Spring Weather Means Getting Rid of the Clutter!

too-much-crap1-298x300Spring is in the air. We assume the last of the snow has fallen in town and we are on a trajectory to warm weather. Every year this happens and I fling open the doors and think about getting rid of some clutter that has accumulated over the course of the year. Does this happen to you too?

If you are ready to de-clutter, here are some ideas of how to clear through the clutter and get rid of the things you no longer need:

De-cluttering Step One

1. Try easy things first. Recycle junk mail, magazines/newpapers, expired foods, broken items, old schedules, coupons etc.

2. Start small and build momentum. The dining table, the mantel, a kitchen drawer is a good place to begin. Trick yourself into doing a small area and once you finish it, you’ll have more energy to tackle the larger ones.

3. Complete one area at a time. Do not go back and forth between different areas. You end up scattering your energy and won’t see results anywhere.

4. Hit your closet. Get rid of all the clothing you have not worn in a year. The items that are too small or too big. The ones someone gave you, but just never fit right. The ones with holes, etc..

5. Triage. If you find yourself getting stuck consider making 3 piles to keep you moving: 1. Keep, 2. Give, 3. Donate. This helps you not be too stuck.

6. Clean up after each session. Take the garbage to the dump. Place donation bags, dry-cleaning and objects to be repaired in your trunk to drop off. Tidy the area where you worked so you can see your progress.

De-cluttering Step Two

Now that you have de-cluttered your space, where do you take these items? Here are some options:

1. Take your stuff to the thrift shop. Humane Society of Boulder Valley Thrift and Gift is a good choice, but you can find thrift shops run by nonprofits in any city.

2. Sell some of your items. If your de-cluttering has manifested some choice items you can always sell them on Craigslist or for clothing you can try Buffalo Exchange or Plato’s Closet.

3. Recycle. Make sure and put paper, cardboard, cans, metals, etc. in your recycling bin.

4. Toss. Nothing should be left in the house after you de-clutter, so inevitably a few items will end up in the trash. Get them all the way out there!

Now it is time to get to that clutter! Do you have any tips for de-cluttering your space?

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Thinking of Making Some Upgrades to Your Property? Maximize your return on investment with these top 10 projects

remodeling2The rental market is hot right now! Rental prices are on the rise, so if you own investment property you are in a good place. Maybe you have been considering making some upgrades to ensure you get maximum rental income, have a choice of renters, are able to keep your renters for longer periods of time, or you are thinking about future resale value. If you own property and you are considering a remodel or just some upgrades, here are some suggestions of what to do to get the best return on investment.

The consensus seems to be that replacement gets a better return on investment when possible and acting within the suggested upgrades. In a resale market the use of durable, low-maintenance materials in replacement products appeals to home buyers who increasingly are looking to reduce both the operational cost and maintenance cost in their homes. So if you are thinking long-term, consider durability and easy of care when you embark on a remodel project. Of course this will help reduce maintenance at your rental property and therefore the same consideration for low maintenance products holds true for landlords.

Today’s Top 10 Update/Remodel Projects

These are projects that upgrade the home and are done within the container of the existing structure. They are focused on updating worn out spaces, not making the home a masterpiece. Replacement adds immediate curb appeal which is important in a rental market as well as a sales market. The upgrades listed below are ranked in order of return on investment.

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  • Replacing exterior siding with upscale fiber cement. Siding pays back a whopping 78%, on average, of the $13,461 average cost. The most cost-effective thing you can do to your home this year is to replace old siding with new, higher-end fiber cement.
  • Replacing an entry door with a midlevel 20-gauge steel door is an inexpensive upgrade at $1,238 on average, but it pays back 73% and greatly improves curb appeal.
  • A midrange attic bedroom remodel involves popping out a dormer for a 5-by-7-foot bathroom with shower, insulating and finishing the walls and ceiling, adding four windows, extending the heating and air conditioning and improving wiring and lighting. The payback is 72.5% on the $50,148 expenditure. More living space is being sought as adult children are driven back to their parents’ homes by the shaky economy and as older parents join the households of their adult children. An attic remodel is the cheapest way to add space and a bathroom within the house.
  • A basement remodel is the next most cost-efficient way to add living space, although code requirements for headroom and exterior doors can make that project more complicated and more expensive.
  • A midrange minor kitchen remodel paid back 72.1% of the $19,588 investment. Included are new laminate countertops and new sink, faucets and appliances. The floor is untouched and cabinets are kept in place but refaced with new hardware added. This is simply a facelift, not a complete remodel to a chef’s kitchen.
  • A midrange garage door replacement may not be high on many wish lists; it’s one of those jobs that you do because it’s needed. But it adds curb appeal and function, and it pays back 71.9%, on average, of the $1,512 average cost.
  • A high-end garage door replacement recoups almost as much: 71.1% of the $2,994 average cost.
  • A new wood deck earns back 70.1%, on average, of its $10,350 cost at resale this year.
  • New foam-backed vinyl siding replacement keeps the house warm and pays back 69.6% of its $14,274 average cost. The average project involves 1,250 square feet of siding, including trim.
  • New midrange replacement vinyl siding upgrades the look of the home and pays back 69.5% of the $11,729 average price.
  • Upscale vinyl replacement windows have a 69.1% payback on the $14,328 cost. The project involves replacing 10 double-hung 3-by-5 windows. The new windows are low-emissivity glass and are insulated with simulated wood-grain trim.

