-1998
   Web Site

Moving Companies Colorado Springs

Are you in need of a local, Colorado Springs Moving Company? I know some of you are planning on moving soon and you might need a mover to help with the heavy lifting. I've done some research and wanted to give you this helpful list.

If you have questions about moving to or from the area or need help with a market analysis to find out how much your home is worth, send me an email or call me.


** I have had personal experience with No Hassle Moving and worked with both Ray and Larry on several occasions. They are friendly, prompt, do a wonderful job moving (including heavy antique furniture) and they have great pricing! You can reach them at 719-328-9394 or visit their site. **

** Maybe you are moving from a surrounding state or moving to a surrounding state? If so, I've also had a great experience with Mountain Men Delivery out of Denver, CO. They service Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona & Texas. You can reach them at 303-287-8034 or visit their site. **

Here's a few other Colorado Springs Moving Companies to check out:

Two Men & A Truck
   Phone: 719-896-2719

Triple O Movers
   Phone: 719-597-6683

Bennett's Moving
   Phone: 719-268-1188

Manitou Express / Mountain View Moving (a Buehler Company)
   Phone: 719-392-4296

Weber / Wright Moving Company
    Phone: 719-577-4922

Preventing Auto Theft

4 Steps for Preventing Car Theft

Is your car model popular among car thieves?

Cars give us freedom. They enable us to do what matters most, and to pursue our dreams – everything from visiting relatives, traveling to fun destinations or driving to life-changing events like weddings or job interviews.

But that can change when your car is stolen.

And some of us are at greater risk of car theft, according to an August 2014 report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

For 2013, the most stolen vehicles in the nation were (totals in parentheses):

1. Honda Accord (53,995)
2. Honda Civic (45,001)
3. Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size) (27,809)
4. Ford Pickup (Full Size) (26,494)

5. Toyota Camry (14,420)
6. Dodge Pickup (Full Size) (11,347)
7. Dodge Caravan (10,911)
8. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee (9,272)
9. Toyota Corolla (9,010)
10. Nissan Altima (8,892)

The good news is that you can take steps to prevent your car from being stolen, whether it’s on the NICB’s “top 10” list above or not.

Keep it locked: Always lock your car, close the windows and sunroof and take your keys with you.

Don’t leave it running: Never leave your car running while unattended, even for a minute.

Use security devices: Electronic immobilizing devices send signals to the fuel systems or ignition so the car can’t start. When using these devices, thieves are unable to hotwire cars. Steering wheel locks can deter theft, and tracking devices aid in stolen car recovery.

Use common sense: Park your locked car in well-lit areas, attended parking lots or in your locked garage at home. Don’t leave your registration card or spare keys in the glove compartment.

Here's some tips to preventing auto theft.

Content from Advisor article, October, 2014.