*Based on the MSN article, “10 remodeling projects that pay back the most” and the article: http://www.remodeling.hw.net/2011/costvsvalue/article/trends.aspx

Question for our readers: What remodel/replacement projects have you done? Have they paid off in the end? How do you determine which items will give you the highest ROI? 

We Have a Great Happy Hour Scene in Boulder!

There may be snow on the ground, but the sun is shining brighter and the days are longer. This is the time of year when we come out of our winter hibernation and we start itching to get out. If this is happening to you, read on for some great happy hour resources around town.

Maybe you want to find a place to get a drink and some apps with friends? Or you are looking for a good deal? Maybe you want to try out a bunch of different restaurants in Boulder because after all it has been voted to be the Foodiest Town after all by the culinary magazine, Bon Appetit. But where do you go? What are the great deals out there? Happy hours can satisfy a lot of needs. Here are a few places to look to find your perfect happy hour:

Downtown Boulder Happy Hours: A comprehensive list of Downtown Boulder happy hours by Downtown Boulder Inc.

Happy Hours All Around Boulder: An exhaustive list of happy hours listed by area of boulder, times, etc. It is searchable, so makes finding the right happy hour easy. This is a great resource to have on hand to look up happy hours happening any time.

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What are your favorite happy hours in town? 

An Afternoon in Cherry Creek

8z is proud to announce that we have opened a brand new rentals office in Denver! To be specific, we have chosen Cherry Creek. This beautiful, affluent, peaceful neighborhood is located just south of downtown Denver and is bordered by Cherry Creek to the South, East Sixth Avenue on the North, University Boulevard to the West, and Colorado Boulevard to the East. Cherry Creek is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon! We invite you to join us on a virtual itinerary for an afternoon in the neighborhood.

First Stop: 8z Rentals Cherry Creek Office (55 Madison St #790, Denver, CO 80206)

First thing is first: you want to find a place to rent so you can stay in beautiful Denver, Colorado! Upon entering our newest office (opened January 1st 2013), you will meet with Anita Guide, Denver leasing agent. She will go through your options and set up showings with you for all of the places that suit your needs! Our listings include properties we manage, as well as partnerships with other realty firms or private owners.

Next Up, Happy Hour! Kona Grill (3000 East 1st Avenue, Denver CO)  http://www.konagrill.com/restaurants/denver-co.aspx

 A quick walk from our office lies one of the best Happy Hours in Denver (as touted by CBS Denver! http://denver.cbslocal.com/top-lists/top-places-to-go-for-happy-hour/) Not only is the location great- close to the mall and close to 8z- but the variety of food is staggering. You can munch on Asian-inspired appetizers like avocado egg rolls or sushi rolls, and Italian staples like calamari and flatbreads, all while sipping a delicious cocktail (or two.) These appetizers start at $3 from 3-7pm and are a great deal for a filling snack. If the weather is nice (like it’s supposed to be this coming weekend), you can even sit outside on the patio near the fire-pit. Definitely a great place to relax and spend some time during the afternoon.

To round off the evening: Live Theater! Cherry Creek Theater Company (Shaver-Ramsey Carpet Gallery:2414 East Third Avenue Denver, Colorado 80206)http://www.cherrycreektheater.org/

A short walk north will take you to the performing space of the Cherry Creek Theater Company. This non-profit corporation was started in 2010 to bring theater and live arts to the people of Cherry Creek. Currently they are performing John Patrick Shanley’s 2004 play “Doubt: A Parable.” This engaging story about truth, doubt, betrayal and loyalty, set in a fictional Bronx church in the sixties will leave you with lots to talk about afterwards!